Monthly Archives: February 2012

oh blissdom. you and jon acuff gave so much.

my version of notes from Jon Acuff's (author of QUITTER) compelling presentation at Blissdom

typically my notetaking looks a little different from most, never more than amidst the creativity of Blissdom keynote speaker, Jon Acuff's presentation.

blissdom is essentially a blogger’s conference that i was fortunate enough to attend with my friend Tami Heim. i figured i would learn some things and be either inspired or intimidated to grow my blog. i had no idea that i would leave with some great new friends… like great great friends. like women i want to learn from and laugh with and hang out with… write with… (sue duffield, dedra herod, jennifer deshler, michelle sarabia, susan mayo, vanessa mcgee)

i also didn’t know what it would be like to run into some of the people whose blogs i’ve been enjoying for over a year and  have been following on twitter but didn’t know like Jean V’ant Hul (Artful Parent or @artfulparent),

and while i already loved jon acuff and have read so much of what he is written… i was still blown away with what he brought to light in the opening keynote. it really set the tone for what was too be a very rich two days. i’m not alone, more than once i heard “if that was the only thing i heard then this conference is already worth it).

In case my notetaking style is hard to follow, let me break it down:

in no particular order…

-Finding your dream is an act of recovery, the recovery of something lost. Ask yourself… what have I done in the past that I loved?

-when belittling what we have done by saying “oh it’s nothing” it insults the gift.

-listen when your child may  be saying ‘let me be your kid, not your content’

-I’ve never heard my spouse say “now, enough about me… why don’t you tweet some…?”

-Dont’ chase haters on the hi-way (don’t let one negative commenter derail you and rob your time or focus by chasing them down to find out how you can make them like you)

-others’ success does not indicate your failure.

-when you come home, hang up and arrive. (don’t walk in to the door finishing up a call, nothing is sadder than a kid that runs to see you… and you shush them because you’re on a call)

-no one has a positive internal voice. ignore the voices.

-disappoint the right people : decide who you are ok with disappointing… and stick to that list, make a list of those you are not ok with disappointing and stick to that.

-perfection is a dragon: 90% perfect and shared changes more hearts that 100% perfect that is trapped inside.

-when someone tells you what you can’t be, they affect a future they do not control.

-make time for what matters.

jon asked us to tweet “what does my voice tell me?”

i’m curious.. what does your voice tell you? what have you done that you loved?

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you see… i have this blog…and viking pandas

i’m headed to a conference tomorrow that i am totally stoked about.

it’s called blissdom, and it’s essentially a blogger’s conference – from my understanding. to be honest with you, i was unfamiliar with this conference until the last few months. i saw a couple of tweets that piqued my interest, made by people that i like… that is usually was spurs me to action 1-something interesting 2-involving people i like.

anyway… my friend tami is going to be presenting at the conference and invited me to go with her. i was so excited to think of hanging out for some solid hours together … plus with something so fun and potentially encouraging to do.

you see… i have this blog… (as you well know, because you are now reading it, and i’m grateful) … and i really do want people to enjoy it and share in the fun with me. i also really enjoy using social media to connect and encourage other people. i love giving digital high fives and shoutouts to things i enjoy. i love commenting on people’s blogs showing them that someone took the time to read and react to what they said. i love pinning. i love seeing what other people think is pin-worthy. i love the community all of this provides, and the creativity that is spawned from it. i love the leadership training i can get through reading and examples. the list is endless.

the challenge for me … is worry about missing something. did i remember to check this board, or give someone a +K that had given me one. do i retweet that? or dm that person? it can feel like each minute you aren’t engaging… you might be missing something.

so i’m concerned. i’m concerned that going to this blogging conference is going to amp that up. i am concerned that i will fret about how many readers so-and-so has and how they got all those people to walk with them on the journey. i don’t want to miss the joy of the personal sharing because of jealousy or defeat. i don’t want to fall prey to feeling less or more important that anyone. i want to remember the whole time that my job is to honor god. if that is through my blog… awesome. if that is through writing a show for kids. awesome. if that is through having a conversation with someone that is uninterrupted by text messages and notifications… awesome. i want to keep this at the forefront of my mind. by alerting myself to the potential ways that the enemy could use these tools to defeat me and render me ineffective for the purpose of spreading the message of God’s love…


i’ll be praying asking God to protect my heart… and mind from damaging concerns. i’ll be praying asking God who he wants me to connect with and how… and what he wants me to do with it. i will be begging God to allow me to be a blessing and not a bother. I am telling you all this… so that i will actually have to do it, and not just ponder it in the safe recesses of my human mind.

what things have the potential to distract you from your primary goals?

and speaking of goals… i finally get to go watch quint in a rugby match. his team is the viking pandas… of course he came up with the name. do they even have “goals” in rugby? i guess i’ll find out

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write here. write now. write on…

recently i’ve been caught up with the idea of writing songs. mostly because i want new songs for things…. and i was wondering why so many song writers were hesitant to want to co-write… until i had this really helpful conversation yesterday with ben.

the week before i had been talking about the idea of wanting to write songs, because i wanted a song that had a specific message in it … and wasn’t understanding why some of my inquiries had been shot down… but yesterday we were talking about writing in general.

ben is about to release a new song and he’s excited, but it’s been awhile since he released a new song so he’s anxious. a little bit. (he needn’t be… it’s a ridculously good song). anyway, in discussing how it can be nervewracking to reveal something you’ve been working on… this led to him talking about co-writing. when we talked about co-writing he mentioned how it’s difficult to co-write sometimes because you have to give up some of the control and sometimes it’s not EXACTLY how you wanted it. this made me think about scripts, stories… the things that i usually write. and i realized…i don’t really like to co-write either. not all the time, anyway.

i’d typically rather share in brainstorming and then one or the other person write the thing out. now, it makes sense to me… why certain songwriters dont want to give up the control or risk having to accept ideas into their work that they may not really want… with an untried, unproven writer. i don’t either! this was a very important lesson for me… humbling, and freeing at the same time.

now, sometimes you find your perfect writing partner… and that is why so many co-writers write so many things together… once you find one, that you trust. you will write with them any time. any thing. (my favorite co-writer is Jason Vaile. and i am grateful to have built a couple of great writing teams… wright’s direction team-book of destiny-ishine knect and currently lhkidz company of heartists).

i think because i have had great co-writers i didnt understand what i was asking when i wanted to write a song.

with that being said… i’ve co-written one song, that i’m waiting to see what happens. and am working on another. and once they are in a format that you can hear them… you will be the first to know.

i’m grateful for this realization and parallel. i love when you learn something while you are in a conversation with someone. that’s the best. thanks ben.

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about last night…

last night i got to speak to a group of women at our church called iMom (being intentional moms). yesterday morning i got to speak to the morning group of iMoms. it was so great and i love being with people who are wanting to be better parents. it was so awesome to get a chance to tell these moms how much i love their kids, and how much we value them and want to support families through our ministry. it was an honor to be asked to share and it was even cooler because God being God did so much more with what little i was bringing to the table. love it.


i was asked to talk about leading your child to Christ, and where to go for good family devotions.

SO… to start out, I basically shared how i feel about kids and salvation … you can read about that here if you are interested. I wanted to be very clear about where I stand on that issue… and encourage people to engage with their kids in conversations about God.

i shared that we don’t need to be afraid to tell our own story. i gave the “ABC’s of salvation. etc. etc. etc.

so when a mom pulled me aside afterwards, i really thought that she was going to talk about her child and how she wanted to share Christ with her. I was wrong.

She wanted to talk about how she accepted Christ at the age of 8 but had been suffering from a crisis of belief ever since. doubting the true-ness of her relationship with God. unfortunately she had been in a church that focused on “earning your way and begging for God’s love”… here is the thing… if we could earn it, it wouldn’t be heaven and it wouldn’t be God and it wouldnt be perfect. because we are not perfect. anyway… before i get derailed by the falsehoods she had been plagued with all of these years, let’s get to the part where she finds hope.

we talked about that moment when the decision to believe happens… then i gave her this illustration… i put a pen cap in  my hand and asked her to try to get it out. she could not. i reminded her that the bible says that when we are his, nothing can pluck us from His hand. nothing.

i guessed correctly that she had some shame she had been carrying around that was stealing her joy. and causing her to doubt her salvation.

i’ve been there. i recognized her angst because i have had it. when i was in high school i went through a crisis of belief… “is this my faith or my parents’ faith? was it real? does God really love me?” my best friend pointed out the fruit she had seen of God’s work in my life over the years. she asked me questions about how i perceived God, she asked if i really believed he died on the cross and lived a perfect life. she said that the fact that i was seeking him and concerned about the state of our relationship was evidence that there had, in fact, been a relationship there to begin with. you can’t miss something you never had. you can’t be convicted by a holy spirit if he has never come to dwell in you. this verse was instrumental in returning me to Christ that night and has been a constant encouragement each time i have pondered the same thing. (btw…it’s ok to ask God to show himself and be obvious to you … he is up to your questioning)

here’s the verse: Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. restore unto me the joy of my salvation.

– yes. please God. create in me a clean heart. every day. every time i wonder. everytime i don’t do the things you want me to do.

-yes, God renew a right spirit within me. set me straight. breathe life into me.

-and yes, God… please restore to me the joy of my salvation.

back to our point… if you have never known the joy of your salvation… you might not know our God… but if you miss the joy of your salvation… you know him you have just neglected your relationship. like a best friend that you haven’t talked to in awhile… you miss them. like the friend you’ve never even met… you don’t.

well, after we discussed this concept and i prayed with her… i hope that she has begun to have the joy of her salvation returned to her. i hope she is not allowing the enemy to use shame and the past steal her joy and freedom that Christ brought her. I’m going to find out!

isn’t it interesting… all of this came out of a talk on how to share Christ with your kids… or why we don’t want to give them access to heaven, while we want to tell them all about the judgement and punishment of God. i supposed that the reason we sometimes hesitate to “allow” our kids to make a decision is that we are fearful of a decision that we made early on in life… but it brought up something really important. KNOWING YOUR SALVATION IS SECURE. at the risk of being redundant, i’ll sum up here:

you can’t miss something you never had.

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i’m expecting…

expecting the Holy Spirit to show up and teach. and he is.

remember how i talked about response time? … i tried something this weekend in treehouse. after worshipping together and sharing the bible story… i asked the kidz to bow their heads and that we were going to be silent and ask God a question… then we would wait… (90 seconds) and see if he put anything on anyone’s heart.

this was nervewracking… and expectant… i was expecting the holy spirit to show up and teach, really ingrain the lesson into their hearts and minds… and i was scared. i don’t know why… but what if he didn’t answer? what if they didn’t hear from him? Kwan, warned that this would be the fear.

before you say anything… i know, i know, i’m supposed to have faith and trust. i work at a church for crying out loud. i spend hours thinking of ways to tell the eternal story in as many ways as i possibly can. that’s literally my job. so… why was i afraid?

because we want the holy spirit to work in our own lives, and many times trust him to do just that… but then… we want to BE THE HOLY SPIRIT for others. we want to tell them what God wants for them, we think we can interpret God’s will for someone else’s life for them instead of letting them have their own response time. 

again, here i am, right this second, learning something new, just by trying to share something i thought i knew. thanks for learning with me.

i would encourage you to spend time letting the holy spirit teach you… and then implore you to give him the time to teach those you influence. it was a magical moment to see them really listen… with no background music… to see if God had put anything special on their hearts.

the question was: God, what do you want me to do this week to show your love?

some of the answers from 2nd graders: “be respectful”    “make a love note for my mom”   “pray”

i’d say the holy spirit showed up… and did the teaching. woot!!!!

you’ll wanna take the time…

another cool thing that we talked about at yesterday’s davidccook event …

response time.

this is an element that kwan and kit put into their TRU curriculum, it is a quiet time in the midst of the sunday morning bible study time that is set aside to allow kids to hear from God. it is 2 minutes set aside for kids to be quiet and ask God a question like “God, who would you like me to be more loving to this week?” or something like that…

the real stories they told of what happened when kids were given time to hear from God… and the Holy Spirit was trusted to do his job as TEACHER were wonderful.

and it reminded me of 1 thing, and informed me of another thing.

the 1 thing: i wrote a 3-year bible study for preschoolers with some friends, it was called Tim’s Tots. (timothy was one of the first second generation Christians in the Bible, and he was taught by his mother and grandmother… like kids who are brought to mid-week bible studies). it is a 2.5 hour program with all of the usual  elements, but one of those elements was “QUIET TIME” … not to be confused by nap time, quiet time was a directed time of silence where they took 2-3 minutes to be quiet with God. we were trying to instill a reverence for the importance of setting time aside for God each day. trying to create a pattern for life. so… if i knew that was important when creating Tim’s Tots… wonder why I haven’t kept that element in the rest of the things i have written and designed since then?

so this informed me … that we need to do that. we need to teach them to set aside time to listen. and personally… it is important for me to create “response time” after things that i’ve learned. things that the Holy Spirit wants to teach me. it’s one thing to have a quiet time and devotion each day… but what about those moments after you experience a new worship song or hear a sermon … do you give yourself response time? have i given myself response time? i haven’t been deliberate about quiet time in the midst of activity… i wonder what lessons i’ve missed that the holy spirit wanted to teach me in the thick of things?

what a huge surprise today…

several weeks ago we got information about an event with DavidCCook publishers that was going to be put on today at Belmont Church. Called Family ministry conversations. Jason and I decided to go, but had no idea how WORTH it it would be. I’m sure we thought it would be primarily a sales thing … I couldnt be more glad that we went.

My friend Loren from Blue Grass Baptist also was going, so we went together. I firmly believe that if you can arrange to use transportation time as relationship investment time YOU SHOULD. so, basically we rode together so we could catch up.

Kwan (Porter) and Kit (Rae) were leading the conversations. They shared the vision that they apply to their ministries and the way that they are teaching kids about God’s story and walking alongside parents… getting parents to stand up and take charge in the spiritual enrichment of their own kids. but even more than that… we talked. we shared. we listened. we prayed. we investigated ourselves. we met others and were able to bless them. a bunch of kids ministers from nashville and even some from other places (roanoke, va… really?!)… hanging out together and learning ….

so one major lesson: CHRIST FORMED IN YOU. as usual. my notes didnt look like most people’s notes. (the lady beside me was so interested in watching me draw my notes, that she asked me to doodle something for her when i was giving her my contact info.)


here is the thing. you just never know what is around the corner. i had no idea that i would meet people today that i would want to learn from and take some things and apply them to the treehouse… it was a beautiful surprise.

last special surprise… met Don Pape … and we share some very special friends  so it was fun to talk about that.

all in all… what a blessing.

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how i got lost in the grocery store…

here’s the thing… i was there to pick up a prescription to ward off my double ear infections… WOO HOO! so… i didnt have anything to do for 15 minutes. this is a problem for an artist who suffers from some attention challenges :)… (don’t most artists?).

i grew up going to publix grocery stores in florida. i forget how wonderful they can be. i literally walked through the produce section no less than 5… or more times. just tasting the colors and flavors with my eyes. i couldn’t think about what to purchase… just got so wrapped up in the colors… the choices… the brands… the labels… it was a feast for the senses.

nevermind, that there is a soda fountain right in the store with great ice… with that i was virtually smitten.

i found that i lost track of time and couldn’t keep my mind on what i was looking for because A: i didnt really have anything specific in mind and B: i was easily distracted by things that were pretty and smelled good.

WOW… so, here’s the lesson… while, i’m exceedingly grateful for the reminder to shop at publix (because they have great food)…  if we don’t have a goal in mind, and we don’t pay attention to how we spend our time – then we get lost, easily distracted by surfaces and images. and we can waste time that could be spent with eternity in mind.

wandering aimlessly, while seemingly fun and restorative, is actually reductive and can cost you valuable moments you should be investing elsewhere.

don’t let getting lost in the grocery store become a habit… be voracious with guarding your time… and if you need great produce or rotisserie chicken, go straight to publix, it’s right there on the right when you walk inside.

BTW: i intended to write this post about how beautiful publix was today and to suggest the grocery as a place for inspiration… and as i began, i realized the lesson that God had for me today instead… that he wanted me to share with you in real time. i had the thought as i shared it with you. that means now… we are true friends.

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kindness… where to look for it.

should i go ahead and answer that? ok. i will. i’ve never been good at keeping good news to myself.

kindness… where to look for it… EVERYWHERE.

do you do that? i’m talking about God’s kindness to you. Do you look for the ways he shows you His kindness?

god was kind to us when we moved to tennessee… in so many ways.

he is kind to me every day when my kids get home safely. he is kind to give me friends to share life with.

today he was kind to me in a funny way… he turned a facebook chat into a tutorial so that i could share this blog even more efficiently. thanks you meghan, for being God’s kindness to me today. it’s something i had been wanting to do, but wasn’t sure the best way to go forward.

he shows kindness to us with the people he allows into our kids’ lives. those who teach and instruct … in music… in discipleship… in living for Him. (gerald trottman, jason dyba, shane sisk, ben eggebrecht) … you are evidence of God’s kindness to my kids… and me.

my treehouse friends… you are God’s weekly kindness to me.

getting to live in the south – Gods kindness to me

getting work in the things that i love, writing, creating, designing – god’s kindness to me

his kindness is everywhere every day in so many ways… don’t miss it.

next time you get a good parking spot, think of it as God’s kindness to you… what are his kindnesses to you today?