Friday, June 28, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 118 Writer, Speaker or Leader?

I'm sitting in my room at the Prince Convention Center at Calvin College getting ready to do a concert tonight at the Speak Up With Confidence Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.

This is the 3rd time I've been the worship leader/musician for this conference and it's amazing to see what God is doing in my life now compared to the first time I attended this conference years ago and met Carol Kent for the first time. Meeting her has changed my life and ministry.

There are 3 tracks you can choose from at this training conference:
1) Writing
2) Speaking
3) Leader

150 people from 28 States, Canada and Hong Kong have descended upon MI to listen, worship, be critiqued and encouraged. It is an overwhelming experience. You will see little huddles all over the convention center and hear bells ringing every 15 minutes. A hopeful writer is pitching their book idea to a publisher. They have 15 minutes to sell their vision. When the bell rings, you have to move on. It's inspiring to be a part of this.

Tonight, after my concert, I will attend a workshop on blogging. I am so ripe for this workshop. I would have never dreamed years ago that I would crave training on blogging or any form of writing, in addition to songwriting, but that is what happens when we start dreaming and pursuing the seeds planted in our hearts. I remember when Carol reeled me in from just being a songwriter and told me she wanted to develop me as a speaker. I quivered with excitement and anxiety. Now I get invited to speak almost as much as to lead worship or do a concert.

You may start out as a writer, but you will need to learn to speak. As you learn to speak, you will find yourself leading others because of what you have to say. You may be a speaker, but there may come a time when your message should be written down for others to read - you then become an author. It all overlaps in many ways. Either way, you will definitely become a leader. You could choose any of the three tracks here and benefit from all of them no matter who you are. You might even consider coming to next year's conference. I highly recommend it.

To learn more about it, visit (You might have to paste this into your browser, since I'm doing this on my iPad which doesn't seem to make hyper links when blogging).

I'll be anxious to see what I learn at the workshop tonight and how it changes this blog.

I first met Carol because I had the desire to learn how to speak better in between my songs during concerts. My oh my, I had no idea what that encounter with Carol would do for me.

What about you? Don't doubt the nudges and desires you have inside. If they never go away, no matter what happens to you, it's probably an indicator that you should follow those inklings. They will take you on amazing journeys.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day 117 What Day Is It?

I hope you haven't given up on me. I'm so busy these days sometimes I really have no idea what day it is. Right now I'm in St Louis, MO to lead worship for a breakfast for authors and speakers sponsored by author and speaker Carol Kent. Carol does an amazing job of connecting people together and giving them a chance to network. I think this is the 4th time I've done this event for her. Over the years I now know some of the authors and speakers from attending each year. It's a good chance to reconnect and hear updates on their ministries.

I did have a little bit of time to walk the floor of the International Christian Retail Show (formerly known as the Christian Booksellers Convention). This is the place where hopeful writers connect with publishers and there are many book signings for newly released books. You can walk away with autographed books hot off the press. I usually come home with a suitcase full of free books signed by the authors. This trip is no different. I have a good book I'm anxious to read on the fight home. It's a story about a woman who spent 50 weeks in hiding in the Ukraine just to adopt a child from there. I ate dinner with her last night and heard part of the story. I hear it's a real page turner. Until We All Come Home is the name of the book by Kim De Blecourt.

Last week I traveled to Nashville, again, to do a photo shoot for the Christmas album. That was like playing dress up. I arrived at 11:00 am at the photographer's studio to have my hair and make up done. Then I started putting on the 3 outfits we picked out. In between every outfit was a hair and make up touch up. It was just like being a little girl.

I started that morning in usual fiasco style, however. After a wonderful early morning walk and jump rope routine through a lovely section of Brentwood, TN (the homes there were unlike many I've seen) I came back to the house where we were staying and as I was getting ready, bumped my new bottle of make up onto the floor, broke the glass and splattered foundation all over the floor, wall and my foot. Have you ever tried to clean up foundation off of your toes? It's not made to come off very easy - that's for sure!

Then, I put on my nice white capris and we headed off to meet my producer for breakfast before the photo shoot. At Meridees in Franklin, I spilled coffee, multiple times, on my capris. I just shook my head in disbelief. Nothing like coffee stains all over the white background of my clothing.

Fortunately the photo shoot was NOT a fiasco and was a very pleasant experience. I won't post any photos yet because there are over 500 to choose from and I have no idea which ones will be chosen for the project. We are thinking about calling the project "Christmas in Black and White". I can't wait to see the finished product now that I know what some of the photos look like.

The photographer had a 10 week old puppy that stole the show! He brought a lot of laughter during the shoot. I'll close with a photo of Eizio the dog and the beautiful grand piano I was able to use this morning at the Speak Up breakfast in the crystal ballroom in St. Louis.

Today I will fly to Grand Rapids MI to lead worship and do a concert for Carol Kent's Speak Up With Confidence Conference. The merry go round continues. But I've always loved merry go rounds.