Monday, January 24, 2011


Hey Y’all!!

I’ve been reading over the last blog I posted for you and realized I left off some important events from last week at the hospital.  I was led to tell you about my sweet Rose and now I’m led to go back and tell you about a few things I feel blessed to have been part of. 

This blog was hard to write for some reason. I don’t know why it was so difficult.  It was such a blessing to witness such a remarkable experience but it’s hard to put into words how powerful it was and the true impact it has had on my life.  I hope it all makes sense to you as you read....

Part 2
January 12, 2011
It was Wednesday morning and I left my house in West Nashville at 5am.  It was hovering around 16 degrees outside and I was determined I would not be late picking Patti up from her hotel.  The VA Hospital gave Patti a hotel room near the hospital the night before her surgery because she lives about an hour outside of town.  Otherwise, she’d have to wake up at 3am to drive in for her surgery and take the risk of icy roads or anything that might prevent her from making her 6am appointment.  Since Patti has experienced my occasional tardiness, I (safely) hurried down the interstate to make it to her hotel lobby by 530am.  I made it at 5:28am.  Patti was impressed!!

Mama and Michelle pulled up right after me and we all hung out in the lobby for about 15 minutes with Patti.  Patti was very calm and at peace.  She said she was not anxious and could feel all of the prayers being said for her by people she had never even met. She was in good spirits and even made jokes about the sweatpants she was wearing! She had been instructed to wear clothes that she didn’t mind being lost in transit at the hospital.  I believe she said that she’d had the sweatpants since 1988!!

At 5:45am we all piled in our cars and caravanned to the VA hospital.  On the way there I asked Patti how she rested the night before and she said pretty good until 2:30am, then she was awake until we got to the hotel to pick her up.  I hadn’t slept at all the night before.  My mind wouldn’t shut down.  As soon as I’d almost fallen asleep, I’d wake myself up and start thinking again.  I was thinking about Patti’s surgery, her family, and then I started thinking about how I needed to sleep.  Once I started thinking about how I needed to sleep, I couldn’t sleep at all.  I tossed and turned all night and was afraid to take a Tylenol or Excedrin PM because I didn’t want to oversleep!!  Needless to say, on Wednesday, I kinda felt like I had a hangover all day!  :)

We all arrived at the parking garage and began to walk inside the hospital.  I started getting a nervous feeling in my stomach and then my heart was beating very fast.  My heart rate is probably the first thing that changes on me when I get anxious or nervous.  It FLIES!!!  ‘Breathe deep’ is what I kept saying to myself in my mind. The last thing I wanted was for Patti to sense I was nervous.  We stopped at one point on the way in and Patti asked if one of us would keep her cross necklace for her while she was in surgery.  I volunteered and Patti put it around my neck.  I love crosses and especially love wearing them. They comfort me and tend to calm me down if I hold them in my hand for just a few seconds. 

Once inside, we took the elevator down to the basement. How appropriate that we’d be going to the basement?  I’ve always been afraid of basements and I was afraid right now.  The basement in this particular hospital is where ICU was and where all of the surgeries take place.  It was quiet that early in the morning! The only people in the hallway for a while were Patti, Mama, Michelle, and me.  Finally, other patients began to arrive and then this man walked around the corner wearing blue jeans & a grey sweatshirt.  His skin was a color I’d never seen before.  It kind of had a grayish tint to it. I looked at him and then I heard Patti say, “There’s John!”  Following John were his wife, daughter, and two of his friends.  He walked straight up to Patti and hugged her. Immediately, his wife began to cry and made her way over to hug Patti.  She hugged Patti for what felt like a long time. It was an emotional day for all of them.  He’d waited for so long for this day to arrive and now he would get his life back.  Introductions were made and then Patti asked if we could all hold hands and say the Lord’s Prayer.  We formed our circle of 9, bowed our heads, and all said the prayer I’d heard my entire life. I’ve always said it like I say the blessing “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food….”.  You know what I mean? Just kinda monotone and with no emotion because it’s something I memorized as a child and have been reciting for years. But it sounded different that day.  I meant every single word we said and so did everyone else.  I knew God was in our circle, and was a part of this entire experience with John & Patti.  He is our FATHER and was delivering John from the sickness that had taken over his kidneys.  He was, and is, always in control and He was there with us in that basement hallway. 

Shortly after the prayer, the nurse called Patti back.  Mama left for work and Michelle and I went back with Patti.  I get nervous even thinking back on that walk to the anesthesia area. I knew she was doing the right thing and everything was going to be ok, but I was still scared for Patti. They let us stay back there with her for about 30 minutes and then told us we had to leave.  Ok, now this is where, if I were in Patti’s shoes, I would have a problem. I would need someone right by my side until I was fast asleep! If I was having surgery, and was not asleep yet, and the nurse told me I had to be alone, I’d say “Nah-ah girl, I gotta have me somebody back here until I don’t know I’m alone.” NO WAY!  I didn’t want to leave her in that room all by herself, but we had to go.  I looked at Patti and told her we loved her, God had this all under control, and that we’d be right there as soon as she woke up after surgery.  I don’t know if that was comforting or not for her to hear.  It was the only thing that came to my mind.  She has told me since then that she remembers me saying “God’s got this” and it helped her so much.  :)

Michelle and I walked back upstairs and out into the world...  to wait in the waiting room... to wait on the surgeons to come find us 3 hours later and tell us everything went great!!

My last blog filled you in on all that happened after that point until Patti left the hospital to go back home. Now, I would like to tell you how everyone has been doing since surgery day.

January 15, 2011
It was the Saturday morning after the surgery and I arrived at the hospital in hopes to drive Patti back home. Patti was having blood tests done and if all her levels were good she could leave.  Her blood work was great so we packed up her things and began to get ready to leave the hospital. Good news is her sweatpants from 1988 made it back to her room so she wore those home!!

Patti asked one of her nurses if she could leave her flowers for the veterans that didn’t have any.  What a sweet thing to do! I don’t know if I would’ve thought of that but that’s how Patti’s mind works.  She never thinks of herself.

Patti was in the wheelchair and I was about to begin pushing her down to the car when she said she wanted to go see John and tell him goodbye.  I told her “Of course we would go see John.”  I asked the nurse at the station where to find him.  I found out he was still in ICU and in room 13. Patti was leaving room 313.  How weird was that?  I notice everything like that.  They were truly connected now. 

I told Patti I would probably just push her into John's room and wait outside for her because I didn’t know if he would want me, or anyone he didn’t really know, in there.  I also wanted Patti to have her moment with John.   We found ICU and walked through the double automatic doors.  I’d never been in an intensive care area of a hospital. I was amazed at how it was set up.  The nurse and doctor’s station was in the center of a big room and all of the patient rooms were enclosed with glass in a semi-circle around the center station.  The patients were never out of sight from their caretakers.  John’s room was the first one as we came in the area.  I pushed Patti in the door and stood behind her.  As soon as I saw John and saw that his skin color looked peachy pink and he was alert, I knew I had to stay and listen.

Patti started with “Hey John!  You look good. “
He just smiled and said “Hey Patti!”  (That makes me smile as I type it.)
She said, “I just wanted to tell you goodbye.  I will see you soon.”
He started to cry.  He was crying and tried to say something to her but he couldn’t get it out.
Patti began to cry too.  They just looked at each other for a moment and John said, “Thank you Patti.”
Then he paused for a minute, “You have given me an extension of my life.  Thank you.”
He began to cry again.  Patti did too.
Then John smiled and said, “When I get out let’s have dinner with our two kidneys!!!”
Patti laughed and said, “I would love that.”
John said, “I can eat mashed potatoes, strawberries, bananas, AND WATERMELON NOW!!!”
His entire face lit up when he said watermelon! 
Patti told him that they would eat ALL of that!

Shortly after that conversation, we left for the parking garage.  We only stayed for a moment in ICU, but I know that brief moment is what Patti had been living for, for over a year now. I’d never seen anything like that in real life.  I’d seen it in the movies but this was real stuff.  It was a quiet walk back to the parking garage.  I don’t think Patti nor I knew what to say.

On the drive to Patti’s house we talked a lot.  We talked about the beautiful day, the coming week, her friends, my life, and then I asked Patti a question that I thought I would share with you all.  I asked Patti if she felt different after the surgery.  In my child-like mind, I was really asking if she physically felt like she only had one kidney.  Patti answered me in the way she answers all of my questions.  She told me that since the surgery, she felt more connected to the world. She’d been told about so many prayers lists she was on and that people she’d never met and may never meet were praying for both she and John.  She also explained that this experience had brought many new friends in her life. Some of her nurses had actually served in Afghanistan and Iraq.  She said... “They were calling me a hero when they are the real heroes!  I realized that depending on the circumstance in life, that we play different roles. Sometimes we are the giver and sometimes the receiver but whichever role we’re in, we are always being blessed. The connection to the world is always there if we are open to it."
I’ve always felt connected to the people I’m closest to, but this experience helped me to feel connected to everyone, whether I knew them or not. Connected because we are children of God. I am a little bit wiser!!!  :)

When we arrived at Patti’s house, her brother and sweet mother Rose were waiting on her.  We got inside and then I snuck back out to the car to get the surprise for Rose that my Mama had sent to her.  Mama had gone to Costco and bought her a big container of these little dessert treats.  They were these little tiny (like Rose) strawberry & chocolate pastries. I walked into the house with those and you should’ve seen her face!  SHE WAS SO EXCITED! You would’ve thought I’d given her a new car or some fancy new piece of jewelry.  :)  It made my day! We even got a picture of her big beautiful smile!!! 

Patti has been doing GREAT since getting back home from the hospital.  She’s enjoying her time with Rose and she’s even teaching herself how to use Facebook!!  She looks great and even made it back to church yesterday.

When I was in the hospital cafeteria, I learned from Rose that she LOVES RED LOBSTER!  Rose said “I told everyone to just give me Red Lobster gift cards for Christmas.  I don’t need clothes or anything else but I LOVE those cheese biscuits!”  So, yesterday after church we went to Red Lobster!!  It sure was fun watching her eat those cheese biscuits!  She gets so excited about those simple things in life! Sometimes, I wish I could see the world through the eyes of Rose. She is only in Nashville for one more week which makes me sad.  I’ve tried to convince her to stay a little longer but she misses her husband. She said she was watching a Porter Wagoner taping the other night and it really made her miss him.  Isn’t that sweet?  Their 54th wedding anniversary was last week also!!  When she gets back home they are going to Red Lobster to celebrate!  Before she heads back home I get to have lunch with her again and she’s also coming to my show on Friday night!  YAY!  I’m probably going to sing a song especially for my sweet Rose!!!  :) Here’s a picture of my new best friend Rose and me!!

Rose & me! Notice her doughnuts? She loves her sweets!!!

I’ve heard that John is also doing well and that he gets to go home soon!  I know he is so excited about that.  He mentioned getting to ride bikes with his wife when he got out!  I hope that the weather is beautiful soon so that they can enjoy riding bikes with one another again!  God is good! 

My dear friend, Rev. Becca Stevens, dedicated part of her sermon the other Sunday to Patti and John.  She said, “preach love and use words when you have to.”  And from the beautiful Gospel of John she talked about...  ‘how Jesus was willing to be a servant of God and bear the burdens of the world.’  And from Acts 20... ‘We should figure out ways to bear the burdens of those who are weak in this world. Remember the words of our Lord, It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
That’s what Patti did.  She actually served God by giving her kidney to John.  She didn’t just talk about doing it, she did it!  She walked the walk!

I have learned so much from Patti.  I believe my life is better for being a part of such a wonderful journey in her life. I am DEFINITELY A LITTLE BIT WISER!!!!! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Hey Y’all!  

I started this blog just before my friend Patti’s surgery and have been working on it as often as I could find time, but many nights this week, I’d fall asleep before I could get my thoughts down.  As I was writing the blog, I realized I had so much to say about everything I saw and experienced. It kept becoming longer and longer!  It began to seem more like a chapter in a book than a blog so I decided to break it up into parts.  Here is Part ONE.  Part TWO will follow soon and detail the recovery of both Patti and her recipient John.

PART 1 – “A Little Bit Wiser”

As Patti and I sat at my favorite coffee shop and went over the details of who she wanted me to call after the surgery, I started thinking, "oh wow… this has really come to fruition". Patti had talked about donating her kidney, to her friend John, for over a year but we were now at the less than 24 hour point before she would Lose  "Paul". You see, my Mama named Patti’s kidneys Peter and Paul. We were out at the Listening Room on New Year’s Eve and Mama asked her which one she was giving away, Peter or Paul?  In Patti fashion, she contemplated for a few minutes and her answer was Paul. She definitely had specific reasons as to why she chose to give Paul to John, but I can't seem to recall those at the moment.

Next, Patti handed me her funeral arrangements, in the event something should go horribly wrong.   The line that stuck out to me was, of course,  "Julie Roberts sings I'll Fly Away". I knew she wanted me to do that but I just skimmed over the rest of that entire page and said "we aren't gonna need any of this". She said she knew I was right, but just in case, I would have it.

Then she told me that should something happen, she wanted her ashes spread over the top of some mountain in East TN. Patti loves nature and hiking so that was the perfect place. 

At that point, I began to get nervous.  Was this going to be the last time I met one of my best friends for coffee? We meet at least once a week for a three-hour lunch or coffee, where I tend to become smarter from Patti's words of wisdom and probably, she becomes exhausted trying to sort out all of my scattered thoughts.

She knows things about me no one else does.  If it was Patti’s time to go to heaven, who would help me solve all my problems and keep me on the path of believing in my dreams?  I was counting on her to get through this surgery smoothly so that we could be sitting at that same coffee shop in just a few weeks.  

Is that selfish?  Here I am with a lady about to give her kidney away to a man in need and I was trying to think of anything else I could think of to talk about so that we wouldn't have to focus on the order of a potential memorial service.  I was trying to talk about everything I possibly could about me because I didn't know when we'd get the chance to do this again. Then I stopped myself and said  "It’s not about my problems or my life today. As much as I want to pick your brain on some things, we are thinking about you!"  She smiled and said, "No, I wanna hear about you." Of course she’d say that!  This selfless person about to give up her kidney wants to hear about the things I am dealing with, which quickly began to feel unimportant at this point.

Fast-forward one day later and I'm on the 3rd floor of the Vanderbilt Veterans hospital talking on the phone.  I was waiting on Patti to get out of surgery.  It was a 3-hour surgery and then a 2-hour recovery. I was standing in the hallway working on a credit card issue and here comes Patti being wheeled down the hall on her gurney. She saw me and everyone else waiting in the room and the first three words out of her mouth were "how's John doing?". Those credit card problems were gone in an instant. With just three words coming out of the mouth of this child of God, I became wiser. “How’s John doing”? Wow!  She was only worried about the man’s life she was potentially saving.  What else is there to worry about?  Money problems, job worries, car problems, bad weather…none of that was on the forefront of my mind anymore.  Life is about love and showing love in as many ways as you can while you are on this earth. I was wiser!!

It’s Saturday now and I just got home from the hospital. I spent most of the latter part of my week up there with Patti.  Meeting her friends as they came in the room, spending time with her sweet Mom Rose, helping her to the bathroom or with walks down the hall, doing anything I could to help, but mainly just sitting and listening.  I took so much in this week. I know I was where I was meant to be and doing what I was meant to do this week.  Who cares if I haven’t washed my hair in 3 days…that’s what they make baby powder for!!!  I probably smell like a new baby today because I have a ton of that stuff in my hair!!  Again, I am wiser and I knew it was time to put my vanity aside and do what Patti needed me to do!!  (I’ve been home 2 hours now and still haven’t washed my hair!  And I’m not worried about it at all!!!)

I walked through the halls of the Veterans hospital every day.  I looked in all the rooms because I couldn’t help it.  I was drawn to see what the faces of the men & women who served our country looked like.  I was proud to be walking those halls and I wouldn’t be there had it not been for them risking their lives to fight for my freedom. 

Walking those halls saddened me sometimes.  Many of the veterans were alone.  I didn’t see many visitors or many “get well” flowers or balloons.  I wonder why?  Had they been forgotten?  I sure hope not.  I’ve thought about it over and over this week. Actually, I can’t stop thinking about it.  Fortunately, they were getting great care there.  The doctors and nurses were first class & on top of their needs. 

On a side note, I couldn’t help but think about my Dad this week.  He is a veteran. Although we don’t speak that often, I am proud of him.  I wondered if he’d ever been to a Veterans hospital. And if so, did he have any visitors?  That made me sad.  I think I’m going to try and contact him soon.  Again, I became wiser this week.

Now, I have to tell you about my new friend Rose.  Sweet Rose is Patti’s Mom from Maryland.  Rose is 82 years old and was such an angel.  Everyone that had met her previously called her “MeeMaw” when they came in the hospital room, but she was Rose to me. She was as beautiful as any rose I’d ever seen.  Her beauty went way deep in her little tiny body and shined for the world to see.  I immediately took it as my job to make sure Rose was ok. Patti’s brother Bobby was there also and taking wonderful care of Patti and Rose but I wanted to take her under my wing.  The first day I met her, I hugged her and if I had closed my eyes, I would have thought it was my MawMaw back in South Carolina.  They have the same frame, petite and tiny!  They both seem very fragile and make my heart melt.  One day, my friend Michelle and I took Rose to the hospital cafeteria.  She was hungry. Patti had informed me in previous weeks that she doesn’t eat very much.  On the way downstairs, Rose explained her eating habits to me too.  She said, “I don’t eat but a couple of bites of my meals because I get full fast.  I DO LIKE SWEETS THOUGH!!”  She smiled when she said “sweets”.  Just like my MawMaw! 

We got her a small sprite which lasted her about 5-6 hours and she picked out a pack of 5 little doughnuts.  The doughnuts lasted her about 30 minutes! She DID love sweets!!  We sat in the cafeteria and talked for about an hour.  I learned about Rose’s fears, her loves, her family, her home, what cereal she liked for breakfast, what her favorite restaurant was, that she was scared of animals, about her grandchildren and her great grandchildren, that she has 2 girlfriends that she takes walks with, about the farm she lived on in Massachusetts, how some days she wishes she could go back there and live, and most of all, how proud she was of Patti and how much she loved her.  I caught myself several times during our talk about to cry.  Maybe I wanted to cry because I missed MawMaw or maybe I wanted to cry because I knew I would only get to spend a few weeks with Rose and that was not fair.  God brought this amazing woman in my life for just 3 weeks?  Nope…that’s not good enough!  I will definitely make a trip up to visit her sometime.  

Have you ever met someone you wished you could put in your pocket and take everywhere with you? That’s how I feel about MawMaw and now Rose.  I think we’d have lots of great talks and wonderful laughs.  Rose would teach me about life and I could teach Rose what she might not know about (which isn’t much).  The only thing she ever asked me about this week that she didn’t know much about was Facebook!  Haha!  You gotta love that! 

As the week passed and Patti healed, Rose and I became friends.  If I wasn’t sitting next to Rose in the hospital room, I always had my eye on her.  She would sneak out every now and then to the hallway of the hospital to warm-up.  She is always cold, like my MawMaw.  Sometimes I would look across the room while there was a group conversation going on and I’d notice that Rose might look a little bit confused.  Sometimes she couldn’t hear what was being talked about so she just sat there trying to figure it out.  Once, I saw that happening and I went and sat next to Rose and started up my own conversation with her.  It was like she knew what I was thinking from across the room.  One of the first things she said was “Everyone tells me I don’t hear very good anymore but I think it’s that everyone speaks so soft.”  I loved Rose’s reasoning!  I agreed with Rose and told her that I had to basically watch everyone’s mouth and try to read their lips because they DID speak softly.  Maybe I was losing my hearing too.  Rose and I were going to be great friends.  We could talk loud to one another, eat sweets, and teach each other about life.  I am definitely much wiser now!
To be continued... 

Saturday, January 8, 2011


When I started this blog a few days ago, I didn’t realize how much fun it truly was going to be until I began typing. I couldn’t take my eyes off the computer screen! Once while I was typing, my sister’s boyfriend came in the room and tried to talk to me and I kept saying “ Hold on” Then about 5 minutes would pass and I’d say “Now, what’d you say?” I couldn’t take my mind or my heart off of what I wanted to say to you all. He finally gave up trying to tell me his story!! Haha!  Sorry David!!

So, as the days have passed, I’ve been thinking and wondering about the things you might want to hear about, from my journey in this life. I decided I am going to just tell you whatever is on my heart the day I choose to type! 

So here goes…

Tonight, I was sitting at the island in our kitchen like I do pretty much every night.  I was organizing my itunes catalog and answering some emails when Mama came in with some groceries.  She decided to make chicken chili for dinner & had to go by the grocery store on her way home from work to get all the ingredients.  She, of course, bought some dog treats too and the latest issue of US magazine.  You see, we have a pretty bad addiction to US Magazine, People, InTouch, Entertainment Weekly, etc!  The list goes on and on.  If Mama doesn’t buy the magazine in the store, then I do!  We are always caught up on the latest gossip and fashion!  When I saw the cover of the magazine tonight, I saw that inside we were going to get a glimpse of Shania’s wedding!   I immediately skipped over every other article til I found her wedding photos and she looked so beautiful and happy!  I then scanned the rest of the magazine knowing that I would wait and actually read the other articles on the Stairmaster one day this weekend.  (That’s kinda my routine!)  As I flipped through the magazine, I ran across about 2-3 more pages of celebrities, engaged to be married this year.  There are SO MANY! 

I began to think about my friends in country music (Carrie, Miranda, Kellie Pickler, Blake Shelton, and probably some more) that are newly married or are engaged.

Tis the season for getting married I guess!  I want to say congratulations and good luck to all of them.  There’s a running joke in my family that I probably wont ever get married because I love the breakup and heartbreak songs.  And because I live with Mama and am perfectly content with that!  I think that one day I will probably get married, but only if I have no doubts whatsoever in my heart that’s what I’m supposed to do and that I know I have found the person God wants me to spend my life with.  AND, whoever my husband is will have to accept the fact that we are going to build an extra wing on the house for Mama or get her a house next door.  Sorry, but that’s the way it’s going to be mister!! Whoever “mister” is!!!!

All of my high school and college friends are also married or getting married and I am normally informed of their news either through text messaging or facebook status updates.  Congrats to you all too!

Tis the season for new babies too!  Every magazine has cute pictures of celebrities & their babies or a list of cute, popular baby names or who is going to be having a new baby this year!  Again, I keep up with that through the magazines for the celebrities, and by text messaging or on my friend’s facebook pages.  One special baby that is coming this year to my family is a new niece!  My sister Marie is going to have her 3rd little girl!  And I can’t help but say it, because everyone else says it to my brother-in-law, “God bless you with all those women in the house Jimmy”!!  He’s been teased a bunch but I tend to truly look at it as God has BLESSED him with 3 women and he is sending one more for his household because he knows what a good husband and father he is and girls need to see that and experience that kind of love!  So, I AM SO EXCITED to meet my new niece in just a couple months, unless she decides to come sooner.  I love my nieces and wish I could see them more because when we get together, it’s trouble! They get to do anything they want and they are ALWAYS right. 

Living apart from most of my family and friends from SC, I don’t get to attend many weddings, wedding parties, wedding showers, or baby showers.  I get to see pictures on FACEBOOK!  Thank you Facebook!! 

All of that brings me up to this….

About a month or so ago, I was invited to a shower that takes place today and I’m actually going to get to go!!  It’s in Lebanon, TN and it’s for a friend of mine that I met while on the ‘Prison Tour’ last year.  She works for a video music channel in town and traveled with us to document our trips to prison but also to help minister to the women we met there. 

Today, I am going to my VERY FIRST KIDNEY SHOWER!!!  That’s right, I said KIDNEY SHOWER!!   It’s a kidney shower for my friend named Patii. Patti is an unbelievable person.  She puts everyone’s needs before her own and is truly the most unselfish person I have met in my life. 

Patti met a lady while studying for her master’s degree in Theology. The two became friends and Patti finally learned that her friend’s husband was a veteran and needed a new kidney.  His name is John.  I’ve never met John, but I know he served our country proudly and has been on dialysis for over three years now.  As Patti got to know his wife, she began to hear about the struggles of John’s life since his kidneys stopped functioning properly.  He had no choice but to surrender his life to these machines.  Ironically, he had also once done a prison ministry but had to quit due to his fading health. His entire life has been altered because of his failing kidneys and he can no longer do the things that once made him happy.

One day Patti decided to register herself to become an organ donor.  They began to do all the testing that they do and found out that she was a perfect match for John!  HOW CRAZY is that?  She met this lady in theology school whose husband needed a kidney and she happened to match him perfectly?! It’s no coincidence.  It’s God’s plan working out for both the lives of Patti and John.   

From the time I met Patti on the Prison Tour, I’ve known she was going to be donating her kidney to John.  This surgery has been scheduled 2 times before and for health issues has been rescheduled for this upcoming week.  You see, if John gets even a cold or a sore throat, it’s highly unlikely that they can do the surgery.  So, he and Patti have been really taking care of themselves to stay healthy so that the surgery will happen on Wednesday. 

At the kidney shower, we are going to have food, we are going to tell jokes, laugh, pray, and just celebrate life.  Because of Patti, John gets another chance at living his life.  I was talking with Patti yesterday and this is what she said to me that I thought was SO beautiful.
She said, “Thank you for the prayers.  I am at peace right now and my body is better than it usually is.  Can you believe some of John’s friends sent me flowers today?  People I have never met!  God’s love is so life-giving…being a match for John has brought untold blessings in my life.  All I want to do is be a good and faithful servant, listening to whatever call he has for me.” 

What an amazing woman God has put into this world and my life!  On a regular basis, I send her questions about my faith and the Bible. Questions that sound very child-like to me and she always says they are great questions and eagerly responds with 4 page, typed answers.  She is helping me grow on my spiritual journey and I wanted you all to know a little bit about her. 

I hope that you will keep Patti and John in your thoughts and prayers this week.  I will be at the hospital lots this week and will keep you updated on how they are both doing. 

Thank you for letting me share with you what was on my heart today. 

I love you all!  


(Is that what I say? haha…..who knows!)


Thursday, January 6, 2011



Can you believe it's the New Year already? 
2010 has gone by so fast, it was almost a blur to me.

One of my New Year resolutions was to start a Blog for you all.  I started one once before when I was on my tour in Australia but like most things I set up, I forgot my password, so I had to start a new one.  It makes sense though, because I'm beginning a new season of my life!

I feel I have grown so much this past year!  I think I'm smarter, more compassionate, maybe a little more organized (or I strive to be), stronger in my faith, and more determined than I've ever been.

I definitely feel smarter in business!  

I've made some mistakes along the way but I keep hearing you have to do that to learn!
As the New Year begins I think I'm finally at my capacity for learning...  and I’m ready to get this train moving forward!

I also just feel a whole lot smarter in life.  Here's how…
  • I have learned to live in the moment more and enjoy each and every minute.
  • I have also learned to stop worrying about every little thing!  I can't enjoy today if I'm worried about tomorrow. 
  • I've learned, that to be at my best, I have to be doing what I was put on this earth to do.  And I truly believe my purpose is to sing and make music for as many people as I can.  Doing that makes me smile more than anything.
  • I've learned to accept that I cannot please everyone, but if I live a life that is pleasing to God then that’s all I expect from myself.  
  • I've learned to surround myself with people that believe in my Me and my dreams, and to work with people that don't want to compromise who I am as an artist or as a person.  
  • I've always known that material things are just that... they are material, and you can't take them with you to heaven and you aren't promised you will have them tomorrow!  The May floods in Nashville taught me that!  My family lost our home, most of our belongings, and our cars in the flood this year.  My Mom, my sister, my dogs, and I were rescued from the strong, rushing waters of the Harpeth River.  The flood took away our ‘things’ but not our 'faith', and it brought us closer than ever because we only had each other and that's all we really need anyway, right?  
  • I've also learned, this past year, not to question God's plan for my life.  This has taken many years to learn but I think that at the conclusion of 2010, I finally get it.  God's timing is perfect and only  He has the best plan for my life.  
I could talk about so many things in this blog but I will just briefly touch on one...
As most of you know, I moved to Los Angeles two years ago to pursue acting.  I took acting classes and actually spent almost a year working on the script for a movie based on my life.  I HAD SO MUCH FUN OUT THERE!  I loved my classes and all of the wonderful people I met, and that’s also where I found my dog Cosmo!!  

In my mind, I planned to take my classes, film my movie, and release a new album.  I thought I'd be back on the road and making enough money so Mama could quit her job and run my fan club from her new home with a big front porch!  But God had different plans. Things kept happening to postpone the movie production, which postponed the release of my album, and you guys know that has postponed me starting up touring again.  I was determined to stay out in Los Angeles until the movie got made but with all the delays there came a point where I just had to move back to Nashville.  Time continued to pass and still no movie!  And to make things more frustrating my record label would not release my new music without the movie.  Because my new songs were going to be in the movie they thought a simultaneous release of both was the best thing to do.

It felt like nothing was going right.  I prayed every night for God to help me and I read Matthew 6: 25-34 and Philippians 4:6-7 over and over again to ease my mind.
Then came the May flood…  

At one point I didnt really know what to think.   What was I supposed to do now?   It felt like I had lost everything! But I actually learned that this was in fact God's answer to my prayers.  

When the flood happened, so many people reached out to help my family…  The Grand Ole Opry, MusicCares, my family and my friends.  They all wanted to help us rebuild our home and our lives.  

While I have the chance I want to say Thank You…   for all of your prayers, and for every person that helped us clean up, gave us a place to stay, gave us food, gift cards, clothes, etc!  Each and every one of you showed me what compassion is all about and my family will be forever grateful for you.

For the 6 months after the flood that I was out of my home, God gave me the resources to not only rebuild our life but also to keep my career ticking along.  It was during this time that I began working with Jason Collum of Sorted Noise, one of the producers on my new album.  Jason has been wonderful in so many ways, but one way that I am most appreciative is that he helped me continue working on my music.  With all that we were going through with the flood he generously paid for the recording of 7 of my new songs.   I am so thankful for Jason and Sorted Noise and WILL be paying him back soon!  You have my word on that! 

Marcus Hummon is another friend who has been so generous to me.  He has also produced some of my songs for my upcoming album, he has guided me, offered advice, and directed me during this time of my life.  And he has done it all free of charge.  I am so grateful and I WILL pay him back too!

Thank you EVERYONE!  I am so blessed to have so many angels in my life.  

Some of you may not know, but another thing that happened the week of the flood was Mercury Records and I decided to go our separate ways.  Boy, was my life taking a turn!  I had dreamed since I was a little girl about having a record deal and now I was walking away from what God gave me in 2003.  At the time I felt like it was the right thing to do, but I can’t lie, I still wake up some mornings wishing I had a record deal again. 

Because they were not going to release a new album without the movie I decided I couldn't put my life on hold any longer.  I have no hard feelings towards them at all, in fact it was most of the staff at Universal Music Group  that came over to clean out my house after the flood!  WOW! I could not believe it!  I thought when we parted ways that the staff would never speak to me again and boy was I SO WRONG! They got on their hands and knees, in the dirt and mud at my flooded house, and helped us so much!! I love the staff at Universal Music Group with all my heart!  Who knows, maybe we will get to work together again some day :)!!   

So, as you can imagine, by the middle of May I was beginning to question what I'd done wrong in my life to make all this stuff happen. The answer was, nothing! I had done nothing wrong!

I'm not perfect, but God is not a punishing God and everything we go through in life is for a reason.  I have a strong faith and I know in my heart He has a plan for me and He is unfolding it right in front of my eyes. 
I tell you all this, not only to give you a closer look at my journey in this life but also to give you some insight on why it's taking me FOREVER to get you some new music.  I've been working so hard on the music but all these circumstances combined have slowed down the process.  

And…  Now that I’m an Independent Artist I'm having to change the way I do business.  I have been busy working on how to actually get my music to you all when it is ready and the same goes for planning a tour… trust me, I WANT TO BE PLAYING IN YOUR TOWNS too!

Also during 2010 God sent me a wonderful friend who is helping me with my day-to-day tasks.  She is brilliant and another gift from God. She's helping me with everything creative, shows, business, and helping me get organized (and to remember my passwords) etc!!  I hope that I work with her for the rest of my life. 

I also have an amazing publicity team that has been working on my behalf for over a year now!  These girls have a fire under them and are determined to help me achieve my goals!  

So now I hope you understand why I said at the beginning of this blog…
“As the New Year begins I think I'm at my capacity for learning...  I’m ready to get this train moving forward!”

This year, I am more determined to make my dreams happen.   I have faith that they ARE going to come true.   I am determined to get back on the road and get my new music out there to you because I am so proud of these new songs and I want you all to have them.  

I live by faith and not sight so I can't see where this journey will take me next or what turns I have to make to achieve all of my dreams.  But I have faith that God will direct my path and keep me headed in the right direction.  
I want you all to know that I live every single day to open up my laptop and read the messages from you all on my Facebook and Myspace.  You are a huge part of why I believe I can achieve my goals and my dreams.  You understand me, and my music, in ways that I cant believe.  You love the songs I choose and when I see you, you sing them back to me!!  You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me cry (good cries), and you make my life worth living.  

I am so blessed to know you all and that you are in my life.  May God bless you in this New Year and I pray that I will see you all soon!

One final note is for my Mama…

You are such a special woman!  I am so blessed to call you "Mama" and call you my best friend.  Thank you for letting me cry to you, for helping me continue to make music, for fighting for me, for being patient with me, and for always believing in my dreams.  You WILL have that front porch one day and we will get that beach vacation in a tropical place!  (two pina coladas!!)

Love you all more than you will ever know,