A Little Bling…

***UPDATE*** So many of you have asked about the frame, so I will tell you the truth. Todd began with a large piece of wood from our backyard and then he spend his evenings by candlelight, utilizing his newfound “wood whittling” skills. He also painted it and wrote the words, and even though it says “Albert Einstein,” it was totally Todd’s quote. We just want people to think we’re smart.
Either that, or we found it at a little boutique in Destin and it is manufactured by the Magnolia Lane Collection, which can be accessed HERE. Mine is the 20×20, and it is GORGEOUS in person.
But seriously, Todd whittling? Almost as funny as the nativity set featured in THIS post. I can’t stop laughing at Mary’s hair…sweet Caroline…
Also, if you want to cry AGAIN, scroll through the comments to this post and see what MckMama has to say…2 women who love Jesus and their babies. I am in awe of the Lord. Thank you, friend. Much love to you:)
You may have noticed new little gadget on the top of my sidebar announcing that I won the Divine Caroline award, and I kind of feel like I am at the Golden Globes.  Although, I am in my P.J.’s with no makeup and in no position to make a public speech:) There were almost 400 blog nominations in this category, and because of your kindness and love of my family, WE (you and I) won in the “best parenting blog” category.
At the risk of going a little Sally Field on you, I just want you to know that it means the world to me.  ALL of the proceeds will go to this really cute pair of shoes  THE HOPE CLINIC!!!!! Note please, that the strikethrough capability above was executed courtesy of MckMama, who was nipping at my heels for this award, and would have also given her money to charity. I love that girl, and I know you all do too:) I happen to know her a little more personally through e-mail and I can tell you she is WAY fun and just a true gift to share a little life with. What a strange way to become connected to someone, and yet I am so grateful to have met her.
So, all this to say thank you ever so much. I am super-duper proud to have won.
Instead of saying any more today, I will simply encourage you to do your scripture memory. I’m at verse 8, but it isn’t because I am an overachiever, but rather a procrastinator, and it’s a good idea for me to get ahead in anticipation of getting behind.  How poetic and revealing of me…
This is my thought for today, and it comes to you from just above my desk. It was my anniversary present from Todd this year, and  I look at it about a hundred times a day to ask myself which I am choosing.  Now it’s your turn.
Nothing, or everything?
Isn’t she beautiful? 
And what a miracle.
God be with each of you~
Angie

What A Beautiful NIght…

***updated for those of you who may care to know:)*** In answer to your questions, YES. It is the same sweater I keep wearing in like every picture I have posted. I got it for $12 and I love it. Most people would laugh at my closet…I would just rather buy books!!!!
Bigmama, can you help a girl out?!?!?!
I love the popping in. No stress and it takes 5 minutes. And it’s all about good causes. LOVE it.
I wanted to share these with you who could not be with us in person, as I discovered that many of my precious Sundays made AMAZING donations. I know many of you were there in spirit, but in case you would like a visual, here are some photos from Cider Carols 2008.
These first 2 are from the pre-concert dinner for special guests/donors. It looked like a Winder Wonderland! 

This next one is a picture of me and Jason Catron - he was the musical host for third year in a row…such a neat guy. And a GREAT voice. People compare him to Josh Groban. If you follow his link, make sure and watch the video of him that pops up on the right side of him singing at the Crystal Cathedral. Wow…
Thanks for showing me the ropes, Jason, and many prayers for your ministry!!! You are SO gifted. 
A view of some of the silent auction tables…thank you for your gifts, Sundays!!!
And the night begins. Soft candlelight and a room full of people singing out to the Lord in the name of a good cause…beautiful.



And here is one of Renee Rizzo, the CEO and president of the Hope Clinic, holding a very special guest. This sweet baby girl and her mommy  live in “Audrey’s Room” at the Hope House. 
Waterproof mascara? Stellar choice.
And so when all was said and done, we raised $20,000 for the Hope Clinic!!!!! We praise you Jesus, and thank You in advance for the amazing things you will do with people’s generosity.
Much love,
Angie

Reminder…

Just a quick reminder that tonight is Cider Carols.  I am so excited to see what God does.  It is going to be an amazing night of Christmas Carols, Warm cozy drinks and a chance to shop for a good cause.  I will just tell you that the Sundays came out in full force, and you will not believe the stuff they donated for auction.  Thank you to each and every one of you, and may God do amazing things with what we raise tonight.
It is a casual, warm, family-friendly night to welcome the coming of our sweet Savior Jesus.
I would love to share it with you…just click on the link above if you have any questions.
I hope to see you there:)
Blessings to you all.
Ang
p.s.  The 2nd was Abby and Ellie’s 6th Birthday.  We had an absolute blast! I was so caught up in it all that I haven’t had a chance to post, but would love to share some pictures with you all. It was a great day.  Thank you to all of you who wrote to wish them a Happy Birthday.
p.p.s. Sundays, could you pray for this Saturday evening? Greg, Nicol, and my parents and in-laws will be going to a candlelight vigil at the cemetery where Audrey and Luke are buried.  It will be emotional, I’m sure, and I am asking the Lord to bring a great peace in such a difficult season.  That His presence would somehow wash over us as we sit by these two tiny graves…we miss them so much.
Thank you, friends.  And remember, you are always welcome to send your prayer requests to me as well…we are all walking this together, and I am blessed to share in your lives as you have shared in mine.

Cider Carols

So you all know how much I love public speaking, right?
Well, a few months ago my sweet friend and CEO/President of the Hope Clinic in Nashville asked me if I would host a fundraiser for them.  I wasn’t planning on doing it (remember the whole pulling out my own eyelashes thing?), but when I accidentally stood her up for lunch I told her I would do anything to make it up to her.
It was a spur of the moment response. In retrospect, it was a little hasty.
Well, she texted me back and said “Good. Then you’ll host Cider Carols this year.”
So, there you have it.
I am the host.
If you are in the Nashville area and want to join us, it’s going to be a great, fun night.  The date is December 4th, and it will be a casual evening of singing and drinking cider to welcome the Christmas season. Families are welcome, and tickets are available online. There will be lots of great singers and shopping and it all goes to an amazing cause.  If you want to know more or purchase tickets, please click here.
There will be a silent auction that night, and if you don’t live in Nashville (or even if you do!) and you have something you would like to donate for the auction, please contact Lily at lsmith@hopeclinicforwomen.org.
Blessings!!!
Angie

The Room…

I wanted to post these so you all could see the beautiful room you helped us decorate for the Hope Clinic.  The mommy who will be in it had her baby this week, and will certainly be blessed by your generosity….
This first one is Kyla (who did not see my butt), me, and Lauren (who, incidentally, has also never seen my butt).



This last one is Renee (CEO and president of the Hope Clinic) holding up the tile that Kaye made for the house.  
The wreath above the bed is made of cherry blossoms in honor of our Audrey-girl.  I cried when I walked in and saw it all put together…what a sweet blessing you have given.  Thank you to each and every one of you who helped to make this a safe haven, and may the Lord repay you for your generosity…
Also, please pray for me if you think of it on Friday. I have my speaking engagement in Lexington and I am really wanting it to be a great night of fellowship. Please ask the Lord to bless the women who come to meet Him there.
And also pray I don’t pass out and show my pirate panties.
Love and blessings,
Angie

Every Word is True

I don’t normally post two days in a row, I know.  But I can’t help myself.
I’m having a lot of trouble typing (which I will explain shortly). This is the stuff Lifetime movies are made out of.  And they always happen to me.
It started out GREAT. I met Kyla at Target and spent $1300.  Yes.  $1300. Before you say anything, let me explain.  It wasn’t my money.  
It was yours.
And I had a ball spending it.
Okay, I can see I am going to need to back up a little. 
The Hope Clinic started a home for mothers who choose life for their babies instead of abortion.  3 women live there at a time, and there is a “house mother” (Kyla) who lives there with them.  We decided to use part of the money that people have donated to the Hope Clinic to decorate one of the bedrooms.  I bought all “Shabby Chic” style bedding, furniture, lighting, curtains, a glider, frame, decor (no sticks), baby books, and on and on. It is all going to be set up this weekend and I am so excited to see it come together and welcome the mommies who will live there.  What a blessing.  So, let me start off by saying thank you to each and every person who helped to make this a reality.  I will take pictures and post them (go figure).
And now onto the reason Kyla had to call 911 for me.
Let’s just say (hypothetically) that I am a clumsy person, and today, I was wearing a skirt. These facts will both become important in a minute, I promise.
I follow Kyla back to the house and we unload my car.  I open my passenger side door to grab my phone so that I can type in her phone number, and then I slam the door shut.
Hear me say that the door shut completely. Closed.
Which would not have been post-worthy had my finger not been in it.
It takes me about a millisecond to realize it, and I open the car door, at which point blood starts dripping everywhere.  I am not freaking out yet, so I make a crack about how I just got my nails done, and then I start to realize that there is a good chance my finger is broken and I need to get a plan together.  Kyla sees my finger and we start to run inside to grab a paper towel. I am concerned that I am going to get blood all over the house, so I am holding one hand under it and trying not to make a mess.  I was just in shock, I guess.  
We get inside and Kyla runs some cold water for me.  I put my hand under the sink and all of a sudden, I start to really feel it.  I mean, seriously feel it.  And it is not good. At all.
I start to feel a little woozy.  I’m not really weird about blood, but I think my body went into shutdown mode and I pass out cold.  I should mention that when I pass out (if you are a doctor and you have insights on this, please share) I have what appear to be seizures.  According to people who have witnessed it, I shake and make moaning noises and it is pretty scary to watch. Kyla said I had two or three today while I was unconscious, and she called 911.  I managed to show her how to call Todd on my phone in between seizures, because as you know, I am nothing if not a multi-tasker.
I will tell you all more about this later, but I took a big step in the last several days towards telling Audrey’s story in book form, and part of that is by partnering with a literary agent.  It was an answer to prayer that literally fell into my lap, and I am so excited about it. Anyway, he went to adopt two children today (his sixth and seventh, incidentally), and I decided I was going to fast for him (quickly, this just means that I abstain from eating for a day as an offering of sacrifice and prayer).  I wasn’t going to say anything, but they were wondering if there could be any other “factors,” so I mentioned it. The ladies in the house brought me a Special K bar and Kyla said, “Seriously Angie. It’s only like 90 calories.  I don’t think God will even notice 90 calories….” I think it was one of the funniest things I have ever heard.  Kyla, you are a gift.   
Let’s just also say (hypothetically) that I asked three questions when I came to.  See the title of this post for more information….
In order, these were the questions.
1.  I passed out again, didn’t I?
2. Tell 911 they don’t need to come, I’m okay. Are they already coming?
3. Did you see my butt just now?
So, for all of you who are keeping score, there was at least a 6 second window between seizure and pure vanity.
The medics came and checked me out.  I told them I didn’t want to ride in the ambulance, but they told me I should probably go to the hospital because it might be broken.  I wouldn’t know, because I have literally never broken a bone.  But anyway, they were really nice. Meanwhile, Todd had called my dad and asked him to come watch the girls because there was an emergency and he wanted to come get me.  He was in such a hurry that when my dad asked what was going on, he says, “She split her nail!!!!!!!”  My dad was confused, but he came right over.  God bless the man.  
I promise I wouldn’t be kidding around if I wasn’t okay (which I am).  
Todd came and got me and we went to see my doctor, who took x-rays and confirmed that it was NOT broken.  He put a little getup on it and sent me home…isn’t it pretty?
I know what you’re thinking.
I can’t get my wedding ring off, which is going to put a serious dent in my clubbing schedule. 
Other than that, I am fine (hypothetically speaking, of course).
Amy came in town today and as I was retelling my finger story, Todd realized that the grill was on fire. Because we were bored stiff up to that point.
He put out the fire (and the chicken) with the fire extinguisher, and it was so ridiculous that we all laughed until we fell over.  And of course, took pictures. 
And I haven’t even gotten to the best part.  And this might actually be the best kid story ever. God certainly picked the right day to let it happen because I needed a smile.
I was putting Kate to bed tonight and I told her I was going to pray for her.  I asked her if there was anything she wanted to say “I’m sorry” to God about, and she said yes.  I am not sure what she said after that, but I figured God had heard her, so I didn’t ask her to repeat it.  Then she looks at me with this heavy face and says, “He isn’t here, momma.”
She looks at the door and then looks at me.
“He is, honey.  We just can’t see Him because He is invisible. Remember?”
I promise you that at this EXACT moment (God is the best director), Ellie gets up out of bed and runs to the bathroom, so all of a sudden Kate and I hear these little running feet.
She looks at me, wide-eyed, mouth dropped to the floor, like she finally believes the whole thing is real.  
I can just see her little brain imagining the God of the universe running around in the bathroom.  Which is almost as funny as Red Robin at a car dealership.
Incidentally, for those of you who read my last post, I hope you get a kick out of this. I found it this morning and had to share.
Anyway, I am feeling a little better on account of the fact that I just took one of the happy pills they gave me after I delivered the kids.  
Oh admit it, moms.  You kept a little bottle as a souvenir too. 
Hypothetically, of course.
Angie

I want to know you…

In the past few days, I have come to find out that some of my correspondences (more than one situation) were based on fictitious people.  I was hurt to know this, but more than that, I want to know the real people and love them for who they are, not who they felt like they had to pretend to be.  I prayed earnestly during my conversations with these individuals (over the course of weeks, months of writing them), and I know that God will use those prayers to reach them and bring them closer to Him.  That is more than I can ask for, and I am grateful to have had that chance, even if it didn’t look the way I thought it did. If you are one of those people, I am not angry, and I would love the chance to get to know (the real) you.  I know God will bless your decisions to be honest with me and I respect you tremendously.  He is a God of grace and of forgiveness…I am honored to have the opportunity to extend that same forgiveness.
As a result of this “I want to know you too!”  feeling, a dear friend suggested I change my settings, so you may notice that you can no longer post as “anonymous.”  It is certainly NOT to discourage anyone from writing….I love to read what you share, and look forward to it everyday.  It is because I really want to know you, to see your faces and your names….please don’t stop sharing your hearts with me! 
Thanks for understanding,
Angie
p.s. Can you believe Coco sold for $560?!?!?!?! I am so excited!!!!!! Now it’s and even better Mother’s Day present! I bet the other people selling similar purses on Ebay are really confused….
***Update*** Susan, who commented at 11:47 on the the”vous et nul autre” post included a beautiful quote from Melody Beattie on gratitude.  I think God is so great when He shows up unexpectedly….a few people have written and asked what book I was reading when I saw the story of the wedding bands….it was “The Lessons of Love” by, you guessed it, Melody Beattie.
Thank you, Susan.  And so nice to meet you:)


My Purse…

In case you are curious about the fate of my purse…


happy bidding :)
****update**** I was notified by a sweet reader that I am not allowed to put an item up for “charity auction” unless I use their charities!!!! eek!!!!!! I had no idea!!!! I am in the midst of re-posting the item legally….if you already bid, please come back and do it all over again in a bit when I get the new link.  I will post it here ASAP!!!!! Thanks so much…
****another update….**** here is the new link, with some modifications so I won’t get in trouble with Ebay…just so you all know, 100% of the proceeds will go to the Hope Clinic in Nashville.  Let’s try this again….good luck!!!!  
****and yet one more update…IM SO SORRY!!!!!! apparently, I can’t even have the word “charity” in the auction, so I have rewritten it (again!) and you will have to re-bid…..don’t give up on me!!!!! it’s for a good cause!!!! or, maybe God is telling me not to sell it……:) Nope, that’s not it…shucks.
Angie

My Birthday, your questions!

First of all, please let me express my deepest thanks to those of you who sent me emails, gifts, and prayers on my Birthday yesterday.  I cannot believe how many of you “strangers” thought to bless me with your acknowledgements!
It was a good, full day.  We recorded Audrey’s song, and although we got a lot of great stuff (Amy can SING….as if you didn’t already know….:) ), we decided that the demo was really special because of the timing of it.  I was still pregnant with Audrey, and I held the little headphones around my tummy while we were recording so that she could hear it.  She kicked while she listened, and every time I hear it, that is what I remember.  I also remember that Amy was crying during the recording, and we left it in the song because it just captured the moment so beautifully.  
So, although I think they are going to add some things from yesterday (as well as a string arrangement from somebody VERY special..more on that later!), we are going to leave a lot of the demo the way it is.  One thing we did do yesterday, which I am really excited about, is to create a version for people who have lost boy babies (so instead of “her” in the last verse, it says “him” etc….). This will be known as the “Elliot” version of the song, in honor of Sara’s baby Elliot.  We have had many requests for the song to be played at baby funerals etc, and I really wanted to have one for mommies that have lost their sons as well.  I have some bad news about the CD, though…the release date has been pushed back to next Spring because the business people say they need more time to market it…stinky, I know :(  BUT, it is worth the wait…it is a great, great record…
Last night we went to a benefit dinner for the Hope Clinic, and it was amazing. The woman who runs the Hope Clinic surprised me with a cake (thank you, Renee!!!) that tasted like heaven on earth.  The dinner was held at the new-ish Symphony Hall in Nashville, and celebrated 25 years of dedication to unborn lives.  I never cease to be amazed at what God has done with this ministry.  If you would like to contribute, make sure and mention Audrey Caroline on your check…we are going to do something special in honor of her there, and I will keep you posted on the details. I cannot think of a better way to have spent my Birthday! It was a blessed day, and I have no doubt that all of your prayers to that end reached me.  
I have been so excited to start answering your questions, and they are all so interesting that this may take awhile, because I would love to get to all of them. There were three that seemed to keep showing up (the same three that people have emailed me for months, so I am glad to have the opportunity to address them here!), so I will start with those. One is about writing a book, one is about how I met Todd, and the last is about how I came to Christ.
First off, the easy one.
I am humbled (not just in the way that nice people know they are supposed to say they are, but in the “I can’t believe this” crying tears of gratitude way…) that so many of you have commented on my writing.  It is something I love doing, and have never really pursued the way I wanted to.  I would love to share this with you, though, because it is so like God to do it. 
A few months before we found out Audrey’s diagnosis (I was already pregnant with her), I was working on a proposal for a Christian parenting book and was in the process of securing a publishing deal with a Christian publisher.  Before I could finish it, January 7th rolled around and I told them I needed to not be thinking about anything but the baby.  I know now what I did not know then.
That was not the book I was supposed to write.  
I mention this next part because I covet your prayers in the coming months. We have been presented with a few opportunities that are above and beyond what I could have dreamed up, and they have fallen in line with very specific prayers about how Audrey’s story will be told, if it is to be told at all.  Todd and I felt strongly that if there was an opportunity for publishing of any sort, it would not be because we sought it out, but rather because God gave it to us. We also asked that if someone was going to publish it, they would come across it because of personal experience and not because of “business.”  There were a few other requests to God in there as well, and Todd and I are prayerfully considering a few options that have come our way. As it stands, we have as much time as we need to in order to mull things over, and that may be years. We are so focused on figuring out how to “do life” again that this hasn’t really settled in, but I hope and pray that there will be a day…
What I know is that I want people to have a resource from another mommy who understands the pain of losing a baby, and I want people to meet my sweet Audrey. Please pray for discernment in this area…we feel ill-equipped and unqualified, but confident that this is the best way for God to show up. And thank you for even asking the question…if nothing else were to come of it, I would know that God had chosen you all to encourage me, and that is more than I could have asked for…thank you.  I will certainly keep you all posted if there are any developments:)
A lot of people also asked how Todd and I met…the quick version is that we met at a singles retreat…he was singing, and I got dragged to it by some friends who later became my bridesmaids and several of my dearest friends.  On the trip up there (Fall Creek Falls), I was shaking.  I had no idea why, but at one point I said to the girls, “I think one of us is going to meet our husband this weekend!”  Little did I know…
The long version involves your third question, and some details that I have hesitated to share because they are complicated.  This is the bottom line:
If God can use me, He can use anyone.
I think that before I get into that story, I should pause.  I have already made this longer than I intended, and because of my “no edit” policy, I fear that I cannot go back and make it more concise or clear:) I am my own worst enemy.
I will say this.
I did not grow up going to church.
I did not know Jesus for most of my life.
I did not know Jesus on October 15th, 2000, when I met my future husband.  
I did not know that a Savior could love me the way He does, given what He knows about my life before Him.  
If I hadn’t received so many emails from people who feel like I have it all together spiritually, I probably would never have dreamed of sharing this part of my life.  God spoke to me while I was at the beach, and He was pretty clear about what He wants me to write.  It isn’t really a pretty story, but it has a great Hero, and a beautiful courtship.  It is the most meaningful (and difficult) think I have ever tried to put on paper, but it is worth the hurt. I am planning on posting that soon, and do hope it will meet you wherever you are, and that it will whisper Jesus to you.  
I do have one request, though.  I have noticed that a lot of you write things like, “Although we will never meet…” Well, don’t:)  I want to feel like we will, and that I will get to thank you in person.  It makes me sad to think that I might not get that chance…so, instead, let’s say “When I meet you…”  That feels better.
I will have you know that in the middle of a restaurant in Destin, I struck up a conversation with a complete stranger.  Several minutes into it, Todd and the girls came over to tell me that our table was ready. I guess that triggered something in her mind, because she looked at me with a big smile and said, “I know you! You have a blog, don’t you? I have been praying for you!”  I grabbed her by the neck and squeezed her until the other patrons were sufficiently confused (security was not alerted), and then I thanked God for showing me some of the flesh behind the prayers.  I hope He continues to do this for years to come.
Thank you for listening, for loving, and for encouraging me.  
Oh, and also…I can’t wait to meet you.
Angie