The Beautiful Country

Kindness has an undeniable and solid architecture.


My daughter Ellie is studying architecture in Copenhagen this year. Though we miss her smile and easy-going personality, she’s having the time of her life traveling Europe, taking in all of its architectural wonders and sending us photos of her watercolor paintings of Copenhagen. Architecture major. Art Minor.

Yesterday, my wife and I skyped with Ellie. She led us through a photographic journey of her recent trip to the World Expo in Milan, Italy. Advancing from photo to photo from each country’s incredible architectural and design installations, Ellie gave us a personal tour of all her curated photos. She then told us a beautiful little story about her new haircut.

I Love Little Kittens & I Hate Poison Oak

Beauty needs no reward.


I love little kittens and I hate poison oak. Turns out, I ended up with more than cat scratches last weekend. Aidan—my son—and David, a friend, and I had just finished a long day working at our 12 acre organic lemon and avocado grove.

Shoveling tons of dirt into the back of my truck, chain-sawing railroad ties, and stacking retaining wall bricks, we were building an entertainment patio space for our grove artist getaways. What could have been a long hot day had been minimized by a cool, soothing breeze that drifted over the rolling country hills from the Pacific. And so, it was just a long day lifting heavy things with lunch, laughter and a few water breaks.

At the end of the day, after locking our chain-link gate, we drove down the narrow road that borders our property. We quickly came to a halt by a small blue car stopped in the middle of the road. Two Hispanic ladies stood outside the car, peering into the bushes.

Beauty for Ashes

You Have Something to Offer this World

Beauty for Ashes

For years, my older sister Rosemary had talked about wanting to write a book. It was a familiar sounding dream. A beautiful desire. I’ve heard it from many well-meaning people. I recently read that 80% of people who wish to write a book; only 1% will actually do so. If you want to write a book, you need a strong and compelling reason. And if you really want to be a writer, you might as well take up less risky endeavors like base-jumping, Everest expeditions, hedge fund investing or learning Swahili.

You Make the World More Beautiful

The World Needs Your Beauty Today


The Eastern Congo is a place of jaw-dropping beauty and unspeakable horror. Grab a map and you’ll see the Congo smack dab in the heart of Africa. It’s the second largest country in Africa; bigger than the whole of Western Europe. A massive land filled with vast jungles, crocodile-infested rivers and savannah as far as the eye can see, Joseph Conrad chronicled his real life adventures about it in his bestselling novel Heart of Darkness.

The truth of the Congo, then and now, is no fictional tale. Read on…

Artists, Are You Audacious, Brave and Creative?


When you look back at the end of your life some day, will you be able to say that you were an audacious, brave and creative artist? If you want to cultivate a beautiful life, don’t be lulled by the anti-artistic Siren songs of safety and a risk-free life. When I look back at the end of my life, I want to see audacious, brave and creative risks taken so when I breath my last breath, I know I’ll be waking up in beautiful kingdom knowing I lived well in this one. Throw in courage, kindness, loving, humble and generous… those are a few more adjectives I want to describe my life.

My family and I recently went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Not only did we laugh and love the movie, I was inspired by Ben Stiller’s character breaking out of safety, security, and mediocrity by becoming the man he dreamed of being: Audacious, Brave and Creative!

3 Steps to Marketing Your Art

business plan concept

How can you take solid, deliberate steps to market your art with confidence and professionalism? In this guest post by artist and marketing consultant, Margot Rogers, you will learn 3 practical steps to help you market your art in a way that fits for you. If you’d like more tools to cultivate your marketing skills, I’d like to invite you to join me this Thursday, September 19 when I interview Margot for Marketing Your Art with Margot Rogers. This one-hour online class (phone and web) by The Grove Center for the Arts & Media will be packed with practical information designed to help you cultivate your marketing skills. I hope you can join us. Margot writes…

Art, Life, Faith Interview: Shiftpoints with Dean Del Sesto

If you want to cultivate a beautiful life, one of the first steps is cultivating good thinking. Have you ever killed a creative project or abandoned an artistic work by filling your mind with negative thoughts? Do your relationships suffer in any way because of poor thinking? Have you ever destroyed a dream because of the things you tell yourself? I’ve done all three of these things and more, which is why I love my friend’s new book, ShiftPoints: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life. I think you’ll enjoy this interview with Dean Del Sesto and why a shift in your thinking can change your life. You also have a chance to win a free copy…

The Importance of Spiritual & Artistic Community

Do you belong to a vibrant spiritual and artistic community? I recently wrote that artists are one of the most misunderstood tribes on the planet, which is one reason why belonging to a thriving spiritual community of artists is essential to thriving as an artist. Today, I want to share with you a wonderful essay from Create: Transforming Stories of Art, Life & Faith. It’s written by Karen Covell, founder of the Hollywood Prayer Network. Karen delivers an important reminder why spiritual community is so important among artists. You can download the entire PDF essay for free. I hope you’ll be encouraged and share it with friends. Read on…


I Love Artists Who Go For It!

I love artists who go for it. Artists who go for it are people like Brian Swerdfeger, who overwhelmed me with inspiration today. Brian’s got guts and I want more of what he’s got. You see, Brian just doesn’t say he is an artist. He is practicing his artistry in a radical and bold way. He’s an inspiration for other artists to get out of their comfort zones and reach for challenging goals. Brian’s going for it in a big way. A professional musician, he was also the head of marketing at Taylor Guitar for many years. I ran into him at the NAMM show today in Anaheim and was so inspired by his story, I had to share it with you. Read on…


3 Creative Focus Questions for 2013

For the past several years, focus has been a key theme in my life. In juggling several large writing projects and running The Grove Center for the Arts & Media (a non-profit ministry for artists), I’ve often struggled with where to focus my best energies during the day. In 2013, I am asking myself, “What is my creative focus for 2013?” (You can read my answer in the Comment Section below.)

As you move into these first few weeks of 2013, I have three simple questions that I believe will make a tremendous difference in your creative life. Asking these questions and regularly revisiting them will lead to a more fulfilling, meaningful and productive year. I recently read a Steve Jobs interview where he talked about the importance of focus… Read on…