Just got back from a fantastic time in Naples, FL for the Storytellers Creative Arts Conference. I absolutely love these folks there and their hearts. A big part of my heart is for South Florida and it thrills me to hear our great Story, the one you love to see in every movie, hear in every song, see in every painting or sculpture, told in the most creative ways possible. They do that at Storytellers. If you haven’t heard of For A Season Band, you will. Thanks so much to Bill Barnett for inviting me back and Covenant Church in Naples for hosting us.
This is my friend Michelle Bythrow. She has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard and I have a huge crush on her dad, Roccy Defrancesco, who was at one time the number one classical accordion player in the world.
I’m a better woman for having breakfast with that man. One lucky duck, I tell ya!!
AND on Friday, November 22, my sweet Abby’s birthday, at 6:00pm I’ll be here!! If you’re in the Sevierville area, will you join us? This little guy was sent to the hospital following an unknown mosquito bite. One of my sweet friends Shea Frazier wanted to know how she could help this family (Layne is her son’s best friend) and in addition to many other fundraisers, she thought a benefit concert would be a great idea and I agree Come out to Evergreen Church on Dolly Parton Parkway and enjoy a great evening for a great cause.
Blessings to you guys! Believe that Jesus loves you. Learn more about Him and the hellos and goodbyes of this world all make a whole lot more sense. If you feel that nudge in your heart that you’re missing something, don’t stop looking!! He longs for you to know Him and keeps showing you everywhere you look if you’ll believe. We are far too easily satisfied.
Thanks for stopping by! Just wanted to fill you in a bit on our fall; those things we’ve survived and are looking forward to. It’s a full life if you live it so and by all means, we’re diving in. STAY TUNED. I’ve written some new tunes I’m excited for you to hear. I’m learning to write and I’ll share soon!
I often tell folks who ask what I do that my world is very much like a rotating box. I am a wife and momma of four kiddos, a singer/recording artist, a songwriter and a worship leader. At any given time, one of those is at the top but still supported and a part of the other three.
I have a very large support system of family and friends that have become family that enable us to do this and I’m crazy grateful they are willing and available. We absolutely love you guys!
I played alongside some amazing guys, namely Steve Laciak, (AMAZING voice and songs. Love what he and Kate Phillips do together!) WestWend, (super talented duo with hauntingly great harmonies) Travis Singleton, (whom I’m just nuts about) and Grady Milligan, (a CRAZY fun guy to watch in concert.)
See? Did EVERY bit of that without a single hashtag#!!
I was amazingly blessed to head down to Trinity Lutheran Church in Delray Beach, FL a few weeks ago. It had been a crazy fall. On my way to one of my shows in Gatlinburg I hydroplaned on a back mountain road and flipped off into a a bunch of bamboo, totaling my van. I was alone, actually had my guitar in her hard case instead of my gig bag and walked away (was actually pulled out by a cowboy and another passerby) with nothing but a bruise on my leg.
I had always imagined what it would be like to be in a hanging-from-your-seatbelt accident, and I can honestly say there was a very surreal peace through it. This past year I have been rear ended twice and head-butted by a deer.
This accident, however, is one of those moments that time revolves around. So, AFTER the accident, we had to get a new vehicle, which sent my husband down to FL to pick it up.
The following week I headed down to Delray Beach, FL. It was an honor to lead with other folks, who like myself, were in transition and weary from the unknown. It was a great gift to come and lead them knowing that our hope, strength and future was the same. Sometimes we need to remind each other of that. My band was stellar, my hosts so very gracious and Blue Moon tastes even better in South Florida.
November 8-10th I’ll be heading back to Naples, FL for the 4th annual Storytellers Creative Arts Conference! If you are a creative or have desire to see where God is moving in the arts, PLEASE make plans to join us! Check out their website for the list of folks meeting there. You may not know them by name, but they have become like family to me and I look forward to hearing what God is up to all over the world. You will be blessed. Promise.
I pray for you as you are experiencing your very full life too, that you are being brave. It’s the hardest thing to do, I think, and I would find it completely impossible if I didn’t truly believe that I was created and sustained by One who loves me more than I could possibly fathom. When I look to the cross and to Jesus, I believe that.
Blessings and peace to you!! Dance sometime today
Happy SUMMER you guys!!!
We’ve hit summer hard as the Christian’s tend to do. Math? Sleep? Who has time for THAT stuff?!?!?
At the end of this note, I’ve posted an acoustic version of my new song, “Sparkle!” You can go to my VIDEO page to see more new videos Here’s a brief rundown of our crazy summer!
We’re very excited to be back to sing at Bridgemont Camp. There’s a great group of campers singing their hearts out! Bridgemont is this amazing place in East TN where we are reminded of the great simple things. If you have a 7-14 year old that needs a refreshing place to be over the summer, CHECK THEM OUT!! We’ve led for 12 years there now and it’s always an honor to lead there, especially with my Joel. He’s has such a brave, tender heart, and an amazing voice. I’m one lucky duck.
Around the first of April, I was approached by the City of Sevierville and the Hard Rock Cafe to do some “modeling” for their Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass website. Chad Branton, his assistant (he was fantastic but I totally can’t remember his name) and I had a blast shooting. My Emma was under the weather that day so she got to sit in and watch her mum in action. Which is ANOTHER reason to follow me on TWITTER
We got some GREAT shots that day. Be on the watch for them!
ALSO, make plans on JULY 19th the head out to the Smokies stadium! I’m singing the National Anthem, as long as it doesn’t rain! So pray with me for no rain
I’m looking forward to the Smoky Mountain Songwriter’s Festival coming up August 15-18!!! If you’re a creative in the Smoky Mountain area, you NEED to make plans to be here. If you’re far off, COME ON UP/DOWN/OVER!!!! Great writers take to the venues of Gatlinburg, TN for a fantastic weekend of original music! I’m thrilled to be joining some amazing folks in August and would love to see you there!
I’ve been asked to join the incredible folks down in Naples, FL for the Storytellers Creative Arts Conference. I’ll write more on that later, but suffice it to say, I’m looking forward to November 7th even more than I did last year.
I recently recorded a few of my new songs so you can hear them!! On my last Nashville trip, I was approached by a gentleman about writing for a pop female artist. It was my first venture to try that. Pulling from all my favorite things in life, I found “Sparkle.” I hope you like it.
And wow, if you’ve made it this far, I’m honored and blown away. I’m so grateful to walk with some fantastic folks, some of whom I’ve walked for a l o n g long time. Thanks for listening to the tunes, coming to the shows, sending me texts after you’ve commented on Facebook or Twitter. I love being connected with you.
Here’s to another day of resting in this lavish grace that would even call us to hope in something greater than this. Here’s to a day (or night) of daring to trust God with His love and care for you and deciding, right this moment, to start Sparkling!
Love you dearly!
Every January (I know it’s February…hang with me for a minute), the stars line up, my worlds collide and I dare to ride the wave of creativity and productivity that comes post holidays. As a worship leading, church music directing wife and partying mother of 4, December hits me like a hurricane, stirring everything up, bringing all sorts of great stuff to the surface and then spitting me out spent on the other side. But as a true “Martha,” I’ve been running so hard and so fast it feels much like hitting the solid ground at the end of a moving sidewalk.
So what to do? 2012 was an amazing year for a lot of us. For some of us, redemption and restoration had it’s way with our souls and we are still shaking our heads at our new places of freedom. We’ve seen the fruition of one time dreams that are now realities. Children grew up, smile lines deepened and our hearts went places we wouldn’t have dared to go. My spirit has been moving as fast as my heart and that doesn’t seem to be stopping either.
Now, in February, my house is finally in working order, our church is moving into a new series on “Real Love” and we have a small group that we love. I’ve managed to get back and forth and back and forth to Nashville to write and co-write. I’m involved with the SMSWF and John Condrone’s Songwriter’s Rounds out at Crystelle Creek in Gatlinburg and I’ve played out more this year than I did the same time last year. As my sister is fond of saying, “We’re really doing this!!!!!” The momentum is picking up speed and we’re seizing the day.
Hallerin Hilton Hill, one of my favorite radio celebrities, opens every show with this:
“Welcome to this brand new day. This day has never been lived before. It’s a blank canvas. If you will it so, it can be your masterpiece. As you wake up this morning think of three things you’re grateful for and then get out there and live this day with all the joy, wonder and enthusiasm you can muster.”
Every day as I drop my kids off to school, I give them bits and pieces of this. I am a woman of faith. I have heard the Creator tell of His great love for me in the redemptive cross of His Son and it rocks my world to the core. To know I’m loved has radically changed me. As I embrace this day with that certainty, recklessly abandoned to the good plans my God has for me, I do so with the blinds to my life wide open. My family is right there with me, watching, copying, encouraging others to do the same.
As I look around and see the longing eyes and the shoulders weary from the wounds of this world, I want more than anything to say,
“Look up. Your Hope has come. Beloved, it’s a REALLY good day!”
What say you? Will you seize the day too? I think we’re quite capable if we dare to trust Him.
Blessings to you for this new year. It’s gonna be a good one.
I’m always grateful anytime you stop by! If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, I’d love to keep up with you there!
I’ve been reminded often as we walk in this direction that I don’t order my steps. There is much talk about destiny and making your own, but the truth of it is, there are just entirely too many variables for me to completely chose my “best life now.” It’s an impossible goal.
But I have found that as I do the things for Love, the other pieces just seem to fall in place. And that’s just where I want to be.
I’m thrilled to be heading back to Naples, FL for the Storytellers Creative Arts Conference
As a creative person awakened to life by the love, sacrifice and redemption of Christ, I struggle with the categorization of “Christian” art. Art cannot be Christian when it is but an expression; it has no soul. But as I create, the soul of the story, the song, the painting is mine. And I can create with bravery and beauty or within the safety net of a defined space, somewhat akin to painting by numbers. I struggle with just where to go with my own personal music, but my heart keeps coming back to this: Find me daily trusting, loving, and doing the hard work armed with fearless courage.
I am so encouraged by the folks that gather in Naples with me. This call to more progressive, more compelling mainstream art from the Christian community is the resounding cry from the presenters, and I’m thrilled to be joining them again. Might God be calling you to join us to? What would happen if we, the artists who happen to be Christian, got together and said, “How can we reflect the glory of God as magnificently as He enables us to do?” I think it would be better than magic. And yes, I said magic.
Hope you can join us! In the mean time, I’ll be doing a few festivals in the Southeast region, singing out whenever I can. Check our upcoming events to see when you can come out and see us!
It’s been a wild fall already and we’re just getting started!!! Here are some highlights.
Thanks for stopping by! And if we met on the road, please drop a note on the Contact Page and let me know! I would love to keep upwith you!
I’m on facebook or twitter (@marthachrs)
I had the great pleasure of being a part of the first annual Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival in Gatlinburg, TN. No, this is not Steven Curtis Chapman. This is a pic I took of me and my new friend Jeff Barnes. We got to play together at the Park Vista lounge as part of the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival. He was wonderful. You should check him out.
Another one to check off the bucket list is playing on the Ole Smoky Moonshine Hollar Stage with the festival! The party lights draped lazily over the rocking chairs filled with grateful folks who just sampled the moonshine made for a PERFECT venue. I loved it. Met some great new friends, was encouraged to record “Hold My Hand” and found that I LOVE the Bose L1 Towers. LOVE EM. Best live speakers out there!
I’ve been able to be a part of the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival from when it was just a dream in Cyndy Reeves Montgomery’s heart and I was so stinking proud of her as the songwriters gathered in the Edgewater Hotel to hear the winners of the songwriting competition. As folks gathered in the back of the room, awaiting the scores to be tallied, I was talking to my new friend Lee Johnson when Cyndy called me up to hand out the awards!!! It was like an Inspire Worship Conference DEJA VU!!!! I’m destined to be Vanna White in this world. All there is to it. Here I am with Jonathan Dean Snellings, who won the overall songwriting competition. He was great. Be watching for him. As for the pics, I’m in EVERY other award pic from that night. And there were PLENTY
My good friend Larry Love with Larry Love Photography visited me when I was singing at the Sevier County Fair and caught this great shot. I love his eye. My sweet family came and stayed for my whole 2 hour set. If that doesn’t say “We believe in you,” I don’t know what does. I’m amazingly blessed.
I sincerely hope that every day you use those 20 seconds of courage to take a step of faith toward that quiet dream in your soul. It’s a crazy ride, but isn’t that we all want? At least just a little? God is a god who loves to give the big dreams and then faithful to give the God-sized provisions that make them happen. I’m praying you are brave enough to trust Him with them. He is good and He loves us. He’s daring us to trust Him.
Related, check out my album if you haven’t yet. It’s huge on Spotify. I KID.
Blessings to you!
Pretty excited to be in one of my favorite places, Nashville, TN, waiting to fly down to New Orleans for the weekend. I’ll be opening for my friend David Blackwell who is releasing his album, “Lonely Road,” as well as raising funds and awareness for Spina Bifida of Greater New Orleans.
Check him out here: www.davidblackwellmusic.com
We’ll also be leading worship Sunday morning at Crossroads church. Any time I get to love and lead the Bride of Christ, I’m thrilled.
Then it’s off to meet my family and head to the beach for some much needed family time! Funny how life just gets going sometimes and you find yourself holding your breath and checking your Twitter more than you should. Or maybe that’s just me! Our youngest daughter is 3 and is full of life and sass and all that jazz. Just like the children’s literary character, Olivia, she is very good at wearing people out. And about dinner time, she’s usually worn herself out too. The smallest thing can set off fitful tears and pouty lips and angry little growls from our princess, and we know the only cure is a “master reset.” She goes for a little time out on the bathroom stool. After a few moments we go in and talk with her, pray with her, tell her how much we love her…She emerges a new, happy girl.
And so we find ourselves every once in a while, just overwhelmed with the life around us; the lives we’ve let in or tried to keep out, the loves we try to run to and away from, the places we cry, the places we hide, and we just need, like my sweet Tess, a “master reset.” It’s why I think holidays and stay-cations (when you live in a gorgeous place like Gatlinburg, you just close the blinds and stay put for a day or two) are so important.
We are so prone to forget the things we love. We need to be brought back to those simple places of shared sunrises and sunsets, brave moonlit walks, carefree breakfasts in jammies, living in swim suits, taking the long way, lingering conversations, exploring, you know, “longing for heaven” kind of living. Some folks do really well at living like this. The rest of us? We need a “master reset” every once in a while.
So pray for my sweet husband as he’s taking the four kiddos in a fifth wheel for the next few days until I join them. May we be brave. May we be quick to believe that whatever “this” is is good. May we be slow to speak, quick to hear, eager to love, grateful to forgive. May we embrace for even a moment how dearly loved we all are, as evidenced in the reckless love of Jesus that would say, “I see all your scars and I long to make you whole.”
“Dare You to Trust Me”
Sunday June 24, 2012
1103 Dolly Parton Pkwy
Sevierville, TN 37862
ORDER the CD HERE!!!
Make plans to join us as we perform the album and then hang out afterwards and celebrate!! So many folks have given to this project, leaving me humbled and grateful. I can’t wait to share this moment with all of all of you guys! Make plans to be there! It’s going to be a really great night!
I’ve been chugging the coffee this afternoon, crashing from my whirlwind trip to Nashville. It was a great time of co-writing, and meetings, meetings, meetings. My late night was a result of staying for the NSAI meeting Tuesday night where I got to hear the completely endearing Dave Clark, whom I met a couple years ago at the Write About Jesus conference in St. Louis. In a few days, it will be broadcast here, and I cannot encourage you enough to check it out. His wisdom on songwriting and creating is as honestly refreshing as it is challenging. I have spent the hours since thinking, “I do not want to be good enough. I want to raise the bar.”
Trust me. Check it out.
This summer is already going full steam! I’ll be at Bridgemont Camp & Outdoor Center a whole lot this summer. I grew up there in so many ways and am grateful to still be connected with them. It’s an amazing place. Check out their website!
Thanks for checking in! If I’ve met you along the way, I hope you’re better for our meeting. If we haven’t met, I hope to one day meet you and share our stories. We have great ones to tell. I encourage you to share part of yours with someone today, knowing that when we enter into each others lives, we catch a glimpse of heaven, where everything will be exactly as it was meant to be.
Blessings for your journey!