26 / 52 – God’s Way

26 / 52 – God’s Way

Three years ago, Jesus told me to put together an album.

“What?  I don’t know how to do that.”


“I mean, I don’t know how to write songs and I’m not that great of a guitar player and even if I did know how to write the music, there are probably a lot of steps between writing songs and having an album.”


“So…I guess what I’m trying to say is, I want to obey You, but You’re going to have to somehow give me the songs and then provide someone to help me with all those other parts (most of which I don’t even know) if you want me to put together an album.”

A few days later, I led worship at a church.  Afterwards, a guy who I had only met one other time, came up to me and said, “Hey, I think I’m supposed to help you put together an album.”

“HA!  That’s funny!” I said.  “Jesus just told me to make one of those!”  And I told him I didn’t know how to do that and that I would need someone to help with, you know, recording and producing and mixing and other stuff I probably didn’t even know I needed.”

“Those are the things I do.”

“Well, okay then.”

Over the following year, Jesus gave me songs.  I’d wake up with a melody I couldn’t get out of my head, or get inspired by something around me and lyrics would form.  I took these bits and pieces and wrote them down in a notebook.

He sent more people, amazingly skilled people that know what they’re doing, to help me.  They were like filters.  I would pass the scribbles in my notebook through them.  We would sit together, pray and talk and play, and somehow, songs would form.  It’s like the songs already existed, and I needed the Lord to sing them to me.  It was His music; then it became mine too.


Well, another two years passed.  The songs had been written and there were lots of attempts to gather musicians, practice, even record.  It seemed after every step we took, something would push us back – schedules, technical difficulties, miscommunication and an array of circumstances.  There was frustration and discouragement and I wondered, with so many things out of my control, how would this project ever come together?!

Well, Jesus has His own way, doesn’t He?  After all the effort and time, God set it up where we literally had three hours on one day to record the entire project!  It would be simpler than I had originally planned – acoustic style with just a guitar player, cellist, and myself.  The cellist was moving out of state later that week, and the guitarist was leaving for an international trip the day after!  Somehow there was a small block of time on a day that worked for everyone, and we took it!


I want to add too, that I’d been struggling with a constant cough since April when I’d gotten a serious respiratory infection.  The cold had long been gone, but my lungs were still weak and any, even normal, stress on my voice would send me into a coughing fit.  Four days before we were supposed to record, the only day we COULD record, a couple asked me about my cough and prayed that the Lord would heal me.  On recording day, I made it through the entire day without a single coughing fit!  I honestly count that as no less than a miracle.  Before then, I hadn’t gotten through a single song since April without hacking and coughing!


These are a couple of phone pics from recording day.  I’m so thankful for these servant hearts and their willingness to give so much into this project!  There are others too, who gave time and skill and heart into this album.  They may not have made it to the final tracks, but you can hear their character in the composition!


3 musicians + 1 producer/mixer + 3 hours + God’s grace = 1 music project recorded and on it’s way!


I went back into the studio today and touched up some vocals.  The producer/mixer will be doing his thing the next couple of weeks, and Lord willing, we’ll have the final tracks before the end of July!

I’m so blessed by Jesus, who commissions and enables us, includes us in His work and shows Himself faithful along the way!  I pray that He’ll use these songs as a way of drawing people closer to Himself.  That’s definitely what they’ve been for me!  Stay tuned folks!

21 / 52 – My Bible

21 / 52 – My Bible

Branden helped me recover my Bible last week!  I’ve been wanting to have this done for a while, but sending it off to have it recovered apparently costs at least $100 – yikes!!  Originally my Bible (which Branden gave me when I turned 18 :) had a hardcover. Even though it’s always been in a zipper case, the last 15 years had worn out the cover and it had broken away from the pages in several places.  What’s more, a couple weeks ago, the zipper case also broke!  It was time :)

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Cutting the block of pages away from the cover was kind of scary!  No turning back!

This isn’t at all a tutorial.  Just a few pictures I took along the way :)

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We went to a leather store and I picked out a beautiful red leather I really like.  Here’s Branden spreading glue over the new leather cover.  Also, monster box photobomb :)  You can see the block of pages in the bottom corner.  The binding had come apart in some places.  We repaired it with bookbinding glue and gaffer’s tape.  All in all, the materials cost about $30 – much better than $100!

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Installing magnets for a simple, low profile closure.

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All finished!  I really love it!  It’s beautiful and rustic and simple and red!  And best of all, I got to keep my Bible!

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It’s not that getting another Bible (which at some point I thought I might have to resolve to doing) would have been bad.  But this is MY Bible!  Branden gave it to me right before we got married.  It was with me though those first years of marriage and ministry, when we started a family, through transitions and moves, and in the past few years, has been my companion as the Lord called us into full time missions.  It traveled with me on our first trip to Ireland!  The Lord has done and continues to do so much in my life through this Book – His Word to me!  And I’m thankful that, in its new state, it will hopefully stay with me for many seasons to come!

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There are several verses the Lord has been using to encourage me the last few days.  Maybe this one will encourage you too!

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”  – Psalm 84:11

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father’s day

So, father’s day is right around the corner!  Last year, the boys made a pretty cool gift for Branden – budget and kid friendly, and cool enough to make it to the office desk :)  Anyways, I thought I’d repost it, in case you were looking for a diy gift for the dad, grandpa, or other father figure in your life!  Here’s the post from last year:


This year for Father’s Day, I wanted the boys to make Branden something simple, handmade, and heartfelt.  I’m a big fan of taking things you find in nature and using them purposefully for displaying/decorating; it adds a rustic feel (and I can usually do it on the cheap!)  So, here’s what we made Branden this year!

If you’re needing something cool, inexpensive and quick to make for Father’s Day (or pretty much any occasion), this is a great gift!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a shadowbox with glass (ours was an 8×8 inch, about 2″ deep that we got on sale at Michaels for $6)
  • Sharpie markers of your choice (we did silver and black because I like the more traditional look vs. multicolor)
  • rocks (you can use ones you find outside, or buy a package from the craft store.  We used a coupon and got these for about $4)
I also used a hot glue gun and glue sticks, a pencil, and nail polish remover with q-tips for “erasing” any mistakes on the rocks

Step 1

First, open up your shadow box.  If it’s like ours, it had a black or neutral colored matte as the backing and maybe another matte inside.  Save the black matte; this is what you’ll glue the rocks to.

Pick out the rocks you want to use and arrange them on the matte.  Place the shadow box over them to make sure it will close.

Step 2

Have your kiddos write sweet things to Dad on the rocks.  They can write phrases to Dad, write what they love about him, or even draw pictures.  We did a little of everything!  Make sure you leave three rocks on one side that you can write “You Rock Dad” on.  I did those, but an older child could help too.

I will say, I helped Ethan (our four year old) by holding his hand while he wrote since he doesn’t know how to write yet.  Silas (5) had a hard time too, so I wrote what he wanted on the rock with pencil and he traced over it with the Sharpie.  The pictures they did themselves.

Step 3

Arrange your rocks on the matte again.  Plug in that glue gun and get to gluing!  Make sure to leave about a 1/4 inch all the way around the matte for the lip of the shadow box.  This was probably the hardest part of the project.  Make sure to check that the rocks will fit periodically by placing the shadow box over the rocks.  You want to make sure it will close!!

Here are some close ups of the boys’ rocks.  So sweet!

And here’s the finished project!  I love how it turned out!  I love too, that these drawings and handwriting tell of the boys’ age right now and how much they adore their dad!

So, a sweet and simple project that’ll tell Dad how much his family loves him!  Happy Father’s Day dads!