Thursday, December 31, 2009
10. I wasn't pregnant this year!!! Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed being pregnant in the past, but I was glad to have this year to enjoy the kids I already have and no more growing inside of me.
9. Both of my sisters are pregnant this year!!! See, now I wouldn't want to be pregnant and steal their thunder!
8. Molly Kate turned 1. Where did that first year go? MK is the sweetest, most gentle spirited, precious little thing. You can not help but fall in love with her the moment you meet her. Amazing child. Thank you God for an easy one!!!
7. I have drawn so much closer to God this year than ever before, and because of that I have a clearer sense of my purpose and destiny than ever before. I love knowing that I'm right where I'm supposed to be and that's right in the middle of his perfect will for my life. It makes me want to draw even closer so I don't get off track! I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I think I ever have. It just feels so good to know you are doing the right things even if it sometimes feels like the hardest things you've ever done.
6. Found even more peace and grace to handle the trials and sometimes ugly circumstances that come with being a step mom. This year I wished to be able to adopt Taylor and that didn't happen. I'm not sure that it ever will, but God has carried me through every disappointment, every up, every down, and everywhere else in between and I made it! I'm still making it. God, I thank you for my precious oldest daughter, Taylor. Thank you for knitting our hearts together in a bond unlike any other in my life.
5. I am writing songs again! And some of them aren't half bad!! I have found a new love for music. It no longer feels like work to me. I don't have an internal struggle every time I sit down at the keyboard anymore. I just love listening to God and tapping into whatever He is speaking to me at the time and I love trying to express it in a song. I love being able to share my thoughts and feelings about life and where I'm at through the lyrics and the music. It's a real gift to find a renewed passion for songwriting.
4. I got to spend another great year with my grandfather. Last Christmas, Pepa was in the hospital and I wasn't sure if he would ever come out. He did come home and has made so much remarkable progress this year. He went from being on hospice care with very little time left to being released from hospice with the doctor's scratching their heads about his miraculous "comeback." Our conversations have gone from planning the music at his funeral to now just chatting about the kids and sharing all of our fun stories with him. Thank you Jesus for your healing touch and continue to pour it out on Pepa and Mema this year.
3. #3 is for Ava because she turned 3 this year! I love Ava Grace. There is no way I could put just one memory of her on here. We make multiple memories every single day! Her brilliance and spunk keep me on my toes and keep me laughing every minute. She is such an amazing kid and I can't wait to see what all is in store for her in 2010.
2. I have found a new love for cooking! It is a fun, relaxing hobby for me. It has been somewhat of a creative outlet for me and I really love it. We have made it a priority for our family to eat dinner together at home more often and it is so great! I love that we can all come together and share a meal and just be together.
1. So the #1 greatest thing that has happened to me in 2009 was a no brainer! 2009 has been the greatest year of my marriage (so far, I believe the best is yet to come)!!! Alan and I will celebrate our 5 year anniversary in April, 2010. This past year we have grown so close and more in love with one another. We have (finally) learned how to better function in our roles as husband and wife and I am constantly striving to find ways to better serve him. I love him so much and I thank God every single day for bringing me a husband that protects me, provides for us, encourages me, never lets me settle, sees all of the potential I have yet to tap into, and the list could go on and on... I love you Alan. I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for us!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This year, we have decided to start a new Rich family tradition. We are going to have a special family day on Christmas Eve!! Every year we have sort of rushed through our little family's time to get to the bigger family events. On Christmas Eve night we have a huge Christmas with all of my cousins and family on my mom's side. Then Christmas morning, we go back to my mom's for Christmas with my immediate family, and then Taylor leaves for her other mom's on Christmas day after lunch. All of Alan's family is in Dallas, and we don't like to travel on Christmas, so we don't have to worry about somehow seeing all of them as well. So, this year, since we have our own little growing family, we've decided to make Christmas Eve a special day for us. It will actually start tonight. We are taking the girls to see the new Alvin and the Chipmunks, then to look at Christmas lights. We will come home and all open up our new Christmas pajamas and then in the morning we will wake up and have our own little "Christmas morning" of presents, stockings and a yummy breakfast. I'm really excited about doing something new and taking time just for the five of us. Don't get me wrong, I love our usual traditions with all of the extended family, but I think it's important to start some new things and have some things that are special for the five of us. We are going to spend most of the day in our PJ's, playing with all the new toys, watching movies, and just enjoying one another. At 5:30 we'll head to Christmas Eve communion at church and then on to the big family Christmas that night. I think it sounds like a great time!
I hope you all have a very blessed holiday. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannakuh, or any other special day, I pray you find time to enjoy your family and the relaxed pace to sit and take some deep breaths! I know I will!!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
- My husband, Alan. He is such an amazing companion to share this life with! He brings out the best in me and graciously puts up with me when the worst comes out. I am so grateful that God put us together!
- Taylor, my amazing daughter! I'm not sure what life would be like without her. She embraced me as her friend, and as her mom, and has shared her dad with me even though I'm sure that was a lot to ask of a four year old! Five years later, we have a great relationship that is a great mix of love, respect, and friendship.
- Ava Grace. Where to begin?? Ava is such a joy and anyone who has ever met her would say the same. I am thankful for Ava's spirit and the personality that I get to see more and more of everyday. She is at times a challenge for me as a mother, but I'm learning patience and how to (hopefully) be a better mom. Her wit combined with her genius brain amazes me and keeps me laughing every day! I love my Ava!!
- Molly Kate, my sweet little sweetie!! Is there a sweeter baby? MK is the perfect balance to her sister, Ava. She is mellow and peaceful and always so content. She makes my life easy and rich. I am so in awe and excited to see her little personality coming out more and more each day.
- Music. I am rediscovering my love for music. It is no longer a job to me. It is no longer just something I do from time to time. Music is a gift that God has given to me to explore and create and use to glorify Him. God is a creative God and I love tapping into the creative realm where His songs and melodies are waiting for me to discover. Does that sound cheesy? I'm not sure how else to describe this new relationship I have discovered with music.
- My family. Gosh, I love my family. I know I've already talked about my husband and kids, but I'm including my extended family in this one. I am beyond blessed to have the most amazing parents, sisters, brothers, in-laws, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins....the list goes on and on. The older I get and the more people I meet, the more I realize that my family is definitely the exception...not the norm!! My uncle put it really well yesterday when he said our holidays were like a Norman Rockwell painting. We all get along and love each other and very rarely have drama. We genuinely love being together. My best friends in life pretty much all are related to me, and I like it that way!
- My church. I am blessed to be a part of an amazing local church. I know God chooses the local church to do a lot for His Kingdom and Church on the Rock is doing amazing things!! I am blessed to be a part of a family of believers who love to give and serve the body of Christ and the lost all around the world. I love the vision of our house and I am thankful that God is moving and having His way at COTR!
- My neighbors. I know that's a little random, but I just came in tonight after visiting outside over a huge barbecue pit with several of my neighbors. We chatted and laughed for over an hour. I am thankful to live on a quiet cul-de-sac full of families and older couples that love kids. My children can play outside and I don't have to worry. I just counted, there are 18 kids on our block of 12 houses! And Alan's sister's family lives on our street, so my kids are literally growing up with their cousins and get to spend lots of time together. We have 2 older widowers, 1 whose wife just passed away a few weeks ago, and I've had some really great conversations with them about life. It's the greatest block I've ever lived on.
- I'm thankful that we are getting out of town for a few days over Thanksgiving! I am looking forward to a little break and a time to reconnect with my family.
I hope you enjoy your holidays. Take some time and think about the things that enrich your life and be THANKFUL!!!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Metaphorically speaking (since I don't have a basement), this is where I feel like I've been camped out for a few months now. At first I really enjoyed the quiet, aloneness of the dark basement. When I was in high school we moved to a new house. I got first pick of the rooms because my sisters had first picks at the previous two houses. Right smack dab in the middle of the house was a wonderful room with it's own little bathroom. Instantly I chose it, not because of the bathroom, but because of it's location. Literally it was in the middle of the house and had no windows! It was my cave and I loved it. I painted it dark blue and covered the walls with random stuff and could have spent every minute of every day in my cave. I got so used to the darkness that I had to put a towel over the clock and rolled up under the doors, because any hint of light drove me crazy. I'm weird, I know. So a few months ago when I started settling into the quiet, darkness of my new metaphorical basement, I was really happy! But somehow over time, the basement started getting musty and a little too dark and I started feeling like I needed to move that towel and let a little light in. The only problem was, there was no light to be found. At least on my own. The last few weeks I've been very unsettled and uncomfortable in my basement so I've thrown a few pity parties to try and liven up my living conditions. They didn't work. This past Sunday at church during the worship time I was once again desperately trying to find some kind of light to breakthrough the dark place I've been feeling like I've been in. Instead I got a little tap on the shoulder and there was a man waiting to give Alan and I a word. Over the span of my life I've probably received 100's of "words" from 100's of people. Some have been encouraging, some troubling, some down right crazy, and some divinely from God. As usual, I leaned in to listen and graciously receive whatever he had to say. Here's what came out of Royce's mouth.
"I see you guys in this basement. It's getting very dark and smoggy, and musty like basements that have been shut up for a while do. You've been wondering how much longer you're going to have to stay here. If you don't get a fresh breath you feel like you're gonna scream. All of a sudden I see this plate glass window on the ceiling of the basement and this rock just comes flying through the air and busts through the glass and floods the basement with light and fresh air. Then I see that basement moving and all of a sudden it's now the top floor of the building."
When he was done sharing with us, he quietly walked away and the worship team was singing this verse: "Because You're with me, because You're with me, because You're with me, I will not fear."
God is with me even in the basement. Even when I can't see Him or feel Him, He's there. In the musty, smelly, foggy basement, He's never left. And He has amazing ways to remind me of that. He'll use a man I hardly know or a song to speak straight to my fears and questions. I'm glad that I'm in the basement right now. Still waiting on that glass shattering rock, but you know, it's ok if it doesn't come right away. I know that God is right here with me, right where I'm at. And interestingly enough, I've written two songs this week! They aren't the generic sing-songy things I'd been writing in an effort to churn out some manufactured sounding "good" songs. These are really coming from deep in my heart. I'm able to just pour out what I've been thinking and feeling in a prayer like way to God. My prayer today is not for a quick release or a desperately needed breath of fresh air, but rather for contentment and a deeper trust in my God who is right here with me on this journey. It's my prayer for you today too.
On a great note: we finished a song!! It's actually Alan who has poured in all the time and work into it. And it's his song 100%! He wrote it, produced it and is singing it which was really hard to convince him to do, but it sounds amazing! I can't wait to share it with you all. Hopefully soon. Pray that we will find more time in the midst of Alan's job, our family, and everything else that consumes our life, to record. We have 4 or 5 songs waiting in the wings, ready to be recorded and a few others somewhere in the recording process. It feels really good to know I'm doing what God asked me to do even if I don't know the plan of how it's all supposed to work!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
We were at a bit of a stand still with recording for a while. Our house got hit by lightning about a month ago and our studio computer was fried!! We lost pretty much everything we had been working on. Truly it was a blessing because now Alan has the computer he really wanted for the studio.
Someone asked me the other day, "so, what are you doing with these songs?" That's a really great question!!! Our first goal is to record a 3-4 song demo and give them away!! We feel like we need to sow some seed into whatever this thing is that God is asking us to do, so that's what we're gonna do. We're sowing songs with the expectation that God will give us more and we're sowing resource with the expectation that God will bless us with every resource we need!!
So, be on the look out for more music to come from the Riches!
So there's the update! Songs are coming!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
What I've been up to:
Today I just finished up the City View Ladies Fall retreat. They asked me to lead worship and I enjoyed the weekend immensely! Marci Brinkley was their speaker and she was wonderful. Just so practical and down to earth and very open about her life story. It was refreshing to be with such friendly, God-loving women! Last weekend, I got to lead worship for the Church on the Rock Ladies Conference. I guess it's that time of year for women to get fed!! It was a great conference. In the midst of all this ministry my kids have been taking turns getting sick! I guess Satan just hates what God is doing and trying to get me distracted! That God for a husband and some other great family (uncle Josh!) to help look after my little ones while I do what I love to do, lead worship! Now everyone is on the mend.
What I'm looking forward to:
Well, next weekend is my 10 year high school reunion. Honestly I'm surprised at myself that I'm going. I was not a super social person in high school. In fact, I was probably quite a nerd even though I hat to admit it! I think every high school student does whatever they can to find a niche, a place to belong and fit in. For me, it was choir! Who would have ever guessed??? I wasn't just in the choir, I was ALL ABOUT choir. Show choir, varsity choir, choir president...yeah, that's right, I said it, choir president. There's a new show on Fox called Glee, and although I'm quite disappointed in some of it's inappropriateness, I can so relate. I was that choir geek, all the way. So anyways, next weekend is the reunion. Over the last few years I have been doing a little self-evaluation and I realized that there were some insecurities in me that I just didn't want to carry with me for the rest of my life. I kind of always assumed that people wouldn't want to be my friend or get to know me for weird reasons. Either I wasn't cool enough, I wasn't in their same social circle or whatever lame reason I could come up with. Really I was just insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin, and I decide NO MORE!! I think I'm a pretty cool girl. Who wouldn't want to be my friend?? So, I'm going and I'm dragging my husband (on his birthday!) and I'm going to talk to people and not discredit myself. It should be fun!!
What's freaking me out:
Ok, I'm only slightly freaked out, but freaked out nonetheless. In my attempt to not count myself out of things in an effort to overcome some insecurities, I agreed (was talked into) to be the 4th grade Room Parent coordinator for Taylor's school. In the recruitment process, the lady in charge totally down played the weight of this role. "It'll just be a little party planning for the classes, a little coordination of the room moms, but really they're the ones who do all the work. Ms. Daniel thought you would be an excellent candidate. Blah, blah, blah." So I said yes! Well, I went to the first meeting and OH MY GOSH!!! There was a giant notebook with so much information about this "tiny little job." My initial reaction was major freak out, but I have decided to suck it up and get it together. I am totally capable of doing this job. So, I'm gonna do it, and I'm gonna do it with a good attitude and a smile on my face! Apparently being a head room mom is a bit cut throat (I know, ridiculous) and there is so much competition between some of these parents to one-up the others. So, my approach is going to be organized, positive, and all about the kids. I'll let you know how it goes...
What's new this week:
I'm teaching again!! Just one afternoon a week, I have 5 students, but I'm really glad to be doing it again. I have always loved teaching music, so it should be fun. Shout out to the wonderful Ally Hall who is not only the world's greatest babysitter, but she is so super talented and I can't wait to see where her talent and her love for the Lord takes her. That girl is a worship leader!! Her heart is amazing.
What I recommend:
Music: Right now I've been listening to a CD that my friend Marla gave me. It's actually her talented husband, Justin Barnard's CD Fightsongs. Great worship.
Books: Too bad I don't read!! Well, that's not entirely true. I just don't read often, however, I was given a book called The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg who was the speaker at COTR's Women's conference. I do plan on reading it soon! I'll let you know how it is, but if you already want to know, ask my sister Paige, because she's read it and she's always reading something!
TV: I would love to recommend Glee, and after the premiere I did recommend it to everyone I met on the street! But the last few episodes have been a little bit racy, and I'm not sure I'm gonna stay hooked. I still always love Project Runway and Top Chef, and now that PR has moved to Lifetime, they're on at the same time which is a first. The Office is back so I'm excited about that. I promise I do more than just watch TV all the time!!!
Food: Amish Friendship Bread!! My pal, Jennifer Watson gave me this bag with a bunch of goo in it a few weeks ago along with these instructions on what to do with it. 10 days later, I had some of the yummiest bread, and it makes more bags of goo to give away to friends! Let me know if you want your own bag of goo, and in about 8 more days I'll have one for you!!
What I'm missing:
Time with my husband!!! Alan's company is down to him and one other employee so he is working well over 40 hours a week which cuts into our studio time and time spent together. Plus of course I've been busy the last few weekends with ministry stuff, so we need to find some time to hang out and reconnect. His birthday is next weekend, so maybe I can surprise him with something. Any ideas???
Well, that just about sums up my life the last few weeks.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Taylor on the first day of school. My big 4th grader!
What does Leslie do with all her time now that she's not working??
Alan and I waiting outside to get in!
Love these girls!
We have great friends. Patrick was squatting so he could be in the picture, and we could not stop laughing at him.
Hooray for awesome worship with Hillsong United!!!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
On another recent trip, I realized that kids can sleep anywhere, especially a Wal-Mart shopping cart. I was slighty alarmed to see one boy passed out on the bottom of the basket covered in stuff! I guess because it was mainly toilet paper and spray cans of cheese his parents thought he wouldn't get too squished. I'm telling you, no matter what time of day you go, you can find a sleeping kid in a basket somewhere in the store. It has always amazed me the number of small children that get dragged out to the store way past a normal bedtime! And they are never happy. What 3 year old would be? Who wouldn't be upset if their mom got them all dressed for bed in their comyf little pj's and then said, "Ok kids, get in the car! We're going to Wal-Mart! Yes, I know it's after 11:00 pm, but we are running low on toothpaste and motor oil. Let's go!"
Ok, now that I'm sitting here reflecting (judging) on my Wal-Mart experiences, I can only wonder, am I one of these "Wal-Mart people"?? Let's go through the list: 1. I don't dip. 2. I never take my kids to Wal-Mart past 8:00 pm. 3. I've never covered up one of my kids in spray cheese. I think I'm good!!
I must say, for all of it's craziness and quirks, I enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart. It's really close to my house. I always save money when I shop there opposed to other stores. I love that I can go to one place and buy groceries, toiletries, electronics, clothes, lightbulbs, and anything else I might possibly need, all at the same time!!!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Where I Am- Saturday, August 15, 5:37 pm
I am sitting in "my chair" on our sectional. Does everyone else have unwritten but understood seats on their furniture? I really love my couch/sectional. We've had it for a about a year and a half. It's the first "real" piece of furniture we've owned/bought ourselves. Everything else we've had has been hand-me-downs (which we are super grateful for, don't get me wrong!). I am watching my two little girls play on the floor, although I have to keep a very watchful eye on Ava
since she loves to torment MK for some reason. She starts out nice enough, but you can see it in her face when she's starting to get too "excited" and ready to pounce! Alan is asleep in "his chair" next to me and Taylor is crashed out in her room. She had her first slumber party at a school friend's house last night. I was a little nervous! I had met the girl's parents and they are very nice people, I just don't know them as well as I would like yet. But when is the appropriate time to grill people on their beliefs, personal family history, rules, regulations, blood type, mother's maiden name, credit score, etc.???
What I'm listening to:
This one is going first since I'm usually ALWAYS listening to something! Yesterday, I bought the new Hillsong Live CD: Faith:Hope:Love. It's pretty good. Here's the thing: I am the biggest Hillsong fan there is, but every time I get a new CD of theirs I have to listen to it several times before I'm a fan. I think it's because I have to learn the songs a little bit. I guess that's true about all music. Hillsong though always has songs that I learn and they get inside of me and become truth and life and then I really start loving the CD because I can worship with it instead of just listen to it. Every new CD they come out with I always say after the first listen, "It's not as good as the last one" and then a few weeks later I'm saying "It's even better than the last one!" All that to say, I still listen to the Hillsong United CD Across the Earth more, and it is my FAVORITE!!! Ok, other than Hillsong, there is a new live worship CD called Generations Unleashed and it is really good. I just love a good live worship CD. Something about capturing the dynamic of a corporate worship time. If done well, it's just so powerful!
What I'm reading:
This section will be short, because I'm not much of a reader. Alan and I have been reading "Crazy Love" by Frances Chan. We are both really liking it. It's one that makes you think. The most interesting thing I've read lately is my cousin Angie's blog.
What I'm watching:
I am probably more of a TV watcher than I should be. Right now, I am totally into Top Chef Masters and Design Star! Just finished up another season of The Next Food Network Star. I love competition reality shows, especially cooking shows! I also love Food Network Challenges. The ones where they make these incredible cakes that should take days in 8 hours. Love it!
What I'm doing:
Lately, I'm doing a lot of cooking. I think the TV shows are inspiring me. I've always enjoyed cooking and baking, but I've really found it therapeutic in some ways. Thursday night I hosted a Batch-Cooking Night at my house and we had about 20 ladies here! I couldn't believe we had such a great turn-out. I'm anxious to see how many ladies start batch cooking.
Alan and I have been spending a lot more time in the studio. We are writing songs and trying to find time to record them. I'm honestly VERY ready for school to start. I love the routine of it and I need a break! Is that horrible to say? Now that I'm not working I'm with my girls all day, every day. Please don't read this the wrong way! I love my kids! I know it is a huge blessing that I am able to stay home with them and I don't have to work a full-time job to pay the bills and have my kids in daycare everyday. I love my time with them. I think I need the mental break more than anything. It's hard for me to stop everything and work on music when I know there are 3 little people that must be attended to. It's hard to just shut myself off and not think about the laundry or feeding the girls or whatever else might need to be done at the time. This is not hard for Alan at all!! I'm sure anyone with a husband understands this! I'm just not wired that way, and I think that's ok. It will just be nice to have a routine where I can schedule music time when I know my kids are being well taken care of at school. The little girls will go to Children's Day Out 2 days a week and Taylor will be in 4th grade!
What I've been thinking about:
I think I've shared (or perhaps overshared) in another blog about adopting Taylor. This week we've had some issues come up with this. I don't really want to say a lot about it other than we just need prayer. Actually, just pray for Taylor. I will never understand all that she has to deal with and go through concerning the situation, but she is amazingly mature and thoughtful in the way that she handles it all. Regardless of what we want and the fight that may lay ahead, I just want God's will to be done. I think I'm still trying to decide what that is. The good thing is, I don't have to figure it all out. That's why He's God and I'm not.
What I'm excited about:
Alan and I are going to Dallas August 25th with some friends to see Hillsong United! I've been to 2 conferences and several worship nights of theirs over the past few years and I always get so excited to see them. It feels weird to say "see" them, because it's not like a concert at all. It's an amazing night of powerful worship that I always walk away from refreshed and refocused on what it means to experience His presence. Honestly, it's sad that I can't seem to achieve this sort of thing on a more regular basis, but I'm working on it.
Well, I'm off to make some Sloppy Joe's!!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I think the reason I am most excited to do this is because I know it will bless others families. I know how much it has blessed mine! And not just all the food. It's a blessing of more time. Even though the two days of planning, shopping, and crazy amounts of cooking are a lot of time away from my family, the time that I save scrambling to get dinner on the table everyday is huge! It has also been a blessing for me to get to spend lots of time with different ladies. My first batch cook was several years ago with a dear friend, Jenifer. She showed me the ropes, and eased me into it. I realized that I could do it, even though it seemed like an overwhelming task. She is super mom by the way, raising four kids and all that goes along with that. But she made it seem easy and attainable. Now four years later, I'm still doing it! I've cooked several times with my sister-in-law and it has been good bonding time for us. You will talk about everything under the sun with a batch cooking partner!! After 14 hours of cooking chicken, browning meat, and opening cans, there's no telling what you will be talking about!! I found that to be true after cooking with Missy this last time. I also found Missy to be extremely gracious, putting up with my multiple mistakes. Note: It is important to "seal" the bottom of the bag BEFORE you begin pouring in the apricot chicken marinde!
It is a blessing to know that I am contributing to my family's well being. Now that I'm not working, I feel the need even more to "contribute." I feel like it is now my job to save us even more money, now that I'm not bringing home a paycheck! So all that to say, this Thursday I am excited about sharing the blessing that batch cooking has been in my life with friends. It's not too late! Let me know if you want to come and I will give you more details!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Nine years ago today I was probably hanging out with some friends or my family. I could have been at the movies or the mall or the grocery store. I have no idea what I was doing exactly nine years ago today. I had no idea that my sweet, precious Taylor would be born the next day. I had no idea that one of my greatest heroes in life was about to make her big entrance on this earth. I had no idea that my life would be changing forever, but it did. Taylor will turn 9 tomorrow and even though I do not have the precious memories of her birth and seeing her for the first time as a little baby, she's still my sweet daughter. I do remember the first time I ever saw Taylor. It was a Sunday night about 7 1/2 years ago. I walked into the church foyer and saw the cutest little girl tottling around. I asked who she was and someone pointed down at the end of the room to a ping pong table that was set up and said, "That's Taylor. She's Alan's daughter." My next question was, "Who's Alan?" The person with all the information informed me that he was the guy playing ping pong. That was the first time I ever saw Alan or Taylor (at least that I know of) but I knew that little girl was special. I remember the months following when I got to know her better. I knew we had a special bond, me and Taylor. Every Sunday night, we would lead worship for the college ministry and after every service she would run up to me and ask, "Horsies?" We would go for long walks outside and look at the horses behind the church. She named them, Stick and Ball. I would bring her coloring books and crayons and little toys to play with while we practiced. I loved that little girl and I didn't even know then that one day she would be my daughter. It was impossible not to love her. She was just so precious! I have so many amazing memories of Taylor. Her 4 year old flamingo birthday party that I got to help plan. The first time she came and had a sleepover at my house after Alan and I were dating. The way she totally blew the marriage proposal by asking "Hey Dad, when are you gonna give her that ring like we practiced?" I love all these memories. Taylor is the strongest little girl I know. In her 9 short years she has been through more than I probably ever will in a lifetime. She has showed me the beauty of being flexible by adapting to whatever situation she was put in. She has showed me a quiet grace and thoughtfulness in her sincere desire to protect others feelings. She has had every reason to grow bitter or angry at certain situations, but instead she just chooses love. Despite all reasons against it, she still chooses love, and I know she always will. This week, I have the amazing honor of signing papers that will set the process of adoption in motion. I am so overjoyed to get to give this gift to Taylor. The gift of choosing her. I just always want her to know that someone did choose her. Really she is the one who is the gift to me. I couldn't think of a greater gift than being her mom. And even though I have considered myself her mom for over 4 years now, there's just something about making it official. Happy birthday sweet Taylor! I love you more than you will ever know. You teach me so many lessons every day and I am honored to call you my daughter.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The part about this change that I knew would come, and I wasn't looking forward to, was the loss. There is a little loss of identity. There is a loss of feeling important and needed. There is a loss of comfortability. All of these things are ok though. I think it's what makes me lean on God all the more. I realize that my identity is more than a "worship leader." I want to learn in this time to be a better mom, a better friend, and a better songwriter. I realize I am still important and needed in different ways. I may not get the weekly recognition and praise of being a "great singer" but my girls certainly think it's great when I change their diapers, or play hopscotch with them, or when we eat dinner at home every night instead of on the run four nights a week!
I don't know what all God has for us in the future, but I know that I can hear His voice and He is trustworthy. I am learning to worship Him in a whole new way. And I am learning that my worship means just as much to Him whether I'm on a stage in front of hundreds of people or in my kitchen dancing and singing with my girls. It's my heart He's after, and I have freely given it to Him.
This is a stretch for me, but I'm going to share a little bit of a song Alan and I have been working on. It is just a reflection of our hearts and our prayers lately.
Lord, won't You take me
To the place You've designed
Fashioned for freedom
From this broken life
Lost in Your presence
Is where I long to be
It's where I find purpose
Where I find my peace
Blessings to you all!!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Tuesday night we met Sarah for dinner! Sarah was my roommate for a long time before I got married and she is a dear friend. She loves my kids and they love her, and it is always exciting to get together and catch up. All I had was the camera on my phone, so the picture's not great.
We also got to visit a few churches while we were there. On Saturday before the concert, Alan and I went to Gateway in Southlake. We had visited before and really like it there. Robert Morris is great! Then on Sunday morning, we took the whole family to Fellowship Church. Totally different, but I liked it. The creativity in that place is unbelievable. Ava didn't want to leave the Kids Church area because she thought she was at a theme park! They were doing a series called "At the Movies" and we were handed a box of popcorn at the door. Everything was super over the top with excellence. I was impressed. It's probably bad that I go to these churches and slip into judging, evaluation mode. I guess that's been part of my life for so long that I can't help it. Both churches were great. A+ Gateway and Fellowship! I'm sure they are so glad to have my seal of approval!
I realize that there are almost NO pictures of myself, so I am putting the only somewhat decent one of me here. Keep in mind we were in water park mode, so this is not my finest look. I am well aware!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
I'm a huge fan of your store, always have been. Could you just do me one favor? Could you put the $1 section somewhere else than the front of the store? Every time I visit I spend at least $27 before I even get past the front door!! There are so many little things in that section that I convince myself that I need because it's only $1. Well, 27 must have items later, and my basket is full of kneeling pads for the garden, Spiderman stickers, and Hello Kitty highlighters. None of these things I need, by the way. Have you seen my garden? That's right, you haven't because I don't even have one. I don't even have grass!! But in the event that I ever do decide to have a green thumb, I will be well prepared with the knee pad. So, while I love a good bargain, could you help me out a little bit? I have diapers and formula to buy!
Dear Jillian Michaels,
Today at Target I purchased your 30 Day Shred DVD. While the appeal of fantastic abs like yours is pretty strong, the 20 minute workout limit is what won me over. Let's face it, I don't have time to be crunching, and butt kicking, and bicep curling for extended periods of time. And while we're being honest, even if I did have the time, I wouldn't do it. So, 20 minutes, I can handle. I do feel however that there should have been a warning against the consumption of burritos 4 hours within starting the workout. I guess this is common knowledge, but to a workout novice like myself, I did not think about the fact that 2 combination burritos 30 minutes before a workout was a bad idea. I'm sure other workout newbees would appreciate the warning!
Dear garage sale shoppers,
You never cease to amaze me. Oh the things you will buy! While my two day sale was less than stellar, I still managed to make some money and what's most exciting is that I got rid of my junk at the same time. JUNK, people!!! That's right, you purchased junk. Random things that have been sitting around in the closets, dark corners and cobweb covered shelves of my home. Had I known that the almost broken toys, old books, VHS tapes, and yucky old bras would bring in cash, I would have cleaned out those closets long ago!!! Power to the packrats!
Dear Brooke Fraser,
Hello from your new friend! I know we've never met, but we've been in the same room before. Of course you were teaching a workshop to 700 people and I was one of those people, but still we should totally meet! Here are a few reasons why I think we would be such great friends: 1. You like cooking shows. I like cooking shows. 2. You are a great songwriter. I want to be a great songwriter. 3. You are comfortable talking about your bowel movements in front of said 700 people in the workshop. I thought it was funny that you were comfortable talking about your bowel movements in front of that many people. 4. You live in Australia, I would love to visit Australia! 5. I'm sure there are many more reasons, but this is all I can come up with right now. By the way, I'm not a crazy stalker or anything, I have just learned some of these things about you from Twitter. So maybe we should watch some Food Network and write some songs together! Just a thought!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
It has honestly been received much better than I thought it would be. And I am soooo happy about that!! I have been involved in the praise and worship ministry at our church since I was 14 years old. I started leading worship for our youth group at that time. In the past 14 years I have led for the youth, the college, and the adult services at different times. I have loved my job mostly because of the wonderful people I get to serve with every week. My greatest friends are people on the team and during this transition they have all been so supportive! When you step out in obedience to what you know God has called you to do, there is always a fear that it will not be understood or well received. Our team has done just the opposite. They are excited about what is in store for me and Alan. In turn, I am very excited to watch them grow and step out in their giftings. I feel like a Mother Hen watching her little chicks hatch and grow into their own. I can't wait to see what God does through them.
So on to the burning question, "what are you guys going to be doing?" Well, lots of things! First off, we always want to be in a place where we can put our family first. With 3 growing girls, there are many times when being committed to something every weekend and 2-3 nights a week on top of work during the day, is just too much. The other main factor is our desire to write and record music. This is something that we've done a little bit of but haven't had the time to really dive in and see what is really there. All of these reasons don't compare to the number one and that is simply because we know God asked us to, so we want to be obedient. Worship will always be at the core of who we are and I hope to continue to have opportunities to lead worship, work with worship teams, teach on worship and whatever else God has for me!
Obviously there are some things about this change that are very hard. The unrelenting peace that I have had throughout this transition is what is keeping the smile on my face! I am so very excited about the things to come. Each step of this process just brings a new joy!! I am so glad I serve a God that is so much bigger than my little mind and I want to walk in His grace and peace always, and I know I am doing that now.
I can't even begin to express how blessed I have been at Church on the Rock. Back in October, 2007 we received a prophetic from Norman Barnes and part of that word was about what a great training ground it has been for us. I truly believe that. The opportunity I have had there has been incredible! I know that it will continue to be a place where we grow and have opportunity to serve and minister in different ways. The church staff and leadership have always believed in us and given us the freedom to try things. My dad (who is the Senior Pastor) has put so much trust in me and that has really empowered me to be a strong leader and trust in the gifts and the anointing that God has put on me. I am excited to see the blessings in store for COTR.
I don't think I even know everything that God has in store for us. That's what makes this fun. His plans for us are bigger than anything I could ever come up with and that's right where I want to be!!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
On Friday, I took the girls over for a visit with Mema and Pepa. Pepa's daughter, Cynthia, granddaughter, Christy, and great-grandson, Riley were in town visiting from Dallas. His spirits are always up when Cynthia comes for a visit. You can tell they have a special bond. He had been asking to see the girls, so I wanted to go as soon as I heard that. We stayed for a good long while. At one point it was just me and Cynthia back in his room. He asked for me to come over to his bed and he asked if I would pray about something. Of course, I said sure. He then asked the hardest question I think I've ever been asked. He asked if I would pray about doing the music at his funeral. I have sung at many funerals before, even for family members (which is not easy for me, and usually results in tears or a complete breakdown). I had never been asked though by the actual person, and for Pepa to ask was a strange realization for me. With big tears in my eyes, I looked into his tear filled eyes and said that I would be honored to do that. I asked him if he had any songs in mind, and he said he would be thinking about it and wanted me to do the same. I then took his hand and said that we still had time to decide and he squeezed my hand and just looked away out the window. I don't know if I've ever had a conversation with someone like that who knew that they were dying, and that it would probably happen soon. I kept it together just long enough to load up the girls and get out of the driveway. As I was driving away, the Lord put a song on my heart. I had only heard it one time, because it was on a brand new CD that I had just gotten the day before. I hurried home, grabbed the CD and listened to the song again. I want to share the words of it because it has really ministered to me this week. I don't know if I will sing it at the funeral, but I think either way I will share it with Pepa and hopefully it will bring him some comfort like it has me.
Soon by Brooke Ligertwood
Soon and very soon my King is coming
Robed in righteousness and crowned with love
When I see Him I shall be made like Him
Soon and very soon
Soon and very soon I'll be going
To the place He has prepared for me
There my sin erased my shame forgotten
Soon and very soon
I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I'll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon
Soon and very soon
See the procession
The angels and the elders 'round the throne
At His feet I'll lay my crowns, my worship
Soon and very soon
I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I'll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon
Though I have not seen Him
My heart knows Him well
Jesus Christ the Lamb, the Lord of heaven
I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I'll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon
Although I am not lying in a hospital bed knowing that my days are numbered, I realize that our time here on earth is so very short. What a great comfort to know that on the other side of this life is a place where we will see our Heavenly Father and spend eternity with Him. That brings me a lot of joy.