My Brother, the Con Artist

A couple weeks ago Micah and I got some crayons and a coloring book out. He liked scribbling/coloring for a little while but found more joy in rolling the oversized crayons across the table -- sort of like table hockey. It was while we were coloring that I recalled something from childhood.

The Accidental Billionaires and others

In my Breathing In category of posts, I write about various art forms that not only interest me but sort of infuse with artistic fuel. Every artist needs to breathe in art, and not just their primary focus. I’m first and foremost a musician, but I appreciate most other arts—even dabble in them a bit.…

Richard Russo

I recently stumbled upon an author whose writing elicits such giddiness. The first book I read of Richard Russo’s I didn’t actually read but listened to. Those months I commuted from Toledo to the small town where we now live I needed something to make the 3-hour drive go by quickly. I perused lists of award-winning books available for purchase/download, and Russo’s 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner Empire Falls sounded interesting enough.

Alabaster Tears (Part 9): Rest Notes

Artists can be so hard on themselves. I believe this accompanies artistic talent, pushing us to reach for higher heights in art. And as Christian artists, we should want, like court musicians, to play our best for our great King and Master Artist. If not for perfectionism would any of the great artists (musicians, painters, writers, poets, dancers, actors, photographers, sculptors, etc.) have produced the masterpieces we treasure today? If not for perfectionism, wouldn’t art be mediocre? Wouldn’t all singing be a karaoke performance?

Alabaster Tears (Part 4): Oil and Wine

You’re probably familiar with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Separately, three people came upon a man who’d been mugged. One was a priest, another a Levite, and the last a Samaritan, who would have been hated by the Jews. Typically, we walk away from the story thinking we should be more compassionate toward others, especially those we normally wouldn’t like. But, as there usually is, there’s more to the story.

Waking Up in … San Diego

Her pop debut was a bit controversial. Katy Perry is the one who sang, “I kissed a girl and I liked it.” She has another song where she deplores her highly metro boyfriend because he’s “so gay” and “don’t even like boys.” While her lyrics are at times uncouth, if not clever, and her celebrity persona is interesting, to say the least, and her costumes provocative (a cupcake bra?), one thing is undeniable: she’s got some chops. That’s music-speak for pipes, which is something-speak for she sings good. ... Twelve years ago today we awoke in a hotel room in San Diego, our honeymoon destination.

Letting Go (Part 1)

I give JK credit for her decision, however, if simply because she made her choice. See, not many of us are put in the obvious position where we have to make a conscious decision to either follow God or ourselves. JK had to do that because of her place in the spotlight. People in the Bible like Abraham and Daniel and Peter had to choose either God or themselves. But unlike them, we live in a comfortable society that may not like our gospel message but won’t kill us over it.

Con fuoco e amore

A couple weeks ago I was preparing a song for a wedding. The sheet music didn’t offer much help in the way of tempo, for it simply said “with feeling.” With feeling?! How would you play otherwise? I’ve never seen without feeling. Or a la zombie. If music is played stoically, then it shouldn’t be played at all. This got me thinking about musical directions …

Cookies and Milk

"I'm starving!" the girls cry in unison. Such hyperbole Lindsay and Jacque employ when their bellies ache to be filled with food. For some reason, their exclamations are always strongest on Sunday afternoons after church. So I quiz them: "Did you eat breakfast? Did you eat dinner yesterday? The day before?"