No Way, No How, No Win

Our last evening here; going home WAY too soon, it seems.

We watched the Democratic National Convention. I’m trying to educate these kids in the political process. See Mark Warner in the background?

We played Scrabble. I have always been the Scrabble Queen.

My eldest son – the one with his tongue hanging out – trashed me. Thirty-one points for ‘Oz’ on a triple word score. I was thinking, “No way! It’s a proper noun!”

But what the heck. Everything changes. I guess I could let him win.

And he did. Thrashed us all.

So it goes.

Final Summer Fling

We’ve been coming to Emerald Isle for as many years as I can remember. At some point, we created a tradition that has endured: The Bridge Song.

Here’s the deal. When you cross the bridge from the mainland to the island, you have to be singing. Loudly. Windows down, speakers cranked. And it can’t just be any song – no, it has to be carefully selected as a tune that will mark the summer season.

Last year (or maybe two years ago?) I remember crossing the bridge rocking out to Big Girls You Are Beautiful by Mika. It was a hoot.

This year, about halfway down, somebody announced that they knew what our song would be for this trip. No question, no argument.

It was “Burnin’ Up” by the Jonas Brothers.

So, when we hit the bridge, the singing commenced. Check out Daniel’s ever-so-groovy Diet Pepsi microphone.

If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll notice the grass and the trees outside the window. Obviously, we weren’t on the bridge at this point.

But we were singing.

Once we got here, we ran to the beach. Right away. Instantly. Even though David had to go to the bathroom somewhat desperately. It’s another tradition – beach first. Say hello to the ocean.

Sarah had her camera, of course, and began snapping shots in the early evening light. Here are a few:

Me and my baby girls…

I actually took this one…I love how the girls are looking one way and the boys headed another…

David is not a big fan of salt water. His preference has been to ride his bike..

Kicked off sandals…a great picture of the final days of summer…

Life Itself

I’m at my favorite place in the world, seeking a little peace and quiet and doing a little self-care with my favorite people in the world (see below). Conditions are perfect for peace, quiet and self-care; not too many folks here right now. Lots of room to move, lots of blue skies and perfect weather.

Currently, I’m reading Gifted To Lead: The Art of Leading As A Woman In the Church by Nancy Beach. I picked this up in June and dug into it last week. I expected it to be good, but I’m finding it beyond simply good. It’s stunning, inspiring and spiritually challenging.

By the way – women? Read this book.

Here’s something I read today that has been twirling in my heart for the past few hours; she quotes Frederick Buechner from Now and Then:

“There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize, but all the more fascinatingly because of all that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly… Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.


Life itself is grace.

Just chew on that for a while.

Then I read Robyn’s blog – “3 Girls Mom”; writing about her experience at a Beth Moore teaching conference, she had this to say:

“I also learned that EVERYTHING in my life (good or bad) has been allowed by God for the sole purpose of glorifying Him. And if I don’t use those life experiences (good and bad) to glorify Him, then they were all in vain. Think about that the next time you want to throw yourself a pity party.

God is reminding me today of a few very important things. I find them mind-boggling, heart-wrenching, and spirit-renewing.

And that’s a very good thing.

Oh, and my favorite people in the world? Here they are:

PCC Blogomania!

Over there on the right you’ll see a little link love; I’ve gathered the collective PCC bloggers into one place and made a nice little box for you all to live in.

If you want a place on the roll, let me know. If you’d rather not be there, let me know. I’m thinking we’re all starting to connect in ways that we couldn’t have imagined even five years ago. Social networking has the potential to impact relationships and ministry in powerful ways.

So there you go…you can catch a little glimpse into the lives of the people around you. You can pray for them, encourage them, get to know them a bit.

And occasionally, you gotta comment and let ’em know you were there.

Peeping Toms

I’m not too into blog numbers; I know of other bloggers who are way past their millionth hit. I really don’t care too much about the numbers….

However, I’m fascinated by who is actually lurking around. I do look at Sitemeter once every week or so, out of curiosity.

Lately, there’s an uptick in Richmond/Powhatan/Midlothian folks, probably because I’m writing more on the church blog and telling a few more people about this blog. Plus, lots of my friends in the area are blogging now, and our reading circles are broadening. I do recognize some towns and know EXACTLY who they represent – hello, Ringgold Georgia!!! Howdy, Newark, Ohio!!! I know who you are!!!

But I see other locations that are more mysterious – towns where I know some people, but I’m not exactly who might be lurking around my blog. Several hits from our old hometown come in on a daily basis, but I’m not really sure who it is. I’m dying to know who keeps checking in from Harrisonburg.

It’s a little creepy. It’s hard not to wonder.

Yesterday I talked to somebody who said, “I’ve been stalking you on your blog.” She is actually a very nice individual – it doesn’t bother me a bit that she’s been reading – but it’s a bit weird, to know that people are peeking in my windows on a regular basis.

But there you go. It’s life in this era, I guess. And the choice I make each time I hit the “publish” button.

So, hello to those of you who are lurking about.


Hope you have a great day!

Image from

Sarah’s First Gig

I hugged Sarah this afternoon, as we were finally ready to leave the house – after wardrobe decisions, last minute rehearsals to check harmonies and general whoot whoot excitement. I told her that I was proud of her, that I knew she was going to do a great job and have a good time.

She said, “Mom, I’m living your dream.”

“No,” I said. “I got my dream. This one is yours.”

I did the bar/club/steakhouse circuit in college. We laugh now as we remember the gig at K-Bob’s steakhouse, right behind the buffet line…the weekly Sunday brunch gig at the Lubbock Holiday Inn (where I learned to appreciate eggs benedict, since I got to eat for free). I’ve closed down enough bars, singing choruses of Cyndi Lauper tunes and other 80’s gems. Been there, done that. Happy where I am now.

It’s Sarah’s turn, and she’s doing it with a different twist. Most of her stuff is original. She churns out song after song, fueled by whatever is going on around her in the lives of her friends and her family. It’s like therapy for her, and it’s powerful for those of us who listen.

And it’s good music.

She played at Common Groundz Coffee House in Richmond, in the middle of all of the freshmen moving into their dorms at VCU. Lots of traffic, lots of faces on the street. And there was my girl, a young woman singing her songs for about 30 of her friends and other assorted customers who came in to get coffee and dinner.

She did really, really well. And she had a great time.

And I only teared up once….

An assortment of her fans…rapt with attention, live blogging (that’s Shannon), taking pictures (that’s Syd…)


That’s Travis – Shannon’s boyfriend – who played two songs with Sarah, one of which was a great little tune that she wrote ABOUT Travis and Shannon’s relationship. It was a comedic moment, especially when she mentioned his ‘brown sugar skin’ and Shannon’s peculiar habit of snorting when she laughs…

Sister moment…Syd and Shannon joined her for one of the tunes she wrote, adding some exquisite harmony. Of course, they sing like sisters, which is to say that they have a natural blend that is phenomenal. They worked hard on the harmonies and I was really, really proud of them all. It sounded great. Jonas Brothers, here we come!!!

Number one fan – my mom! She said that she and dad did this so many times for my brother and I, as we traipsed around performing in various venues. She never thought she’d be going to see her granddaughter on the stage, too! She also never knew her granddaughter was so talented…

An Interesting Perspective On Our Family…

I’m really honored by my friend Kelley’s most recent post – and amused, as well. It’s fascinating to see yourself through somebody else’s eyes.

She spent a few hours with us last night and her experience prompted an interesting retrospective. With pictures.

Take a look. Click here.

And, by the way, she also documents her God experiences with amazing clarity and joy. She’s the same in person and in print. I really love this girl…

Sunday Setlist

Per Fred McKinnon’s ginormous influence on the universe, I’m changing the ‘Worship Confessional’ tag to ‘Sunday Setlist’.

Whatever we call it, here’s the recap of yesterday’s service, which was called ‘You’ve Got to Get Some Rest’. Week 145 in the Big Stories of the Bible summer series.

Okay, not 145…but we’re winding down.

Anyway, here you go:

Praise Your Name – Todd Fields Great, energetic opener. Cool guitar parts.
Enough – Chris Tomlin/Louie Giglio We pulled from the Barlow Girl version but pushed it really hard. In the past, we’ve programmed this song to be more contemplative, but yesterday we tried to rock it, make it more of a declaration.
Lord You Have My Heart – Martin Smith/Delirious Great song – haven’t done it here before, so it was nice to pull it out. I love the syncopation of the verse melody contrasted with the “I will praise You, Lord/I will sing of love come down” in the chorus.
Nobody There But Me – Bruce Hornsby GREAT song for independence/accountability/responsibility. We used it to point towards the fact that every individual is responsible for their spiritual life – including the fact that you have to make room for rest. We didn’t belabor the point – we just did the song, but I think it worked. Had a new sax player who did a great job with the tune; very bluesy, in three, worked great.
VIDEO – KEVIN’S DAY OFF – We produced this in house and I hope to have it here soon for you to see. It was one of the best pieces we’ve ever produced. We followed Kevin (yesterday’s teaching pastor) to Richmond and got shots of him tooling around the city on a Segway. As the short clip ended and the lights came up, Kevin rolled up to the stage on the Segway. Then he preached. It was pretty cool.
Rest – Big Daddy Weave We closed with this tune, which was challenging first service, because I set the introduction in halftime and proceeded to lead the entire tune the same way. Our vocalist had every right to kill me, but he muddled through, improvised and we got through it. Second service was better. I love it when God keeps me humble.

As we dismissed folks, we drew a name from the welcome cards and gave away a half-day guided tour of the city – on Segways – courtesy of the fine folks at Segway of Richmond. Those things are way cool. They set up in the parking lot and gave free demo rides to any and all who wanted one in between services.

It was a cool day.

I’m playing ‘Sunday Setlist’ with other worship leaders – you can see who else is participating here.