About This Gift - Liner Notes
(it helps explain the warning label)

“As I sit to write these notes, it is snowing outside. Everything looks so beautiful with its fresh white coating. I have always loved winter but over the past few years I have struggled with these feelings for, you see, I enjoy the beauty of the season bundled in warm clothes or looking out from inside a warm house. The inspiration for this project has been children that I have spent time with from the streets and orphanages of Ukraine who do not always have that option.

The warning label on the cover is not included because of the obscenities of language contained herein but, rather, due to the obscenities of our humanity. It is there because of the obscenity of 35,000 children around the world dying of starvation every 24 hours; the obscenity of millions of children homeless and orphaned around the world; the obscenity of lives lived as followers of Christ where we exclude Jesus in His most distressing disguise of the poor and marginalized people around the world; the obscenity of a holiday season that begins with a day of Thanksgiving and then on the very next day, Black Friday, we swarm to the stores and shops as if we have been deprived of so much while, at the same time, there are so many around us who truly don’t have enough; and then, the obscenity of sharing these gifts on the day when we profess to be celebrating the Gift of Jesus, given to the world as a Lamb without blemish, to die for our atonement by being hung upon the tree. This is the same Jesus who calls us to love others as He has loved us. We come up so short of this in the midst of our conditional love. All praise and glory be to our God who is a God of mercy and of grace.

This project is rough. It has been an emotion-filled endeavor for me. I have been able to close my eyes and see the faces of the children, the face of Christ, throughout. It was unexpected, thus unplanned. It started with the writing of the song, ‘Street Dreams’ after a September 2007 mission trip to Ukraine where I, again, witnessed the despair of the street children and one young lady, Sasha, in particular. I first met her on a 2004 visit to Ukraine but over the last year the streets had been especially cruel to her. Just 18 months earlier she had shared her dreams with me and as I looked at her now, my heart broke unlike it had ever been broken in previous visits. I returned home to sleepless nights and, when I did sleep, there were dreams of Sasha and the rest of these children trying to survive on the streets of Kiev as another Ukrainian winter approached. With ‘Street Dreams’ I felt with all my heart that I needed to do this project this year. There was a true sense of urgency. So here it is. It was recorded in 8 days with two of the songs being written as they were being recorded and, because of that time frame, I played all of the instruments myself except for the piano on ‘Street Dreams’ which was accomplished with the help of loops from Apple Garage Band. I am not a theologian or great Bible scholar. I am simply someone who has fallen in love with Jesus and one who has been humbled to have been given the great privilege of having been able to look into His eyes and recognize Him. My prayer for this project is that it might move others to seek out this Jesus; that others may experience Him in a way that will never allow them to be the same. I know I won’t be.”