Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Book Review - Doing Busy Better, by Glynnis Whitwer

As someone who loves to take on ambitious projects and fill my life with a plethora of activities, I jumped at the chance to review this beautiful new book, Doing Busy Better - Enjoying God's Gifts of Work and Rest, by Glynnis Whitwer.

I should also point out that I received this book months ago! I started it some time in June. I finished it today. Why? I've been too busy to read it.

No, the irony is not lost on me...

Once I had made the time to dig into it, Doing Busy Better is an engaging and practical book about reevaluating the ways we approach busyness and relaxation.

Whitwer doesn't just want you to manage your calendar better (although there are tips for that). This is about studying and using God's model for work and rest as a guideline for healthy, balanced living.

Two chapters in particular resonated with me:

Hurry Is A Heart Condition

As I finished this book, Gerald and I are on our annual Western Canada Tour. We're driving roundtrip through five provinces over seven weeks, singing concerts, leading worship services, and logging in countless admin hours along the way. The schedule is tight! "You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life" has become a potentially life-changing mantra for us.

How To Be Peaceful and Productive

This should be the goal of every super-productive person. Oh, to get it all done and still feel calm at the end of the day! Whitwer writes, "I don't want to get more done. I want to get more of the right things done." Yes, please!

This is the kind of book I read with a pencil in hand. I can't tell you how many corners I turned down and how many notes I made in the margins. I hope to revisit my favourite ideas and find ways to make them practical in my own life.

There is so much good work to be done and so much good rest to be enjoyed. This book will help you find the value and God-connection in both.

I received this book to review from the Nuts About Books Blogger Program and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Our New CD - An Important Announcement...

Last week, we shared important news through our mailing list. 
Today, we wanted to bring you all into the loop...

As you know, we've had a very full season of recording, as we create a brand new album of original music. It's been a lot of work, and we're incredibly excited about sharing this new project with you.

This August, however, we faced a difficult time in our family when Gerald's mother, 
Sandy Flemming, passed away.

Sandy had battled heath issues for years, but her death very sudden and unexpected. We stopped all recording for several weeks as we prepared for her funeral and spent much needed time with Gerald's Dad and our family.

Many of you heard the news on Facebook
and we are so grateful for your prayers and messages of love. 

Needless to say, this put us far behind on our recording. We could have rushed the process, but to be honest, what's happening in the studio has been so exciting, and we're committed to making the best recording possible for you!

For this New CD, we sat down and thought, 
"Who would be our dream duets for this album?"

We thought of four amazing Canadian artists whom we admire and love. 
In a bold move, we invited each of them to sing on the project, hoping one of them might say Yes.

We can't tell you how humbled we felt when 

For this new album, we're thrilled to sing 'duets' with:

Drew Brown - Juno nominee
Ali Matthews - 20 time GMA Covenant Award Winner
Hiram Joseph - Juno nominee
Kevin Pauls - 100 Huntley Street musical host

All four artists gave incredible performances on their songs!

Just before we left home to start our Western Canada Tour, we completed recording all the performances for the album! As we travel, our producer, Andrew Horrocks, is mixing the tracks and adding more instrumental parts. Then, he'll master the album to give it a beautiful, finished sound. While that's happening, we'll have the graphics designed. Then, the CDs will be manufactured and prepared for shipping!

The final CDs will now be available in mid to late November.
We are so grateful for all of your support with this new album!

The only question left is:

Preordering your CD guarantees you get one of the very first copies available.
Also, your preorder helps us with the financial challenges of creating the final parts of the album.

As our THANK YOU for preordering, 
we want to give you some FREE GIFTS! 

Please visit this page to preorder your CD:

Thank you for all you do to support our Infinitely More ministry!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Thanksgiving With Strangers

This weekend, we'll do something that has become a bit of a quirky tradition:

We'll spend Thanksgiving with strangers.

The first time we did this was in 2007, during our first year of living in Nashville. October approached, and we realized we would be away from our families for Thanksgiving. We were still new to the city, but everyone there celebrated Thanksgiving in November. We made plans for Skype calls to family and a quiet dinner at home.

The last weekend of September, we attended a songwriter party and met a woman originally from Nova Scotia. As we chatted, she said, "You know, I'm attending a Thanksgiving dinner with some other Canadian friends next week. If you want, I'm happy to get you an invitation."

And that was our first Thanksgiving with strangers. 

We gathered, ate heartily, laughed boisterously, and far from our families and country, we shared our blessings.

Once we returned to Canada, our Thanksgiving became a movable feast. For a few years, we celebrated with our immediate family. As we began our fall concert tours, we were blessed to celebrate with our extended family in Newfoundland.

But then a few years ago, our touring schedule changed. Instead of traveling east each fall, we started to travel west. That first tour was an epic feat to plan - four very large provinces with lots of driving and absolutely no friends or family between home and Alberta. We were literally on the road for over a month before we saw a familiar face!

As we got closer to the holiday weekend, I realized that I had completely forgotten about Thanksgiving! We were destined to spend this great day of celebration alone, in a hotel room, searching for a 24-hour roadside stop to feed us... The whole thing just felt too depressing for words...

So, I did what we do in the modern age - I turned to social media!

"Hey everyone! We're going to be alone in Manitoba for Thanksgiving. Does anyone know of a church or community dinner we could attend?"

What happened next was more than we could "ask or imagine" ...

The host of our Winnipeg concert came to me, "I realized you're going to be around for the long weekend. Would you like to stay an extra night and join us for Thanksgiving dinner?"

Amazing. We gathered with almost a dozen people who, a day before, had been complete strangers to us. In a wonderful twist, the host family was from Newfoundland, so the dinner was filled with familiar traditions and delicacies.

Then, I got a note on Facebook. "I have friends with a ministry retreat in Dauphin. They'd love to have you for Thanksgiving!"

So Monday morning, we drove to Dauphin to find a beautiful house on the edge of the lake. Again, we met strangers who welcomed us into their home for a wonderful night of feasting.

In gratitude to the family, we sang a short concert for their guests and, wouldn't you know it, there were Newfoundlanders at that table, too!

As we tour this beautiful country, we continue to marvel at this great truth:

The family of God is a real thing. 
In every community, we arrive as strangers, 
and yet, we are bonded by a love far greater than ourselves. 

So this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to welcome strangers to your table, and to celebrate with those who might be far from home. In this way, let's show the love of God to one another, and truly celebrate the blessings of our "home and native land."

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, 
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Hebrews 13:2 ESV

Happy Thanksgiving!