Hearkening back to the heyday of indie Christian music

The mid to late 1990s was an incredible time for Christian music. No matter what genre of music you enjoyed listening to – punk, ska, Goth, Celtic – you could find a Christian equivalent. And as a brand-new Christian and a high school freshman in 1996, I felt like a kid in the sonic equivalent of a candy store. Continue reading

Do I exaggerate in my humor columns?

One of the most frequent comments I get about Tete-a-tete, my humor column, is, “Is everything you write about your family really true?”

Yes. Yes it is.

To some of my readers, especially those who haven’t had the pleasure of knowing my family personally, the exploits I record in print sometimes seem a little too odd to be believable. Surely, there must be some exaggeration taking place – even just a wee bit – to ensure that my columns are humorous.

No. No there isn’t. (Copious snaps to you, dear reader, if you’re picking up on the modified “Phineas and Ferb” references here.) Continue reading

Now in heavy rotation: Shadwell and Regina Spektor

When I’m in the early stages of writing and editing, listening to music often makes these parts of the creative process a little less daunting. These two songs have been in my rotation a lot these days, and I find myself listening to them even when I’m not working because I enjoy them just that much. Continue reading

Bible verse translations for performers and fans

No matter what challenges we may face in our lives, the Bible has wisdom that will guide, comfort and help us. Sometimes, in order to understand how very explicitly God’s Word applies to our particular situations, we need a bit of translation assistance.

Following is a selection of Bible verses, followed by my translations to clarify how the verses apply to performers and their fans. Continue reading

The best writing advice I’ve ever received

I’ve been a published writer for nearly 14 years now, and during this time I’ve received two valuable pieces of writing advice that I keep in mind to this day. Though the advice was given in regards to two specific pieces I was working on, it’s universal enough that it can apply to any writer, regardless of what kind of writing you may do. Continue reading

Three tips for writing the perfect fan letter

Many fans want to send letters to their favorite performers, but it can be difficult to know what to include in such a letter. Is it OK to confess if you have a crush on them? Should you tell them about your problems or your daily life? Can you ask them to do an event in your area? Continue reading

Remembering God’s ‘peculiar mercies’ at Christmastime

With Christmas just around the corner, I am reminded of the very personal ways in which God has acted in my life over this past year. Remembering these actions, I have discovered, helps me to appreciate afresh His most personal action of all: God sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem a sinful and fallen world through His sacrificial death on the Cross.

The Creator of the Universe wrapping Himself in flesh and coming down to earth as a vulnerable infant, to straighten out the mess we created for ourselves. It’s such a mind-blowing concept, I can barely begin to wrap my mind around it. But when I see God acting in the details of my life, who He is and what He has done – and continues to do – for me becomes that much more personal, that much more accessible to me. Continue reading

Lost Words: the holiday edition

Looking to spice up your holiday vocabulary? Try out these gems from the Compendium of Lost Words, courtesy of one of my favorite language resources, The Phrontistery. Though these words exited everyday use centuries ago, they have a certain flair and specificity that more common words are simply unable to express. Continue reading

When authors love their characters

One of the most interesting things I learned as an English major probably was not what that professor hoped I would take away from his class. We were discussing Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” – considered an important work of fiction, especially if you’re enrolled in a women’s college in Massachusetts – and the professor asked us this thought-provoking question:

“Whose side do you think Hawthorne is on? Which character has the author’s empathy?” Continue reading

The (K-pop) song that started it all

My interest in Japanese pop culture began with anime, so it’s difficult for me to pinpoint the first J-pop song that grabbed my attention; it was most likely an anime theme song of some kind. I remember quite clearly, though, the first K-pop (or Korean pop) song that caught my ear – and my eye. Continue reading