Is it possible to get the music sheets for 'no words'? It's such a strong song and we'd like to sing it at our Easter Service... Greetings from Switzerland! :)

- Asked by Anonymous

I am very sorry, but I don’t have notated music for any of the songs on the album. Your best bet will to be get someone who plays well by ear! I would love to see a video or a recording of the song when you perform it!

Album Progress

Today I posted an update to all the people who donated to my Kickstarter campaign. If you didn’t know already, my whole album was funded by 70+ kind backers back in august of 2012. This album has been a slow brew so I decided to send out an update assuring everyone I hadn’t run off with their money. I decided to share the update with you all as well:

Hello friends, 

The reason I am updating today is to send assurances that the album is well under way. Not that anyone is waiting with baited breath at this point…

Though we missed our January 31st deadline, we are still making steady progress. The project is taking longer than anticipated due to technical difficulties (like computers crashing), the fact that both the producer and I have other jobs, and various road blocks. Though the devil has sent his distractions and frustrations, God has also had a hand over the process. 

I praise Him for the wonderful progress we have made! Here’s where we’re at:

1. Album cover design is in its final stages. At this point we are mostly tweaking colors and text placement.

2. All recording is done except for a few additional parts we are adding in. (Hint: Eric and Monique Johnson are part of the additions!)

3. Production for 7 out of the 11 songs is basically done and the remaining 4 are well underway.

If you’ve tracked with me so far, I beg for your prayers. Though we can set goals (I’m hoping the album will be done by May, but I’m hesitant to even say that), we can’t control outside circumstances. The thing that slows us down the most is when we get distracted by other obligations, the producer and I disagree on musical direction (disagreeing is good sometimes, but it’s slow), and when we run into technical difficulties. Please pray specifically that we work quickly, harmoniously, and without technical difficulty. 

Another teeny-tiny issue is finances. All your wonderful contributions have helped make this project possible, but sometimes in life things are more expensive than we anticipate. It looks like mastering is well over what I budgeted for, in fact possibly $1,000 over (yikes). Mastering is one of those things that helps separate well recorded and poorly recorded music, so it’s an important step that can’t be skipped. Please pray for the right mastering company, the right price, and also the finances to make mastering possible!

Thanks for your continued support and love. Some of you are friends, some are strangers, and it truly amazes me how God brought us all together to make this album happen. (A little too rah, rah, cheerleader sounding? I don’t care…) I mean it, this is important work! I also really do need your prayers: write it down in your prayer journal, tweet about it, facebook about it, or share it with your prayer group. Whatever you can do to uplift this project in prayer is hugely valuable. I believe Jesus is coming soon and this is just one more way for people to hear about His love. 

And by the way, I don’t want you to think this is only going terribly. In fact, we have some really solid songs so far that I can’t wait for you to hear! Soon, I will be putting out teaser trailers on YouTube in anticipation for the album release. 

God is good and I love you all.

-Alison

Ps. This was a much longer update than I anticipated. Gah, I’m such a writer. 

SAD: Dealing with Seasonal Depression

In the winter of 2009 I started feeling really depressed. Though I am the emotional musician type, this was more than my usual jaunt down emotional songstress lane. I cried at everything, didn’t want to eat, slept too much or too little, felt hopeless, empty, and bored.

After talking to a counselor I realized that I probably had something called SAD; Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

I’m no therapist, but if ever someone was going to struggle with seasonal depression, it would be this winter. I hear this is one of the worst winters we’ve had for a while.

With that, here are a few things that have helped me overcome seasonal depression:

1. Try Natural Mood Enhancers

It sort of sounds drug-y if you’ve never heard of it, but 5 HTP is actually an amino acid produced naturally by our bodies. Sometimes in the winter we don’t produce enough but can take supplements instead. 5 HTP can increase levels of serotonin, which is directly involved with helping mood and anxiety. 

Though you should do careful research on how much to take, Vitamin D, lavender, and a few other natural herbs and vitamins have been known to help with mood stabilization. 

I have a lot of friends who use light lamps. A few minutes a day can go a long way in dealing with seasonal depression. 

2. Get Some Sunshine and Exercise

Getting out and getting sunshine is really important to help boost your mood. Though sunlight is a rare commodity in the winter, getting as much of it as possible will help your body produce more vitamin D which can improve mood.

I’m the absolute worst exercise person I know. The fact that I said “exercise person” probably proves that. Yet, the times I do exercise I feel an immediate difference in my emotional stability and mental clarity. Even just getting out for a 5 minute walk, doing a few stretches in the living room, or jogging in place will get your blood flowing enough for your body to remember, “I’m alive!”

3. Be a People Person

Going into hibernation mode is a huge temptation for me in the winter. Even if it’s just for a half hour, a little interaction will do wonders. And before you complain about having nothing to do in the winter, try channeling your inner kid and go make some snow angels, build a snowman, or build a snow fort!

4. Get a Pet

My dogs are constantly doing some sort of shenanigans that make me laugh. Besides being a good distraction, pets are a great way to get you outside…unless you have fish.

5. Write Positive Reminders for Yourself

It may sound a little cheesy, but writing positive reminders and backing each of them up with a bible verse has been a huge blessing for me. I put the list on the bulletin board next to my bed so I can see it first thing in morning. 

6. Dig Deep with God

There is nothing more comforting and more fulfilling than the word of God. The words of the Bible are designed to be a healing balm, a guiding light, and so many other things. Here is a blog I did a while back about how to have meaningful devotions. 

I hope this helps some of you beat the winter blues! Enjoy what you can about the winter, channel your inner child, and stay connected to God.

[Note: if you have struggles with depression that extend beyond the occasional seasonal bought, consider talking to a counselor or your pastor].

I’m Engaged!

The day before my (then) boyfriend and I were scheduled to travel to California for Christmas, I was packing and procrastinating at my apartment. I hadn’t washed my hair in who knows how long, and well…let’s just say I didn’t think it was going to be the day I would receive a proposal. I was “taking a break” from packing when my boyfriend surprised me with a visit. It is not unusual for him to stop by, but alarm bells should have been set off when I noticed how dressed up he was. (Especially the alarm bells that said; Get some real clothes on and take a shower!) Thinking nothing of it however, I hopped into the car with him to pick up some groceries for dinner. As I mumbled something about looking homeless, he pulled out of the driveway and started in the opposite direction of the grocery store. Again, I should have known that this was the moment, but I was still hopelessly clueless. I asked him where he was going and he said, “I need to talk to you.” In my life, whenever someone says that phrase, it is usually followed by something bad. For a few seconds I panicked until he pulled into the park and I saw all the candles. Finally I got it!

image

After I realized what was happening, I basically went into shock. What followed was sort of a blur. I remember the lights and candles shimmering off the fresh snow. I remember the pathway he shoveled to our favorite gazebo. I remember him saying nice stuff. I remember being shy and trying to tuck my head far inside my puffy winter jacket. Then, I remember him asking, “Will you marry me?” I said, “yes.” 

It was romantic. It was beautifully simple, and one of the greatest moments of my life. 

image

However wonderful the moment was, I’m reminded that it’s both the big and the small moments that shape our lives. We all know Facebook tends influence us to be “big moment” machines; capturing and producing only the most exciting parts of our lives for the world to view. We almost pedestalize the exciting, and sometimes neglect beautiful everyday moments.

For example, though our engagement was an unforgettable and wonderful moment, it was just that: a moment. In the scheme of our relationship the little moments—working through communication issues, laughing at our dogs, having worship, cooking a meal together—are just as important as getting engaged. Each moment, big or small, is a building block that sets the foundation of our relationship.

I look forward to a life filled with all kinds of moments with my future husband. I can’t wait to marry the LOML (love of my life) and my best friend.  

In the spirit of cherishing the little moments, here is a picture from a walk my Fiance and I took while we were in California. Rooneys legs are my favorite.

Expect to be hearing a few love songs from me in the near future. ;)

Response to “JB”

The other day I received my very first “hater” comment on YouTube. Normally I’d lick my wounds and be done with it. However, this time I decided, through a response, to take the opportunity to tackle a few things I’m passionate about. 

The comment and my response are as follows:


“This is garbage. I’m sorry! but I work to hard w/ music ministry to have people like this come in and do a quote, ministry, and the congregation cannot afford someone who has give 110 percent. It is truly sad that we’ve to have all these unskilled musicians working the skilled out of work. JB”

Hi JB, 

So let me get this straight, the basic gist of your comment is that bad music, like mine, floods the market and makes it hard for better music to be heard. Correct? While I cannot change your musical tastes, and neither do I care to, I can speak to several things you mentioned in your comment. I’m still quite new at music ministry, or “ministry” as you called mine, so I don’t pretend to know all the answers. However I hope my response gives you, and others reading it, something to chew on. 

First of all, I’d like to tackle one of my pet peeves: being mean on the internet. The anonymity of the internet sadly makes it easier for people to say things online that they probably wouldn’t say face-to-face. You may not care that what you said was hurtful (or more horridly that may have been your intention), but it’s easy for anyone to forget that on the other side of the screen is a real person. The “people like this” that you mentioned is me, Alison Brook, the real person behind the YouTube channel. If you didn’t notice, the video you commented on had barely over 2,000 views; hardly anything to brag about. I’m not some famous, overly-bombarded-with-fans type of musician. I’m a regular person just trying to praise God with my gifts. No one can stop you from giving your opinion online, but all I hope you realize is that when you say rude or cruel things you’re not just throwing them out to the random internet universe, but saying them to real people with real feelings. Plus, cherishing cruelty will dampen your witness (1 Jn. 4:20, Eph. 4:29)! Get as far away from it as you can—even if it seems a little less serious because it came from behind a computer screen. 

My second issue with your comment was the spirit of competition I sensed, especially pertaining to music ministry. Some may argue that competition is a good thing, but whether or not a case can be made, I believe the competitive spirit I sensed from you is an unhealthy poison that can taint lovely and contented experiences (Phil 2:3-4). Furthermore, the whole scarcity concept—that there are only so many gigs to go around—is so bizarre and untrue. In terms of hearts that can be won for Jesus through music, there is no limit to the number of audiences we can minister to. Even if it’s an audience of one! If we take our focus off of competing and turn it towards touching hearts—we will have successful and fulfilling careers no matter what the outcome may be.  

Thirdly and lastly, I feel you on the whole churches-don’t-pay thing. I have had so many moments of feeling undervalued and frustrated with a broken system. It’s so unnerving sometimes, and there are even moments I want to quit music because of it. However, I think this frustration you feel is a little misplaced in your case. I don’t believe you are having trouble getting paid because of the amount of “garbage” music out there, but because of a basic lack of understanding people have when it comes to music and the arts. (Read this interesting article if you’d like to get a broader, world-wide view). Everyone has bills, ministry or not, that need to be paid. In order to be good stewards of our time and resources, we need financial support, right? Yes, but it’s more than that. Though I can’t be unrealistic and pay my bills with monopoly money, I have found that it helps to turn my eyes away from financial concerns and turn them toward hearts. I know it’s a hard thing to do when you’re a “starving artist” but focusing on touching hearts will recenter your ministry around Jesus Christ. After you’ve done this, the way you approach even practical things, like how to pay your bills, changes. 

In conclusion, I’m sensing that your frustration goes beyond just a distaste for my music. Just remember that our great God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) so there is no limit to what He can provide. He won’t let a little bad music get in his way. ;-) 

Blessings,

Alison

Winning

[Disclaimer: this is not a blog about Charlie Sheen.]

Being a DIY musician is a little different than one may think. A lot of what I do isn’t actually making music. For instance, today I was working on the informational packet used for booking events. When I got to the part about my musical accomplishments I couldn’t help but mentally note that, in a worldly sense, I’m not that impressive. I’m not trying to be down on myself, but if I were going to brag, it would require a bit of exaggerating. 

As I ruminated on my unimpressive musical resume, I thought back to some competitions I lost this year and said to myself in total frustration, “Why don’t I win anything? It isn’t fair.” As those thoughts formed I almost simultaneously navigated to www.thelambwins.com to look up something for the packet. The page loaded and there I saw “The Lamb Wins” banner on the top of the page with the lamb laying in blood. It was like the Holy Spirit was saying, “You don’t have to win anything, I’ve already won it all for you.My heart broke as I read those words and drank in God’s special message for me.  

If you’ve been following me online, you know I’m really into this group called Beautiful Eulogy. In the album Instruments of Mercy the track ”Exile Dial tone” says:

But God does not use the same methods as the world

He chose the foolish and the weak to bring His message to the world

We were rescued from the world

He left us here to be his servants

We don’t need more super stars

We need gospel centered churches

Working as the body to bring the gospel to the world

Even when we face rejection Jesus is our validation

Our purpose here on earth isn’t about winning, or even losing. God’s purpose for us is much bigger. He needs us to tell others about how He has already won. Sometimes it may take our own failures to bring His triumphs to light. 

I don’t mean to invalidate real hurt, because to be honest, loosing doesn’t sting any less when I know that the Lamb has already won. However, what knowing this does do is strengthen me when I know there is a greater story to be told than my own. 

"He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’" (Mark 16:15)

Load More