Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Me
(but were afraid to ask)
I blame my parents.
They were both writers—my dad of fiction (fantasy mainly) and my mom of non-fiction (essays, historical research, poetry). My dad is a computer programmer by trade. My mom, who passed away in 2006, was an avid photographer and a professional musician.
So naturally, I’m a writer too. And a musician. And a photographer. And a programmer. And…other things. Yes, it gets very confusing sometimes!
I don’t remember exactly when I started engaging seriously with the practice of writing, but I definitely remember writing for the family newsletter when I was a kid beginning around 1990 or thereabouts. We used an amazing piece of software for the Commodore 64/128 called Newsroom. It must have left a big impression on me. I continued writing all the way into the Internet age when I started blogging long before there was such a thing called a blog. Believe it or not, I actually had big software houses send me free stuff to review (this was in the late 90’s), because I must have seemed like a big editorial team or something. I don’t think they realized I was some snot-nosed kid in his PJs. Suckers….
Music has always been a huge part of my life. I was a piano student from the age of 5 (thank you Mom), and in 1993 at the tender age of 10 I started learning recorder. I soon picked up a variety of ethnic wind instruments, along with Scottish and Irish bagpipes, as well as became classically trained in Baroque recorder techniques. In the late 90’s my mother’s Celtic and Early Music band Distant Oaks was taking off, and my brother and I ended up part of the band’s core. It wasn’t started with a family band concept in mind, but it came to be exactly that. I recorded professionally with Distant Oaks at the ages of 11, 13, 17, and beyond, and toured with the band across several states and in Scotland and Ireland from 1995-2005. One of my greatest honors was to perform music at a private dinner at Robert Mondavi Winery. He and some of his family and fellow business partners saluted us poor musicians and the staff invited us to partake of Napa-quality food and wine. Quite a classy bunch!
As a teenager in 1997, when most kids were trying to figure out how to skip class and go skateboarding, I was starting my own website design & development company. I fell into the practice somewhat by accident. Distant Oaks needed a website, and since I was the most adept at both computer and graphics (my dad the former but not so much the latter), it seemed like a good idea to learn how to build one. And then the inquiries started coming in: “hey, that’s a cool site. Can you build one for me?!?! And, hey, how much do you charge?” What? You’re going to pay me to build you a website? Sweet!
And here I am, many years later: still building website and applications, still writing and performing music, and still attempting to put coherent sentences together. I also enjoy doing photography and graphics design in one form or another. It might seem like I’m mindlessly following in the footsteps of my parents, but actually I never felt pressured to pursue the same kinds of things they enjoyed doing. I had more of a sense of legacy, of passing on wisdom and artistry from one generation to the next—while at the same time pushing the envelope and discovering new ways of creating and communicating. In the “old world” the idea of creative talent and know-how being passed on through a family tree was quite common. I think it’s a shame we don’t have a greater focus on that here in America.
I feel lucky to have met so many of my longtime heroes in person or seen them perform or present live. Just a few come to mind:
- Tangerine Dream (my favorite band and the founding fathers of electronic music)
- Lindsay Buckingham
- Lead artists from Cyan (maker of the Myst games)
- Michael Flatley / Lord of the Dance
- Lúnasa (world-reknowed Irish band)
- Steve Jobs (at a Macworld keynote in the mid-2000’s)
- Hamish Moore (bagpiper and pipes maker extraordinaire)
- Jessa Anderson
- Phil Wickham
- Patrick Ball
I’ve also worked with some incredibly talented musicians in the Folk and Early Music genres, including David Douglass, Cheryl Ann Fulton, Jerry O’Sullivan, Barry Phillips, Kit Higginson, Julie Jeffrey, and Shira Kammen.
On a personal and spiritual level, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have met the women of my dreams, Rosemary, with whom I’m blessed to raise two very adorable and precious little girls. My wife and I come from very different backgrounds in some ways, yet we both share a passion for art and nature and helping others fulfill their God-given dreams. We both were raised Christian, went through some difficult and rather crazy circumstances, and came out the other side still trusting in Jesus. One item of interest is our shared desire to plant organic churches. What’s that, you say? Here’s one quick intro to the subject (and not written by me, just so you don’t think it’s some bizarro thing I’ve invented out of thin air).
Out of many fabulous books I’ve read over the years on the nature of organic and missional church, including The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch, Organic Church by Neil Cole, and The Present Future by Reggie McNeal, the one that truly opened my eyes to the reality of what Jesus always intended for the Church was Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna. If you don’t read anything else, read this book! After learning about how so many of the things we take for granted in Protestant / Evangelical Christianity (and let’s not get started on Catholicism, etc.) were pagan concepts bolted onto the Church after its initial Apostolic inception in the first century A.D., I simply had to read the what the New Testament says concerning the Church for myself with an open mind. What I discovered completely changed my life. Rosemary and I are still on a journey to grapple with these findings and our many lingering questions, but one result I feel very blessed to have witnessed is the organic church we planted and have helped facilitate since late 2013. The authentic fellowship and deep, meaningful relationships that have sprung out of our gatherings (at homes, parks, coffee shops, and elsewhere) continue to amaze and delight me. It’s not always easy to “do life together” in an intimate way, without the pomp and ceremony of religious traditions, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
All in all, I’ve led an interesting life with some unique challenges.
For example, what do you do when you’ve performed in front of thousands and recorded numerous albums with your family band and then your band leader—and mother!—rather suddenly…dies? Or what do you do when the church you thought you’d never leave and that God had placed you in for a reason seems in a moment to veer wildly in the opposite direction from your own life path, leaving you stranded in the woods without a compass? I’m a veteran of several failed startups and have almost made a bucketload of money more than once.
In the midst of pain and trying times, I’ve always held out the hope that God is trying to shape me and mold me into the human being He always dreamed I would become. I tend to write a lot from personal experience, largely because I’ve had a lot of personal experiences from a very early age. With my writing, I have but one goal: to engage your mind and your creative center…to love more, to imagine more, to be more, and to do more.
I hope you will have the courage to leave behind the twin traps of nostalgia (longing for a rose-colored past that never really was) and novelty (shiny new things that are simply respins of the same old hamster wheel). I hope you will dare to embark on a divinely-inspired journey of freedom and innovation. My big wish for you?
- Stop assuming the leaders know where they’re going.
- Stop assuming the herd knows why it’s following.
- Stop waiting for permission to be who you really are.
- Start asking God for His blueprint for your life.
- Start taking chances and acting on your dreams.
- Start living your life and not somebody else’s.
- Stop being nice and start being honest.
- Always seek truth, aquire valuable experiences, question dogma, and learn to love the unloveable passionately.
Will you walk with me a ways? Help me elevate the quality of spiritual discourse, promote creativity and innovation, and teach young Christians (and the young-at-heart) how to walk in true freedom.
|Favorite Band:||Tangerine Dream|
|Favorite Movies:|| Back to the Future trilogy
Hunger Games series
(hmm, I see a trend here…)
|Favorite TV Shows:|| Arrow
LOST (of course)
Star Trek: TNG
|Favorite Well Drink:||Margarita|
|Favorite Coffee Drink:||Single-source Taylor Maid Coffee, Aeropress-style|
|Favorite Wine:||Gewürztraminer (or in lieu of that, Chardonnay)|
|Favorite Walk:||Country lanes around my Sebastopol, CA home|
|Favorite Car Companies:||Mazda (because I love my CX-7) & Tesla (because my next car is going to be 100% electric!)|
|Favorite Non-Fiction Authors:||Frank Viola & Mark Batterson|
|Favorite Fiction Author:||Lloyd Alexander (yes, I know he wrote for kids & young adults. Still the wittiest wordsmith ever!)|
|Favorite iOS App:||DayOne|
|Favorite Book of the Bible:||Ephesians|
|Favorite Podcasts:||Grit & Unbelievable|
|Favorite Blogs:|| Too many to list! A few:
Simply Church by Felicity Dale
Rachel Held Evans
|How to contact me:|| Email me (and I’ll email you back!)
Follow Me on Twitter
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|And don’t forget:||Subscribe to my newsletter using the form below!|