Tag Archives: Out of the Ashes

Encouragement to encourage

So, ‘Out of the Ashes’ is out! Thank you to all the lovely people who came to the album release event at TazZa in Sutton on Friday night – it was a really enjoyable evening, although slightly surreal being asked to sign CDs!  I am have been overwhelmed by the feedback and people’s positive comments on the album.  Thank you so much to everyone who has ordered an album.  Some people have been asking how they can get an album – you can either check out my shop on my website or my next event is on Sat 23rd May at Purley Baptist Church and albums will be available there.  We have now uploaded tasters for all of the tracks – do have a listen!

I want to say a big thank you to Cross Rhythms Radio Station who created an artist profile for me and mentioned my album release on their website. They will be doing a review of the album and a radio interview with me! (I’ll let you know when these are going live).   For those of you who have not heard of Cross Rhythms, they are Christian radio station who are fantastic at encouraging new artists.  They have some great stuff on their website – artist reviews, resources, and great music.

So something that has been on my mind recently is that it can be so easy to focus on negative comments, discouragements and lies.  Yet when we focus on these things we lose our joy, and peace and hope.  I have had plenty of discouragements and things to contend with over the years – but I have made the decision not to focus on the negative but remember all the encouragements that God has given me.  I have found this an amazing exercise.  Recently I have been going back over my life and thinking about people who have mentored me, encouraged me in some way small or big.  I have then been thanking God for these people and writing to these people to say thanks and sharing how their input into my life has helped me and been a real blessing.  I feel sometimes people have no idea how a small word, a gift, or a word of encouragement has impacted someone.  When you then hear (maybe) years later, it can be such a huge encouragement to keep going and to keep being an encourager.  I urge you to have a think about the people over your life who have encouraged you, or who have blessed you with kindness.  Focus on these things, and the areas that God has blessed you through others.  Maybe you might feel encouraged to let some of those people know how they have encouraged you!

I pray you have a great week!

God bless,
Kat

Only 2 days till the album launch!

So today I am having the fun task of getting all the envelopes ready to send out with the CDs that have been pre-ordered. If you want to order a copy, you can shop here and I will send it out first thing on Friday. The heart of this album is to bless and encourage and to point towards our awesome God!

I am so excited about the launch on Friday, and if you are local would be great to see you at TazZa Coffee Shop at 7.30pm. It will a very evening of music, chat, coffee and, of course, an opportunity to buy the album on release day.

Over the last few weeks I have been talking about the songs and the stories behind each song.  The last song on the album is called ‘Journey on’.  One of the biggest things I love doing is encouraging people to keep going and to know Jesus’ love and leading in their lives.  In this song I look at the reality that in this life we will have both times of great happiness and joy, and times of sorrow and pain.  Yet in this life we are on a journey and the heart of the song is to keep going, keep journeying on till the day when God calls us home to be with him.  There have been times in my life where everything seems great, and joyful and I am so happy and full of life.  And there have been other times when it takes a huge effort just to get through the day and I feel like I am clinging on by the fingertips.  I believe that God is with us through the highs and lows of life and I wanted to end the album with this encouragement, knowing that life is a journey with different seasons – but in the full knowledge that ultimately, we will be with him forever. This definitely gives me strength to keep going!

So in my last blog I talked about not knowing where God was leading but stepping out in faith.  I can already say God is starting to open doors which is really exciting – just to be cryptic, I will say more about this soon!  I am excited about what God has in store and I pray that you would know God’s peace, joy and strength in your life no matter what season you are walking through.

God bless,
Kat

So I am delighted to say that my debut album ‘Out of the Ashes’ is complete, and has just been sent off to the CD printers. It really has been an incredible team effort and I am praying that God will use the album to bless many people and be encouraged in their walk with Him.

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So now the focus is on the release and the launch gigs. There are two! Firstly at TazZa Coffee Shop in Sutton on 15th May and then at Purley Baptist Church on 23rd. Please check out my events page for more information. If you would be interested in having me come to your Church or local venue to run an event please do check out my bookings page and contact me, I would love to hear from you.

In the run up to the album release I am going to share the lyrics and stories behind the songs.  I truly feel that having the story behind the song really enhances listening to it.  I pray these words encourage and bless you.  Check out the lyrics on the lyrics page.

So the first song that I am sharing with you is a very personal song to me.  This song is called ‘Just as you are’.  I battled with ME/CFS for 5 years which God healed me from in 2012.  For those unsure of how this illness affects you, in a nut shell you suffer from severe fatigue/exhaustion and quite often pain.  There are different levels of the illness.  There were days when I was okay and could do more, but then I would pay for it for the next few weeks and usually be able to do very little. On really bad days even walking down the stairs to sit on the sofa was exhausting – I quite often spent all day in my pjs because I did not have the energy to change.  Looking after my appearance was just too exhausting – and I quite often had to rely on the kindness of a relative or a friend to even wash and dry my hair!

One of the difficulties with this illness is that it is invisible. Apart from looking tired or a bit unwell you can come across as totally normal. I feel that this is one of the reasons why this illness is so misunderstood by many.  There were so many times that people muttered ‘well I’m tired, too’, or ‘you look perfectly fine to me’.  The demoralising thing was you could wake up after a night’s sleep and be as exhausted as when you had gone to bed.  There is something rewarding about being tired when you have worked hard all day and achieved a lot.  But when you have the exhaustion all day every day and you haven’t been able to do much at all it can really get you down.  I quite often struggled with feeling low and useless. As a Christian, I felt I wasn’t being able to ‘live for God’ and felt pretty miserable on my own at home day after day.  Through this time I felt God starting to challenge me in what was I finding my worth in. Was it deeds? Or was it Him? What was I trying to prove? Although I knew that I was saved through the grace of Christ alone I was desperately striving to prove my worth and who I was.

Through this period I felt God start to break down those things and to speak to my heart. He told me hat I was precious, and loved, and dear to Him even though I was lying weak at home, no matter that I couldn’t do anything for Him. I had to start to trust completely in Him and to start to find my identity in Him. This song encompasses my journey of trying to prove myself and then the comfort of the words from my Heavenly Father – “Child, I love you”.  I pray that these lyrics and this song would encourage you and bless you. I ask that if you know someone struggling with a long term illness that you would pass on these words.

Whatever your journey, wherever you are remember you are loved, chosen, and precious to God!  In some seasons you may be very fruitful in others it can feel like you are just hanging on by your fingertips.  Whatever season you are in I pray that you would take time to hear God’s words of love in your life.

God bless,

Kat

Journey on!

So, on Tuesday I went into Crown Lane studios for the final mixing session.  To be honest I found it quite emotional, seeing how far the songs had come and hearing the (almost) finished version.  But it was also pretty nerve-wracking as it hit home that it meant that it was not long till the album is off to be pressed and then released. It can be easy to be overcome with doubts or worries, but I have been so blessed at how God has led us in this project and am trusting him in this next step.

I know I have said it before but it has truly been a blessing working at Crown Lane studios with John Merriman and Bill Sherrington, and as I told them as I left (much to their horror) that I will be back!  I am already planning my next project which is a single called ‘Hushabye’ – a project very close to my heart which I will share about in the near future.

I remember very clearly over five years ago when I was at uni and writing lots of songs that I was so desperate to record and to encourage people through music, but the timing was just not right. I was struggling with illness and was still desperately trying to prove myself…to be honest it wasn’t a great time.  I remember at this time a lovely friend and mentor Angie praying with me, and one of the things she shared with me was she felt that at the right time I would meet several people who would help me capture the songs and music in a way that would encourage and bless people.  But to not worry or rush God’s timing.  I can see that in fruition now by the way that so many talented musicians and sound engineers have captured the vision for this album, and help me make it a reality.

Sometimes things can be a long time in the making, but we can learn and grow so much through the journey if we just let God work in and through us.  I feel that God has been doing so much work on my heart, and in me finding my identity, joy and peace in him.  So now that the right time has I come, I feel ready and supported to step out – excited to see where God will lead us, and confident that he is ‘my rock and salvation’ (Psalm 62)

There will be times that you will face discouragement and disappointment, which threaten to rob you of joy and motivation in what you do.  I encourage you not to give up and to keep persevering and standing firm in his promise of ‘a hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).  I pray that as you walk forward with God that you would stand firm, knowing that he is our strength when we are weak, our joy when we despair, and our peace when everything around us is chaotic.

Have a fantastic rest of the week,

God bless you,
Kat

Getting out of the comfort zone

So last week I had great fun taking the men from the Church Choir to the studio to record some menvocalsgroup vocals for the title track, ‘Out of the Ashes’.  It was very moving for me hearing them sing it in the practice – once again hearing the song grow and develop from just one voice and piano.  Now I think it is fair to say when they got to the studio there were definitely a few people feeling out of their comfort zone.  Suddenly they were in a new environment – handed a pair of headphones – grouped around mics and asked to sing! It took a while to get people comfortable, warm up before working hard at getting some good takes to add to the track.  But in the end we got there and it was great having them be a part of this album.

This got me thinking about comfort zones.  They are different for everyone and they can indicate the characteristics of that person.  For me, I am comfortable being in the studio or standing on a stage in front of lots of people, singing, acting – jumping up and down leading kids music/games. I thrive in those environments. I think there are definitely good things about having a comfort zone, and I do believe God gives us gifts and talents and it’s good to use those. However I also believe that God wants us to continue to grow and develop – and I truly feel that to do this we have to be prepared to get out of our comfort zone.

Now I will admit I am someone who will cling to certain comforts.  When I am feeling low I will want to eat spaghetti bolognaise for dinner, if I am made to watch a tense action film I will check out the plot first so I know exactly what will happen, and if I go to a restaurant I am likely to spend twenty minutes looking at the menu only to order exactly what I had before.  I don’t think there is anything wrong in this, however sometimes when we are so comfortable we don’t experience new things – we can miss out because we are afraid to let go of what we know.

Sometimes by going out of our comfort zones we can connect with other people in new ways.  There is a Korean Church that meets at our church on Sunday afternoons and last week they joined us for a bring and share lunch.  My family and I were sitting with them and they showed me the amazing sushi, tempura and noodle dishes they had made.  They were keen, even insistent that I should try them.  I was really nervous as I am not very brave with food.  However I realised that it was important for me because it was important to them. To be honest I really enjoyed it.  I might not be ready to make sushi at home yet, but I was willing to have a try and I feel it was important.

Not being afraid of something new can be the first place to start! So my brother and sister in law kindly gave me, Ali and my in-laws the Christmas gift of the ‘Clue Quest’ experience.  For those of you who aren’t aware of what this is, you get locked into a room and have an hour to complete a series of riddles, clues, and puzzles then escape.  I really didn’t want to go – I am not a very logical person and I struggle with puzzles and riddles.  So the thought of being shut in a room and being made very aware that I wasn’t clever in this area did not appeal.  Ali kept telling me that it would be okay as the game would require different skills, and that I was good at looking for hidden things.  Anyway Ali dragged me there (almost literally). I was totally out of my comfort zone with not knowing how the next hour would work or what would happen next.  Yet as soon as I got into the room and realised that a large part of the game was looking in bizarre places for things it all clicked.  I think I channeled one of those kids TV shows from the 90’s where they have to rip through a room as quickly as possible looking for a key before moving on.  As it was going on I realised a few things. 1. I was pretty good at this – although I wasn’t much use on the logic puzzles I was finding things the others weren’t that helped them complete their puzzles.  2. I was actually having a lot of fun! 3. I had wasted several weeks getting myself worked up about this simply because it was out of my comfort zone.

It got me thinking how often we kick up a massive fuss with God when he asks us to do something new – we can be so scared of the unknown that it is very easy to stay where we are comfortable.  Yet when we take that step out of our comfort zone I believe that God equips us with what we need for that situation.   It makes me think of Jesus’ disciple, Peter, getting out of the boat.  He was so desperate to be with Jesus that he was willing to get out of his comfort zone.  It also reminds me that when we fix our eyes on Jesus we are able to walk confidently no matter where we are – but as soon as we take our eyes off him and fix on the seemingly overwhelming situations that can be we start to drown.   I have to remind myself constantly of this.  Only this afternoon was I starting to feel weighed down by anxieties and worries – and had to sit myself down and remind myself to put my focus back on Jesus – to remember that we never have to do it in our own strength but in his.

I want to encourage you this week that when God encourages you to go out of your comfort zone whatever that may look like that you would go knowing that he is with you and he will equip you with all you need!

May you have a blessed week.

God bless,
Kat

A Leap of faith

Kat Recording

So on Monday I went into the studio to record my lead vocals.  I had been really looking forward to this part of the recording – as I had been itching to get those headphones on and to sing into the rather beautiful microphone that Crown Lane Studio have!  However in the week running up to it I started struggling with swollen glands, fuzzy ears, painful chest – you get the picture. I started to panic knowing that I had the lead vocals to do but knowing that I was physically limited.  You know what it’s like when you have a cold/virus – it can wipe out your voice for a good few weeks.

But then I remembered the verse in Philippians 4:13 that says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’. A friend also sent me a message saying not to worry, but to remember who I was doing this for. Then it hit me… it didn’t matter that I was weak and struggling, as I didn’t have to do it in my strength but in His. God had this under control and that I just had to trust him completely.

Now I will be totally honest, this has been a big lesson for me in totally trusting Jesus/God for something.  How easy is it to say we trust in him when everything is going well, when we are healthy, when we have enough and we can seem to get through the days in our own strength.  But how hard is it to trust when we can’t see the outcome, when we are in desperate need and can’t do it in our own strength.  There can be that fear of the unknown, of taking that leap of faith.  When my voice is strong and healthy and I can practice lots it’s easy to feel like I am trusting in what God is doing.  But this week really challenged me.  As the recording got nearer and I didn’t seem to be improving and it was easy to give way to panic.  However, I kept hearing His still small voice telling me to trust him.  So on Monday I walked into the recording studio knowing that I was physically weak and that the only way I could sing the way I needed to was through the strength and blessing of God.  It was a real blessing to have my wonderful friend Sarah there who prayed for and encouraged me throughout the day. Before each song I just asked that God would give me strength to sing and bring praises to his name.  It was a really humbling experience because God gave me the strength to do every vocal with the full strength and full range.  I knew that I was doing this in his strength alone.  I had taken that leap of faith and jumped straight into his open arms.

Through this whole process I have felt my levels of trusting in God have been pushed and stretched and that He is teaching me not to rely on and trust in my strength, but in His and His alone.

It seems to be a continuous journey! On Saturday I have the ‘Evening with Kat Mills’ and right now I am lying on the sofa dosed up on paracetamol and feeling pretty hideous. But I know and will stand on the truth that In God’s strength I can do all things.

I want to encourage you… yes, completely trusting in God and for God’s provision can be scary and really hard, but is totally worth it. How amazing is it that we don’t have to do any of this alone, or in our own strength but that we have a God who loves us so much that he sent His Son to die and rise again for us.  We have a God who cares, who is strong and who says to us ‘Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.”, and  “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’

So take that leap of faith, totally trusting in him and jump into his open arms,

God bless,
Kat

Waiting on God’s timing

So it has been a crazily busy few days and it feels like I haven’t had a chance to stop! So it is nice to finally have a moment to stop and to curl up on the sofa listening to UCB radio and take a few minutes to unwind!

Heather RecordingSo this last week we had some more time in the studio. I had the privilege on Thursday of taking my friend Heather into the studio for her first time recording. I think it is fair to say she was rather nervous! But she soon got into it and did a fantastic job laying down some guitar for two of the tracks.

Bill who is one of the very talented recording engineers we are having the privilege of working with at Crown Lane and he has been brilliant at putting us all at our ease in the studio. His quiet confidence in the way that he works with the musicians has allowed them to be really comfortable and to perform at their best. It has been great to see!

Bill RecordingBill is also a very talented musician and recorded some fantastic guitar parts for two of the tracks. I am particularly excited about the electric guitar solo he recorded in the track ‘Journey on’.

For me to hear it come from just voice and piano to a big lively track with electric guitar, drums, keys and vocals has been really enjoyable. On Saturday we spent a full day at the studio laying down the key parts on all of the tracks. I am very blessed to be married to a very talented musician and it was great seeing Ali having great fun getting to use some different keyboard sounds and techniques as we layered some of the songs.

AliRecord1I will admit on Saturday there were moments that I wrestled with some feelings of frustration. I am going along to every session of recording to listen, comment, share the vision of the song and work out with the musicians what I want as the final sound. However I can’t lay down my vocals till all the other parts are down. So sitting there in the studio hearing it develop I was itching to get singing! To see the songs develop into the final finished version, and to do my part. I know we can’t rush it and I am loving the process but if we are all honest with ourselves aren’t there times in our lives that we sometimes wish we could have things we want immediately right then and there?! But as you know that is not how things work! And if something is worth doing then isn’t it worth doing well?!

As a Christian I feel that we can honour God when we do things to the best of our ability. When we say to him you have given me this gift and I want to use it to honour your name, and therefore I will take the time effort and care to do my best in this endeavour. I am reminding myself of this throughout the process especially when I get tired and it can feel tempting to rush things! I truly believe that God’s timing is perfect and know in my heart that is the right time and place for me to be taking the next step of my musical journey. I want to share with you a little bit of my journey to this place to encourage you that sometimes we have to wait for something we really long for, yet God’s timing is perfect!

Last year we went to Spring Harvest (I love SH). Although I had been involved with worship leading and singing at church and was still writing there didn’t seem to be anything on the horizon. To be honest I started to think that maybe my dream of recording was just a pipe dream and not something that God was leading me in. However there was still this desperate feeling within in me, this desire to use my voice, to sing and to write, to encourage people and to share with them the Grace of God, the Love of our Saviour and to remind them that we have a God who cares. It was after an evening session in the Big Top, I had really been putting my heart into worship and just crying out to him that a steward really encouraged me, and I felt God speaking to me through what he said. The steward said that he had been so encouraged and blessed by hearing me sing and really felt God had plans for me to use my voice.

This reignited a spark within me. I immediately felt this excitement rising up within my heart, and I immediately had idea after idea for songs coming to my mind. I remember taking a walk the next day along the beach front with my son in the pram. I couldn’t stop singing and praising. I kept having to pause to write down my ideas. It was like God had breathed fresh life into this dream.

Over the next few months I wrote some songs, went back over older songs and started to put together a possible album worth of material. However the timing just wasn’t quite right. I didn’t know quite know how to go forward, or which direction to take. I knew I wanted to record but I just didn’t know where. I remember around October getting very emotional with Ali – I had this really clear feeling in my heart that I needed to record – and soon. There was this utter frustration welling up inside me. I knew I had got to the point that I felt I needed to record that I had songs that would encourage people but wouldn’t do much staying within the four walls of my home. I kept thinking about the story of the talents, and was desperate not to be like the man who hid his talent in the ground afraid to do anything more with it.

During this time I had written a song called ‘I choose to worship’ which I wrote to encourage my church in worship. We sang it at church and several people said that they felt I should record it as they could see it encouraging other in their worship. After this several doors seemed to open. God led us to Crown Lane Studios, I was inspired to write more songs. And before we knew it we were recording an E.P – which turned into an album and had several brand new songs on that I had been inspired to write. I want to encourage you, yes waiting on God’s timing can be really hard and definitely needs a lot of patience and for us to have the willingness to grow. But it is so worth it! I truly believe that God gives us dreams and gifts for a reason. Don’t be discouraged! if you have a dream that you really feel God has laid on your heart but nothing seems to be happening don’t give up!

Keep praying, seeking God, pushing doors and be ready! So that when God shows you it is the right time you will be ready to move!

God bless,

Kat

An evening with me! (Saturday 28th Feb 7.30 – 10pm at Worcester Park Baptist Church)

Come and enjoy a relaxed evening of music with Kat.  From pop, jazz to musical theatre.  Kat will also be performing some of her own songs including tracks off her forthcoming debut album ‘Out of the Ashes’ which she is currently recording.

Admission by Programme £5 (Includes coffee/tea/biscuits)

There will also be a cake stall, art stall and there will be plenty of time to peruse and find out more about Kat’s new album and her heart behind the project.

Getting the right focus

I’ve been really encouraged this week with the response to launching my website.  Thank you so much to everyone who has checked it out, shared it with others and sent me messages of encouragement. Several people have asked when and where the album will be available – we are currently working hard recording and finalising arrangements. I will post a release date as soon as we have worked it out.  There will be a CD and a download version available.

So this morning, Ali and I went to Crown Lane Studios to prepare for next Saturdays keys recording.  I found it very interesting and baffling seeing how it all works – and being presented with the option of many different sounds of keyboard, pads etc for the songs.  I am not a technical person so I was very glad that Ali was the one who needed to understand it all! He had great fun playing with different ideas of how to build up the keys part – although I did have to put my foot down and point out that we didn’t need four different keys sounds on every song.

20150126_113016 I am loving the whole process of developing and building up the songs.  I normally write at the piano and this is a great sound for some of the more simple and reflective songs.  However during the recording it is great to see the more lively songs come to life with drums, bass, keys and other instruments. We had a great session with Dan and Ali a few weeks ago laying down the bass and drums.  I have found it really interesting watching the process, and I can’t wait until it’s my turn to lay down my vocals. 20150126_112132

I like that my calendar is starting to show lots of days that say ‘at the studio’.  Recording is something I have wanted to do for so long so it is something that I am finding really exciting.

Life has been hectic recently and whilst Ali was working on some arrangements I sat down and read a bit of my book “The Art of Mentoring” by Darlene Zschech and I was just reminded to slow down – to take a breath and make sure my gaze was firmly on God.  Sometimes even when doing things for him we can get so focused on fulfilling goals and targets that we start trying to do it in out own strength.  And that is when things can start to feel chaotic and bigger than us.  When we put our eyes back on God and surrender all to him that is when we start to feel his peace and guidance.  When we know He is in control, things that may feel impossible for us are possible for Him.

Sometimes people can tell us to make sure our dreams are achievable so that we don’t face disappointment if they don’t succeed.  But I feel God encourages us to dream big and then watch with amazement as he does more than we could ever hope for or imagine.

So I just encourage you no matter what situation you are in to make sure you gaze is firmly on God, to surrender all to him and to feel his peace engulf you.

God bless

Kat