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…


Saying Yes to Art: Artist Interview with Sculptor Karen Schmidt

[I]n this Art, Life & Faith video interview with sculptor Karen Schmidt, she offered these profound words of wisdom: When you say “yes” to your art, you will face a thousand “no’s”. She is so right. Karen Schmidt is an amazing sculptor, wife, mother and grandmother. She is also one of the most prayerful, disciplined and seasoned artists I know. Karen was a guest blogger earlier this year on Art, Life & Faith with her insightful thoughts on When Creativity Runs Dry. In this Art, LIfe & Faith interview, we talked about how she became a sculptor, her early influences, how she spends her day creating, how she cultivates her spiritual life, the current state of art in the Church and how struggling artists can find help in their work and life. Read on…

Recklessly Abandon Yourself to God’s Good Care: Artist Interview with Shane Tucker

[I] love Shane Tucker’s challenge for artists to “recklessly abandon themselves to God’s good care.” Wow…and that was just in the first three minutes of my conversation with him. Shane Tucker is an artist and pastor who serves other artists and creatives in the Nashville area. In this Art, Life & Faith artist interview, I think you’ll be encouraged by what Shane has to say about spiritual identity, artistry, creativity, ministry, the Church and culture. Shane is a part of an innovative mission in Franklin, Tennessee named Wind Farm Cafe. Shane has a strong heart for pastoring people in the arts, so naturally we have a lot of wonderful things in common about art, life, ministry and faith. Our conversation flowed along the lines of our mutual passion for seeing artists thrive in their relationship with God, in their work and in the communities where they live.

A few highlights include…one of Shane’s favorite quotes…