Kentucky 2.0

10708525_335141493333218_395609025937007276_oI just wanted to thank all of you for the amazing support you gave me during this year’s trip to Kentucky! It meant the world to me to know that you were right there with me during the IMEA Awards. I am sincerely honored that IMEA included me again this year, especially since there are 12,452 artists on the ReverbNation global charts in the Christian/Gospel Music category!

I shared last year in this post that God’s hand was all over the Kentucky trip, and the friendship that I have had with my fellow prayer warrior David and his family this past year has been a blessing beyond measure. This year, I had with me in every pocket I could find the original cross, a new cross, a letter from David’s daughter, Ella, and a card and Bible verses from David and his wife, Elizabeth.

Below are some photos from the trip. On another note, there will be some exciting news about the new project in the next few days, so stay tuned! Thank you again for your interest in my music!

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More Awards News!

I posted over the weekend that I was nominated for an International Music and Entertainment Association (IMEA) Award this year! As was true last year, this is a complete surprise! IMEA recognizes independent musicians, and I am so excited to be nominated as the Christian/Gospel Male Artist of the Year.

IMEA is also giving everyone the opportunity to vote for nominees before the ceremony. The voting portion counts 1/5 of the final tally. The deadline is August 27. If you want to vote, just click on the IMEA badge below and it will take you to the page. After you enter your email address, scroll down to #16 to my awards category. After clicking next to my name (if you decide to choose me :)), scroll to the bottom of the page and click “submit”. It should take less than a minute. If you prefer using the direct link, it is http://www.imeaawards.com/vote/music/ .

To thank you for voting, if you are interested, please send me a message (by email, text, Facebook, phone, etc.), and I will send you a free download of a song from the new album when it is finished. I will be posting updates soon, but the album is almost ready! Thank you for your interest in the music!

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2014 IMEA Awards Nomination!

I received word this week from Colt Chambers and the nice people at the International Music and Entertainment Association (IMEA) that I have been nominated for Christian/Gospel Male Artist of the Year! The full list is here. This is a complete surprise, and one of those “handfuls on purpose” moments I have talked about many times. It is just amazing to be given such a wonderful honor, and I feel blessed beyond belief! I am so thankful to IMEA for thinking of me this year. Since this is one of those “leaping” moments, the song “Leaping on Mountains” is linked here to celebrate! More information will follow soon. Thank you for letting me share this exciting news with you!

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Happy Summer!

Happy Summer!

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What My Tree Taught Me Today about Easter

Some of you may remember what I wrote in August about the dying tree in my yard. (If not, it is here.) As you can see from the current picture, the pruned tree is now sprouting new branches. I was beginning to wonder if this was going to happen since the tree looked completely dead for months.

The time it took to see these signs of life has been a great reminder to me about resurrection. We have all had experiences that seemed to take the life out of us. This happens when we lose someone through death or separation, when unwanted changes occur, when we are wronged by others for no reason, and in many other ways.

I know that a lot of this has been happening around me lately, and as this Easter weekend approached, God’s promise of hope was getting lost in the mix. Then I saw the tree, and I was reminded about resurrection: Life is on the other side of what appears to be death. The photo also shows the dark skies that are hovering above the tree, but blue, sunny skies are behind all of this and will soon be there again.

An even bigger lesson for me is understanding the time it can take between the experience of loss and death and the reemergence of life. I think one reason Christ died in such a violent way was so we would know that there will be periods that are unbearable, but we can get through these times. I imagine the day of the crucifixion felt like it would never end. We hear this through Christ’s words found in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”?

During those times when we ask ourselves how long we have to endure such dark days, I find there is peace in knowing that this is a necessary part of the process of coming to life again, of being reborn, of experiencing resurrection. Just ask my tree.

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Music News

I received great news today about the song “Chains” from the album Leap. The Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) Network International selected five songs from CCM members to be featured and reviewed in Nashville tomorrow as part of a songwriters showcase, and “Chains” made the list! I am honored and thankful! (If you want to hear “Chains”, the link to ReverbNation is here. It is the first song on the list.)

I also wanted to let you know that the new music project is very close to being finished. (It has only been four years in the making, which is half the time it took between the last two!) The photos were made this weekend, and Swaff and I have one more studio session left before all my vocals are recorded. If all goes according to schedule, you may be receiving an invitation to the release party sometime this summer! I am looking forward to sharing the new songs with you.

Thank you for your interest in my music. I will send more updates soon…

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Song for Valentine’s Day

Several people close to me are experiencing broken hearts from relationships that did not work out as planned. It is interesting how we often discount the internal brokenness of a person. For example, when we see someone with a broken leg, we do not expect them to run a race, but we often expect those who have been emotionally hurt to get over it and move on. The only real peace that can be found during these times is knowing that God loves us and comforts us when we are hurting. As we have heard many times, He provides peace in the midst of the storm. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” What a great promise! His love is pure, and there is strength in knowing that when we fully experience this, everything else will eventually fall into place. Linked below is a song from Leap that talks about God’s love. I hope you enjoy it!

Love Divine

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Mama’s Hippopotamus Music!

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Christmas Thank You

As this Christmas approaches, I am thankful for the unexpected gifts I have received related to my music this year. You have already read about the IMEA award, and I have described it as something that just fell from the sky. It has led to many other blessings, including an outpouring of support by all of you who are constantly cheering me on; new friendships and connections; and a wonderful article in the Times-Georgian:

Carrollton gospel singer honored by IMEA – Times-Georgian: Faith & Values.

The newspaper even put a picture from the ceremony on the front page, and devoted the front of the Faith & Values section to my music. What an honor!

Since that time, the song “Chains” has started receiving some nice attention from radio and listeners. Like the IMEA award, this has been a complete surprise. The link to the song on ReverbNation is here. And speaking of ReverbNation, my music has been at #1 on the local charts for a full week! Again, thank you for making this happen. God has blessed me beyond measure this year, and a big part of this has been your support and encouragement.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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