Update: February 3, 2024
Since our Psalms event, we have enjoyed an additional event surrounding the theme of “Glory” and are in the midst of planning another event in February, which will focus on the theme of “Every Nation, Tribe, and Tongue”.
Our “Glory” event was special in that I got to write a mixed ensemble a cappella arrangement for “Behold Our God”, on of our congregation’s favorite songs to sing together. I think there ended up being 13 of us that sung that together, and it reignited my love of writing a cappella arrangements. I’d actually like to circle back to a few of my prior arrangements and pursue publishing and recording them, but that’s another project for another day.
I have multiple project ideas for February’s event, two of which might actually come to fruition. One of which is a piano instrumental that I remember playing as a young pianist, first listening to my older sister learn and master, and then myself sitting down and “learning it”, mostly by ear. I CAN read music, but actually prefer not to when possible. However, one of my goals lately has been to master the piano part for Andrew Peterson’s “Is He Worthy”, which I have come very close to playing perfectly recently. That effort proved that I can still read music and muddle through learning what is actually written. So, my goal with this instrumental piece from my childhood is to actually learn the notes, and master them if I can, if only just to reignite the memory of the beloved song that first awakened my love of music.
Update: July 2, 2023
We have enjoyed two additional Arts for the Kingdom events since my last update. We held a “Psalms” event in February, and it was really fun to see our group of artists interact and reflect on the Psalms. I tackled the reading/math/painting project I mentioned in the “Things I'm Loving” last round. While I did get it done AND shared it at the event, it didn't turn out as I had hoped…SO I'm going to do it again with a slightly different color combo and technique. I hope to share it with everyone where when I do!
Our latest event was held on June 10th, and the theme for that one was “Fruit of the Spirit”. We had never held a summer event, so we thought this would be a fun and simple way to get the kids involved (because they weren't in school), anticipating that our interest and attendance levels would be low (a natural effect during Alaskan summers). Well, it was as big of an event as it ever has been! Our art panels were full, we had 4 culinary entries, and the concert required an intermission. We never quite know what to expect when we pick a theme and set a date, and it was wonderful to have so many people participate! I felt like the Holy Spirit was truly glorified!!
Matthias and I worked on a stepping stone for the “Fruit of the Spirit” event. We entitled it “In Step with the Spirit”, and this was our artist statement:
Right after Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians, he says, "If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit." (Gal 5:25) I appreciate this encouragement to stick close to the Spirit, abiding with the LORD, as we seek to live fruit-producing lives. Our family plans to enjoy this stepping stone in our garden at home, and pray it serves as a visual reminder to continually seek the LORD.
The next event is scheduled for October 21st, and the theme will be “Glory”!
Update: December 12, 2022
Our "King & Kingdom" event on October 22nd was really fun, with 12 pieces of artwork/photography, a handful of crafts, tons of culinary entries, and a 2 hour concert! My church family is such a joy to create with, and these events just keep getting better and better!
I got to share two songs, one original and one cover. The cover was another song from The Gray Havens called "Far Kingdom", and my daughter and friend Tom joined me in sharing that one. My original song was shared from my new tenor uke with my son...a scripture memorization song from Matthew 25's parable of the talents. I've entitled it "Well Done", and hope to share and record it some day soon.
Our upcoming event is on February 18, 2023, and the theme is "Psalms". I'm working on the finishing touches of a setting of Psalm 56, which is a co-write with my friend Dennis. Hoping to have it polished and ready to share. I'm also planning a painting project...head over to my blog about "Things I'm Loving" to learn more about that idea!!
Update: September 9, 2022
On May 7th, our church held another beautiful event...this one with the theme of "New Creation". It was so fun to experience all of the art and performances. I got to be involved in 4 different performances, 2 containing original arrangements. One was an a cappella arrangement of The Gray Havens song Paradise, that I sang with a group of ladies (and my daughter...so fun). The other was an instrumental arrangement of Joy to the World to accompany my friend Wendy Golter, who recited the famous lyrics from Psalm 98 for us. It was such a beautiful event, and I hope you enjoy some peeks into the event through these pics.
Our first ever Arts for the Kingdom event (theme of "Advent") was held on December 1, 2018. By God's grace, our 10th event is scheduled for this coming October 22. Our theme this round will be "King & Kingdom", reflecting on the character of Jesus and His Kingdom, intentionally paralleling our church's current sermon series in the Gospel of Matthew. I look forward to encouraging our congregation's artists forward!
I'm personally aiming to gather another group of ladies to share my a cappella medley of How Great is Your Love (Phil Wickham) and The Love of the Father (City Alight). It would be fun to share...as it was originally written for the "Hesed" event last Fall, which Covid prevented us from sharing. I am also planning on sharing the painting that Anna Pianalto created for my cover art (see Sept 2022 music update), AND I might get my uke out and share a scripture memorization song I wrote of the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. We'll see if I can get my uke skills up to performance level...ha!
Update: January 28, 2022
Two events have passed since my last update, and they were both just as special as the others. The unique themes make for special evenings, and I am always so blessed by the artistry of our congregation.
Unfortunately, my family and I came down with Covid in late September, during moose hunting season. I ended up having to miss out on the Hesed event, and I quickly realized how dear these events are to me, personally. I really struggled...like major FOMO...and I've spent time since reflecting on that.
Our latest event was held on New Year's Day, with the theme of Incarnation. It was a beautiful evening, celebrating our Lord's incarnation, and I appreciated being well enough to participate. However, my ministry co-leader, Naomi, came down with Covid just prior...we tease that it was "her turn".
Here are a few pictures from the event! (Stay tuned for info on our next event, and plan to attend if you are a local friend!)
Update: August 26, 2021
We are in the last month of planning our 7th Arts for the Kingdom event at my church. These are events where our congregation gets to use their creative gifts to glorify God and encourage his people. We choose a theme for each event, and members are encouraged to meditate on that theme and respond to it in a creative medium.
Past submissions have included a wide range of genres including painting, photographs, glassblowing, woodworking, jewelry, florals, and crafts. Our concert portion has included instrumental performances, vocal groups, poetry, dance and dramatic readings. There are also artistic culinary submissions!
Our next Arts for the Kingdom event is on September 25th, and the theme we have chosen is the Hebrew word "hesed". It is a word that occurs more than 200 times in the Hebrew texts of the OT, many of which are found in the Psalms, and is most often translated "steadfast love".
One of my favorite examples of hesed is found in Exodus, when the LORD shares His name with Moses. He says, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in "hesed" and faithfulness."
I have enjoyed encouraging our artists forward in the creation of their creative expressions, and look forward to what is sure to be a rich event! I'll be sure to share some pictures afterward.