Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DVD Release (preview)

Hey folks,

Several months ago, I had the amazing opportunity to play violin for a LIVE DVD shoot, with Jeremy Larson, Darren King (MuteMath), and Stacy DuPree (Eisley). And after some time in the editing booth, the DVD is nearly here! Until then, here's a preview...

I get a nice close up at 2:09...also, the song gets quite intense around the 4:25 mark.

Enjoy!



Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Outsourcing God - book excerpt #21


In light of BLACK FRIDAY and CYBER-MONDAY, I thought it would be appropriate to share an excerpt from my book in progress, Outsourcing God. How does consumerism effect the church?

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(c) 2011 Ross Christopher Donaldson - Outsourcing God.

What is it about the weekly encounter we label “worship,” that causes such a stirring, such life change, or conversely nothing at all?

I believe that in our consumer-driven, materialistic society, we fall prey to the habitual re-creation of an entertainment encounter. And just because I use the term “entertainment,” doesn’t mean I’m referring to a particular style of encounter; contemporary, progressive, traditional, post-modern, blended, etc. Rather I’m referring to the fact that we try and dish out what gives “our people” what they want.

We spend an amazing amount of time calculating what will drive the numbers up and try and meet those expectations unequivocally. If that’s a rock band or pipe organ, we’ll do what brings in the numbers. After a season of positive encounters, we say that things are going well, budgets are in the right place, staffing is secure, and things are generally healthy. However, when these encounters leave us uneasy, we quickly blame the ministry staff, begin questioning the church’s stewardship, and eventually go down the road of, “oh, remember how things used to be…”

It’s a natural place to go. This line of thinking is very normal. However, the fact that we got there in the first place illuminates the real failure. The fact that we can, (in one week and one worship encounter), determine the encounter’s success by the ministry staff’s hard work, excellence and spiritual maturity, and the next week call it a failure, without any hesitation that just perhaps the encounter has something to do with how we arrive, the preparedness of our hearts, and the willingness of ourselves to be challenged, moved, and disrupted, shows how far the church has gone and how we’ve allowed the gods of culture to infiltrate.

Peace,
Ross

Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent > what to do?


Yesterday kicked off Advent, and I'm super excited for all that is entailed in celebrating the season with the family!

Last year, Kate and I decided to SLOW THINGS DOWN from the norm of pre-Christmas behavior, so that we might not rush through the meaning of the season, and potentially miss some really great family time.

This year, we'll light the Advent candle(s) each night, talk about the meaning of this season, and will try and engage in some kind of festive activity.

Here's just a few of the things we'll do over the next few weeks. If you're in St. Louis, you should take advantage of some of the local awesomeness!

EXPERIENCE
Bake & decorate Christmas cookies

Make homemade ice cream

Roasting marshmallows over the fire pit

Go see Christmas lights (there's some great neighborhoods in STL)
Little Drummer Boy (STL)
Shane & Shane concert (STL)


MOVIES/TV

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Christmas Vacation (mostly for Kate & I :-)

Charlie Brown Christmas

White Christmas

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Polar Express

A Christmas Carol

Elf

Happy Advent & Peace,
Ross

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Belated.

We're back to St Louis, and I just wanted to wish everyone a BELATED happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all enjoyed much family-time and the carb-comas.

Now starts the fast paced rat race towards Christmas.

Take your time. Breathe.
Spend time with your family and enjoy the season.

From Kate & I...Happy Thanksgiving and an even happier Christmas season!

Peace,
Ross

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Empathy for Thanksgiving.

I want you to consider EMPATHY for Thanksgiving.

Empathy is the human capacity to be in solidarity with one another - to live another soul's story.

Check out this AMAZING video and be challenged by it; and consider empathy for Thanksgiving!



Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Perplexed (again).


Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter feast includes one tray that I am always perplexed by...

The relish tray.

I mean, I cannot fathom a time I have ever thought to myself, "man, this meal was great, but would be COMPLETE if I only had a gherkin..."

That is all.

Peace,
Ross

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Tree Goes Up!

That's right, we put the Christmas tree up tonight with the kiddos. 'Twas a fun night of ornaments, lights, and sifting through boxes from the move nearly a year ago...

The girlies loved every minute of it: cookies, Christmas music, nativity scenes


It's about a week early (I know), but after seeing all of the pine trees and lights in Colorado last week, we were just in the Christmas mood.

So we indulged.

Peace,
Ross

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Long Haul.

I'm typing this from home in St. Louis. So, we officially made the long haul back from Breckenridge...13 wretched hours of nothing-ness (Kansas), and kid movie soundtracks to serenade me the entire route.

Along the way we made a couple mandatory stops:

biscuits & gravy (nourishment for the soul)
Loveland Pass (the view was incredible & the girls loved it!)


Alas, this mini-tour is over!

Peace,
Ross

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Breck-ness.

I could say a lot about our day, but I'll let the pics tell the stories...


What I will mention is that you know you have seriously manly-facial-hair when you can see it in your peripheral vision.

Peace,
Ross

iEmpathize Event.

Yesterday was the concert at the University of Colorado. An awesome organization, iEmpathize brought me out for its annual awareness week on campus. Here's what they are fighting to end...

iEmpathize - Human Trafficking 101 from Stephen Vidano on Vimeo.

I had a blast hanging out with these guys and performing for them and all of the students! Here's a few pics from the night, enjoy!


Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We Made It.


Last night we left St. Louis around 7:30PM and rolled into Breckenridge, CO this morning around 8:30AM. It was a long haul, but we made great time (and that's even counting the time I got pulled over in Eastern Kansas).

We're out here enjoying a few days in the snow while I'm playing a show at the University of Colorado on Wednesday. I must say that I LOVE being a touring musician; getting to make these fun trips across the country! So thank you to everyone that's ever come out to a show, bought a CD, or helped me out in any way, shape, or form!

We devoured a hearty breakfast at a diner in Dillon this morning then decided to take a trip on the Breckenridge Peak 8 gondola.

video

I'll post more tomorrow...

Peace,
Ross

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In a Tree.


This weekend, I sat 20 feet above the ground in a tree, and exhaled. I swayed with the wind, watched the forest come to life around me at daybreak, and watched it all fade away at sundown.

From my vantage point (and without distractions) I was able to do lots of thinking and brainstorming. I focused on several themes (each separate - sort of) and will be writing on them in the near future.

Light / Shadows / Economy

Peace,
Ross

p.s. the blog will be mostly pics this week as I'll be in Colorado performing at The University of Colorado

Thursday, November 10, 2011

ENNEAGRAM & CREATING CULTURE.


So hopefully you took THIS ENNEAGRAM TEST yesterday. It was very self-revealing to me. This was quite possibly the most revealing personality test i've ever taken.

I scored Type #4.

Fours are unique and create their own distinct culture. They experience the highs and lows of life intensely. They take great pride in their aesthetic tastes...

It's a great descriptor of the creative artist.

What was revealing though, was not the "creating their own distinct culture" part, but the "experiencing the highs and lows with intensity" part.

This is completely me!

This answers my ULCER questions...I'm either WAY up, or WAY down.

I could call this a curse, but instead i'll explain my take...

I hate plateau. I have no interest in status quo. If you look at my music catalogue (the stuff I write, or the stuff I listen to), there's very little mid-tempo, mid-intensity, music in the playlist(s). I either like stuff that's in your face and over the top, or stuff that's extremely minimalist and subdued. I listen to progressive stuff, risky stuff, that people either love or hate.

As I tackle leadership, momentum, change, pace, etc, I try to stay in the poles - either really high, or really low. Let me explain.

Some risks end in failure (the low). Some risks end in home runs (the high).
I'm ok with both of those places. I just love to try new things - to risk new things.

What I'm not ok with, is maintaining. I see plateau as slow death. Right, wrong, or indifferent, that's how I operate.

I cringe at the phrase, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

On a cultural level, you'll never hear me say, "those were the days..." But even more distasteful, is the attitude of trying to be in the current fad. Fads fade. Fads are temporal. And if you focus on the current, you waste a lot of creative time on what might just be a fly-by-night trend.

I'm much more interested in creating future culture (even if that means I misread trends and context, and what I create is discarded and forgotten). At least, I'm looking ahead and working creatively to create newness, richness, and hope. Because nothing in the future-minded creative process is lost. It all sharpens and refines.

I hope you'll take the test if you haven't already, and that it's as meaningful to you, in connecting the dots, as it has been for me.

Peace,
Ross

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Test.


Yesterday I posed several questions regarding tension...

How do we work in it, out of it, or avoid it?

Soon after I posted it, I was in a conversation with a friend about the topic, and she turned me on to this great personality test, that was EXACTLY what I was in search of!

It's called the Enneagram Personality Test.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE IT

It took me about 5 minutes, and what it showed me was very eye opening. I'll get into my results tomorrow. But in the mean time, please visit the site and be prepared for self-revelation!

Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tension.

Today, I just want to post a handful of questions surrounding TENSION...

Word Animation - Tension from Andrea Blanco on Vimeo.



How do you effectively live in tension without the aide of Pepcid AC and other ulcer meds?

If you're a leader, when conflict and tension arise, how do you deal with it?
-do you immediately quell it?
-do you immerse yourself into it?
-do you work to create it?

What does the perfect leadership scenario look like?
-is it mostly lived IN or OUT of tension?

If you're an artist, how often are you in tension?
-when aren't we?


Please leave some comments & embrace the tension!

Peace,
Ross

Monday, November 7, 2011

iEmpathize

A few weeks back I had the amazing opportunity to work with a great organization, iEmpathize. (They brought me in to provide an artistic experience and musicical backdrop for a local St. Louis event) They're a group bringing awareness to the sex trade around the globe. They're fighting it on many fronts, and I'm proud to be an advocate for them and their cause!

Over the weekend they called and asked that I come out to the University of Colorado to provide a musicical backdrop for their big event. Needless to say, I am stoked and am looking forward to a continued future relationship with iEmpathize.

Check out this video that tells a bit more of the story:


Peace,
Ross

iEmpathize from iEmpathize on Vimeo.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Warm Ups

Here's a fun little snippet of Harmony Grove warming up some harmonies in the studio today.



Peace,
Ross

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ONE SHOT VIDEO #2 > DOUBT BRINGS HOPE

Here's the 2nd ONE SHOT VIDEO of this series...Doubt Brings Hope.



Peace,
Ross

p.s. THANKS to Kate for the fun filming!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Perplexing-perspective.

We live in perplexing times.
Times that bring doubt to your perspectives.
Times that could care less about your perspective.
This is a perplexing-perspective.

Over the weekend I had to put new breaks and break fluid on my suburban to the seemingly ridiculous cost of $456.

To give a little perspective though, I just filled the same suburban up with gas at the even more ridiculous cost of $91.

Filling my vehicle up with gas should not cost more than 20% of new breaks!

Perplexing-perspective hurts.

Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sad Song Lullabye (One Shot Video)

I'm doing a series of One Shot Videos from my songs on BOXES & HUMAN FOG. Here's installment #1, Sad Song Lullabye. Enjoy!



Peace,
Ross

p.s. I started with the easiest one...the next will be much more lively and involved - check back in the days to come for more installments!