Thursday, September 29, 2011

Live Forever: Drew and Ellie Holcomb

Take Courage.

It will give you goosebumps. 
And make you love your own family more...

When the Drew and Ellie Holcomb perform, they hang out with you 
and become you're friends.  
Emily and her friends with Drew and Ellie at Oklahoma State.

A little about the song from Drew...
Live Forever is my favorite song I have ever written. Its a song of joy, a song of sorrow, a song of longing, a song of journeying. I wrote it as a letter to my neices and nephew, who stole my heart a long time ago. I wrote it from the purest part of my soul, without a single thought to its commercial viability or whether or not my fans would like it. I wrote it for them, and for me. I wrote it at a time over 2 years ago when I thought my career as a touring musician was coming to a close, which I was obviously dead wrong about. It's ironic to me how this song, written from that place in my heart, has become the most downloaded, most requested, most used on TV shows, and our most popular song on tour. I have been honored by many people's stories of how this song has touched their lives. A mother who heard it on Parenthood and wrote me how she made it her anthem for her newborn son. Numerous friends and emails and letters of the song bringing comfort in a time of loss. We hear weekly and sometimes daily of the way this song has reached into some part of people's stories. This is the height of success for me as a songwriter.
I could not be more honored.
I have always wanted to make a music video for this song, but found it difficult to put on film the emotion the song has for me. I finally decided that the only way to do it was to incorporate my family, the very ones I wrote the song for. We gathered in Memphis, my hometown, to film us doing what we love; laughing, eating, and enjoying each other's company in places where we have a deep history. The Hi Tone Cafe. Central BBQ. My Uncle's Farm, and my Great Grandfathers 1942 Jeep, still in my father's possession. My neices and nephew steal the showwith their innocence, their joy, and their courage.
Thank you for watching.

These sweet folks are the real deal...explore their songs on ITunes,
it will bless your heart!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Precious Photo Playing Cards for the Ones You Love.

My friend, Amy Weber, gave these adorable cards for Christmas gifts last year...

Can you imagine the THRILL that your parents would get if you gave them these??
Their bridge games would suddenly become an opportunity to BRAG!
Find them HERE at Shutterfly.
This is something you have to plan ahead for, so why not start now?

They would also be great for....
Someone in the hospital,
A kid at camp,
a soldier in the field,
a homesick college student.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Headin' Down Roundtop Way: Bloggers Bonanza!

Pinch me~ I'm living a dream!  
I've reserved a spot at the most remarkable event 
down in Round Top Texas next week.
Rachel Ashwell has a beautiful bed and breakfast
Where Kelley Copeland of The Hidden List
and Bud Royer of Royer's Cafe
{I blogged about him on my last trip to Round Top}
are hosting a luncheon for 35 bloggers.  
The event supports Dwell with Dignity, a non-profit organization 
that helps families escape poverty through design.
What a pleasure it will be to meet fellow bloggers and meet the woman who wrote one of my favorite books on gift giving; Rachel Ashwell.  Not only does she create beautiful designs that bless your home, she has a unique way of combining what I call "pre-loved" treasures
that make the sweetest gifts you've ever seen!  
Check out her book on Amazon:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Coach's Influence: An event they will never forget.

Teams share the burden and divide the grief.
~Doug Smith
A real team is more like a family.  They care for one another beyond basketball.  
The game brings them together, along with the spirit of competition...
but it's real life that bonds a group of boys and makes them brothers. 

I posted about the loss of David Rexroat the other day.  David's youngest son, Andrew, played basketball with our Austin and they are dear friends.  We had the privilege of witnessing the precious way that Coach Brad Chasteen and his wife Kathy helped the basketball team love and support Andrew.  
Brad and Kathy invited all the boys over for a brunch before the funeral.  
Andrew came by the house and the boys hugged him and made him laugh and they ate egg casserole and drank chocolate milk together. 
 There were moments where everything seemed normal, but the starched shirts and ties anchored us in the weight of reality; Andrew had just lost his Daddy.
That's how it is with grief.  It comes in waves.  

Coach said a beautiful prayer....
I put the team in the back yard for a picture...
And we followed each other to the funeral. 
The boys sat in solidarity, filling two rows at the front of the church.
The boys presence impacted all of us.  We watched as tissues were passed around and the boys comforted each other.  As they filed out of the sanctuary, I knew this was a day they would never, ever, forget. Because they have a coach who understands that his job is much more than running plays on the court, the boys have now learned how to show up for each other in the game of life. 
If you are a coach, or know someone who is, pass this along to them.  This is a beautiful way to handle a difficult situation with love and grace.

And in the words of the late David Rexroat, 
when you play on a team with people you love,  
"A win is a win, and a loss is a win!"
David Rexroat with his daughter, Laura, at a CHS basketball game.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9-11... A bittersweet day for me.

Our youngest, Austin, turned 18 on September 11.  
On the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center Attacks, it was hard to know exactly how to navigate the day.  At church we looked back and explored the question:
"Is the Gospel good enough for days like this?" 
Turns out, God is big enough to handle our confusion and fear...
and it is ultimately the only thing that leads to hope. 

  When Austin was in 3rd grade, a classmate told him he was "cursed" because his birthday was on 9-11.  Since then, I remind him on every birthday that he is a profound blessing on a difficult day~ his life gives us a reason to live with hope!  We chose to limit the television specials so we could focus on Austin and celebrate him well.
We are all still deeply affected by the memories of that terrible day.  So in honor of the firefighters who still live and work in New York City, I am posting the State Farm commercial that aired on Sunday.  You can find additional footage on the making of the commercial HERE.   What a sweet way to show gratitude for all that they do.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Makin' Plans... Makin' Progress!

It is not enough to take steps 
which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.  
~Johann Wolfgang von Goet

Remember my post the other day about goal setting?
Well, I found this adorable download from Blah, Blah, Blahg for making lists that fit my plan perfectly.
A daily plan for getting "ONE THING" done.  Combined with a list for "to do's"
This should break my goals down even further and keep me on task every day!
Since last week, I haven't missed a day of exercise~ Yea, me!  For accountabiltiy, my son, Austin, is getting a report every day regarding what exercise I've done that day.  He even took me to Andy Brown for a little personal training session last weekend;  after the lunges we did, I couldn't sit down without assistance for three days!

I have been power walking to pod casts to keep me motivated, and today Francis Chan changed my life when he preached on Ephesians 3~ the message is called "Falling Madly in Love with God" you can find it HERE.  I guarantee you'll "fall on your knees and pray" after you hear it!

As for the rest of my list?  I've signed up for a photography class HERE and  HERE if you want to join me and my friend, Beth Hohfeler.  It is an adult education class through SMU Plano; can't wait to learn something new! 

For my spiritual health, I'm attending Irving Bible Church's Bible study on the Psalms~ it is going to be RICH! Would love for you to join us; find out about it HERE.

As far as organizing my house and purging the attic, I have enlisted the help of my faithful friend Kari Smith of His Designs.  She is terrific at "making things happen." With a strong ability to lead and a soft heart for the things you love, she makes the cleaning out process a little less painful and a lot more fun!  Email her to get on her schedule at

Would love to hear what goals you're setting, so comment below and share your plans for getting them done~  You may inspire us to join you!
{Achieving goals is much more fun when shared with a friend}

Help the Ones You Love Find Their Life's Work

A birthday gift for Dad~
I want to be "just like you!"
When Austin was 8 years old, he dressed up in Mr. Wonderful's clothes and said, 
"When I grow up, I want to be a business man like Daddy."    

Mr. Wonderful is a great business man.  
He rises early {around 4:30 am} and leaves before the rooster crows every morning; 
he's been doing this for 27 years.  He tells the kids, "It is a great privilege to work!"  
And he truly does find JOY in his work.

Several years ago, however, he found himself in a job that drained him {he said that every day felt like he was pressing head-first into the wind}.  I had seen him tired before, but this was different.  A "good days work" can make you tired,  but this situation was sucking the life out of him.  That's when he made an appointment to see Bill Hendricks at The Giftedness Center

Bill Hendricks of
the Giftedness Center
Bill helps you "identify your unique giftedness and helps you use that information to make meaningful choices for your life and work."  His advice will change the way you filter your decisions regarding your "calling" and "career."

An evaluation at the Giftedness Center is quite expensive, but Mr. Wonderful would tell you that it's worth it. The information he gained from his experience, helped him find the next job opportunity where he regained his stride~ and the wind is now at his back!  

Austin saw how much his dad loved his work and wanted to be like him.  It's a great compliment, but the danger of "becoming your dad" means you may miss the unique way God has gifted you to work.  As parents, we love our kids by helping them find their personal calling.  Our oldest, Blake, has gone to see Bill because he graduates from UT in December. It was so meaningful for him, he is bringing a carload of his friends from Austin to Dallas for Bill's (very affordable) seminar.  Emily, our middle child, is traveling from Oklahoma State to attend.  Why don't you join them?  Or send your adult children and help them discover their unique gifts and how to use them!

Find Your Career and Calling
Irving Bible Church, September 24th from 8:30-4:30.   
The cost is only $25.00 and includes lunch. 
Find out more information HERE. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Flawsome~ Corrected Link...

I posted about "Learning to Embrace You Flaws" HERE yesterday, but repaired the link today~
Please check it out!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flawsome~ Embrace the Unique YOU!

"It’s true we impress people with our supposed perfections, 
but we connect with each other in our flaws."
~Donald Miller

Today I saw some "not-so-flattering" pictures of myself and grimaced.  Then I read this blog post by Donald Miller.  It changed my outlook... and now I've decided I'm "flawsome!"

Read it.  Wrestle with it.  Share it with those you love.

Then let's all decide to be just who God made us to be!

Read it HERE.
{don't miss the video at the end!}

Friday, September 2, 2011

In the Midst of Grief: Bear one another's burdens

"Bear One Another's Burdens."
Galatians 6:2
There is a deep sadness in our community this week. 

Our dear friend, David Rexroat, died unexpectedly at the age of 57.  
David left behind a rich legacy of precious friendships and a beautiful family.  I have no doubt that God gave him the title of "Bringer of JOY" when he created him.  David brought a smile and a laugh with him everywhere~ infusing great JOY into this hurting world.

The little "Love Thy Neighbor" pin in the picture above sits on my desk as a reminder that the most important thing next to loving God is to love others well.
When I saw it today, it spoke to me and said, "Love well now; life is short."  

The seemingly "urgent" distractions in life are easily tossed aside as we try to be present for this precious family as they grieve.  We show up with our awkward  deli trays, bundt cakes and jello salads, embarrassed by these shallow offerings in contrast to the depth of their grief.
Words are impossible to find, because there are no words in the English language profound enough or deep enough to bring comfort.  

It wasn't until Mr. Wonderful and I experienced the loss of his dad that we sat on the side of the grieving.  Putting one foot in front of the other, we simply marched head first into the details of the funeral as a way to distract ourselves from the pain.  All the while, our hands extended to receive macaroni and cheese casseroles and the tender compassionate hugs from those who came to the funeral.  And some how, some way, those little gestures gave us the fuel we needed to take the next step... 
and the next breath.

Max Lucado sums it up this way:
"If you love someone, you show up."

Even if you stumble on your words, stand around uncertain about how to help
 or busy yourself cleaning the kitchen...
The power is in your presence.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5: 4

Services for David are Saturday, September 3rd at 11:00 am 
Valley Ranch Baptist Church, Coppell.
You can greet the family tonight at Rest Land in Coppell from 6-8.
{Just an idea:  Mark your calendar to reach out to David's family at some point in the future.  
Because the depth of grieving doesn't stop when the services are over.  It's when the house is quiet, and the phone is silent that grief screams the loudest. And if you mark your calendar for the anniversary of David's death, a phone call around this time next year would be sweet.}

You may find other practical information regarding helping your grieving friends HERE 
Note at the bottom of the list some things "not to say," which I found to be very helpful.
Grief Works is a local organization that helps families heal from loss.  Find them HERE.