Friday, May 20, 2011

Why The Scripture to Music Collective?

I know I've mentioned something called The Scripture to Music Collective here on this site quite a bit.  But what is it exactly, and what's the purpose of it anyway?

It all started when I made a personal goal this year of writing a song for every book of the Bible by 11/11/11.  I wanted to do this project for several reasons, but a big reason is because I wanted to begin to tell God's Story - the whole story - book by book.  Even the hairy, messy parts.

But then I thought, why would I keep this project to myself?  If more songwriters joined in, if this were a collective project instead of an individual one, we could tell the Story more thoroughly and more vividly.

If you listen to popular Christian music, you won't hear very many songs that come straight from specific narratives and passages in Scripture.  Sure, you'll hear lots of songs that draw from Scripture - one verse here and one verse there.  There are also several musicians out there who write music for Scripture - word for word - to help with Scripture memorization.  There is nothing wrong with these approaches, but The Scripture to Music Collective aims to do something very different.

The point is NOT to rewrite or even enhance Scripture, but to engage with all of Scripture and to encourage the Church to engage with it as well.  It is about keeping the truths of Scripture as of primary importance, but allowing the songwriter to take these truths and "riff" a little bit, if you will, using perspective, feeling, and context.

The video below illustrates what I think The Scripture to Music Collective could be.  The people at the Johnny Cash Project have created this beautiful music video using one of Cash's songs and images from thousands of artists all over the world. If you watch the video, you'll see that the song and the images are cohesive and consistent, and yet the artists' renditions of the individual frames are unique and so evocative.  The artists are all telling the same story, but the story is richer and more vivid for the efforts of the individual artists. That's what I think The Scripture to Music Collective is about!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Things We Want to Remember...

A short little list about all the things we want to remember about 14 month old Ellie...

1.  The funny way you stick out your tongue, and how you think it's hilarious:

2.  The way you show us your belly
3.  The way you "growl" when you see a dog or an animal:

4.  You are nurturing and sweet, giving kisses and hugs often to your mom, dad, family, and friends.  We treasure those, even though your kisses are a bit slobbery.    
5.  You never meet a stranger, but wave hello to everyone in the grocery store, at the park, & at church.  
6.  You're starting to say "daddy":

7.  Your first bike ride.

8.  Your first boat ride (at least since you've been more "aware").

9.  You are "communicating" a lot, telling us what you want - so expressive...
10.  Your hilarious obsession with cheese.  You would eat it breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time, if I let you.
11.  Your funny definition of "toys":

12.  Your enthusiastic way of signing that you are "all done".

13. Your nicknames: Ellie Bell, Ellie Belly, & Els.  Your dad calls you Sweet Pea and Beautiful a lot too. I call you "Love" and "Lovey" a lot.
14.  How you love to "read", oftentimes in your chair, and especially your favorite book Brown Bear, Brown Bear:

Catching up on real estate news?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Free Download of Far Beyond Me

Dear friends.... Yesterday was a BIG day for me.  As I mentioned before, yesterday marked the halfway point for my year-long goal: to write a song for every book of the Bible by 11/11/11.  And as of yesterday, I've posted 35 songs from 33 (out of 66) books.  I can't believe I've made it this far!  I'm humbled and excited and I feel privileged to get to tell God's Story.

To celebrate, I am giving away HALF of my albums for the amazing low price of....FREE!  

You can download my first album, Far Beyond Me, here for a limited time.  Just click download and follow the directions, and it's all yours!  As a bonus, I've also included two hidden songs from the Scripture to Music Project.  You'll just have to download Far Beyond Me to find out what they are. 

Please pass this on if you'd like.  I am just so excited about getting halfway, and I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate.

Monday, May 9, 2011

happy mother's day!

We just got home last night from a fun weekend in Houston, celebrating Mother's Day with my mom, my sisters, and their families.  Nick and I have wonderful moms, and we are so thankful for them!  Now that I am a mom, I am all the more thankful :)
Notice the matching outfits... my mom likes the matching outfits quite a bit.
Family shot.
Ellie and her cousin Charly.  Ellie LOVES her cousins!
The four moms on Mother's Day.
Swimming at the pool.  Again, notice the outfits :)


I can't believe I actually get to write this post!  I am really excited to let you know that I am HALFWAY DONE with my goal of writing a song for every book of the Bible by my birthday on 11/11/11.

This Thursday, May 12, I'll post a song from Job on The Scripture to Music Collective site.  This song will be the 35th song that I've posted and the book of Job is the 33rd book of the Bible from which I've written a song this year.  

Sometime this week or next, I'm going to post a really big "SALE" of all of my music to celebrate getting to the halfway point, so be on the lookout!!  The Scripture to Music Project has kept me very busy and I had no idea what I was getting into when I said I would do this.... BUT I have found great joy and purpose in telling God's Story again through songwriting.  

I did hit a wall just a few weeks ago, and felt really down and overwhelmed.  I couldn't think of any melodies, and songwriting was draining me rather than energizing me like it usually does.  I felt like I was fighting with the songs - wrestling with them - instead of having them come naturally and shaping them like a sculptor might shape and mold his clay.  

In an especially down moment, I did something that I - unfortunately - had not done much of lately regarding this project: I prayed...."God, would you just give me a song.  Let me decrease, and you increase.  I'm sorry that I've made this about me."    

It was really crazy, and it was an answer to prayer, but I had a major breakthrough that same week... I finished two songs that I had been "wrestling" with and I recorded those two and two others within the few hours that Ellie was at Mother's Day Out. 

This has been an amazing experience so far and, although I've never celebrated my half birthday before, I am definitely celebrating this one!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Fun Giveaway via a New Friend!

Just wanted to let you guys know that for the next few days, you can enter to win both of my albums - Sing and Far Beyond Me - over on my friend Katie's blog.  It's easy to enter, and you just might find a new blog that you love to read.

I can tell you that every time I read Katie's blog, I am encouraged by her honesty, her love for her family, and her trust in God despite some really hard challenges with their two precious kids.  Here's a little bit more about Katie, taken from her blog.... I really appreciate the last paragraph:

"R & I met in Spain in 2000 and have been married since 2003. If you're new to our blog, you can find the beginning of Will's story here, documenting the point in our pregnancy at which Will was diagnosed with a very rare syndrome affecting all four of his limbs. Will knows no limits in life. You can read about Will's birth here. Will is full of contagious smiles and laughs. His zest for life brings us immeasurable joy.

Ellie Grace is the newest member of our family. She was born in August of 2010. She too brings us such joy with her coos and smiles. Ellie was diagnosed with AMC affecting her joints and causing her to have a limited range of motion. You can find the beginning of Ellie's story here.

Our story continues to twist and turn but ultimately we know the Author. We believe He is a creative Creator who has designed each of our children uniquely and with great purpose. He has blessed our family through each of our children in more ways than we can imagine. This is the story God has given us and the one we have to tell.  So glad you're here!"

So, go on over to Katie's blog and enter! :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter 2011

This is a little late, but I wanted to post some pictures from our Easter weekend.  We had a great time with friends and Nick's family, and spending our second Easter together as a family of three.

Hanging out in her Easter dress after church.
First Easter egg hunt - she actually figured it out!  Ellie loved to put  eggs in her bucket, then throw them out again.
Ellie with her Smith cousins.

I thought it would be fun if Ellie played in the sprinkler.
Nick thought it would be fun if she was in the nude.
Both were fun.
Saturday night dinner and wine tasting with friends & no kids.
Really thankful for this time and the way God has provided us with these friends.