Tag: concerts

Frustrated in the Flying J at midnight sense…

We’re on the way home from another whirlwind 2 days. We stopped at the Flying J in Somewhere, Indiana – you know the place, and I think it was Indiana, and for those of you who don’t ride around in diesel-sucking vehicles, Flying J is a place to gas up, empty, fill, and if you are so inclined, buy DVDs from 1983, bananas, and/or Chinese food. Caught up?

Anyway, I wanted some coffee and frankly, after 48 hours or so of nonstop crazy, didn’t feel like making it, and didn’t want to risk waking my sweet little minions, who tend to sleep like the concussed to the roar of the engines and the general highway noise, but will stir and scream if they hear, say, a drawer closing.

I was a wee nervous about going inside by myself at midnightish, but mostly because I was without lipstick and, God help us, wearing sports sandals and socks (In the bus, no one can see your feet). There was hardly anyone in there so my nerves were wasted. Well, except I couldn’t get the lid on the coffee cup and the guy in front of me in line had a SCREAMING & SWEARING fit about filling out the refund paperwork for a cup of coffee he didn’t actually buy (the poor cashier saw his travel mug on the counter & assumed it was full).

My nerves are really quite all over the place and… nervy.. right now. And now I am sitting on the bus in the quiet at 1am, reading blogs and filling in the gaps of my newest project and wondering what my problem is.

Definitely, Miranda is going through a behavioral… trial right now. It happened at almost this same time last year. She tests every boundary. She flat out ignores instruction. She screams and hits when ‘provoked’ in her mind. She is demanding and controlling and impatient and has to have everything a certain way and reminds me of someone.

Kaity is at a challenging age. She is a typical 18 month old. She is smart and happy and wants to explore everything. She climbs and runs and looks at you with a golden halo and big smile no matter what she gets caught doing.

The last two days on the bus with them, with 2 concerts and lots of driving, was Challenging. There was ink on the church pew and popcorn on the theatre floor (concert hall, not a movie), spilled things on the bus – many spilled things, tantrums, a lack of fresh air.

We have a big week next week with NQC and the first issue of SGN Scoops coming out. Even though we said we were going to relax and chill and refresh after Branson, I feel almost as tense now as I did then.

But tonight I was chatting with a friend of mine and she said something really simple like, “We need to have FUN [next week in Louisville].”

Well, duh? What is my problem?

Is this a symptom of being self-employed? Generation X? Mother of young children? Artistic? Former Catholic (except I was, you know, 4 when we left that church)? WHAT is it? Why am I always so worried about Getting Things Done?

The other day, we were getting ready to go somewhere, and Miranda said, “I have to get my things together.” REALLY? She’s not even three. And yet, I have taught her that a playdate requires three bags worth of junk… snacks that need to be prepared and not just pulled out of a Nabisco box, an iTunes playlist for a 20 minute car ride, extra milk.For crying out loud, the kid hasn’t had an accident since her first 2 weeks of being potty trained and I’m still carrying around 2 extra pairs of underpants in my purse.

What the heck?

I asked God tonight as I was crying into the bus closet, trying to jam the broom back in after fleeing the 2nd half of the concert, sweeping up Doritos and Little Debbies, and making my children spend time without Elmo on, ‘WHAT do you WANT me to DO?’

I bet He laughed.

Isn’t it obvious? Take care of the kids. Take care of the family. Take care of the ministry.

And take care being open to interpretation, maybe somewhere in there is also a ‘Calm the heck down.’

I don’t know if Scoops is going to get 20k downloads in its first month.

I don’t know if Miranda will get into the dance class since I’ve waited so long to register.

I don’t know if Branson GMC will sell out in its second year.

I don’t know what kind of medical insurance we will have in June, or where we’ll be living a year from now.

I don’t know how the first Moms and More meeting will go if I don’t have the photo directory finished.

I don’t know how else to gain Twitter followers or why I care.

I know that today, a lot of people I know were mourning a lot of stuff that is more sad and more serious than any of the poop taking residence in my head and making me crazy.

Rod just pulled over. Were an hour from home, still, but we’re done for the night. I know that I have two little people to snuggle with and a tired driver who is trying to give moral support to his Flying J nutso wife. God bless him.

The gazebo in Steger

I lived in South Chicago Heights, but Steger is where I grew up. It’s where the schools were, the library, the Dari Whip were. It’s where all my first jobs were (for the record: Marvell Bakery, Dari Whip, Scott’s U-Save) and my first apartment. It’s where most of my friends lived.

Now, it’s where some of our parents still live, where my 3 late grandparents are buried, where I stroll down memory lane to point out landmarks both humorous and sad.

I grew up there for better and worse, and lots of kids are still there, growing in the same way. The face of Steger hasn’t changed much. There are businesses closed a and changed. The junior high is all different. There’s still a lack of glamour, but there is also still a sense of pride.

… “this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community.” – George Bailey

Growing up in the area, I always felt a little like the rabble. Now when I go back, and it’s only 15 minutes from the supposedly more ‘white collar’ area where I live now, I am grateful it’s where my roots are. I would not trade them.

I was touched, proud today to show Steger in this light to Rod and our babies, and I was happy to show Rod as Minister to the faithful and passionate people who came for the Steger Day of Prayer.

The gazebo, where you can barely see Rod singing, is on Halsted Blvd. & Steger Road, one of the prettiest places in town, and where I always wanted to have my wedding!

Greatness & gratefulness

Last night in the concert, one of my favorite praise songs was sung… “You are great, You do miracles so great, there is no one else like You…”

It will never get old for me to hear a song like that while sitting in the prescence of my 2 miracles… the babies I supposedly couldn’t have.

So many sad things happened this week, and so many of those things to parents. I know God is trying to teach me so much from these things, and one of them, the hardest and most important, is that these are my miracles, but these children are just on loan to me. So now when they hug me, I still feel a desperate pull… but that desperation is turning from the one to hold on to them to one to show them everything I am supposed to… not just love, but the light of Jesus.

All that said, this has been a great week for our family. It was nice for Rod and me to get away from some of the stress at home (and the weather!) and to bond, catch up, play a little. The babies have had a fun time too and are growing, growing. I also feel very grateful that when we return from a trip like this, exhausted and behind on everything, I have a core of friendship and support to return to… my mom (& dad!), our oldest daughter (& our son – I’m kind of focused on the females, here…), my fantabulous girlfriends (can’t wait, Jen!), my babysitter Brett, and my Mom’s & More Group. These are people who know that during our travel months, I can’t always give things the ‘Martha Stewart’ treatment, and they take me as I am. I cherish them.

Meanwhile, I am taking a moment… Rod is already inside the convention, Kaity is sleeping, Miranda is “resting,” and I am having coffee, sort of catching up on my neglected Branson GMC work, trying to cover up the diesel smell (surrounded by busses) with a vanilla candle, but leaving the music off because the sound of all these generators has become sweet to me.

I wanted to count a few of the fun/happy/sort-of-victorious things that have happened to us this week, remembering to be grateful to the Giver of all good things:

– Miranda had her first scraped knees today (playing on the concrete in her tutu). She barely cried and has been kissing them. That’s my girl… not a victim!

– Rod learned how to make coffee!

– Kaity is taking more and more steps. I think she will be a full-time walker soon. (Walker, Kaity Ranger) She has also learned to fold her hands when it is time to pray. Yay, Kay-kay!

– Josh was accepted into University of Illinois Chicago. While we know the road to attending college still has a few miles, we are really proud of and happy for this accomplishment. We trust Josh is soon going to grow into a strong and successful man of God.

– Paige has done a great job taking care of the household for us. How many freshmen are this capable? She makes my heart smile.

– We The Foursome have had wonderful times playing outside during the day, staying up too late, sleeping in, cuddling together in the mornings, and watching, ahem, Little House on the Prairie. I got burned out on that show the summer I was preggers with Randa (it was on SEVEN times a day, and I tended to catch most of those… it was before I got addicted to reruns of 90210 and The Practice…) Anyway, it is fun to connect alone with our little ones sometimes. It’s hard to believe in a few years Paige will be off to college, too, and we’ll be this oddly normal ‘family of four’ (well, I hope more…) at home.

– We have connected with so many great friends here at Southern Gospel Music Fan Fair. It amazes me how many people I have come to know in the three years of hitting the road with Rod. I always love meeting in person folks who I had only previously met online or in some cases, heard on the radio or something. Branson GMC is connecting us to a lot more people, too. My favorite meetings last night: Wayne Shirey, who was looking around for Kelly Burton and asked Rod if that was his brother :) It was nice to be mistaken for something other than Rod’s daughter for a change! Anyway, sweet Mr. Shirey thought it might have been Rod’s brother who is “behind Branson.” Hee-hee. It’s funy & a little scary how synonymous we’re becoming with “Branson.” I haven’t even visited there yet!

Another great meeting for me last night was with Dot and Nan, two wonderful women who work for Kirk Talley, and getting to hear Kirk himself minister in song. He wrote “He is Here,” which has long been one of my favorite worship songs, and he also has a testimony of God’s grace and redemption that touches me in a very personal way. I spoke briefly with him afterwards and gave him a hug, and Rod was proud of me for not blubbering all over him. I probably would have, but I kept the babies at the concert until almost midnight so I could hear him, and by the time he was done, their victory had long been lost.

I love being a Yankee in the Southern Gospel family… and I love being married to a man who is giving his gift (strong, awesome voice) to the Lord as completely as he can. Thanks for this week, Rod… thanks for keeping us safe, God… and thanks to all those who make home so nice for the returning!

ok, so maybe every other day

We made it through Friday incident-free. It took us about 3 hours, WITH my dad watching the kids, to load the bus. Once on the road, it took me about an hour to put everything away. Yes… a singer, his wife, a teenager, and two babies living in 400 square feet for 10 days. Just imagine.

Rod’s concert was at a great church that holds Friday night singings in the basement, complete with dinner and an open mic time. These are great venues for loud toddlers, and dare I say, talkative senior citizens. I am really protective of my attention when Rod is singing. Like, if Miranda gets hungry, I’d feed her a dust bunny just to keep her quiet (c’mon!). But there was a sweet, scripture-minded lady there that found me and wanted to talk. All night. Well… at least I will get to hear “Walking in the Light” a few times at NQC.

We drove toward Richmond, KY until we were about to pass out (meanwhile, it took Kaity and Miranda FOREVER to reach their sleep points). We spent today with a small Burton family reunion here in Richmond. I was forced to eat carb-laden, buttery, fatty, sugary foods until I could have rolled off to happy land. Then I was forced to leave the babies with Rod, Paige, and the Aunts while I went with cousin Mindy to get a mani/pedi. Yep. Awful day :)

Tomorrow we head to Friche’s for a Big Boy, Walmart Supercenter for just about everything, then to the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center to set up our booth. NQC, here we come!

Lessons learned (well, reviewed) whilst bringing back the bus

We pulled in from our trip around 9pm this past Sunday night.

We cautiously unloaded the bus and checked out the house (Josh had stayed behind and been warned about the Neatness Factor).

Between the home on wheels and home “sweet” Homewood, there were no floods, giant spills, puke-related incidents, fires, needs for towing service, or, ahem, forgotten clothes. We cautiously asked ourselves and each other, “Did that just happen?”

I don’t know if that means we are getting the hang of things or if it was just our turn to have an incident-free road trip. I wouldn’t mind the latter, but I hope (and trust) it’s a bit of the former.

So instead of insight into a mishap, or collection of them on the road, I bring you this weekend’s poignant, though slightly less dramatic, Lessons Learned.

I told it first to Rod last night. One of my favorite – and simultaneously least favorite – aspects of our trips is Bringing Back The Bus. See, we have to park it in a lot about 25 minutes away. So after a Sunday of set-up, ministry, take-down, driving, and unloading, we get Miranda to bed (provided Josh or Paige are home), either load up Kaity or leave her with the older kids (last night, she stayed home), and we make the drive. During this time, we talk about the weekend’s events and try to decompress and plan for the coming week.

This weekend was easier than usual. It was a short trip, it was in familiar surroundings, and again, Murphy’s law seemed not to be in effect. There were, however, some new things happening. (more…)