If you died today…

Recently I made a day trip to Columbus to attend a workshop for school (people who think that teachers don’t work in the summer are wrong). As I was driving home enjoying the quiet of the car I noticed a GIANT billboard that read, “If you died today, do you know where you would end up?” Less than a mile later was another GIANT billboard that read, “Hell is for real.” I thought about these obnoxious signs  most of the way home and for several days since. Now, before I go any further, let me say that yes, I do believe that hell is real and that it is serious, etc. That debate is not my purpose here. Continue reading

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My mission field

The past month at school has been a rough one. Not rough due to the behavior of my students, or because of the insane expectations that have been put on the staff by our administration (insane is putting it lightly), but rather by the situations that many of my students are in. Everyday I hear stories that are hard for me to understand…hard for me to even fathom. Many of my students face daily challenges that I will never know. They are neglected, hungry, Continue reading

Another year

As I sit here this morning sipping coffee and mentally preparing for the day that lies ahead, I am trying to accept the fact that I am now forty-one years old! I don’t have a problem with the number (well, not so much)…I just can’t believe that another year has already passed. The last year has been perhaps one of the most amazing years in my life. No, everything wasn’t perfect and easy all the time. In fact, in addition to being one of the most amazing years, it has been perhaps one of the most difficult and challenging. But all of the difficulties and challenges have spurred growth and wisdom. I have accomplished things in the past year that I hadn’t even dreamed I would ever attempt. I have formed many new beautiful relationships, and have gotten closure on others. I have watched my children grow and mature and make me so proud over the last year. But the most precious thing about the last year is that I believe that I have finally found the plan that God has for me in this life…and I have learned to listen to Him as He guides me on this path. As I start this next year in my life, I pray that I will continue on the path He has laid out for me, that I will keep growing and learning and understanding His will, and that I will do something each day to be a blessing to someone else.

Hold on…

Have you ever hugged someone and felt their pain, or their joy in that hug? On the flip side, have you ever hugged someone and felt that it was “empty”? We all have experienced one of those “fake” hugs – just going through the motions but not truly meaning anything. This weekend, Brian and I were watching his beautiful daughter head off to her first Homecoming! She was beaming and her daddy was one proud man! As we prepared to leave and let them go on their way, Savannah hugged her daddy. You could just tell by watching the exchange that it was one of those “real” hugs. She held tightly to her daddy, Continue reading

Creatives meet-up, mixer, lunch, what?

What have I gotten myself into? About a month back I received an invitation to an event for Cincinnati creatives. My first reaction…well I don’t know how these people got my name but I’m certainly NOT one of those people. Me…a creative? No way. I didn’t delete the email, but I didn’t immediately clear my social calendar either. A few days later I found myself re-reading the invitation, slightly intrigued, but still certain that I had mistakenly received this invite. I researched the host group, an amazing group of people out of Chicago called STORY, and became even more intrigued – and more convinced that I would not be going. The whole thing worked in my brain for a few days and I mentioned the event to Brian. His automatic response was “Well, you’re going, right?” For a week he asked me – often – if I had registered yet. I finally caved and registered. Waves of doubts and fears instantly rushed over me. What does one do at a creative meet-up? Have I ever been to a social mixer? I’m not a creative, I’m just a middle-aged school teacher who writes songs and sings. And then I made the mistake of looking at the list of the “others” who had registered for this event. Oh wow…more waves. More anxiety about walking into a luncheon by myself and feeling insecure about why I’m even there.

I truly believe timing is everything. My teaching pastor, Joe Boyd, recently tweeted about a book by one of his close friend, Todd Henry, called The Accidental Creative. (I have mentioned this book in another posting). Intrigued even more after seeing Joe interview Todd about creativity, I began reading the book. Here’s why I’m going to walk into my meet-up, mixer, luncheon tomorrow like I belong…I do belong! I AM one of those creative types. I am a songwriter, a singer, a writer, a blogger. My thoughts and ideas and creations were put in me by the ultimate creator. I have just as much right to be there as anyone else on the guest list. I may not have a big title, or run my own business, or any of that, but I do create and I do have a lot to share with the world. I am still nervous about going tomorrow – what will I wear, where will I sit, will anyone talk to me – kind of first day of school stuff – but I am more excited about the opportunity to learn more about myself and others at this event. I am ready to meet up with more people like me – the creative type!

 

Creativity

When Brian and I first formed Faith Passage and began playing music and singing, I told him very clearly that I was NOT a creative person, and that there was no way I could write songs. We then proceeded to write 15 or so songs over the next 6 months – and all the while I insisted that I still wasn’t a songwriter, nor was I one of “those people” – the creative type. Recently we took a little break and attempted to re-group and write again. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to writing. I often ask questions of myself like “what if this isn’t good enough” or “what if this is sounds stupid.” This self-doubt is enough to make a songwriter just hang it up. At times I am intimidated by Brian’s amazing skill and creativity. He is a truly gifted guitarist and is constantly honing his craft and pushing himself to be better. He always reassures me and helps me to believe in my writing and singing…but there is always a hint of self-doubt that I allow to creep in. Recently, Joe Boyd, teaching pastor at Vineyard Cincinnati, tweeted about a new book by his good friend Todd Henry called “The Accidental Creative.” I began following Todd Henry on Twitter and have kept up with all of the buzz that has been surrounding this book. This morning, Todd Henry was at church talking with Joe (and to all of us) about the subject of creativity and how each of us has this creative side to us. He explained creativity in a way that I had never thought of it myself. We are all creative in so many different ways…and we are all made in the image of God – and we should act on the things – those creative things – that God has put on our hearts. (Obviously Todd put it much more eloquently than I am able to do here). The thing that stuck with me the most was the concept of “dying empty.” If we fail to act on those creative things that God has put on our hearts, they are no good after we are gone. We should do what we can while we are alive to explore those things and to express them – to empty ourselves of them.  We left church and went directly to Barnes and Noble to buy “The Accidental Creative” and I can’t wait to read it. This evening, Brian and I wrote our latest song together…one that has been in the works for months but has never really gelled until tonight. I believe that this was the first time in our creative process that I was able to let go of my fears and anxiety as we created and just let it happen. I am so grateful from all of the influences in my life – to those who believe in me more than I do, who inspire with ideas, who listen and give feedback, and especially to those who take the time to be creative themselves.

New Opportunities

Brian recently received a call from an old friend from high school asking if we would be interested in helping out with a new worship band he was leading for Foundation Community Church. One of the biggest lessons that we have learned over the course of the last year is to not turn away from opportunities that have been presented to us, so we agreed to give it a try. Our worship leader, Benson Cope, is a super great guy, very talented guitar player, and open to everyone’s thoughts and ideas. In just a few practices and only two preview services, this worship team has really begun to come together. Dave Buchanan has been sitting in on bass – and can sing some serious harmony. Eddie is a super drummer who helps hold the whole thing together. And, of course, Brian is such a strong, talented, creative acoustic guitar player! The thing about this opportunity that makes it so great it that we didn’t see it coming at all.  It was totally unexpected, but has turned out to be such a blessing.  I am so thankful that we were given this opportunity,  and that we took it.