thank you, Evan Hansen

I write all the time.

You’d never know it by this blog, of course. It’s a virtual wasteland. I didn’t figure that it mattered much, since no one was really reading it, because I hate marketing myself therefore I wasn’t trying to promote the blog. So probably no one knows it’s here.

Enter Evan Hansen.

Dear Evan Hansen is my middle-schoolers’ latest obsession (they have great taste). So we are listening to it pretty much every day in the car.

“If you’re falling in the forest, and there’s nobody around, do you ever really crash or even make a sound?”

 (this gnarled mess is a pretty accurate map of my emotions these days)

(this gnarled mess is a pretty accurate map of my emotions these days)

Try keeping that one from sticking in your head. Especially when Evan sings it a bunch of times in a row.

I open my bulging journal. “If you’re falling in a forest….”

I open my bulging Evernote app. “...and there’s nobody around…”

I knock over a pile of notebooks and scraps of paper in my office, all filled with half-finished songs. “...do you ever really crash…”

I rearranged my office and nightstand to make room for TWENTY-SEVEN filled journals. “...or even make a sound.”

If you’re writing in a vacuum, and there’s nobody to read, do you even really write or ever say a thing?

Point taken, Evan Hansen. So here you go. Dusting off this blog here. Going to hit ‘publish’ more often.

journal entry // sweet spots + withdrawal

a throwback: some thoughts from my journal, late 2015

The sweet spot.

That perfect place where talents and passions and merge. In perfect timing.

 here's a really helpful Venn diagram with some doodling

here's a really helpful Venn diagram with some doodling

I could not identify that sweet spot for much of my life. Then, in the last few years, I found it. That's a huge blessing and I am thankful.

I didn't know, though, that once I'd found the sweet spot I might have to leave it behind. Probably not forever, although there's really no way to tell, and there's a special little brand of fear to go along with that. But I've tasted, and I've seen, and now I'm just sitting here craving. And I don't know how to get back to that season, or if I should. It's so easy to become addicted to the sweet spot. My heart is so tricky.

Just like real sweets, I guess a steady diet of the sweet spot wouldn't be very good for me. Sugar is poison if you eat enough of it, anyways. Can anyone out there honestly tell me they would pick a Brussels sprout over a slice of chocolate cake based on taste alone? (Even you Whole 30 loyalists?) I freely admit that I need vegetable days in order to have a healthy life. They just taste awfully bland. Sometimes, even really sour - like orange juice after brushing your teeth.

Lord, I long for the sweet spot again. But for now, help me be grateful for vegetables.

TOMORROW

Tomorrow, I am casting my little song-seeds onto the wind.

What a fun process it has been. I've learned so much and been blessed to work with some amazing humans.

In the weeks to come, I'm going to tell you the story of each song on the album, and about the people involved.

I can't wait to share this music with you. I can't wait to tell you all of the stories.

I hope you are as blessed by it as I was. Thanks for listening.

iTunes - CD Baby - Amazon - Google Play

(Album releases Feb. 19 online. For a physical CD, click here.)

Dear Blog, Here's Some News.

Hey, blog.

We haven’t spoken in a while, mostly because I’ve been too busy recording songs and keeping small humans alive and dressed and in school. I will make no apologies for that, because I am only one person, and there is only so much I can do. You understand.

I wanted to tell you something really, terribly, enormously important, though.

The album is done. Done done. Releasing on February 19 done.

Want to see?

 #WinterKindofSpring #WKoS #HashtagsAplenty

#WinterKindofSpring #WKoS #HashtagsAplenty

 

I know, right? Can you believe that?

The last half of 2015 felt kind of like the end of a marathon (well, what I assume that would feel like, not being a runner of any type whatsoever). You know, where you can hardly breathe anymore and your legs feel like Jello and everyone seems to be passing you but you just need to FINISH, JUST FINISH ALREADY so you can be DONE and get a Gatorade and a sticker for your car.

And then, a little while later, after you can breathe again, you look back to the experience and think, OH MY GOSH I ACTUALLY DID THAT. AND I WASN’T TOO BAD AT IT, EITHER. And you feel proud of yourself and a little taller and like maybe it was worth all of the sweat and pain. And a little voice inside says, I knew you could do it. Like the little engine story you read to your kids.

It’s kind of like that. Only with less sweat and better music.

I can’t wait to tell you all of the stories. But if you want to preview the songs, you can click right here.

We’ll talk again soon.

xoxo

Goodbye, 40, or How I Learned to Love My Mid-Life Crisis

One year ago today, I spent the last day of my thirties hanging out with my good buddy Chris Beall in the studio. (You'll find the result of that day hanging out under the "music" tab at the top of this page.) I had no idea what fun 40 could be, or I wouldn't have dreaded it so much.

I had just finished closing the books on a business that was enjoyable and had great potential, but didn't really fit the next phase of life. I longed to give songwriting another shot - I had started pursuing it in the early 2000's but had to set it aside to take care of my family for a while. At the time I felt like it was just a season, but 14 years later, I really wondered if it was permanent. And I tried so hard to be okay with that.

Oh, but my heart would not let me off the hook.

Madeleine L'Engle tells the story in her memoir A Circle of Quiet about how she tried to give up writing after a string of rejections. She went to cover the typewriter and then realized that she was subconsciously, simultaneously, creating a story in her head about a writer that was giving up. That was the point when she realized a profound truth about herself.

I had to write. I had no choice in the matter. It was not up to me to say I would stop, because I could not. It did not matter how small or inadequate my talent. If I never had another book published, and it was clear to me that this was a real possibility, I still had to go on writing.

Yup.

So I wrestled that one out. I cried hot, frustrated rivers of tears over that. I even begged God to take all of the music away at one point so I could just be normal. (I think He laughed a bit at this.) And I ended up at the same conclusion as Ms. L'Engle.

I can't not.

I don't know how to not.

I've always done music. I just hadn't called it my job for a while. But I wrote every day, played or sang every day, volunteered at church, helped in the studio, all kinds of stuff. It's just how I relate to the world. I don't know how to be any other way.

And my biggest concern was the family. We're in a better season now to pursue this, but still, I set the career aside once to take care of them, and I needed their blessing to pick it up again.

Yeah, they pretty much insisted. They're great like that.

So I took a really deep breath, dried up all those hot tears, and wrote a song about my great aunt Irene and her husband Baby Joe (they deserve a blog post all their own, keep your eyes peeled.) Then I took it over to Chris. And things started to happen.

So goodbye, 40, you were a wonderful surprise. 41, let's do this.

Thanks, God, for the mid-life crisis.