Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our Big Announcement!

"It's time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I'd much rather say hello.  Hello to a new adventure."  Ernie Harwell

On December 7, 2004, my sweet man got down on one knee after a crazy night of failed, attempted romantic moments and asked me to marry him.  His precious 4-year old daughter was running around naked and wet (she was supposed to be in the bathtub), laughing and shouting and rejoicing at the addition of a new mom to her little family.  I said yes knowing that my life was not always going to be a romantic fairytale that my husband tried so hard to plan for that night (that's another story for another time), but I knew that I would always be loved and cherished and happy with that man and that adorable, lively little girl.  I knew I was signing on for an adventure and I can say for certain that it has been just that.  An adventure of the best kind.

Fast forward exactly 10 years later, and once again on a December 7th night, Alan and I decided it was time to officially start the next great adventure.  We've always had dreams in our heart.  Big, musical dreams, that we've been trying to carve out and define over the past few years.  That Sunday night we knew in a way that can only be described as divine peace and a gut feeling, that it was time for a change.  We've decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee.  This was not a spur of the moment thing.  We've been thinking and praying about this possible move for almost two years now.  Alan would have gone long ago, but I'm so thankful for his patience with me as I allowed God to reveal it to me in His timing.  And I can truly say that it's been His timing and His timing is always perfect.  

We have spent the last week telling everyone we felt we needed to tell personally (our kids, family, work, friends) knowing full well that as soon as one person knew, word would begin to get out.  So, if you didn't hear it from us, please don't take it personally!  We had a series of already scheduled things this week (Christmas lunch with my co-workers, staff meeting, worship team night, Family Christmas dinner, etc.) that I think was part of God's plan.  It was not easy telling everyone.  There were lots of tears, lots of hugs, and more emotions than I quite knew how to handle.  Everyone has asked, are you excited?  Yes.  Are you scared?  Yes.  Are you sad?  Yes.  And it changes constantly day to day, sometimes minute by minute.  But overriding every one of my emotions is a peace.  An incredible, unexplainable peace that I feel completely covered by.  

I wanted to write this blog to make our big announcement as well as answer the questions that everyone have asked so far.

When are you moving?
We plan to move this summer.  We want our kids to finish out the school year here (we love and will miss Shallowater schools!), but want to have a little time to settle in Nashville before the next school year begins.  However, no definite date has been set.

What are you going to do when you get there?
That's a great question!  We are still ironing out all of those details and don't have a lot of answers yet.  We do know that we want to continue songwriting and recording as well as explore other parts of the music business that are part of the dreams and goals we have.

How are your kids taking it?
They, just like me, have lots of different emotions about it.  One day they're super pumped and the next they are trying to talk us out of moving.  I think that's just part of something huge like this.  If you think about it, please pray for Taylor, Ava, and Molly Kate.  They are my number one priority throughout this entire transition (before, during, and after the move).  Pray they feel the same peace that Alan and I do and that there is no fear going into this.

What about your jobs here?
Lubbock Sight, Sound, and Security is not going anywhere!  Alan has built an incredible company with incredible employees who will continue to provide the same great work and customer care they always have.  Alan will still be very involved in the business, just from afar.
Leaving my job at Church on the Rock was honestly the hardest thing to face next to leaving behind all my family in Lubbock.  COTR is my family.  It's home to me.  I've been given incredible opportunity to learn, grow, and lead there.  I will miss it terribly, and will still try to find ways to stay connected even if it's just through relationship with my church family and worship team.  Over the past few years, I've felt a shift in my calling.  I love leading worship and that's always been there, but there was a greater desire to mentor and train up other worship leaders.  It was this God-driven thing inside me to just pour into others whatever I could.  So that's what I've been trying to do over the past few years, not fully knowing why, but now seeing God's hand in it all.  I believe in the great future that is ahead for Church on the Rock and specifically the worship and media departments that I've had the privilege of leading the last several years.  I am so proud of my team there and I can not wait to see the next level they are headed toward.

So that's it!  That's our big news.  We are taking a giant leap of faith and depending on God at every single turn and I'm thrilled to see where He takes us.  I will miss my family and friends terribly.  And I will miss Lubbock.  But I'm so glad to say that I won't look back on my life in 30 years and wonder what if.  We are going after the "what if" with the thought "why not us?"  

We covet your prayers during this huge life transition!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Fair: fire ants, greasy hair, nuclear holocaust, and blacking out.

The smell of grease, body odor, livestock, cotton candy, and hand sanitizer is in the air.  This can only mean one thing.  The South Plains Fair is in full swing.  Just a week ago the trucks rolled into town and quickly set up their death traps rides.  The tigers on Prozac and their long-haired, toothless trainers set up camp right next to the LumberJills, ready to entertain the masses from Lubbock and all of its surrounding areas.

The fair brings up so many memories.  I remember that day every year in Elementary school when the teacher handed us that little yellow ticket, good for one free entry on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.  I grasped that ticket with such joy and guarded it with my life for fear of losing it and losing my opportunity to experience the vomit-inducing Himalayan Express or the Tilt-a-Whirl.  While most people's fair memories revolve around the rides, I realized today that my top five fair memories have nothing to do with the rides.  I have crossed over to the other side(s) of the fair.  I am not a mere fair patron, I have experienced the world of fair vendor, entertainer, and 4-H participant at various times in my life.  So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 South Plains Fair Memories.

5.  When I was in college, I participated in an ensemble called Thursday Nite Live.  We performed in front of a live studio audience once a month and that lovely show was broadcast on a local cable access station in Levelland, Texas.  If that doesn't impress you, may I also add that reruns of the show were aired on Saturday nights at 11:30pm on LISD-TV, cable channel 12 in Lubbock.  (I'll be signing autographs later).  Our ensemble also played at the fair a few years.  One of those years I was awaiting my grand entrance "backstage" (the stage was sandwiched in between the Merchant's building and the building with all the baked goods and quilts people submitted for judging) when out of no where I was attacked by fire ants.  They were crawling up my leg!  I managed to smack them all off just as they were introducing me and my rendition of Everyday is a Winding Road.  By the time I made it to the microphone, my leg was on fire.  The ants had bit me in several places and through the pain, I choked back the tears and belted out the Sheryl Crow song to the few fans sitting on their hay bale seats.

4.  As a young child, my parents were very worried that my sisters and I were not getting all we could out of life because we were not being raised on a farm.  Both my parents grew up on farms so it was what they knew.  They were navigating the uncharted waters of public, big-city schools without a tractor or pasture full of cattle to balance it out.  So naturally they thought my sister, Paige, and I should show animals through 4-H.  One would think that yuppy, city girls like us should start out small with a pig or a lamb, but not my parents.  They dove right in.  We were going to show 1,500 pound steers.  I was eight after all.  I could handle it.  We visited the farm a few times a week (there are enough stories there to fill up another 10 blog posts) and prepared for the big fair show coming in the fall.  The day arrived and off we went to the fair.  While this was many years ago, my memories of this particular fair show are quite vivid and include a bedazzled denim vest and matching bow that my mom made for this special occasion, that giant steer getting away from me in the ring (shocking, I know), tears (mine, of course), and a green "Participant" ribbon.  We only participated in 4-H that one time.  I guess farm-life isn't for everyone.

3.  My next memory is from another Thursday Nite Live performance at the fair.  Same stage, only this time the Maines Brothers Band was going to be playing after us!  Needless to say the crowds this year were MUCH larger.  This was also the first year I was playing keys in the ensemble.  I was forced  asked to play by my dear mentor and instructor, Cary Banks.  He believed in  me, and I refused to let him down, so I reluctantly agreed.  He sent me home with a "Honky Tonk Piano" instructional VHS and sent me on my way.  I practiced like crazy that semester and it made me a better player for sure, so I'm grateful for that.  I'm still looking for an opportunity to pull out some Honky-Tonk Piano licks in a worship service.  I digress.  This year at the fair we were playing a super hard song called Country Boy that was performed by the incredible Jedd Hughes.  This was our finale song and I had a solo in it that I had practiced for weeks.  I was nervous and having great musicians stare at you while you're playing made me even more nervous.  Well, Cary decided since it was our last song, it would be fun to invite some of his friends (aka professional musicians) up to play with us.  Lloyd Maines (award-winning producer, songwriter, musician, and all around musical genius) grabbed a guitar, cozied up next to my keyboard and said "Can I look on with your chart?"  I nearly lost it right then and there.  I have no recollection of how that solo went.  I don't remember playing the entire song.  I was told afterward that I did good, but I seriously think I just blacked out.  Went into some kind of traumatic coping mechanism.  Ah, fair memories.

2.  I really could add "Fair Entertainer" to my resume.  When I was a young kid, we did an original musical at our church called "FutureWord."  The play was a family-friendly presentation about life after a nuclear holocaust.  The things my parents let me participate in.....  Anyways, I was "Girl #2" in FutureWord.  My costume was basically a torn-up dress with black smudges all over it.  My hair and make-up, however, were quite a different story.  I was the rainbow girl.  The color started on my face and then ran into my hair (that was teased to look like I had been electrocuted).  It was....special.  After our gut-wrenching performance at the fair, I begged my mom to let me go ride a few rides with some friends that were in the cast.  She agreed, and off we went, in full costume and make-up.  We scared everyone, even the carnies.  Now that's saying something.

1.  My number 1 fair memory still haunts me to this day.  I can't hardly tell the story out loud because I laugh so hard at the thought of it.  When I was in 7th grade, our church got a Corn Dog Booth at the fair.  I would volunteer to work a few shifts each year, and we sold corn dogs to the masses (we still do!).  After a few years of professional corn dog experience under my belt, I begged my mom to let me sign up for a night shift.  This is where the serious corn dog people worked.  The lunch rush?  It's for babies.  Afternoon and dinner time?  Please.  The night shift was legit, and I wanted to get in on it.  At first my mom said no, because they didn't close until midnight.  After weeks of begging, she agreed to let me sign up for one night shift.  It was even on a school night!  I worked the shift and it felt good.  I was a real fair vendor now.  I got home around 1:00am, stripped down in the laundry room (you STINK after working in the corn dog stand), stumbled up the stairs and passed out.  The next morning, I slept right through my alarm.  My mom came upstairs 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave and yelled "you're not up???  We are leaving in TEN MINUTES!"  I jumped out of bed, threw on a t-shirt and some jeans, threw my stuff in my backpack, brushed my teeth, ran a brush through my greasy hair, and ran downstairs.  As I was rushing out the door, a note on the refrigerator caught my eye.  I whipped around to read it.  It. Was. Picture. Day.  I totally forgot.  Let's just say I have a bit of a picture day curse.  Several years of my life, crazy things always happened on picture day.  Not this year.  I ran back upstairs, put on a decent outfit, grabbed some makeup and headed back out the door.  I made it to school and while standing in the picture line, someone behind me said, "what is that weird smell?"  In all of my frazzled craziness I didn't even realize that I still smelled like corn dogs!  I had failed to shower.  I was so tired the night before, I went straight to bed.  That morning, I overslept, so no shower then either.  It is not ok to not shower after working in the corn dog stand!  You stink!  Your hair, your skin, it all stinks!  Such a nightmare.  Like middle school isn't hard enough!  Now I was the greasy corn dog girl.  I just pretended I didn't know what they were talking about and kept a safe distance from people the rest of the day.  Next year, I opted for a few afternoon shifts and left the serious corn dog work to those who could handle it.

So, those are my Top 5 Fair Memories.  I have many more memories of the fair and I would love to hear yours!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Family Night!

The week after Easter I decided to take a few days off to rest and recover from the busiest weekend of my year.  Easter is always a lot of work for me, but in the most rewarding way!  So I felt I deserved a few extra days to recuperate and take lots of baths and naps and just rest.  So that’s exactly what I did.  During one of my long, beloved baths I ran across a blog post from Jen Hatmaker that really resonated with me.  So I decided to follow her lead and make some lists for myself and get some renewed focus.  My first list was of all the things that I’ve been neglecting and that need to be done.  Not work stuff, because I’m really trying to leave work at work.  So these were all personal things that I’ve been neglecting.  It felt good to just get those things on paper and out of my head so I could move on and think about other important things and so I could make some realistic plans to get those things taken care of.  My second list was of things that I want to do around my house.  When my house is in order, my mind feels more clear.  I crave a clear mind!  So I now have a long list of house tasks and luckily I have a 12 year old who needs to make money for her mission trip so I foresee those things getting taken care of in the near future, much to my daughter’s dismay.  My third list was of stuff that makes me feel good.  This is my selfish list of “me” things.  This list included simple things like hanging out on my back porch at night with my husband, girls nights with friends, cooking, blogging (it’s been a looooong time since I’ve done this one), and spending time with my family.  So I made a decision to incorporate at least one thing on my “me” list into every day. 

I decided to initiate “Family Night” once a week.  My family is already at that point where some days we are all going in a million different directions.  So I wanted to set aside one night a week to just be with my four most favorite people.  I wanted the kids to look forward to it as well, so I got them involved.  Each of the girls got to pick a different part of the evening.  Well, Taylor was gone when we were deciding so Alan chose dinner (pizza), Molly chose dessert (chocolate ice cream), and Ava chose the activity (family talent show).  Last night was our first family night and it was SO great!  Pizza was a great choice because there was nothing to clean up.  We got a late start because of gymnastics and Alan working out of town, so at 7:30 we sat down for some pizza and chocolate ice cream.  Then came the talent show!  Molly Kate danced and sang “Firework” and was quite entertaining.  Ava followed that with a lovely dance/gymnastics routine.  Taylor did a few “magic” tricks like the disappearing thumb trick.  I asked each person for a different word and made up a song on the fly using the words, and Alan finished up the show with showing off his strength and doing pushups.  We are one talented family! 

My most favorite part of the evening came after we awarded Ava first place in the talent show.  We sat down as a family and prayed together.  Each person shared one thing they wanted prayer for and then each person prayed for someone else’s need.  It was the most amazing thing.  I don’t know that we had ever prayed together like that before.  It brought tears to my eyes to hear my four year old ask for prayer for a better attitude and more obedience.  And then to hear her pray for her sister’s need was incredible.  To hear my 12 year old pray that her dad would hear God more clearly during a new season we are in was just so pure and genuine and really blessed my heart.  It was the greatest hour and a half of my week and I can’t wait until next week.  Looking forward to quiche (Ava’s choice), peach cobbler (Taylor’s choice) and family movie night watching Tangled (Molly’s choice). 

How does your family spend quality time together?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dance recitals, cloudy days, and babies...oh my!

It's taken a few days, but I think I've finally recovered!  Last weekend, I entered a territory that only really brave mothers dare to go.  It's a world of tutus, red lipstick, oversized hats, and blue eyeshadow.  I'm talking about dance recitals, people.  And this was no ordinary dance recital. I realize that it was my first recital, so how can I say it was not like every other recital?  I just have a knowing deep in my heart, that this particular recital was in a league all it's own.  It started with a dress rehearsal Friday night.  I want to add that Friday was my favorite part of the recital experience.  The getting ready was the most fun!  This was the first time my little girls have ever got to really wear "grown-up" make up (not counting the lipgloss heist involving my 3 year old hijacking my lipgloss from my purse and hiding it in her pajama drawer for 2 weeks while sneaking it out to reapply every 30 minutes).  We curled hair, and glossed lips, and mascaraed lashes for a good hour before it was time to go.  The giddy squeals of delight were the absolute highlight of my weekend.

After a dress rehearsal on Friday, we had a great dinner with my mother-in-law who came in town for the recital.  Then it was off to bed for these little dancers.  Saturday was the crazy day!  We had TWO recitals that day, but the girls did great and had a ball!

Ready backstage!

My sweet cowgirl, Ava.

Me and my dancing girls!

Check out this lipstick!!

Lined up and ready to go!

Aren't we cute??

The recital was followed by a wonderful Sunday of rest and hanging with Grammy (my mother-in-law).  It was a super fun weekend topped off with the call that my sister was in labor!!  My adorable niece, Selah, came and spent the night at our house, so her mama could go have that baby!  Ava gave her lots of tips on being a big sister and we had good time with little Seh-Seh.  I love my nieces so much!  There is nothing better than seeing my girls grow up with their cousins and being their La-La!

My new niece, Haven Joy, arrived early Monday morning and I could hardly wait to get my hands on her!!  

(Yes, I know what you're thinking.  I'm LONG overdue for a new hairstyle.  This was a particularly awful hair day.)

Just a few hours old!  Isn't she precious??

It's been rainy and cloudy for the last few days and I'm loving it!  My hair, not so much, but whatever.  That's why I've decided today is hat day!  Ok, ok, I'm calling the hairdresser right now!  Hope you've had a wonderful week too!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

School's Out for Summer!!

What an exciting two weeks it's been as we've wrapped up the end of another school year!  Well, the little girls are done.  Poor Taylor still has two half days of finals.  This year, my littles went to two different schools.  We were at Lakeridge again and also at KDO at our church.  It was the first year for KDO and it was awesome!  We had such a great year at both places.  I'm thankful for good friends and teachers for my kiddos.

Lakeridge Memories:

This was Ava's 5th and last year at Lakeridge.  She started before she was a year old and we have just loved every year that she has had there.  This year, she made wonderful friends and had amazing teachers!

Ava and Lauren, sweet butterflies at the Spring Program

Ms. McMinn- Ava's super fun music teacher!

Ms. Irelan- such a sweet teacher!

Ms. Marshall- the BEST 4 year old preschool teacher!

Me and Ava at the Mother's Day Tea.

Best Friends: Lauren, Ava, and Kennedi

Molly Kate was a Busy Bee this year!  She had such a great class.

Busy Bees Spring Program

Ms. Ellon- Molly's favorite teacher!

Molly and her buddy, Jackson.

KDO Memories:

This was the first year of KDO and what a blessing it has been for ALL of us!  It was so nice to just bring the girls with me to work and know that they were having fun with all their friends and teachers.

Ava with her mutton-bustin' buddies, Hunter and Fisher, before they moved in March.

Ms. Margaret and Ava.  
Seriously, we could not have had a better teacher than Ms. Margaret.  She was the perfect teacher for right before kindergarten.  She taught Ava to read!  And I'm not talking "Wig on a Pig."  This girl is reading her Bible stories and gets all the words right.  I am so thankful for Ms. Margaret, she is truly a blessing!  This picture was taken at Ava's Lakeridge program.  Ava invited Ms. Margaret and she came!  What a sweet lady!!

Molly Kate the Mouse and Jack the Jar!

I'm kind of disappointed in myself that I did not get more pictures of KDO end of year stuff or any of Molly Kate with her sweet teachers, Ms. Amanda and Ms. Catrina!  

Taylor is finishing up her 6th grade year.  This was her first year at Shallowater Middle School and we have LOVED it!

Not a great pic, but this was Taylor's choir concert.

Taylor tried out for cheerleader and I could not have been more proud of her!!  She didn't make it, but she did such an awesome job!  She learned a chant, a cheer, and a dance in just a few days.  She totally rocked it!

Well, now we are ready for summer!

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm (blank) because....

I'm Blank Because...

I decided it has been way too long since I last wrote on this here blog, so I decided to get back in the swing of things with this here post.  I was inspired by Little Miss Momma who wrote a similar blog, and since I love sharing interesting facts about myself, I thought I'd give it a go.  Maybe you'll learn something new about me!  Remember, this is a "No Judging" zone!

I'm weird because....
  • I have OCD tendencies, like counting all the lines in the numbers on a digital clock, but desperately wanting them to add up to an even 10.
  • I know more useless information than you can imagine. Things just stick in my head.
  • I've learned how to cook solely from watching Food Network.
  • I go through hobby phases. Cooking, refinishing furniture, crafting, scrapbooking, cooking again, writing, collecting random things. I just jump from one to the next and don't really stick with a hobby for long. But while I'm into it, I dive in: 100%.
  • I've had some really random collections over the years: keychains, bouncy balls, a CD collection of obscure artists (all alphabetized, of course), shoes, cookbooks, stationary, picture frames, nail polish, kitchen utensils...the list goes on and on.
  • I do NOT like to cuddle while sleeping.
  • At lunch, I like to get drive thru and go sit at a park by myself and eat.
  • I kiss my hand and touch the ceiling of my car every time I drive through a yellow light and lift my feet anytime I drive over train tracks.
  • That Thing You Do is my favorite movie and I can quote the entire thing. I still cry every time they hear their song on the radio for the first time.
  • As I kid I watched musicals more than cartoons. My favorites were Grease, Sound of Music, and Mary Poppins. This might explain my love for That Thing You Do.
  • I have a very real fear of clowns. They completely creep me out.
  • When I cook, I will only use certain knives and utensils for certain things. For example, I will only use one certain spoon for stirring spaghetti sauce, even though I have at least a dozen that would do the job.

     I'm sad because....
  • I'm horrible at taking pictures. I'm afraid someday I'm going to look back and regret not capturing more memories.
  • Sometimes I feel like I need to be or act a certain way because it's what's expected of me. And I'm not quite sure it's really who I am.
  • I don't go visit my grandmother as often as I should.
  • Sometimes I yell at my kids and feel really bad about it.
  • I too often get consumed with guilt over things like not visiting my grandmother enough or yelling at my kids.

I'm happy because....
  • I have three beautiful, happy, healthy daughters.
  • I get to do a job I love.
  • I live close to all of my family.
  • My husband embraces all my quirkiness and loves me for it.
  • I met Sara Bareilles and she was totally cool and didn't treat me like an annoying, over-excited fan, even though I was an over-excited fan who tried not to be annoying!

I'm a bad friend because....
  • I tend to talk too much about myself when I need to listen more.
  • I don't usually open up and really let people in. I'm fine with keeping things on the surface with most people.
  • I prefer to be by myself than with other people.
  • I've been known to lay on a really thick guilt trip a time or two in my life.

I'm a good friend because....
  • I like to give gifts for pretty much any occasion.
  • I really like to laugh and be silly with my friends.
  • I can keep a secret.
  • I will pray for you, cry with you, laugh with you, get mad with you, and make you dinner if that's what you need.

I'm excited for....
  • Some changes at work that will make my life easier.
  • Summer time and spending fun time with my girls.
  • A trip to the beach with my family.
  • Grilling out! Yes, I am the Grill Master in my house.
  • Date night with my hot husband.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Waiting Game

Death. It's such a strange thing to think so much about. But the past 3 days, it has occupied most of my thoughts both day and night. My dear Pepa is lying in a hospital bed on the 4th floor of the Carillon house. It's where people go to die. The minutes and hours continue to creep by and he continues to breathe and moan and slip in and out of sleep. I've never experienced anything like this before. The last time I lost someone this close to me, I was 12 years old. I remember being called out of my 7th grade math class and finding my dad waiting for me in the office. Mama Jo was dead. It happened so suddenly. The words felt like someone punched me in the gut and my eyes were stinging and I was searching for air. This came out of nowhere. No warning. Just death. But this is so different. We are all waiting for him to breathe his last breath. We know it's coming and his deteriorating body is somehow getting worse and showing signs of the "final stages." And we all just wait. The feelings are the same. My gut still feels pummeled, my eyes are still stinging. But it didn't come with one sharp blow. It's a slow, constant beating that has me reaching for air at every turn but finding no relief. Or maybe it's me that's holding my breath. I'm just waiting for the call or the text message. Surely I will get a call. Can you imagine hearing the AT&T default ding and reading those words across a phone screen? Like it's just another Facebook update or RSVP to Ava's birthday party. But maybe the death will bring about a release. Maybe the knot in my stomach from waiting will slowly go away. I don't know why he's still here. I don't know if he's hurting or scared or just ready to be gone. But God knows. And I have to trust that He's here in the midst of this waiting. He's doing a work or He's teaching a lesson or He's testing our faith. I don't know the why yet, but it feels so good to know that I don't have to know all the answers. I just have to try and find the breaths when they come. And I just have to keep waiting...until he's gone. And then I can start missing him. I can cry a different set of tears. Tears of loss and grief. There will be a few tears of joy for his heavenly homecoming. And I will try to be strong and help my kids understand and I will fail, and I will cry and that will be ok. And I will remember all the things I loved about him. And I will be thankful for the last few years he's gotten to spend making memories with my kids. Memories of peppermints and "rides" in the hospital bed. Of singing and dancing and laughing. Of quiet moments shared gazing out the window. I will have my own personal memories of his motorcycle, walking calves, calling him Ralph and him calling me Sydney. So many memories of life and joy. And those are the things that will make the death bearable.