Monday, October 19, 2015
So I gotta confess something.
There's a time, with each Immerse, the women's conference that I've produced three times now, that I think, "What on earth have I gotten myself into?"
It's usually the couple of weeks before the big night, when ticket sales are driving me crazy and eight million little details are fluttering and flying out of my hands in chaotic disarray and my email inbox is more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey. Usually then. And I fret and worry and wonder.
And slightly panic. Without the adverb.
But with the support of an incredible team and amazing pastors and an extremely understanding and flexible family and a very good and faithful God, it comes together and is always more exhilarating than I could have imagined.
This year we included an incredible praise and worship set with some of our phenomenal musicians. It was something I had long hoped to do and the impact was so powerful. This team put in so much extra time...'thank you' seems inadequate.
And because God seems to like to throw little surprise parties from time to time, in addition to the amazing Anita Renfroe and Ellie Holcomb, whom we had booked months before, we found out a day prior to Immerse that Tim Tebow was going to be able to join us. Which took the evening from crazy awesome to crazier awesome.
True blue, kind, gentle and sweet. He brought the house down.
And then went on to absolutely make the night of our 2dance2dream performers.
Anita Renfroe was next up. She about killed us with comedy.
How can so much hilarity be packed into one person? I just don't understand.
I lurve her. True lurve.
Amy Byrd from Spirit 105.9 introduced our artists throughout the evening.
Then our 2dance2dream dancers took the stage with a little jazzy salsa number.
Then this one. Ellie Holcomb.
Transparent. Soulful. Funny.
The hour was growing late, but the crowd was so gracious. I was able to share my heart about what it means to dive in, to fully immerse ourselves in what God has called us to do.
And then, boom, just like that, all the planning, worrying, fretting, organizing, anticipating, it was done.
The most important reminder God gave me came at the end of the night. A mom came to me, tears in her eyes, voice thick with emotion. She hugged me...and held on. She told me that the night had been specifically for her as her daughter was just recently diagnosed with Angelman syndrome. This sweet mama has felt so isolated in trying to find what her daughter needs, how to build community, how to advocate and support her child. Between the music and messages and the performance by 2dance2dream, our dancers with special needs, this mama began to find comfort and answers.
Who am I to try to figure out God's economy? What business do I have wrestling over strangled spreadsheets and budgets and time constraints?
God knows what He's doing. He crafted something so specific for this one woman, this one mama deep in the thick of a new diagnosis and all that it means. He got her there. She received what she needed from Him. Anything after that is just a bonus.
Huge, ginormous, big big big thank yous to all of you who pulled off this event. The musicians. The tech crew. The fifty-plus volunteers. My incredible sidekick JoEllen. My faithful assistant Helen. Our amazing photographer Shannon LaFayette. My husband Mike, who has carried more than his fair share of family responsibilities in this crazy busy season. My pastors Randy and Denise Phillips and the whole LifeAustin Team. McKenna and her awesome 2dance2dream team. My fellow women leads across the area who show up year after year with their ministry teams and support me so powerfully. My lit agent Esther Fedorkevich and The Fedd Agency, who so kindly asked Tim Tebow to come be a part of our night.
You helped change lives Saturday night. I know there will more stories to come. But for now, just know that you restored hope to a sweet mom with a glorious three-year-old daughter with a tough diagnosis. You were willing to serve. And God used you mightily.
Friday, October 16, 2015
That's right~~as if Anita Refore and Ellie Holcomb and 2dance2dream weren't enough of a thrill to welcome to Immerse...how about a little Tim Tebow in the mix?!?! Get your tickets now for Immerse at LifeAustin at the LifeAustin Amphitheatre, Saturday, October 17, 2015. Doors open at 6pm with food trucks available and the evening kicks off at 7pm. Can't wait to see you there!!!
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Hanging out this week in the blogosphere at Spirit 105.9 where I talk about how Michael and I never fight...except when we do....
Thursday, October 1, 2015
If you've seen a big ol' 15 passenger van with a character building long scrape down the driver's side hauling up and down I-35 between Austin and Oklahoma City over the past few weeks multiple times, well, that just might be us.
We've been involved in a research project at Hearts for Hearing with Phonak, one of the world's top hearing aid companies. Maesy has been checking out some new technology, has been sporting the aids, has been going through rounds of sound booth testing, and has been giving her feedback on her experience. It's been a crazy busy and exciting time. This particular technology is designed to enhance Maesy's area of greatest hearing loss, right in the frequencies of speech and higher sound. It's been quite the journey, from Maesy's initial diagnosis at two-and-a-half years old, through the years of hearing aids and therapy, so now, Maesy as a young woman of seventeen, with new technologies on the horizon.
**in the audio booth with Dr. Mila Duke**
If you were to check out The Google Maps, you'd see that Austin and Oklahoma City aren't exactly next door to one another. So why go all audiologically nomadic and cross the Red River for all things hearing? Well, we've had some experience in the audiological arts over the years with Maesy. And there simply is no better place than Hearts for Hearing. The level of research they are involved in, the hearts of the team, the synergy of audiologists and therapists and doctors, it's a thing of beauty.
**Hearts for Hearing family reunion with Dr. Jace Wolf and Joanna Smith**
(Sidenote: if you were to ask Maesy who the perfect guy is, she might just blush and whisper the name of that guy in the picture above. As the director of audiology for Hearts for Hearing and as an adjunct professor and premiere researcher, Dr. Jace Wolf has been making Maesy blush and has been bringing her candy for a lot of years now. As far as Maesy is concerned, Brad Pitt's got nothin' compared to Dr. Jace...)
**getting new ear molds cast**
We've been circling back up to Oklahoma City every couple of weeks so that settings on the research hearing aids could be changed and for Maesy to give further feedback on her experience. Maesy has handled all the changes well; it's not an easy thing to process the various settings. It requires the brain to readapt in a very short timeframe, sort of like if you were changing the prescription on your eyeglasses every couple of weeks. But Maesy has a very pragmatic streak to her personality. She recognizes the emotional component and mental processing energy that it takes to readapt. She purposes to remain neutral on the settings of the hearing aids until she has given herself 72 hours to get readjusted. I've learned a lot from watching her walk through this process, the wisdom of giving oneself some time to adapt to a new situation before allowing emotions and fatigue to speak up. This girl continues to teach me so much.
You can check out Maesy's first reaction to this new technology in the video below. She is now able to hear sounds that she's never had access to. She is able to experience certain sounds in speech that she's never heard before. And in what is something of a mixed bag of blessing, she's hearing cicadas for the first time!
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
How do we reach the next generation? How do we speak faith to those who will carry our legacy? I'm honored to be speaking to leaders across the Austin area on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at noon at Austin Christian Fellowship. Register today to join us as I unpack what keeps us from being effective in speaking into the lives of young women...and what we can do to impart vision and heart. I'd love to see you there!
And you can also check out my blog post on this topic at the Proven Way site~~just click here!
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
How I love this gal. It will be Anita Renfroe's third appearance at Immerse 2015 and I can.not.wait.
But to tide myself over, I'm watching this video. Over and over again. Such wisdom. Such a timely topic.
Those ain't pants.
Be sure and get your Early Bird discount tickets for Immerse 2015 at LifeAustin for Saturday, October 17, 2015. Food trucks will be on site for dinner and treats, doors open at 5:45pm and then Immerse kicks off at 6:30pm. Can't wait to see you there!
Click here to get your tickets!
And, Anita, I'm taking your message seriously. I'm re-evaluating my definition of pants. You, my friend, are a humanitarian.