Jul 30, 2009

Tour T-Shirt Ideas: I Need Your Votes!

I'm heading out on tour in September as the warm-up act for best-selling Donald Miller, who's out to promote his latest book, "A Million Miles In A Thousand Years." While there's little upfront money, it will pay off in book sales, not to mention the chance to tour with a terrific, well-known author.

Don wants me to make some dough and asked if I had a DVD to sell. I don't yet. But I've had some ideas for T-shirts. What do you think of these slogans? Would you buy them on a T-shirt? Some of these my manager doesn't think I could get away with selling them in a church foyer.

Which would you buy? In a church lobby or elsewhere?

Here are some with logos from the book.

Leave your preferences in the comments. Thanks so much!!

Jul 27, 2009

A Swiss Wedding

Some of us worried my brother Jim would ever get married. But they worried about me too, and I managed. So I shouldn’t be so surprised it happened for Jim. But we are surprised at how well it happened.

And it could very well not have. Like me, my brother Jim spent a lot of time in a charismatic church that emphasized inner healing. I did a lot of inner healing myself, but sometimes it seemed like you were supposed to wait until you were healed, before you were qualified to go out and have a life. I got out after ten years, but Jim stayed in, going from conference to conference, waiting for God to Do All The Healing So Jim’s Life Could Happen. A couple years ago, Jim looked at his half-lived life and got very angry.

Jim got the worst deal from my father. My father berated Jim for being a musician. At Jim’s college graduation recital, he conducted the university orchestra to a packed auditorium. Jim got a standing ovation. My father sat in the third row scowling, refusing to applaud. Refusing to stand up. Is it any wonder Jim spent years trying to heal himself of that?

At one point, someone prayed over Jim and said they had a vision of Isaac getting Rebecca. Well, our last name is Isaac. Then a pretty, young German violinist showed up at Jim’s grad school with talent, faith, and the name of Rebekkah, James fell for her. She didn’t fall for him in return. But he chased her anyway, for several years. We all thought Jim was whistling Dixie. But then I heard some of the things she said to him, and she encouraged his devotion. But she was young, she had time and people to burn.

It’s really hard to see someone you love get stuck. Jim is the smartest sibling in my family. He’s like scary MENSA smart. He’s a classical musician, and those guys are brainiacs at math, not to mention steel traps for the most arcane minutiae. I jokingly wondered if he had Asperser’s, the high functioning autistic behavior that geniuses like Bill Gates have. Jim's that kind of smart. Still we all ached to see him stuck, and worried that he never would get unstuck.

Along the way Jim ended up touring with a well-known Christian musician. That took him overseas a few times, where he often went to visit the German violinist who was still leading him on with the whole comenzie here goenzie way routine.

But four years ago, the tour stopped at a church in Zurich, Switzerland. He stayed in a large house where several people from the church all lived; among them was this sweet young German pianist. He said he lay awake thinking about his life, and how cool it would be to live in a place like that with different church friends on the floors, to play classical music in one of its rooms. But he lay there despairing of how far his dreams had escaped him. The German pianist was on a floor below him.

Two years ago, the same Christian musician toured Europe, with an extended stay in Zurich. Jim was put up in the same house, got to know that German pianist a little better; flew to Egypt for a few weeks, then back to the house in Zurich and the pianist. And he didn’t take a side trip to Germany to follow the violinist's lures. He’d found a different German musician, one who was an accompanist, not a soloist. In music and life. YEA!!

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, and my brother Jim – “James” as his Swiss friends call him – got married to that delightful German accompanist. There in attendance were all the people at the church and the house who went to the same church. Some of the people who’d prayed different kind of prophecies over him, and ones that were ready to kick his butt if he ever did any harm to their beloved pianist sister.

At the evening dinner James recalled a vision he’d had years ago in one of those healing conferences. James had a heart for Germany and classical music all these years, and he envisioned himself playing classical music in Germany. But he was conflicted about what Germany did during WWII. And then he told the story about staying at the house with all the people from the same church, wishing he could stay in Switzerland and play music, while the German cal played music a few floors down.

Annkatrin is beautiful, funny, incredibly talented, quirky like us, and shares not only my brother's faith but his kind of faith. I am delighted to have a new sister! I'm sad they are far away, but now Larry and I have family members we can crash with, when we tour Europe.

It made me rethink how I’ve dismissed the more charismatic elements of the church; the prophetic, the need to heal. I did a lot of it myself, but after I got burned I locked all of that away. Jim/James and AK reminded me that God doesn’t ever stop inviting us to a bigger vision for us.
Jim got the girl, the music, and the community to support him, whoop his ass when he gets out of line. What better vision is there than that?

Here's their friend, jazz saxophonist Bene Muller, serenading James and AK on the day.

Jul 20, 2009

This Week's Graph

My friend Joe turned me onto these graphs.
I found this one especially funny.

Jul 17, 2009

Christian Music Graph

I can't take credit for this one. It's from Graph Jam.

I'm also a bit perplexed at the feature I added below, that tries to lead you to similar posts. I'm not sure why a humor post would suggest you want to read about my Thanksgiving trip.

Jul 12, 2009

New Dog, New Friends

All of our Dog Woes ended yesterday. We secured Wally a month ago, but he wasn't old enough to leave the nest until yesterday. After I got back from Zurich (more on that in another post!) I had a day or two to recover, and off we drove up the Central Coast to pick him up.

As it happened, our new friends Rob and Jen just moved to the same town! Rob is a pastor and just got relocated to the very same small town where Wally was born.

Jen and I met through the blogosphere. We found we had a great deal in common, and just bonded through writing each other. Well, a month ago, Rob preached his last sermon in their little desert town; Jen had a book club in town all these years. For her final book club, she asked that they read Angry Convos, and then invited Larry and me to come down for their book club meeting. I wondered if it would be awkward, like the participants couldn't say what they really felt about the book, but it turned out to be a blast. More than the book, we all talked about our own experiences that the book touched upon.

After dinner concluded and the waitresses kicked us out; Jen, Rob, Larry and I stood in the parking lot and talked for an hour. Lar and Rob share a love of theology and discussing what's happening (or should be) in post modern Christendom. It's great when you meet someone you connect with, like Jen and I have. But when your respective spouses hit it off you feel even more lucky. Except for the fact they lived four hours away in the middle of the desert. And now they were moving four hours away from us in the other direction! Fortunately, just ten minutes away from where Wally was born.

So yesterday, we went to get our Boy. Here he is: Wallace Winston WIlson.

Afterward we stopped in to see Rob, Jen and their kids. Yes, they have terrific kids too. Another lunch with them and Larry and I feel good inside. The older I get and the longer I live, the more I discover soul mates in new towns. Some in Zurich, some in New York and Virginia; now we've got Rob and Jen half way up the coast. I feel sad they're a 3.5 hour drive away. Then again, I guess I know a bit more what heaven will be like. We will all be five minutes from each other. Don't know how we'll figure that out. But we will.

On the drive back we stopped in Buellton where my Mom's side of the family has their annual reunion. Yes it was happening that weekend. I saw two of my cousins, Shirley and Kari, whom I hadn't seen in a decade!

All this, with a new bundle of fur in our keep. He woke us up at 6:30 yelping. We are too old to have "real" children, so this is ours. We are very happy indeed.

Oh yes, heaven will have dogs, too.

Jul 1, 2009

Rotisserie Chicken Gospel

Larry just informed me that Christianity Today's interview with me just got posted. Here's the link.

The Rotisserie Chicken Gospel: Author Susan Isaacs on comedy, church hopping, and having a 'middle-class white girl's Dark Night of the Soul.'

In the meantime, here is a pic of my trip to Zurich.

My sister Nancy, Sister in Law AnnKatrin, brother James, niece Emily
My brother is one lucky dawg. AK is terrific! The only downside is, they're going to live in Switzerland so I won't get to see enough of her. Upside: Euro travel just got easier!