Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Brand New Me # 130 Ideas Are Your Friends


"There's nothing so powerful as an idea who's time has come." — Jim Rohn
 
Sometimes ideas can feel like little mosquitos who are pesky and want a place to land and suck your blood. At least, that’s how I feel some days. I can’t possibly carry out all of the ideas that pop into my mind or give them a place to live. BUT….in the end, ideas can be our friends. We just have to learn how to nurture, prioritize and categorize them. 
 
When you see Portraits of White, you'll be witnessing the power of an idea. 
 
A snowy day led to the idea for the title song, Portraits of White.
 
One single manger scene in a Christmas shop in 1999 sparked the idea for the song Take Another Look. 
 
That song took me down a path of "skipping Christmas" that year so I could pay attention to the holiday sadness I often felt in December. 
 
Skipping Christmas opened up space for me to start expressing my feelings through songwriting. 
 
Those seeds of songs started me thinking about doing a Christmas album.
 
The album provided more ideas - how about a show where we "hear" and "see" the music?
 
It came to pass in 2014 and it will again this year! Do you have your tickets to see this show yet? 
 
Here are 5 steps that Jim Rohn suggests for turning nothing into something:
 
1) Start with ideas and imagination - they aren't tangible, but they are almost real.
 
2) Believe that what you imagine is possible for you. 
 
Two types of testimonials can provide inspiration for us:
"If I can do it, you can do it." (Someone else's story)
"If I did it once, I can do it again." (Our own story)
 
3) Go to work and make it real - make it tangible.
 
4) It takes the disciplined activity to make it reality.
 
5) Appreciate the discipline it takes to follow through and see it happen.

Check out this episode!

Ideas Are Your Friends

"There's nothing so powerful as an idea who's time has come." — Jim Rohn

Sometimes ideas can feel like little mosquitos who are pesky and want a place to land and suck your blood. At least, that’s how I feel some days. I can’t possibly carry out all of the ideas that pop into my mind or give them a place to live. BUT….in the end, ideas can be our friends. We just have to learn how to nurture, prioritize and categorize them. 

When you see Portraits of White, you'll be witnessing the power of an idea. 

A snowy day led to the idea for the title song, Portraits of White.

One single manger scene in a Christmas shop in 1999 sparked the idea for the song Take Another Look. 

That song took me down a path of "skipping Christmas" that year so I could pay attention to the holiday sadness I often felt in December. 

Skipping Christmas opened up space for me to start expressing my feelings through songwriting. 

Those seeds of songs started me thinking about doing a Christmas album.

The album provided more ideas - how about a show where we "hear" and "see" the music?

It came to pass in 2014 and it will again this year! Do you have your tickets to see this show yet? 

Here are 5 steps that Jim Rohn suggests for turning nothing into something:

1) Start with ideas and imagination - they aren't tangible, but they are almost real.

2) Believe that what you imagine is possible for you. 

Two types of testimonials can provide inspiration for us:

"If I can do it, you can do it." (Someone else's story)

"If I did it once, I can do it again." (Our own story)

3) Go to work and make it real - make it tangible.

4) It takes the disciplined activity to make it reality.

5) Appreciate the discipline it takes to follow through and see it happen.



 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Brand New Me # 129 What Inspires You?


What inspires you? How can you turn that into creativity?

Frances answers the question from a Portraits of White fan; "What inspires you to create?" 

Do you have to "feel" inspired to write a song or create something?

 


Check out this episode!

What Inspires You?

"What inspires you to create? What inspires you, not just your music, but your life?" 

This question makes me wonder. Do we have to be "inspired" to create? 

I started out my songwriting journey writing solely by inspiration. I'd hear lyrics and melodies in my head. All I had to do was sit down at the piano and follow their lead. They always seemed to lead somewhere. Based on that experience, I was convinced that it was best to just wait for the inspiration.

One time I heard one of my favorite songwriters say that they wait for inspiration. They never write unless they first hear a phrase or lyric in their mind. That seemed very magical and spiritual. 

Then I attended a songwriting workshop where the leader said we write by inspiration AND perspiration. "Nah," I thought to myself. "Why would I bother making myself sweat to write when I can wait to feel inspired?"

Then I heard about the non-profit organization called Songs of Love. They were looking for songwriters to write and produce songs for children and teens with a lifetime disability or terminal illness. Something nudged me to audition.

When I found out that I was accepted as a songwriter, I was thrilled and anxious to get started. Until I got my first profile. "Now I HAVE to come up with a fully produced song within 25 days," I said to myself while feeling a sudden sense of panic. What if inspiration doesn't strike? Oops....

Remembering that songs are basically a combination of elements: lyrics, notes, rhythms, etc., I started to focus on the task. I played with the rhythm and sound of the child's name. How could I creatively use it in a song?  

Aha! I had a chorus idea. Then I started in on the verses. Next thing I knew, I had a song. I felt extremely inspired.

I've been writing for Songs of Love for over 17 years now and I can say that I'm no longer convinced I need to wait for inspiration. It sure would be nice to feel something special every time I want to write, but I've discovered that creative juices can get flowing just by starting.

One of my songwriting heroes, Robert Sterling says "As dull as it sounds, songwriters find their ideas and inspiration hiding in mundane, everyday things and places—in resources available to anyone willing to pay attention. Those same resources are all around you every day, and they fall into two general categories: reading and listening."

Back to the original question... What inspires you to create? 

I decided to take a different approach for answering this week's fan question. I was pretty sure that if I'd sit down and take the time to reflect on the songs I've written, I could probably always trace their start to a specific event, phrase or moment.

So over the weekend I sat down and listed the song titles from my albums. Beside the song title, I wrote a short phrase that describes the spark that started the song. You'll see that some ideas were just simple, every day events or words, like Robert suggests. They didn't come dressed up in sparkles like some kind of fancy genie who pops out of a bottle when you make a wish. Oh if only!! But all it took was a spark and inspiration soon followed.

I hope this will inspire you to pay close attention to the things you hear, see and feel! You never know when creativity is waiting right around the corner.

Big sister flies away (Big Blue Sky)

Vocal exercise (From My Heart)

Digging in my garden (Master Gardener)

Wilted flower garden (Rain)

Y2K (Just When You Think)

Sunday sermon (Living Fire)

Feel like I'm always fighting another battle (God is Able)

Racine (The Memory of You)

Husband shoveling snow (Moments)

A discouraged friend (Who You Are)

The word "turn" (Turn and Look in His Eyes)

Youth missions - camp sermon (Love Me)

Moment of overwhelming peace (Sometimes)

Bad news (Be Joyful)

Family finances (The Bottom of Grace)

Doubts (I Still Believe)

Faulty synthesizer (Never By Accident)

Family farm auction (Bidder on the Heart)

Making a career decision (Wrong Thing)

Flashy female speaker (Personalities)

Watching a friend's life change (Free From the Inside Out)

Spontaneous Spirit jingle (He Can)

Pussy willow tree on childhood farm (Innocence is Good)

Visiting my father's grave (Someone Else's Shoes)

The harp and the bowl sermon (In the Hand of the Lord)

Cat looking out the window (Shatter the Glass)

Blooming lilacs (Missin' You)

Tragic accident (I Can Pray)

Phone call from my brother (Pond Beside the Barn)

Teenage slumber party (Wonderfully Created)

100 year church celebration (I Know God)

Radio show (Miracles)

Radios in India (One Small Box)

Playful piano (Joy to the World)

Snow drifts (Portraits of White)

List from pre-school mom (MOPS)

One night I had a dream (Back to the Heart of Christmas)

Writing challenge from producer (Ride in the Sleigh)

Church drama (You With Me)

A Christmas shop (Take Another Look)

Facebook comment (Hope Walked In)

Figure skating (Brand New Me)

I'm feeling free (Feels Good to be Free)

David & Goliath (Who Do You Think You Are?)

Drum beats (Out of the Box)

Misunderstanding (Don't Quit)

Motorcycles (It's All About the Ride)

Serenade song for church staff (Blessing Song)

This week's video.



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

What makes your heart pump?

 "What is your favorite thing about Portraits of White? What really gets your heart pumping?"

Oh THIS was a fun question to answer!

This video says it all.



Brand New Me # 128 It Feels Good to Be Free


When do you feel the most free? What is your safe place? Is there hope when it comes to freedom of the soul?

This week's Portraits of White fan question made me start thinking about life in general. I've been reflecting on the journey toward a "Brand New Me" and how it brought me to a new place of freedom. The question was: "What is your favorite part of Portraits of White? What really gets your heart pumping?" 

I definitely love to play the piano and that's my favorite part...but beyond that, I love feeling free. It's taken a lifetime, but I feel like I've moved from feeling free on the piano bench to feeling free in other areas of my life.

I can tell you that no matter what you're facing today, you can walk in freedom. Don't give up!

 


Check out this episode!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Brand New Me # 127 More Religious?


"Do you ever consider making Portraits of White more religious?"

Now that's a very thought-provoking question. My answer in this week's podcast episode might surprise you!


Check out this episode!