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Blessed Mama (written on 5.21.2011)

May 27, 2011

Last night {keep in mind, I’m just now publishing a blog post from 5.21.11…I’ve been busy! 🙂 }, the whole family, plus Mitch 🙂 loaded into the car for a road trip to LAX. We picked up my younger stepson, Zach, for a summer stay in Cali. We’ve missed him so much!

Road trip!

Silly kids went up & down that escalator with different poses probably 20 times

He's here! Let's get home!

When Wayne and I married, I also received the title of “stepmom” to 4 beautiful kids ~ 2 girls & 2 boys. When they were younger, they’d spend summers with us…oh, those were some crazy days! 6 kids all sharing one bathroom, making dinner every night for 8, lots of busy-ness. But what a bond they all share. I think the most insane summer was when I was pregnant with Hannah, and all the kids were here. Hmmm…I think that was the same year a certain sparkly-eyed boy caught our house on fire… Over the years, there have been challenges, struggles, growth, bonding, and lots of love shared.
Zachary is the youngest of the 4. I remember when we met…he was in 2nd grade and was the most lovable kid! When I first saw those gorgeous eyes, I melted. Since then, he’s lived here some. We’ve had some ups and downs. It’s not easy being on either side of a step-relationship. But thankfully, we’ve worked through some challenges and I’m proud of the man he is becoming. He has always called me “Mom”, on his own, and he probably has no idea how that warms my heart every time I hear it.

We got home at 2:30am…what a bunch of troopers! Even with a 3am bedtime I still couldnt sleep past 7. This morning I’m feeling especially blessed with my 7 “his, hers, & ours” kids. Children are gifts from the Lord. Wish they could’ve all come for the summer. ❤

Haha...it's gonna be a fun summer together 🙂

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~ A Thank You Letter to My Mom ~

May 8, 2011

On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to take a moment & thank you for a few
things that have always meant a lot to me.

Thank you…

For naming me, LeAnn. I’ve always liked it, and I like that I’m named after you & Dad, combined.
For working at a job that allowed you to be with me after school.
For writing that book with your fancy writing and the stickers in the place of some of the words.  {I still have it.}
For always making our house a HOME.

Thank you…

For allowing me to play piano and take lessons, to develop my gifts.
For keeping me well dressed, well fed, warm, and healthy.
For home-cooked meals and clean sheets.
For lots of visits with my grandparents, making memories I cherish even more now.

Thank you…

For following and supporting Dad when he was called into the ministry.
For making our moves during Dad’s schooling & first churches as smooth as possible.
For working multiple jobs, & still finding time to cook…clean… I don’t know how you did it.
For transforming the hallway walk-in closet into a cozy bedroom for me in our campus apartment at CBC. And wall-papering it. And putting a dresser in there. And making it pretty.

Thank you…

For staying with me in the hospital after my accident.
For trying to stay calm for me.
For covering the mirrors when I was too frightened to look.
For allowing me to heal emotionally, at my pace.
For praying for me.

Thank you…

For staying up with me when I was sick.
For letting me have a cat even though you are highly allergic to them.
For making my clothes when we couldn’t afford to buy them, and even sometimes when we could. {you may not know this, but I was really proud of those clothes}
For letting me comfort you when Papaw died.

Thank you…

For doing all the art work on every single one of my reports.
For seeing past the grades and noticing the problem.
For reading my textbooks to me at times, because I’d retain it better by hearing.
For being a 2nd Mom to all my friends.
For taking me to L.A. to buy my first high school prom dress. It was so pink and fluffy.
For letting me go to the prom my Freshman year. With a Senior. And not following us.

Thank you…

For teaching me how to be a lady.
For allowing me to spread my wings, while setting boundaries.
For teaching me not to talk badly about people, and to be a true and loyal friend.
For teaching me about good character.
For trusting me.

Thank you…

For letting me do my favorite thing, and encouraging me to…sing.
For sending me on a life-changing, 3-month tour with the Continental Singers … twice.
For going to my recitals, concerts, competitions, and auditions.
For being my biggest fan.

Thank you…

For a wedding, fit for a princess.
For a shoulder to cry on when times got hard.
For speaking hope and comfort when we heard “…the baby’s gone.”
For your ear, pressed against the birthing room door, and your heart, full, as we welcomed Lauren….then Erynn….into our lives.
For being such a fun Mamaw to my babies.
For the example you gave throughout my life of how to be a good Mommy.

Thank you…

For walking with me through the hard times.
For not turning against me when I lost my way.
For being a voice of truth in my darkness.
For helping me sift through everything in my brokenness.
For telling me when I was wrong, and when I was right.
For showing grace when others condemned.
For showing love when others showed hatred.
For not allowing me to believe that my mistakes defined me.
For not letting me lose faith in who God made me to be.

Thank you…

For liking him.
For making him feel comfortable.
For encouraging me to start anew…
For welcoming him into the family.
For a beautiful garden wedding, fit for a princess.

Thank you…

For loving his children, and being their Mamaw.
For being with us when Hannah was born, and helping me through a tough delivery.
For loving all 7 of our kids.
For all the handed-down furniture.
For being Wayne’s mom, when his mom lost her battle with cancer, and gained her Heavenly
reward.

Thank you…

For seeing what few could, or wanted, to see.
For never giving up.
For your continued support and belief in us, our ministry, and our future.

Thank you…

For teaching me about Jesus, and then living what you taught.

Thank you…

For all this, and so much more.

I love you, Mom…
                                 …aka Mary Poppins
                                          …aka Mommy Dearest.


You’re the best.
xoxo
~LeAnn

Sacrifice of Praise

September 4, 2010

I’m gonna level with you.

Lately I’ve been…depressed, stressed, feeling unworthy, unloved, untalented, forgotten, and on and on. It’s been a really rough few months. I’ve been struggling with my new job. I’ve been feeling burned out in several areas of life. Trying to juggle a busy job, family, and volunteer/part time worship leading. I’ve been struggling with why I’m in ministry. I love it, but am I really any good at it? Just, a lot.

Today, we had a worship team rehearsal that normally happens on Wednesday, but this week we had to move it to Saturday. And I’m SO glad we did.

I started out the morning playing a new song for us to learn. Some liked it, others didn’t. Nobody’s shy about expressing their opinions. 🙂 Then I spoke to the team about a couple things, trying to uplift, encourage, inspire…while they were looking at me with blank faces. Feelings of insecurity and inadequacy flooded me. I thought, “I can’t do this. They don’t have any faith in my ability, they think what I’m saying is irritating, not inspiring.” But, though it was uncomfortable, and there was a little negativity and resistance coming at me, I kept pushing through it. I mean, what am I gonna do? I had a job to do, and I still had…53 minutes left of rehearsal, so I figured I better just stay with it. If you are a worship leader, or any kind of leader, you know that sometimes when you meet, it’s just like that.

Tomorrow, we are doing a song that has touched millions…How He Loves, by John Mark McMillan. We love his original version, and we love the Crowder version, but decided to use the Jesus Culture version (more singable key, female-led, easier structure to follow, etc.). We rehearsed it, as well as another new (to us) song, and then went through our Sunday’s music, from the top.  I could see hearts soften as we went through it, and in no time, that 53 minutes was up, and we were into our next hour.

Once we were done going through Sunday’s setlist, we spent a good bit of time on How He Loves- perfecting the guitar part, interlude riff, going over dynamics, vocal parts, and other details. Then we went through the song. And, we worshiped. And it was…wow.

I spoke to the team for about 3 or 4 minutes after that, and it was one of those moments when the Holy Spirit completely takes over and speaks through a person. I don’t know all of what I said. It wasn’t planned, it was brief, but it was passionate. And it wasn’t me.

When you stop and realize how much you are unconditionally loved; and how  what you do in ministry is directly linked to eternity…it occurs to you what a privilege it is to do this. The sacrifice of time and effort is an honor.

Today’s rehearsal was the kind of rehearsal that makes it ALL worth it.

What has God done in you lately to change your focus, your view, your direction, and to give you a glimpse into eternity?

One of THOSE Posts…

August 21, 2010

Yeah. This is gonna be one of those posts.

The kind where it’s not all cheerful and bubbly, clever and interesting.

This is the kind that probably makes you, the reader, go…”OH”. And not smile, like I really WANT to make you do. You know I like to give you that. But not this time. So…”sorry” in advance. To my 3 readers.

But lately I have nothing really to say. I can kinda fake it in real life, as I am going throughout the day, because I would hate to offend or hurt someone. But my Facebook and Twitter are pretty neglected, and as you can see, I haven’t touched this thing in quite a while.

Because everytime I start to post something, all that comes out is that the day sucked. Or was exhausting. Or that I’m so stressed out that I can’t see straight. Or that my new job is so overwhelming that I can hardly breathe.

And that I miss the time I used to spend with my children and husband so much it hurts. I see Wayne in passing. And my kids- a couple hours at night. I know I’m not the only one. But this is my blog, so I’m just speaking for me.

And that even though I know I CAN be good at anything I try, I know that I’m not really that good at anything. I’ve lost serious amounts of confidence. If I am really called and made and talented enough to do something specific, why am I not doing it?

I’ve gained weight. I need to get my hair done so that at least that one thing that makes me feel pretty can be right…but I have no time to get it done. I know if I lost weight, I’d feel better about myself but everytime I look in the mirror, I see an ugly, depressed and tired person.

I’m STILL reminded, after 10 years, that I got a divorce …a scandalous divorce even, and that some people still haven’t forgiven me from that “unpardonable” sin. And that somehow I was the sole cause of such a heinous crime. I get pretty sick of that. I know I did some bad things and made some bad decisions. But I know I’m forgiven for my part of it all. I’ve spent years seeking the Lord and His heart, and carefully building my reputation back up brick by brick with realness, and truth. I haven’t written my “wholeness and healing” blog post yet because it aches so much when I pull all that out, it’s like surgery with no anesthesia. I’m ok, though. I know that I have the right to feel joy again. I just wish there was a little more grace from a certain, and yes I admit few, people. It’s been 10 freaking years.

That’s where I am, in a nutshell. I’m hoping this dark time I’m in will hurry up and get past me because I don’t even feel like myself. I miss being fun and bubbly. I’m feeling surprised at how loving my husband is to me. Like I don’t really deserve it.

So yeah, this isn’t a fun post to read. But it’s me. It’s honest. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather hear honesty than fluff from my friends. No fluff here today.

How We Came to Daybreak ~ a P.K.’s Perspective

June 4, 2010

It was 1987, we were living in a modest parsonage in a little town called Folsom, CA

My dad was pastoring First Baptist Church

At that time, the only interesting place to see in Folsom was Sutter Street, where there were lots of little cute stores and a Spoons restaurant

But to do any major shopping or entertainment, we’d go to Sacramento. I was in 8th grade at Folsom Jr. High, was a bit awkward, and liked everything from Def Leppard to DeBarge; Steve Perry to Sandi Patti. I was not in the best crowd, but didn’t want to get into trouble like my friends were. In fact, I was praying for God to open up a door for me to get out of the circle of “friends” I was in.

This is me in Jr. High

One day Dad told us that he was talking to a church in Bakersfield and a couple other churches…somewhere else- Idaho? Washington? I don’t know, doesn’t matter. Now, “talking” to other churches meant that these churches had contacted him with interest in him as a Pastor. I knew instantly that I wanted to go back to Bakersfield, my home town, where I was born, and lived when Dad first surrendered to the ministry. The place we had to leave in the middle of my 2nd grade year to move to Riverside so he could attend CBC and I could live in a closet (more about that in another post!). I was SO excited at the possibilities!!

When we got to the point where it looked like the Bakersfield church would ask him to come in view of a call, I started writing about  it. I’ve always been one to journal, always had a diary, never wanted to look back and wonder what my feelings were, so I’d write them down for future reading. Here are a few of my journal entries from that time in my life. Word for word, so don’t be surprised if I sound like I’m in 8th grade. 😉 Besides, I was writing this for me, not for a school assignment, so it was rather sloppy and stream-of-consciousness. Oh, and yes, one or two of the names will be changed, to protect the innocent.


Read more…

Rain

May 18, 2010

There are times when you may feel there is no way…

When you feel like you can’t breathe…

When you don’t know how you got here, but it seems too late to return…

When you hurt and can’t remember not hurting…

When you have lived your life to its fullest, and you are tired…

When you wish you knew what it felt like to be a child…

Don’t forget…sometimes you need to play in the rain.

How Can I Pray For You?

May 17, 2010

These last few weeks have been hard, on many levels.

Financial, marital, relational;

worry, frustration, pain.


I’ve been here before, and when I find myself in this place I cry out to God, and this time, He said…

I know your need. But right now, I want you to serve others.

I asked people on Facebook to tell me how I could pray for them, and in perfect Jesus-fashion, He began to re-direct my focus off myself, and onto the needs of others.

Don’t you know you’re not alone when you hurt? That others hurt, too.

Don’t you know that you are the apple of your Father’s eye? That He takes such delight in you that He rejoices with singing over you?

So as the prayer requests came in, I began to pray for these friends, coworkers, family members, acquaintances. I could feel my faith strengthen, my desire to minister to others take over, and my own problems slip from my hands… into His.

With God, all things are possible.

Prayer is such an amazing gift. We know that there is power in prayer, but I know I don’t go to Him in quiet, intimate conversation even close to enough.

So, let me share in the joy of loving and ministering to you, as well as allowing ourselves to cast our cares upon Him. Tell me…

How Can I Pray For You?