Thursday, December 8, 2011

a little, can do so much...

This is Eliza. We met a year ago when we were drawing together advocates/abolitionists to start working together to work on the issue of human trafficking here in Loudoun County, Virginia.

She writes the The Average Advocate blog and works to get people involved in all sorts of issues.
I first heard about Sole Hope, when a group of action oriented ladies (we have a lot) at my church had a shoe party. I was unable to attend, but was interested.
Then Elisa hosted one and I got to attend.
This is her post about how the Sole Hope Shoe Party went.
It was great fun and really simple to do.
Now we are hoping to host another shoe making party at our church in January.
Check out Sole Hole and read about the party.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

glow sticks…


Sometime in 2008 I ran across this video from GCC wired. And while I have shared these vid’s before, I haven’t traced how my mind has been working to use these ideas.

( - If you link over you won’t be disappointed)

Very cool experiential element to emphasize viral communication.
It was interactive and fun!
While we have discussed it a few times at our creative meetings, we never have used the idea. I love the idea of the interactivity of the element.
While I would love to use glow sticks in a similar way as GCC did:
One possibility I thought of was using glow sticks in a dance piece. Where the dancer is covered with glow sticks and dances in the dark. This was before I realized that this was very popular at raves. Still like the idea. (smiles)
Or something as simple as hanging glow sticks all around the stage. Using various sizes and shapes.

Maybe creating a video of the traces made from glow sticks.
There are so many innovative concepts that could be utilized with glow sticks. One recent concepts is team iLuminate which garnered a lot of attention fro America’s Got Talent. (link: )

I have taken the idea as far a purchasing several types of glow sticks and even trying them out.
So now it is a matter of simple finding the appropriate message to link them with. That hasn’t happened yet. But it will…

push play...

So, at the end of October I pushed pause on the stage elements designs for X.C. and have been praying.
Basically our stage has been blank for two months.
Not because I wasn't able to come up with ideas; but simply because I needed to really evaluate exactly where I thought God is calling me with the stage design.
One of the impressions I have been exploring is the innovative use of light. Because we are a mobile church meeting in a public middle school, we are not allowed to moved the lights or gel the lights at the school. We are not in the position to actually purchase trusses and additional lighting. So, I have been playing with alternative sources of light to be used within the service and/or in the stage design.
Also exploring how light is being used in other cultural movements. It's been interesting to say the least.
Here are just three examples of light usage. One I have held onto for for a couple of years, some I have been exploring recently. I will be going into more details on each of these ideas soon.

I am gearing up to start styling the stage again. Now light isn't the first concept I will be utilizing in the stage design, but it will be coming soon I hope.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I am grateful for being who I am…
Through out my life I have often faced the fact that most people don’t understand me or how I think; which is fine with me.
The older I get the more I am thankful for how God created me. Completely unique.
One of those things is the creativity that lives in me.
I see things like these…

…and my mind simply explodes with ideas. My mind extrapolates and blows the original idea up into something entirely different. It’s fun and exciting…
I have been dreaming about utilizing holograms for several years now.

I don’t see the world the way most people see it. It is more alive and vibrant.

I wonder how to translate things like these, into an experiential experience...
What I do know; is that I am doing what I am supposed to do, at this point in my life.
I have people who appreciate what I do; and for that I am extremely grateful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

pushing pause, con't...

Being creative requires constant evaluation.
That is where the creative team is at this moment...
What is really in our toolbox at this point in time? We have been in a place where the gifts and talents of the people on the team are shifting.
Stage design, drama, dance, vids, experiential elements are all tools we have had for several years. We are going through an actually time of mourning (what has been) and need to start focusing on what we currently have. Tough place to be.
We are still able to focus on the 5S (5 senses). Which are taste, smell, hearing, sight and kinesthetic (touch). We are in a place of being un(limited). Recognizing that we still can be unlimited in our creation; yet understanding we ARE limited in our actually production.
While we still have tools like dance/movement, interactive/experiential elements, spoken words and much more. We have to face the reality that at this moment in time we do not have the bandwidth to do true dramas and major in-house videos.
Several team members are in a different season of their lives, which doesn't give the time they were able to give before; for writing, direction, production and such.
But this is not a bad thing. This is just the reality of where we are.

So, this is a time of experimentation. What new things are we able to do? Who wants to learn more about owning elements? Who is willing to try to learn new skills? Who have skills that are being used currently? Or are we even supposed to being doing this at all?
I believe we are supposed to continue...but doing what? I am not sure at this point.
One other point...while I personally still finding it easy to create the stage designs each and every week; I have intentionally pushed pause on that also.
This is truly a time to reflect and pray about where we are heading as a team.

Monday, October 24, 2011

pushing pause...

more later...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

do people know you and where you stand…

Do they know you as a political pundit?
Do they know you because you are mad about hula hoops?
Most people who know me after a time, know certain truths about me.
One of those truths is that I am in the fight against human trafficking.
One of my sweet girls from Starbucks posted this picture on my facebook page (xoxo Jessica)

"It's a shame they don't use signs like this. We'd be able to fine 'em faster, that's for sure"
So, I ask again…
What do people know about you and where you stand?

Friday, October 14, 2011

rainforest African water drums...

I spent the day reading, clicking and reflecting...and I happened to take a path that led me to this...
a sound track I used over 10 years ago and lost when my computer crashed. Same exact sound track. This sound is amazing to me. It captivated me when I first heard it, and it still rings through my mind. LOVE it...

This would be near impossible to pull off in a rented venue, but if we could work it would be truly amazing!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

this is a ball...

This is a ball…

It is a bouncy multi-colored ball that lights up when you drop it…
I found this bouncy ball at work one day…
It sparked a creative idea in my head…
I often wonder about creativity and how creativity happens.
I keep track of ideas I have that are inspired by the world around me. Sometimes I know exactly what the idea will lead to, other times I do not.
Specifically I deal with stage designing and experiential elements.

For example: one idea that I knew where I was going with it came from a quick simply question from my brother. Which was, “what do you think about QR codes?” This is what happened with that thought.


Another idea I had was from a rubber mat at a library. I have no clue when or where I will use the idea (it has to do with the “feel” of walking across the mat). Super bouncy.
This is my reminder of that mat. It's an actual picture of that inspirational mat.

Who knows…it will find a way into some sort of design or experiential element. I just don’t know when or what.
That is the way it is with creative ideas.

These are just a few things which have inspired creative ideas for staging & experiential elements:
  1. A ceiling (at the Cheesecake Factory)
  2. From retail establishments
  3. Pony-tails
  4. Scrabble board
  5. TV
  6. Simply exploring on the internet
  7. A bouncy ball (which lit up)
  8. Watching SYTYCD
  9. Reading other creative’s blogs
  10. Starbucks
  11. Brainstorming with our team
  12. Ikea
  13. Talking with my brother (several ideas)
  14. On top of a ladder
  15. Doughnuts
  16. Iconography
  17. Reading the Bible
  18. Old dilapidated church
  19. Driving (this one is hard, because I either have to remember or stop and write the idea down)
  20. Home Depot (amazing place)
  21. The “Lion King” (the stage play)
  22. Reading (in general)
  23. S.T.O.M.P.
  24. Various types of material
  25. The stars in the sky
For me, this is the way the creativity happens, or the cookie crumbles, or the ball bounces...

this week isn't a "spider"...

Everything creative flew out the window for this week.
This is the end of the “Useful Jesus” series.
While previously we were expanding on the “spider” stage set-up; this week was completely different.

When I am up on the ladder “flying” a design, I often will design in the air. Honestly, I walked in - with some sort of a concept in mind. But as I started to soar in the rafters; the design took on a life of it’s own.
Sometimes this happens.
Again, as with the majority of these designs, this was done with griff clips and safety pins. There you have it.

Oh, wait. I forgot, we did use an animated intro created by Rich Oster of the song "Come Alive", by the Foo Fighters. It was fun.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

expanding on the "spider"...

I think it's funny how stage designs get strange monikers. But that is how it works sometimes. This series got named the "heavenly spider".
We tend to do mini-series and the stage designs morph, as the series continues. Partly because we are a mobile church and have to strike the stage each week and re-set it up again the following week. Plus, as the series continues, things change and grow in the stage design to match the "feel" of the message.
This is how we have morphed the stage design for this series so far:

(if you are reading the facebook feed and wish to see all the photos, you will need to click over into the "view original post" link at the bottom of the note)
Week 1
Week 2, 3 & 4:

I haven't mentioned it in a while, all of these designs are created with our standard griff clips, safety pins and a tall ladder!
We have been interspersing some experiential/interactive elements in these messages. I will update those soon.
There you have it.

why I do, what I do…

She was about 5 years old, smiling from beneath long auburn curls, clutching a teddy bear wearing Marine dress blues. We were chatting and laughing. She told me she was leaving on a plane to go to El Paso (TX).

How much fun! We talked about going “sledding” on the white sand dunes of White Sands Missile Range (in New Mexico).
We started talking about her bear- as her beautiful mom was sharing that all of this wee child’s parents (mom, dad and step-dad) are active duty Marines. Of course, I thanked the mom for her service and shared I was a Viet Nam Era Veteran.
Soon it came out that the reason for their visit to El Paso was to attend the little girl’s father’s funeral; who was killed in action in Afghanistan just this last Friday.
The tears started to well up in my eyes. The little one continued to share that she was the “primary” (beneficiary), and that she was going to get her daddy’s flag at the funeral.
I asked and then hugged them both; and said I would be praying for them this week.
As they were departing we said we would see each other again soon.
I certainly hope so.

Lord, please wrap your loving arms around this charming young child and her mom as they deal with giving so much to preserve our country.
This is part of the reason why I work as a simple barista at Starbucks.
In my life, random people I meet tend to simply share rather important things that are happening in their lives. It just happens. Is it because I take a little bit more time and listen to what they are actually saying? I am not sure. All I know is that this type of thing happens over and over and over again in my life.
- A man whose sister was dying of congestive heart failure.
- Another man, whose dog was suffering from cancer and ultimately died later that week.
- A woman who was dying of cancer (I later attended her funeral)
- Another person, whose best friend has relapsed with aggressive brain cancer.
- I sang Happy Birthday to someone (I do that often), who later shared I was the only person who acknowledge her special day.
- The woman whom I choose to hug, who said it was the first time someone had even touched her in years.
These are just a few of the stories I hear.
So why do I work as a simple barista? Because that is where God wants me to be – touching people’s lives in a seemingly random place like Starbucks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

the missing step #2

What happened to step number 2? I literally just got the word that the (TVPRA Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act) didn't pass yet, so there is still time to contact your representative.
So step #2 is:
2. Sign the petition asking your U.S. Senator to Support the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) It has expired and needs reauthorization.

It is such a simple thing to do...
All the details you need are here: (you may need to click into the orginal post to find the link)
Click International Justice Mission.

"Congress voting to renew The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, whose current authorization expires on Sept. 30, the main U.S. law that makes human trafficking and modern-day slavery illegal, provides critical services for victims, and must be reauthorized by Congress every three years. Advocates and survivors are concerned that this year, funding for victim services - among other important provisions - will be cut."

what I did on the rainy weekend...

The weekend of September 23rd and 24th; I went to a music fest and got VERY muddy. O.k. I didn't so much go to the music fest; but spent the entire weekend manning a Human Trafficking Awareness Booth at the fest. It constantly amazes me that people don't realize that there at 27 million people currently enslaved in our world, and a lot of those are enslaved in our country, in our state and in your town.
There were 9,500 people that that attended the music fest and we talked to at least 1,000 people at our booth.
Here are some of us at the Human Trafficking Booth from that weekend.

Four simply things that you can do now:
(you may need to click onto the orginal post to find the links)
1. If you aren't aware that human trafficking still exists; you need to become more aware and education yourself. Contact me and I can hook you up with information to read or arrange for you to attend a training class.
2. Oh no, what happened to step number 2? Read the next blog post.
3. Spread the word and educate others. This is so simple. Purchase and wear an awareness t-shirt. I've had amazing results with this.
I wear this shirt (and 5 others) in public:

Now note the hash marks on the sleeve and hem of the shirt. Each hash represents a person that has stopped me and asked me about what my shirt means. The red hash marks represent someone that I have exchanged information with and are now working with us in the local fight to end human trafficking.
It's so simple: all you have to do is get a t-shirt from
4. Buy the Freedom cd from Family Christian Bookstore, not on Amazon. It only cost $5 and every single penny goes towards International Justice Mission. It a really great album with artists like Third Day, Relient K, toby MAC, Mercy Me and Jars of Clay.
These are simple steps. Most you are able to do just sitting there at your computer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the octopus or heavenly spider?

Saw this design in July on Church Stage Design Ideas. It was created by Tyler Dunlop, from Bon Air Nazarene in Kokomo, Indiana The Octopus.
So I downloaded it into my my inspiration file.
Things have been changing yet again, and it's back to me doing the designing and implementation. Though I've got some additional people who will help out. Most of them are afraid of heights.
So I wound up on the ladder this week. Actually I found great joy in doing it. I really missed being able to implement designs with a ladder.
I find freedom in being able to implement it myself. I know exactly where I am going with the cloth. Sort of like designing in the air! And so much easier than trying to explain it to some one else.

Once I got the initial design up, I decided that I really needed "gold" something. The middle section just didn't work correctly. So off I went to Walmart.
This is what it looked like, after all was said and done (this is without the gold).
Still, not the best picture, but hopefully I will have more to post soon.
It was nicknamed the "heavenly spider" by the pastors. LOL.
It was definitely fun to be back in the saddle again.

Friday, September 2, 2011

the story of everything...

Found this vid awhile back. We decided to use it at to re-cap the end of the year through the Bible series.
The creator (Rich Oster) lives in England and was gracious enough to give us permission to use his vid for our service.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

close to the end…

That’s correct, we are coming to the close of our year long study at CrossCurrent.
We just finished up the Minor Prophets and are closing out with, Revelation of course.
This is the staging requested by our pastor for the last two Sundays.

So, we are gearing up for the next series, using these as our basic design material. It's called Mio Nomad System. It's pretty nifty.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Maybe not overly creative this week with the stage. You know, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fire furnace, yada, yada.
But, we used this for for our countdown this week.
Louis Armstrong - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
Very interesting responses from people waiting in the lobby, when this vid started playing. They started turning around and looking at the vid monitor in the lobby. Which was cool. Was it because it was something outside of the norm? Something really retro?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

why designing for Philistines...

why designing for Philistines?

I thought I had explained my thought process behind designing for Philistines and I didn't. Doh!

This is a repost from June 2008, about why I blog here at "designing for Philistines".
What happened I started blogging when it occured to me couple major running themes going on in my blog…

1. The biggest one being that:
I am a freaky designer of cutting edge and culturally relevant (read something relevant to people after Jimmy Hendrix, Prince, the Spice Girls and after 9/11)
5S (using all 5 senses)
experiential worship elements...
I am obsessed with this concept. I spend hours and hours research, searching youtube and such.

2. AND I REALLY dislike terms like “seeker” and “lost”, unless you are referring to the t.v. show. I find them extremely condescending and churchy sounding and actually so do they.

Why Philistines? It’s all Jon - of scl fame’s fault…he’s one of my fav (and prolific) bloggers. In his post "Calling People Seekers" – he discusses what “we” Christians call “people who do not go to church”. It really resonated with what I have been feeling for a long time AND from what I hear from those wonderful “people who do not go to church”.

3. I spend a lot of time with those who hang out at the well (read: people who do not go to church), and I love them to pieces. Those are the people who I feel compelled to design for. I want them to get a chance to know this guy named Jesus.

I have tried to find an online community that is like minded and have not been able to find one, so I decided to start one.
This blog is geared to researching, designing and implementing culturally relevant elements for worship. I may be blogging for myself, then again there may be 17 more people like me out there in the blogsphere who are “seeking” this type of information.

We will see. So welcome...
this is designing for Philistines...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

into the woods...

No stage design this week.
We are off to Meadow Kirk for Baptism Sunday!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

can you guess what this is?

Been twirling design ideas around in my brain for our next series at CrossCurrent for a couple months. More to come.
This is what I have been looking at.


I love "hooks".
It is a means of attracting interest or an enticement. Mmmmm, I love enticement. Something that makes you think again.
For example in music, a hook is a musical idea, often a short riff that is used in popular music to make a song appealing and to "catch the ear of the listener".
I having trying really hard for a while to create thought "hooks" from one week to the next.
Not easy to do when people don't really buy into the concept.
But, we did manage to accomplish it with the QR codes. It mostly happened because of miscommunication. The presentation of the whole idea wasn't offered in week one of the series; so people were left with the "empty" feeling of why in the world were those strange blocks of dots everywhere? People were curious.
Thankfully, the next week it was explained really well. But, it did create a hook. Nice.
For me this darn kangaroo is a perfect example of a hook. I really liked the short lived series "Fast Forward". In the premiere, just before the first commercial they focused on this picture of a kangaroo-and said remember the kangaroo... Obviously they were going to explain it later in the series. I remembered the kangaroo-it caught my attention. Then the series ended abruptly and they never resolved "the why" of the kangaroo. UGH!
Now the kangaroo haunts me. THAT is a great hook.
So, currently, this picture is my desktop picture, as a reminder to remember the importance of the hook.
I will continue to weave "hooks" from one week to the next.

Friday, August 5, 2011

little cloud of bounciness...

One day I was simply walking into a local library for a meeting. As I was walking in I stepped on a really cool mat in the entryway.
"Wow"! It was like stepping on a little cloud of bounciness. The feeling was very cool and fun. My instant thought was how am I going to incorporate this into an experiential element for - you guessed it - church.

So, I pulled out my camera to "capture" a picture as a reminder of this moment.
Seriously, this is how is works in my mind. I haven't had a chance to use this concept yet. But is is there-in my memory, waiting for the right moment...

musing on creativity...

I’ve been musing about creativity and how it happens in the brain, again.
Honestly, I wonder if I am really creative or if I have more of a gift of extrapolation.
I often note there is a difference between artistic and creative. I don't feel that I am necessarily "artistic". But I do have an intrinsic "nose".
My mind constantly "sees" things that inspire some sort of creative gut check. I "see" a snippet; and think "Oh wow, what am I able to do with that?"
This is the ceiling from The Cheesecake Factory in Columbia, Md.

Another small example: I have used a simple faux mirror to interact with on stage for a dance routine.
After we had done that, I captured this frame from SYTYCD. Way cool! I had an idea, then I saw it somewhere else.

Or even more recently. I was watching SYTYCD and saw this...

I file these "snippets" away in my brain and hopefully my computer. I actually have a file entitled "inspiration & thoughts".
I also will blog about it, mostly just to keep the little idea locked down somewhere until it is needed.

Another key element is being well read. Constantly reading, watching, searching, looking, checking out...

Seriously, I study things like marketing (Very helpful)
Yet another thing I do is keep up with what is currently relevant.
Just this week, I was reading some articles on creativity by googling “how does creativity happen?” Some of the information I gleaned from this search was:
The second link I hit was “How does creativity happen?”, really good stuff.
-Even Albert Einstein once defined creativity as "combinatorial play," referring to the intellectual playfulness aspect of creativity, the putting things together in a new way.
-Ah, “putting things together in a new way”. That makes sense to my mind.
-Amy Tan abnormal chromosome
-and I found an e-book "Untitled"

The biggest revelation that I had during this research was - the average person isn't really wired for creativity and most people aren't willing to do the hard work that is involved in creative process.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

be still...

Found out about this video from his book "Untitled" Thoughts on the Creative Process.
This is abolutely brilliant...

BE HERE NOW from blaine hogan on Vimeo.

what you are able to do with a very small budget...

With a little imagination & work; believe it or not, you can create impactful stage design elements on a very limited budget.
Here is an overview of some of the stages that we have created. Drama sets, Starbucks old promo's,  interactive elements - most between $20-$50  to create.

We are a completely mobile church and though we do use some of the same ideas over series, we mostly create a new stage design each and every week. We have built up a nice colection of cloth to use on our stage. Simply by watching for sales, and hunting at Walmart.

So, I want to encourage people that are out there designing on a very small budget.

You can do it!

QR codes…

Was going to make a larger QR code for this week, went to Kinko’s (second time in two weeks) and ran into a snare. The printer we were using @Kinko’s only did 3’x3’ images, and then we’d have to go to a photo printing machine that cost a lot more (double or triple). Honestly, considering that all of this comes out of my pocket-I went with the least expensive option. Oh, well. Needed to adjust on the fly. So dropped the idea of the 4’x4’ image and went with a 2’x2’ image and simply added and rearranged the images on the stage accordingly.
So, got the images printed, cut, glued onto the coroplast, cut again, holes punched, fishing line threaded through and hung with safety pins.

The pastor introduced the idea and explained QR codes: sort of understanding often comes through the type of "lens" you use to interpret things. He "snapped" a qr code (the first one in this slide show), which was simultaneously shown on the big screen. Then showed the picture that was associated with that QR code (the Ezekiel; "If you don't get it, you don't get it picture), which again was shown on the big screen.
Each QR code was self-generated and then populated somewhere on the internet.
We had QR code links to the following:
I converted and dedicated an old blogspot place I had for this message on Ezekiel. It was just so much easier to do myself than explain and ask people to populate images and txt in other locations. A lot of the images and txt where then simply added to the blogspot and QR code links created.
The Vision of The Valley of The Dry Bones by Gustave Doré (on Wikipedia), public domain image

Ezekiel by Michelangelo (on Wikipedia), public domain image
Ezekiel logo image with tag "If you don't get it..." blogspot
Image of New Jerusalem
Explanation of why we are doing the element.
The Most Important Story (from the Relevant Word)
So What (from the Relevant Word)
Smile God loves you (Easter egg, just a funny ha,ha)
Other locations: Think and Talk blog post for Ezekiel 25-48. A blog on our website about where we are in our year long study and pictures on the Creative Arts page on XC website
If you are reading on facebook, designing for philistines blogspot pictures of the stage this week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

just's A-bed-ne-go

Couldn't help it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

if you don't get it, you don't get it...

What do QR codes have to do with church and particularly with Ezekiel?
The concept behind this stage design (follow link to the actual concept), was to populate and incorporate QR codes on the stage and through out the lobby and auditorium. This was to create an experiential element where people would use the QR code readers on their cell phones-to seek out more information about the subject of this weeks message on Ezekiel.
For example: I found images that were "public domain", like this painting of Ezekiel by Michelangelo, which was posted on Wikipedia.
For this picture, I simply captured the URL for the location of the jpeg and feed the URL into a QR code generator.
Then I downloaded the QR code into my files, changed it from bmp to a jpeg file.
Then I went to Kinko's and had it printed in a 12" x 12" format.
Took it home and pasted the image on coroplast with rubber cement.
Cut the coroplast, punched holes at the top, strung it with fishing line and used a safety pin to hang it on the curtains on the stage.

I also generated some copy on an old blogspot and dedicated it to images and posts about Ezekiel from our study book, "Revealing the Relevant Word". Repeated the process of translating the URL into a QR code, printing, etc.

This was what the results looked like on stage this week.

Lessons learned:
The stage QR codes needed to be larger, for overall appearance and for application.
This coming week, we will incorporate a few more QR codes (larger) and move some of the smaller ones closer to the front of the stage.
Also, we are working more closely with the teaching pastor to incorporate the explanation into the message.
Let's see how it goes this coming week.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

EZEKIEL: “If You Don’t Get It-You Don’t Get It “

Fire up your QR app or download a QR reader app and get ready to interact with technology and learn more about Ezekiel’s prophecies.

It all started with a simple convo with my brother Brice Holland, an ad exec, asking me what I thought about QR codes.
Basically a QR (Quick Response) code is a matrix bar coded with information stated by a "link" that can be snapped and captured by a reader (eg. cell phone) to receive information.
How did we transform that into an interact/experiential element for our Sunday morning experience?

EZEKIEL: “If You Don’t Get It-You Don’t Get It “

First, the tagline is based on a Washington Post marketing campaign (for the white paper) from 2007. I always felt it was an interesting juxtaposition between trying to increase “white paper” (dead tree types) readership in a internet media obsessed world. They of course, were referring to peoples knowledge, based on the premise that those who ‘got it”-got it because they were reading the Post.

Since Ezekiel is full of prophetic imagery. It is often difficult to “get” what is being said, unless “you get it”. The main thought/bridge for this element is to utilize self-generated Quick Response Codes (QR codes) to convey the thought of “If you don’t get it- you don’t get it”. A QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera telephones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, picture or other data.

QR codes are currently being used as a marketing technique to engage technology savvy consumers, to interact to a concept through their QR apps and smart phones. People that “get it - get it”.

While brainstorming for creative elements for the Ezekiel messages it was decided that we would: Self-generate and post QR codes through out the lobby before service and possibly during the message.
Using a QR Code Generator: enables you to create and post: URL, text, phone number & SMS. We decided it would probably would be safest to post info on our website and self-generate the QR codes to lead people there.

Example: This self generated QR code:
When snapped and read by a QR code reader application would lead to this picture - posted on a dedicated blogspot:

Stage concept: populate and hang QR codes at the front door, through out the lobby at the breakfast bar, on the stage.
Pictures of the various locations and stage where we posted QR codes to follow.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

lazy day -cool vids

If you haven't heard of jonnybaker: worship tricks, you should check him out. Both of these videos were created by Rich and Fiona Oster. SUPER!
Found this last week (simply ignore the spelling mistake & continue to follow the storyline):

Found this today:

Here has been blogging for nine years-and has some really great worship tricks!

I am simply a grand-mother in jeans and a human-trafficking t-shirt...

Have you been thinking I have been missing in action? Well, that is certainly one way to describe it...
This morning I am sitting around in my jammies and drinking an iced Starbucks Double Shot.
It’s the first morning in weeks; I have just been able to kick-back.

There has been a lot going on and I’ve had to stay completely focused on my goal.
Birth of grandbaby number 6 – check
Negotiate a terrible pay cut at work – check
Track mom, who had cataract surgery - check
Tracking two extended family members going through reconstructive facial surgery and throat surgery - check
Road trip to Pittsburgh for Human Trafficking gathering – check
Oh and the main goal – taking an idea that has been in my head for months and putting down on paper.

Rewind to a couple of weeks ago:
A lot of you may know that I have been very actively involved in addressing the issue of modern day slavery. I’ve been diligently working on a local Human Trafficking Task Force here in Northern Virginia.
Through out this process I have been praying and asking God what He wants me to do. More literally, what He wanted the next step to be for me.
I kept seeing this huge vision of:
1. Creating a nationwide network of volunteers to join the fight
2. Creating a home for the restoration of trafficking humans
3. Creating a dance/creative performance arts group to raise awareness of the human trafficking issue.
So, one day I am checking through my "blog designing for Philistines". I follow several blogs and I noticed one person, blogger Jonny Baker had posted "Got a good idea for social transformation?" . That really caught my attention, so I clicked over.

It was short and to the point. Is simply said:
praxislabs is a new program that supports social entrepreneurs engaging in transformation from a Christian/mission perspective. if you've got a good idea and want to be connected into a network of fellows with the chance to raise some funding towards your idea/dream go and have a read…
Well that certainly piqued my interest. So again I clicked over and started reading about the Praxis Accelerator Program. I thought o.k. this is interesting I will download the application and pray about it.

I did.

The next morning I got up and went back to the Praxis Lab website and read everything. I got the strong feeling that I should at least apply.
So, I decided to quick check on my fb page to catch up-before I started to work on my application.
Cool. Reading fast...and another blogger I follow, Jon Acuff @ Stuff Christian’s Like, had just posted his newest blog post entitled "A new way to change the world". Now that sounded very interesting to me. So I clicked…

He was talking about…wait for it…the Praxis Accelerator Program! Can you say WoW!
You need to understand I do not believe in coincidences. So, I left this comment: and logged off.

I was just checking out my fb page to catch up - before I logged off to work on writing on my application for...wait for it...the Praxis Accelerator Program...
I have been praying for God to show me my next step in His plan of action for my life. The info on Praxis dropped in my lap yesterday and I have been praying since. I literally had just applied for the application moments before logging onto fb and clicking on this post.
Needless to say, I didn't need skittles thrown at me to get my attention.
The big hairy dream: I am currently a modern day abolitionist, involved in ending human trafficking in my area. We are mobilizing churches and various ht.orgs, law enforcement and many more people in our area to come to the table and serve together. Working as one body.
One of the biggest issues I have learned about is that while there are many great ht.orgs nationwide & internationally-there is little networking between organizations.
This is my overall vision: mobilizing the Body of Christ and uniting all the various organizations to end slavery in one generation.
That is just the short version. Now I am of to work on my application.
Keep reading…

So, I started working on the application for about an hour. Decided to take a break & hop off the computer, but I would check on Jon Acuff’s blog one last time.
I went back and found this reply to my comment from Dave Blanchard (Praxis Founder & President)

“Dorothy - can't wait to read your application. Modern day abolition is such an important cause and I'm thankful to hear about people like you thinking about bringing people together to work on it. “
Well, needless to say, by this time I was overwhelmed. I actually started crying. I walked around my house, thanking God for this open door.
So I began my journey working on the application for this mentorship program and finished up yesterday and applied.
I am not sure where this will all lead. A lot of other things have happened since the time I started the application, all confirmations of what I have been dreaming about.
Now presenting the final take of the video introduction for this application:

I'm not normal, I'm xtranormal: take 3

I just continue to take one step at a time. I am very excited about what is happening!

Friday, July 15, 2011

little bitty rubber ducks...

little bitty rubber explanation of why of why the stage looks so empty.

This was created in September 2009.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Ah, the hands of the potter...
Jeremiah: fairly simply leap from the potters concept to having a live potter on stage as the creative element.
The potter is a gal I know from another local church, who I met on the Human Trafficking Task Force. Her name is Brittany Tomick. She has been taking a pottery class and agreed to come help us out with this creative piece.

The poem was written in house by Milynda Foushee
 If you would like to see and hear the element, you are able to find it at about min. 52:50

(this is the first draft)
I wanted to spit deep rythms that changed minds
Stare deeply into the pupils of the Word and until I became an eloquent pupil that
Was able to expound on the deep preverbal notions written centuries ago
But I am not that deep

When I think about God changing me – I cringe
I cringe at the prospect of God’s hands molding me away from my old ways
Those old, familiar ways
I. Love. Me.
I love the fallacy of me
I love the pain of me
It is familiar
It is love – right?

I can’t live without it
I pray about it night and day “Lord, why in the world did you make me like this?”
And when I breathe…it overcomes my very being
Causing me to believe that I am in the reject pile – usable but just not beautiful
But this is the way that God made me right?

And yet, every time that I call out to Him – He is insistent on changing me
Can’t He just help me without changing me?
He takes this marred pot and begins to shape it into this … this vessel to be used by Him
Doesn’t He know who and what I am –
This marred, broken, bitter, fallen, hurt, ugly, rejected lump
He knows – right?

I try to warn Him
There are shards in this clay – they will cut through your hands like nails
But He keeps pulling and measuring me
Why choose this pain?
Doesn’t He know what this will feel like
Like a crown of thorns on thin skinned flesh
Like a whip that stays on a lover’s back for a few seconds too long
Like death
An ultimate sacrifice paid for a sinner
He is listening – right?

And yet
And yet He lovingly caresses me
Relentlessly pursues perfection in me
Endures the toughness of me
His tears smooth out my rough edges – revealing the true beauty of me
I want to melt in His hands
Be shaped by Him
Molded, caressed, touched, loved by Him
Pulled and measured by Him
He brings friction to my inner most being, causing me to change – sweetly – in the palm of His hand
This is love – right?

When I breathe – His love overcomes my very being
When I pray – I talk intimately with Him “Lord, I can’t believe you made me like this. Beautiful, full of joy, blessed and accepted.”
I can’t live without Him.
I think this is love
I cringe at the prospect of remaining the same as I was
So I surrender all just to be near Him
I love the pain of the molding
I. Love. Him
I am in love with Him
His love is deep and I want to dive in.
Ah Lord
Your love for me rescued me

Friday, June 24, 2011


simply that.
I am listening...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

D4F (Dancing 4 Freedom)

Have you ever had a super ginormous, crazy - hairy idea?
This idea is called “La Casita”; a little house making a big difference.
The idea has been percolating for years now. With a lot of pieces to the puzzle.
Today I’m sharing just one of these pieces.

It’s D4F (Dancing 4 Freedom)
Since I have started to becom educated on the human trafficking problem I have been praying for what “Action Plan” God has for me to do. This is what I have been hearing: start a creative performance arts group focusing on awareness and restoration.
The first part is to develop a dance troupe (and other performance arts) focused on raising awareness of the human trafficking/justice through performance arts show. To bring stories alive. As we progress: offer an opportunity for victims of trafficking to have a creative outlet for their restoration process.
There is a lot more to this adventure. This is just the first step. Stay tuned for more updates.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

why, oh why didn't I use spell check?

What do you do when you have created a product (t-shirt) and forgot to use spell check?
Well, you use your noodle!
I have started a store at httfnva and I am creating t-shirts to raise awareness of the human trafficking issue here in Northern Virginia. ALL proceeds will go towards ending human trafficking here in Northern Virginia.
The first shirt I made I spelled a word wrong. UGH!
Well, this is how I solved the problem; with a sharpie! Not perfect by any means, but hey it works. If they do *ask me, I respond with: "are you more concerned about the typo or about the fact that slavery still exists?"
Now I can wear my shirts without too much embarassment. LOL.
That shirt no longer "exsists" in the httfnva store. There are new ones now. There is one for Northern Virginia, Loudoun County and Fairfax County.
Each has a QR code on the back that leads to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), run by Polaris Project with the hotline number 1.888.3737.888. I will be adding more as I get a chance.
Now let's see if I have any typos in my blog post.

really, really, really, really, really excited…

Imagine: if you could go anywhere in the world. Where would you go?

We would all have different journeys, with different modes of transportation and steps to arrive at our chosen destination. Some would use their gps, others would use a paper map, some would fly and some would need a passport. Yet all with the same goal of arriving at your destination.

We are about to embark on a journey of abolition; to be the “hands and feet” of God’s people to abolish the heinous problem of human trafficking that is occurring in our back yard here in the D.C. Metro area. There are many pathways or journeys where God will prompt His people.

We are here to travel together, yet each on a unique journey that God has planned specifically for each one of us.
The goal is to ignite passion, create “smart” abolitionists, through awareness/education, networking people together based on where their heart is calling them and then travel into the world with an action plan to abolish human trafficking.

Over the last year, CrossCurrent has been on this journey. This Sunday is historic. We are gathering our people for our first mini-awareness meeting. We will meet from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the “Piano XPress”, 20608 Gordon Park Square, Suite 190 Ashburn, VA 20147

If you can’t attend this first session; then sign up for the next step. We will be hosting two additional awareness trainings specifically designed to increase understanding of how to “see” what is happening in your backyard.

These training dates are:
Sunday, June 26 from 3:00 - 5:00 (location TBD)
Saturday, July 23 from 10:00 - 12:00 (location TBD)
If you would like to join us on this journey, contact me (through fb or the “Designing for Philistines” blogspot and I will give you further information.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Also, through out this series on Psalms, we had various people write their own Psalms. It was truly inspiring.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"tweek three" Isaiah

Today was a lot of fun.  Walked into the middle school with a plan, within minutes I had changed the plan because of various items I saw when I walked in. So here goes, these pics show the progression from week one - this week.
week one

tweek two

tweek three

What changed was a few things. The school where we meet has a great arts program/teacher. One of the projects from last year, was painted benches. Well, for some reason these same benches were displayed in the lobby today when we walked into the school. I looked at them (I love these pieces) and started reading what the students has written on them.

On the Matisse piece was written:
"How can I be useful? of what service can I be?"
"Conscience is a man's compass"
"Happiness is in the joy of achievement"
On the Frank Lloyd Wright piece:
"The things always happens that you really believe in and the belief in a thing makes it happen"
So I decided in an instant to use the pieces on the stage today.
Also in the auditorium, there were two folding tables just leaning up against the stage. Cool. I set them up behind the drummer, covered them in black and started stacking the red tables and lights on them.
That was it.
So this is the overall look achieved this week.

Oh and the message: was on seeking justice. Actually doing something. Greg talked about the human trafficking issue again and we now have a starting plan of action for XC. We challenged people to pray about the issue (dedicated time during the service for that) and to sign-up for further education/awareness on the topic. Which we are having an awareness session next Sunday evening.  We had a lot of people sign-up the week of March 13th. We had many more sign-up today.
That same week in March -  we had people signed cards of petition to be hand carried to our Senators office petitioning to support changes to our state’s laws to criminalize trafficking. To give more teeth to our currents laws. We had about 30 more people sign today.
I am really excited about what happened today, both on stage and in the hearts of people today. A lot has happened in the last year when this topic was first brought up in a message.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

seek justice…

Heading back in time again to the week of March 13th week was a whirlwind of last minute changes. I even forget where we were originally were going with our creative element. But it all changed in the blink of an eye.

It started when some of us went to interview (on Friday) with a representative from the International Justice Mission (IJM), which btw, isn’t just international!

We came back to the offices energized and just “happened” (yea, right) to run into the pastor who was teaching that coming Sunday. He was really feeling called to hit hard on the issue of seeking justice. So were we.
We decided to show a video from IJM, which raised awareness on the issue of human trafficking. Then we simply created a call to action table.

People signed cards of petition to be hand carried to our Senators office petitioning to support changes to our state’s laws to criminalize trafficking. To give more teeth to our currents laws.

Also we had people who are interested in eliminating the human trafficking issue in our area sign up for further training. We had over 40% of our people sign up.

This was in March. I tell you exciting things are happening. Keep reading to see how all this continues to play out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

heinous act of modern slavery...

"Think slavery ended in 1865? Think again." Believe it or not, modern day slavery exists. Not just overseas, but more than likely in your town. Whether it is domestic slavery, labor or sexual trafficking, it exists.

For the last few months, I have been serving on the Human Trafficking Task Force (httf).
We were tasked by our pastor’s consortium to research and find the gap in our county and to recommend an action plan to address the human trafficking issue in Loudoun County, VA. We did this by:

1. Identify existing organizations in Loudoun and the surrounding areas who are dealing with or have the potential to be dealing with human trafficking on some level
2. Conduct (usually face-to-face) informational interviews with leadership at each of these organizations to identify their awareness level, the strengths of their organization, and the gaps they’ve identified in addressing human trafficking in Loudoun
3. Report on these findings, especially the gaps
4. Brainstorm, based on research, possible recommendations based on findings/gaps

We presented our recommendations to the Loudoun Pastors Consortium yesterday.
This has been an exciting, yet sobering journey. You will see more to come on this issue…

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

love God, love others, serve the world…

Just a short note to say I love being part of a group of people that seeks to help the lost, the skeptic, and the disenfranchised. We have had prostitutes; one who is now serving as a missionary in China. We have parolee’s; some that have returned to prison that we still minister to. We have our own biker “gang”, who does outreach to prisoners, strippers and many more. This is just a part of who we are.

We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But there is a true heart of seeking justice.

Submitting ourselves to truly:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

no diagonals again...

Well, here is "tweek" two of Isaiah.
Didn't use diagonal hanging again.
We will see what happens for "tweek" three.
I must say I enjoy the effect of the lamps, when the house and bands lights are low.

Here is week one for comparison.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Simple. Acts = Holy Spirit

Completely created with safety pins, fishing line and cloth.

Friday, May 27, 2011

stepping back into winter…

I got sidetracked with blogging stage designs earlier this year. So much going on, but now it’s time to back track and fill in the gaps.
The series was entitled “The Kingdom”. As the story goes: the Israelites wanted God to give them an earthly king. God said “O.k.” Always remember to be careful what you ask/pray for.
The story ambles through the prophet Samuel, King Saul, King David & Absalom and more.
First two weeks of 1st & 2nd Samuel, 1st & 2nd Kings, 1st & 2nd Chronicles stage design are captured here.
Now, the last two weeks.

Within a mini-series, I will often use the same materials. But, particularly since we are a mobile church and load in and out completely each week: I tend to tweak the stage design each week within a series.

The third week’s design focused on remembering to praise God. King David was a man of many faults. But one of the things that defined David as a great leader was he accepted responsibility and remembered to praise God.
For this week, the stage design was a continuation of the crown. We added in a interactive element, where we encouraged people to re-focus on praising God. It was simple. A large piece of foam-core, with sticky notes for people to write on. We also created a space for creative people to draw or write on a large piece of paper taped to the floor. The speaking pastor also used props during his message. I always enjoy that.

Fourth week: the destruction off the Kingdom. The nation of Israel was destroyed, divided.
There seemed to be no choice but the take the crown and literally cut it up into pieces and hung it up again. This set of designs was fun for me creatively. To be able to capture the rise and fall of the nation of Israel through coroplast & cloth was exciting.

Side note: I highly recommend reading “Tale of Three Kings”, A study on brokenness (Gene Edwards). It is an amazing book on brokenness. If you have ever been hurt, broken, shattered by church, you will learn a lot from reading this book.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

complete idiot’s guide to fishing line = fiasco

Or literally “oh, snap”.
Most every stage design at XC is created with fishing line, griff clips or safety pins. These are our basic tools.
This week (Isaiah) I asked my husband if I could have “some” fishing line. What he gave me was .009 in. line, which I assume is fly line (use to create fishing lure flies). Well, what I failed to mention was that I needed a heavy test (weight) line. Generally I use 200 lb. plus in stage designing. My bad. Did some shuffling, people were contacted (thank you to some of the manly men at church) and still didn't get what I needed on time.
So the “diagonal” portions of the design didn’t go up this week.
This is what the stage looked like this week.

The lamps and red end tables are from Ikea.
The diagonal pieces are items I got from Starbucks. What you see mid-way in the slide show is from a design last year. They will be used this coming week.

We are in Isaiah for three weeks. I will use variations of this set design for two more weeks.

Lesson Learned: Remember to be more detailed when asking for something.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

if you don't get it, you don't get it...

Do you get it?
Fascinating discussion yesterday via facebook message and real time convo about QR (Quick Response) codes. Basically a QR code is a matrix bar coded with information stated by a "link" that can be snapped and captured by a reader (eg. cell phone) to receive information.
It fits right into a theory I developed several years ago. It's a demographic tag that crosses It isn’t defined by age/generation . It is defined by technology and mindset.

GEND Simply stated you either are digitally connected or not. You either get it or you don’t get it. This digitally enhanced/enabled media is re-defining the boundaries on how various social groups and generations interface with each other.
So how does play into what I do? The results of polling a multi-generational group (ages 24-54) of about 12 people:  the results showed age had NOTHING to do with who knew about QR codes. The interesting thing was, when it was explained almost everyone knew what we were talking about, they had "seen" it-then they got it.
So we started brainstorming and will are going to use a QR code linked to a message about Ezekiel. What was "seen" by Ezekiel didn't make a lot of sense until you understand what was in the message.
Looking forward to this one.

Monday, May 16, 2011

oh, no...a bikini top

This week is about stage design bloopers. Sometimes you get a lot more than you bargained for when you stand back and look at a stage design.
The scenario: I was producing and the only one working on the stage design. It makes for a very busy Sunday morning.
I quickly put the stage design up. Stood back and someone said "oh, it looks like a bikini top."
Now, in the scope of things a bikini top appearing in the stage design isn't too bad. Just not needed. It could be a distraction for some. So, it was a quick fix. I generally have extra bolts of cloth with me in my car. I just pulled some out, added an extra "swoosh". Problem solved.

Lesson Learned: "Always check with others". I know this one. Been there, done that before. If you've done any design work at all-you know that you have to be on the look out for: how shall I say this delicately? Unintended random body parts.

I think the funniest one was when the initial design looked like an uncircumcised (Philistine) body part. So glad somebody noticed THAT week!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

His ways are not our ways...

I recently revealed how much of creative stage design is work and some is just thinking & vapor…
Well this week, I had NOTHING. Absolutely NOTHING. Seriously, I read the appropriate scriptures, studied, prayed, thought...NOTHING.
Finally, I just gave up. That's right. Gave-up. I notified the Sunday morning team, I wouldn't have a stage design and would just be there for church. Hey, it was even Mother's Day. I enjoyed not having to get up at 5:00 to head in for load-in and set-up.
So, I walk into church, sat with my family, worshipped, kicked back to listen to the sermon...
then saw this...

Then I understood. (Sorry the pic to so bad. Used my really old cell phone).
There needed to NOT be a stage design this week. The entire focus was on those five music stands, with the words EVENT, UNDERSTANDING, BELIEFS, ACTION, OUTCOME.
Of course, it fit perfectly with the message. Revealing the Relevant Word: Proverbs.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

I wish I could say I had the wisdom to understand what was happening beforehand. I didn't. But, I did simply trust. I didn't try to force a stage design. Lesson learned.