Our trophy sits next to the GPS  on our mobile mantel.

Lately, Miranda has been talking into the mirror a lot, making up stories and talking to her ‘kids.’ It’s adorable 3 year old weirdness, the kind that her mother occasionally dabbles in still.

To say I have fantasized throughout my life about winning is not a stretch. It was never clear to me what I might win (I thought perhaps an Oscar for Best Screenplay, in a movie in which I would also star, opposite Kiefer Sutherland or [RIP] Patrick Swayze), but who hasn’t had a moment or 116,000 moments when you’ve thought about getting a shiny trophy for your efforts?

When we (meaning Rod and me under one of our pseudonyms: Branson Gospel Music Convention) were nominated for an SGN Music Award, I was beyond excited. I was doubly beyond excited because the magazine I edit was nominated as well – both in the Pacesetter Category. And so, obviously, I did some speech practicing…mostly when it came to Scoops, because that one was just easier. (For the record, I’d have thanked Rob, Rod, the writers, the readers, the people we’ve featured so far…)

Branson GMC, however, –‘our baby Branson’ – is too close to my heart to put sensible words to at times. (It has become the work of our life and has changed our lives, you know?) On the way to Nashville/Smyrna yesterday, Rod and I tried to come up with something, and he vetoed my idea of just getting on stage and making out. (How memorable would THAT have been? Plus, because of the convention, we so rarely get to make out anymore…)

We finally decided that IF we won, Rod would talk about the vision of the convention, and I would thank some people.

The show itself was such a great time for us. For one, we didn’t have to do anything but sit there. We had friends there we don’t get to see often, and several of them were singing and nominated for other awards. It was friends of ours who put on the show, and they did a great job. The Pacesetter category was toward the end, so eventually, I Tweeted my way out of nervousness and told myself we were not winning anything, and it was all good.

And then we won.

Due to a technical mishap, the Pacesetter category was not explained prior to the nominees being announced. What it is: an award to honor an organization, company, event, artist, entity, fill-in-the-blank that has made a new mark in southern gospel music. The other nominees were 2 record companies, Scoops magazine, and a radio-prep newsfeed.

When ‘Branson Gospel Music Convention’ was called, I had to tap (slap) Rod to get him out of the seat – he later said he didn’t even realize it was us. We hugged, we made the long walk across the stage (I did not trip, FTW!), and then Rod said some stuff that I really cannot remember.

And then, he turned it to me.

Everything that I had in the back of my mind to say disappeared, of course. I don’t even remember what exactly I said. I know I thanked my parents for watching the kids (and it made multi-winner, co-host, and favorite-singer-in-the-world-of-mine Sonya Isaacs laugh behind me, which was so cool). I know I said I didn’t know anyone in SG 4 years ago (totally true). I know I thanked God for big dreams. I know I thanked everyone who supported us in our first year. But…I don’t remember the rest.

Immediately after exiting the stage, I was sad to have not thanked our kids, especially Paige, who was watching…and who is such a mature and helpful and all-around wonderful 16 year old daughter.

So anyway, today, basking in the afterglow and in the morning mid-Tennessee Starbucks sunshine, here is the rest of my speech~

–          Thank you Burton girls for going with our adventurous flow, being patient with us, and loving us in spite of the demanding chaos that has become our (wonderful) life.

–          Thank you Branson GMC advisory board – Dusty, Bobby (and Sharona), Brenda (and 2nd G), Kenny, Johnathan, Rob, and Jimmy (and Liz), for your circle of protection, guidance, prayer, and friendship.

–          Thank you to the general circle of support that came on board from year one – including SoGospelNews.com (now AbsolutelyGospel.com), Southern Spin Entertainment (namely, the Unthank family), Morningside/Jim Bakker Show/Charles & Veeda Smith, Christian Voice Magazine, Chapel Valley & The Roarks, Branson Tourism Center, Sky Angel TV, Family Friendly Entertainment, Bud & Lynda Lynn, Wayne and Wanda Deering, Ron Blackwood, Dino, and of course~

–          Our friends who are fellow artists and workers in this industry and MINISTRY, who make us laugh and pray for us and help us to mellow when we get so clenched about things. There are too many to name even here, but amidst all the artists of Branson GMC (some of whom just happened to say or send what I needed at just the right time!), there is a circle of armor bearers we can call/Tweet in the middle of the night for whatever validation or guidance we need. It means the world

–          Our friends – in particular MY friends, who don’t have ANYthing to do with southern gospel, who support me and my kids with playdates and Easter eggs and crazy park outings and babysitting and Monday night getaways and listening to my long stories with lots of background and general cheering and love… YOU are my anchors in LIFE. You know who you are. I am proud, grateful, relieved to have you in my corner.

–          Our extended family and our church families for the extensions of help and kindness you give.

–          My Twitter friends…who laugh at my meaningless comments and point me toward levity when I am in need.

–          Every single person who has ever told me I look pretty, because seriously? I never feel less attractive then when I have to stand in the front of a room!

–          The naysayers. It makes me feel cool to have some. So thanks.

–          My husband. I think perhaps I did thank him in my actual remarks, but not enough. I could never thank him enough for the depth and color and fun and completeness he has and does bring to my life. In my wildest notions I never thought I would get to work and live with my best friend every day, and I do. And I’m crazy in love with him through every second of it (even while I might happen to be snapping at him for how he empties the dishwasher…)

So, there you go. Looking over this, it isn’t much more coherent than whatever I might have said last night, but at least (I think) I didn’t leave anyone out. And if I did, please insert your name here _____, because seriously, today, I love everybody!