Thursday, February 18, 2010

Waiting on a heart

One year ago today, my friend Billy's daughter, Adah, was in the hospital waiting for a heart. In October of 2008, Adah was diagnosed with Idiopathic Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, a rare heart disease that effects one in 1 million children. On February 18, 2009, she received a successful heart transplant.

From the time that Adah was diagnosed til her transplant and even in updates now, I have prayed with them and gotten the updates on found myself catching my breath at every update in my inbox..sometimes multiple ones a day. For 5 months, they had to watch Adah's health somewhat decline, and then Feb 18th, there was a heart there...and Adah was wheeled into surgery and so many of us waited, praying and hoping for the best.

I just can't even fathom how 2 parents could emotionally handle the road that Billy and Natalie have been on with Adah. I know that it wasn't human strength or peace that they have had. I have seen them turn to God and prayer every step of the way. Adah was 4 years old when she went through all of this. Just a baby. And she was given the chance to grow up to become a teenager, a woman, a wife, a mother, anything she wants to be..

I hadn't really thought about where the heart came from until today. I saw Billy's post and it hit me. Someone else lost their daughter a year ago today, and they allowed her heart to be donated to save Adah's life. Here's a post from Natalie, Adah's mom..

I can't believe it's almost been a year. I remember every detail with distinct clarity. One of my first thoughts after her diagnosis was that this was going to change our lives forever. I think we cling so tightly to what we've always known or how we thought our lives would turn out, that if anything comes our way and threatens that, then an immediate response is to resist. But who are we to resist what the Lord has for us? So it has indeed changed our lives forever, but in the best way that I could have ever imagined.

A year later, I wouldn't trade my place in life for anything. Anything! What an odd thing to say, but I say it with absolute certainty.
So with the start of her second year, we are taking the first steps in getting to know our donor family.

It starts with us writing a letter and then it is up to them whether the communicati
on is continued. I am asking the Lord for profound wisdom as I start this letter. I am at a loss in how to express such unending gratitude, so I am completely dependant on the Lord to show me.--

What a beautiful picture of mercy and grace. Of love. Of faith in God when life turns upside down on our plans and hopes and dreams. Of being willing to see past your situation and put yourself in someone else's shoes. It would be so easy for them to move on and not think of this family's loss on a day when they're rejoicing over her life. I have been so encouraged this year of following in this journey with them. When faith is put to the test so many of us get angry with God and throw up our fists...I saw in this family the opposite. I have seen nothing but open, outstretched hands, asking for mercy and wisdom, and thanking the One who has carried them through.

Have I mentioned how adorable and full of life this little lady is?? I have yet to meet her in person, but I have fallen in love with her spirit and her spunk. I am so overjoyed today to see Adah doing so well, and to see the blessings on this family! They are living life to the full, not taking one moment with each other for granted. I wish the same for you and I.

I can't help but think, those of us with a healthy, beating heart in our many lives can we save and touch and change forever?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Authors of our own stories..

I just finished Donald Miller's new book called "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years".

Really amazing book. I loved Blue Like Jazz for different reasons, and mostly for his style of writing and his willingness to be so honest and transparent about himself and his views of life and spirituality.

I love this book so much, I want to re-read it right now. Maybe I will, but first I'm trying to get my hubby convinced that he should read it. He isnt always much of a book reader, so I'm crossing my fingers on this one. haha. I hope that all of you will grab it or check it out or borrow it and let yourselves dive in like I just did. He has a blog and I'm now following him and you'll find it.

"We have to force ourselves to create scenes. We have to get off the couch and turn the television off, we have to blow up the inner-tubes and head to the river. We have to write the poem and deliver it in person. We have to pull the car off the road and hike to the top of the hill. We have to put on our suits, we have to dance at weddings. We have to make altars..."

First, he talks about writing our own stories. He came into this journey in his life when he was cowriting a movie about his own life..and he kept feeling like his story was so boring. So he started throwing himself into things that were uncomfortable and challenging. He realized he had become a writer and he would sit on his couch writing stories, but he wasnt living a story.

He commented on how throughout the Bible when people had come through huge tragedies or trials, they would build an altar to God, and that maybe that wasn't out of reverance or even completely as an act of worship, but it was a way that they would remember the moment. They would look back and know what that altar meant, where they had come from, what they had overcome.

And the stories that he tells that I will remember most are the stories of people he's met who are making decisions every day that are changing peoples lives..they are throwing themselves into their own stories, taking the pains of life and letting themselves become better through them.

I found myself just so inspired reading..because sometimes I can be so practical and life can feel tough and so not an adventure. I can get into the habit of waking up and wondering what will happen good or bad, and assuming it will be just another day. Sometimes I refuse to let myself be interrupted by an amazing sunset, or a friend's call, or a moment that would be treasured and could become an altar if I would stop and let my life accept something I havent planned for.

The truth is we are all living stories, but we do settle for boring, or selfish, or normal. And there is a world of exciting out there we can invite in. Who we surround ourselves with in life starts to shape us. And if one of us decides to start living an unsettling, exciting, dangerous, unselfish will affect someone else, and then they might do something huge and affect hundreds...and without even knowing it, a choice we make has a ripple affect of love, creativity and inspiration in people's lives all over the world.

"Victor Frankl whispered in my ear all the same. He said to me I was a tree in a story about a forest, and that it was arrogant of me to believe any differently. And he told me... the story of the forest is better than the story of the tree."

You won't regret the hours you spend on this book...the stories will seep inside and inspire you to take the opportunity you have and write your own story. Change it up today. Do something no one would expect of you, try something you're afraid of trying. And if life is feeling hopeless and you're at the wanting to give up point, throw all of your efforts remaining into someone else, reach out, love people and soon you'll be too busy to feel awful about your situation, and without realizing it, you'll be changing the path of your story and writing a new chapter..---

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New shoot with Aliegh B

Star in the making

This Tuesday I worked on a shoot for my sister in law and new artist, Aliegh B( I think she should call herself Tootsi personally..=)) I did makeup and styling, David Molnar was the man behind the camera, Nick Baumhardt and Trevor McNevan were there for shoot support, set up, ideas, DJing.

Nick and Trev have been developing Aliegh for the last few months, and have written some amazing songs I can't wait to hear on the radio. She loves to sing, loves to dance, loves to perform. We can definitely say that this shoot was so much fun, and Aliegh really needed no coaching. She's a natural in front of the lens.

Here are some shots I took during the shoot. They pale in comparison to what David got, and we'll post more of those later when we've picked her promo shots and all. David is an amazing photographer, who also happens to be a great friend of ours. He has a natural way of bringing out the personality in every person he photographs, and makes sure they have a great time in the process. We're all excited to see where Aliegh's career takes her. Stay tuned for what's next, and know that you'll be hearing quite a bit from this little lady.

Can you tell we had a good time? This setup above is a messy bedroom shot. Looks amazing with the wide lens David shot it with. And below you can see my skills playing with my iphone apps. More to come soon......

Friday, February 5, 2010

Twirling girls and a glimmer of hope

Here I am, back from Uganda. My sister, Melissa and I went with Compassion International for about a week. I have hesitated to write about it, because I'm not sure I have had time for it to all settle in and for my thoughts to make sense to even me. I know that this was a trip that will make me forever changed, that I met people I will never forget.

Seeing what Compassion is doing and how well they do it makes me feel so proud that we partner with them, and changes so much for me now! Nights on tour when we head back to our comfy(possibly crowded)bus, and we talk about merch numbers and ticket sales, and then we get around to how many children were sponsored...when I hear that 7 kids were sponsored, I will know that 7 children's lives will forever be changed. That 7 families will be affected in huge ways by this sponsorship, that 7 families will see God's love in tangible ways through their local projects.

I think there will be multiple blogs for me about this trip, as the memories surface and I sort through how I really feel about so many things I saw..but here is what stood out to me.

In this country, so far from home for me, so different in every imaginable way..I met children who could feel completely hopeless. They go home to mud huts, to not enough food, to dangerous villages, some to a single Mom with AIDS who has no education and is just making it by day after day..but these kids who are in the sponsorship, who are given just a glimpse of hope, grab onto that small flicker and they chase after a different way of life. I met kids who are in the college program now, who are in med school, law school...who have more dreams than they had time to share with me. They believe that they are people of influence, and they know that they can change the world. They still go home to the same bleak situation every night, but every day they go to the projects they are hearing about God's love, about how special and beautiful they are..they get those letters and pictures and stickers their sponsor sends them, and they read it and re-read it, and they keep it locked in the safest place they have because those words are hope. Those words mean to them that there is a God who loves them, enough that He found them where they are and sent help. Sent hope. Sent a chance.

I met this little girl our first visit to a project in Uganda. She loved her pink dress. All day I would see her twirling and hopping and feeling beautiful. And to me, she was a reminder that we are all the same. We are born where we're born, into our own unique families and situations, we have dreams and goals, we have natural talents and things we aren't so good at..and all of us need to hear that we mean something to someone. We want to know we're special, that we can make a difference in the world and be anything we want to be. And every girl in this huge world who I've ever met wants to feel loved and adored and beautiful. We all have a dress that makes us want to twirl. Some of us hold in those things and are afraid to show how beautiful we feel. This little lady felt lovely in her best dress she'd gotten for Christmas. Maybe her only dress. And she spinned and twirled and danced her way into my heart. With so little we can make a difference in a life. With a little money, with a little time, we can give hope to someone who's situation is feeling bleak.

If you're interested in knowing more about Compassion, go to