Archive for January, 2011

Cedarville Worship 4:24 Conference

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

With Lenny LeBlanc before the opening of the conference

Singing at the opening

Lenny and his band with the Cedarville Choir opening the worship set.

Wow, what an incredible weekend, and how tired am I. I’m definitely running on very little sleep and glad I have a little easier week coming up, but that was a lot of fun. 🙂

Friday was a big day – my new single went to radio (Will You Find Me Here – live version here) and also I got to open for Lenny LeBlanc at the opening concert for Cedarville University’s Worship 4:24 Conference. I was very excited to meet Lenny and his band and also to be back at Cedarville where I taught voice for several years.

The next morning I went back to the conference with several people from my band at church and they all attended sessions while I taught the vocal track at the conference. The first session I did was on basic vocal technique, the second was on advanced vocal technique and the differences between singing classically and singing in a contemporary style, and the third was on assembling and working with a vocal team in a worship setting. It was so much fun to be teaching again, and the only problem we had was that the room was way too small! It was only really meant to sit about 50 or 60 people, and we had well over 100 in there by the last session. There were people sitting on the floor, in the windows, on the benches for the instruments. It was pretty packed out, but we had a good time, and I loved hearing from all these people who are seeking to faithfully serve the Lord through their music!

Went home that night and got up to lead worship myself and had a new sense of the excellence with which we should be leading people into worship. We worship the God of the Universe! We should be doing that the best way we possibly can.

Heading to Georgia again later in the week, so I’m prepping for that, but so glad to have a couple of days off. I had a blast, though, hope I get to go back next year!

Goodbye, Florida, hello Georgia and home

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

First Presbyterian, St. Petersburg, FL

With Ron Maxwell at Moody Radio Florida

My mom on air with Terry at WAFT

With Terry and Sherrie at WAFT

Some of the amazing deserts at the Marietta Diner

This week has been amazingly busy. My family flew home last Saturday with my brother which always makes me sad. Then my mom and I headed back over to my grandma’s to see her and to be with First Presbyterian in St. Petersburg.

Sunday morning I did special music on all three of their services, and then gave a concert that afternoon at 3. What a warm church – I really enjoyed getting to know their people, especially the band which opened for the concert that afternoon. I had a great time, but it wasn’t until I sat down that night that I realized how tired I was!

The next morning I headed out early again to be on the morning show at Moody Radio Florida. I was on with Ron Maxwell, and he was just a wonderful guy. He’s been friends with my radio promoter for years, so I was expecting him to be great, and he definitely made me feel welcome. Had a great time, and even got to send a shout-out to my family in Florida and to my friends Ralph and Nancy who I knew were listening down in Bonita Springs. They were thrilled. 🙂

We headed over the next day to visit some friends we hadn’t seen in a while in Vero Beach, and then the next day drove up to Valdosta, GA. We have a dear friend here too (isn’t it great to have people scattered all over the country? Lots of people to love) who used to go to our church before moving down here. It was great to catch up with her!

The next morning mom and I went to WAFT in Valdosta to be on their morning show. Turned out to be a girls morning since all the men were at some convention, so mom and I hung out with Terry and Sherrie and chatted the morning away. It was a lot of fun – this station has supported my ministry for years, and I appreciate them so much!

After that, mom and I started the very long trip home. I get very tired of chain restaurants, so as you may have seen, we try to hit local places and often try at least one Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives every trip. This time we went to the Marietta Diner, and it was pretty good, but the deserts were just incredible. Why is it always the deserts?!

After eating too many things, we trekked as fast as we could home. My personal goal was to be home before midnight and I dropped mom off and pulled into my driveway at, yes!, 11:58. Pretty good. I’m glad to have a day off because this weekend I’m teaching at Cedarville University’s Worship 4:24 Conference, and I’m going to need to catch up my sleep a little!

Christ Presbyterian in Largo

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Christ Presbyterian Largo - some of the stonework and crown ceiling

My kids loving the Magic Kingdom

What a fun morning we had in Largo. I’ve been talking to this church for ages – their pastor contacted me about coming as did their leader for adult education, and it took a bit to realize that they were from the same church, and neither one realized the other was talking to me! My family came down with me this time because we’re going to visit Mickey in between some of my events. The kids have a short week at school, so we took them out for a few days to get away from winter. 🙂 My grandmother who is 91 years young (still riding her bike!) lives only 2 or 3 miles away from this church, so we had a great time getting to visit with her and with my uncle who lives down here too. We found out that her cousin goes there and is their oldest member at 104!!

Sunday morning I did some special music and also gave the message. We had several people we knew from the area come as well, and that made it especially fun for me. This was one of the coolest churches I’ve seen architecturally – it’s built almost entirely from stone, and there are busts of the patriarchs everywhere in the sanctuary which blended in some. My son finally noticed them and leaned over and said, “Mom, why are there heads everywhere?” The ceiling was made to look like Christ’s crown of thorns which was neat too. We didn’t get the best pictures here, but you’ll get the idea.

After church we went to lunch with my uncle and grandma and then headed over to Orlando. It looks like a pretty beautiful week here, and my kids are really excited. My mom and brother met us there, so it should be a great time for all.

Article in the Dispatch

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Our dog Ivy looking tortured with a mohawk. Man, she has mean owners.

This article came out in the paper here, The Columbus Dispatch, about my mom losing her wedding rings. My dad passed away several years ago, so the rings were even more precious. It’s a feel-good story about what happens when people choose to do the right thing. Hope you enjoy it!

Also, just for fun, we groomed our dog just before we left, and I just had to take a picture – we only left her with the mohawk for about 5 minutes, but maybe longer next time – I think it’s a good look for such a sweet little girl.

Candy Cane Coffee Cake Recipe

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Rectangle of dough

After cutting strips

Add fruit filling

The press-twist-press-next method

On the pan ready to bake

Okay, I got a lot of requests for this, here, and on Facebook, so here goes. Just warning you, it’s not super easy, but it’s not bad either, and it is worth it. It’s not healthy, but hey, it’s Christmas! Next year I may try to sub the sour cream with Greek yogurt, but we’ll see. And someone apparently helpfully took pictures, so I’ll add those too. 🙂

2 c. sour cream (I use light)
1/4 c. butter
2 pkg. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1/3 c. sugar
2 t. salt
2 eggs
6 c. flour
1 1/2 c. dried apricots
1 1/2 c. maraschino cherries
powdered sugar

In a saucepan, heat sour cream with butter until the butter melts and it’s lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in the water (make it a good yeast temperature). Mix together sour cream mixture, dissolved yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 c. of the flour. When combined, mix in another 3 1/2 c. flour. Turn onto a board and use the last 1/2 c. of flour to knead for 10 minutes (you may need a bit more). Put in greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour (I turn on my oven for a couple of minutes at the lowest setting and then TURN IT OFF and put the bowl in there – use a metal bowl). While it’s rising, chop the apricots and cherries together, reserving 14 cherries for garnish – this should be a rough chop. (I use my food processor. As a child I remember spending what seemed like DAYS chopping apricots. Add a little flour to the apricots to they don’t stick to the blade and do them separately or add the cherries later – cherries chop a lot faster and will turn to slush in about 3 pulses).

Take the dough out and divide it into 3 balls. Each ball will make one coffee cake. Roll a ball on a floured surface to about a 12″ x 16″ rectangle. Looking at it vertically, use scissors to cut strips from each side in about 1/3 of the way, leaving the center third whole (make sure you have the same number of strips on both sides). Spread 1/3 of the apricot/cherry mixture down the center. Take the two top strips, cross them over the fruit, press together and twist, and then press down onto the fruit. Continue all the way down, pressing the new twist over the last one, and sealing the final one at the bottom. Lift onto an ungreased baking sheet, stretching one end a bit and pulling it over into the shape of a candy cane. You can bake it now, or let it rise again for about 20-30 minutes and it will be puffier (my preference). Bake at 375 degrees about 15 minutes until it gets golden brown on top. Mix powdered sugar with a little water to make a glaze and drizzle on top. Cut 4-5 cherries in half and garnish (picture in the last post).

These freeze so well – since it make so much, I always bake one when we make them, and then freeze the other two for Christmas morning and New Year’s morning. Just freeze on the tray before the baking step, and once they are frozen, take them back out and wrap them well and put them back in the freezer. We take them out the night before and leave them on the counter, and they’re exactly ready to bake for breakfast. Hope you like them!