It is Saturday, September 30th, and my heart is filled with gratitude for an epic journey of soul care through music, retreat, friendship, adventure, and profound connection across many provinces of Canada.
This event, a multi-city / multi-retreat / multi – concert tour was one of the biggest risks I have ever taken in my life. Financially, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, musically. A risk is a risk. A risk means there could be possible disaster! Possible failure. Possible break down. A risk means one doesn’t know how the story will end. A risk is a risk. This trip was a profound risk. Over and over in the months pre-ceding, I wondered if I had made a mistake. But when I would become still and listen, I felt compelled to keep going, to trust, to dare to risk something big. And so, I kept going.
Ultimately – this tour invited us towards deeper love, deeper trust, and to not be afraid!
I had a dream in the summer months that I spent time with. This dream seemed to offer the message of moving through an obstacle course with lightness of feet. To not make things heavy, but to allow a fluidity of being.
I spent hours in silence in the weeks before the tour, and listened to the message in my soul, yearning to bring love and blessing. This encouraged me.
Messages from people hosting in all venues were full of openness, kindness, and a willingness to participate beyond any expectation. This strengthened my resolve.
September 9 – 14 – I began on my own in Toronto – visiting my daughter Brianna, friends Viriginia and Russ, and offering a half-day retreat and Evening of Sung Prayers at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. Christine joined me in Toronto for the evening and it was so amazing to share the evening with the choir from TEMC. It was precious and new friendships were made.
September 15 – The Tour began in Niagara Falls. This incredible team joined me in Niagara Falls: Kevin and Nancy Boese, Christine VanBergeyk, Peter Davyduck, Philip Janz, and Arlana Knuittila. A team of 7 we became. Musicians and Soul Care staff, we supported one another and each took our part. Nancy became the welcome person at each event, loving and supporting so many individuals with her warmth and kindness. Kevin blew all of our minds with his musicality on guitar, touching many hearts with his passion and skill. Christine stood by my side during both retreats and concerts, singing her heart out and adding such a quality of musicianship to each song. Peter played his bass on stage barefoot, which is his trademark, and wherever his heart led him throughout the journey, the first night on the edge of Niagara Falls.His gentle spirit and kindness came through his profound skill on the bass. Arlana was the kind and gentle spirit behind the scenes, supporting us all and offering her presence through the back table of merchandise in each location. She has been a profound support to my life for around ten years and is a quietly wise essence throughout all the work of soul care. Philip Janz brought wizardly pizzaz to all our musicality. Sound engineer, technician, drummer, piano player, vocalist, Philip created a quality of sound in each venue that was so beautiful. We heard over and over, “we have not heard this quality of sound in this building before”. Steve Klassen flew in to Winnipeg to join us for one night on trumpet! Epic moment! Amazing friendship.
We were a team. Loving, laughing, supporting, and serving. For this I am truly grateful.
September 15-17 – Mount Carmel, Niagara Falls. In each city, we were met by hosts of people connected with Soul Care. The staff at Mount Carmel in Niagara Falls (Steve Bridges, Joyce Nero, and Fr. Michael J Wastag) have supported the work of Soul Care for the past 7 years. Again, they loved and served us and the vision we had. Beth and Eric Woelk hosted us in so many ways and provided love, food, and support to the vision. Chris Fowler shuttled the team from and to the TO airport in a 12-seater van – what generosity and kindness we experienced.
We held a 3 day Soul Care Retreat and an amazing candlelight first concert in the beautiful St. Therese Stone Chapel.
September 18 / 19 – Travel day to Winnipeg. We were met by beautiful friends, Rick and Luanne Hill and Andrew & Martha Dyck. Other friends and family welcomed us and hosted us for night and meals and vehicle support. Amazing. We held a day retreat at Canadian Mennonite University and held and evening concert at the historic chapel at CMU, the same venue where my father had attended university as a young man. Steve Klassen flew in from Abbotsford to play trumpet at the retreat and concert! What an amazing addition to our team for one day.
September 20 – early morning travel to Edmonton and welcomed at the Providence Renewal Centre, where we hosted a half-day Soul Care Retreat and spent the night. We were welcomed by Matt and Claire Ziprik, and hosted at Bethel Lutheran Church were we had an incredible concert evening.
September 21 – A beautiful three-hour drive to Cochrane where we land at Mount Saint Francis Retreat Centre and are warmly welcomed by Brother Michael Perras. The rolling hills that touch the base of the Rocky Mountains, lit by golden fall colours was incredible to witness. It was perhaps our smallest venue, but one of the most enthusiastic responses!
September 22 – a travel day. A big breath as we head to Penticton in a small flight over the Rocky Mountains. What a journey. Welcomed by friends and family! We are excited to see familiar faces!
September 23 – An incredible retreat day and evening concert hosted by Judith King and David Ohori from Kaleden Community Church. Our team has made it! We have experienced so much love, joy, and grace as we have gone to each place.
Personally, in the midst of all these moments, I had many experiences of grace.
I had never done anything like this before and to be honest, many times I was afraid. I was so scared before I left home and in each location. Would my voice hold up? Would I receive the wisdom and inspiration I needed? In each place, I lay on the ground in surrender. In each place, I was met so deeply and invited to leap… and over and over, the message – BE NOT AFRAID.
Yes, leap. Besides the dream of going lightly through an obstacle course, I had a dream of leaping over an edge and trusting what I could not see. I realized the dream was something for me to trust. The tour was a leap. A profound leap of my heart, a leap of trust in the wild goodness of Love.
A month earlier, I had a healing moment with my dad. My mom’s name is Leona, which means LION. She died 10 years ago from cancer and Dad is now 92. A month before this tour, he blessed me in a way that was utterly shocking, calling me a LION, like my mother – a resurrected LION, after the journey I have known.
My last album has a song called Awaken Hope. There is a line in that song taken from some ideas in Isaiah – “Let the child be born in us, a guiding inner star”. There has been a sense in me to integrate the inner child within me, but also tap into the wondrous sense of possibility that the Eternal is constantly birthing within us if we only pay attention.
Near the end of the tour, we were in Cochrane, Alberta, where my friend, Brother Michael, directs a Franciscan Retreat Center (Mount Saint Francis). I asked him to show all my friends his many icons, art, etc that were in his office. We all crowded into this small space and enjoyed bathing in all this sacred art. And then… Michael thrusts a book into my hands with an image.
It was an image of a LION, blind-folded with the message BE NOT AFRAID, leaping, and within a child resting and surrounded with light. (This art is by Scott F Erickson)
I begin to weep.
This is my story! This is what I have lived. This is what happened on this tour… leaping over the cliff with trust.
I know this image. It LIVES IN ME. This image of a lion leaping with the message BE NOT AFRAID was a profound gift to receive – I ordered this image and it is up in my office as of today! A reminder of the significance of trusting beyond oneself when we are invited.
Behind the scenes of this whole tour were people loving, supporting, and encouraging. One person in particular helped us trouble shoot, solve problems, and communicate to the various venues and hosts over and over. Kristi Schroots – thank you for your incredible gifts, service, and passion to support this dream.
All throughout the tour, a new song was sung in every location. This song was my prayer as I prepared for this tour, and it became our song of trusting in something we cannot see, comprehend, or measure. But we chose to risk, to trust, to dare … anyways. Today, I received a small video of us singing this at the last concert in Penticton!! I’ve included this video for you below so you can hear this blessing too. I hope to record before Christmas as a moment of this profound journey! Here are the lyrics and the video is underneath with some extra pics of our adventure!
To the One
Who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.
According the generous Love flowing through us.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Let it be. Let it be. Let it be. Let it be.
(listen in the video below! Sung at our last concert in Penticton!)
WITH SO MUCH GRATITUDE,
A few more pics!