Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bunk Beds and Mixed Nuts

You gotta love Christmas. We had so much fun. We got the girls bunk beds this year. On Christmas Eve after we had put the kids down for the night we assembled the beds in the living room (a 3 hour process) and wrapped them up like a huge gift. They had a blast opening them and playing on them all day.

After we had our little Christmas morning at home we went to my mom's house where the entire family gathers. It's always fun to see what happens when everyone gets together, including:

- My Uncle Mike, the bus enthusiast. He collects all kinds of bus memorabilia and even attends bus conventions. While he's here he likes to walk to the bus stop and just ride around town.

- My Aunt Karen, who is the quintessential crazy cat lady that we all know and love. I'm not sure what the current count is, but at one point I think it was upwards of 15.

- My Uncle Mark, who lives in an elderly woman's basement and eats oatmeal out of a casserole dish each morning.

- My Grandma, who consistently calls our girls Melanie and Parker.

But what's Christmas without a few mixed nuts, right? :)

We had a generous gift toward our adoption from some dear friends, and we are planning a fundraiser garage sale in early January. If anyone has any stuff they'd like to unload and donate, let me know and I'd love to take it off your hands!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's getting pretty quiet in the blogosphere, and I've been no exception. Just busy with all the stuff that comes along with Christmas! I've seen enough construction paper and Elmer's glue in the past few days to last me through the Spring. Even with the kids' paper chains counting down the days, somehow I still feel like it snuck up on me a little bit.

Still waiting to hear from the courts for an Adoption Certification number. Once we have that we can begin applying for grants and moving forward with our international agency. I sold a couple more cds to some people and a lot more through the bookstore at church. Also sold a couple of things on craigslist, my new best friend. So, still slowly chipping away at the huge mountain in front of us.

Trying to really savor this year, and extract joy from all the rest of the stuff that goes with the season. Wanting to enjoy my family, be thankful for how richly God has blessed us, and to draw near to Him. Hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas and resolute New Year!

Friday, December 12, 2008

An Unexpected Twist

It's been a little while. Quite a week at our house. As far as the adoption process goes, not a lot happening right now. Our homestudy has been submitted to the court and we're just waiting for approval from them to be officially certified. I guess things move a little more slowly in the municipalities around the holidays, but we're still hoping to be approved by the end of the year.

An unexpected twist this weekend was that Benjamin had to be admitted to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. A cold had stirred up his asthma symptoms and we couldn't get him back to normal at home so we took him in to an Urgent Care. They treated him as best they could but said he needed to go to the ER and they had to send him in an ambulance for liability reasons. It was the saddest thing to see my little baby boy strapped to a gurney, I'm just thankful it wasn't a real emergency situation. I hope and pray that that is the last time I ever have to follow an ambulance with one of my kids in it.

At the ER they worked with him for a few hours before admitting him and we ended up staying for two days. Needless to say, it was a stretch to keep the world turning at home with me away unexpectedly for so long, but we have wonderful family and friends who helped us through it. Matthew was able to take a day off from work and then of course the grandmas couldn't help but help. We had so many calls from concerned folks and offers for meals or childcare. I told Benji that he was very blessed to have so many people who love and care for him! He is doing much better now and we have a new medication that will hopefully prevent any more episodes like this one through the rest of the winter.

I got home about an hour ago from playing at a little outdoor Christmas in the Park concert with some other local artists. It was a fun night, and a new first for me. During the opening song of my set it actually started raining on us. I couldn't help but laugh as I sang "like rain on thirsty land came the Savior of the world". It stopped soon after it started, but it made the evening a little more interesting. Plus, I sold a few cds and made another $40 toward our kiddos. Every little bit counts!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Harper and Home Visit

Today is Harper's 3rd birthday! We had a cute little party at the park and it was a beautiful day. Happy birthday to our precious little girl!

Our home visit was on Friday, and it went great! Our caseworker came in and Bethany took her by the hand and gave her a tour of the house. We spent most of the time being interviewed by her about our family backgrounds and current familial relationships. She called them "genograms", kind of like a basic family tree, but she took a ton of notes and asked a lot of questions.

I thought it was really fun! I can see why come people like going to counselors. It's nice to sit there for an hour and have someone ask you questions about your life and you basically just get to talk about yourself to someone who really wants to know! Really though, your past is sort of this thing that you carry around with you and while it totally informs the present, you don't necessarily talk about it that much or get to share with people other than your spouse or very close friends. Not that I have anything dramatic or haunting in my past, but I feel like it's such a part of who a person is. So I enjoyed that.

After the genograms, she asked Bethany and Harper to draw a picture of our family so she could ask them questions about it and assess the pictures. Harper traced her hand and drew H's all over so I'm not sure how helpful her picture was, but Bethany did a really good job. She drew herself, then Harper, then Daddy, and then Benjamin, but she ran out of room for me! "Why don't you draw Mommy on the back?" we suggested. And so she did. I, however, was the only family member with an associated prop. What does my 4-year-old associate most with me? The stove. She drew me cooking at the stove. We all thought that was hilarious, and pretty accurate. So while the rest of my family is hanging out on the front of the paper, there I am on the back, cooking. But seeing as cooking for people is one of the primary ways I show love and affection, I'm alright with that association. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Can You Get for Two Quarters These Days?

I like to spread the word about good deals, so FYI a vending machine in the Basha's on Pecos and McQueen is selling Hope and Inspiration for 50 cents! Grab that one up while it lasts.

Home visit was switched to this coming Friday, so that's why I haven't posted about it yet. More on that later!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Off To A Great Start

The final numbers are in! On Friday the 7th the cd sales totaled $1,773.00! We have sold a few here and a few there since the release party, and have something in the works with the bookstore at our church, but we are so excited to be off to such a great start just from Friday night. Thanks to everyone who was there!

A friend suggested adding a way to purchase cds to this blog, so just to the right is an "add to cart" button that links to our paypal account (too bad we can't just adopt through eBay). It took me forever to figure out how to get that little button there, and I must say I'm quite proud of myself.

Tomorrow is our home visit! Thanks to all of you who have filled out reference forms and written letters and prayed for us. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Catching Up

Over the weekend we saw a beautiful display of candied apples. They were $5 a piece, so I told the girls we would make our own when we got home. Here is a picture of the finished product! I made them eat the apples standing in the bathtub which turned out to be a very good decision.


I missed a couple of weeks and it seems like a lot has happened! We had the "I'm Telling" meeting with our caseworker and it seemed like it went really well. We basically answered questions about ourselves and our marriage and family for an hour each. There were several "on a scale of one to 10, rate your...." questions and it was encouraging to honestly rate everything pretty high. God is so good to us, and answering all those questions was a nice reminder of that. We compared answers on the ride home and I think we matched up pretty well too. This week we both have our physicals and lab work which I'm not looking forward to, but it will be good to have out of the way. Then Friday is a big day because it is our (hopefully) final homestudy meeting which will be the actual home visit. I don't want to go nuts on cleaning or anything. I'll be interested to see if I stick to that.

Last Friday night was the CD Release party! It was so much fun and a great night. I'm not sure how many people came out, but it looked to be around 300 or so. We had just about the right amount of food (which to me means some leftovers) and we sold 120 cds in one night! Luke was running the cd table and he said a lot of people said "keep the change", so that was a real blessing. None of the money that came in on credit cards has been counted yet, so I don't have a total amount to announce, but we're off to a good start. The cds are for sale in the Commons Bookstore at our church if anyone missed the event but still wants one. They turned out great.

I have to say, I am pretty exhausted. After the release I was up with a sick Benjamin two nights in a row and we had a pretty full weekend. Thankfully my wonderful mom took the girls to church with her on Sunday morning so I was able to get a nap and a shower. It's going to be another full week, so we're gearing up! In a couple of hours I am looking forward to meeting a family in our area that recently adopted two from Uganda. We are meeting at the park for a picnic lunch and playground time.

As for where we are at emotionally, we are still planning on Uganda but are very much open to a state adoption should the right opportunity come along. We will also have to look at how much we are able to raise. Once our homestudy is complete, I can begin applying for grants from different organizations so we will hope for the best from that.

Well, I must go pack lunches and put away laundry! I hope to check back in once we have a total from the release party.

Friday, October 24, 2008


First it was Pink Eye, now Strep Throat! I'm beginning to think we're hazardous to our caseworker's health. Rescheduling on Monday...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm Telling!

Does anyone else remember the game show from the 80's "I'm Telling!"? They would take teams of 2 siblings and they would ask one of them questions while the other sat in the "Freeze Zone" where they could not hear their sibling's answers. Then the two would switch places and answer the same questions and see which team could match the most answers to make it to the Prize Arcade.

We have the second of our three Homestudy meetings tomorrow, and it sounds to me a lot like "I'm Telling". Of course, it won't be my sister with me (though we would have cleaned up on that show) it will be my husband. The Freeze Zone will be the Pei Wei across the street and the grand prize will be checking off one more stepping stone on the way to our child/children!

Oh, about the backslash necessitated there, please keep praying about the one child, two children decision. As we've been crunching numbers we are now questioning not whether we could afford the adoption for two, but could we afford to raise two additional children. Pray that we would find a balance between wisdom and faith and that we would not make any decisions out of fear.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hey, Are You Free on November 7th?

I took back the backyard today. All summer long it has been disintegrating into a wasteland of sun-eaten plastic toys nestled in overgrown crab grass and patio that makes the kids' tetanus shots worthwhile. As the weather has turned, we've been “playing” out there a little bit. “Playing” being the kids running around completely oblivious to the hazards at every turn and me chasing after them saying things like “Watch out!” and “Don't touch that!” and “There might be something living in there!” Friday morning one child was clotheslined by the barbecue grill and an enormous spider skittered out of a box of sidewalk chalk and sent us all fleeing for our very lives. For their safety and my sanity I made it my goal for the weekend to make our yard livable again. A little weed whacking, a little trimming, a lot of sweeping, and one large garbage bag full of junk later, it's back to a habitable environment.

Our calendar has already hit that Holiday season spiral where every weekend until the end of the year is marked up. It's all great stuff, so we're looking forward to everything though we'll have to be sure to schedule in enough rest and downtime. Matthew officiated a wedding yesterday and we have another one this weekend, then it's the seven:ten Fall Retreat, and then the next weekend we come to the November 7th square which reads “CD Release Party”. This is part of the answer to last week's question of how in the world we are going to pay for this adoption.

The musical side of my life goes in roughly 2 year cycles of writing songs, recording songs, and putting out a CD. This will be my forth one and I am more excited about it then any of the others before. First of all just because I'm so passionate about the songs and everything sounds incredible (thanks Ryan), but also because this year two of my passions in life will converge on this one night. We've done a release party for every album, but this year we will be highlighting adoption throughout the night and will use all of the proceeds generated by CD sales to help fund our own adoption. We're not expecting to raise all of the money that night, but we hope to raise a good chunk out of what we need, as well as hopefully a good measure of awareness.

So, please be praying for that night- Friday November the 7th, 7:00pm at East Valley Bible Church. Pray that the CDs would come in on time, that people would show up, that hearts would be stirred for the fatherless, and that we would sell a boatload of CDs. Oh, and one other thing: Come! Bring your families! Bring your friends! Bring your enemies! We'd love to see you there and your support means so much to us. We'll be announcing the date at church as well as by email, but if you still have an open slot on your calendar for 11/7/08, we'd love to fill it up.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Two Are Better Than One

It's amazing... the day I mention "Uganda", two families pop out of the online woodwork who have adopted from Uganda. That is two more families then we knew of before! Uganda is a very new program so it has been incredibly helpful to email back and forth with them.

Still working on paperwork. We have all of our home study meetings scheduled as well as our physicals for the international agency. I try to do one adoption-related task per day, otherwise it just gets too overwhelming. Yesterday I took pictures of our house and head shots of Matthew and myself for the dossier. The day before that I worked on getting bank letters with our account balances. Today I hope to get some time to work on the autobiography they require. So many little things, just one step at a time!

As far as decision making, we are obviously still on course for Uganda, but open to divine detours. When I last posted we were considering whether to adopt one or two children and that seems to be coming into focus as well. We had a common sense theory that adopting two children would be better for the adopted children. Because they would be coming into a strange new country and the will always look different then the rest of their family, having a sibling who can relate to and understand them as well as simply look like them, seemed like a good idea to us. Besides, we talked about adopting again down the road, so why not just adopt two together?

We came in contact with two different organizations that place Ugandan children and both of them will not place children one at a time, only two at a time. The agency we are looking at right now does place single children, but just the fact that these other organizations have that policy confirmed for us that adopting two children is the right path for us at this point. So, thanks be to God for directions and guidance, and thank you for your prayers for those things!

Some of you may be wondering, isn't adopting expensive, especially for two? How are they planning on paying for this??? Ah, a very good question with an exciting answer that I will discuss in my next post.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Treading the Atlantic

We met with our caseworker Wednesday night, the first of several meetings in the home study process. She seems like a great caseworker and we really enjoyed talking with her and as far as we could tell everything went pretty well! We're both emotionally stable (just barely in a few areas) and we feel like we have a little more direction than we did a few days ago.

It feels very odd having so many choices about who your next child will be. With the past three, there's really only been one decision to make (wink, wink) and then the rest has all been decided for us. We trusted God through the pregnancies knowing that whatever child was born to us would be the perfect child for our family. With this process of adoption, it feels like we are more in the driver's seat, which is a very scary place to be. Again, it feels like it, but of course in reality we are no more in control than we have been with our three biological kids. So the past few months have really been a constant plea for God to guide us, direct us, and make a path clear to us. We know that, as with our pregnancies, whatever child we bring home will be the perfect child for our family.

As of now, we have narrowed our focus to two paths. One is a domestic trans racial infant adoption. That is basically where a birth mother from Arizona who wants to place her child for adoption decides that she wants us to be her baby's parents. We would also then have the opportunity to continue that relationship with the baby's birth mom, which is an exciting prospect. The other path is an international adoption from Uganda. This is definitely the scarier more intimidating option, thinking of dealing with a third-world government and with there being so many unknowns, not to mention sorting through the 437 pages of information I received from the international agency. But Uganda seems to be the direction we are heading at this point, although we are keeping our eyes and ears out for domestic opportunities that may come up. Obviously there is a point financially where we would have to commit to Uganda, but until then we are keeping as many avenues open as possible.

Those of you praying for us, thank you! We have felt your prayers as God has narrowed our focus. Please pray now for continued direction as we tread the Atlantic, and even as we think through the possibility of adopting siblings.

Also, might want to throw one up there for us this weekend. Matthew and I are tent camping for pretty much the first time ever while we ride in the Tour of the White Mountains bike race. Judging from the fiasco of killing a mosquito in our kitchen last night, we need all the help we can get!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just a Quick Update...

Our caseworker was sick last week so we've rescheduled for Wednesday. I did ask her when we were on the phone if this meeting was standard or if there was a problem and she said it's standard for starting the homestudy process. So, I'll post again after Wednesday! Thanks everyone for asking how it went. :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Meeting Tonight

We have a meeting with our caseworker tonight. I guess the agency looked over all of our paperwork and wanted to talk about some stuff. I'm not sure if this is standard procedure or if they're concerned about something, so I'm a little nervously curious about what she'll say! We had to take a pretty extensive personality test and we were totally honest even when it exposed our ugly places, so I hope we didn't score as psycologically unstable or something. We do have our moments... :)

The great thing about trusting God and His sovreignty is knowing that we don't have to worry about what happens because He has the best for us no matter what. But hopefully we're not nuts.

Friday, September 12, 2008

How it All Began

At 17 I didn't want to date. I didn't want to get married. I didn't want to have kids. I thought that getting married and having kids was an automatic disqualification from any adventure and all intense forms of ministry, not to mention a death-sentence on personal freedom. It was from this frame of mind that I was operating when Matthew decided to pursue a relationship with me. Needless to say, it didn't go so well at first.

He tried the typical tactics... told some friends that he was interested and let it trickle down the grapevine. I made it clear that I was not interested and sent that right back up the grapevine. He got the message, but was not deterred. He showed up wherever I was, always sat next to me, and just basically hung around until we had built a really strong friendship. How we got from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend is kind of complicated. I would say it started with a Diamondbacks game that he thought was a date and I didn't. It lasted 7 awkward innings and ended with a very long conversation in the driveway of my parents' house. I can't remember everything we talked about, but it involved dating, labels, marriage, individuality, and freedom for ministry. I don't know how long we sat out there, but I do remember whatever CD we were listening to repeated itself several times before I went inside. There were several crossroads like that in our relationship, and eventually I came to trust Matthew that he would not let us become what I feared: self-focused, cautious people with small dreams and fading identities.

We married in 2001, at which point I still wasn't sure I'd ever want kids. I did know, however, that if we did have kids I wanted to adopt. I'd even have been happy to only adopt and not have biological kids at all. Somewhere along the line that changed, but the desire to adopt did not. God placed the passion for the outcast inside me years earlier and it only grew stronger as I saw our marriage growing. I was frustrated that Matthew didn't share that passion and for a time it was a source of dissension for us. But God, who uses broken things, turned it into one of the biggest milestones in my journey as a wife as He taught me to let go, trust Him, and trust Matthew's leadership. I also started praying about it. My prayer was that God would change one of our hearts. Either He would give Matthew the desire to adopt or take mine away. To my delight, He chose the former.

As our family has grown, our passion for adoption has grown with it. For Matthew it has been a gradual process of being drawn in to the heart of God for the needy, the broken, the defenseless and the fatherless. For me it has been watching our family unfold and wanting to share that incredible blessing with a child who is without it. We have been waiting, waiting, waiting for the right time and we feel like this is it. We're seven years down this road now and I am so thankful that I was wrong about marriage, wrong about kids, and wrong about what it really means to be free.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something New

Obviously, blogging has not been a very high priority for me lately. I've been considering just taking it down and being okay with saying “I had a blog once” and looking off fondly into the distance. An idea from our friend Luke, however, has brought new life and purpose to this neglected page.

Something that has been a high priority for me lately is navigating through the process of adoption. We're in the very beginning stages, so much of what we are navigating is our own hearts, our thoughts, our fears, and our desires. We have come to the point where we know with as much certainty as possible that we will adopt, and we will adopt relatively soon. Everything else is totally up in the air. There is a lot to be thought through and a lot of decisions to make and we'll surely need some help. That's where this will come in.

Our friend Luke is living his dream and planting a church here in Arizona, Second Mile Church. He also is doing some major navigating, thinking, praying, and decision making. He has a blog for the church, email updates, and most importantly, a prayer team. He suggested to Matthew today that we do the same thing for this adoption. So, this is effectively becoming my blog about the adoption. Suddenly I have plenty to write about.

Now what we need is a prayer team. Anyone who reads this can just pray for us as you keep up with what's going on, but if you'd like to formally “sign up” and really commit to pray us through this, you can leave a comment or just email me and we'd love it.

Much more to come....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just Checking In

Okay, so it’s been a really, really long time since I’ve written anything here. I think I've actually been pretending that I don't even have a blog. I guess I’ve been busy with other things. Good things. We’re working on the next CD which I hope will be released this Fall. I love how it’s turning out so far. We’re working with a really talented engineer this time and it’s fun just to watch him work. So that’s been a bit time consuming, but well worth it of course. I get people who will come up to me and tell me they listen to my cd like every day and I just think to myself, “man, I’ve got to get something else out there for these poor people to listen to!” So hang in there, all you who are ready to jump off a bridge if your kid asks to hear the intro to “Daughter of the Lord” one more time. Something new is coming.

We start classes tonight at Christian Family Care Agency to take the next step as we look into adoption. I’m excited to get more information and hopefully come to the point where we can really make a wise, educated decision about if and when and who and where.

We’re still fighting with Benjamin’s eczema, and Bethany was pretty sick last week. Between the two of them I think I was at a medical establishment 4 times in 3 days. That was a rough week. I can’t imagine being a parent of a child who is really sick, like sick all the time. Be thankful for healthy kids, and pray for those that aren’t.

I hardly recognize my front yard! The Tru-Vine crew just finished up an all-day project revamping the landscaping. Our drip system and our sprinkler system were totally dysfunctional so instead of repairing both we just repaired the drip and ripped out the lawn. Well, we didn’t rip out the lawn, they ripped out the lawn. The kids and I sat at the breakfast table and watched one guy with a shovel go at it for 5 hours. They said it was his first day on the job. By about 11:30 he looked to me like he was already considering a career move. Bethany said she wants to do that when she grows up, but she wants to be a girl landscaper, not a boy one. They did a great job and Bret is a great guy so here is his number if you live in my area and need residential landscaping: 480-330-5711.

The outlook for the rest of the summer is fun! We have a bunch of trips scheduled, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves earlier this month when the two of us got away to northern Arizona for a little biking and hanging out. I’m into making videos out of the photos now because it’s more fun to look back at, so here’s a link to the one I made for that trip: I’m not savvy enough to actually post it here. So then next month we head back up north with the whole crew to support Daddy as he rides his bike from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. Then a few weeks later, we head west to Del Mar for a few days. Then, in September, we’re doing the big one: Disneyland! Top 3 reasons for going in September: 1. Low Attendance 2. Lower temperatures 3. Harper is still two and gets in for free.

So, now when you check in down the line and see that Kristie STILL hasn’t blogged, at least you’ll know what I’m doing instead. :)

Monday, June 02, 2008


My 3-year-old was on the potty doing her business the other day and it was taking her a little while.

"You know Bethany, you could always flip through a magazine while you're sitting there," I suggested.

"Well Mommy," She explained, "I can't hold a magazine because if I let go of the toilet seat I'll fall in."

Good call, kiddo.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Have a Dream

“Writing has been difficult lately as time has been scarce, but I love it so much. It's only been the past year or so that I have been seriously pursuing professional songwriting although it's always been a dream of mine. I guess I just kept it to myself for a long time because I felt like a little kid who dreams of being an astronaut, and I didn't want to look foolish when it became clear that I didn't stand a chance. (Typical writer's self-deprecating thought patterns.) But now I've decided that true failure would be never trying at all, so here I am. I wouldn't necessarily say that God has flung open any doors, but He has left a few ajar. And it's been just enough to keep me going, keep me plugging away, hoping that one day I just may make it to the moon.”
-Posted by yours truly on a songwriter’s discussion board two years ago

Well, this is a big week for me. After signing my name on a dotted line I will officially become an astronaut. I’ve been working with a great guy from a small publishing company just outside of Nashville for a while now, doing single-song agreements and a few assignments here and there. It has been such a great outlet for my songs and a wonderful relationship and I have felt the providence of God through it all, as cliché as that sounds. A few weeks ago he called and offered to bring me on as their first staff writer, and, after much thought and prayer, I accepted! So here I sit, awaiting the paperwork, marveling at the goodness of God in my life.

It’s not that this is going to make me famous. And as my writer friends would attest to, it certainly isn’t going to make me rich. To the majority of the population, it’s probably not even something to aspire to above any other occupation. But for me it was a dream and even though not a whole lot will change because of this piece of paper, it’s a big deal in my book. A lot of that is probably because “Songwriter” is not exactly the kind of position that you get by answering a classified ad. There’s this great chasm that exists between unpublished writer and published writer that, try as one may, a writer simply can’t bridge on their own apart from some sort of spark from elsewhere in the universe. That’s what makes it feel a little like trying to become an astronaut or an athlete or a rock star. Those are my back-ups, by the way.

Like I mentioned in the excerpt above, I kept most of my grand ideas to myself lest I shared them and they be squashed shortly there after. It was a defense mechanism. Don’t try to hard and for goodness sakes, don’t let anyone know what you’re trying to do. That way if you fail, it won’t hurt so much. I wrote my first song at 14, then a few more after that, all of which were heard by a sum of probably 6 people. I began writing a lot more in high school, started some garage bands, and then put out some recordings for my local church and anyone else that liked the songs enough to shell out 10 bucks. I remember in high school my junior year they made us all take a computerized test that is supposed to tell you what job is the right fit for you so you can select a college and a major. I had already decided I wasn’t going to go to college, but I took it seriously just out of curiosity. After nearly an hour and over 100 questions, my occupation of choice popped up on the screen: Composer. Even though the title “Composer” meant more like Bach and Mozart to me, I still felt somewhat validated by the little computer program. After all, I did have a dream, I just wasn't ready to go making any speeches about it.

I’m realizing that at this rate, this already lengthy blog will become obscenely long, so let’s fast forward. Actually, I guess that’s a little old fashioned. Let’s Tivo and skip the commercials. Graduated in 2000, went right to corporate work and kept writing/recording on the side. Got married in 2001, kept working, kept writing/recording on the side. In 2003 I attended a little local songwriting event and was pleasantly surprised to discover the existence of a vast, underground Christian songwriting sub-culture, with t-shirts and everything. A little like Trekkies, but with a significantly lower weirdness factor. In the years that followed I slowly ventured deeper and deeper into this network of people that shared my passion and found not only a songwriting family, but also the courage and confidence to admit to myself and my world that I indeed had a dream to write songs on a professional level.

In 2004 I was offered a management deal from some random little firm that wanted to develop me as an artist-writer. That was a big fork in the road for me because it forced me to decide what exactly I wanted, and what sacrifices I was willing and not willing to make. With a new baby in my arms, I turned it down telling them thank you, but that I didn’t want to be an artist, I wanted to be a writer. It was a little scary to make that decision because I found myself asking “Was that it? Did I just pass up my only shot?” But while I probably could have squeezed my dream into that opportunity, it was clearly a square peg and a round hole. So, I waited. Then, a few years later, the spark came. Through a listening panel at a songwriting event, someone gave one of my songs to someone else who gave it to someone else and, three years later, presto! I’m a "professional songwriter".

I have no idea where God will take this from here. I may just keep writing music for church services and for print, I may get a big artist cut someday. Honestly, at this point I would be perfectly happy if things just continued as they are. I am a wife, I am a mom, I am deeply imbedded in ministry, and, I am a songwriter. God has been so gracious to our family, and for as long as He decides to let me have my cake and eat it too, I am going to enjoy every morsel.

Monday, March 24, 2008

One More Beautiful Reminder

Yesterday after church we all gathered at my mother-in-law’s beautiful home to celebrate Easter with our family. It was a sweet time, similar to last year, with good food and an egg hunt for the girls. I took this picture during the egg hunt moments before Bethany, as she so often does, provided me with yet another allegorical insight into my relationship with God.

My mother-in-law had filled each plastic egg with some sort of tiny treasure. Some held stickers, others plastic rings or fuzzy toy chicks. Bethany and Harper wandered around the yard picking up eggs, opening each one and peering expectantly inside. Several eggs into it, Bethany had come upon a purple plastic necklace. “A necklace!” She declared with delight. She couldn’t put it on fast enough and she smiled as she gazed at it hanging around her neck. Soon after she found another egg containing another necklace, this time with blue plastic beads. With equal excitement she adorned herself with it and continued picking up eggs.

After a few more eggs, she opened one egg and stopped, staring inside. Without saying anything, she rose to her feet and slowly lifted its contents into the light. It was a “real” necklace, made with a metal chain and a glass heart pendant. She stared at it for a moment as it glittered in the sun. “I don’t like these necklaces anymore,” she stated matter-of-factly, and she yanked the two plastic necklaces from her neck. She tossed them on the ground behind her, all the while never taking her eyes off the shining new necklace. She ran over to Daddy for help putting it on, and from that point forward all other plastic necklaces she found were promptly relegated to Harper.

Thomas Chalmers preached a famous sermon titled “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection”. Yesterday I saw that expulsive power at work in my three-year-old. Chalmers’ premise is that it takes more to quell a love for worldly things then simply to say “Bad, bad worldly things!” It takes a new and greater affection to replace the lesser one. And of course, that one great affection that expels all else is Jesus Christ.

When I take the time to truly behold Jesus, I want to respond as my daughter did. I want to be so dazzled by His glory that I find myself tearing from my neck the plastic imitations and refusing all lesser treasures in order that I might have the One great thing, the “real” thing, and so to be ruined for this world.

Thank you Bethany, for one more beautiful reminder.

Monday, February 25, 2008

No Photo for This One, Folks

(This is not a tale for the weak of stomach, nor for anyone who happens to be eating at the present time).

Everything happens to my side of the bed. Sippy cups left lying on their sides to drip a slow and steady wet spot into the mattress. Diapers seem to leak only when the child is playing on my side. Then there was the time Bethany shuffled into our room in the middle of the night complaining that her tongue hurt. I turned on the lamp and told her to open her mouth so I could examine her tongue. She opened wide and promptly threw up all over me and, yes, my side of the bed. So it really came as no surprise to me when the events of last night revolved around my half of the mattress.

The girls were playing together in the living room and Matthew and I were in our room talking and setting our alarm clocks. They has been playing out there for a while and we knew from past experience that eventually one of them would realize they hadn’t seen their parents in a while and come looking for us. So when we heard Harper call “Mommy?!” and the sound of little footsteps coming our direction, we thought we’d be funny and hide. We jumped into the bed and under the comforter and waited. We heard her come into the bathroom. “Where are you?” she asked, not seeing us at our sinks. We snickered loudly under the covers so she would be able to find us, and sure enough, she did. She laughed as she found our feet and patted down the comforter to find the rest of us. Still under the covers, we then learned the reason for her pursuit of us. “Mommy and Daddy, I went poo poo in my panties.”

We shot up like a couple of rockets to see our bare-butted two year old holding her panties in the air. “Harper,” I asked slowly. “Is the poo poo in there?”, pointing to the unfortunate pair of Curious George underwear. “Ya,” she replied. “I went poo poo in my panties.” I took the panties from her, handling them as I would an armed nuclear missile, and peered inside. There was evidence that poo poo had indeed been in these panties, but was there no longer. The situation had escalated.

We quickly moved into the living room, stepping lightly, and scanned the area. No poo poo. We didn’t know how long she had been walking around like that, or how much ground she had covered. All we knew was that somewhere in our home was an MIA piece of poop. While Matthew put Harper in the tub I continued to search the rooms but still found nothing. I rejoined Matthew in the master bathroom where Harper was playing happily in the tub.

“Did you find it?” Matthew asked, cringing hopefully.

“No!” I replied, throwing my hands up in disbelief. “Where could it be?” As possible answers to my own question flashed through my mind, I knew that we just had to find this poop. Remembering Harper had been at our bedside I grabbed the comforter and flipped it back. Intending to look under the covers, I was not expecting to see something launch off the comforter into the air and hit the floor with a thud.

Eureka. We’d found it.

And once again, on my side of the bed.

When Matthew leaves for work tomorrow, I’m rotating the mattress.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

One... Two... Three...

There have been numerous times over the course of my life when I have tried the popularized method of counting sheep to get to sleep. I would close my eyes and picture a wooden fence with a bit of grass growing at the base of it, and one by one sheep would come into the picture, jump over the fence, and exit stage left. But it never got me to sleep.

Recently, however, I tried a new way of counting sheep. Instead of the sheep jumping over the fence, I pictured a whole herd of sheep standing close together and tried to count them as they moved around and smooshed into each other. I guess it was so difficult and frustrating that rather than continue such a tedious, pointless task, I just went to sleep.

Maybe you too have been fruitlessly counting your sheep jumping over a fence. Try the herd. It just might work for you too.

And maybe, just maybe, the rest of you have always counted the herd and I've just been somewhere out in left field with sheep jumping over fences. If that's the case, forget I ever mentioned it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Night Out On the Town

Matthew had to work late tonight so I told the girls that we would go out on the town, which basically means perusing our favorite outdoor shopping center. First we browsed through Tea and Trinkets, a princess store aimed directly at little girls like my Bethany who’s pulse quickens in the presence of anything pink or sparkly. Benjamin clearly felt a bit uncomfortable, but politely kept it to himself. After saying “no, honey” five or six hundred times we walked over to Pei Wei for some dinner. The waiter looked doubtful as he set our order down on the table- one plate of Mongolian beef with rice and a big bowl of chicken lo mein. I got the feeling he thought we had bitten off a little more than we could chew, but by the end we proved him wrong with 3 clean plates (save for the pile of carefully extracted vegetables on Bethany’s) and fortune cookies to boot. I always feel a little sorry for the unfortunate bus boy that comes to clean up the floor when Harper has just had her way with a plate full of noodles. But the way I figure it, if she means anything to him it’s job security.

As we left Pei Wei we stopped by one of the big fountains and the girls put it their two cents… and their hands… and then their forearms. When feet had clearly become the next objective I decided it was time to move on. We walked the 50 or so yards to Barnes and Noble, stopping along the way to take pictures and point out important things like ants and “pokey tactuses”. As we passed A.J.’s Fine Foods Harper asked to see the cakes, so we stopped by their bakery for a minute or two. With both of them poking and touching everything within reach, a few minutes was all I dared stay for fear of having to pay for a dropped box of twenty-five-dollar imported ruby-crusted muffins. Fortunately we made it out without incident.

Finally we reached Barnes and Noble and went straight to the children’s area, where we played the game where they take every book off the shelves and discard them on the floor and I follow behind them, desperately trying to put each book back even remotely near its original location. We looked at lots of books and I read them a few stories in a big comfy chair. After purchasing a new book of Bible Stories it was off to our final and most highly anticipated destination, Paradise Bakery to get a cookie. (In case there is any debate, fortune cookies do not count as cookies any more than Fig Newtons count as cake). Harper ate her cookie the way she eats lots of flat food items- by taking bites straight down the middle and disregarding the growing sides until she is literally smashing the food against her face to get to the bottom. She left with chocolate from ear to ear.

We piled back into the van, fat and happy, and headed for home. Nothing like a night out on the town.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Four Things

There is a "4 Things" survey email ricocheting through cyberspace and it hit my inbox last week. Everyone in my blogosphere is posting their answers and I'm having such a good time reading them that I think I'll post mine too.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Journalist
2. Administrative Assistant for A.C. Green
3. Sound Technician
4. Florist

Four movies I would watch over and over.
1. Tommy Boy
2. Rudy
3. A League of Their Own
4. Any of the "Oceans"

Four places I have lived:
1. Mesa, Arizona (2 times)
2. Phoenix, Arizona (2 times)
3. Tempe, Arizona
4. Gilbert, Arizona
And I'm not planning on leaving. So there.

Four TV Shows that I Watch
1. The Office
2. Dora the Explorer
3. Sports Center
4. Re-runs of Cosby, Friends, and Raymond

Four places I have been:
1. Hong Kong
2. Mexico
3. Canada
4. Inside a dryer

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Anything deep fried dipped in ranch dressing
2. Great Sandwiches. Not just sandwiches. Great Sandwiches.
3. The spinach dip at Charlestons
4. Noodles in any way, shape, or form

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Nashville (Those in want out, those out want in!)
2. The beach
3. On a horse
4. Disneyland (and in 2 weeks, I will be!)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My New Favorite Christmas Ornament

So, it’s the New Year and everyone is posting fantastic New Year’s entries on their blogs and I feel like a lump for not following suit. So here it is: my fantastic New Year’s post. I used to write in my journal without fail every first of the year, but that tradition comes to an end this year. I hardly journal at all anymore, especially with this blog for my creative writing outlet. I’m thinking for the blog this year I might start adding pictures. When I began I wanted to have a strictly textual blog, but as I read other blogs I realize that I really enjoy the pictures. It’s also a great way to post without actually having to say much. So look forward to a little more visual stimuli around here, and hopefully a little more frequency.

In fact, why not start off 2008 with a photo? That way I can get away without saying anything of real significance. Friends, I give you my new favorite Christmas ornament, created by my friend Kacey McGinty.
(To see her incredible work or book her as a photographer, go to Hey, why not plug a friend? It's the least I can do.

Happy 2008!