Archive for March, 2009

Be careful what you ask for…

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The tip of the iceberg

We asked our kids’ schools if they would like to be involved with our trip to Kenya by having a clothing and soccer ball drive. We’re planning to take whatever we can with us to the orphans we’ll be visiting at Little Lambs, and to the World Vision kids we’ll be with.

Well, I’m not so sure about posting this, but here goes: this is a picture of what used to be my living room. And you can’t even see the fact that everywhere under the piano there are clothes, as well as a pile of soccer balls filling up the whole space for the bench. I’ve been sorting for days now! I think we’re about 2/3’s of the way done.

At this point, we’re planning to even outfit our family from the clothes and that way, we can just leave everything except the outfit we’re wearing when we come home. It’s the best way we can think of to get the most stuff there.

I have to say, though, that I have been really touched by people’s generosity. There have been whole bags of new clothing, new soccer balls, and on the whole, really nice stuff. It touches my heart. And, as a mom, when I think about those kids putting on a fleece or a sweater (the altitude is really high at Little Lambs, and it gets cold at night and there’s no heat), it just makes me feel good.

So wish us luck! Let’s see, 10 bags, 5 carry-ons, 3 kids, and customs – sounds like a ball, doesn’t it? Ha!!

More Nashville stuff

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Wow, I haven’t been this tired in a long time, but what a lot we accomplished!

I got home from Nashville last night at about 1 in the morning. Tuesday I got up and went to a co-writing session with Dennis Dearing. What a super nice guy! We had a lot of fun, and worked on a song that’s been kind of a “problem child” for me. He was so cool about it – not many people want to hear, “Hey, here’s this song that I like some things about, but mostly don’t like it – can you make it a great song?!” I have to say, though, he’s a guitar player, and I’m a pianist, so listening to it on the guitar gave it a totally different feeling. We ended up coming up with some good stuff, and I think a song is born after all. 🙂

Then we had lunch with Paul Marino who’s a producer my radio promoter is good friends with and went to check out his studio. He does beautiful, beautiful orchestral work – just amazing.

Then looking at lots of pictures and stuff with my manager, and planning the singles, and driving home (leave at rush hour in Nashville, brilliant move on my part!).

I really can’t get over how much we got done in only 2 days. Thanks, Wally, you rock!

One crazy day in Nashville

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

So, I drove to Nashville last night after the read-through. We need to get some new songs written. I’m starting a new project, but I want to have a new radio single before we leave for the UK/Kenya trip.

What a crazy and great day. I worked all morning on a song with my manager, Wally, and it’s done – I really like how it’s coming out, and really like co-writing, which is something I’ve not done before.

After that, we went and did a photo shoot all afternoon. Nothing says feeling pretentious like taking 300 pictures of yourself. Oh, well, at least I got cool earrings out of the deal. 🙂

After that, I went and co-wrote a song with Darwin Moody (Embassy Music). I wrote the chorus in the car on the way down to Nashville, and really liked it, so we worked on verses. He is pretty incredible with lyrics, and a great player – what fun! I really love how it turned out – can’t wait for people to hear it. It’ll be a great World Vision song too, so that’ll be helpful in my ministry.

I’m super tired now, but so excited about the new songs, I’m having trouble going to bed! That’s how you know I’m a music geek, ha!

A play is born!

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

So, the new play is out – God is Our Superhero! We had the read-through today after church, and I’m really excited about how it’s going to be. My writing partner, Terry, and I have such a good time putting these together. We do the play for Adventure Week (VBS) in the summer, and we use high school and college kids in the cast.

This year we’re training to be God’s sidekicks at sidekick school, but the evil Dr. Doominator and his sidekick, Miss Led, are determined to make everyone forget about God and follow them instead!! Can God save the day?!?! (Um, the answer is yes, in case you were wondering.)

It’s very 1960’s comic book, and we’re going to have a blast. Plus, our pastor’s daughter, who is one of my favorite people, gets to be a bad guy for once in her life, so that’s pretty fun too. 🙂 AND, the bad guys get to dress like The Matrix – sweet.

Can’t wait to post pics – check back for that in June. 🙂

Home again, and what a ride!

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Well, I got home from Florida last night, but it sure wasn’t easy!

I sang on the morning services at First Church of God in Vero Beach, and also got to sing with the kids in their program and do some of my scripture songs. And yes, I can still do all the motions, even in 3 inch heels and a jacket! I am woman, hear me roar! (And then, please, please, let me out of these heels – it’s just vanity to try to appear remotely tall for 3 days in a row. Note to self – accept that you’re short.)

One sweet story from the morning: I work with World Vision, and had the picture folders on my table. A woman came to the table, and just snatched up one of the children named Christian. She told me she’d seen him at the retreat, and felt she was supposed to sponsor him, but she let it go, and decided to just take a brochure and think about it. Well, apparently she went home and dreamed about him all night long – she said she was sure she was supposed to have him, and thought she’d missed her chance. She didn’t know I was singing on the services as well. She was so happy he was still there! It was so sweet, and that’s exactly how I’ve felt when we’ve sponsored kids – God just knows who you’re supposed to have. 🙂 If you’re thinking of sponsoring, please don’t hesitate. These kids need the help so desperately, and you will never regret it – it’s wonderful. You can do that right off my homepage.

Okay, so the service was longer than I expected and we talked to people, and I was staying with wonderful friends who I love in Vero Beach and we went out to lunch, and the long and short of that is that I left later than I wanted to, but still thought I had plenty of time. Well, there was construction on 95, then an accident. Then I couldn’t find a gas station anywhere near the airport, and had to drive 10 miles out of my way to fill up the rental car. By the time I got to the airport, I knew I was going to have to pay extra on the car, and I didn’t have time to drop my luggage first, so I went straight the rental car return.

I also had an extra case of CDs I was trying to get home, so I basically had to repack everything in the garage at National. That was fine, though – the line was so long to return, I’d repacked everything before anyone came to check me out. Now I was getting worried about making my flight.

Guess what? That rental car return is as far as it can possibly be from the airline check in I needed. Great. And now I have two huge suitcases, a case of CDs and a 40 pound briefcase bag, jacket and purse. And all the carts are gone because it’s spring break in Florida, and I’m late for my flight. Things are going well.

I dragged all my stuff for miles, and when I got to the airline, the line was so long, I knew I’d miss my plane. I decided to go out and try curbside check. I got outside, and literally my arms stopped working. I dropped the case off the rolling suitcase twice before I gave up. I left if where it fell, and dragged my suitcases to the end of a ridiculous line (and yes, going the opposite way from me, of course) and hoped no one would think it was a “suspicious package” and confiscate it. I ran back to get it and left my bags in line. By the time I got back, the line had moved around them, but I must have looked really pathetic, because the man who was in front of me let me back in the line.

I checked in, got rid of the massive luggage, although I still had one roll-one and the briefcase and my jacket and purse (!!), and started running for security. I want to go on record as saying that I pack maybe one square foot of clothing for myself, and everything else is for the gig – aargh!

Got through security, ran for the gate, got a boarding pass (I was too late to get that when I checked in) – yea! I made it! I was super hot, and literally shaking from hauling that stuff all over the world. And yes, I was the 3rd to the last one on the plane.

Well, I prayed on the way down the aisle that God would tell me who to sit next to. There were only a few seats left toward the back, and I ended up having an awesome conversation with a woman on the plane. If you read this – I’m praying for you. 🙂

I was struck by the fact that if all that hadn’t happened, I would never have sat next to her, so God knows what He’s doing, even when I’m throwing boxes of CDs on the ground at Orlando International airport.

And, yes, pathetically enough, I’m super sore today. Guess I need to do some more weightlifting if I plan to get myself to the airport alone on a regular basis! 🙂

Incredible day…

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Teaching Isaiah 40:31 to women who are not afraid to move

Well, I’m not sure when I’ve been this tired, but what an awesome day.

This morning we continued the retreat at First Church of God – I got there around 8:30 to sound check and get the videos set with the tech people for the worship, etc. Did worship and spoke at 10 about God training us, shaping up through difficulty and everyday experiences to be the people He needs us to be to use us for amazing things.

Then lunch and worship again at 12:30. Then the women went to some breakout sessions and I prepped the afternoon with the tech people and snuck out for a bit to call my kids. 🙂

We had our last session from 2:30-4, and it really was an amazing time. Afterward, I prayed with so many women who are going through so many hard things. This is a tough time for a lot of people, with everyday life things, and also made more difficult by the economy and job worries, etc. I know the Lord was working there, and so many women were ready to look to Him in their difficult situation – it was hard to hear so many tough stories, and so encouraging to see the Lord moving in their lives.

Then we had about 20 minutes to move my merch table and eat something before I needed to sound check for the evening service. The band here is great – very focused on praising God and facilitating worship. I was touched by their hearts for the Lord, and really loved meeting the worship pastor, Randy, and also his wife at the retreat – they are pretty new to the church, and already I’ve heard so many people expressing how much they are appreciated!

Now, here’s the incredible part. I had planned to use a retreat this weekend that I had done last fall for another group and just tweak it a bit. As I prayed over the retreat and what the Lord would have me share, I just basically wrote an entirely new retreat – the Lord changed it all. I knew He had something very specific in mind for these women, but when I went to the evening service, I was just amazed. I hadn’t told Randy what I was going to do during communion, just that I would do some acoustic songs simply with piano and voice. He stood up right before I sang and read sections of Romans 8 – the exact scripture I had just read to the women that afternoon, and the lyrics to the song I was starting with for communion.

The pastor stood up and said that the service was about looking to God in our difficult times, and trusting Him in them – a major theme of what I had just presented, and the subject of the song I did for the offertory. Then he read scripture after scripture that I had used on the retreat. God is amazing! Neither of us knew what the other had planned, but obviously, God had a message for this church this weekend. He is so good!

I’m so looking forward to being back tomorrow morning on the services and seeing some of the women from the retreat – the ones I talked to tonight were so amazed at how God orchestrated the weekend.

Update from Friday night

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

These ladies are ready to run an Amazing Race!

Well, I think we have our answer! These ladies are great, so much fun, and yes, my friends, they are open to motions, as proven by the picture. 🙂 You go, women of First Church of God!!

We had a great time tonight – Mark the tech guy did hero’s work setting up all kinds of portable tech to run the opening night in a beautiful banquet hall at the old county courthouse, so we were setting up a lot of the afternoon. Then a lovely dinner, worship time, speaking for which the women were so open, and some great games. I can tell we’re going to have a great day tomorrow back at the church, so I’m off to prep…

Florida, here we come (again)! :)

Friday, March 13th, 2009

So, I’m back down in Florida for a pretty intense weekend. I’m doing a women’s retreat for First Church of God in Vero Beach, speaking and singing and leading their worship (hey, I’m a retreat in a box!!). Then I’m going to do some guest music on their service Saturday night and their services on Sunday morning, and I even get to go visit the kids and do some of my scripture songs after I sing on the main service. Then I’m driving back to Orlando and flying home. Should be a great weekend, but I’m betting I’ll be tired.

I’m speaking on “The Amazing Race” – how we sign up, train, and run an amazing race with God. We’re spotlighting a couple of scriptures – John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”, Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”, and Hebrews 12:1-2 “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked our for us – let us fix our eyes on Jesus!”

Two of these scriptures I’ve set on my kid’s CDs, so we’re going to learn them in song, and I guess we’ll see how game these ladies are to do motions! 🙂

Looking forward to it.

Crazy week and show on Saturday

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Well, it’s been a crazy week, and you can’t tell me that God isn’t good!

I went to direct my choir on Wednesday night last week, and fell asleep in the car on the way there (and no, I wasn’t driving!!). It’s only 15 minutes, and I was so out that my husband had to wake me up in the parking lot – I didn’t know the car had stopped. Weird. In choir, I started feeling really warm and a bit woozy, and I can’t say it was my best rehearsal ever – thank goodness my choir’s very patient with me! I went home and went to bed, and didn’t get up again until Saturday, yikes!

I was stressing out too, because I had a show Saturday night about 3 hours from home in Chesapeake, OH, and I’ve never canceled a show. I didn’t want to start now! I also had a very full Sunday morning at church yesterday, covering a lot of stuff (we were missing various members of our worship team this week), and I wasn’t really able to stand up.

Well, I prayed a lot! And I got up at noon on Saturday, got ready, drove to the show with my mom, and had the most amazing experience of God just giving me the strength to do it. It’s in our weakness He is strong (2 Cor. 12:9). My mom drove me home, and I got up the next day and was able to do church, even though I was pretty exhausted, and then I came home and took a 3 hour nap. 🙂 But today is much better.

I do want to give a shout out to the youth at Chesapeake Church of the Nazarene! My show on Saturday was to cap their 30 Hour Famine for World Vision, and they were an awesome group – I really respect and appreciate the people who will do that to raise money for kids who really need the help and are dying of hunger. This group even baked bread for the needy while they were fasting for 30 hours – talk about torture! The smell of the bread baking was incredible, and I so appreciate their hearts. You go!!

I’m off to catch up on the millions of things I didn’t do last week. Sigh. But so happy to feel better!