The Art of Family

This is my 70th post for the month.  I know, some of you may say "that's about 69 more than I needed this month."  But with the clock waning on the last day of the month of March, I just had to reach for the number 70.  It seems as if this blogging thing has become a regular part of each day for me.

I think throughout the day of what I can say when I get home.  Some posts are easy-some not so. When I found this graphic the other day, I thought it would be another hook for me to use to Post.  It will be about my family as artists.  I'm constantly being told by people how much they enjoy my family as artists and that the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree", but each of them in their own way is artistic and creative and for that I'm glad.  It truly is a part of me that I've passed on to them.

So welcome to the first post in THE ART OF FAMILY:  The making of a masterpiece.  I got this graphic here where artists in the church share 
their gifts with one another.

This picture is my son's.  Daniel brought it home the other day and laid it on the counter where I could see it when I came in the door.  I think he secretly wanted me to see it and make a comment about it.  It's a picture of a Jazz Musician that he made at school during a period where they were studying Jazz and in concert with Black History Month were talking about other Jazz Players.  It's all hand drawn and colored.  I like the black background which makes the man stand off the page.  He's got some promise in his old man did, but didn't stick with it.
I hope to feature each of my children in their own artistry.  Each of them will be in a play this summer at our local playhouse, and they draw and create all the time.

What do your children do for creative activities? Do you encourage their artistry.

My Favorite Coffee Place

So, every day on Twitter I'm subject to posts from Randy Elrod about his favorite coffee spot in Franklin, Merridees.  It's a neat little bakery in the heart of Franklin and we stopped there when we were attending the Recreate conference in February.

We have a coffee house here, The Manhattan Coffee Shop and it's great, but it will never be the place for me.  My place is La Madeline's French Bakery. (For my friends in Atlanta--there are several near you--don't walk, run to this place).
I discovered La Madeline during an especially trying period in my life.  After the depature of our Sr. Pastor, I needed a spot to gather my thoughts each day before heading in to the office.  When you walk into LaMadeline, it looks like this picture.  Warm, welcoming, cozy, inviting and just a place where you can bring a book, paper or journal to think for a bit.  My place was always by the fireplace in the winter and by the bay windows in the spring.  Many a journal page (accompanied by tears) were written here.  Many scriptures were poured over and studied at those little wooden tables.  Several gallons of French Roast coffee with cream were downed in the search for God's will.  

Oh how I miss it and this morning a good friend texted me to say " I'm at 
LaMad for Bfast. Thinking of you".  I wrote back "It's a love hate thing with you".  If I could I would have been right there in the middle of it.  But I have to settle for my LaMad cup and my folgers coffee and dream of the days when I can get to this place.  Some of you have found Starbucks to be this place for you.  I'm glad-but for me it will never be LaMadelines!

Something Old, Something New

It's Monday again--time for Something Old, Something new where I point to blogs and posts that I currently read. 
If you have something that you like to read often, or that you've recently discovered, leave me a comment and let me discover this with you.

Something Old
  • Ragamuffin Soul is the blog by Carlos Whittaker, the Service Programming Director at Buckhead Church (North Point). Carlos is a legend in the Blog world. I love hearing his frank discussions about worship leadership, and he occasionally lets us peek behind the curtain to see what's happening at BC. His blog last weekend logged in 7000 hits in one day. Way to go Los!
Something New:
  • Consuming Worship This is Jeff Miller's Worship portal where worship leaders gather for resources, discussion and encouragement. Jeff is a worship pastor in Aubrey, Texas (North Texas). His blog features Worship Leader Wednesday where he interviews a local worship pastor about their ministry. He's featured my friend Chris Vacher in one of his past posts.
  • CFHusband -This is the site of a husband of a Cystic Fibrosis patient.  His wife is awaiting a double lung transplant. She's given birth to their baby (prematurely) and is hoping that this transplant will give her quality of life for their new child. Pray for her today as you read his post and think of her.

Worship Post-fessional-March 30, 2008

Worship March 30, 2008
Today ended our Easter series. It all came and went so fast. We concluded today talking about the OPEN GRAVES in the Matt. 27 account of the Crucifixion. Powerful understanding of who the saints were and what happened to them--and how the cross of Christ changed all of that. There is such hope for people who know Jesus. There is no separation from Christ for those who have faith in Him--in life and in death.
"In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. Amen"-from Walk To Emmaus liturgy

Set List
  • FATHER SPIRIT JESUS- opener. This is such a powerful song!
  • YOU YOU ARE GOD-Gateway worship-but G3 Worship Arrangement. Always powerful!
  • Video--"IT'S NOT OVER"--WorshipHouse Media. (I had a hard time getting this to download this week. Finally this morning--it worked) It could have been a little louder to catch their attention during the Offering.
  • HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING- Tomlin. At this point I realize that my mic is Battery dead--and I'm wondering how I'm going to get the battery changed. I motioned the team to sing the parts that were only suppose to be me. All the while I'm thinking of "When can I grab the other roving mic". Finally after we finishe the song I have them reprise the chorus accappella while I step away from the piano to change mics... Yikes! (REMEMBER TO ALWAYS CHANGE ALL BATTERIES BEFORE THE SERVICE-Regardless!)
  • HOW MARVELOUS (Passion Version). Great! We did the hold/stop on the last verse like they did at Passion. "When with the ransomed in glory (OPEN GRAVES) his face I at last shall see"--hold for 4 measures...then kick back in. I had a guy come up to me and say " I got chill bumps--I just had to stop and think about beholding Jesus". Cool!
  • Scripture Reading
  • YOU ARE GOD (NOT A GOD). Always a favorite.
  • Intro to sermon (see video). I shot this (please withold your critiques--I'm not the best videographer) on Wednesday and didn't get to edit it until Friday. Thanks to Okjedi and Shameonyoko (my Twitter buds) for helping me with the technical things that went haywire Friday on my Mac.
  • .
    The Open Graves--Sermon Opener for 3/30/2008 from Jim Drake on Vimeo.
  • Sermon
  • Dismiss
  • Lessons from today--check your batteries, check your levels, check everything.. and anticipate it all.
How was your worship today?

A Lending Library--A Great Idea

This post today got me to thinking.  It's time that we all begin to share what's in our library with each other.  I know it won't make me a # 1 Customer @ Amazon, but if they look at my purchasing record, I rarely purchase new books anymore.  Nor will it make me good with the Book publishers.   But what if we did this--shared our books.   I have a Shelfari account and post it proudly on my blog the books that I've read and owned.  What do you think?

I'm part of the Walk To Emmaus #25 in the Sweet Water Community (Sweetwater, Tx) and part of the walk involves a talk about Grow Through Study.  One of the elements is a book table where the pilgrims are encouraged to start a course of study.  Originally on these walks, books were for purchase through a "consignment" with a local book store.  Yesterday I was told that bookstores no longer want to do this.   So, for this and all other walks the book table will be "gifted" to the pilgrims.  Team members are encouraged to look through their own libraries and share books that have meant something to them, but they no longer want to keep.  I've seen some great classics and even some recent releases given on this table--and it's all free.  So, it's kind of the principle supported here in this article.

How about your own libary?  What books could you part with that could nurture or encourage someone else.  It's at least worth discussion.

Food and Artistry

This is the second post in a series about food.
Listen to this artist as she describes her artistry in cakes.  That's right--here is a classically trained artist expressing her artistry through CAKE.  Amazing! When you look through her website here, you'll see a gallery of fantastic and creative creations, some which would be well at home in an art museum as ART pieces.

Have you ever considered Food as Art?  Why not?  It's as much visual as it is just plain food.  We eat with our eyes they say.  And why not, we should enjoy the food that's provided-both with our tastes and our sights.

My family is a huge fan of the show "CHALLENGE" on the Food Network.  We especially like the Cake challenges where they are pushed to the limit in their creativity and time constraints to come up with some of the most elaborate pieces--truly art.

So the next time you're at the bakery--say hello to a fellow artist and ask to see their gallery.  Compliment them on their craft--you might just get a piece of cake.

Food and Technology

This is the first of two posts concerning food.   I saw this in the Food Channel tonight and thought it was interesting.  This business is in the heart of NYC and serves close to 1700 people each day.  They have so much business that people will stand in line for up to an hour to get one of their burgers/shakes/fries.  They've installed this webcam where people can check the progress of the line before they head over to the Shake Shack.    Can anyone else see that the Northeast is in dire need of SONIC?

Thought this was a very interesting integration of technology and food.

Even The Politicians Are Twittering

It seems that Britains Prime Minister Gordon Brown is forward thinking...or someone in his office is.  Twitter was used this week during the official visit of French President Zarkosy.  Interesting.   You can read more about it here

The Tiniest Hotel Room

Seeing this story on Yahoo! this morning reminded me of our 10th anniversary trip to San Fransico.  We stayed in a "Boutique" hotel.  I didn't know what that meant until we stepped into the lobby and realized these were very small rooms.  Ours was located at the end of the hallway at the very back of the hotel. We stepped into the room and the door hit our bed.  I could literally lay my head in the floor of the bathroom and put my feet on the end of the bed.  We both had to "dance" around each other just to get in and out of the bathroom to get ready. But you know, we weren't there that much and we'd have rather spent our money on something else. 
This story is about the POD hotels in NYC--only 70 Sq. feet of space to sleep in--and you share the bathroom down the hall with other guests.  Can you say college dorm?  Interesting!

Somebody Done Called the Po Po

from  (Special Report with Brit Hume)

"A Michigan church has filed a federal lawsuit after police officers and a prosecutor barged in without a warrant.The officers say they were responding to complaints from neighbors who said the church's music was too loud.

But Faith Baptist Church in Waterford alleges its freedom of religious expression, freedom of speech and freedom of association were violated. Richard Thompson — president of a Christian law firm representing the church – says, "They were not invited. They burst into the church. Unless they had an arrest warrant or a search warrant, they had no right to go there except for worship.”

But Prosecutor Walter Bedell says, "The whole issue is not the type of music — it's the music and the volume..."
Township Supervisor Carl Solden added, "I would think 'love thy neighbor' would enter into this somewhere."

You can also read about it here
Thanks Rich Kirkpatrick for this important post.  Anyone want to bail me out?

Ain't Got Time To Die... Nor A Place (In France)

Read this article...seems that you can get a good glass of wine in Bourdeaux, but you better not die there. There is no room in the cemetery. And the new ordinance says that if you dare to break the law (by dying) the OFFENDERS WILL BE SEVERELY PUNISHED. Huh? How can you beat a deadman/deadwoman? You can read the article here

My New Praise Team Member is this possible?

How Many Hats Do You Wear?

How many hats do you wear at your job?  Are you a multi-tasker or a multi-function producer?
Today I had to stop
 and think about everything that I did :
1. Worship Pastor
2. Videographer and later will be Video Editor
3. Choral Clinician (for the local HS choir going to contest)
4.  Sr. Adult Choir leader (visit a nursing home to sing)
5. Graphic Designer (for next sermon series)
6. Audio Engineer (uploading sermon from Sunday--so
rry I'm late)
7. Web Engineer (a new one--guess I'm the new web guru)
8. Keyboardist (I'm playing and leading from keys this week)
9.  Choir leader ( led choir practice tonight)
10. I'm sure there's something I left out--oh yeah--COUNSELOR.

10 different hats in one day.  No wonder I come home tired; feel distracted; feel like I'm always chasing something and accomplishing little.

Back in 2003 I heard Andy Stanley talk about getting to your sweet spot in Ministry.  It was one of those talks that captures your heart and imagination and I was spellbound because he was speaking to my heart.  I want to get to that SWEET SPOT--to spend my time and talents on the things that make my heart come alive.  I was naive to believe in 2003 that this was possible--so I set out on a journey to make this so in my life.   It still hasn't happened. 

I asked a friend online today if you ever get to be in your SWEET SPOT.  She responded--only if you are in a church that allows it and believes in your sweet spot.  Her reply was "usually they buy 1 and get 8".  It wasn't very encouraging.

How would you say is the best way to get to your SWEET SPOT!  I'm open to suggestions.

Font Love

My new issue of  Dynamic Graphics arrived today.  I love this magazine. It's always fresh and exciting to see what is happening in the graphic world.  Each month they focus on  a different aspect of Graphic Design (color, texture, printing, marketing).  This month's issue focuses on Fonts.  In fact the main article is called FONT LOVE.  I think that's interesting because of this.

Thirty years ago the general public couldn't distinguish between Times New Roman and Arial.  Nor could we discern between sarif and sans sarif fonts.  But with the advent of desktop publishing, we've all become the text setters and printer specialist.  I'll look at advertisements and signs now, and I'll know what FONT that is and where they got it.

One of the most popular I see now floating around is BLEEDING COWBOY.  When I saw this on this site, I knew that it would be popular.  It has that American Eagle kind of look to it.  One of my favorite blogs even has it in it's Title (here)

What are some of your favorite fonts?  Are there old stand bys that you lean on?  Do you use COMIC SANS (gasp?).  

20/20 did a segment on COMIC SANS
This one made me laugh--because this is the way I feel as a designer--can I get a witness!

Countdown To Christmas

In honor of my teen who awakened me this morning with the tunes from the Americal Idol Christmas album

Countdown to Christmas

Can't Wait?
How long 'til Christmas?
274 Days
16 Hours
17 Minutes

...But who's counting?

What About Art In The Church?

Fascinating question posed to JOE ON THE STREET interviews. This comes from this site and ties in with the theme from the Recreate conference I attended in February. I wish my schedule permitted being at this one in April--but I'll keep my eye on this and his blog to see the results of this conference.

Be Careful When In Maryland--FREE WIFI may not be free

This article talks about how it is a criminal offense in Maryland to accidentally access someone else's Internet Point of Access. many of you would be criminal?

Just be careful out there--ya' never know who you are connecting to!

Something Old, Something New

As I get into blogging more and more, I'm finding that people have regular hooks (posts) that they use to keep their blogs fresh with new content. It may be a blog carnival like Water Cooler Wednesday on Randy Elrod's blog or Creative Chaos over on Carols Whittaker's site

My new friend Chris Vacher does a regular post on SOMETHING OLD AND SOMETHING NEW where he gives an old blog that he regularly reads and a new one he's found. So--I'm doing the same. I'll try to post these each Monday as it seems that over the weekend I have the most time to discover new posts.

SOMETHING OLD This is Chris' site. He is a worship Pastor from Canada that I met at the Recreate conference this year. He always has something extremely insightful to say and I depend on him to bring some of the new sites that I explore to the front. He loves hockey and is expecting his third child (girl #3) later this year.Chris here's props to you for inspiring my blogging to a new level

Diary of An Arts Pastor This is the blog of Arts Pastor, W.David O. Taylor, from Austin. I just found him over the weekend. He's been blogging for several years and I look forward to reading his past posts. One that caught my eye was about ARTIST and BEAUTY from back in 2006. You can read it here. David is a deep thinker. I'm going to enjoy his postings.

What's old or new in your reader? Share what your reading each day.

Easter Sunday- March 23rd

Two services today--one in chapel (traditional) and one in worship center (contemporary)

Early service-chapel
Sr. Adult Choir singing- Resurrection Medley
He Lives
Christ The Lord Is Risen Today
Responsive Reading
My Tribute
Sr. Adult Choir- There Is A Balm In Gilead

Late Service-Worship Center
Sunrise Countdown (worshiphouse media) with Downhere GREAT ARE YOU LORD (worked great)
SALVATION IS HERE (week2--this week with Choir)

How was your Easter?

The Ten Commandments/ Godspell

I've noticed in the last few years that it has become an "EASTER" tradition on ABC television to play THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Usually it's on Sunday night, but last night I caught it late ( I mean late--it didn't wrap up until 12 Midnight). So, I was hooked again as I sat and watched this EPIC film. Yes, it looks old and the effects are not quiet CG, but it is amazing what they accomplished when they produced this film in the late 50's. Even with the effects questions, the main thing that came across was the STORY. They never forgot the story--I think that is what makes this movie a classic.

Now today I see the 1973 release of GODSPELL is playing again. Watch it here

Seems like the national TV gives a nod to the theme of this day, without really saying it. It's all about Jesus--he's alive.

Bloxes... a stage piece potential

I found this over on
It looks like a potential use for walls, sets or something for stage props and pieces. Check out these pictures

Peep Show

Washington Post sponsors an annual show where they ask readers to submit dioramas made with peeps. You know what dioramas are--they are like the project you did in 6th grade trying to depict life in a particular time or place in history.
You can read more about the show here. and here are a few pictures.

Now This Would Be Fun

Given that it's going to be cold here on Easter, maybe this would be a good idea instead of Easter Egg Hunting. How about an Ice maze to go through? 

This is all from the Ice Alaska festival where the World Ice Championships are concluding this weekend. You can read more about it here

I saw this on the Weather channel where they have like 3 days to carve these sculptures. It takes great creativity and skill to use chainsaws and drills, even household irons to create these sculptures.

Here's a video to show you the artists in action

This Isn't Funny.. It's My Life

I've got good credit...but my car looks like that!

This Is Funny!

Artist In Your Church

This painting is at the entrance to our Prayer Stations today. It was painted back in 1994 by Amy Patton, a dear saint in our church who just passed away last month at the age of 94. This means that she would have painted this picture in her 80th year of life. She was an artist until 3 months before her passing (she had moved to China painting then)

Tonight, we'll also feature a painting by one of our church members in the Maundy Thursday service. It is an abstract picture of Golgotha and will tie in with our PORTRAITS of THE PASSION theme.

There are artist in every church. I've been blessed everywhere that I've served to have someone with an artistic eye, touch and canvas close by. Young and old they've all been a blessing to my ministry and to the churches they've served. I've come to cherish not only their works, but their artist hearts.

Who in your church is an artist? Have you asked them to share their gift with the body?


"In the Christian liturgical calendar, Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is the feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.

On this day four events are commemorated: the washing of the Disciples' feet by Jesus Christ, the institution of the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot.

The morning celebration of these events marks the beginning of what is called the Easter Triduum or Sacred Triduum. The Latin word triduum means a three-day period, and the triduum in question is that of the three days from the death to the resurrection of Jesus. It should be noted that for Jesus and his followers a day ended, and a new day began, at sunset, not at midnight, as it still does today in the modern Jewish calendar.[1] The Last Supper was held at what present-day Western civilization considers to be the evening of Holy Thursday but what was then considered to be the first hours of Friday. Its annual commemoration thus begins the three-day period or triduum of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, days of special devotion that celebrate as a single action the death and resurrection of Christ, the central events of Christianity." From

In Memory of Bubbie (1991-2007)

This is in memory of our dog--"Bubbie". We lost him last fall, and at that time I wasn't blogging much. Today a conversation on Twitter brought him to mind (not to mention the venture to the tool shed on Saturday where he used to lounge when he was out side.) I hadn't thought much about his absence since the fall, but pulling out that mower reminded me how much he hated the thing.

Bubbie was a gift from our first youth group when we were going on to our next church. He was a pound puppy delux--rescued from an animal shelter in Fort Worth. He was part terrier and part dachsund (so he was long and had a terrier nose). Bubbie was an excellent dog. He was our first baby--before we had kids and as each kid came along he would dutifully accept them and move on.

After 15 3/4 years of life, Bubbie just got too stiff to walk around and on Sept. 17, we had to make the hard decision to put him out of his misery. We really, really miss him and hope that our next dog will be as good as he was.

FBC's Top Ten Songs

We've been tracking our songs since October for CCLI reporting (we have one more week in this period). Here' s our top songs:

Mighty To Save (6)
Everyday( 4)
How Can I Keep From Singing (4)
How Great Is Our God (4)
Everylasting God (4)
Once Again (4)
Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King (3)
Our God Saves (3)
My Savior, My God (3)
My Savior Lives (3)

The numbers indicate the times that we've sung these songs since October 1. We definitely love Paul Baloche as 2 of the songs are his. We like Tomlin, Hillsong, Brenton Brown and Gateway worship (Come Thou Fount is one of the most requested songs here).

It's good to look back and see what you've done over 6 months. We've tried to be more intentional with songs added to the lists and to repeat songs more often. I think it's paying off as more people engage with the songs in worship.

What's your Top 10 songs? Any that are getting ready to go out of the mix? Notice we don't have Lord I Lift Your Name in the list althougth it is still one of the top 100 in US.

I'm So Hiring These Folks For EASTER

Now, this is experiential worship--crucifying someone in your service

Did I hear this guy right...they are going to crucify someone at their Good Friday services? Listen closely--this is extreme.  This is from Mars Hill Church in Seattle ( and at their Ballard campus they are going to crucify someone for 30 minutes. 

Cool Twitter App

This is a cool visual representation of your TWITTER neighbors. Try it here

The Real Truth About Bear Stearns

The truth is...the E-Trade baby made some bad investments. I love these commercials. They make me laugh!

In Texas, we don't play DOLLS

In Texas, we don't play Barbies...we go big. GI JOE for us--no wimpy Ken Dolls. I thought this was funny.

Experiential Worship

My mind is on Easter week ( as it should be since it's EASTER). Mostly it's on the Experiential Worship that will take place on Thursday in our Prayer Stations (7Am-6Pm) just prior to our Maundy Thursday services.   This will be the third year for us to do this.  The last two have been traditional stations of the cross, but this year we've chosen to merge the stations with our teaching series on THE NINTH HOUR, the miracles around the cross.  We'll install everything on Wednesday.

I came across this site that is a companion to the Experiential Worship book seen here.  I've read this book.  It was one of my recommended readings for the Recreate Conference in February.

Look at this site to gain a wealth of knowledge about Experiential Worship.  There are all kinds of forms and expressions of it.  From simple to elaborate, it all focuses on  the wonder of God expressed through the senses.  So many times it worship all we engage is the mind, to the exclusion of the sight, smell, taste, touch of our faculties.    We used a video today in worship that was the visual expression of Isaiah 53 (For by his wounds we are healed).  The video shows scrolling words of sin being projected on to a "Crucifix" of Christ.   Wow! what a visual expression of a scripture and it gave us the opportunity to express that in song later in the service. 

This week we'll try to engage those senses.  I have some Frankincense and Myrrh candles that are potent--you won't be able to miss these. We'll have them touch, smell, taste, hear and see at most of these stations.  I'm excited about it and will post some pictures later.

What's your path to worship?  Is it intellectual?  That's ok.  Is it nature?  That's ok too?  Is it through the senses?  Go for it.  Whatever it is that connects you--do it with all of your might and enjoy the journey of worship.

Worship Post-Fessional March 16, 2008

Worship Set for March 16
*Salvation Is Here--New this week... learning it for Easter Sunday
*My Savior Lives-- 2nd week on this one--one more for Easter
*By His Wounds-Video from Worship House Media. This was really cool effect. You'll need to watch the video here. We might try this sometime (projecting words on objects)
         *Let The Worshippers Arise--a favorite always
                            *Come Thou Fount/Come Thou King--ditto
                            *Once Again--2nd week-- learning for Easter
                            *Here I Am To Worship/I Surrender All
                            *Once Again (Reprise)

It was the beginning of Spring Break for we were down.  Down last Sunday for time change and this Sunday for  Spring Break.  We might have done better to have it all in one Sunday.

But all in all--a good day.

The Ways of St. Patrick

Dan Kimball has an interesting post on St. Patrick. You can read it here

Points that he brings out about St. Patrick
1. St. Patrick was sent by the church to "take care of business"--meaning just maintain status quo. They were quite annoyed with his church planting and missionary ways.
2. He understood the people--their ways, their language, their culture.
3. The result of St. Patrick's venture was a group of "fully devoted" followers of Christ.

And you thought St. Patrick was just about being green.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

"My Garden will have a tall Caramel Macchiato please"

So I was working in the garden this morning and I noticed something.  For the last 6 months I've been feeding the soil Starbucks coffee...the grounds that is.  When you go to a local Starbucks, they have a pail just at the end of the line where they collect their coffee grounds for the day and package them for use in gardening and composting.  So I've put about 5-8 pounds of coffee grounds on this little garden for this period.  When I began to turn over the dirt, there were tons of worms (no doubt Starbucks customers) and the soild was so moist and loose.  You could smell the coffee grounds.  Just around the corner there was a section that I thought I would til ( it had not had the luxury of Starbucks)--the ground was like concrete!
Just proves the point if you feed the soil, it will yield good material for future growth.  There's a spiritual lesson here too.  The soil that I paid attention too was the best soil. The one I ignored was the bad soil. 
So--when you pick up your latte, as for some grounds and remember the growth principle here!

It' Spring Planting Day

It's nice and warm here today... and I have the urge to get out and clean up the garden and get going on the Spring.

Here's hoping there are no more freezes.  In West Texas we go by the old saying "If the Mesquites (trees) are out, then no more freezes."  You should have seen me driving down the road trying to look at the Mesquite trees. I couldn't tell.

Here's to artistry in the Garden!

A Great Visual Resource

While attending the CREATIVE FUSION conference last year in Grand Rapids, someone shouted out that they bought large backdrops from BACKDROPS.US. 

We purchased one for our LIFESONG series last summer.  It was beautiful.  The are 20x10 in size and are airbrushed.  All for the cost of $119.   

The picture to the left is one that is based on an oil painting.  They'll even let you upload pictures and graphics if you can't find one in their stock.  We did that for an upcoming series today--I'm anxious to see what they look like in 2 weeks when they get here.  You read that right--they'll be here in two weeks.  No painting for me on this next one.  I'll post photos here when we get them.  Check out this site, you might find some help here.

This is my son... or is it

This is my son... I think?  Today is crazy hair day at school ( we never had those!) and I heard him screaming from the kitchen loudly as each rubber band was put into his hair.

Proof number one that his hair is too long ! ( I sound like my father) and that Spring Break is almost here.  The kids are out at noon--I bet there won't be much "educating" going on today.

Want To Be A Better Designer?

"What is design? Design is both the process and the final product of an endeavour to fulfil a personal or professional brief. Whether you are creating a piece of graphic work, a website, or a design for a new product, the underlying principal is the same – the creative process is everything". COMPTUER ARTS MAGAZINE

You can read the full article here  I thought it was a good article to apply to most any DESIGN process.  


I found this website through Make Magazine which was recommened by a fellow blogger this week.
If you are a  DIY'er ( Do It Yourself), then you could spend hours going through all of the projects that are here.  Talk about creativity.  Some of them have some very inventive and cheap ways to get some projects done.

When I have 3-5 hours (ha ha) to just sit and read through these, I'm coming back.

You Want To Be In Cartoons

One of the "newbies" to be touted this week at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin has been the site Bitstrips. It serves as a way for people to visualize conversations (ie. Twitter) or ideas.  It seems pretty simple.  You get to pick the characters and settings that best represent your conversation. You can pick expressions and emotions; you can set them in any scene or setting.  It seems pretty simple.

For those of you who wanted to write the next Dilbert, this may be your chance.  Check it out.

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do (The State of Arts in Public Education)

I'll spend the majority of my day today being the accompanist for our local Junior High as they go to competition.  You can read about it here.  I've been attending their rehearsals for the last two weeks and have seen a lot about the education system and how it works in the real world.

This is an artsy little town in West Texas.  We have a great tradition in the area of Arts (Drama, Music, etc). We were discussing the other day how much ARTS there is in this town (population of 10K or so).  It's very unusual; a strong elementary music/arts program; strong choral tradition in Junior/High School; two strong drama programs in Junior/High school; and band programs that consistently score superior ratings. We also have a local community college that has a strong drama tradition too.  Recently they have formed an Arts Alliance for our county. You can read about it here This group supports arts in the community through Exhibits and interactive Saturday events for kids in the town.

So, we're quite unsual. I'm afraid that in other places around the country the arts are in jeopardy.  In a race to increase scores in math, science, reading and other areas, arts courses are cut or sadly still in place with little or no support from the administration.  I'm glad that's not the case here.

My observation is that schools with strong arts traditions also have strong academic scores too. It has been consistently shown that students in arts programs score higher on national tests.  Could it be because they are exercising creativity and expression in another part of their brain by participating in music, drama and dance?  I think so.  I think it benefits kids to be part of Arts programs in public schools.

What is the state Arts in your public school?  Are you a participant and supporter of the Arts in your community?


This post is part of Water Cooler Wednesday's (Randy Elrod's Cultural Watercooler Blog Carnival)

Welcome to my office... If I had known you were stopping by I would have cleaned up.

Seriously, how many of us have a space where we can be creative and be the artists we are called to be. In my years of service to the church I've had several kinds of offices. My first one was a closet--really. Then it was a Sunday school room. The next one was a bedroom in an old house that the church rented. After that it became pretty standard--the office complex. In all of these spaces I just accepted the decor, lighting and such as given and worked with it.

Not until I helped build the office plans for our new church in the Metroplex did I really stop to think about the space that I would be spending most of my life in. I had to make the most of a space that was 10'X12' with 12' ceilings. You know what they say, if you can't build out, build up. And so I did. I put shelves all the way around the top of the room and down the wall. I got so much merchandise (books) in there, it was very cozy. And to top it off, I told them no overhead lights! Yep--no overhead lights--only lamps.

Which brings me to my current space. It's an old narrow space in the office complex. Orignially meant for that part time Minister of Youth who only came in for the weekends, it is only 9X12 with a 9' ceiling. I painted it...yep! That was a no-no when I got here because everything was hospital white. I didn't think I could live in it. So I painted it a neutral tone color. And for lights--yep, I had them take out the overhead lights again. I have 7 lamps in the office including an old street lamp that we've used for a prop. You can see more pictures here

Some things I love about my office:
  1. It's Unique---no other office is like it. It reflects my love of different things. You'll find different things that I've collected from years in ministry (photos, gifts, etc) and trips to different countries. It's so unique that they refer to it as the gift shop--because we usually pull props out of it for visuals in worship (ie. the old 5 panel door against my wall) I have my Dad's old Ordination Certificates hanging on the wall (from 1937) and a signed scripture by George Truett (old time Baptist preacher). One of my prized treasures is the Nativity given to me by a former church. It's up all year long in my office. Did I say that I like lamps!!!

  2. It smells great..really. I have a candle warmer going at all times... sensory stuff is big to me. People come into the office and they say "what smells good?". It's Jim's office.

  3. It is my sanctuary--I retreat from the world in here. With good music, good coffee and some time with God--I could stay in here for days.
Some things I don't like about my office:
  1. It's not big enough. I know if I got rid of a bunch of stuff it would seem bigger--but that would have to be a BUNCH of stuff. Plus as you know in Worship Arts Ministry, things just pile up in every corner, especially in the seasons.

  2. I don't have a comfortable sitting/ work area. In one of my offices I had a small love seat. It was great to move away from the desk and work or read or visit, but no such luck in subsequent offices. In the office I built I had an 8' foot window--so I built a bench underneath. I could easily fit 4 people on that bench for a meeting.

  3. It's not secluded enough-- I can hear every conversation in the outer office.

  4. It doesn't have a Keyboard in it. I have to go to the worship center to play out sequences or songs for planning. It would be great to have one handy to do that.

So--make your space your own creative space. Mine has been called the Den of Tranquility--laughingly posted by one of our maintenence people. I call it home!

American IDOL--the Final 12

Syesha begins the evening INTO MY LIFE (EW&Fire arr.)..can you say PITCHY!! eyebrows were up trying to help her. Simon says it was better than alright. What was he listening too.  She'll be safe though.

Chickezie-singing next. Used to work @ LAX.  Singing She's A Woman.  He's wild tonight.  Started out pretty good--but wow--where did that one go!  Took a big risk on that one!  Safe!

Ramiele- Singing IN MY LIFE. Not bad...a little breathy, but hey that's popular! Not as powerful as in past weeks..this one may be in trouble.

Jason Castro- If I Fell In Love With You... started out ok in his lower register...but when it went up..uh, oh. This one may not be pretty. Still he's from Texas. Whoop!
Carly Works 7 days a week--wow, you go girl! Really thick accent tonight--I don't remember that in previous weeks. Singing COME TOGETHER.. sounds a little like Reba Mc. singing Beatles...I don't know. Safe for this week I think.
David Cook   Singing Bar Tender.. Uh oh..what kind of guitar was that he just smashed. ELEANOR RIGBY... a little Daughtry like. I like this guy... mmmm. could be one of the finalists. SAFE
Brooke Starts with playing the piano.. I see a trend here.. singers that can play an instrument. she looks worried over the chords and notes... see those silly people in the mosh pit waving their arms.. come on MOSH creative. Back to vocals...I dunno-she's good, but may be vulnerable this week.  Simon likes she's safe.
David-  a course in college on the BEATLES?  Why didn't they have that class when I was there.   I SAW HER STANDING THERE..hmm... I dunno.  Safe I think.
Michael-- I like him--good tone
Kristy--Rodeo queen--I don't think she'll last--- not a good pick
David A---like him--he'll stay because they like him.

My prediction:  Syesha and Kristy--Kristy is gone!

Fun With Words

We ordered two of these MAGNETIC POETRY kits for our Maundy Thursday prayer stations. You can order one here.They arrived today and I opened it up to see what they are like. I immediately began to challenge my brain to come up with some coherent phrase or saying. It took me a moment to clear my head, but once I was into it, things began to flow.

This will be part of one of our stations where people are asked to respond to what they see in the station. I've been working on this for weeks and it's almost done. Next Tuesday I'll post the entire set up and the pdf for the stations.

If you're looking for a great gift, this one would do nicely. Challenge them to be creative, even come up with a new song, psalm or praise.

Vatican Names Sins For 2008

I saw this today. How interesting that we have to "update" the sins of man in order for him to know if he is righteous or unrighteous. Read about it here