From the blog

Thoughts on music, writing, and the Christian life

The hints of God are not mere enigmas

“This illness does not lead to death,” Jesus said, and I smiled at the poor cynics who would find this line irresistible. 

Dear cynic, you quote the Scripture as proof against itself. God said thus, and thus didn’t happen. “This…

Ode to an influencer

“How did you get started in music?”

I once read a variety of answers to this question and was struck by a common theme. Just about everyone mentioned one person in particular. There was one person in their lives, outside…

"Who's in the house? J. C.!"

I was walking into a Christian bookstore as my friend was walking out. She was clutching a new purchase and smiling big. 

“I got Carman’s new release!” she said. 

We were teenagers, and though I didn’t say it, I thought…

Does it have to be difficult?

Several popular playlists have a piano solo which, if I had written it, I would have dismissed as too easy. It uses simple chord progressions and could probably be played with one hand. 

“But it’s good,” my husband said. He…

Music in wartime

“It almost makes you want to go to war.” 

Such was the effect of the fife and drum corps at colonial Williamsburg as they marched by.

Music in wartime is an ancient tradition. Why? Why should something so beautiful, lively…

The last post

“Gus never talked about art and hated art theory.” 

Gus himself, however, was an artist. He was Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of the best sculptors of the nineteenth century per historian David McCullough. Apparently, Gus didn’t need to talk about art…

Twenty carols for Luke 2 Advent readings

We have an Advent tradition of reading a verse from Luke 2:1-20 throughout December. We’ve also picked a carol to go with each verse. This tradition serves a few purposes: 

1. The lyrics of these carols magnify the moment of…

Numerous objects of fascination

You could also call this post “Consumer Report” or “R. Hall’s Gift Guide,” because I’ve consumed all these things and find them all promising as gift ideas. They don’t all have to do with music, but let’s start there. 

Music 

Two hymns for Thanksgiving - and a free download

You might know Twila Paris’s song “The Joy of the Lord.” 

The joy of the Lord 
Will be my strength 
I will not falter 
I will not faint 
He is my shepherd 
I am not afraid 
The joy of the

Taking Andrew Peterson out to lunch

Poor authors. Together with their publisher they hone their book, fuss over every detail, and broadcast, broadcast, broadcast its existence and purpose and still — people in its intended audience don’t get the point. 

I heard more buzz about Adorning

A confluence of stories

Anyone who comes to Harpers Ferry enters another story. That’s the point of a historical park. The landscape is kept in tact with signs and monuments as witnesses to something too important to forget. 

Seven years ago this week, we…

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About the writer

R. Hall grew up listening to CCM and 90s rock, tinkering the whole while on the piano and guitar with her own music. Then she studied classical piano and became certified in piano pedagogy at the University of Akron. Then she studied some great books and started a family and taught music, and to this day, you can still find her with her family, teaching music, or, more rarely, reading a great book.

This life flows into many song and composition ideas that she's turning into fully produced recordings. Ergo, Vandalia River.