Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!

My favourite quote of the day:

Halloween is the one day of the year on which it is still 
culturally appropriate to walk up to someone’s house uninvited. 
Don't waste it.
Our Nashville pastor, Thomas McKenzie

My creations for the night...


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Singing for a Car Rally?

Okay, we might be alone here, but until recently, we had no idea what a car rally was or why we would be singing at one.

When our home church announced that they'd like to have a car rally, I imagined a drag race, starting at the church yard, whipping up over the 401, and ending with a front page story of how our parishioners elicited a record number of traffic tickets on a Saturday night.

Turns out, it's less dramatic, but much more fun.

For the uninitiated, a car rally is like a scavenger hunt, where teams collect answers to riddles by driving a pre-planned route and answering trivia questions about certain locations.

Despite the wicked rain, a good crowd gathered for yesterday's rally, and at the end of the drive, we were part of the celebration that included music, pizza, and prizes.

Hoping to have more photos by the end of the week. When we added "unconventional and unexpected venues" to our About page, we really didn't know where it would lead us. 

Next time, maybe we'll sing right from our car! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rain, Rain, Stay Today...

The beauty of working from home on a rainy, grey day:

Kitchen cafe full of espresso and hot chocolate....

Puppy "interns" who assist with cuddles and much-needed play breaks...

All-day pajamas...

No traffic, slippery roads, wet umbrellas, flattened hairdos... 

Quiet time to write, read, sing, reflect...

Studying in my favourite pink chair, with this view...

I love every chance we get to travel, 
go to different churches, sing for crowds, 
and minister to people.

But I'll be the first to admit, on a day like this, 
there's no place like home...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

You Irreplaceable, You...

Last weekend, a rarity occurred: I was a solo act.

Gerald had been suffering from a terrible cold/flu/nastiness over the whole week. Nothing super-serious, but enough to shut him down. As the weekend approached, we realized that he wouldn't be up for preparing for our two worship services at St. John's, much less actually playing and singing on Sunday.

As I took the reins of the services (musically speaking), I realized that Gerald left big shoes to fill in terms of his creativity, sound, and musical leadership. Our musicians stretched outside their comfort zones, revealed new talents, and showed an inspiring combination of creativity and teamwork. The results were wonderful. Different than it would have been with Gerald, but still wonderful.

As I watched all this happening, I was reminded of Paul's writings on spiritual gifts and the body of Christ. We all have a unique role to play. We are called to do something that's important. It may not always seem important to us, but clearly, if He's asked it of us, it's important to God.

When one of us doesn't show up, it matters.

Some days, like with illness, we can't physically show up, and that's okay. Maybe that's actually God's plan for the day.

But what I started thinking about was bigger, broader, than this:

What happens when we don't show up at all?

What happens when we choose not to believe in or follow God?
What happens when we don't bother to seek God's plan for our lives?
Or if we do find it, we don't choose to say "Yes"?
What happens when we start living our life in Christ, and then just check out of the whole process?
Can we ever truly understand the ripple effects of these decisions?

When you show up, it matters.

You are so important. 
So very, very important in the kingdom of God. 
God has a plan for you, and when you're not there, it matters... 
to other people, 
to the moment, 
to God's eternal plan...

In the immortal words of Ira Gershwin: 
"You irreplaceable, you..."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Review: Grace, by Max Lucado

This is the 3rd book I've reviewed on the topic of "grace" and it's, without a doubt, my favourite.

I'm a huge fan of Max Lucado, so I entered this review with a bias, but I loved, loved reading this book! Max's writing is theologically and factually informative, which is great, but it's more than that. As I read about the topic of grace, I felt the emotions of grace coming through the pages - generous, abundant, warming, life-changing. The danger in discussing topics such as grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love is that we can forget that these are powerful forces that can elicit powerful emotions in us. Why shouldn't we be moved by reading about God's grace? Isn't it more concerning if we're not moved by the subject?

I highly recommend this book. It's well written, well organized, has great stories, lots of Scripture quotes, and comes complete with a study guide.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Infinitely More singing for Children's Ministry Conference

Next month, we'll be leading worship for Making it Easier to Serve: Children's Ministry Leadership Conference. The day will be filled with workshops on children's ministry for an audience of clergy, Sunday school teachers, and youth ministers from a variety of denominations.

The organizers gave us a lovely write-up on their blog. 
You can read the post HERE.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

We've had the most wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

On Saturday, we gathered with my family for an evening of feasting! Three generations laughed, sang, and shared stories. The table was set for 12 but my Mom cooked for 25, so we all went home with bags of leftovers, grateful for so much abundance.

Mom's beautiful Thanksgiving flower arrangement.

On Sunday, we were blessed with a night of beautiful worship at The Gathering. We brought a little sweet table to thank our musicians for sharing their talents on Thanksgiving night, and everyone indulged in cookies, strawberries, and honey-peppermint iced tea. We sang songs of gratitude - "Give Thanks," "My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness," and Hillsong's "Worthy is the Lamb." We continue to be humbled by the faithfulness, talent, and camaraderie of our band.

And today, we rested. We enjoyed the cool weather, the fridge full of leftovers, and the peace of a quiet house.

We are blessed beyond measure. 
Some days, it can be hard to remember that.
I pray we may always live in that space of gratitude.


Friday, October 05, 2012

We're on iTunes!

Our new CDs are on iTunes! Just in time to get your Thanksgiving soundtrack ...

Click the photos or links below to bring you to the iTunes store.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Allison, by John Viljoen

A number of years ago, I met portrait artist John Viljoen when we were both teaching at the same arts school.

Needless to say, I was more than flattered when he asked me to sit for a portrait. But what I didn't anticipate was the power of joining in someone else's creative process in this unique way. Like working with a photographer, I realized part of my job, the way I could contribute to John's art, was to simply be open and present, living in the moment.

Years later, John gave us the original as a wedding gift. 
He recently posted the photo online, so I thought I'd share it with you. 

It was a really creative time in my life. I had just spent long days in the sanctuary of St. John's Church with Gerald (who was my brand new fiancĂ©!) and our best friends, recording my first CD - It Is Well With My Soul. On the day that John captured the expression in the painting, I had just received my first disc with the almost finished recordings. We played it in the studio, and as I listened, John painted.

When I look at this painting, my mind drifts back to that time,
 remembering the power of creativity and friendship.

For more information on the art of John Viljoen, 
please visit