Friday, August 29, 2008
Just in from a great day in Bowling Green, KY! Thanks to all the kind folks at WBKO, especially Darla Oglesby. I first "met" Darla back in 2001 when I was promoting BBC. Back then, she worked at a Christian radio station, and she interviewed me on her morning show. Last year I finally got to meet her in person when I went to Bowling Green to promote the Girl of Worth conference. So, she gave me an open invitation to come back on Midday, and I took her up on it! See the interview HERE. (On my computer, I have to scroll all the way to the right.)
I will post pictures of the book signing after Danya loads my pictures into the computer. :)
And, in case anyone is wondering, I am so FOR HER and delighted with choice that was announced today! (Even though it almost pre-empted my interview! LOL!)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
“Mimi” was Danya’s baby blanket. While she continued gathering her things, I went unnoticed to her bed, picked up Mimi, fluffed it out, and remembered its beginnings.
I was a new mom with a fussy baby, who, the pediatrician assured me, did not have colic. Night after night I had rocked, paced, and prayed for my crying little one to go to sleep. Night after night we stayed up. Getting her to sleep didn’t seem to be the problem—it was keeping her asleep! Every time I tried to put her down, she would wake up and begin crying again.
Then one night, despite my sleepless stupor, I realized that Danya was holding on to my pink, satiny nursing gown. Whenever I put her down, she lost her grip and woke up. So that night, as I put her in her crib, I didn’t peel her fingers from my gown. Instead, I peeled the gown off and laid it in the crib with her. Ah, success! A victory born of desperation but a victory nonetheless!
Now, sitting on Danya’s bed holding Mimi and my memories, I realized for the first time that when I scampered off for a clean gown and the comfort of sleep that night, I had just put some distance between my baby and me. It was necessary, to be sure. But it was a huge step of separation, independence, and helping my baby grow up. Now here we were, thirteen years later, and Danya was going to camp—leaving Mimi behind. Unashamed, Mimi had gone everywhere else with this kid: her grandparents’ house, family vacations, even sleepovers and slumber parties. But Mimi wasn’t going to youth camp. This time, Danya was taking her own step of separation, independence, and growing up.
“So,” I began, stroking Mimi and cradling it in my arms, “I guess this means you don’t get to go to youth camp, Mimi.”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have a seventh-grader. Now what?
The greatest challenge of these middle years is that of helping our children make their faith their own—not something we have peeled off and given them as security. Not a piece of ourselves. Certainly, our children are mosaics of us. They contain fragments of our own convictions and insecurities. They are endowed with many of our own strengths and weaknesses. Forever, they will be linked to the parents who raised them.
When it comes to faith, however, a piece of ours must only serve as an influence, an inspiration, and an impression—not an inheritance. A personal relationship with Christ cannot be earned or inherited. A child’s faith is independent of his parent’s. It must be separate and distinct. While our children depend on us to introduce them to Christ, to make His Lordship known in our lives, and to make His presence known in our homes, we must depend on His Holy Spirit to do the work of transforming their lives individually.
Parenting itself oversees a series of transformations. I used to parent newborns. Within the blink of an eye, I was taking care of toddlers. Then I had preschoolers, and on it went, as my kids grew at breakneck speed. Even today, as quickly as I get accustomed to one phase of growth, those children disappear, only to be replaced by taller, prettier, stronger versions. Smarter, too.
Each new stage calls for evaluation, goal-setting, and prayer—lots of prayer! As the middle years approach, motherhood is all the more challenging. Adulthood is within view, inching closer with every moment that passes, and so, I have to ask myself some questions: What is each child holding on to? Have I planted enough seeds of Jesus to keep her hand tightly gripping His? Or will she lose her grip on Him once I let go of her?
Because eventually, inevitably, I will have to let go.
Copyright © 2008 by Rebecca Ingram Powell. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Thanks for hanging with me through my testimony over the last couple of days. I feel blessed that I have a testimony to share, and doubly blessed that I could share it with you!
Just mixing things up a little, I wanted to share something a little different today. I have not been keeping up with the news lately, but I was catching up tonight and noticed that Right to Life issues are front and center during this Democratic convention week. My kids are old enough to carry on a conversation with people about this matter, and it's been quite a while since we really discussed the issue in our home. I happened to remember an article I wrote some years ago, Get Equipped to Defend the Unborn. I've dusted it off (LOL) and have posted it below. (If you want a printable version to share with your kids (or others), go HERE for the printer-friendly version at Baptist Press.)
Now is a great time to have this discussion with your middle schoolers and teens, and to be prepared to share the truth of this issue with others. (Any of y'all who are children of the 80's, I had to post that picture; I had to! Check out Reagan's posture! Amazing!)
Get Equipped to Defend the Unborn
In 1988 I was a college senior, and I had just voted in my first presidential election. George Bush had won. On my university's campus, Republicans were definitely in the minority, but on the day after the election, you especially knew who was who. I walked into my French class and was greeted by many glum faces. My French teacher, Madame Goldberg, breezed in a few minutes later. "It will be hard for everyone to concentrate today. We are all so disappointed," she said.
"Not all of us," I piped up. Maybe I shouldn't have.
Madame Goldberg turned on me as though she would have liked to rip me in two. She stared at me for several long seconds, until the eyes of every student were on the two of us. With her eyes blazing, she said, "How could any woman vote for Bush?" And then she did rip me up, verbally, in front of the entire class. To tell the truth, I don't recall much of her tirade. Just that I was the brunt of it, and a grown woman was beating me up with her accusations like a schoolyard bully uses his fists. I was speechless, literally in shock. I could not believe her reaction.
As an honor student, my professors were respected friends. I was well-known in the foreign languages department, spending my senior year completing an undergraduate thesis in French literature in addition to my regular coursework. Most of my professors knew that I was a Christian, and in my courses I took every opportunity to include the message of Christ in my papers and oral presentations whenever possible. I had been confronted on my faith in Christ, but never on any particular issue, such as abortion.
Hence, I was not prepared to offer a defense of why I, then a 21-year-old woman, had voted for George Bush, the pro-life candidate.
It's important that we Christians have a way of answering the abortion advocates with sound reasoning. I recently attended an all-day seminar, "Making Abortion Unthinkable: the Art of Pro-Life Persuasion" by Scott Klusendorf, a bioethicist, pro-life advocate, author and lecturer. Klusendorf travels extensively throughout the United States and Canada training others to defend the unborn. He teaches Christians how to argue the case intelligently in the world arena without resorting to only Bible verses.
Christian parents must understand that our children will one day be going toe-to-toe with a godless generation. They will not be able to communicate their beliefs by quoting Scripture. While it is imperative that we write the Word of God on our children's hearts by requiring that they read, study and memorize it, we must also prepare them with the why's and how's of our faith. We have to teach them how to articulate our Christian beliefs with practical intelligence. Our children will be confronted. Will they be ready? Are we? We Christians really do have all the answers. There is no reason for us to keep the truth quiet.
Klusendorf exposes the pro-choice argument for what it is -- simply rerouting the debate and putting the pro-lifer on the defense, chasing after an argument that is not the issue. While Klusendorf defends human life from a variety of angles, he teaches beginning pro-life advocates to remember three things.
-- The Real Question.
First, keep in mind the primary question in this debate for you and me and everybody else is, "What is the unborn?" The crux of the abortion dispute centers on this question. Klusendorf explains that defining whether the unborn is human is the only real issue in this controversy. He concedes that if the unborn are not human, then he and every other pro-lifer will walk away from this debate, forever. But the fact is, Klusendorf can prove, both scientifically and philosophically, that the unborn are indeed human from conception. He says, "Human life is a continuum beginning at conception and ending at natural death."
-- The Science of Reproduction.
Klusendorf refers to the principle of biogenesis, which states that each living thing reproduces after its own kind. In other words, dogs reproduce dogs, flies reproduce flies and so on. According to this law of biogenesis, human parents can only produce human offspring, and therefore, the unborn must be human.
Klusendorf advocates the use of the acronym "SLED" to offer an easy way to remember the differences between an unborn person and a newborn. "The unborn differs from the newborn in four ways, none of which are relevant to its status as a human being," he explains. "Those four ways are size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency." To explain:
1) Size. The unborn are, of course, smaller than newborns. But do tall people deserve more rights than short people? "Clearly size is not the issue," Klusendorf says. The issue, he reiterates, is "What is the unborn?"
2) Level of development. While it is true that an unborn child is less developed than a newborn, so is a toddler less developed than a teenager. Should a toddler be killed, then, because he is not as developed as a 16-year-old is? Klusendorf contends that the absurdity of this argument comes from defining persons based on what they can do rather than who they are.
3) Environment. The unborn is located in a different place from the newborn -- the unborn lives in its mother's womb. But does humanness hinge on location, location, location? Am I less of a person in my house than I am at the mall? "Where one is has no bearing on who one is," Klusendorf emphasizes.
4) Degree of dependency. "If viability is what makes one human, then all those dependent on kidney machines, heart pacemakers and insulin would have to be declared non-persons," Klusendorf explains.
Abortion advocates, like Madame Goldberg, must offer facts and arguments in support of their position. This is rarely the case. She attacked me personally. If I had been equipped with the facts, I could have stood my ground and defended the unborn that day. I could have given my classmates some food for thought, as well.
c2003 Rebecca Ingram Powell
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
As I paced the sterile halls of the hospital, as I sat by Rich's bedside, as I went home to change clothes, I pleaded with God to give me a verse! Oh God, just give me one teeny verse to get me through this! And what did I get? Psalm 23:5a...not even the rest of it, not even "b." And in the King James, for cryin' out loud! (Sorry, that's just not my favorite.) How in the world did that verse even RELATE to what was going on in my life? But that was my verse, no doubt. So, I quit asking, and I started confessing. I said that verse multiple times each day. Incredibly, it brought comfort. But I wanted to know what God was talking about. I wanted to know what was going on! We thought that it was God's will for us to publish Baby Boot Camp. He provided the money. Everything went down like clockwork. And now, when what I needed to be doing was selling books, this happens. Was it all a mistake?
But even in my confusion, God showed up, every day.
- When my father-in-law came every morning, he brought a measure of God's security.
- When my children prayed, there was God's peace, flowing over us, covering every doubt.
- When I heard a mower and saw one of our church members cutting the lawn, God's provision was displayed.
- When people brought meals, God's comfort was all around.
- And Christian television? I know there are some folks on the airwaves that may not be sincere, but man, I am thankful for Christian TV! When a person is homebound, it is a blessing. At certain times of the day, there were some powerful preachers who brought God's Word, and it was always a Word in due season, into our home.
That "accident" was God's preparation for the ministry that lay ahead of me. In many ways, I was back in "baby boot camp," experiencing the fatigue, confusion, and blues that so many new moms go through. With the start of my speaking and writing ministry, our family was on the front lines of spiritual battle. We needed to learn how to pray, and boy! God sure taught us a few things about that! And then, there was a significant emotion of disappointment that I was dealing with.
I didn't get my book party. I didn't get to celebrate because of the way things happened. I had enough to celebrate in the fact that my husband was alive, and I chided myself for feeling disappointed and being selfish about a party! My sweet mom-in-law asked me if I still wanted to have the party, but there was really no way that I wanted to celebrate without Rich by my side, because he had been by my side, cheering me on, through the whole process. But God used that disappointment, too. I found it was a unique parallel to how a new, unmarried mom must feel. Like I wanted to celebrate my book, she wants to celebrate her baby, even if it isn't born under the best circumstances. It might be a stretch to some, but for me, well, it sent me straight to my local crisis pregnancy center to see if we couldn't team up on some things. (That was something I had never even considered.) My disappointment also sent me to Fort Campbell, KY, for a year of leading a moms' group and celebrating new babies with tender young women whose husbands were serving in Iraq. For many of them, their babies were welcomed with tears of disappointment and sorrow because their husbands were not by their sides.
By Thanksgiving of 2000, most things were back to normal. Rich was even driving again! We were plugging my book everywhere we could, and the hospital bed had been carted off for someone else who needed it. Not everything was back to normal, though. The Powell family was not back to normal, nor would we ever be. We were forever changed by my husband's prayer. The God of the valleys set a table before us; we tasted, and we saw that the Lord was good!
May His wonderful Name be praised!
Sometime during those days in the hospital, Rich shared with me that his prayer at the retreat had been a plea for God to rid him of any of himself. He wanted to be completely surrendered to God. He wanted to know God in a deeper, more complete way.
So that's what you get for praying?
- Confined to a bed and a back brace for 3+ months?
- Unable to go and do like any other healthy 36-year-old man?
- Being dependent on your wife to help you with your most personal of tasks, including bathing and toileting? (To be honest, he enjoyed the sponge baths. LOL!)
- Having to tell the 3 yo who is used to wrestling and playing with his daddy, "Can't touch Daddy," umpteen times a day, with tears in your eyes every time?
Nope. Here's what we got when Rich prayed:
- Because he was confined to a bed and a back brace, Rich had the joy of learning how to be still, and know that He is God. During that time, Rich experienced an intercessory prayer life that he had never known before. The man dreamed dreams and the Lord gave him a couple of visions, as well! He was still. He had nowhere to go but to the throne of God.
- Because he was unable to go and do like any other healthy 36 yo man, Rich found out what really goes on at our house all day long! He experienced a lot of wonderful daily moments with our kids that he normally missed out on.
- Because he was physically dependent on me, our roles were reversed for a time. Rich has always been the strong one. I go to him for everything. But now I was taking care of him. Was it humbling? Yes, I know it was. One verse that we continually repeated was, "Humility comes before honor." But you know what? I loved being there for him. I loved being needed. I loved being able to DO something that showed him my love. It strengthened our marriage--no doubt.
- Because the children couldn't touch Daddy, they learned how to pray for him. And this, by far, was one of the most special things that God did in the life of our family. The children and I each memorized a healing verse from God's Word. We gathered around Rich's hospital bed every night, and we prayed our verses over him. How utterly amazing to remember those little ones (8, 6, and 3) crouching, with their faces to the floor, and lifting up these pleas to their Heavenly Father:
Your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard (Isaiah 58:8). I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you (2 Kings 20:5). I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth (Jeremiah 33:6).
Y'all, I'm no saint. Kelly commented yesterday that she admired my faith. Well, I don't mind telling you that my faith took a real beating during all this. So, stay tuned for the final installment in this series of posts! LAUNCH DATE: The Table is Set (Part Four) concludes today! Be looking for it this afternoon!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Of course, when you hear something like that in your head, the first thing you want to do is deny it. And I prayed, hard, and gave it to God. I must admit it was with some reservation that I said good-bye to Rich as he left a little later, but I refused to bow down to such a fear. He asked me if I wanted to go with him, but the kids were just about ready for naps, and I told him I'd just stay home with them.
I rambled around the house that afternoon while the kids slept, and finally stretched out on the couch. I never quite got to sleep, but I did get to a prayerful place of rest. That was a good thing, because the Lord knew I wasn't going to sleep that night.
I was running the kids through the tub late that afternoon when the phone rang. Even in remembering this, it seems surreal. It was my friend Jeri (she and her husband were also helping with the move). Her voice was shaky, and I knew immediately that something was wrong. "What happened?" I asked, and I began to tremble as I held the phone.
Rich went off the road , sailed (airborne) over an embankment, and came to rest in some bushes that halted his pickup truck and saved his life. He was conscious. He was on the way to the hospital in an ambulance. I was to meet them there.
What happened? He had evidently fallen asleep at the wheel or just zoned out, and he went off the road. A police officer saw the whole thing, and he said Rich missed hitting a light pole by mere inches. He missed crashing into a concrete culvert by the tiny bushes that brought his truck to a stop. The vehicle was totaled. If I (or any passenger) had been with him, I wouldn't have made it. This same police officer came to the hospital, 30 minutes away from the crash site, to see me. He had one burning question on his lips--one question that for him would be the only explanation for what he had seen that day: Was your husband a man of God? That's the only way he could be alive right now. God saved his life.
Rich was alive.
He was conscious.
No brain damage.
No internal injuries.
Just a broken back. And I say "just" because comparatively speaking, my sweet Rich "just" had a broken back.
It would not be the last picture. IT WOULD NOT!
Eight years later, I remember who showed up at the hospital that night, and from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you.
Thank you for sitting with me.
Thank you for being quiet with me.
Thank you for holding my hand.
Thank you for praying with me.
Thank you for not acting like everything was okay.
Thank you for understanding that it wasn't.
Eight years later, I remember one of the greatest encouragements I received. A couple from our church, Dale and Suzanne, came up to me several weeks later, on my first Sunday back at church. (Rich was confined to a hospital bed that we had set up in our living room. When I felt okay with leaving him for a few hours at a time, several of the guys from our Sunday school class took turns sitting with him while the kids and I went to church.) They told me their story of when Dale had broken his back.
Just like Rich.
And Suzanne encouraged me by affirming how hard she knew things were, taking care of Rich as well as three young children. Because she had been there, she understood. That was such a blessing to me. And Dale, who was the picture of health, gave me the assurance that Rich would be back on his feet in no time. Seeing two who had survived similar circumstances was like medicine to my soul. I knew that we would survive the days ahead.
But unfortunately, I didn't know anybody who could identify with the rest of my story. You see, by the time I had my talk with Suzanne and Dale, five thousand copies of BBC had been delivered to my house, and it seemed to me that God's timing was waaaaay off.
(LAUNCH DATE (Part Three) continues tomorrow.)
I'm sharing a significant part of my testimony this week, as I want to honor God with the launch of my new book. I hope you have time to read it all. When I found out the book would launch on August 26th, I asked God to please give me a place to share my testimony and honor Him with this story on the anniversary of what happened in the year 2000, and what is happening this year, 2008. I believe this is the place! I believe He wants me to share it in this blog, and it is my pleasure to do so.
I was actually on my cell phone heading for the FPEA convention in Orlando, FL, this past Memorial Day weekend, when my marketing rep at Tate told me the launch date for my new book.
"August 26," she announced.
And then the tears came. Just mention that date, and for the rest of my life, I'm sure the memories will continue to overwhelm me. I find myself with hope renewed, faith assured, and joy confirmed.
You see, eight years ago, on Saturday, August 26, 2000, I was eagerly awaiting the publication of what would be the first edition of Baby Boot Camp! My husband Rich and I had been clearly led by God to self-publish, and we were both excited about receiving the finished product in mid-September. The cover was beautiful, the layout was terrific, and I was delighted with how the book had turned out! Like an expectant mom who is really tired of being pregnant and longs to hold her new baby in her arms, I was ready to see and hold my book! We were in the process of planning a huge party to celebrate, and I was looking forward to being with my friends and family and thanking God together for what He had allowed me to do and for what He was going to do in the days to come. I wanted to honor Him and praise Him for all that had gone into the journey of BBC as my manuscript moved from dream to reality. God had supplied all our financial needs in bringing BBC to life. It was an incredible experience that still amazes me to this day. (For more about that part of the story, check out For the Write Reason, available at Proverbs 31.)
Okay, at this point, I need to backtrack. On Monday of that week, August 21, I had watched an author being interviewed on Christian television. He had just written a book about how God is the God of our valleys. I remember he used the example of when the Israelites were fighting the Arameans. The Arameans had developed a new strategy to defeat the Israelites. They thought that the Israelites had won the last battle because their gods were the gods of the hills. So, the Arameans theorized that if they got them down into the valleys, then they could defeat them. Well, this is what God said:
Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord. (1 Kings 20:28)
The author went on to explain that God is in control of our valleys, our lows, our less than stellar circumstances, just as surely as He is the God of our mountaintops! As I watched the interview, I knew that God wanted me to hear this man's message. I knew it as certainly as I've known anything. And I knew, without a fearful kind of knowing, that God was about to allow our family to go through a valley. And incredibly, I had a deep, abiding peace.
Rich went to a men's prayer retreat on Friday, August 25. He spent the night there with a group of men who were praying, worshiping, and seeking God's face all night long. He came home at around noon on Saturday. After lunch, he was going to help a couple in our Sunday school class move into their new home. Since he wasn't going to have much time with the kids, I had planned for them to have an indoor picnic with their daddy. As our lunch got underway, I looked at the children playing happily with their daddy and talking about everything under the sun, and they looked so adorable that I went to get my camera. As I snapped the picture, I heard a voice that I will never forget (although I must admit that I can still have trouble identifying). It said, "That is the last picture you will ever take of Rich and the kids."
(Part Two of this story will post at noon today. Please come back by!)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I just spent a great morning at my church working with Angel Food Distribution. This is a great program that is helping a lot of us combat the rising gas prices, as well as the always-empty stomachs of teenage boys! :) The mission statement of Angel Food is:
Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing food relief and contributing to benevolent outreaches in communities throughout the United States.
I look at it as sort of a buying co-op. For $30 per month, you get enough food to feed a family of four for a week. The menu is set, so you know what you're buying. The food seems to be about 40% - 50% discounted what you would pay for it at the grocery store. And the food is always GREAT! This program has provided a wonderful way for our church to minister to our community, as well as being a great deal for our church families!
If you're interested in saving some money off your grocery bill (and who isn't?), take a look at Angel Food and see if there is a distribution center near you. And if you're looking for a creative way to reach your community, perhaps you would consider investigating the possibilities for you and your church to become involved in this outreach opportunity!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I am excited to announce my upcoming blog tour for my new book, "Season of Change!" If you're not familiar with a blog tour, this is simply a virtual way to spread the word about my book by chatting with people on different blogs all over the Web! I'm working on scheduling a two-week tour, but I'm so excited about the first week that I've booked that I'm going to post it here now!
Sept. 8--Chatty Kelly
Sept. 9--Sheila Wray Gregoire
Sept. 10--Lara at Moms of Faith
Sept. 11--Leigh Gray
Sept. 12--Dawn at My Home Sweet Home
Another author, Sheila Wray Gregoire, introduced me to this concept, and I'm going to try it! I think it will be lots of fun! The second week of the tour will actually include a Dad's blog, and I think it will be interesting to chat with him and get a dad's questions and concerns about middle school! I don't know if I'll have a full second week, but I'll see how the Lord leads. Whatever and however, it's going to be fun!
It is hard to believe the book "officially" launches next Tuesday; I have had copies of it since Memorial Day weekend and the FPEA conference.
I'll be blogging in the coming days about book promotion, and I'm happy to share with those of you who are writers what I know about it! It isn't easy. You have to get past thinking that you are "self-promoting" and recognize that you are promoting a message you believe in, a message that God gave you. When BBC first came out--oh my goodness--I had half of a room stacked with 5,000 copies of that self-published first edition. They were stacked next to my treadmill and I would get on my treadmill every day and pray, "God, please move that mountain of books." He did. HE DID.
How did He do it? He opened doors for me. Here are just a few ways:
- A rookie LifeWay store manager who bought 100 copies on consignment
- My friend Sherry's husband, who was then editor of Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox, sent word of BBC out to 40,000 pastors through a brief review on the site.
- My husband met Lysa Terkeurst, gave her a copy of the book, and she called and invited me to attend the very first She Speaks! back in 2001. About a year and a half later, Lysa gave my name to a ministry that invited me to be a part of three parenting conferences in New Jersey, Texas, and Georgia (and they purchased 150 of my books upfront!)
- A feature article in the Lexington Herald, all because I called the newspaper and asked if there would be any interest in a story.
- A couple of Christian OB-GYN's here in Nashville who bought 300 copies to give to their expecting moms.
J. Hudson Taylor said, "I have found there are three stages to every great work of God: first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”
Think about that today. Are there seeming impossibilities in your life or relationships? Are there dreams, goals, desires of your heart that seem way too out there?
I like that.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Did you? Okay, whatever. Here we go!
Last Saturday night, Danya opened for Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. (Don't feel bad if that means nothing to you. I didn't know who they were either.) But as I started telling people, I soon realized that this was a big deal! They are a nationally known Christian band, and recently, they were a top three finalist on Fox TV's "Next Great American Band." My friend Sandy was so excited--she's a big fan of Denver's and had already been to see the MHO in concert several times. So this was turning out to be very, very cool! Listen to them at their myspace. Do you like that kind of sound? They were first-class, all the way.
Before my camera died, I took a picture of them doing sound check a few hours before the show.
Danya and her band had to wait for DMHO to get finished with their sound check before they could do theirs. So there was quite a bit of hanging out time, and a lot of fun people to hang out with. Well, there was a girl backstage with one of the trombone players, and Danya immediately recognized her. Immediately. The girl said to her, "Hi, my name's Jess."
And the lovely was just freaking out...(I told y'all to read yesterday's post, for cryin' out loud!)...and she is thinking to herself, Maybe she didn't say Jess. Maybe she said Beth, or Bess...
So she asks her, "Would you spell that?" (I just think that is hilarious. That is soooo like something I would do!) And the girl says, "Jess, like Jessie, like Jessica..."
And the lovely said, "What's your last name?" (Now, at this point, the guy playing bass for Danya is wondering why Danya is being so interrogative. What is up??? He had no idea.)
The reply came quickly. "Daniels."
"I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Danya fairly screamed this (in her mind), as she calmly said, "Hi, I'm Danya. I opened for you when I was 12 years old!"
I am emotional right now as I post this because this was one of those wonderful moments when God just overwhelmed us with His sweetness. I mean, really--who would have thought? It just blows my mind the way He choreographs our days, weeks, months, and years--plans our steps, maps out our lives. Man! Danya is now the same age Jessie was when she met her.
After the show, Jessie (who was in the audience for the entirety of Danya's concert) came over just overflowing with words of encouragement for Danya. It was absolutely precious. We're still just amazed.
Okay, now, at this point in the evening, since I am really trying to do right by this blog, I know that I have to get a picture of Denver, the Mile High One himself, right? And he was busy signing and taking pics with other people, so when everyone was finally finished, I went over to him and said, "Hi, could I get a picture of you with Danya?" And then the camera just shut down! We took some pictures with the cell phone, but I have no idea how to get them from the phone to here, soooo, this will have to do. He looks pretty much like this in person--truth.
Okay, y'all, I'm ready to hear your fan stories!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
OK, are y'all ready for storytime?
In 2004, our church's fledgling teen worship band, "Without Shoes" (for which my then 12 yo Danya played keys), opened for up-n-coming Christian pop singer Jessie Daniels. Jessie was 16 years old at the time, and she had just come off a tour opening for Sheryl Crow. Although "Without Shoes" had never heard of Jessie Daniels, the teens were thrilled that they were opening for someone who had opened for Sheryl Crow!
When Jessie arrived and began to sing, we were all absolutely taken. This girl could sing, and baby, she DID sing! There were less than 20 people in the auditorium that night (a real shame), and yet, she performed as though it was packed out! She gave us everything she had! Of course, she was truly giving it to God, and throughout the concert, she shared a sweet Christian testimony that was inspiring to both the kids and adults in attendance. She also shared concerns for her unsaved friends back home in New York, and some personal concerns, as well, including her need for God's direction and mercy as she stepped out on faith to follow her dreams. After the show, she stayed and talked to the kids, signing headshots and copies of her indie CD, and continuing to make a lasting impression. We all felt like we had made a new friend that night. (Now that's connecting with your audience!) To this day, Danya still has the picture Jessie signed hanging prominently on her wall.
Fast forward two years: 2006. Danya and I were in the car with the radio on, and she said, "Hey Mom, listen!" I listened, looking at her questioningly.
"Who does that sound like?" Danya asked me. I don't have her ear for music, but I admitted the voice sounded familiar.
"You know what?" she said, turning up the volume. "I think it's Jessie Daniels!" We waited breathlessly for the end of the song, hoping the deejay would say who the artist was. "That was Jessie Daniels..." he announced, and then the celebrating began!
"She made it!" Danya cried joyfully. "She made it!" We were so thrilled!
Fast forward to last year: 2007. When Danya got her music myspace, she immediately went to Jessie's myspace to request a friend add. Jessie added her, and so Danya decided to message her through myspace. In her message, Danya told Jessie that she had met her when "Without Shoes" opened for her, and that now, she was trying to make her own way as a Christian artist. Jessie took time to write Danya back and encourage her. Once again, she showed herself to be a sincere, gracious, and generous young woman. Danya has often prayed that she would get to meet up with Jessie again sometime, in person.
That's the effect of a role model in your life. I had one in author Anne Ortlund. Although I never met her personally, I sure felt like I knew her from her books. Years ago, when I was trying to gather endorsements for the self-published edition of Baby Boot Camp, I sent Mrs. Ortlund a copy of the book with a letter detailing my request. I was so thrilled when she wrote me back—a handwritten note! I will never forget holding the envelope in my hands and savoring the moment, relishing the fact that she had taken the time to write me back.
I am often reminded of the personal mentors who helped shape my parenting, my faith, and my life in general. Kathy, who taught me so much about parenting. Vicki, who embodied hospitality and Christlike friendship. My dear Ginger who walks the writer's journey with me. There have been just a handful of these women over the years, and I have cherished their blessings on my life. They came along at just the right time, and God used them in powerful ways to impact not only my life, but every life He gives me the chance to influence. That’s the “trickle down” effect, right?
So how about you? Let’s talk about role models and mentors today!
Who set the stage for you?
Who did God use to lay a foundation in your life?
Celebrate those special people here today! (And please stay tuned: More about the Mile High Weekend tomorrow!)
Monday, August 18, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
This has got to be one of my favorite parts of the day. The kids are all taking a break from their books to get some music practice in. Danya is working on voice, David is working on his bass, and Derek is on the drums. I LOVE it! I remember when I went away to college, I would call home and my daddy would tell me how the house was like a morgue: no life! And I know the days of a quiet house will come. But for now, the halls are alive with the sound of their music, and I am relishing it!
I love the "music" of their laughter, too. And their friends. And their conversations--the picking and poking, the good-natured teasing--the dissecting of their youth pastor's latest lesson. It's all good.
Today our Bible study was on Luke 6:31-38. We read it in The Message. I'm posting it here because it is so rich, and I wanted to share it with you:
Honestly, sometimes I can't even drive in Nashville traffic without "picking on people, jumping on their failures, and criticizing their faults." And those are people I don't even know! :) This message is foundational to the Christian walk; it's the Golden Rule restated. Treat others as you want to be treated. I want people to give me a break, to be easy on me, and treat me generously--with their time, their words, their grace. But it all takes effort, you know? I have to be about this in an intentional, purposeful manner. It will not be done flying along by the seat of my pants, so to speak. At the same time, I'll never forget the words of a pastor I once heard, who said, "Don't try harder, surrender more." So it is my effort combined with His Strength (Philippians 4:13).
"Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that's charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
"I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."
And it is my listening to discover what it is that I still haven't handed over to the One I call the Lord of my life.
Y'all, I so want to live like this. I soooo want this to be the undergirding of my daily behavior. Just think, if we made this our goal for each day, then the halls and the hills would be alive with HIS MUSIC: mercy, grace, compassion, and love. Your thoughts?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Have y'all started back to school? We started back yesterday. Most schools in our area started on Monday, and I always like for my kids to be able to tell their friends that they have an extra day or two before they have to start back! yeah, I know. With our extra day we visited that mecca of educational hoopla, Chuck E. Cheese's! It was so much fun. The place was practically deserted, so it was extra fun! Plus, all the kids had gift cards, PLUS we had a coupon, sooooo we got a large 2-topping pizza, (salad bar for me), four drinks, and a whopping 80 tokens for a cash outlay of less than $9. Can't beat that.
They have a new ride at the Chuck's that is a virtual rollercoaster/raceway/haunted mansion--they have like six "rides" and it was amazing! I forgot the name of it, but I highly recommend it. LOL!
My kids had such a good time together, and I got to feeling so emotional about how these years are slipping away that I had to sneak off to let a few tears fall! Then I was quickly back to the fun, but oh my goodness, sometimes it just hits me like that! Does it you?
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Pictured above are (L to R) Ryan, Tim (MiM), Danya, Asa, Seth (MiM), and Dexter (MiM) in front.
Last night was terrific! Danya got to open for a group that was just signed by Word Records: ME IN MOTION. These guys are from Ohio (yep, they talked funny!) and really, I just met them briefly, but they seem like a really nice bunch and very sincere about what they are doing.
Derek was drawn to the drummer, of course, since that's his instrument, but he got his picture made with each band member. Whenever I get a minute, I will post a few of those pictures. I'm really bad about that, so we'll see! (DONE! Thanks to my TEENAGER IN MOTION! That's Derek with Dexter.)
When Danya has a concert close by or when the band is all meeting here before a gig, I have been trying to cook for everybody (MOM IN MOTION). Danya has her favorites, and we all know the comfort of food, right? So I've been trying to do that. Last night we had chicken casserole, peas and carrots (I had done the carrots in the crockpot with an onion, then added the peas at the end. I must say, those were good--even the 3yo who I wasn't expecting was eating those!) Of course, no meal since 1997 has been complete at my house without mac n cheese, and then we finished with blackberry cobbler! :) The only problem with eating before a gig is that we eat pretty early, so we're hungry again by the time we get home! (WEIGHT IN MOTION, LOL!)
I love to take a picture of the empty room before it gets filled with whomever God brings. It reminds me of the true nature of an offering. Are we willing to give Him praise or teach His Word, even if no one shows up?
Last night's concert was held at our former home church, so that was very special! Lots of folks were there who had only heard about what Danya is doing and had never heard her sing, except for long ago in children's choir productions. It was fun to see their reactions and hear them pronounce their blessings on her ministry! I thank God for the blessing of a Church family, don't you? That is one of the richest blessings of faith in Christ--His arms surrounding us through our brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles in Christ! We feel so thankful, too, because Danya had both sets of grandparents in attendance last night. And Rich and I both had our sisters there, too, along with a few nephews and a niece! Praise the Lord!
I know that some of the gals whose blogs I read are going through church moves this summer, and I just want to encourage y'all in that your church family is the body of Christ. They will always have your back, no matter where you go. I still felt the warmth and love of my former church family last night, even though we have been serving at our church now for several years. If we're doing things right, we'll be the CHURCH IN MOTION anyway, because there will always be some degree of turnover as we go out to serve.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
If I really believe in the power of prayer, and I do, then why do I hit the snooze button? And why do I dawdle and daydream in His presence? And why do I seem to be distracted by every triviality of life, when the fact of the matter is that the King of kings is waiting for me to talk to Him?
I lived a blessed life in that I had parents who prayed for me. My preacher daddy got up way early every morning (while it was still dark) to pray for his family and for his church. I woke up every day knowing that I had already been prayed for, knowing that whatever the day held, God was in control. That is a gift that I have purposed to give my children.
I love Stormie Omartian's books, "power of a praying wife" and "power of a praying parent." Those are mainstays of my prayer life. They are set up to pray through the month, with 30 prayers in each book. I have a hardbound copy of "praying wife" and it is a treasure to me. When my husband was in a severe accident several years ago (I will blog about this on SEASON OF CHANGE LAUNCH DAY, AUGUST 26TH!), I carried that book with me to the hospital. I wrote on the blank back pages the name of every person who came to visit him and every thoughtful gift of love from our church family, and it became a testimony of God's power, the power of prayer, and the power of Life through the healing Hand of Jesus Christ.
Praying for my kids came almost instinctively. Those prayers began when they were conceived--even before! I knew I could never parent without the grace and guidance of the Lord. As my kids get older, however, I have stepped up my game. I pray not just for me to know God's will, but for all of us to be on the same page. And that is not easy. I have to begin viewing my children as my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially my older ones. I have to trust each child's individual relationship with Christ, and I have to start letting go and allowing even more room for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives--for Him to dictate the boundaries, for Him to call the shots.
Prayer is a gift I give my family. Interceding for them is a sacrifice to self and an offering to God. And it's work! It requires diligence, perseverance, and focus (which at 41, I find increasingly difficult! I can't focus on anything!) But in so many ways, in praying for them, I am the one who has received the gift.
For each one, God has a plan. And I have His peace.
HAPPY 54TH ANNIVERSARY TO MY WONDERFUL MOM AND DAD!
married since August 6, 1954
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
While GP and I were at Channel 5 yesterday (see my post here), they led off the show with the story of a local 14 yo who stabbed his parents. A guy who was standing offset with us while we were waiting for GP's turn leaned over and asked her, "Got anything for 'No More Stabbing'?"
Well, guess what? We do. We have the Word of God. We have the Life of Christ working in and through us. But like Kelly said, if we stay in our bubble, no one will benefit.
This comes from a formal bubble-liver. (I just made up that word, btw) I was determined to protect my kids and my family from the world at all costs. And then God just tore that away from me when He called my husband and consequently, of course, my family to go to the inner city. Since then I've learned that the object of the game, when it comes to parenting, is not to protect, but to prepare. And if I've done my job in that regard, that will mean a couple of things:
1) It means that I have lived a bubble-free life before my kids. It means I get involved in the lives of people who are not like-minded and who are not like me. It means I spend time showing my kids what it looks like to live generously and love without reservation. It means I open my home and my heart. It means I do what often scares me. It means I live out a risky faith. (That's what my sons will pay the most attention to--the risk and the adventure of life with Christ--not a namby-pamby, keep-my-hands-clean-and-my-shoes-on kind of faith.)
2) It means when my kids have the chance to glorify God, I say okay. I surrender. I believe Him when He says they are in His hands. Case in point: The lovely was invited to play at a club downtown that is not Christian. For some reason, this place was inviting not just the lovely but also other area Christian bands to come out and play. A friend of hers told her outright, "There's no way my band is going to play there." But the lovely prayed about it and said, "God says to go." She took her loveliness, which you know is the glory of Christ on her, into a pit of darkness that night. The walls were covered with graffitied obscenities. The observers were gothic and hurting. The band that played before her sang a "song" that was just cursing all the way through. And then it got lovely. Because she had a worship service there. She had teens raising their hands and praising Jesus in that pit. The lights came on. The bubble was shattered.
I don't think leaving the bubble looks as romantic as John Travolta riding away with Glynnis O'Connor (and I didn't have to even look that up to know she was the co-star because I remember absolutely useless pop trivia quite easily). I know it didn't for me. It looked and felt more like someone getting their guts ripped out. For me, it was confronting the truth. I remember sharing with a friend as we began going to our new church, "God is exposing my true colors. And it's not pretty."
If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. (The Message, end of Matthew 5)
Friday, August 1, 2008
My desk is clean! And I am organized! I have put all my homeschool convention "stuff" away until next spring. I have the kids' school books ready to go (we start the 13th), and I have four bags of trash sitting on my carport, all from my schoolroom and closet.
I can breathe!
Let me tell you about my closet. When God led us to this house five years ago, a top selling point was what we call "the middle closet"--thus named because it is in the middle of the upstairs hallway. The lady who built this home had used the middle closet for her crafting projects. The closet is around 6' x 9' and lined with shelves. (I get goose bumps just describing it to you!) It has been perfect for both school and for storing my resources (my books, mailing supplies, business stuff, etc). It has no air vents or one of my boys would have snagged it for a bedroom (although it would be too small, and the ceiling slopes, too), but it is a dream closet! However, it is a bear to clean out at the end of my conference season because I just don't MAINTAIN it like I should. But, it is prettier than a speckled pup this morning, with a place for everything and everything in its place! Yay!
Are you homeschool gals ready for school to start? My friend Sandy and I have our "nailing it down" meeting on Monday. Thank God for Sandy! She keeps me on track!
I'm super excited about Danya's Notgrass "Exploring America" History. We have tons of great books that are lined up here, ready to read, including some I have only heard about and never had the pleasure of reading: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Mama's Bank Account, Up From Slavery, and others. Good stuff!
When is everyone else starting school? If you're a homeschooler, what are you looking forward most to teaching this year?