Archive for the 'creativity' Category


Sunday Afternoon Thoughts

This morning we woke up early so we could go have father’s day breakfast at Causeway Cafe – yummy! I stuffed myself on pancakes, bacon, cheese grits and fresh orange juice! We had a great time but it was really strange to be out with all the regular people on Sunday morning instead of at church for rehearsals. I felt like a heathen… 🙂

We pulled up to the church at 9:45…..9:45! That was just weird….but exciting at the same time. I am barreling ahead into a brand new season of my life and have such total peace about where God is leading me. I know that He has me and my family right where He wants us – and He has such amazing provision in place for our church. As we walked in the back door (I still have a parking space!), I could hear my team in the studio praying – I could hear all of them lifting up their voices together as they prepared their hearts to lead His people in worship. It was an amazing sound….

As I sat on the front row before church, I was so happy when they opened up the backstage door and they all came out with such contagious excitement on their faces! I knew it was going to be a great service…and it was.

From the very first note, there was a new sound in the building and I was almost taken back. I know that God has greater levels of skill and anointing for us in this new season – and I am grateful that we are not in “coast” mode. David is such an amazing man of God – his wife Karen is such an incredibly anointed woman of God – and they are here to facilitate growth in the creative arts’ department. It’s not just about how great of a musician and artist he is, or how talented Karen is – it’s about worshiping our God and leading His people into greater levels of relationship with Him. I am honored to have them on board with us as we move forward and can’t wait what all God has in store for us.

I have to admit that I am anxious to have this baby, take a little time to recover and then get back on the team as a volunteer! Excitement for the purpose of God is building around our church and I am glad to be a part of it! Let’s all welcome David and Karen to the family!



This weekend was the culmination of months of work – nine months to be exact. Glory Academy began it’s 10th year in Wilmington this past August and for the past nine months, 65+ students have been working their little patooties off in technique classes and discipleship training so that they could use their gifts for the glory of our Lord. All year – every month – we minister out in our community through the gift of dance – then it all builds up to one HUGE show in May to end our season.

I have to say that I am speechless when it comes to describing how I feel about what took place this weekend. We have some of the best families on the planet at Glory Academy that are dedicated to restoring integrity to the arts in the church. They are amazing and I feel so honored to work with them every week. I also have the most incredible staff anywhere…Melanie, Casey, Lynne, Carolyn, Ashely, Rachel, Elaine and Tim – thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dedication to this ministry.

Now for some pictures…I know that’s what you all really want…Millie Holloman and Matthew Ray came to shoot the show and they captured some really nice shots. These particular shots are from Millie. Thanks for letting me re-post these. You are the best, Mills!

This first set of shots are from the first scene – when God separated the light from the darkness…

This is several of our ballet classes – “Water”

Hip Hop 1 & 2 – “Light”

Pointe “Animals”- this is Victoria Jarman

Kristin and Kenna – “Sun and Moon”

Beginning Tap – “Penguins”

Beginning Ballet – this is Serenna Eason – isn’t she adorable?

Pre-Ballet “Butterflies” – Isabelle Carillo

Jazz “Earth and Sky” – Hannah Jarman

Adam and Eve – Melanie Haulman and Christian McCullen

Thanks, everyone! More pictures to come!


Big Dreams

When Don and I made the decision for me to step down as Creative Arts Director at The ROCK, we knew it was because our children were the most important thing in our lives. Reagan is the best gift I have ever been given – more than I could EVER dream to ask for. Rylee is coming in seven weeks and I can only imagine how much more love my little heart can muster. God’s gifts are always perfect and I can’t wait to finally see this little girl face to face and kiss her about a million times. This is why we made our decision – so I could stay home more and focus my attention on them.

Since deciding to make this change, I have realized that God’s intentions are far greater than we first thought. They usually are…

He’s been keeping me up at night – bombarding my heart and my mind with new ideas and big fat dreams. I was worried that my ability to create would be severely limited when I gave up my full time “payed” position and that I would be relegated to the nether-regions of mommy hood for the rest of my days. What I have discovered is that giving myself the room – clearing my mind of TOO much – has given me the permission to start thinking again and believing again in what I could truly accomplish if I decide to make it happen.


Our Winston Salem Adventure

We’re in Winston Salem with about 20 of our dancers and a bunch of moms and staff for the 2007 Dance Revolution Conference. What a great event…world class instructors and hundreds of dancers have invaded the hotel in down town Winston and we are having a blast! The girls are working so hard and are exhausted after just the first half day – but it’s all worth it. They will leave this place having learned so much and been exposed to so much great talent in the Kingdom of God.

Here is a glimpse at their schedule – makes me tired just to look at it!


This was in the seniors ballroom this morning – their ballet class…


Last night they had a dance party with a futuristic theme. Everyone dressed up in costume…these two are some of the DR staff… I’m sure the hotel staff will be looking for these lamp shades today. 🙂


These are three of our girls – Hannah, Jessica and Haley. They were called up on the stage for having one of the best costumes. They won last year, too for their interpretation of Fred and Wilma for the “Back In Time” Theme. (our girls are so creative!)


Our dancers are the best! We have so much fun… this is (from left) Madison, Natalie, Felicia, Victoria and Denae.


OK – so this last one I just couldn’t resist. His face has been blurred to protect his identity. (and because he was dancing so crazily that my camera wouldn’t focus) This was in the teacher’s ballroom (classes for studio teachers, not DR instructors…) (Lynne and I think this is Cameron in 20 years if there isn’t an intervention.)


See you all when I get back!


Pictures Are Up!


The rest of the Imagine Christmas Photos are all up! Millie is the best!

So, click HERE to view or order prints.


Artistic Community

I’m dying for more relationships with artists…to be challenged and motivated beyond my baseline of artistic expression. Sometimes I feel like I live in this bubble over here in my office frantically searching and reading blogs…listening to music…watching what others are doing. But what I really want is some serious, down and dirty face time with a real live, breathing community of artists. We have that to some degree here at The Rock, but I’m really searching for something more.

I know it sounds silly – after all, I am surrounded by creative people where I work. Graphic artists, writers, photographers, musicians, dancers, singers – but most of the time it just feels like work. I think that is a danger for everyone working full time in a creative ministry – our art becomes our paycheck if we’re not careful. We perform creatively to fulfill an obligation or an expectation instead of finding true personal fulfillment through our expression. This is the place I find myself in right now – drowning in expectations and not able to find the time or energy to create out of love for my craft.

I LOVE facilitating others in their creative gifts. I LOVE to see people truly become successful artists and if I’ve helped them or encouraged them along the way, that is truly fulfilling. I think that is a gift in me…to help others feel like they have a place in this artistic community. But somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to do that for myself or to allow others to be that in my life. This is not a happy feeling for me…

I remember traveling in ministry with Dony and Reba years ago – she would have weekly writing classes for all of the young people traveling on the bus. Most of them hated it and fussed through the whole process, but I remember trying to drain every last bit of creativity that Reba has in her (and she has enough to last her and all of us a lifetime). I remember dreaming about the next time we would meet and how excited (and terrified) I was to show her what I had been working on. And every night I had the opportunity to share a ministry stage with two of the most talented people on the planet. I would watch Dony’s hands on that keyboard to see how much I could learn about chord voicings and harmonic structure and listen as Reba sang the roof off of every auditorium we ministered in. That was two years of being stretched and molded artistically that I will never forget. I am grateful they took the time to foster the artist in me. (and thanks, Reba, for nudging me every once in a while even now…)

So – I have to figure out a way….I have to make the time between being a wife, a mother, a friend, a creative arts pastor, an arts’ academy director and a piano teacher to foster personal creativity. It just has to be done – or no one is going to want to be around me anymore. (that may already be the case now…)


The Process

We are 10 days away from our biggest production event in the history of this church. We have really stepped out into new territory with this project and I am so grateful for all of the countless hours of volunteer work, my incredible staff and the grace of God throughout this process. Thank you, Willow Creek, for such amazing material that got us started on our journey to Imagine Christmas.

Several months ago, we were brainstorming in a creative meeting about what we wanted to do for Christmas. Every year for the past 4 years or so we have continued to “step it up a notch” in the level of artistic excellence that we presented to the community and we knew that the step this year was going to be a big one. Instead of starting from scratch and coming up with a completely new concept, we searched and dug around until we found the Willow Creek Christmas show that they did last year. I knew immediately that this was the one. It had all the elements I was looking for – creative ingenuity, artistic excellence, visual beauty, biblical integrity and the utilization of all of the senses. Now our challenge was to adapt this production from a church of thousands to one of 500. This was quite the challenge. There will be more posts later outlining the process a bit more – but for now I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

But my team has been best – and I’m not surprised. Carolyn, my assistant and our media director, has been absolutely indispensable and has organized every facet of anything technical as well as helping me with the artistic elements of the show and every bit of advertising. I love her – and I never want to do anything like this without her! Melanie Haulman, my artistic director over at Glory Academy of Fine Arts has spent countless hours volunteering her time to choreograph and rehearse every piece of dance in this show – and that is a lot of dancing! Whew! Mel, you are an incredible woman of God who is completely selfless and willing to give your best to the Lord as worship – I love you! Valerie Bowden – my Lord….I have lost count of how many hours she has spent designing and constructing our set. She is superwoman… You are all going to be blown away by what her team has done…

Every singer, musician and actor has given over and above what is required – thank you so much, team, for sacrificing your time and your gifts so we might reach this city with the life-changing message of our Savior.

As we near the end of our preparation time and move toward performance and ministry time, let’s all remember why we are here. It’s not to be recognized for our individual talent or contribution to this endeavor or to receive any glory for ourselves. This is for the glory and honor of our Lord and to spread His message of hope to the over 100,000 people in our city who do not know Him. This is what we are called to do, people! All around us, people are searching for something and we have the answer – this is why we are busting our butts to present something that is excellent and mind-blowing. This city has never seen a church present something like this – so we need to bring it…whatever it takes…let’s give it all – lay it all out there and see a city changed.

Still want to volunteer to help next weekend? There are still places to serve…leave me a comment or call the office and we’ll get you working.



Over the past couple of weeks I have shopped for and purchased 40 costumes, 8 LED stand lights, 17 pairs of eyelashes, blue, white and black fabric, two orange buckets to make a tree stump out of, various branches, twigs and shiny silver things, 8 72″ balloons, glitter spray paint, TONS of plywood, screws and paint. There may be more but my brain is clouded with the toxic overload of flourescent lights and fabric dye…eeek.

It takes a lot of resource and time to put together something like Imagine Christmas. Some people may ask if all of this is really worth it – is this just some frivolous pursuit of entertainment? Well…I’m glad you asked –

There are thousands of people in this city who do not know the amazing message of salvation – thousands who do not attend church on a regular basis – thousands who are lost in their sin and need freedom in their lives. They probably have the attitude that church is an old fashioned, boring, overly religious, judgemental place to spend a couple of hours every week. The truth is, they are right if you look at most examples of “church” these days. It is our responsibility to change these assumptions.

We can do this by shattering the stereotypical perceptions of the church – not an easy thing to do. We DO NOT accomplish this by maintaining the “usual” methods that have not served us well over the years. The secular entertainment industry has put us in a position where we MUST up the anty significantly or loose our target audience – the unchurched and unsaved.

Let me just say this… you do not want to miss December 16th at the The Rock. What we are able to do when we pull together for a common cause is going to amaze you – it is going to ignite something in this city that has been dormant for a very long time – the passionate pursuit of God and of those that are lost. It’s not all about what we can get out of church – it’s all about what we give to this city through the church. Once we are saved and have a solid relationship with our creator, it is our responsibility and our privaledge to reach out to our sphere of influence and make a difference in the Kingdom of God.

I hope you are all inviting your friends, family and co-workers like crazy people. Get a big stack of invitation cards this Sunday and give them all away – go here and e-mail invitations to all of your peeps.


I Love My Job


So, today – on my day off, I had to go to a Glory Academy Company Parent Meeting. I wasn’t happy about this initially – it’s my day off, you know! So – I drug myself away from my snuggly couch and drove to the church. We had to do some “house cleaning” with our parents and company students before the season got too far away from us. Mrs. Casey began the meeting by addressing some things and talking over some details before she had a rehearsal for their Riverfest performance next weekend. Then my reluctance to give away my Saturday afternoon began to melt away. I remembered why I do this thing in the first place.

I think I have one of the best jobs on the planet. I get to facilitate the fulfillment of purpose in these young girls’ lives. Their parents trust us with their children and we get to train them, encourage them and help them become dancers who express themselves with excellence and passion – dancers who take the world’s opinion of arts in the church (that it’s sub-par, cheesy, bathrobe wearing moms doing circle dances and waving tamborines all over the place) and tell them where they can put that opinion. We are here to be BETTER than the studio down the street that has their dancers in half tops and daisy dukes shaking their rumps to music that degrades women and the human race in general. This is our opportunity to do something fabulous – something people tell us we can’t – something this city doesn’t expect and may not be ready for.

As I watched our students and their parents begin to really “get it” I got so excited – this is why I’m here doing what I’m doing. We’re going to make history in this city!

Want to help us? Tell somebody….help us grow this academy into the biggest, craziest, off the hook expression of excellence this city has ever seen! Tell your neighbors, your co-workers, your family members, your barista – whoever – just tell them! (thanks…)


On The Cheap

Creativity isn’t necessarily difficult for me – but being creative without any money is another matter entirely. I am spoiled and high-maintenance….at least that’s what everyone tells me and I’ve given in to the fact that if most of the people I love have that opinion it must be at least partially true. OK, so I need to work on that – but for now it’s part of the struggle. It’s why I need some sort of expensive caffeinated beverage at least once a day and why even though I have at least 14 pairs of jeans in my closet I still feel the need to have another. I also can’t do without an ungodly amount of product from insanely priced make-up counters even though I’m mostly too busy to actually use any of it.

I’ve asked God to help me get out of the money box – to let myself imagine how to get things done with excellence and ingenuity – that is truly being creative. It’s easy to spend a lot of money, I’ve proven that. But that’s not really an option at this point in my life – and isn’t for most people. Reality is that God is requiring us to become willing to be good stewards of the resources He has put in our hands at whatever level that happens to be. He’s given us some HUGE dreams around here – so we’re learning how to have true faith that He will provide the right amount of money and resource to get it done. Do I believe that? Honestly, I struggle everday to remind myself that He is sovereign and will provide for every need at just the right time. I still have to be creative in the meantime – knowing that He’ll come through so we can get it done! If I allow myself to get bogged down in dollar signs (or the lack thereof…) then my feet get stuck in a big fat block of budget constraint concrete. But if I can shift my focus and see with spirit eyes then I can quite possibly unlock something in me that is unexpected and infinitly stimulating. (with or without the coffee)

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