Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How I Should Live

My study break is beginning to wind down. It has been an interesting two weeks - three, if you count our vacation, which kicked off this short season for me.

I started this time - even the vacation - so wound up and stressed that it was barely possible to hope for rescue. Frankly, I was having serious thoughts about leaving my job. Struggling with doubt as to my purpose - not just in my career path, but in the larger context of what I believed, and why, and was it worth it. Was it even true?

I wondered, quite seriously, if I was depressed. It runs in the family. It is not beyond possibility.

I wrote pages in my journal about joy - specifically, about my lack thereof.

I cried.

I looked practically at my schedule, my responsibilities. I have been purposeful in seeking a new way to do what I must do on a daily basis; I've come to believe that it's not that there is too much, it is that I am unable to process and then respond to everything that comes across my path. I've tentatively and gingerly put into place a process of managing information and energy that I'm convinced will work. It's worked these two weeks, anyway; the key is to maintain priority and the discipline to filter what's in my head to the appropriate place, and then have room to breathe. And be creative.

Which makes me happy.

(I'll write more on this process later, when I have a longer track record and can testify to its worth with confidence.)

I have played the piano, and although it took about 10 days to get there, I am now sitting down and playing for fun. With joy. For me, that means Scarlatti and Mozart, along with a little Miles Davis and George Gershwin. Spontaneous songs of praise and worship.

I have walked and stretched muscles that haven't seen the light of day in a while. I have enjoyed my children.

In many respects, I have re-captured the essence of who I was for about 10 years - a mom, first and foremost, with a part-time job. For thirteen years, that's what I did and who I was - part-time employment, full-time mom.

Even on this break, I am well-aware of my responsibilities to my workplace. They are ever churning in me, and part of the work I have done daily is directed towards the future. Plans, ideas, staffing,'s all in there (at the appropriate times). But my priority for these three weeks has been home and the kids and my relationship with my Creator.

If there's anything I do that feels like a mandate from God, that's it. I am the only mother my children have. They have a terrific, godly step-mother, and I am thankful for her influence - but I am the mother of my children. No one else can play that role in their lives.

And that's what I am contemplating today, as I look towards the slow crawl up and out of my study break. Designed to help me refresh, refocus, refuel, I have arrived at this new/old discovery of who I am and what is my purpose.

I am a mom. 

This role feels much different than it did a few years ago, or 15 years ago. It's more complicated. I remember the days of having four kids under the age of five, two of them in diapers, and people saying, "Oh, treasure these days! These are the EASY days!" If you said that to me, I want to tell you: I thought you were insane.

But guess what? They were right. These days, being a mom is unbelievably complicated. The skill set required is a lot harder than providing food, keeping them bathed and clothed, settling quarrels and driving them places. It is complex, often a mine field of split second decisions about when and how to react, when to speak, when to listen, when to push, when to let go.

I am a mom.

I must confess; I began to write this post with a different ending in mind, one that would quote the words I read this morning in the Book of Common Prayer, one that would begin to tie together the loose ends of understanding and wisdom that have come during these few weeks off. I was going to offer spiritual guidance and insight about being a living sacrifice, about realizing that "in Christ, we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others". I was going to explain what I have learned about trusting in God being a by-product of acknowledging and praising God, in spite of doubt and unbelief.

But: I began to write, knowing that it is the primary means of processing for me, and to my surprise, what I have apparently learned from my study break is what I've known all along.

I am a mom. To five incredible children. I have a family. I am yoked together with a good, godly man who is my husband, who I have promised to love and honor and serve.

And yes, I have a job, and I am a minister, and it is worth pouring my life into those things. But in my daily living, to have work at the top of my priority list and allot the dregs to my family, I have not only dishonored them but also turned away from who I am. And, in doing so, I do a grave disservice to the One who has called and equipped me and given me these children.

It makes me happy to have my home and family first in my life. I feel at peace with God; I have a sense of joy and purpose. I feel creative. I feel an immense amount of positive energy.

This, then, is how I should live.

"In our words and in our lives, may your will be done."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Macaroni And Cheese And Chocolate, Oh My

We had a great time tonight at the middle school band orientation. We rent instruments at the store and we have everything the new musician needs. Come see us for all your band needs!

End of commercial.

In other news, we came home to discover ANOTHER exceptionally delicious meal prepared by Sarah. London broil, perfectly prepared (though she said she didn't know how to cook it and had never done a London broil); HOMEMADE macaroni and cheese (we moaned in something just short of utter ecstasy); some sort of potato/mushroom/red pepper/yellow pepper/spinach roast thing. She had left the house for a quick run to the mall and kindly left this feast out for us.

I ate, and lo, it was very good.

So I grabbed a carton of ice cream for just a taste of dessert. I had a few spoonfuls down when she walked in the door and declared, "MOM. STOP EATING THAT RIGHT NOW."

Yes, I do need to lose a few pounds. But I had a great workout today....a little ice cream wouldn't hurt...why was she YELLING?


Let me just say this: I have a daughter who not only cooks incredible food but ALSO goes to The Cheesecake Factory and brings her mom half a piece of the most decadent chocolate cheesecake ever.

You want to marry her. Admit it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Aren't You Tired?

What a week it's been. Earthquake and a hurricane.


We survived both, and today the sun shone bright and clear as the day dawned. It was a beautiful late summer day; the remnants of Hurricane Irene are to the right and left of us, as our road is still closed to thru traffic due to a power line that is laying across the road. Limbs still litter yards and power is still out in some places.

But I awoke this morning to an empty house, cleared out early today when everyone left early to serve at church. Except me. I'm still on my study break, and so I awoke later than usual. Had coffee, surveyed the yard and thanked God for sparing our trees, mostly. Showered and headed to church in time to sit with a friend and worship God.

It is a good thing, this going to church. I work at it so hard in my regular life that it always takes me by surprise when I just go. I sing the songs they sing and let them carry my heart. It was good today to sing these words: "Take this heart and make it new / make it true / make it like you / take my hands / I lift them high / they're yours, not mine so do / do what you will / do what you will...." And the song grew in power and the lyric cried, "I'm ready now / I'm ready now / I'm ready now / Do what you will..."

I sort of feel like that. So it was good to sing that song. Especially good to be led by my eldest daughter, back in town after a summer away. She sings beautifully and she worships with authenticity and she led her mom (and others) well today. The message was powerful, as well. Fresh and focused and one of those that will stick with me throughout the week. I'm glad I was able to simply go to church today.

(If you missed the service and would like to catch it, you can do so here. That particular song starts around the 19:30 mark.)

After church I took my girls to lunch. We shopped at Target and then met up with two other friends to see The Help.

What an incredible movie. I read the book last summer and had no idea I'd be so moved by the film. It brought up feelings of shame and pride, sometimes simultaneously. I think it's particularly moving as a woman, though I wouldn't classify this as a chick flick - it's a great history lesson and a well-written story, and I intend to ensure that my boys see it. But as a woman, it's shameful to see how we - as a gender - are capable of such horrible harm. In this movie, it's not just an issue of race, although that is the primary story. The depiction of the level of cruelty and just plain meanness of which we - as females - are capable is quite disturbing.

We have great power in us; power to lift up and encourage, power to harm and destroy. We can manipulate and scheme or we can be humble and vulnerable. I have seen women do terrible, deceitful things with apparent ease.

I have been such a woman. Most of us have.

This story contains brutal depictions of true-to-life "mean girls", while it also demonstrates incredible stories of redemption and courage. None of these characteristics - negative or positive - are limited by race.

In one of the most powerful scenes of the movie, Aibileen, a central character, confronts Hilly, who represents the worst of the movie's blatant racism. Hilly has just maligned Aibileen's character, accused her of thievery and cost her her job. In the midst of her righteous indignation, Aibileen gets in her face with a good bit of indignation of her own; and then, grace settles over the tense conflict with these words from Aibileen's lips:

"Aren't you tired? Aren't you just tired?"

We are called to walk in the light and to live in the truth. It can be a hard road, but the end result brings wholeness. Scarred, for sure - but people are better people when we can safely be who we are, tell the truth and be vulnerable. And it is true indeed; expending energy trying to be who you are not, or consistently maintain power at the expense of common decency, is tiring. Living a lie is exhausting.

Powerful, incredible movie that will make you think. Highly recommended.

And here are a few glimpses of the joy I carried with me today, hanging out with two beautiful young women:

Planning dinner recipes for the week with Chef Sarah...

Yeah, she's just awesome.

And we tell her so.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My job is confusing sometimes. Officially, I am the Pastor of Creative Arts. But frankly, I made up my own title, and so sometimes it's been Director of Worship Arts. Or Arts Team Leader. Or Worship Leader. 

Sometimes I feel like Resident Grouchy Person. At times, I've claimed the role of Person Most Likely To Make The Pastor Crazy. Sometimes I am Staff Member Most Likely To Cry In A Meeting. Other times, Person Who Sings In The Hallway.

My job is to make music, and lead worship, and organize and help and train others, and counsel people, and get people connected, and help develop strategy, and write dramas, and write songs, and sometimes preach, and be on call, and listen, and move chairs, and reach people, and help them become, and lead devotionals, and edit video, and edit messages, and....well, that's all I can think of right now. There are so many things that we want to do, so much that must be done; it all runs together.

And here's the thing: we work in a rapidly growing church and I find myself needing to function at a level of management and administration and leadership that is way beyond my schooling and experience. I never thought - never planned - never aimed to be in leadership at an organization of 1500+ people. There have been times during the past 9 months that I have felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. It's not just that there's a lot to do - it's that it's hard to know what not to do, because everything needs to be done. It's hard to say "no" and create a "stop-doing" list when you are well aware of the impact on those around you who will have to catch the things you drop.

It's been a tough season. It's been hard to know what to do; it feels like a major identity crisis. And in the midst of it, people have gotten hurt. And that wrecks me.

Most every day of the past six months, I woke up anxious. That leads to paralysis. And I don't know what to do about it.

And so I asked for input, and I got it. It was a little scary, and it felt awkward. "Hi! If you don't mind, tell me what you think about me! Okay, then! Thanks!"

But I really felt it was necessary. I'd lost perspective. I needed help.

Here's what I have learned: First of all, I keep trying to do too much. Secondly, I keep trying to do too much while neglecting the fact that in order to be a spiritual leader, one must have a healthy spiritual life. Which one cannot have if one is too busy to invest time and energy into a healthy spiritual life.

Thirdly, I don't like being in a bad mood every day. Fourthly (is that a word?), waking up anxious every day feels sort of like a heart attack, which might well be a natural result of too much stress and too little exercise and the utilization of Ben & Jerry's as a primary source of stress relief.

I don't want to have a heart attack.

I got great, honest feedback from folks who aren't afraid to tell me the truth. Some of it really made me feel good. Other parts - ouch. But all of it served to give me perspective. Which I need.

I'm grateful to those who took the time to tell me what they see. It's a reality check. And quite helpful.

Have you ever asked those around you for a reality check?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Study Breaks

Study break update: Things are going relatively well, considering we've had an earthquake and are in the path of a monster hurricane.

These things don't happen every day.

I have had some great conversations and some interesting times of introspection. I have cried in the car listening to worship music.

I have cried in the car when the pharmacy was closed.

I have cried in the backyard when I realized how long it had been since I'd taken the time to sit down and really listen.

I cried playing the piano.

I cried on a walk.

See a common thread here?

I'm wondering if I can attribute a lot of my angst to hormones. That would be easy and helpful. But maybe cheating.
Me, not crying in Starbucks.

Here's one thing: I have not cried over dinner. My eldest daughter returned from her time in Germany with a strong desire and an undeniable ability to prepare meals. And to do so well, with joy. So every night this week, prompted by this blog and the inspiration of my cousin-in-law and her summer host Denise, she has cooked. Oh, has she cooked.

Munich pasta.

Pork chops with apples and wine sauce. Grits - GRITS! - with bacon and thick cheese and cream.

Homemade - HOMEMADE! - lasagna. Salad.

Most of all, she has taken this weight off my shoulders. When Syd asks, "What's for dinner?", I smile and say, "Ask your sister."

And everybody's happy.

Well, except me, in those crying moments. But you gotta walk through the crying to get to the happy endings, I know. I'm in a good place. Just wet. And waiting for the hurricane.

Here's another thing: Tony's monster skin cancer is gone and his dermatologist has commended him for his excellent granulation. That is a good thing. Now we are at the point where he gets a daily dressing change. That's me, honing my nursing skills. I've never dressed a wound quite like this one; it's big and raw and who knew your skin had so many definable layers? We've achieved a new level of intimacy, and he can now wash his hair. Yay.

So all in all, all is well. The wind blows where it will, and I'm considering the stories I heard of Hurricane Isabel years ago. The next few days should be interesting.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Weaker I Get

Last week was my vacation. Most everybody gets a vacation from their job. Most of us do something similar to what our family did; we spent some time at the beach, hanging out with one another and extended family.

I am fortunate - extremely fortunate - in that along with my vacation, I have the option of taking time for a study break. This is not uncommon for folks in a creative line of work. I don't always take all of my study break time, but I try to get some time away to focus each year.

That hasn't happened in a long while.

Since January - actually, more like since September of 2010 - I have done a poor job of maintaining a healthy schedule. I have not taken care of myself as well as I should have. I have neglected my own personal spiritual growth. I haven't had much break time.

I have tried to do more and more with less and less of my internal reserves. As my job and ministry responsibilities grew - as our church grew - I tried to shoulder more, all in my own strength.

Along with added responsibilities, changes and growth at church, we've had more than our share of transitions and changes within our family. Since September: Shannon left for JMU, Sydni did a major CYT show and a PHS production, Sarah went to Germany again, I had knee surgery, Tony was diagnosed with a large skin cancer, we lost a dear friend to cancer, we moved, we opened a business, we're planning a major remodeling project.

We're not the only busy people in the world. There are others who have had a challenging year, for similar or different circumstances. I don't claim any greater privilege.

But I know myself. I am responsible for my actions, or lack thereof.

And I am in need of a paradigm shift, a repositioning. I am fortunate that I can take advantage of my study break time to focus on doing just that.

So, this week, I'm going to be intentional about most every hour of every day. Sometimes, I will intentionally take a nap. Sometimes, I will be intentionally taking a walk. I might be reading, or just sitting and thinking. Or listening to music.

It might look like nothing. You might see me and think I am taking it easy, taking advantage of my church and just enjoying a few more days off work. Somebody reminded me last week that many people remain convinced that those of us who receive our paychecks from a local church don't work that much anyway. Show up on Sundays (now Saturdays as well) and sing or play or preach - how hard can it be? What do you have to do for the rest of the week but play golf and read the Bible? Why do you need a break from that?

I don't have time or energy to defend the work we do, but I'll say this: the staff at PCC includes the most dedicated people I know. Most of them give a minimum of 40 hours per week to their job - even those that are part-time. We do whatever it takes.

"Whatever it takes" on my part has not been managed well. I'm stepping back to reevaluate, refocus and let loose the grip I've had on my life. I read the following in the Bible, and it gives me pause. Makes me think. Gives me hope that I am not alone in this.

My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12, The Message

Part of my time away will include a break from Facebook and Twitter. I may blog, because sometimes I just have to write. But then again, I may not. Either way, I'll be off of Facebook and Twitter, cautious with email and the telephone and seeking a good bit of silence.

And praying that strength will come from weakness.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We Read

I come from a family of readers. When on vacation together, we do a lot of reading. This is a small sampling of books that were scattered around the house this morning.

Once, I brought my friend Gina to the beach. I had packed three or four books for the three or four days we would spend together with our kids. It wasn't until that trip that I realized that some people thought we were weird. Not everybody reads on vacation.

I'd rather read than play putt-putt or go out. So would most everybody in my family. When we get done reading our own books, we read each others'. We read from our books to one another. Which is why we all know a little bit about Keith Richards this time around.

Added to the mix this morning: a discussion of Isaiah 59 (brought to the table by one of the kids) and a search for which Led Zeppelin song reminded me of a witch (The Battle of Evermore, in case you're wondering. Don't ask me why.)

Looking at this photo one more time, I find it a very intriguing mix of tastes and styles. Some of these books are for school. Some are for discipline. Some are for fun.

The metaphor is too easily applied for my family. I wonder if anybody but us can match the book to the reader?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Roll With The Changes 2011

Vacation, 2011. Emerald Isle.

The weather is perfect. A little rain now and then, blue sky and sunshine most of the time and bearable temperatures. Of course, I spent the entire first day in the house. Never left once. I forgot my swimsuit. All things considered, that's not a big deal. It is enough to be here in a spacious (though oddly decorated) house, surrounded by family.

My parents are in and out. They have their own place here, but they are currently challenged with a wide variety of broken things. Shower heads, door locks, awnings, air conditioners. Sadly, their vacation time is not so leisurely. But they can come whenever they want, so I don't feel too badly for them. They pop in and out of the rental house and hang with us here; napping, reading, snacking, talking.

Sarah is home, on American soil and (hopefully) snug in a comfortable bed at her dad's house after a long day of traveling yesterday. Her final flight was delayed three hours; not until my phone rang at 12:30AM could I truly relax. I'll take the final step when I see her later today.

The kids are older, their maturity and growth obvious when we sit together to play a game of Mexican train dominoes. Everybody is old enough to play now, and the dynamic they bring to the table changes who we are. When we are together like this - when the cousins are playing and laughing and interacting with us other and the adults - I have lots of those little moments of pleasure, what feels like a 400-level class of parenting. I am so much more aware of how our kids are growing up when I watch Levi, the youngest, turn to his mom as she coaches him through his first game of dominoes and says, "Mom - I hope you are not using me to your advantage." When David is able to wield the sword of sarcasm and irony as well as his sister. When Emily joins in with the rest of us in appreciation of a well-timed word.

They grow older and our family expands, takes in more air, rounds out the rough edges. It is a beautiful thing.

But is a constantly changing thing. I'm reminded today of the song we used to close Sunday's service at church - one of those "I never thought I'd hear THIS song in church" moments. It tied fairly well to the message but I'm not sure the takeaway isn't something broader for me. It must be, because the lyric keeps echoing through my head this week.

I knew it had to happen - felt the tables turning
Got me through my darkest hour...

So if you're tired of the same old story
Turn some pages
I will be here when you are ready
To roll with the changes...

The changes in our family are obvious this year. We are not all together; Shannon is with us only via Skype. Sarah is not here yet. Daniel is not here yet, due to his passionate (and honorable) commitment to band camp. Tony and I will leave today for a doctor's appointment; he'll stay home and I'll bring Daniel and Sarah back tomorrow.

Roll with the changes. That's sage advice. Never thought I'd be reflecting on an 80's pop song during a vacation in 2011 as the mother of five kids, but there you go.

It's been a good week so far. I've no doubt that if we simply keep on rolling, things will be great.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Saw Tony's Pericranium

I'm going to begin this post by wagging my finger in your face and nagging a bit. If you have any sort of odd spot on your skin - anywhere - GET IT CHECKED OUT. Don't wait. Don't put it off. Don't think it doesn't matter because it's small. DO IT NOW.

And if you love someone and you notice some unusual, red, rough spot on their skin - or just something that doesn't look like it belongs - NAG THEM. NAG, NAG, NAG UNTIL THEY SEE A DOCTOR.

No excuses.

Need more info? From Wikipedia:

"Patients can present with a shiny, pearly nodule. However, superficial basal-cell cancer can present as a red patch like eczema. Infiltrative or morpheaform basal-cell cancers can present as a skin thickening or scar tissue – making diagnosis difficult without using tactile sensation and a skin biopsy. It is often difficult to distinguish basal-cell cancer from acne scar, actinic elastosis, and recent cryodestruction inflammation."

There. You'd better do what I said. See a doctor. Or else.

Okay. Enough of that. Here's why: I spent about eight hours today in a bizarre sort of interval training for patience. We arrived at the doctor's office at 7:30; by 8:30, they were ready to begin a Mohs procedure to remove a cancerous spot from the top of Tony's head, which was about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. They cut, then they analyze to determine that all the cancer is gone. If some remains in the living tissue, the cut again. More. Deeper. Then they analyze...then, if necessary, they cut. Again. And so on. Until they get it all.

We went through three rounds of this process.

My husband now has a small crater in his head about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. It was too large to stitch, too complicated and disfiguring to do a graft - and so underneath the gauze and the bandages and the porcine temporary graft (yeah, look that one up), his head is raw and open, clear down to the pericranium. You can look that up, too, but let me save you the trouble and tell you that it's THE BOTTOM LAYER OF SKIN. The pericranium is what attaches to the skull. We achieved a new level of intimacy today; I saw Tony's pericranium!

And that's what is underneath the bandage on my husband's head. We are hoping, praying and behaving ourselves in a way that we hope will bring about rapid regeneration of tissue and a healthy, new skin growth; but it will take time. And it will be inconvenient. And it will leave a mark.

I didn't know better. I was ignorant. I saw the shiny spot on his head and just wondered what it was.

I never realized it would matter as much as it did today. 

The consequences of my ignorance (and Tony's too, I'll admit) were lived out today in eight hours of painful surgery (under local anesthesia only, mind you) and will be part of our daily lives for several more weeks of healing. I'm not even including the part where he felt great and wanted to stop at Best Buy and then got hit with dehydration, "narcotic naivete" (Percocet had a bizarre delayed reaction) and nausea, which led to passing out in my arms, an ambulance ride and an evening enjoying the unique ambience of the MCV Emergency Room (where the doctors and nurses were great, I must say). I'm not even going there. Yet.

Just check your skin, people. And don't put it off. Don't think it's too small to matter.

It does.

In case words do not convince, here's a picture. It's a picture of a picture; what you see is the top of Tony's head, IN IT'S ENTIRETY, with wound covering the top with about one inch to spare before his hairline. It's big, it's ugly and it hurts. Avoid this AT ALL COSTS. Check your skin!!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Nature Writing Prompt

In many Eastern traditions, the world of nature is considered to be maya, or illusion, while in other Eastern and Global South traditions, nature is mother. Western tradition has often teetered between the assertion that nature is God’s good creation and that it has been “frustrated” by human sin. In more recent times, the world around us has been regarded as the expression of random selection and chance. Explore some aspect of nature (as in the non-human world) and write a short piece (fiction, poem, mini-essay) in which your descriptions reflect and reveal your philosophical understanding of nature..."without actually stating directly what your philosophical position is."

Tonight we ate our first family dinner in our new home. This has been Tony's home for several years, and after the wedding when he lived with us it was the cat's home for a while.

Can you imagine - the cat had an entire house to himself?

I think it was Tony's man cave for a time; probably a good thing to have for a guy in his 50's who marries a woman with five loud, energetic and talkative kids.

Then Lisa lived here for a time, and filled the place with peace.

And now we're here.

At the table we passed the meat, the rice, the gravy and squash. Banter back and forth was a little less than gracious tonight, with some of the stress of transition evident in the dialogue. We are still in a place that doesn't quite fit us, all the loud and boisterous and messy parts. We can't find our drinking glasses. We have too many forks. There are no lids for the pots.

Something caught my eye, and I looked out the window and caught my breath. From the table, I saw it.


This was our home, our property, our space. Our trees, out back, where we have already held a birthday party and a graduation party. Great, glorious old trees wrap a canopy over a picnic table and a blue beach table built by my dad.

The house is fine here; it's bones are good. We'll add on and we will fit better.

But the land, the nature - that is what calls to me. There is something about this place that holds the echo of eras gone by. From Lisa's most recent roots to those that go back much further. The ground, the grass, the foliage, the ancient trees - they hold some secret that I would be well to embrace.

They live; they have grown, they have endured for a generation (or two). And one day, they will pass away.

But in these days - and for my family, here and now - they are our shelter. This is our home. We shall put down roots, we shall be watered, we shall not be moved.

We are home.

Yeah, more of our Write, Eat, Post, Bathe stuff. We're cool like that, into nature and all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm A Guest Poster!

I've been busy - but I've got a guest post up over at Chris From Canada. Chris Vacher is a worship leader in Canada whose blog has inspired me and sparked all sorts of creative ideas.

He's on holiday and asked a few folks to fill in for him on his blog. I wrote about "Manifesto", the powerful tune we've been doing lately by The City Harmonic.

Hop on over to Chris's blog and check it out. I'd be honored if you read what I wrote, which includes a little personal history and a picture of a place my brother called "Fort God".

Be sure to check out some of Chris's posts as well. He's a good writer, songwriter and a powerful voice in worship. I'm grateful for the invitation he offered!

Chris Vacher's blog is here.