Saturday, November 27, 2010

Never stop being thankful

So... I'm a little bummed that I didn't quite make it all the way to the end of the the "day of thankfulness" on time and daily. But I'm also really glad that I did as many days as I did.

For the record:

Day 2 - I'm thankful for vegetables and Veggie Tales

(Maggy and the twins were SO cute and totally engrossed just in the intro to a Veggie Tale movie... if it makes them happy, I'm happy. And, I've been able to do more canning - this week I canned some tomato sauce. Re-purposed the seeds and skins into crackers with ground sunflowers. Veggie's make me happy - singing or crunching)

Day 1 - I'm thankful

I had something of a hard time finding something unique each day to be thankful for. This does not mean that I'm not thankful every day. But there are some things that I am thankful for every day... and I went through those things in my list first. And then there are some things that I'm thankful for that seem small and insignificant. Yet, I still like to say thank you God for blessing me with.... "Candy Cane Lane tea" or "Maggy's pretty hair" or "that funny laugh of my child" or "a pretty sky" or "a kind word from a stranger" or "call from a special friend"....

My Thankfulness top 10
  1. God's amazing grace in my life
  2. Jesus' loving act of salvation
  3. The Word of God, laid out to help me walk in faith and come more in line to His will for my life.
  4. My Family - my husband and children who bring me great joy
  5. Our life - being a stay at home mom, homeschooling, living where we are
  6. Our extended families - making us who we are, encouraging and supporting us in the day to day
  7. Friends around us
  8. Opportunities to learn, and to be learning along side of my children
  9. Beauty in nature
  10. Comforts and conveniences

A friend of mine set her FB status on Thanksgiving day to say "it's hard to be thankful and grumpy." So true. And so, gratitude is a decision. Would it really hurt anyone for all of us to be just a little more Pollyanna in every day in our life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 3: I'm thankful for the birds who visit my feeder each morning

The temp today didn't get above freezing. That's unusual for Oregon. It's something of spectacle the way everything shuts down for, virtually, no snow! One friend's husband said they were going out with the kids to make "snow insects", because that's what you build with almost no snow.

This has been the view out my kitchen window since May. Shane brought home the impatiens right around Mother's day. I put them in a hanging basket, and they have been ever so kind and gracious with my lack of gardening skills. But after today's freezing temperatures, I don't expect the impatiens to survive. I often see the humming birds visit for a snack. I haven't had a feeder out for them in a couple of years, so it's been a treat to see them enjoying the flowers.

I also have a SUPER cool bird house that Ken, my father in law, built. I didn't have the opportunity to snap a picture today. It is much like the feeder at their house, which, at this time of year can attract hundreds of birds in a day. They go through SO MUCH bird food, but it's a wonderful price to pay for the enjoyment received from the daily visitors.

I hope to have that kind of flock some day, but it's still quite fun. The Scrub Blue Jay always bullies his way in for a snack 2-3 times each morning. We will see sometime several dozen chickadees and finches all at once, vying for space on the suet hanger. And then there are other birds that just fascinate me, and I've yet to identify them. I THINK this might be a woodpecker...?

I haven't been able to pin down exactly what it is about seeing these bird each day that is so enjoyable. Maybe the answer lies in the scriptures....

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Matthew 6:25-27

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 4: I'm thankful for the Native American example of waste not - want not.

I want to be a good steward

Part of our motive in going to Lincoln City this last weekend was for the purpose of a field trip. In American History, we have been learning about the Native Americans - the original residents of our land. When we were discussing the Trail of Tears a few weeks back, I found it difficult to teach without getting choked up. I'm embarrassed to say that the reality of the injustice executed against the natives of our land hadn't ever really settle enough in my mind to make me uncomfortable. It's really just awful. Tribes were decimated or forcibly uprooted purely for financial reasons to benefit a bigger and more powerful white government.

November is Native American Heritage Month. A Google search for events in Oregon sent us to Lincoln City. There was a traveling "trunk" exhibit at several locations. (double click on the photos to see the bigger view, and more of the whole story) We stopped at the exhibit at the rec center first. One wall sized poster to read and 10 authentic hand-made traditional items in a case was all there was. Since it was our destination, we made the most of it and spent time with the kids reading everything. We even asked the Rec Center employees (who really knew NOTHING about the exhibit) if we could take a closer look at the printed descriptions for the items in the case, which revealed 1/2 the item descriptions were printed on the back. We eventually found another piece of the exhibit on display at the Public Library - just one wall.

I was disappointed in the presentation of the exhibit, and felt that it was simply a passivizing effort. By spreading the already small exhibit across 4 locations does not encourage participants. It's as if by having it done, no one could argue that something had been done, but really, it was only done in a way that wouldn't really interrupt anyone's normal way of life. Maybe this is why a 33 year old adult can just now come to the realization that we have not cared enough about the Native American people and heritage that has been all but destroyed at our hand. It isn't convenient for us to think about, let alone make a real effort to compensate.

In my opinion, if we are bigger and stronger, we should be looking for the interest of those who are not as big or as strong.

... but, as I said, we did take in what was provided and used it as a learning tool. In addition to being profoundly struck by the injustice, I was also moved by the example of conservationism, environmentalism and preservation that is fundamental to their culture. There was a beautiful pair of "braintanned moccasins". To make these slippers extra soft, in the process of stretching the hides and tanning them, they would coat the hide with boiled brains of the animal. I know that sounds gross, but it shows how they would/still won't let any part of the animal go to waste. In the different craft items we saw, most of which served utilitarian purposes, they used reeds, grasses, bones, sinews, skins, etc. All things provided to them were given reverence. There is much we can learn from them.

So, in following their example, we are trying to make full use of the resources provided to us. We make broth from our chicken dinner. We have been doing lots of canning this fall, and we are saving the skins from the fruit and pureeing them, spreading on cookie sheets and making "crackers". I am looking for ways to reuse or re-purpose clothing that is too warn to be passed on.

I am on the look out for other ways to be a good steward of our earth. Is there anything you are doing to make the most of what you are given? Do share!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 5: I'm thankful for so many wonderful Grandparents and "Grandparents" for my kids.

We can't ever have too many loving adults speaking into our children's lives.

When Shane and I took a weekend away last summer to attend Fish Fest, Shane's Dad and step-mom, Joyce, offered to take all 6 kids for the weekend. This is no small task, and she handled it so gracefully, and Grandpa Bill survived. I think bonds were tied during that time.

This weekend, we traveled to Lincoln City and were able to stay at the Beach House owned by Shane's Dad and Step Mom. It is a beautiful location. I love just sitting in the third floor living room, warm and cozy inside, watching the clouds rolling in and out, spying a seal or two playing in the surf, and every once in a while - a whale, and wave after wave after wave curling, rising and crashing - crawling into the sand.

When I woke this morning at 6:30, I expected to find a few minutes to myself. What I found instead was Noah, Hannah, Zak and Maggy with Grandma Joyce, watching Sesame Street.

Getting to see Joyce and Bill enjoying our kids this weekend at the beach was really cool.

And it makes me realize how fortunate we are to have so many people, family and friends, who have taken a vested interest in our children. Their joy in our children is a delight to me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 6 - I'm thankful for God's amazing Grace

The Lord has been using this week to really change my heart's perspective of things.

I wrote this in my time with the Lord today:

Its as it I have just graduated to the next level in my faith. But even after being a believer for almost 20 years and "walking" in faith for almost 12 years, I, in reality, have just gone from being an infant to a toddler.

I walk, clumsily, I fall easily, I bump into things, and sometimes need to hold on to the things around me, just to keep standing.

I haven't learned how to eat of the Lord's feast with a fork, but instead, use my fingers to bring tiny bits to my mouth, often getting it all over my face and spilling it on the floor.

I only speak a few words, and really, only my Father knows me well enough to understand what it is I'm trying to say.

Often times, I am going to stink. I can't change myself. I'll have to wait for my Father to change me.

But as a toddler, I still get to climb into his arms for reminders of his loving care for me ALL throughout my day.

I can fully expect that he will not let me go hungry, what I need is provided for me.

Since I tire easily, he will have to remove me, on a regular basis, to a quiet place, even though, I may want to stay and play. At this age, I need lots of rest.

I may not always play well with others. So my Father will intervene, correct me as necessary and lovingly show me the way to treat others with love.

If I am naughty, my Father, who loves me, will not forgo punishment, but shows me the difference between right and wrong. And I know I will leave only after my repentance, His forgiveness and embrace.

Despite my young age, I approach the world assuming I am bigger than I really am. Despite that, the Lord will corral me home, keeping me safe inside the walls of his kingdom.

Day 7 - I'm thankful for the seasons

These Fallish storms are so amazing! And remember summer? I mean a REAL summer - WAY back in 2009, yeah that was nice.

(for those of you who didn't get to enjoy the summer of 2010 in the Pacific Northwest, we did have summer, but not quite as much as we are used to. Many gardeners didn't see the production in their produce.)

But I thought I'd share a few highlights of our summerish activities:

Nathan and Micah getting covered in sunscreen for one of the few warm days.

Noah and Maggy playing at Nehalem Bay State Park.

Zak on a log, a day at the beach - Rockaway Beach - unusually warm and sunny for the Oregon Coast, even in the summer.

The babies didn't have a problem keeping on their normal schedule, even with a beautiful beach day.
kids will be kids....
On a camping trip to Fisherman's Bend and hiking out to Opal Creek - "Three Pools" The water was COOOOLD, but Micah didn't mind.
Noah and Dad took on the 7 mile hike WAY up Opal Creek. For a little man, Noah was quite the trooper.
The new play structure at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

Maggy and Uncle Mark finishing up a great day of play at Grandma and Grandpa's house with a few quiet moments at the pond.

A family hike around Battle Ground Lake.
Micah playing down by the river at Grandma and Grandpas.

ALMOST the whole family...Liz spent the summer in San Fran for a law internship, so we got to see her in May and in August. It was wonderful!

Grandpa Dedrick came for a visit in August and the kids really wanted him to ride with them on the OHSU tram. The views were amazing and it was a beautiful day.
Many, many days this summer were spent in the wagon, in front of the house, visiting with neighbors and watching the big kids play on bikes and scooters.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 8: I'm thankful for electricity

Boy, electricity is something I totally take for granted!

We've had some VERY wet weather, and some occasions of high winds in the last week. I'm not really sure of the cause, but last night, we were without power between 8:30 PM and 1:30 AM.

We were out at community group, and about 8:30 I got a call on my cell from our neighbor Zelta,

Z: "Oh, so you guys are out, right? I just wanted to let you know that we lost power."
S: "Thanks for letting me...... OH NO! Will you go check on my babysitter please!"

The four older kids were with us, but the twins were at home with Elyse, our fabulous sitter. I was quite nervous for her at that moment, trying to imagine how she would navigate in the dark. I wasn't even sure where I'd find a flashlight or candle, how would she!? I tried to call her, but couldn't figure out which of the three numbers listed under her mom's name in my phone was Elyse's. So I called her mom, who said she'd been trying to reach her but couldn't.


I imagined Zelta knocking on the door and Elyse not wanting to answer, not knowing who it was in the dark. I tried calling our back up phone, which was plugged in on my desk, but it just rang and rang and went to voice mail.

About 15 minutes passed and Zelta called back. Elyse had hesitated, but eventually opened the door, knowing that I'd told her if "you need anything and can't reach me, go to the neighbor". While on the phone, Elyse's Mom, Wendy got there. As it turns out, the dog freaked out when the lights went out, so they locked her in the office. We were able to get home about 5 minutes later.

I managed to dig through cupboards and drawers to find a few candle and flashlights. Moving from one room to the next, even with a candle in my hand for light, time after time, I would reach up, flip the switch, expecting the light to turn on.

Not only did it make me thankful for the electricity (and great babysitters and AMAZING neighbors) but it also brought to light just how dependent we are on electricity.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

9: Thankful for laughter

I was sitting at my desk, snacking on some clam dip and Buggles when I was called away to help one of the kids in the other room. This is what I returned to
Hey Mom, look what I found? Yummy...

What you didn't want them ALL out of the bag?

after cleaning up the mess, I went to get the vacuum cleaner. This is what I saw when I returned
did someone say "crunch, crunch, crunch?"

those boys!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10: I'm thankful that my freezer and pantry are stocked and full.

To go along with yesterday's post.... I am so thankful to have my storehouses full. I do find a great deal of peace in knowing that we have what we need. I think it can be easy to forget how fortunate we are, having enough, and consistently having enough every two weeks. I realize how blessed we are and pray that I will never take that for granted, always giving thanks!

Now, my sister and I have both realized that we feel better about the world when the fridge and pantry are full. Does this mean that we like grocery shopping? Maybe it means that we like knowing that well have what we need to cook or bake what we want. Maybe there is a deeper psychological issue from our childhood hiding in that statement..... (*note sarcasm*)

I do love to cook.

And I do love to grocery shop (I know some of my friends don't get that at all!).

For a while I was actually getting into trouble because of these loves. But this summer we sat down and took a look at our spending. It wasn't a budget. It was just spending. And it needed to be curbed.

I have tried cash budgets before, and I ended up tripping over too many categories, it was too much work and I failed. So we tried a cash budget again, but this time - just one category - "Spending". This covers groceries, household products, clothing, and any eating out that I would do during the week with the kids or stops to the coffee shop. Some months I'll need to stock up more on toilet paper and get shoes for a kid, another month, I find a killer sale on ground beef and stock my freezer. I don't have too much to spend, so I have to keep it tight - and this is good!

It doesn't include any eating out we do as a family - which is generally limited to Sundays after church; Shane's eating out during the week, or gas. We are into our third month of this single category cash budget, and I'm so impressed - it's working!

The biggest key to keeping my spending in check has been planning meals. I have several friends who are particularly good about regular meal planning. Some, even share on their blog every Monday, what their meal plan will be for the week. I may join them, not for any reason other than I would feel accountable to myself to see that I have done it. Although, I am finding it HAS to be done before I shop or I will forget things I need and buy things I don't need.

So - here's my plan for this week:

  • Breakfast - Oatmeal with blueberries
  • Lunch - Cheese and Crackers
  • Dinner - (Community group night - I'm bringing desert - Grasshoper and Moose Pies)
  • Breakfast - Eggs, Turkey Sausage and English muffins
  • Lunch - PB&Honey
  • Dinner - Chicken Pot Pie (from our freezer meal swap - no prep, just heat!)
  • Breakfast - Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Dinner - Chicken Strip Salads
  • Breakfast - Cereal and fruit
  • Lunch - Ham and Turkey Sandwiches
  • Dinner - Cheese Burgers
  • Breakfast - Cinnamon Rolls
  • Lunch - out
  • Dinner - Left overs -clean out the fridge
  • Breakfast - Oatmeal with Peaches
  • Lunch - PB& Honey
  • Dinner - London Broil
  • Breakfast - Eggs, Turkey sausage and strudel bread
  • Lunch - Cold Cuts
  • Dinner - Harvest Pork

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 11: I'm thankful for Ensequence and the good work my husband does for them

" I'm thankful for Ensequence and the good work my husband does for them, that provides well for our family and allows me to be at home with our children and home school."

Shane has been at Ensequence for almost 6 1/2 years now. In the software industry, in this day and age, that's nearly forever! I still remember when he applied for the job, being just so floored at how perfect it would be for him. Shane's Bachelor's degree is in Broadcast Communication, but he has worked in software testing since he graduated. Ensequence develops a product that helps networks connect with their viewers through interactive applications.

It has been exciting to see the company grow and adjust as technology changes.

Shane recently moved from testing in the QA department and was assigned a new role as a Technical Operations Engineer. A friend of ours pointed out that now makes him a TOE... hehehe....

Tech Ops works more directly with supporting clients, and whereas I know he was a fantastic QA engineer, I also know that he works so well with people. He is great at mediating difficult situations, if need be, and working with people of different levels of technical understanding and meeting them at their level. He will continue to be a great asset to the company. (can you tell, I used to be a recruiter?)

And on the up side for him, he's been able to do a little bit of traveling as part of his new role. Not too much, which I appreciate - I like him home, but enough to be fun and exciting for him.

This is Shane and David Blue (from Stargate Universe) when he went to the National Cable Trade Show. I'm so proud of my husband, and I'm thankful, every day for the hard work he puts in to provide for our family.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 12 - I'm thankful for beautiful daughters

(Wo)Man - it's good to be a girl!

You can wake up in a cute and comfy night gown, get all dolled up, play with dollies and ponies, sew, wear jewelry, imagine your life as a princess, wear nail polish, AND get hugs and cuddles, just about any time....

...and then...

you can make mud pies, build a lego mansion, ride a bike, ride a scooter, kick a ball, defend your own honor in a Nerf Dart gun battle, put holes in the knees of your jeans, look for bugs and earthworms for pets and do just about anything a boy can do.

It's good to be a girl!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13: I'm thankful for boys and their Legos

I think a child's imagination can be inspired and encouraged, but it can not be forced. Every imagination is completely unique. Legos have been the muse to many imaginative moments in our home, especially for Zakey.
Often during the big kids' school times, Zak and Maggy are looking for things to do. If he decides that Lego's are that 'thing' - I am ever amazed at what he can produce with a box of random blocks. There are sets that come with very specific pieces and instructions, and he is beginning to be able to follow those directions. But when he starts building on his own, and usually he is building a space ship, airplane or base - always with some kind of gun (I think he likes Star Wars), I begin to see that in his mind there is a whole world envisioned.

All the kids have developed a game with their Lego's - "Lego Store". Each child gets a pile or box of pieces, begins to build until they find that the need a piece that is not available. Generally each person will specialize in certain types of parts: wheels, guns, men, etc. They either use "money" which is the gold and silver pieces that came in a treasure chest or they trade. This entire game was developed with 4 children under the age of 8, playing nicely together in their room. This makes their Mommy happy and proud.
Our neighbor, Nicolas.

And just about every friend who comes to play gets in on the imagineering.

Our friend, Patrick

Friday, November 12, 2010

14: I'm thankful for my Dad and his care packages

My dad is a REALLY great guy. REALLY great!

Just one of the super sweet things that he does is sending care packages for birthdays, holidays and sometimes, just for a day. He likes using the Priority Mail prepaid boxes, and if I had to guess, he always has a stack of them waiting and ready to be filled.

I really enjoy making yummy food for other people and I really enjoy giving it to them, even if I don't get to eat any of it myself. I think I must get that from my Dad!

The last package arrived just in time for Noah and Shane's birthdays. Included was:

  • A bag of Puppy-chow (the choc/pb crispex snack)
  • A bag of "whip" (seasoned oyster crackers)
  • A bag of "Nuts and Bolts" (family recipe chex mix)
  • a butternut squash, from his garden
  • about 3 lbs of soup potatoes
  • Birthday card for Noah
  • Birthday card for Shane
  • A gift for Noah (a set of classic reference books about minerals, trees, shells, etc)
  • An envelope of coupons, that he faithfully clips every week and sends me about once a month, and this time a clipping from the paper - a classmate's wedding announcement.
the Nuts and Bolts are my favorite... you can get the recipe here!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 15: I'm thankful for service men and women in service now and the Veterans who already served faithfully.

John 15:13 "and here is how you measure it- the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends."

Thank you to all who serve, in what ever capacity that might be, you are sacrificing yourself for our freedoms and comfort and security.

I'm sure there are many more, but a few of the heroes we know, thanks to you!

Robert Baldwin (My grandpa) - WWII
Alan Dedrick (my dad) - Army Field Medic
Kenneth Fredric (father in law, "Grandpa Ken) - Army Infantry Vietnam
William Vertner (Shane's Dad)
Robert Baldwin (my uncle "Bobby") - Air Force Career
Greg Cullison (Shane's uncle) - Army Reserve
Cathe Frederic ("aunt" cathe)
Justin Morgan (Shane's counsin)
Tristan Theilman (friend)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 16 - I'm thankful for Shane

and I'm thankful for Shane, every day... not just on his birthday.

He is an amazing father, true and honest friend, wonderful Christan husband, provider, funny guy, teacher, coach, companion and the one who can fix everything from sticky jar lids, to minor car problems, to lost iTunes and even the occasional crying baby.

Happy Birthday Honey - I love you so much!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 17 -I'm thankful to be Noah's Mom

Happy 9th Birthday to Noah!

Sometimes I feel as if my life didn't exist before being a mom. And then sometimes, I can't believe how quickly 9 years flies by.

I really couldn't be more proud of who he is becoming. Just in the last few months I have begun to see glimpses of the man he's becoming. I couldn't imagine a better big brother for my kids.

Just a few examples of his wonderfulness (if I may)....

We were busily trying to get through breakfast, dressing, packing for an outing and trying to get out the door in time. I was cleaning up from breakfast, still in my PJs, and the babies were trying to crawl up the stairs. Noah stops me and said "I'll finish the dishes, you can get dressed and get the babies dressed." The same morning he also managed to fill and distribute water bottles to each of the other kids in the car and carried one of the babies to the suburban and buckled him in. I didn't ask any of it of him.

This week at Costco, we return to the car, he opens the door and moves the seat so that Zak, Maggy and Hannah can climb in the back, he stays with one baby in the cart while I'm buckling the other in, he unloads the groceries into the car. He then returns the cart, gladly, to the front of the store "so if someone else needs a dry cart, it won't get wet in the rain." Today at the grocery store, he returned our cart as well as two others to the front of the store.

A week or so ago, the flu trampled through our house. The twins were struck first. Noah was ready and willing to take a fussy, clingy Nathan, even at the risk of being puked on.

I remember being told that it will not be the lessons we teach our children, but what we learn from them, that is more significant. Going back to his birth story, as we rehearsed it with him tonight, and realizing that there has been a recurring theme of challenges and struggles that will make us stronger and bring us closer.

My pregnancy with Noah was faced with abruptions, bleeding, preterm labor and eventually delivery 5 weeks early. I really was so unprepared to be a mother, but because of these challenges, we were forced to charge in and find our way. Not with out mistakes, but better for all of it.

Nursing didn't come easily for the boy who wasn't quite developed enough to suck-swallow-breathe. I was pumping, feeding, supplementing- an exhausting process. Eventually, I got the gumption to end the cycle and marathon nursed for about 4 days until he could be satisfied with a complete feeding in less than 30 minutes. And we nursed to a year. I'm so glad we did.

I remember telling people that we were going to homeschool, to hear their response "I'd kill my kid if I had to be their teacher AND mom." And I could relate! It seemed that we were such different personalities that we might never find a way to work together. And here we are, into year 4, and he's my favorite student! As much as I knew we were challenged in working together, I also claimed that we would find a way to make it work and be better for it.

I thank God for my son, and for all the lessons I've learned by being his Mom!

Happy Birthday Noah!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 18 - I'm thankful for the gift of Music

I started to play the piano when I was 6. I started to play the flute when I was 10. I minored in music in college. I have always been drawn towards music. But I don't think that my so-called talent is anything I can take credit for... it is a GIFT.

"My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness."...

2 Corinthians 12 : 7-10

I believe now, that as I look back on my experiences as a musician, and I can see how God was working, even in the times when I didn't know him, to craft and develop this talent and PASSION for music, that it would bring him glory.

This summer, my wonderful husband made plans for us to take a, much needed, weekend away. We got a hotel room and went to FishFest, a music festival sponsored by the local Christian radio station - 104.1 The Fish. (Eventhough the festival was being held in Vancouver - only a 30 minute drive from home). It was a fabulous weekend to reward ourselves for being so intensely engaged in our childrens' lives.
Jeremy Camp

We splurged on a Platinum ticket special that gave us access to meet the artists with about 3 dozen other people. While the general public waited in lines, sometimes for as long as 3 hours just for an autograph. Thousand Foot Krutch - yes that guitarist has MASSIVE dreads - and he rocked them!
Anyone who thinks all Christian Music is mamsy-pambsy needs to meet these guys!

We were seated right in the front. I used to think it was only crazy obsesive fans who would need to be that close to the stage, but no. There is a wholly different musical experience being that close.
Matthew West

These artists are just people, there isn't anything superhuman about them... except Jesus shinning through them. Jeremy Camp, Brandon Heath, Matthew West, David Barnes, Thousand Foot Crutch and, my favorite, Britt Nicole all have an authenitic relationship with God that is clearly expressed in the music and when speaking with t hem in person.

Brandon Heath

I was familiar with Britt Nicole's music prior to the performance, but after seeing her, I realized how perfect of a role model she is for our daughters. The music of her message is love. Scriptures flow from her in normal conversations. We saw her meeting with fans, listening to their stories and then praying with them. Britt Nicole

She gave us an autograph to give to Hannah and she included a reference to 2 Chronicles - calling her to boldly accept her place as a chosen one of God. So cool....

But that weekend has really come to mean so much more to me. It intensified my passion for music, especially for the music of Praise. It seems that since that experience, every opportunity to worship makes me want to move, and dance, and sing and harmonize!

I had someone tell me that they enjoyed standing next to me in church, which really honors and flatters me. But I know that my joy in the worship is greater than any attention I'd ever receive for the worship. It is truly an AWE-some joy, beyond words. It is a gift. I am very, very grateful for that gift.