Tag Archives: writing

i kept meaning to tell you…

but for whatever reason, i haven’t sat down to write it.

i kept meaning too.

then i read a blog post today by CrossPoint Creative Genius Stephen Brewster that asked a question at the end and i found myself answering it with the idea that i had been wanting to blog about anyway…

so instead of elaborating, i decided to share what i had replied in the comments:

as a lifetime writer, i’ve written so many things, but recently have been enchanted by songwriting – with the realization that it’s the one form of writing that you can experience over and over again, 1000’s of reruns, not just one or two… this seems like great stewardship of the best ideas and messages. all of that being said:

Jason (dyba) was telling me it was smart that i had started writing with really talented writers, that he himself spent more time writing alone before he started to write with others.
i said i was writing alone too… it just wasn’t songs. it was articles, scripts, books…

He said you were putting your songs into stories, and now you’re putting your stories into songs.

what a blessing to be able to do both.

the stories in songs… get told more often.

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i received an interesting message today…

why is spiderman at the top of this post? read on... read on...

this is what her message said –

“as it currently stands, i am having to make decisions about my job i never hoped to make which is leading me to question career choices in journalism and life as a writer. i’ve often viewed writing talent (or any art form) as a curse. There is the relentless need to achieve perfection and writing is subjective-loved by some, hated by others.
i find myself questioning why God gave me talent as a writer and why i couldn’t have been blessed with something else that would have been easier to establish job security in, like having a gift for science or math and pursuing careers in medicine or business.
as i was reading my bible tonight, i began to realize being gifted in writing is one of the greatest gifts of all. why? God needed writers to spread his word. True all scripture was inspired by God, but he needed someone there to put ink on the pages.
and although this doesn’t necessarily bring about resolve to my concerns, it does provide a little comfort.” this was sent to me by Emily Jane Vernon, (check out her blog. follow her on twitter.

she makes a really good point, doesn’t she? and i love our God for encouraging her through the very medium that she was questioning. I love that he shared a love letter and showed her how important the written word is… it gives life in the case of the bible… by using his word written down for us.

it’s true, writing is an interesting thing because it is very subjective, and with the new outlets like blogs, tweets, posts, etc. many of the traditional rules are out the window too… so you can’t even really judge something on it’s structural elements. it’s pretty much, do people like reading what we write? which leads to something altogether different.

it’s our responsibility to find contentment in Christ and not look for it from others. this is true in relationships (it is not your husband’s job to make you feel a certain way. it is not your child’s job to complete you. and on and on… ) when we have contentment the other things that we really want take care of themselves. that being said, we have to be content that what we write honors God, and is worthy of our time and effort. when we share, we have to be confident in what we are sharing. we take a risk that it won’t be well received or considered “good enough”. and we have to be ok with that. and content that we did the best we could.

if you are a writer, be grateful. you have been entrusted with a powerful gift. use it wisely.

story. writing. capturing the best ideas. sharing. it’s crucial, and has life changing effects.

like peter’s grandfather told him in spiderman “with great power comes great responsibility”.

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up in my treehouse…

up in my treehouse

oh. friends. i can’t freaking wait for you to hear the new treehouse song!

(my friend curt campbell and I wrote it)

as soon as it is available for free download i will let you know.

it is so catchy and fun and says exactly what i wanted it to say.

we are using the song to open our spring musical. the musical is set in a treehouse… 4 kids are spending their last day before middle school opening up their time capsule from kindergarten: THE REVERED TIME CAPSULE OF KINDERGARTENESS.

except for the title song, all of the remaining songs are some of my very favorites from Slugs & Bugs, Underwhere. with titles like ‘Ninja’, ‘Mexican Rhapsody’ and God Makes Messy Things Beautiful … people should be prepared to be enchanted.

the kids are loving the songs. i’m loving the music (which is really good because i have heard each of these songs 1000 times, at least)… and the best part is that we get to point to Christ. with a song about cheese dip! and an all-the-faraway in my backyard treehouse … it’s going to be fun.

i’ve been working on the poster today… thought i would share it.

what are you so excited about today that you want to make a poster?!

if you tell me… maybe i’ll just design a poster for you!

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write on… i turned 39

moose lodge, the recording studio of jim "moose" brown and his sons, jeremy and josh.

today was my 39th birthday. woo hoo.

woke up to new tom’s, diet coke and a footloose movie.

work. writing and design.

lunch with my accountability partners at an old fashioned soda fountain.

dinner with the fam.

another trip to moose lodge. they asked if i minded coming on my birthday… to which i said, what better thing to do today than see your song come to life.

here is the epiphany i had yesterday when chatting with songwriter max t. barnes

i love writing. i have been writing for the last 30 years of my life. and writing professionally since i got out of college.

i really love writing.

until now, i hadn’t written songs. i wanted to, but i hadn’t.

you know what’s so special about it song? it has longevity.it has infinite spins. it brings back memories and elicits emotions time after time… 

most of the things i write are things that will have one go-around.

we don’t do reruns in church, we don’t do reruns in magazines or in books.

everything i typically write is experienced once, maybe twice if it’s really spectacular…occasionally it is loved enough to be saved and dogeared…

but then there is music… you can literally listen to a beloved song thousands of times.

so… if there is a really important thought, idea, way of thinking of something… it is good stewardship of the idea to trap it in a song, where it will have the possibility to impact more people.

so, yeah. that’s compelling. and exciting.

i’m still writing shows and articles and curriculums and studies… but i’m really enjoying exploring this long-living method of sharing what i learn and is revealed to me…

just finished up my first song, Up In My Treehouse with Curt Campbell (sung by Curt Cambell and Caitie Hurst)… i cant wait to share it, listen to it and teach it to the kids in treehouse. got to do it at moose lodge with jeremy, josh and jim “Moose” brown. i’m beside myself.

and planning to make songwriting a regular thing… i love the wise use of ideas…

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is there possibly any word less sexy than curriculum?

we are starting a new curriculum from Ishine this next week (seriously…is there possibly a less sexy word than curriculum?) with kidz at long hollow.

lhkidz volunteers ken hirth and mike shelton always go the extra mile

this time its different. because i wrote it. designed it. edited it…  and my beloved texas writing team wrote the incredible video content for it.

so… i’m nervous. i’m curious but also a little anxious. and of course i’m excited too.

here’s the thing… i believe it’s really really good. we put it together with a church’s needs in mind. the way the files are prepared, the activities, the video elements, the worship videos… etc. the lesson flows…all of it. i think it’s important. and great. and truly humbled and honored to play on the ishine playground. so i’m excited to see how it goes.

as a preperatory move, we asked our small group leaders and kidz treehouse (worship) leaders to meet tonite so we could walk through the new flow with them and show them how all the pieces fit together… and also discuss together how important it is to love the kids. i said at least 100 times…. ‘even if you don’t get all the “stuff” done we want kids to leave knowing they are loved, so that even if no one else loves them all week they will know what love is when they leave us.’

i wasn’t sure that people were really “feeling” the meeting, or enjoying the samples of the videos. there were very few questions and i just couldnt tell how people were feeling… (plus i was being insecure, i now realize) so, to be honest, i felt a little bummed.

then i started doing laundry when i got home… and in the mindlessness,  i started reflecting on who was there… and how the interactions went. then i almost cried.

see… we have four campuses, so we don’t all get together too often. i get to go around and visit them occasionally, but we dont get to hang together alot… and also, sometimes the ones that dont go to the main campus, aren’t always able to make the trip.

i was beyond thrilled (thrilled sounds like too silly of a word, it’s thrilled but something deeper… what is the word?)…. anyway, i was glad to see that friends from every campus were there. and what’s more…. i just love them. if you happen to have kids in the lhkidz ministry… wow, are your kidz in good hands!!!

i love that everyone found the time in a wednesday night just because they wanted to be able to give kids the best experience on a sunday morning that they can. i love that they hung around and talked among their groups.

gosh. i just love who they are. so much. i’m overwhelmed … so i really can’t write anything too pensive tonite…i just really want you to tell me something that you want to celebrate this week.

what? what is it that just brings you joy this week? let’s share it.

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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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