1. Dealing with Anxiety

    When is the last time you felt really anxious about something? Can you remember a time when you felt so anxious that you felt powerless and unable to move? If you've been there before, this one is for you.

    I recently went through a period of intense anxiety. When I'm anxious, I distance myself from my family and friends and have a hard time being present. Conversations feel forced and my mind is always elsewhere.

    Why do I feel anxious? It's hard to identify.

    I can't always pinpoint the cause of my anxiety, but it has gotten worse since my dad passed away.

    Sometimes I'm anxious because I feel like I should know what I'm doing by now, and I don't.

    I don't really know what I'm doing as a Christian, business owner, husband and father. I try my best, but there's just so much uncertainty there. Am I off track? Am I running at the right pace? Am I even running the right race?

    I wouldn't call myself a worrywart, but not knowing the path I'm on makes me uneasy. I feel like I've buried myself in work so much over the last few years that I rarely lifted up my eyes to see where I was headed.

    In some ways, I've never felt more lost in my life.

    The only thing I can do to relieve my anxiety is to pray out my thoughts and feelings. It's only when I let go of control that I find any peace.

    My prayer usually goes something like this: "God, I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I can't figure it out on my own, so if You can help, that would be great. You say You listen to me and care about me, but sometimes that's hard for me to believe. Where are you?"

    I'm not proud to admit that sometimes I wonder where God is. I want to see Him, but often feel skeptical of His power and presence. This is something I'm working on and I believe is one of the main reasons why I've been struggling with anxiety.

    The song "Carry Me" is a prayer for when I'm feeling anxious. When I sing this song, I imagine God as a loving father, carrying me home.

    My prayer is that this song can be a prayer for you when you are feeling anxious. I hope that this song will help you see God as the loving Father He is.

    Carry Me Lyrics

    Loving Father, You carry me oh
    You carry me through the dark
    Humble Savior, awaken me now
    Awaken me to see your glory

    And I belong to You, now I do
    You have all of my heart
    And I belong to You, now I do
    You knew my name from the start
    You called my name from the start

    God of mercy, You comfort me oh
    You comfort me in the dark
    King of Glory, reign in me now
    Come and wash away my worry

    I am Yours Lord
    You called my name
    In the darkest night

    Loving Father, You carry me oh
    You carry me through the dark
    King of Glory, reign in me now
    Come and wash away my worry

  2. King Jesus

    Close your eyes and imagine Jesus for a second. What do you see? Do you see Him seated on a throne in glory?

    For the longest time I saw Jesus on the cross. His blood, suffering and sacrifice for my sins.

    I dwelled on His humanity and pictured Jesus in my mind as James Caviezel in 'The Passion'.

    I prayed to this Jesus. I sang to this Jesus. I worshipped this Jesus.

    But I was missing something.

    I wasn't seeing Jesus as He is today. If you are a Christian, you believe that Jesus was crucified and rose on the third day–conquering Satan, sin, death and the wrath of God.

    He ascended to heaven where He is right now–highly exalted and seated at the right hand of God.

    He is ruling and reigning over everything and everyone and is coming back to judge the living and the dead.

    John had visions of heaven and describes the risen Jesus in Revelation 21:

    "From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

    "King Jesus" is a song I wrote to remind myself of who Jesus is today. He is, as John describes, King of King and Lord of Lords.

    My prayer is that this song will help you worship Jesus joyfully and that it will be a triumphant declaration of who Jesus is now and forever.

    You can download the song here.

  3. Forever My Love

    June flew by.

    Thankfully, I finished the song for this month in May.

    "Forever My Love", was written for my wife Grace, but feel free to use it to serenade your significant other.

    I had the Beatles in mind when I wrote this song and doubled the vocals at the chorus to give it a different feel from the last two tracks.

    Caleb did a great job layering in instruments and mixing.

    This is the kind of tune I imagine listening to while driving at sunset near the coast.

    I hope you enjoy!

    Also, I wanted to give you a quick update on the donation progress.

    We just hit $3,925 of $5,000 (78%)!

    Thank you all so much for your love and support. I am so blessed by your love and generosity.

    If you know anyone who would like to donate to the project and support some amazing non-profits, please send them here: The 12Songs Project

    You can download the song here.

    Forever My Love Lyrics

    You're the one, I will always stand beside
    Thick and thin, a flood that never will subside

    Sometimes I lose my way
    But my heart is here to stay
    Forever my love will remain with you

    You're the sun when I'm feeling dark inside
    You're the truth when I'm falling for a lie

    You're my stay, when the waves push side to side
    You're my shore, when I'm pulled away by tides

  4. Somebody Like Me

    This month was rough.

    Grace has been very sick, and I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off just trying to stay on top of things at work and keep June alive.

    What I love about the 12 Songs project is that it forces me to deliver something each month.

    The commitment I made doesn't care about my circumstances. I committed to 12 songs–one each month–and that's just what I'm going to do.

    There were a few moments this month when I was able to write. The first opportunity was at around 9:00pm on Mother's Day in our half bath (one of the few places I can play guitar when June is sleeping).

    It took me about an hour to write a song for my wife.

    I was surprised at how quickly things came together and recorded everything the same night. I shipped it off to Caleb and went on with my life.

    I thought I was done for the month, but something was pulling at my heart.

    The song I wrote, "Somebody Like Me", came from the restlessness I feel when I think about my sins and shortcomings. It came out of a place of feeling small. I see the world through such a tiny lens and it's impossible for me to see the big picture.

    It's tough to believe that the God of the universe is intimately in-tune and interest in my life.

    Yes, I believe I am saved by grace.

    Yes, I believe that Jesus took all my sin on the cross and substituted Himself in my place.

    But what's hard to understand is why God actually cares about ME.

    There are billions of people in the world, and He cares and loves me?

    The answer is yes. He does. He loves you and He loves me, but that doesn't mean it's easy for me to believe all of the time.

    Here's the thing:

    I believe, despite how I feel.

    I believe, because He says He loves me and that He's for me, and that will always be enough for me.

    If you've wrestled with this belief, then this song is for you.

    If you've struggled with your past, or wondered why God is interested in your life, then this song is for you.

    But let me encourage you with this:

    God cares about you. He loves you, despite how you feel.

    Here's proof:

    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)

    You can download the song here.

    Somebody Like Me Lyrics

    There’s a darkness inside me, that I can’t escape
    Haunts me at night and keeps me awake
    Like a sliver broken underneath my skin
    Always digging deeper in

    I believe that You paint each sunset
    I believe that You calm the seas
    What’s hard to believe is how You can love somebody like me

    I believe that You walked on water
    I believe that You rose from the grave
    What’s hard to believe is why you would save somebody like me

    There are secrets that I wish I could keep
    But I know You see everything
    I’ve got a past that I want to undo
    And I’ll keep running back to You

    You say it will be alright if I just stay by Your side
    But I can’t sleep tonight, fighting this feeling inside

  5. Interview with Ryan Bensheimer

    Ryan Bensheimer is a friend of mine and the guest speaker at the inaugural Pursuit meetup. He owns Ideal Impressions Photography, one of the most successful photography companies in Southeastern Wisconsin. Ryan will be speaking about what it takes build, manage, and motivate a team. He's worked with a number of freelancers and full time employees over the years and we can learn a lot from his experience.

    What's the number one reason you became an entrepreneur?

    I love to take trips with friends and family and have the ability to control my own life and calendar. I have always been an innovator and can come up with 20 ways to make something better. I love to improve things and make people smile.

    What's the best business advice you've ever received (could be from anywhere)?

    Spend some time thinking of your ideal situation in life and or business and then make a map and strategy to get there…and review it regularly, have a vision and a plan to get there one step at a time.

    What are you most excited about this year as it pertains to your business?

    We are innovators…we have some amazing ideas to implement…join us next Wednesday, April 29th at 7pm for the rest of the story.

  6. A Great Day

    On April 11th, we had a service to celebrate my dad's life. The entire day was amazing. I was deeply blessed by everyone's kindness, support and words. It was encouraging to hear stories about my dad and reflect on the man he was. I thank God for such a special day to celebrate my dad's life and think about how to move forward. I realized that there are a number of areas in my life that I need to grow in order to make a bigger impact for the kingdom.

    We've raised $3,695 of the $5,000 for the 12 songs project. I'm stunned by everyone's generosity. I feel so overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received.

    Recording is coming along. I had my sister lay down some violin on 'Going Home' the other night and I will be recording vocals tonight or tomorrow.

    My goal is to release 'Going Home' the last week of April. I'll keep you posted!

  7. First Update

    I'm so excited to tell you that we have raised $2,875 of the $5,000 goal for the 12 songs project. I am blown away by everyone's love and support. I wanted to let you know that I will donate to Love Inc. and TLC when there are matching campaigns in order to double the gifts received.

    This is the first month of the 12 songs project and I'm ready to make some music. Well, almost ready. My daughter June and I are sick and I haven't been able to record as much as I wanted to the first week. But that's life, and I'm planning on doing most of the tracking this week.

    My dad's memorial service is this Saturday, April 11th at 11am, at Faith Chapel Evangelical Free Church in Burlington, WI. If you want to come, we'd love to have you. There is visitation from 10am-11am and a luncheon following the service. Here's more information about the service if you are interested.

    The first song that I'll be releasing, "Going Home", is for my dad. It's a song that I wrote at his bedside and sang to him before he passed. It's about going to heaven where his suffering would end. I'm looking forward to sharing the song with you. My prayer is that all the songs that come out of this project will honor God and be a blessing to you.