My daughter started a vlog when she turned 13 a couple of weeks ago. She has been wanting to do this for about two years but thank you, YouTube for making the official age "13" so she had to wait! I've been involved in social media since 2007 so I am coaching and very involved in talking with her about her content but I am really allowing her to explore this on her own.

I don't think I would have shared with the world a vlog titled "How I Fell on Stage" when I was her age. But I can't tell you how proud I am that she did. One of the most important lessons I want her to learn in life is the importance of falling. No, I don't want her to fall as a dancer on stage at ANYTIME, but we learn so much more in life when we fall than when we succeed.

Here is a link to her vlog in her own words...

and here's a link to the dance she performed in the first service today.

Recreate 11 Recap

Every year, attending Recreate is like drinking from a fire hydrant. I feel so immersed in fresh water that I cannot drink it all at one time.  I wanted to do a daily recap like I have done in years past, but I was so enjoying the time with fellow attendees after and between sessions, I was not able to get my thoughts together during the week to even write about it! Here were the highlights for me:

1. Participating in Worship with 1211 from Gateway Church in Austin ,TX.  I look forward to re-creating this worship experience set-up at LCC very soon. It was wonderful to meet all of them and get to hear their stories of life-change. Their leader, Ramy Antoun, is an amazing musician (drummer) and an Arts Pastor at Gateway.  See a little bit of it here...

2. A live performance from Ed Kowalczyk (formerly with LIVE) and his new band. Ed shared a little about his new faith and then went into more detail in an interview with Randy on Wednesday morning. God is doing a redemptive work in his life and it was such a privilege to be a part of the concert and interact with him at the conference. CLICK HERE to read his interview with Randy Elrod. Watch some of the concert here...

3. Randy's talk on empathy, intuition, and charisma was my favorite session. I was challenged, inspired, encouraged, and comforted all at the same time! I will be dissecting a lot of his talk and writing about it here at cheval glass in the coming days, but my favorite sentence was this..." People have their best days and do their best work when they are allowed to make progress."

4. I was overwhelmed by Andrew Peterson and friends songwriting in the round and "Behold the Lamb of God." There are not really words to describe this two-hour experience on Thursday afternoon. The one word I came away with was BEAUTY. I just listened and drank in the beauty of the entire presentation as it was expressed through music, lyrics , lighting,  sound, and most of all- skilled musicians.

5. I was immersed in community. This was the single word that was resonating all week through sessions and discussions (I agree 100 percent, Mark!) I spent more time talking with old friends and new friends over the five days than any other year at Recreate.  There was such a sense of people truly desiring to connect with one another. I experienced so many meaningful conversations and life-changing discussion. I'm still processing all of it.

Charles Jones said “You are the same today that you are going to be in five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read." These wonderful creatives that I have the privilege of knowing and learning from throughout year have changed my life. They continuously offer encouragement, wisdom, and accountability that I desperately need as a creative. They are my lifeline and I am more grateful for them now than I have ever been at any other point in my life.

Recreaters - you know who you are. Thank you for the listening ears, the nuggests of wisdom, the laughter, and the moments of authenticity. It is a privilege to be among you and to create with you. Thank you Randy and Chris, for your vision and your leadership. There are not words to describe my gratitude for your sacrifice to bring us altogether.

Till next year...

Recreate 2010 Recap

The 10th Anniverary of cre:ate was ALL that and a bag of chips! By the time I leave every year, I am brimming over with ideas and a replenished soul...this year was no different. The word for the week was "authenticity." I was so struck by that character trait in SO many of our speakers and musicians. There were SO many amazing moments that I cannot recount them all.

I will fail to mention in this post all the details of the wonderful conversations at meals, at our tables, and at late night gatherings with friends and new friends. That is THE BEST part of recreate. So for me, here were some highlights during the conference:

  • IMG_1152  Our morning worship times with Ian Cron, Audrey Assad, and Matt Maher were the most spiritually enriching moments of the week. Look for a new song written by Audry and Matt called "Restless." It's not out yet, but look for it...I can't stop singing it!
  • I was overwhelmed by Stephen Mansfield and Dan Cathy...these men had SO much to say to us as church leaders, I was inspired by their authenticity and challenged by their ideas.
  • Sheila Walsh and Luci Swindoll shared amazing testimonies with us that inspired me and brought such perspective to being in ministry and living life in general.

IMG_8876  However, the most amazing and...well, the only word that I can use to describe it is "transcendent...was hearing Gungor perform their entire new album from start to finish with no talking or transition. What you hear on the recording, we saw and experienced live (including a string section) with amazing video elements that enhanced the musical experience. I haven't experienced any musical event that was as fresh, musical, worshipful, artistic, and as excellent as their performance. GO SEE THEM! It is amazing...I really have no words to describe it. Buy this record.

The founder of this conference, Randy Elrod, released his new book this week. I blogged about it here. It was so meaningful to hear Randy share his personal journey of writing this book. Randy and his wife Chris are life-long mentors and amazing people. They also have a 10 year old Maltese like me so that REALLY makes them special!

I feel so blessed that I have a such a safe place to go every year for 4 days and be encouraged, challenged, convicted, harassed :), to laugh, and to cry...all of this with friends!

I'm ready for what God has for me this year...and I know it is because He had my attention in a big way last week in Franklin, TN...

You are an artist

I'm gearing up to attend an annual think tank with some of the most creative and passionate Worship Arts a people in the world. It's called recreate.  This is not your typical conference - in fact, that word really doesn't describe at all what this week is all about.  The founder, Randy Elrod, gave me one of my my first job interviews out of college. We reconnected a few years later when I was invited by a friend to attend this event.  Randy invites leaders from all walks of life - business, church, entertainment - to challenge us as creatives. There is a lot of dialogue and great discussion. A lot of it is like drinking from a fire hydrant! I started blogging as a result of this event and have made some amazing life-long friends because of it. I have also embraced over the last decade the fact that I am an artist.  I never thought of creating worship experiences every week as a form of art. Being an artist does not mean that I have to write the most amazing songs, paint the most amazing pictures, or anything like that. Being an artist is using my unique gifts and abilities to share myself with others.  I mention Seth Godin a lot in my blog because he challenges me to think. I loved this recent post...

"My definition of art contains three elements:

  1. Art is made by a human being.
  2. Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
  3. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording... but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.
By my definition, most art has nothing to do with oil paint or marble. Art is what we're doing when we do our best work."

Are you doing your best work? Are you generous with your work? This is my challenge every week as I plan services. This is my challenge as a prepare music and rehearse for our Valentine's Concert. This is my challenge when I write songs. You are an artist according to Seth. I believe it as well. Embrace it with your whole heart and create what only you can. It will be amazing.

Recreate - Day 3 & 4

IMG_8464 IMG_8466 Attending this conference is like drinking from a fire hydrant for your brain. I come away overwhelmed with new ideas, encouraged by old and new friends, refreshed in my spirit, and charged up to face the world at home that awaits me.  No matter who you are and where you are from, this is a safe week in your life because you are among people who get you.  We all have unique personalities as artists and it's OK to be "quirky" here. The draw of the week is the coming away from everyday life and being in community with like-minded people.
Randy Elrod (conference leader) led a session for the 1st time at Recreate. Here are some thoughts I gleaned from that session...

  • We need real people who are physically present in our lives. Technology is great (social networking), but we need to be where we are. 
  • A person of influence is someone who makes you feel better when you leave their presence.
  • "It not just about life and art. It's about the ripple effect."
  • We view suffering in our culture as if we have done something wrong.

Ian Cron led a beautiful communion service for all of us. It was so refreshing to be a part of this and not have to plan it or play for it. He incorporated liturgy and as well as songs of response written at his church...it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had in worship. I attached some pics of the table.

Anne Jackson led our last session on Thursday. She recently published a book entitled Mad Church Disease that discusses burnout in our churches today (it's on my list to read!) Here are some thoughts I gleaned from her...

  • Is serving in my current church role interfering with my communion with Christ?
  • The only way to fulfill our purpose with people is with a sincere relationship with God. Apart from God, we can do nothing.
  • Am I living with integrity in my conscience?
  • it is not my job to be my provision - it is God's job!

I need some time to process alot of what I heard and experienced and I look forward to sharing that over the next few weeks.

Recreate - Day 1

Meet and Greet here...Dinner here...Live Jazz by him.  This is your typical church conference :)
You never know what to expect at Recreate and that is why I am here.  We have a great 3 days in store and I can't wait to share about it here at cheval glass. Follow me on twitter for micro-blogging throughout the conference.

Theater and kids

544257KatarinaWeb   I attended Sydney's field trip yesterday to the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina  to attend the play, Katerina the Clever as presented by the Lexington Children's Theater. This is a Russian folktale about a clever young peasant girl who outwits her ruler. With the help of a goat - her best friend and loyal sidekick - she answers four riddles posed by the Tsar, earning his respect and the position of chief advisor. It was such a treat to see live theater presented for a young age in such a delightful and energetic way. I was watching the play and just thanking God that I have the opportunity to expose my child to the arts at her young age. We saw the Little Mermaid over the Thanksgiving holidays in NYC and it was amazing (I blogged more about our trip here our our family blog.) Yes- I admit it... I am living a little through my daughter right now - I make no apologies!  I cannot express in words the joy of seeing Sydney's face light up as she saw and heard "Ariel" sing on stage. The arts will always be a HUGE part of our lives and I contribute so much of her creativity and imaginative play to the early exposure of live theater and the arts in her life.

Have you attended anything great this holiday season with your kids?

Beijing Olympics - Most artistic ever?

Oly1   Is it just me or has this Olympics brought out the artistic and creative soul of culture more than any other Olympics? I have really enjoyed NBC's spotlight pieces on Chinese artists and the culture in China as it has influenced the games. I look forward to those pieces sometimes more than the games themselves (except when Phelps is in the pool). The hardships of this culture have strengthened and purified their art in ways we cannot understand in a free society. Some of their artists who have played key roles in the artistic design of the Olympics have at one time been imprisoned by their own country for their art.  What does art do that makes regimes fear it? Tell me what you think.

Opening Ceremonies

2chang533 There were moments I was in awe and really without words, and then the next minute I was so intimidated, almost fearful.  There was so much to take in that I'm leaving it on my DVR for awhile to watch again. My favorite artistic nuance of Director Zhang Yimou was the power of thousands in contrast to the 1. Maybe it stemmed from his own life...

"One of his[Zhang Yimou] favourite stories is how, at the age of 23 at the end of the Cultural Revolution, he donated his own blood in return for money to raise the $20 needed to buy his first camera. He insists that the experience of his early life and memories of the country's recent turbulent history remain a defining characteristic in his work." CLICK HERE to read more.

The largest LCD screen in the world? I know some Programming Director somewhere in some church is pricing that out right now:)


Sleep The modern artist, Salvador Dali saw sleep as a monster held up by crutches. Without sleep, I feel like a monster! I prayed for rest and I got it. I went to be at 9:45 PM last night (very early for me) and woke up at 6:30 this morning. Like a new person, I feel (that's for you Yoda fans). I've heard it said before that the most spiritual thing we can do sometimes is take a nap. Rest is not overrated.

"He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities."
- Benjamin Franklin

"Then Jesus said,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28