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MY GREATEST BLESSINGS (AND CHALLENGES) OF 2015

Wow! 2015 has been truly memorable, as I close in on nearly three years of full-time music and writing ministry! God has been so good as He has opened doors to new, sometimes unexpected opportunities, and closed doors that were not for me. It has been a blessing (and sometimes a challenge) to listen carefully to His voice; and to remember to keep Him at the centre of all I do. 
  
Here are my greatest blessings and challenges of 2015. 
  
Creating a new website: After a few years of frustration with managing my…

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BANISHING FEAR: MY EXPERIENCE AS PART OF A CHRISTMAS FLASH MOB

Note: This is an updated version of a blog post from 2012. 
  
There have been a few times in my life when I have been sidelined by health problems. The last four months of 2012 was one of those seasons. Things had started to go downhill a few months after I released my debut CD Turn the Page, and it was a time that I largely cocooned myself, out of necessity and choice, away from the world. On partial medical leave from a professional job, my focus was on getting better and keeping up with my modified work…

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TOP TEN FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS ALBUMS

What can be more glorious and joyful than music created to celebrate the birth of Jesus? I have listened to a lot of Christmas albums over the years, and as talented and entertaining mainstream artists can be, I personally believe that it is Christian recording artists and songwriters that best capture the spirit of Christmas—a true celebration and reflected understanding of the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ from those who believe. 
  
I myself wanted to focus on the birth of Jesus when I wrote…

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UNFURLING GOD'S GLORY IN OUR LIVES

The most spectacular moment in the life cycle of the butterfly is when the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, unfurls its wings, and is ready to fly. And this is just the beginning of its journey!


 
Similarly, there are times in our lives when, after going through the egg, caterpillar, and cocooning stages, we finally burst forth to fulfill God’s purposes and plans. “Bursting” may be a bit of a misnomer, as it really is the culmination of a gradual process that bridges occasional breakthrough moments with…Read more
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INTRODUCING BENEATH THAT STAR ILLUSTRATOR SARAH E. NICKEL

As God’s glory is revealed through His unfolding purposes and plans for our respective lives, He calls us to encourage and uplift others in their gifting too. As someone who has worked with children, youth, and young adults for 20 years, my heart still beats strongly for this age group.
 
When I was looking for an illustrator for my book The Two Trees, I asked my network of writer colleagues if they had worked with or knew any children’s book illustrators. Although I received and followed up on several leads,…Read more
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IS THE ANSWER TO A BUSY WEEK THE CATERPILLAR OR THE CHRYSALIS?

Waking up this morning at 5:30 am, I couldn’t help but mentally review my busy week ahead. Even though our pastor had prayed on Sunday that we would have the strength to accomplish all God had set out for us in the coming days, I was still concerned that I would have enough energy for everything going on. On top of the day-to-day administration of my music and writing ministry, music practices, a radio interview, meetings, a hair appointment, a book signing, and hosting a house concert with (and opening…Read more
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THE COCOON PART II

The disappearance of a caterpillar into its cocoon and its subsequent transformation into a butterfly is both a symbol of the death and resurrection of Christ and the change that we undergo when accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. Some cultures display butterflies at funerals and memorials to symbolize the hope of resurrection from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 says this:

"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown inRead more
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THE COCOON

When a caterpillar entombs itself in a cocoon, there is no sign of life, at least from an outsider’s viewpoint. But inside, away from prying eyes, a true miracle is taking place.


 
Like the caterpillar in the cocoon, much of our personal and spiritual growth occurs in a secret, quiet place, out of the public eye. For those who have labored or simply existed—perhaps even thrived—for years as a wife, husband, mother, father, parent, son, daughter, and/or worker, you likely had dreams that you put on hold and …Read more
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THE CATERPILLAR LIFE

Here is a summary of the main points of this series of blog posts to date:
 
  1. God has designed us to be creative beings.
  2. To be “Butterfly’d” means to burst forth from the “caterpillar life” to the brilliant beauty of the butterfly
  3. The journey to fulfill your creative self starts with the resources you have at hand.
Note: These resources include both the internal (your passions, strengths, and ideas) and the external (this will vary according to your area of creativity).


 
Continuing on with our…Read more
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OUT OF LIMITATIONS COMES CREATIVITY

A little background about the egg phase of the butterfly cycle:
 
Some species of butterflies lay eggs one at a time, while others lay eggs in clusters or by the hundreds. The size of a butterfly egg varies from 1 mm to 3 mm, about the diameter (more or less) of the head of a pin. The eggs can be oval or round, and are green, white, or yellow in colour. Butterfly eggs usually attach to plants, most typically on the underside of a leaf, to keep it warm, moist, and out of the eyesight of predators. Nonetheless,…Read more