RAMBLINGS FROM THE ROAD November 30, 2012
25 years ago today, my twins, John and Jenn were born. Those two have been a source of joy, comfort, delight, giggles, and inspiration. I celebrate them today. And for lo these 25 years have treasured all these things in my heart.
I’m currently on the road with Jason Crabb (and seriously if you don’t know his music, get it NOW) . We have having the best time. I keep singing in my head that old Donny and Marie Osmond song, “I’m a little bit country, (and then I say), I’m a little bit Classical.” Anyway we are having fun. Come see us. We are getting homesick and the one thing that makes homesick better is to see our friends out on the road.
I’m trying to get into a work out routine. Which for some reason seems easier on the road. So I’ve worked out every day for at least 20 min cardio and many times 30 minutes. I kinda get bored working out, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve tried watching TV, reading a book or magazine. I finally said forget it I’m just gonna listen to music.
Funny thing happened…I like music. That may sound odd, since well, I DO music. But often when our business is music, we don’t find ourselves actually listening to music. But I loved it. I had an “ah-ha” moment on that treadmill. I’ve always loved music. I fell in love with music because I listened to it way back when I was a kid. I can’t believe I forgot that… it’s good to remember what once gave us joy and find it again.
During this holiday season, what do you need to find that once gave you joy? Cooking? Music? Dancing? Singing? Running? Planning a tea? It doesn’t even have to be something that someone else sees. Just finding the joy all by yourself. Whatever it is…I pray you find it and lavish your heart with the re-acquaintance of an old friend.
Be blessed today friends—
“Are we thankful? Yes we are!”
Often when our very large family will go out to eat, we want to stop and pray over our meal. But the truth is, if one person were to pray loud enough for everyone in our large party to hear, the entire restaurant would be brought to a halt. Many years ago my great Aunt Faye (for whom I have my middle name) began what is now our usual custom at a restaurant. As we get our food and are preparing to eat, one person says, “are we thankful?” Then entire party responds, “yes we are.” And voila! We eat.
As we enter in to this holiday season that traditionally begins with Thanksgiving, I offer this question to us all. “Are we thankful?” and if you answer, “Yes we are”, then perhaps if we were sitting visiting with a cup of coffee, I would say, “tell me what you are thankful for”.
I am thankful that my entire family got to be together for the actual day of thanksgiving. We had 2 parents, 8 children, one son in law, 2 brothers, 2 wives of brothers. 3 children of brothers family, 2 grandsons of brother, one cat, 3 dogs and yes….a partridge in a pear tree. It was glorious chaos. Actually, there wasn’t much chaos as everyone scurried about making their assigned food for the gathering. We arranged the dining room in a U configuration so that everyone, young and old, could all sit around the tables. No kids table, no grown up table…just one big happy U shaped table(s).
As has become our custom, after eating, we went around the table and said what we are thankful for. With 22 people, and each person taking about 4 minutes to share, we had a lengthy but meaningful hour and a half of thankful words.
My brother Mike was the last one to share (we kinda had it planned that way) because he wanted to do something special for his wife. Mike, who is my younger brother by 2 years, began talking about how thankful he is for his two grandsons, Conner and Jack. He then shared how special his wife of 30 years has been to him. My brother, by his own admission, has seen some difficult seasons. He shared with all of us at the table that there was one point in his life he needed money and sold their wedding rings. This year, he gave Leanne a brand new wedding ring to symbolize their new start. Then surprising Leanne and the rest of us, he asked my dad if he would lead them in a simple renewing of their marriage vows. Sitting there at our make shift U shaped tables, we all watched as my brother Mike and my amazing sister in law, Leanne, pledged their love and commitment to each other once again—30 years after the first time.
We cried and laughed and try to take as many pictures as we could. My 5 year old nephew Caiden (son of my other brother Craig) exclaimed “they’re finally married” and we all of course chucked and giggled over his simple childlike statement.
At the close the renewing ceremony, my dad said, “well, by the authority vested in me by the state of Indiana and by the Church of God, I now pronounce you a ‘new’ husband and a ‘new’ wife”. So very precious because I think that is exactly what Mike wanted to say with this action…he is a NEW creation. A new man, a new husband, a new father, a new son, a new uncle, a new brother, a new grandpa.
Isaiah says, “behold…look out, hold on to your short”s (I’m paraphrasing here) I AM DOING A NEW THING! (Isaiah 43:19)
II Corinthians says, “I make all things new.! ALL things. ALLLLLLL things. “ (II Corinthians 5:17)
I am thankful for new beginnings and fresh starts. And that God continually makes all things new! Even us.
Happy Bless-ed Season of Thankfulness and New Beginnings!
HI! NOTES (from around the globe and then some) – July 16, 2012
I have sat down so many times over the past few months to write a Hi! Notes update but I am having trouble finding words. It has been a full and rich summer and I am just now finding I have a few moments to let my thoughts form into words. So here we go….grab a cup of coffee or tea, a diet coke or bottle of water….this is gonna be (as my mom says) “newsy”!
The summer began as usual–lots and lots of summer baseball for Sam and the OCS (oklahoma Christian School) Saints. What wonderful boys and families. I love the mom bleacher time. I think I like summer baseball so much because my dad always played fast pitch softball in the summer when I was growing up. I have only wonderful memories of going to the games night after night. So summer baseball is that for me…nothing but fun. Even when it’s hot, it’s soooo much fun.
Many of you know that I’m a sports crazy person. I really get into it…I’m a big fan. So a couple fun things happened sports wise this summer….
Speaking of baseball, I was invited to sing the National Anthem and God Bless America for the Texas Ranger’s game in Dallas. Don, Donnie, Sam, Jordan (Sam’s buddy) Katie (Donnie’s girlfriend) and Katie’s parents all got to go. The Rangers owner, Ray Davis, and his lovely wife Linda, spoiled us rotten all day. We got to go on the field, the batting cages ( Sam and Jordan got to hit a bit) and we all got to spend just a moment with Josh Hamilton. I got to spend some sweet moments with Katie Hamilton–Josh’s adorable wife. What a lovely lady. She could be my daughter she’s such a young baby! I’m not bitter.
The BEST moment for me during the day, besides seeing the Rangers win, was singing old hymns and Gaither songs with Ray Davis. The man can sing and knows his southern Gospel. It was awesome.
The other sports thing that was unbelievably exciting for us “Okies” was cheering on our OKC Thunder NBA team. They were spectacular and made it to the finals of the play-offs. I got to sing for them too and unlike my losing “Banner” record with the Colts (I don’t sing for them anymore ’cause I love them so much and every time I sing they lose), the Thunder has won each time I’ve sung. 5-0. I’ll sing for them anytime.
What I loved about the whole Thunder thing was seeing how our community of OKC came together. Everyone walked around town wearing Thunder colors or Thunder jerseys. People were so proud. It just united us all. I came away from a game or two and honestly thought that I wish Christians and our Jesus could unite a community as much as the NBA Thunder does. Everyone focusing and celebrating one goal, one agenda, and everyone working hard to represent that agenda. Wouldn’t it be something if our daily “jerseys” and our daily ” colors” said, JESUS IS LOVE! And then we modeled that in each and every situation. I know that’s a bit heady for a basketball game but never the less those are my thoughts!
I got to spend some sweet time with my entire family in Indiana over father’s day. I had a couple of concerts in Indiana and with all the frequent flyer miles I’ve accumulated over the years, we were able to get all the kids in one place. My parents, and my brothers too so it was a really really fun weekend. I actually did a concert in Anderson, IN at the beautiful historic Paramount theatre where I did a concert of all songs from my Broadway Stories project. The concert was a benefit for the Community Hospital in Anderson and Anna’s father-in-law was actually the event organizer. Was such a sweet night involving so much family! I “hired” (although they pretty much did it out of the goodness of their hearts) my brothers Mike and Craig to sing. And also my kids John, Jenn, and Aly sang. Along with Katie, Donnie’s girlfriend, and Audra, John’s girlfriend. It was such a fun fun night! The kids who didn’t sing, all sold the merchandise. They are the hardest working kids ever…… Mollie and Erin. Anna basically ran the whole show. And Donnie and Sam were wonderful moral support!
Then the following day which was Sunday Father’s Day my dad directed an amazing men’s chorus at Madison Park Church in Anderson. They sang 4, 5, 6 part harmony on Ezekiel Saw The Wheel. AMAZING!!!!!!!
I suppose THE HIGHLIGHT of my summer was getting to go on a World Vision Trip to Ethiopia. My son, Sam, got to go on the trip with me. Sheila, Barry and Christian Walsh went with us. Sam and Christian are so close in age that they had a great great time hanging out. Our new Women of Faith porch pal, Brenda Warner, was with us on the trip as well.
The trip was exciting, sad, encouraging, challenging, fun, delightful, enjoyable, difficult…all at the same time. A couple of highlights…
Our family has sponsored many WV children over the years. Sam and I got to meet one of our WV sponsored children..his name is Mausbouden. He was 9 years old and he and his dad came to meet us at the Gechi WV project sight. What a doll! We brought a few gifts for he and his family. Sam and he played soccer and frisbee. Christian met one of their WV sponsored children as well as well so it was fun to see that wherever you are in the world, boys will be boys.
I got to visit with Mausbouden’s father who eagerly shared with me (thru an interpreter) how grateful he was knowing his son was going to be taken care of thru child sponsorship. I shared with him that sponsoring his son meant the entire family would be cared for. He kept hugging me and thanking me. He said he never got passed 2nd grade in his education as he had to drop out to work the farms. He wanted his son to learn the value of hard work but not at the expense of education. The dad was so happy that his son would have a good education.
We visited a village where WV had partnered with community to build a new 5 room cement school. The old school had mud and straw walls and dung and straw floors. The village elders along with the students all came out to greet us. They sang for us and brought each of us, (Brenda, Sheila and myself) flower gifts. The elders showed us the old school house and as we all huddled into the small space, the main elder began to speak so beautifully from his heart about what a blessing partnering with WV has been for their village. Now the children don’t get sick from all the dust straw and dung from the classroom. They are able to have more ages for each grade level because they have more space. We asked the elder what he would share with our boys (Christian and Sam) and with much passion the elder shared words of wisdom something like…
“You are fine boys. You live in america and you have every opportunity. DO NOT WASTE YOUR LIFE. You have been given so much. We have so little and yet we are happy. Be thankful for what you have and give back in your life somewhere. If that is here, we would love to welcome you back. But give back somewhere and don’t waste your life.”
That was all said thru an interpreter but the boys understood exactly what the man was saying. It was a powerful moment for all of us.
In closing, ( ha I sound like a preacher…ha) I am reminded too of what the elder shared with us in that old dusty school house. Just a couple of days ago I was traveling and I just did not have my happy attitude. I was annoyed with EVERYTHING. After a few hours of making myself miserable, I realized that i can choose grumpiness or I can choose joy. As the elder shared, we HAVE been given so much here in our country. Don’t waste it. Find ways to pay it forward, or give it back or pass it on. Help someone else have a great day. I didn’t FEEL like doing any of that, but decided I would act as though I felt it was true. I KNEW it was true, just had to act upon it.
As I left the plane after landing I quiet,y said to the flight attendant, thank you for a nice flight. She said, “thank you for saying so. It’s been such a long day and I needed that”.
Okay God, lessened learned…at least today. You’ll probably have to teach me again tomorrow.
Have a great day one and all and help someone else to have or too…