Photo: The last day of the trip, in the recording studio. Bottle because I had NOTHING to give. Poor Kay-kay. This is either right before or after Miranda rolled toiler paper all over the place and the record company president almost tripped over one of her toys. Ah. Good times.

Adventures in the Life of a Southern Gospel Wife ~ February 2009 ~

Most people who know me know about my miracle. The short version: In December 2004 , I was told by a specialist that likely, I would never get pregnant. In November 2006, having received absolutely no fertility treatments or intervention, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Miranda. Fifteen months later, her precious baby sister Kaitlyn was born. A miracle so tangible occurring to me, for me, has changed my life forever, and everyone I meet hears about it at least once!

Not everyone knows though, that in the winter of 2008, our family actually added two babies within the course of one month. The second one is named Gracie; she is our forty-foot, blue and gray, Prevost coach. When we brought her home, Kaity was less than two months old. Guess which one my husband had pictured as the wallpaper on his Blackberry?

This is not to say, of course, that Rod doesn’t adore and cherish our kids, but southern gospel music ministry is definitely a part of our family, too… and it’s because of our kids and our commitment to keeping our family together that we decided to make a (carefully calculated) leap of faith and acquire a home on wheels. After weighing the cost of fuel and food and hotels, and the need to find diaper stations and drinkable water, and being led to the seemingly perfect coach for us, bringing Gracie home made sense.

That is, of course, until the end of April, when I packed up a 17 month old dealing with sibling jealousy, a nursing and thankfully patient 2 month old, and a nervous-even-if-he-wouldn’t-admit-it husband – and a lot of stuff (it took us almost a full day to load up for that first trip – to head for Alabama in a rolling piece of metal that only one of us could drive. We planned to drive as much of that 13 hour trip in the first day.

Were we ever in for a shock. The first enemy that reared its head was centrifugal motion. When we took our first circular ramp, our well-stocked refrigerator went flying open, and a full gallon of milk crashed to the floor and spilled everywhere. My instinctive response was the panicked crying of, “Pull over! Pull over!” But after I remembered that asking for help makes me weak (sarcasm, friends), I somehow managed to clean it all up and keep the kids safe and content (and Miranda from wading in her favorite beverage) while barreling at 70 mph down the road… although, looking back, I have no idea how. Sometimes, I still find a spot of milk hidden in some random, inconspicuous place.

That was the first of our adventures that weekend. I do not use the word adventures with any lightness. We had no idea what we were doing.

The other mishaps we faced included Miranda falling out of bed, getting scared, and crying until she threw up, getting stuck in the mud and needing a tow, running out of water (right after we were digging in the mud and kind of needed it), my own dehydration (unfortunate when you need to feed an infant!), and the discovery that a travelling washer/dryer unit does not quite work like the Whirlpool at home, especially on the bedspread! Also… which would have been the case bus or not… the events we visited were not quite what we had been told they would be, and don’t even get me started on the experience of trying to keep “two under two” children occupied and quiet in a recording studio.

The first bus trip certainly goes down as one of the stories woven into our family history. I know Rod and I will never forget it, and I am thankful that we were pretty quickly able to laugh about it. (I hope he’s still laughing when he sees that I’ve shared the “stuck in the mud” story with the general public). There were more than a few times on that trip when we asked ourselves what we had gotten into, when we wondered, quite seriously, if we could return Gracie for a refund-minus-restocking fee. But since, nearly a year later, we are actually jonesing to get our semi-matching clothes and product table supplies together and re-board that precious tin can, I guess somewhere along the line we decided that we are, in fact, right where we need to be.

Even with that realization turning into a foregone conclusion, it still amazes me sometimes that a girl from the Chicago ‘burbs can casually say things like, “My other SUV is a bus” or send invitations every August to her husband’s “homecoming.” (In Chicago, we have homecoming dances and football games, but concerts? That takes some explaining). Mind you, I have taken a picture of the XM radio display when Rod’s songs are playing on Enlighten, and I still feel like a two-year-old on the set of Elmo’s World when I get to sit in on a studio session, for all intents and purposes, the southern gospel ministry and music world has become folded not just into my Kentucky husband’s life, but into mine as well.

Even so, since I could have never visualized myself making BLT sandwiches at 11pm in a West Virginia Wal-mart parking lot while buzzing from a great service and talking with my husband about how many CDs were sold while my children sleep soundly on their Princess cots and M*A*S*H rings out from the DVD player, I have to figure that my local family and friends and colleagues can’t picture it either. Hence, these chronicles were born. My adventures – those of a “southern gospel wife” – are sometimes funny, rarely glamorous, occasionally educational, but always a glimpse into the unpredictable and rewarding life of a ministry partner, a wife, and a mommy… who is learning with every road trip to embrace the ability to laugh at herself and accept the curve balls God likes to throw. My catcher’s mitt is ready, and I’m grateful for every single friend I can take along on the ride!