I think this is the longest I have gone without posting an update! A lot has happened over the last few months, and we are feeling blessed beyond belief about the music:
Our music was featured on the Music and Artist Spotlight on Racman Christian Radio, and there is such a spirit covering this station. It was an honor to spend an hour with Jesse Martin (May 6);
“Typical Day in Heaven” reached the #1 spot on the Sort Hits 100 Christian Songs 2016 Chart (May 17);
“Mama’s Faith” reached #1 on the Christian Radio Chart thanks to the team at A-Sides Promotion (June 13);
“No Go” made the Billboard Music National Airplay Most Added Christian Rock Chart (July 23);
We received two IMEA award nominations, one for Christian/Gospel Artist of the Year and one for Christian/Gospel Song of the Year for “Typical Day in Heaven” (August 4);
Typical Day in Heaven” was included as one of 25 songs on the “Breaking Christian” Apple Music Playlist (September 3);
We attended the IMEA Awards red carpet ceremony (October 10);
Jangchikyjang” (linked above) was nominated in the Christian Song Category by the Independent Music Awards, and the winners will be announced at day-long festival at the Lincoln Center in New York City this year!
It has been such an exciting summer and fall, and we are so thankful! I will be writing more soon. Thank you for reading!
I have been thinking a lot lately about the Bible verse from Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I have probably written about it several times over the years, but I am always amazed how God is working behind the scenes in our lives.
My favorite part of this verse is that the Lord is saying “For I know”. When this part is emphasized–for HE knows, it is a way to strengthen faith. There is so much we do not know, because the entire journey of faith is about trusting what we cannot see. This is true in every part of our lives, from the most difficult times to the fun parts of it. To me, knowing that He knows the plan is the best way to live.
In the most difficult times of my life, I have always trusted God’s “knowing” and His plan for every situation. After all, He said His plans are to prosper, to give hope and not harm, and to provide a future. Even in the darkness, there is such peace in these promises from the Maker!
And it is the same with the fun times like the last few months with the music. There is no way I would have known any of the great things that were being planned.
I can also see God’s work in the people He has allowed me to meet and know, like those extraordinary talents who make the music happen, the new friends I have met over the last few months and years, and the lifelong friends and family I have the privilege to know in my day-to-day life. What a master plan that was made just for me! HE knew what I never could have imagined. And it is the same for you.
“Typical Day in Heaven” was one of 50 songs from 2014-2016 to make the Apple Music Christian & Gospel Found Sounds Playlist that was posted on iTunes this week. Very nice! The link is here. We are honored to be in such good company!
According to Billboard Music National Airplay Charts, “Typical Day in Heaven” is on the Most Added Christian Rock list for the upcoming March 5 edition. We are feeling blessed today! Many thanks to you for liking the song and to those at radio who are adding it!
A lot of the lyrics of my music deal with loss, especially in the form of death. (This really sounds like it is going to be happy reading, doesn’t it?) But of all the experiences we have in life, the death of those we love is usually the most traumatic. So many of the songs on the albums are an attempt to look at how we go through this.
Most personality tests divide people into two categories–thinking types and feeling types. While most of us are both types at various times in our lives, we usually have a preference for one or the other. A good way to determine which one defines you better is to ask yourself if you are guided more by your head or your heart. For example, if you were offered a job that included a nice pay raise but was not something you enjoyed doing, what would you do? A thinking type might determine that the pay would allow for many financial goals to be reached, so performing a less than satisfying job each day pales in comparison to the financial benefits. A feeling type might decide that there is no amount of pay that is worth being unhappy at work every day. To me, understanding this basic way of how we operate can help us with the way we deal with death.
There are several examples in the Bible where we are instructed to write certain truths upon our hearts. In other words, we are to take the words of wisdom we hear and make them part of ourselves. We are to not only hear and think about them, but we are to do what is needed to actually live them. Below is one example:
Proverbs 3:1-8 My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments. For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you: bind them about your neck; write them upon the table of your heart. So shalt you find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to your body, and nourishment to your bones.
When we love someone and lose that person, the feeling is overwhelming. Although it is probably a horrible example, I compare to being gutted like a fish, sown back up, and forced to continue living. Even so, there are a multitude of promises we are given about what happens after what we perceive as “death”, especially I Thessalonians 4:13-18:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep in death, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
If we write just this one promise on our hearts and make it part of who we are, this will move us to experience the death of others in a different way. The song “Typical Day in Heaven” is an attempt to get to that point. While we may be in a state of what feels like endless mourning, the very person we are grieving is probably, at that very moment, having a great time, maybe even dancing and learning to play the harp! (Psalm 149:3).
The song “Typical Day in Heaven” is the new radio single from HOLE IN THE SKY, and the official radio release date is February 23. This week, the song is #2 on the Play MPE Christian Top 20 Weekly Streams and #3 on the Play MPE Christian Top 20 Weekly Downloads! The link is below. I am very grateful to everyone at radio for their support and consideration. I will share more news about the song soon. Thank you for your interest!
It was such an honor to win Christian/Gospel Album of the Year for HOLE IN THE SKY last weekend at the 2015 International Music and Entertainment Association (IMEA) Awards Ceremony! It took me by surprise, and I am very thankful to everyone who made this possible, including Swaff, the best producer on the planet; Colt Chambers and IMEA members and voters for providing this opportunity for me; and to all of you who voted, encouraged me, and have been cheering me on every day since the album was released in March (and long before that).
Those of you who know me know that I am always looking for the bigger picture in everything that happens. My favorite Bible verses are Proverbs 3:5-6, that say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” So when I find myself on a path, I am listening for the lesson. This weekend, I was thinking about all of the awards or rewards that I am blessed to experience every day. It would take the rest of my life to list all of them, but here are a few:
I am able to live during a time and in a place where we can do fun things like make music and go to awards shows.
I have family and friends who get in their cars every time there is a concert and drive whatever the distance to see it, who send me messages of encouragement (sometimes daily), and who take the time to pray for me! One of these is my sweet sister, Constance (pictured right).
God allowed me to meet Swaff, who has taken our songs and turned them into what I consider to be masterpieces!
God has also brought new friends into my life. One example is David Wagner and his wife, Elizabeth (pictured below right), daughter, and parents. I have shared the story many times on this site about the way God allowed our paths to cross so that we would become brothers and prayer warriors for each other.
I have been given the ability to do the music, and this involves so many direct blessings from God like being able to think, listen, write, and sing.
I was given parents who encouraged my talents, including my mom who will even record a song with me!
I have a Creator who makes everything possible, and this is why He is the focus of my music.
I received a notification today that the International Music and Entertainment Association (IMEA) has nominated HOLE IN THE SKY as Christian/Gospel Album of the Year and “Make Us New” as Christian/Gospel Song of the Year for the 3rd Annual IMEA Awards! This is such an honor. IMEA has been so very supportive, and I am grateful to them! I will send more information later, but I wanted to share this news with you. The press release is here, and in case you want to hear the album version of the song, it is here. Thank you for your interest in the music!
According to the new Christian Music Weekly, “Mama’s Faith” moved from #18 to #3 on the Country Christian Chart (please scroll to 7-22-15)! The link is here. Thank you again to the station managers who are playing the music and to you for liking the song. This is another picture of my mom during her earlier singing days. It took a pro like this to get a song on the charts!
I just wanted to thank all of you for being interested in the music and status of “Mama’s Faith”, the first single from HOLE IN THE SKY. The song is still in the Top 20 on the Country Christian Chart according to Christian Music Weekly after 12 weeks on the chart! The link is here in case you want to see it. I have said this before, but it is all the more meaningful since Mom is on the song with me. (This is a picture of part of the choir where my mom and dad met at Western Carolina University. Mom is in the center of the front row, and Dad is in the center of the back row. I thought this was a fitting photo, since faith and music brought my parents together.) In other music news, there will be another radio single soon, and there will hopefully be another concert in very near future. An update will follow in the coming weeks. Thank you again for your interest!