the STANDard :: october

 if you are an avid social media user and follow me on twitter or facebook or instagram, then you're probably well aware of the activities i've been engaged in as of late.  namely: painting.  we moved out of one house and [eventually] moved into another.  as is often the case, there were several changes we wanted to make to the house and property to make it more, well, our own.  we decided to do as much of the work as possible ourselves.  and a large part of that work, for me,  has involved painting... walls, doors, window trim, floors, cabinets, cupboards, drawers... you name it, i've probably painted it in the last month.  i've taken the painting on as my own personal project.  but what i initially considered to be a fairly simple undertaking turned into a far larger part of my every-single-day than i expected.  for one thing, there were A LOT more things i wanted to coat with color (or in my case non-color because i've literally painted EVERYTHING white) than i thought there would be. it's that domino effect... once you paint one thing then you're like, well now i have to paint that too. and where do you stop? in my case, well, you don't!

we are now 40 days in and i'm slowing down. there are still a few projects on the horizon, but i've decided to just finish what's currently important and in process... mainly getting our office back up and running.  and we still haven't quite moved everything in to the house... because... painting.

as i wrap up my major painting projects and begin to rein in my obsession... and attempt to establish some normalcy (haha good one) ... i wanted to share one of the lessons i've learned in this last month.  there are several.... lessons to be learned from painting i mean... but today i've chosen just one.

sand paper

my friend Leah used this term the other day as we discussed some of life's little obstacles and frustrations.  and i thought... i have used a lot of sand paper lately.  i wouldn't have understood how it so appropriately applied to me before, but having used it quite a bit in recent days, i get it.

the very official (read: wikipedia) definition of sand paper is as follows:

Sandpaper is part of the "coated abrasives" family of abrasive products. It is used to remove small amounts of material from surfaces, either to make them smoother (for example, in painting and wood finishing), to remove a layer of material (such as old paint), or sometimes to make the surface rougher (for example, as a preparation to gluing).

i would like to confess here that, as an amateur painter, i did the very least amount of sanding possible.  for one thing, it was hard.  i sanded the first few things i painted rather thoroughly,  but then it was just too hard so i simply ran a single sheet of sand paper over the edges real quick.  also, it took a long time.  far too time consuming considering i had ALL this stuff to paint! who has time for the extra work?!
i hear the pro's not only thoroughly sand prior to painting, but after painting they sand again. then apply another coat of paint. then sand again. then apply another coat of paint. and so on and so forth until it's perfect.  hence the price of professional painting.  hence my new found love/hate for DIY. but i digress...

here's the application.  God uses the frustrations and irritations and obstacles we encounter in our lives like sand paper.  they can be abrasive, and hard, and time consuming.  they can seem pointless and unnecessary.  they can be painful and ugly and sad.  however, as the epitome of a professional painter, God uses them to refine us and smooth us out and make us beautiful, preparing us for what's to come. we sometimes, often times, prefer to take short cuts.  i know i'd rather avoid the real work of forgiveness and discipline and sacrifice but still like to see the same results of blessing and success and favor.  but no.  pure gold is only brought forth from fire.  the process of testing and refining is invaluable.  it's where the lessons are learned.

the verse's that i've chosen to memorize and meditate on this month... the STANDard i choose to rally under for October... are:

Psalm 66: 9+10+16

"...He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping;
for you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver'
come and hear, all you who fear God... let me tell you 
what He has done for me!..."

i love that the Psalmist says God has kept our feet from slipping but in the same breath acknowledges being tested.  i don't know... in my flesh i would NOT typically associate refining (testing) and rescue (feet from slipping).   and yet it is in the refining that we are rescued... though it doesn't usually feel like it at the time.  and then, in verse 16, he says he is going to tell everyone all about it.  because it's in the telling that we find our purpose.  Isaiah 61:3 says that God gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair! why? as a planting of the Lord for the DISPLAY OF HIS SPLENDOR.  for others to see an example of what God can do.  we give each other hope as we make it up and out of that refining fire.  we can't help but tell what He's done for us!

"i fell... got all tangled up and tripped.  but God let me see His hand of mercy in it.  i cried and cried and wanted to quit.  i was so hurt and angry i wanted to hit something. or someone.  but God showed me grace and lifted my head up so i could see his.  which is the only face that matters.  and i'm better. i'm whole. i'm his.  and i want you to know about it. because he'll do the same for you"

what has he done for you???

the STANDard :: august

every month for the past 3 years i've posted a verse that God has used in my life, rather that God is using in my life at that specific time, and that i know i need to memorize and meditate on.  i've done this on the first day of each month... until today. which is the 2nd of August.  but there is a perfectly good explanation for this!  and the fact that my explanation so perfectly fits in with the verse itself provides some much needed comic relief today. 

you see, we are moving. not far, just a few miles away, but moving nonetheless.  and i would think that most of you would be able to completely relate to the chaos and mayhem that has ensued in my house.  this will be the 15th time since 1989 we have packed up everything we own and moved it to a different location.   what can i say, we're gypsies. and after that many years ... 24 ... lets just say we've accumulated some things. now, in my favor is the fact that my kids are older, one married and moved out in fact, and we aren't dealing with massive amounts of toys and games and strollers.  however, having relocated from california and our lunch-box-size house there to the big-sky-country of montana and a sprawling ranch house to match the size of the sky, well... we've got some stuff.  i admit that i didn't do the best job purging prior to our initial move up here 7 years ago.  however, as we are getting ready to transition into a new, less-than-half-the-size house in a few days, purging has become my life. and while it's an overwhelming process, i am making progress... 

for those of you who have moved, you know that the entire endeavor is stressful and overwhelming.  truly, any major seasonal life change or transition is.  and i have found, as you probably have too, that there are days where i just want to quit.  days when my emotions get the better of me. days when my heart just aches (and in my current case my hands and my back!) days when the enemy seems to have the upper hand and i feel beaten, pummeled, defeated.  days when i start agreeing with him and allowing his distortion of the truth to become my reality.  and it's days and moments like that, when i feel that i've come up for air for the last time, that i hear God say "i'm here".  

i'm not for a second suggesting that God wasn't there during the battle, i'm implying that i allowed the sound of the enemy's voice to ring louder in my ears.  the Word of God is true, you either believe it or you don't. but either way.... it's truth.  and James 4:7 says 'resist the devil and he will flee from you'. 
turn your back on the enemy, don't listen to a single word that comes out of his mouth.  he is the father of lies, half truths, distortion and deception.  his goal is to steal (your confidence, joy and purpose) kill (your heart and soul) and destroy (your testimony and effectiveness). period.  he doesn't like you.  he's not your friend.  

ALL THIS TO SAY that i've felt OVERWHELMED these past few weeks... and while i have had days of clarity and confidence there have also been days of defeat and failure.  yesterday... the first day of the month when i should have been posting my verse, my life line... i was instead packing and purging, engulfed in a cloud of confusion.  and then... this verse came to mind:

Isaiah 43:1-4
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:

       “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
           I have called you by name, you are mine.
              When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
           and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
              when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
          and the flame shall not consume you.
       For I am the Lord your God,
          the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
              ...[you are] precious in my eyes,
          ... and honored, and I love you"

HE created me. HE knows my name. HE will go with me through the waters and the fire... when i feel completely alone i remember that HE is right there with me, not watching from the sidelines, but fighting alongside me.  HE will protect me. HE will not allow me to be overwhelmed to the point of defeat! HE is GOD and paid the highest price for my salvation! i'm HIS. i hope you're standing up or shouting or agreeing somehow right now because THIS. IS. GOOD. NEWS!!

my prayer is that this passage will not only encourage you TODAY as you face your current circumstance, but that it will serve to strengthen your heart for the next one.  i'd like to suggest that you take some time to look this passage up in multiple translations, and perhaps write it out in your own words.  

i love you! and as my dad always says to me, i'm praying God's highest and best for your life today!

the STANDard::july

philippians 4:19
"... and my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

as many of you are aware, yesterday, June 30, brought my 30 day kickstarter-fundraising-campaign to a close.  we set a goal of 40,000 dollars to be pledged in order to fund the making of a new recording. (you can read all about it here)
i must say, it's been a stressful month. i was not expecting the amount of work that would be required in terms of time and emotions.  due to the fact that i was consumed with social media tasks and promotional projects, not to mention regular family maintenance as well as concerts and trips, i was completely unavailable to my creative side.  all inspiration went right out the window as i focused my attention on meeting that goal.

i'd be lying if i said i didn't spend time obsessing, fretting and worrying over the outcome. in spite of what I KNOW to be true in scripture regarding God's perfect provision, the sin of worrying and the clear calling God has placed on my life, i admit.... i was scared.  what if it didn't fund? what if i'm not able to do another record? what if? what if?

well.... here is what i came to BEFORE the project was funded: so what!!! i continue to cling to God's promise of provision regardless of the outcome. just because something doesn't work out according to MY plan doesn't mean it isn't working exactly according to HIS.   i'm convinced of my calling, i will press on with confidence in it.  the journey may not always look the way i envision it should.... but i'm surrendered to His will for me, knowing that His ways are not mine. they are higher. bigger. better.

and now...  we reached that goal!!  incredibly, based on fans/friends/family contributing/pledging/supporting, we did it!! and i've learned a valuable life lesson through this process: my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  not that i didn't know that, but i think i forgot for a sec. my every need is met according to His vast resources. every time. my worrying is just a sign of a lack of trust in his provision.  again, HIS provision may not be precisely how I anticipate or expect it... but it is still perfect. even though sometimes, like for me yesterday, God prefers the 11th hour to make sure we're paying attention.

so if you find yourself in a place of worry or fear in regards to your current circumstances i encourage you to lay it at Jesus' feet, knowing that His way is sure.  His provision is perfect.

my verse this month is Philippians 4:19
"...and my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

what's yours???

pop-up recap

monday night//pop-up

what an incredible evening.  i was, and remain, overwhelmed at the response and support of everyone that came to our show last night.  my prayer was that God would meet us there and He did. this whole kickstarter journey has been immensely challenging and humbling.  my hope is that as we look forward, by faith, to the full funding and completion of this campaign, i'll be able to make a record full of songs that honor and glorify our God!  and that breathe hope and life and truth into your hearts.  

last night was the first time ever that Izzi and i have shared the stage for a full length concert.  we've led worship together many times but this was the first time izzi was able to do her songs as an 'opening act' (which she most certainly will not remain for long).  seeing long time friends in the audience moved me to tears and i'm beyond grateful for each and every person that came out and supported us! thank you thank you

a very special thank you to 31Bits and Closer to Love Photography for their incredible generosity and help!! (photos above courtesy of Closer to Love Photography)

also... thank you to the amazing businesses that donated the GREAT prizes for our raffle! 
A Restaurant
Sid's Tattoo Parlor
Closer to Love Photography

we are down to the wire here: please consider pledging if you haven't already done so!!!