Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pictures from Picture Day

Hi, everyone!

Krystn here, posting some pics that Kraig sent me this morning. Sounds like they are having a great time. Picture taking was fun, but exhausting work. Melanie, of The Velvet Trunk,, and the make-up artist Holly, were great to work with. Kraig got to hold one of the lights all day, so was involved, too. He got some nice pix for us all to enjoy!

Last night, they went down to The Bluebird, a club, to hear an acoustic showcase, with a bunch of singer/songwriters. They loved it! Maybe one of them will post about who the folks were.

Today is THE DAY when The Long October Road begins to take shape with music. Sarah said that when she and Paul sat down the other night to put all the song in her keys, that it felt like putting on an old pair of jeans...easy, comfortable. This project is from her heart, in her words, now in her key...and now to be in the studio and recording in Nashville...well, it is truly an amazing day for her! Let's all pray God's grace like sunshine all over this project and all that they are doing down there this week!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hi All -

Well, our trip to Nashville is in full swing. Today, my brother, Kraig, and his son, Malachi, and I drove from Indianapolis to Nashville. We left home yesterday and spent Sunday night at the home of some dear friends of mine in the Indy area. It makes a great trip. Five hours one day, Five the next.

We arrived at our hotel mid-afternoon, ran to the mall - which is right next to the hotel (how absolutely perfect!) - to pick up a couple last minute items for the photo shoot tomorrow, then we went to my producer, Paul's house. As many of you know, Paul and I have spent the last few months writing the album "The Long October Road." This week, we begin to turn the concepts that birthed in our hearts into music. This is a very exciting part of the recording process. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I will have a photo shoot. We will be in the Franklin, TN area. My photographer's name is Melanie. I can't wait to meet her . . and the hair/make-up artist. They both sound like absolute sweethearts. We will go to several different locations and are really working toward a hip, artsy look. I'm excited. It is actually a LOT of work to get ready for an album cover photo shoot. It takes a ton of planning.

Then, on Wednesday and Thursday we will be in a big studio on 'music row' with the drummer, pianist, and guitar players. They will create the tracks that I will later lay my vocals to. The musicians who will play on my album are the very best of the best. It will be very exhilarating to listen as they bring our songs to life! We can't wait!

Tonight, at Paul's house, we ran through all the songs to make sure we have them in the right keys (notes/range) and just finalized our thoughts about them. Then we went out for a great dinner and dessert (Paul LOVES to eat! - that's a really fun part about this process - we eat out A LOT!!!!!!)

The next couple days we will have pictures to post and much to report . . . stay tuned! Blessings!

Oh, btw . . . yesterday was really hard . . . well, even today I bawled on the way here. Yesterday was so bitter with the knowledge that I was leaving home to continue on the road to fulfilling my lifelong dream . . . and my dear, sweet Chad was not there to send me off . . . or to come along with me.

Then today, I was asked to open for Selah in December, and I got news that the radio programmers are beginning to send word back to my radio promoter that they are LOVING "Christmas In Heaven!" They love it so much that one let Wendell - my promoter - know that she plans to start playing it before the Christmas season! She said she suspects it will be a 'hit.' Oh, that is such wonderful news - it is SO great . . . but, it is all because my beloved is dead.

None of this would be happening if Chad had not died. It is so heartbreaking! How do you celebrate when your heart is breaking. I would rather have Chad back than ANY of this!!!!!! I miss my beloved! I love you, Chad. I love you. GMML.

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24th –

Today, I miss my beloved. Where did he go? Sometimes I still just can’t believe that this is our life. Chad Michael – wherever you are, watching over us today . . . please know that my heart breaks not having you here. I miss you so very much. You were my very best friend. You completed me. You made me want to be the very best I could be . . . the best wife, the best mama, the best believer. You inspired me. Your memory lives on in our hearts. I hate that! I wish you lived on . . . but, alas, you do not. I cannot change what is . . .

I can only choose to continue to live the best life I can. Knowing . . . that you are watching. That you are cheering us on! Knowing that all that was good in you will continue to live on through us.

We choose to glorify God. We choose to live! We ARE going on! I wish it was with you by my side. But I do not have a say in this. Lord, may You get the glory!

Next week we will begin the recording of The Long October Road. This is an entire ‘work’ that comes straight from my heart. From deep within my heart. It is my journey through grief put into song. It will be raw, real, and true. Yet, it will also be uplifting, encouraging, and offer hope to others who walk this road called life.

My very favorite song is one called “My Beloved.” It is my heart sung to my husband. It is straight out of my journals. It is the story of a young widow grappling with her faith, the future that has been dealt her that she does not want, and the raw emotion of wondering where her beloved has gone. I leave you with part of the lyric of “My Beloved.”

Where are you, my beloved?
Do you realize just how much my heart is bleedin’?
Why did you, have to fly away?
And leave me here to pick up all of the pieces. . . .
Up here in the balcony
I’m listening to the choir sing
Don’t have it in me now to praise
So I’ll just put on my best face . . .

Monday, October 13, 2008

Honoring Chad, with love and Miah.

Well, this week marked the one year anniversary of Chad going Home to be with our Lord. It was a difficult week, but was drenched in the peace and power of our sweet Abba. I have been praying for quite some time now how we should mark such a difficult day. It is not so much about what I would like, but rather, what will mean the most to my sweet children. He was their daddy. They are so young. How do you honor such tragedy . . . yet display to them the hope that we have through Christ?

My prayers were answered, as God so clearly showed me exactly how to spend October 7th. In retrospect, I am very thankful that our day had structure from beginning to end. It really helped. We had lunch in our home for our closest family and friends (about 30) at 11:30. Just before lunch we each wrote Chad notes and attached them to balloons. Following lunch we had a time of dessert and our head pastor, Joel Stocker, and his wife, Donna, joined us for a time of ministry from the word. Pastor Joel is an amazing communicator, but more than that, he is a pray-er! He prayed about what he should share with our family, and it was just perfect.

He shared with us out of the Word that Chad’s passing was a result of a ‘finite body’s failure.’ We have grappled all year with the question, “who do you blame this on?” Did the enemy win? Did God ‘take him’ home? Somewhere in all of this IS God’s plan, but Chad died because his earthly body gave out on him. Period. Joel also shared with my children that in Hebrews 12 it tells us that we have a ‘great cloud of witnesses,’ and that their daddy is alive in Heaven and is part of that ‘great cloud.’ He told them that their daddy is the biggest cheerleader they could ever have, and to always ask the question, “what would my daddy be cheering me on to be and do?”

After the time of ministry, Pastor Joel and Donna left to be a part of the most exciting part of the day… we’ll get to that. The rest of us took the balloons and went to the cemetery. We had been informed by the police department that the headstone had been put in place on Monday . . . it was so exciting to finally see Chad honored in this beautiful piece of art. What a treat that it was there for our graveside celebration.

As a side note . . . I had not known what to expect from the police department. You know, Chad wasn’t their beloved . . . their husband or father. So, I didn’t know if they would remember. But, they did! And very beautifully! The night shift placed flowers on his grave at 1:11 a.m (that’s how they knew the stone had been delivered,) and at 1:11 in the afternoon they had a minute of silence over their radios. Chad’s badge # was 111. What a beautiful way to honor him. Thank you, Midland Police Department! Thank you! You touched us all. Thank you for remembering us! Thank you for the flowers, driving by his grave all day, and for honoring him! You are appreciated.

Well, back to the cemetery. . . it was a warm, sunny day. We took pictures at his grave, and took all the balloons out into the open space nearby to release them into the big, blue sky. One of the balloons got lost . . . how appropriate. . .as Chad got lost everywhere he went J!

Once back home, I gathered everyone in the living room and told the children that last year Pastor Joel brought them some very bad news (he was the one who told the kids that Chad had passed away,) and that this year I had asked Pastor Joel and Miss Donna to bring them some very good news! I told the kids that in Jeremiah 29:11 God promises us that He has good plans for us . . . plans to give us hope, and a future, and that this good news is a part of our hope and our future. Right then Joel and Donna came in with our new puppy cradled in their arms! My kids were absolutely speechless. Abbi’s eyes filled with tears and she said, “Mama, is this really for us . . . to keep?” Chad and I had always told them NO dogs! They are too much work! Well, as I prayed about October 7th, I just knew that this was what was supposed to happen. My new friend, Marni, helped me with the search to find our sweet little girl, Miah, for JereMIAH 29:11. She is a chocolate brown Standard Poodle. She is very mild mannered and calm. She hasn’t mastered the art of “potty outside,” but is only 11 weeks old and I’ve been told they don’t figure the pottying out until around 16 weeks. Yikes . . That’s five more weeks of constant vigilance! Oh well, it is worth it to see the joy on my children’s faces! Little Miah was the perfect ending to the day! Thank you, Jesus, for your continued guidance as we walk out this life we have been given.