The Catechist


What is the sky?

The sky is above us—
There; it’s blue.

Can I touch it?

No, you can’t touch it.
It’s too far away.

If I go higher,
can I touch it?

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The Size of Sorrow


(original photo taken by Jenna Foster)

I wrote this poem three days after asking my doctor to put me back on medication for depression. Again. The words came pouring out of me that Friday morning, after I read some psalms and tried to pray. The kids were at school and John was at the gym while I sat crying in a recliner by the window. I’ve had many sad mornings in the last ten months, but I’m looking forward to a different kind of Fall this year. I still get worried, anxious, and tearful from time to time, but yesterday I realized some differences in the me-from-last-Fall and the me-from-now.

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You didn’t promise me happiness
but You promised me joy
I’m not always sure I know the difference

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The Secret Beauty of My Heart


I’m going to put all my cards on the table.

I’m a journalist – with an agenda.

There it is in black-and-white. I want whoever reads my stories, or looks at my photographs, or watches one of the videos I’ve produced to see the world the way I do. I want you to feel what I feel. I want you to believe the same truths I believe. I want you to hate the things I hate, and love the things I love.

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An Introduction to Roy Salmond


Roy Salmond was the keynote speaker at Under the Radar’s Escape to the Lake music conference this past August. He is a record producer living amongst the exceptional beauty of British Columbia—a mythical land with real autumn that makes us Southern U. S. folks envious. Working with artists such as Carolyn Arends and Kelley McRae, Roy’s approach to production is less dictatorial and more prophetic, and his light creative touch brings out the best in the recording artists. He’s also a lover of the poetic works of Malcolm Guite and Scott Cairns. Roy was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of our questions.

FH: What do you see as the interpersonal role of the producer when putting a record together?

RS: The answer depends on how a producer defines “interpersonal.” If the producer is relational like I am, then the relationship of the artist with the producer comes into play. I like collaboration and serving the artist—I want to help him or her achieve their vision. I see myself coming alongside and cheering them on and saying, “Watch for this!” or, “Have you thought of this?” I also ask a lot of questions from “What is a sonic template we can use as a starting point?” to “What are you trying to communicate here?” Usually in the course of an extended album, I’m not only the sonic documenter, but also the priest, the psychologist, the friend, the fan, the lover, the antagonist, the parent, the theologian, and the musician.

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Irons in the Fire


I didn’t necessarily grow up in an arts-centric home. My brother, a hard rock drummer, was the musician in the family, and when he and my dad were learning to play guitar together, I decided I had to learn also. Though they thought it was a whim, my folks very generously bought me an acoustic guitar for Christmas when I was nineteen. Two years later, I wrote my first song. I was hooked. For the next twenty years or so, my focus was on writing lyrics, words, and melodies. Several years ago, I reached a point where I needed a creative outlet for my creative profession. It wasn’t that I was brimming with ideas, but I needed an outlet that did not involve language or words. I was coming out of a dark season at that point, and though fear certainly held court, I was drawn to a new mode of expression, to push back against and confront some of my long-held fears.

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Weep Together


The woman in the purple dress said, “My eight-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with cancer this week—and I wanted a drink so bad.”  The room fell silent.  Suddenly I could feel my heart stand at attention.  It was like a queen had entered, speaking to her most trusted advisers. We all listened close.

Tears fell down her face as she shared her story. When she finished, I looked across the room at an older man shaking his head in the corner. He whispered in an honorable tone, “That’s horrible, just horrible—but I’m glad you didn’t take a drink.”

It was my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

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