Tag: branson gmc


About 150 or so people told me last week that we should take a few weeks off, beginning this week.

That’s been the plan, but you know about plans.

Today I tried to do ‘leisure.’ I had my sweey babysitter Brett here for 6 hours. I left the house armed with a 1-year-old massage gift certificate, a new book that’s been waiting in my room so long Miranda has torn pages out of it, and a flexible lunch date with my BFF.

I was running late to my massage. Counterproductivity at its finest. I needed to drop off the materials from my hospital teaching job that ended in May. It’s a journey from the parking lot to HR, and then I had to wait ten minutes to have the director accept the bag of books and elude that my services probably won’t be needed in the fall. I will miss that lovely 3 hour, $50 a week excuse to dress up and be teacher-ly.

Anyway, once I got to the spa, the massage was… well, the Mario Tricoci Signature massage is clearly what God made on the eighth day. There was a lot of heat involved. I happily did not fall alseep, and I laughed at the end when Calie the Therapist told me, ‘You are super-tight. You should try to do this once a month.’ I almost hugged the receptionist when she told me that my other gift certificate, given to me for my baby shower in 2006, would still be honored. Maybe I can do once a month for two months, anyway!

After lunch with Jen, I went to the mall. I thought this would be fun because I cannot remember last going to the mall without Miranda and Kaykay. Turns out, they have ruined the mall for me. It was no fun without them. I returned a skirt and went on a mini-spree for them at the Disney Store ($2 Princess flip-flops, anyone?). Then I got a chai latte and sat with my book at the fountain for 2 minutes and decided that the mall is 1) noisy and therefore not relaxing, and 2) a place to go with my kids in the middle of winter, not a place for a decent July day. Also, my feet hate me right now, and walking around is unpleasant to say the least.

My options for my last hour were to find an outdoor, quiet place to read or to go to Target and get all the grocercies I forgot to get on Monday. Guess which activity won?

The thing is, I don’t know how to be leisurely for too long. My head is buzzing with a brand-new to-do list from Branson GMC 2010, for things I want to write, for home stuff we need to get done. My heart is some where else, in the very recent past of last week.

What do you do after returning home from something that changed your life? I am pooped out yet raring to go. I am filled with words yet don’t know what to say. I am holding on and letting go. We have no idea what is coming next in our lives, only that we are ready to sell out to God and whatever He holds for our future.


I have so many things to say, stories to tell, memories to capture. To say Branson GMC was ‘worth it all’ would be such an understatement. To say it changed my life and perspective forever might begin to touch it. We are on our way home now, tired, overflowing, emotional, excited. The thing about working for God is that the work is never done. The other thing about it? We’re never alone in it.

To all we met and shared and reunited with this week, you have become forever engraved on our hearts. For all who supported us with words and hugs and food and prayers and time and especially your music Ministries, we thank our Lord for you. Can’t wait for our next ‘Hallelujah Meeting.’

To our friends and family at home, we have so much to testify to when we return. Thank you for sending your prayers and love with us.



There is a song by Diamond Rio that is fun & catchy, but once again, I didn’t quite get it until I had the babies. More on that later.

Today… well, today was frought with wrinkles. Wrinkles! I had it all figured out, and it all got messy. My dad came over this morning to watch the girls, because the Branson line has been so busy the last few mornings and usually my sitter comes later. So, everyone is happy, but the phone is quiet. No ticket sales. Gah.

When the phone did start ringing, little of it was good. We had 3… THREE… exhibitors for the convention cancel today. It was all for unavoidable reasons… 2 for health, 1 for financial. What can be done? The immediate reaction I had was defeat. We want everyone to come. We know it’s going to be a great time. We know ‘it will be worth it all.’ But again.. not much we can do. The other reaction? Well, this created holes in the schedule, holes in the floor plan, all of which must be addressed on paper and in Real Life (that’s for you, Josh!).

I was busy setting up radio interviews (because I *am* a Z-list celeb, you know) and making slides with all the group names & booth numbers (another task that was to be cared for my our former #shadybusinesspartner, but alas and alack… a big fat lack!)… I stopped and started trying to fix this stuff. I have terrible adult-onset-ADD. I really struggle with finishing one task before starting another, and usually it all gets juggled, but occasionally, the result is a typoo or some dumb thing I end up forgetting. I tried to focus. (No, I didn’t do that on purpose, but I’m leaving it there…).

Then the phone rang again, and it was Paige (my afternoon sitter). She was doing some chour work at school and got sick.. like, puke sick, and needed a ride. I went to pick her up and nearly had to throw her out of the car twice on the way home. I think puke in the car might have been the end of all things for me today. Love you, Paige. (It was a migraine; she is feeling better).

I scrambled to smooth the wrinkles. I scrambled to find a sitter because, well, I had to go run a bank errand and I *had* to get my hair ‘done’ today. (I consider this a work task. Have YOU ever seen a Southern Gospel female with her hair not done?). Luckily, Kirsten was able to come over for awhile and before I even left, Paige was feeling well enough to help, too.

Oh, and my hair looks bloody fantastic.

I planned to cook one of our favorites for dinner, spaghetti carbonara. We;ve been eating junk all week  and next week doesn’t look much more promising, so I got Rod to settle the madness of the little ones (Miranda’s 2nd day in a row of no nap, Kaity is swan-diving into ‘I want Mommy all the time’ phase, which, in 2 weeks, I am so going to oblige). Then I started gathering my ingredients and.. no garlic in the house.

Carbonara REQUIRES garlic. Another wrinkle.

I really did not want to drag the kids into a restaurant. They were tired and that ingredient is one that leads to disaster. So, in true Mother of the Year fashion, I set them in front of Snow White (on VHS!) and vacummed, because the filthy house is a wrinkle I don’t even want to think about right now. Rod and I decided a trip down the street to Burrito Station – quick and easy and somewhat decent – was in order.

Kaity screamed until the food was served. Then she did two things: flung cheese and lettuce everywhere and repeatedly dipped her little hands in her salsa and the tomato sauce on my enchilada; essentially, tomato sauce was her dinner. Miranda was switching between eating a quesadilla and trying to lay on Paige’s lap.

When it was time to leave, they were both screaming for shoes, baba, Mama. My Tweet from that ride home: It’s like being in an asylum sometimes. It So Is.

We got the darlings in the bathtub, which was good until Kaity started screaming again. She was so tired with red eyes and a general pout. I got her out as soon as Rod was done ‘gently’ rinsing her, swaddled her in her hooded-Disney Princess towel, and held her in front of the mirror so we could both admire ‘the baaaaybeee.’

When I began to lotion and diaper her on the bed, I noticed the wrinkles covering the bottom of her feet and began to sing the song that has become a familiar one during after-bath time (even more prominent than my past hit, ‘My Towel,’ sung to the tune of Montgomery Gentry’s ‘My Town.’ Alternative lyrics – it’s a gift I have.) In a moment, Rod and I switched and I began singing the song to Miranda, who gave me that look that could win her the Disney castle, the one that says, “Mommy, what you are doing is amazing. You are a skinny, supersmart ROCK STAR!’

We’re settling down now… Rod and I, working across from one another at our Ikea double work station. It’s all we’ve done in the evening hours for most of the past 2 months. It’s made me insane, and made me feel like myself again, my pre-family-of-my-own, kick-butt-take-names-project-manager self. I love what the convention has grown into. I love that for some reason, God chose to use us in this time and place for this reason. I love that my best friend and partner in life is the partner in my new career.

And wrinkles and victories taken into account, I love that in just over a week, it will be over, and we’ll have wonderful memories of it to keep us company while we’re swinging on the front porch or riding our bikes after dinnertime (before we start all over again!)

As I get a little older, I’m startin’ to get a few
And I’m sure I gave Mom and Dad at least one or two
We’re all gonna have ‘ em, there ain’t no doubt
But those wrinkles in life ain’t nothin’ you can’t iron out…
Those wrinkles ain’t nothin’ to be scared of
They’re just a product of time and true love
Some are gonna come and go
Some are gonna come and stay
I still feel young, I’m gonna be ok

-w. by Neil Thrasher & Ronny Scaife

Top 12 Things I Will Do A.B.*

12. Become less familiar with the personal lives of the Homewood post office staff.

11. Sing the soundtrack to ‘Sound of Music’ at the top of my lungs with Kaity and Miranda while pushing them on the swings, whilst strangers in the park look at us funny… more often.

10. Stop checking my texts and emails every 5 minutes. Oh.. who are we kidding? I do plan to put all the devices away for at least a few days… Except the Tivo. I need to get reacquainted with that.

9 . Go to the Lincoln Park zoo with my people. Visit my Gramma. Reinstate Friday night date night once or twice a month (listening, Mom? kTHANKS!) & reinstate Monday night girls’ night with my BFF. (Yay Jen! Thanks Rod!)

8.Catch up on Entertainment Weekly, and new books by Jen Lancaster, Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner (woot!) and go see Harry 6, and… vacuum and stuff. Oh, and enroll Paige in driver’s ed!

7. Start getting ready for NQC!

6. Consider hunting down all who sought to steal, kill, and destroy. As Drago says to Rocky, ‘You will lose!’

5. Use the daylight after dinner to take walks, ride bikes,run in the sprinkler, go for ice cream.. anything but rush the kids to bed while the sun is still out so we can work!

4. Find the surface of my desk, office floor, kitchen counter, etc. so I can make room for work on Moms & More 2009 and BRANSON GMC 2010 ! (add to this: find a new sitter :(

3. Finally put some WD-40 on that noisy packing tape. It sounds like the gates of hell opening in the beginning of the Stryper song. I’m not even kidding.

2. Reinstate healthy food, organic milk, homemade bread, daily runs! Stop buying bulk sale frozen pizzas.

1. Tell everyone I can about all the wonderful things GOD has done through us, to us, in us, around us during these last nine months.

**After Branson. Where’ve you been?


I am pretty sure the only other time I have felt the way I did today was when I was waiting for Rod to come home on April 12, 2006, so that we could take a pregnancy test that ended up confirming that Infertile Kelly was going to have a Miranda!

Hm. Not sure that makes sense. Oh well.

We were facing a trial today, a decision that could make or break 8+ months of work and sacrifice for our family and others. Well, we thought we were. Rod had a call scheduled for 2pm to discuss it, and the discussion was a non-event. The decision had already been made. The meeting had already taken place. And the prayer that we’d claimed had already been answered.

I have NO idea, really, WHY it is we who are ‘doing’ the Branson Gospel Music Convention. I have never even BEEN to Branson (though now we’re going Sunday…). I have a degree in English Education and a background in IS Project Management. I quit my teaching job to be a stay-at-home Mommy. And as the line goes, SG friends, up until this year I thought Wendy Bagwell was a woman.

This is so NOT our thing. It is God’s. And I know that more than ever because in the last weeks we have had the whole thing almost turned upside because someone we trusted and loved turned out not to be who we believed and had done a lot of things to make it impossible. But what men (and by that, I mean any one of us) mean for evil, God means for good.

My WHOLE LIFE is a testimony to that.

I have already gained so much through the process of planning for Branson… understanding, job skills, kinship with the post office, amazing friendships. After today, which I spent working but also praying, listening to gospel music, and fasting (which Nacho Queen has NEVER done before), I am expecting much more than a convention, much more than what we’ve planned and expected. I am expecting a revival. And I say: bring it, Lord!

We still have a lot of work to fill the next 2.5 weeks and a lot of tickets to sell, but suddenly the load already seems lighter. Rod sings a song called ‘Victory’s Coming,’ and today I feel like it’s already here.