Monthly Archives: December 2011

a photo’s not necessarily worth 1,000 words

lately i’ve become overwhelmed with the majesty of the Creator. his good ness and his creation is too big to wrap my mind around completely.

his world is too beautiful to capture.

here is the thing. i keep seeing things lately that take my breath away…

sunsets that defy color analysis.

smiles on faces that bring instant and wreckless joy.

lakes and rivers that sing their own anthem to the one who made them.

crowds of  hundreds or thousands in one accord and mind.

fabrics and clothing designs that are innovative, flattering and a favor to the bodies in them.

my mind almost hurts with my inability to capture in a single image (with my camera, or phone, with filters or no filters, with instagram, path… ), or find a single image that actually captures what the reality provides. it simply cannot be done. God’s masterpieces cannot be recreated by us. while frustrating, it is also supernatural and evidence of God. of course we can’t capture how big he is. we do the best we can. we pay homage to him as we create things and share them. we point to him and we pay tribute to his name… he allows us to be part of spreading his message and participating in his ad campaign… but at the end of the day, the reason we keep creating is because there is always more…

please know that i am loving trying to capture it. i’m loving writing his eternal story in as many ways as i possibly can. i love absorbing the photos of my favorite photographers and total immersion into the notes and chords of my favorite song writers. i love experiencing all that God has given us to show himself…

understand that i’m not saying there aren’t amazing photos… songs… experiences… there most assuredly are. i’m just saying that nothing competes with pure. raw. organic. God.

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you don’t get to do cool new stuff if you aren’t willing to jump

yesterday was a big day.

our long hollow kidz choir had our slugs & bugs christmas performance with randall goodgame. it was incredible. the kidz were awesome. the choir helpers have been faithful to show up and serve all quarter long. whew………


alex sold a lake house. (thank you davis’ for giving him the opportunity to be your realtor).

merry christmas.

moving to nashville has been amazing. there is so much to do here creatively… it’s ridiculous.

one of the neatest things i’ve gotten to do since moving here… and another really really cool thing about the Christmas show… is that I got to write part of it. I met Randall when I went to a slugs & bugs concert months ago. I loved his music so much and went up to talk to him after… ultimately We became friends and I started to collaborate with him to create a show that would wrap around the Christmas album he had already written, allowing the songs to tell most of the story – and drama to fill in the gaps. it was so amazing to get to watch it come to life. see the things i want to do differently, the things i think went well. i also asked jason dyba to join us in the beginning stages, and boy were we glad. his wisdom and specific skill set really rounded out the team and the needs we would have to put the whole thing together. he ended up notating music and designing the set, then calling the show. love him.

here is the lesson i have for you: always do it. always go for it. you don’t get to do cool new stuff if you aren’t willing to jump out and offer.

the naughty list.

our admin (christy ryan). said the most perfect thing today in a meeting.

we were interviewing a potential replacement and we gave her the opportunity to ask Christy any questions that she had about the position.

after filling her in about the minutia and mountain of spreadsheet horrificness that i would perish if i had to do but some people totally slay… she said,
you learn the different kids, their personalities and behavior… you learn which ones you really need to pray for”.

i stood up and wrote that on a white board. i loved it. i love that instead of saying “behavior issues” “socially challenged” “bad kid” “handful” “troublemaker” undisciplined imp” … or any other such derogatory descriptor… she said “the kids we need to pray for.” not “the naughty list.

don’t you love that? don’t you wish that was always your first response when you encountered opposition, belligerence, indifference, sassiness or plain old brattiness … “oh, i really need to pray for this kid”. i love it.

it encourages me because it reflects a tone we have been working hard to set in our ministry.

to love them well. love them hard. love them with truth. love them with grace. love them well.

we launched our church year in lhkidz with “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE”… and her statement is evidence that Love is at work in our midst. 

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samford jmc monday morning memo… my story.

JMC Alumni and Friends,

Personal Note from Dr. J — It’s Christmas. Please enjoy this last Monday Morning Memo this semester. All of us in JMC are embarking on final exams next week and beginning to get ready for the holidays. I hope you have enjoyed the “stories” JMC alums have shared this semester. I have an exciting line-up scheduled for the spring 2012 semester. Thanks to all of you alums, who have volunteered to share your “stories” with the more than 700 regular readers of this email. I still have some room on my schedule, if you are want to write. I can give you an audience.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. We in JMC love hearing from you. “Keep those cards and letters” and emails and blogs and tweets “coming.” We wish you the best Christmas ever. Now, here’s Robyn. Enjoy the read.

‘I’ve soaked up and wrung out
every lesson I learned at Samford’

By Robyn Blaike Collins (JMC ’96)

If you’d told me in 1996 I’d be working at a church, I’d have laughed.

If you’d told me I’d be using my JMC degree every day, I’d have said that’s what I expect to do.

I came to Samford in 1991. I dabbled in JMC for two years while taking required courses. In 1993 I decided to go to Florida State University.

It wasn’t the best decision I’d ever made. After a year of getting no closer to graduation and repeatedly making bad decisions, I called Dr. Jones. He heard my voice. He remembered my name. He asked me to come back to Samford. That, I believe, saved my life and set my course.

I returned and continued my JMC education — but with more appreciation and a greater understanding that I was on the right path. I graduated in 1996. (It would’ve been 1995, but there was this little issue with not having enough convo credits that “allowed” me to experience a little more bulldog-time.).

I was in a print-design class held in the Mac lab over in education when I began seeing how I was going to use the tools I was gaining. We were learning PageMaker. (Oy vey, we’ve come a long way baby.) I was now able to strategize, write, design and control the way my messages were presented. I was freed.

So I put my new tools to work as a:
— graphic designer and copywriter for a travel agency in Birmingham (CV Travel).
— newsletter designer for an international health products company (Quest 4 Health).
— assistant editor, writer, photographer for a women’s magazine in Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis Woman).
— freelance photographer and graphic designer out of Plano, Texas.
— graphic designer for Bellevue Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.
— writer and editor for Millionaire Blueprints Jr., and Millionaire Blueprints Teen.
— author, Prepare to Be a Teen Millionaire.

All of it used the tools I learned at Samford. Then the church I was attending, Prestonwood Baptist, in Plano, came calling.

I was invited to a kids’ ministry creative meeting. My friend said, “You’re the most creative person I know. Please come work here.” I left that meeting and wrote my first script for live theater.

The difference between this script and all the other projects I had done was the content had eternal value. ETERNAL. What better way to use the gifts God has allowed me to have. Right?

I wrote more scripts as a volunteer. Then I joined the Prestonwood staff and hired two creative directors, several support staff members and served as a writer and designer.

During my sixth year at Prestonwood, I was asked to get my writing team to write a TV show for “tweens” with Bema Media. The team agreed. We wrote season 2 of iShine KNECT, which airs every Saturday on TBN’s Smile of A Child TV. While visiting Nashville for the show’s taping, I met the kids’ pastor at Long Hollow Baptist Church. We connected. Since July 2010, I have been serving as Kids’ Creative Minister at Long Hollow. We have 10 live shows per weekend. And I get to do the branding and planning for special events, like camp and VBS…

I have soaked up and wrung out every lesson I learned at Samford. I tell anyone who will listen how grateful I am for a school with professors who really care about our lives.

Over the years Dr. Jones and Dr. Clemmensen have become morethan my mentors, they are my beloved friends. I have been honored to serve as co-chair of the JMC Advisory Board. I love dreaming about a bigger vision for JMC with Dr. Bernie Ankney. I hope we will be able to lead the charge among schools of our type in many areas, including Church Media.

It is an honor to say I studied JMC at Samford University and all that it represents.

My hope is that my kids will one day be so blessed. I have four — Quint, 14; Jackson, 13; Kavi, 11; and Blaikie, 7. I want them to be loved like I was, while they learn like I did.

You can contact Robyn via email,; on twitter, or follow her blog,

Painting a great family portrait. From Left, Quint, Robyn, Blaikie,
Alex, Kavi and Jackson.

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