In 2011, when I began writing music, I would have never, ever thought I'd land here - launching a blog, telling stories, writing words without accompaniment and feeling this need to do something greater than myself.
But, here I am.
It started with one story, one life. In February of 2014, I began a writing program in our county jail called "Your Story / Your Song" in which I meet one-on-one with a detainee for 6-8 weeks. In these meetings, I hear the detainee's story as they write and journal. Often, I am able to transform a portion of their story into a song. The first such person I met and worked with in this program was Bridget Huisman. In her story I found hope, inspiration and a song (more on that later). Bridget and I have shared laughter and tears as we have walked together since then.
After working with Bridget, I found what I was looking to do to combine my passions as a musician, writer, and minister.
I WANT EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING TO KNOW THEIR WORTH.
It took me a while (actually, a long, long while) to be led to this purpose, but here I am; hoping and praying this blog (and subsequent album) leads to inspiration and transformation in the people who read it. I want people to know their worth so they can love more deeply and embrace that which matters most.
As I have talked with people from all walks of life - in jails, in hospitals, in the professional community, moms, dads, ministers, rich people, poor people and everything in-between - I've discovered that many of our deepest struggles come from an inherent lack of self-worth. This is true for the drug-addict longing for escape, for the mom buried so deep in child-rearing that she has lost herself, for the empty-nester who is struggling to find purpose and relevance, for the over-achiever working for the approval of a loved one.
Your value is not measured by what you do, but in who you are.
This blog is not a self-help blog, or a how-to-be-a-good-person blog, or a religious, you'll-be-happy-if-you-come-to-Jesus blog (though I think Jesus is pretty rad). This is a blog that will tell the stories of ordinary, everyday life. I'll share insights along the way, but ultimately, I desire the stories and interviews to speak for themselves.
You will find a few different types of posts on this blog.
1) Everyday Life: These posts will be stories or anecdotes from life around us. I hope to share insights into what makes us human and what makes us *better* humans.
2) ExtraOrdinary Story: These posts will be interviews with people I meet and interact with. For the most part, these will be people who live ordinary lives, but in this ordinary-ness, we will find strength, wisdom, and inspiration.
3) From the Margins: These posts will be stories from places many of us will never visit - hospitals, jails, prisons, etc. These are real people with real struggles. I hope to open eyes to the reality of life outside the margins and what we can do to right the injustices in our communities.
4) The Worthy People Project Album: This blog will also serve as the launching platform for my next album. The songs I have written for the album tell the stories of people I have encountered in our county jail, from my own life and the lives of ordinary people. The background stories of these songs will be shared on this blog after the album is released. In the meantime, you will see the occasional post with updates on the progress of the album.
What's with the Succulents?
First, I have to give a big shout out to Jenna Nelson who worked with me in developing ideas for branding this blog. I wanted to find just the right logo and it took a few turns to get it right. I had an "ah-ha" moment while doing the dishes one day. With my hands wrist deep in suds, my eye caught a glimpse of the succulent I'd recently purchased as I stared out the window. I thought about that succulent for a while and realized I didn't know that much about them. Of course, after doing a quick 'google' search, I became an expert in all things succulent.
Did you know a succulent can survive in extreme conditions, where no other plants can survive? They have thickened leaves, stems and roots that store water for later use if they live in a dessert or experience a period of drought. In other words, these plants are tough. Plus, they are beautiful to boot. What better way to symbolize strength and resiliency; characteristics I often find in surprising places and people.
Here's where YOU come in
In this modern, digital world, an audience is best developed organically. That organic growth happens when you share, comment, and 'like' either here on the blog or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms. The more you share, comment and 'like' the more this blog will be read. I will be dedicating time, energy, and effort into this endeavor and I'm rewarded through your support! So, if you like something, let me know by sharing, commenting, or liking.
And, along the way I hope you discover your own value - since every life, and every moment has worth.
Here's to the next leg of the journey!