Help Me Fight the HIV/AIDS/WATER Crises with Blood:Water and Get FREE MUSIC!

What is Blood:Water

Blood:Water is an equipping agency that partners with African grassroots organizations to address the HIV/AIDS and water crises. I am more than honored to announce today that I have signed up to help promote their work as an artist partner! 

HOW BLOOD:WATER WORKS

Two of the greatest public health threats around the world—the HIV/AIDS and water crises— disproportionally affect sub-Saharan Africa. Their intersection cultivates and maintains vulnerability as poor water, sanitation, and hygiene are a leading cause of sickness and death among people living with HIV/AIDS. 

The folks at B:W have devoted their lives to serve local leaders and join them in the fight to end these crises. With support from people like us, B:W is able to both empower local leadership to educate those living in their communities about clean water and ways to prevent the spread of disease, but also to provide clean water sanitation solutions for them, and to train them to maintain the technology that has been previously placed.

WHY I'M PARTNERING WITH THEM

By becoming an artist partner, I hope to connect listeners and fans to the work that B:W is doing on the ground each day, which we hope will bring more support to accomplish their goal of eradicating the water and HIV/AIDS crises across the world. Big things are accomplished when we work as a team, and I am here to act simply as a team captain. 

The MISSION

This spring, I hope to partner with y'all to raise $1000 to go toward supporting B:W's mission in sub-saharan Africa. From now, through the length of my spring tour, I will be asking you guys to give, even if it's just $1, toward this goal. I hope that, by the time I roll into Nashville on May 26th, we will have blown this goal out of the water, (Ha, pun) and that we will be able to witness and sponsor some real positive change in peoples lives. 

How to get involved

Does that sound like something you'd like to be a part of? GREAT! Click here to donate now, or come see me at a show and donate right there! And, let me sweeten the deal even more - IF we reach our goal by May 31, I will send a FREE Download of my very first release (Diamond) to all those who contributed. That's right, y'all. Free

"Hey Sarah, I'm here if you want to talk."

Someone had to literally give me permission to grieve after my dad passed away last year. 

I don't naturally like to appear "weak" or "out of control". It's hard for me to let even my closest friends know what's really going on in me, because, honestly, I ignore it myself.

I imagine there are those of you like me out there. Right? I'm not a hyper-emotional person, I don't cry at sad movies, and I don't really like holding babies. Puppies, though, I hold those little fluffy mongrels all day. If your kid was a puppy, gimmie, gimmie, snuggle, snuggle. (I am well aware that this will most likely change in me once my own personal circumstances change. I'll be patient.) 

Anyway, once I was given that permission to bear my weakness and my sadness, it didn't exactly materialize the way you might expect. There was no big explosive moment. 

A few years ago, we visited Hoover dam. It's amazing - giant, powerful, beautiful. I was astounded at how much power is harnessed by it in every single moment of every single day. If you haven't been there, you might not know that the dam itself is not just a solid wall between what is now a large lake and a barren valley below. There are 2 spillways within it, designed to slowly let the water through, so that the water does not usurp the structure and begin to spill out over the top, like a waterfall, which would completely defeat the purpose of the dam itself. Without the spillways, there would be no real dam, just a river with a nice waterfall.

As if my own spillways have been blocked, my grief has begun to spill over the top of the damn, quickly filling up the crevice below, slowly getting closer and closer to the pedestrian footpaths to the sides. And I have been the gatekeeper at the front that has known all this was going on, and that sooner or later, I'd be letting someone through the gates and into certain death. "Carry on, folks, don't mind the little bit of water on the ground," "your tourguide will meet you at the bridge on the far east quadrant," "oh there is no bridge? just walk that way, I'm sure you'll see it." 

I've been letting people get their feet wet and even worse, led them into the rising flood water - because I've worn my grief as a badge. I've really been saying, "I'm sad, and you're going to suffer because I'm suffering." Not cool. 

Now, I'm not saying it's not ok to grieve. It is, and it is important to our ultimate healing, and I am certain that it will continue to come up again when I least expect it. What's not ok is for me to navigate through my grief on my own, which is what I've sort of tried to do. Not very well, though, for certain. 

Then, God shakes me awake this morning:

For the love of God controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh... Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
(2 Corinithians 5: 14-17, 20)

Grief has been the most difficult challenge I have yet had to trudge through in my life. And, knowing that I have roughly 80 to 100 years on this earth to live, I am most likely not done dealing with it. Most likely, this will not be the only unbearable season of my life, and what's more, this season is not over. But, what is certain is that, in Christ I am a new creation. What's old has passed away, and I am a new being completely. I do not grieve like those who don't have Christ, because He, the Holy Spirit, has always been here, tapping me on the shoulder, reminding me, "Hey Sarah, I'm here if you want to talk. Let's let that grief out slowly and safely, as to not endanger yourself or those around you." 

In this moment, I encourage you, believer, do not let your personal circumstances overwhelm your need for God. My terribly explained dam metaphor aside, Do not let your loneliness bleed over into your friendships, forging a gap between you and true healing, brought to you by God, via people that love you. They will trudge through the pain alongside you, if you let them. 

Are you grieving a loss or going through a really tough season in your own life?

How have you allowed your grief to slowly release instead of spilling over the top? 

The Story of: LIGHT 4 LIGHT

You look like heaven
Faithful as the sky
I will climb up your mountain
Feel You pass me by
Oh, how deep, deep, deep is Your love for me
And how wide, wide, wide simple mercies reach
Drink from the fountain
Run until I die
Stare to the mystic
Open up my eyes
You are brilliant
Phosphorescent

Clairvoyance v. Conviction

A few years ago, I began to realize that what some might call an inkling is actually a nudge from the Holy Spirit - the difference between clairvoyance and conviction - and I should probably pay attention to it.

Like, recently, I was at the tile store ordering some heavenly tile for our bathroom remodel. It is so lovely. And, so not cheap. But I had to have it. So, I went ahead and ordered it using the right measurements. Something was telling me that I should probably get an additional box, even though it would cost me a little more. I didn't listen, and, what do you know, I need that extra box. I've got a naked corner in our bathroom. 

I feel like this little nudge is happening way more than I really realize - that every time I walk outside, the Holy Spirit is nudging me, saying, "Look at this amazing world God made! Look at the leaves on the ground! How they are shaped differently, colored beautiful colors. Some are crackly, some are wet with dew, some are stuck to the heel of your boot!"

But, there are also moments where the Holy Spirit does not speak to us in a whisper or nudge - he practically knocks us over. Like, the feeling I got standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or most recently, the sheer, unadulterated joy I received when I drove up and over a snowy and icy pass in Colorado for the first time on my own (the most challenging and frightening thing I have ever done), and was rewarded at the bottom by the snuggles of 3 friendly horses on the side of the road. 

Sometimes it's a whisper. Sometimes its a shout. But this world God has made is amazing, and He wants us to experience it. The rocks are literally crying out in worship to Him. The Hills are literally growing toward Him. Allow yourself to pause and experience this big, beautiful world.

It's not about music. It's about Him.

It's so easy as an artist to simply make music that you (and maybe some of your friends) actually don't mind listening to. It's easy to get wrapped up in the details - in making sure each note is executed in tune, that each phrase is sung with passion, that every beat is on time. It's easy to get distracted by the idea that this thing must be perfectly mixed and mastered, that your photos are on point with your brand, that your logo is dope. It's easy to play shows and sell records. It's easy to receive affirmation from fans. 

But, when all that's stripped away, what do you have? What does it matter?

As Christians, our purpose has been very specifically designed by God, articulated by Jesus.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28:19

With this charge so specific, how can we be sure that we are fulfilling that in the way we are supposed to?

As an artist, I feel as if my platform to share the message of Jesus should be my art.. My one desire should be that, if nothing else is heard through my music, or from my performance, that the message of Christ is loud and clear. Because, honestly, none of this means anything without Him.

So, I want to be sure that you, the listener, know what this whole thing is about. It's not about music. It's about Him. 

My greatest priority is to be transparent and unafraid with what I say through the songs. Even when it's scary and even when it hurts, because this thing called life can sometimes seem unbearable, but that's reality for all of us. Being a Christian may not always be easy, but its good. 

The Story of: UNYIELDING

I live in shadows
You let the light in
Pulled down by quicksand
You are my mountain

The waves against me
You are my anchor
My body heavy
You grace a feather
Oh my love is an all-consuming fire
My heart is repossessed
You will fight with passionate desire
You cannot be tamed
Your power overcame
You are unyielding
The wind will tempt me
To love another
But you will defend me
You are father
Instead of sadness
I hear your sweet music
Trade in my best words
For a beautiful song
Don’t let me cry out
Unless its for you
And let the summer be long

He is the most beautiful, surprising, and dependable lifeline we could ever get.

Over the past three or so years, God has both put me through the ringer and blessed me in ways I never could imagine. 

My husband is a commercial contractor, which means that we move a lot. Wherever the work is, that's where we'll be. So, in the passed 3 years, we have had to move about 6 times. Sometimes across town, sometimes across state lines. With every move came a new set of worries, losses and instability. What will we do? Where will we find friends? What about my job? How will we find a place to live in a week? How much can I pack in one car? When we finally moved back to Texas and to Waco, of all places, I began to settle in and feel comfortable again.

Then, only a few months later, our family found out my dad had terminal brain cancer, and was going to die - maybe in a month, maybe in a year.

He lost his ability to speak pretty much right of the bat. He began to lose his ability to walk a few months later. And, ultimately, he was restricted to a bed - where he was able to communicate mostly through hugs, smiles, and, on occasion, eye rolls. Around the time that my dad became restricted to a wheelchair, my husband got a new job that had him move about 6 hours away from me. Since March, we've pretty much only seen each other every other weekend. My dad passed away at the end of August, and a few weeks later, I found out I didn't get my dream job. 

It's been rough times. There have been days that I feel like it just cannot get any worse. But, in spite of it all, I am constantly reminded that, even if I feel like my insides just keep getting scraped out like I'm a grapefruit, there's still skin there. It can get worse, and it probably will. The same days that I am completely ruined, that I am completely inept, those are the days that I feel so in need of the Holy Spirit and I thrive on closeness to God. I depend on Him. He is my lifeline. He has to be my lungs, my mouth, and my brain so that I can get a breath out and in. 

So, I am thankful. I still have music. I still have a home. I still have food to eat. And, most importantly, God has made me into someone I wouldn't even be able to recognize a few years ago. And, He has NEVER left me.

Unyielding is an observation of this battle that is going on around, not just me, but us all. This constant pressure to doubt him. The lust of an easier life. The trudging, the sorrow, the pain of a living and active faith. And yet, given it all, He's still there, and will never leave. Nothing is beyond Him. Nothing. So, I encourage you now, friend - no matter what is going on in your life, take heart. He will fight for you the same way He is fighting for me, the same way He has been fighting for you even before you knew it. Feel encouraged to know that He is working out something better than you ever imagined. He is the most beautiful, surprising, and dependable lifeline we could ever get.

The Story Of: DIAMOND

i hold on to nothing else
than to become a better version of myself
shed this outer skin
i’m immaculate
give it all til nothing’s left
but for now, i will wait
grow up, and stay
be strong, be safe
in the fire, i get higher
the diamond from the flame
my haunted dreams glow red and blue
until the day that i’ll meet you
stand tall at that gate
st peter call my name
can’t come too soon

Diamond is about the journey of our faith in Jesus. The refining. The pain. The joy. The suffering. The testing. The struggle. The delight. The restoration. And, ultimately, the end of the Earthly journey and the gateway to the unknown (Heaven). 

I can honestly say that I have experienced some serious pain and struggle in my life (a lot of it within the last few months), and I understand you may have as well. We have days that we look up into the sky, open our hands up, and desperately long for heaven.

When I watch the news of yet another heinous mass murder on an American college campus, or trudge through an entire day with a heavy heart over the recent loss of my father, or feel completely useless and hopeless in the fight against the magnitude of the Islamic State, I am only comforted in knowing that God has an exponentially larger vantage of our lives, and this time on Earth is a mere breath.

Despite the struggle. Despite the pain. Despite the broken heart. Despite the fear. - His promise is unexplainably good. It's our responsibility right now to have hope and to share it with others.

How DOSSEY Got Started

I just received word that my first solo EP since I was 16 is headed to mastering in August! I mean, I'm excited. To honor this momentous occasion, I thought it might be nice to share with you how this whole thing even came about.

Some of the songs on this EP were written way back in the Fall of 2013. After they didn't seem to be the right fit for any of my other projects, I decided it was time to collaborate with my two buddies back in Austin (Jacob Hildebrand and Kevin McCullough) to turn them into something that I could call my own. The problem that I struggled with was whether to keep them as folk songs (a la Emmylou Harris or Alison Krauss), which is the inevitable result of preliminary writing sessions on my own, or do something crazy and turn them into pop music (a la Massive Attack or Kye Kye) - something that tied in the indie electronic music I had listened to for years and my own sensibilities as a writer. The songs are each so special to me - they are true versions of what comes out of my brain - thoughts on closeness to God, His role in marriage, suffering, joy, how He uses nature and emotion and creativity to make us unique saints. I did not want them to be misheard. So, after a good amount of soul-searching, tea-drinking, and Mexican prayer candle-lighting, the three of us decided to just go for it and make an electronic project - something none of us had ever done before, something that honestly scared the living tar out of me.

We had no idea it would get anywhere close to what you'll hear very soon.

In April of 2014, the three of us sat down together and decided which songs should make the cut, and what arrangements we needed to settle on. Then, we began laying the rough cuts with guitars and quick vocals. (Some of these elements actually made it all the way to the final mixes, which I think is incredible, and really tells me that the original artistic integrity of the project has remained a priority throughout.) It took several months to settle on styles, and reference tracks, as each of us were truly getting to know this music for the first time. So, after nearly 8 months of tracking, we were finally ready to lay down final vocals, which took about 2 weeks to get just right.

Then, the grueling process of mixing fell on Jacob's shoulders. (This ordeal, I will save for another blog post - there is too much good stuff in there to summarize!) After 7 months of mixing, these 6 songs have finally become what we all could never imagine, but feel as if they truly speak into what the three of us are as artists. Well, in my opinion. :) Jacob and Kevin have truly laid out blood, sweat, and tears on this - something I cannot assume they would do on a project they did not truly feel inspired by or passionate about. I think this is a good sign for our future.

I'll let you know more on this process as things move forward! It has been quite the journey. 

Dossey is Coming

Sarah Dossey, long time member of the Texas folk duo, The Reliques, is slated to release her very first solo project since 2003 in the spring of 2015.

This project, under the moniker "Dossey" is a collection of ethereal dance and electronic tracks to the tune of Lana Del Ray, Massive Attack, and Kye Kye. A long time in the making, Dossey has been composing the songs for the project over the last two years, and along with longtime friends and co-writer/producers, Kevin McCollough and Jacob Hildebrand, both from Austin, it has been recorded over the last year.