I don't mean to be this way . . .

It just happens.

So . . . the office manager walks into my office yesterday and says, “Um, Carmen . . . um, how can we help you with this?” To which my reply was, “help me with what?”

And then she quickly pointed, and said “This” . . . (See pic below)

This is what some folks would call a “hot spot”. Mine’s probably better described as an inferno.

To Karen, our office manager, this is insanity! And it probably is. But I don’t know how to not be this way. It just happens. I’m somewhat organized, but not totally. I get started, but then get sidetracked and never quite finish the job. But then once I’m somewhat organized, I’m not organized enough to stay organized.
It’s a sickness, I’m sure. But isn’t the first step to healing admission? OK, I admit it.

THIS Day & THAT Day

Bill & I introduced The United Tour last night at Ruth Eckerd Hall. For those of you not familiar with this tour, it’s Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman. Arguably, the two biggest – and for sure most recognizable – names in Contemporary Christian Music. Add Amy Grant to this list and those were the only 3 names I knew when I entered CCM radio land 4 1/2 years ago. And though that is not true today, out of the 3 I just named, Steven Curtis Chapman is without question the most special to me.

It was March 2001 that I attended my first Christian concert. It was at Carpenter’s Home Church and it was Steven Curtis Chapman! I didn’t know a lot of the songs, but I sure liked them. (Coincidentally, it was also at that same show that I met some folks at The JOY FM and exchanged business cards with the GM – NEVER thinking in a million years that this would be my future home!) God is good!

I have been a Christian since I was 11, but I’d never experienced anything like I did that March night. Briefly, there were 2 climatic points for me that evening. The first was not even during Steven’s set. And it really wasn’t when he brought out Steve Saint, the son of murdered missionary Nate Saint. It was when Steve Saint shared his testimony of how his father was savagely killed, and then introduced us to Minkaye, the Ecudorian Indian responsible for the death. Minkaye walked out and the two men embraced, friends. It was in that moment, that I understood what true forgiveness really looked like. The second, of course, was when Steven shared how they came to adopt their first daugther, Shaohannah, from China at the encouragement of their oldest daughter, Emily. And it was in that moment, that I understood what it meant to be an orphan for the first time. It crystallized for me how God truly feels about orphans. We are ALL adopted sons & daughters. Praise God that He loves orphans!

I cried for 2 weeks after that night.

And most likely will from last night.

At Maria’s Memorial Service in May, Matt Redman sang, Blessed Be Your Name. The line goes….”You give and take away, but still I choose to say Blessed Be Your Name”. I’ll never ever forget that day, and can assure you’ve I’ve never heard or sang the song the same since. And I can confidently say that this is true for Dave, too. So…what does Smitty and Steven open with last night? Blessed Be Your Name! (The tears are coming again just typing it!) It was one thing to be standing in the church, hearing Matt Redman singing those lines and seeing the entire Chapman family hands raised in the air, crying out in their grief. But to see Steven, eyes red with tears, sing it last night as a broken, yet confident-in-hope man, touched me to the core.

The 2nd “moment” was when Steven sang Yours. He sang the orginal song and then paused before the new verse. He thanked everyone for praying, and talked a little about how they’re all doing. In the original song, the verses are about walking the different roads in this world…Nashville, London, Singapore, Manila, and Shaghai, and how it’s all “yours God”.

The new verse, after Maria’s death, includes walking a very different road:

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

With the last line, everyone rose to their feet in a standing ovation communicating, “we believe this too, we’re with you, and we love you”.

Lastly, when it came time to sing Cinderella, Steven shared again of the evening that inspired him to write the song. He was trying to give the younger girls a bath, get them ready for bed, and pray (immediate family only) with them as quickly as he could because he had a big meeting the next morning. Once this was (barely) accomplished and many hours later, he sat at his desk, thought of the girls dancing in their Cinderella nightgowns, his daughter Emily and her upcoming marriage and penned the song Cinderella.

After the accident, he told his wife Mary Beth that he’d never be able to sing Cinderella again. Or so he thought. After returning to the stage, he was still in the process of reconciling his grief with all of the songs of hope that he had sang his entire career. In a moment, he thought of something that Martin Luther had said, “the only 2 days that matter are THIS day and THAT day”. THIS day that we’re living in now. And THAT day when we see Jesus face to face. And it is how we live THIS day that will ready us for THAT day. Steven realized that he still had 2 young daugthers, an older daughter that was about to get married, and of course his wife and 2 sons. It became abundantly clear that if he really believed in THAT day then he really would dance with Maria again. And with that hope, he can and does sing Cinderella. However, he has changed that one up a bit too. Instead of “the clock will strike midnight and she’ll be gone.” He sings. “the clock will stike midnight and I know the dance will go on”.

And that’s because on THIS day he knows THAT day is coming.

Do you?

My 1st Picture Montage!!

I’m so stoked! I just completed my first picture montage with this really cool website called animoto.com. I’ve seen several of my friends use it, and decided to check it out today. It’s so stinkin’ cool! Up until now, my picture montages have been www.davecrusewillyouhelpme.com. I chose “Same Kind of Different As Me” as my first montage. These photos are from the last several years, and are of my very dear friends, Ron Hall & Denver Moore, authors of…you guessed it…Same Kind of Different As Me.

Enjoy.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwBTGFYwPEA&hl=en&fs=1]

Dishon Disaster #3 at Monday Night Football . . .

Me & my buddy Brian acting juvenile AGAIN! But it sure is fun capturing people’s reaction on video.

BTW, have I mentioned that Brian is an Elder at his church? Yep, he is! Just ask his pastor, Pete Wilson at www.withoutwax.tv! As a matter of fact, Pete has posted both of our other videos. Cool Pastor!! I get a kick out of reading the comments on his blog. I’m known as the “Snort Lady” at their church. Great. All I can think of is the verse in the bible…”They will know you by your love.” For me? “They will know you by your snorts!”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp0TTtJYePg&hl=en&fs=1]

Rub-a-dub-dub, 3 Men in a . . .

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxQTY1Y5GEE&hl=en&fs=1]
in a convertible? :)

Nashville!

A few pics of my friends from middle Tennessee .

Me & Amers! This was the most gorgeous evening I’ve experienced this year! And the company was even mo betta. :)

Are you ready for some football? The Colts vs The Titans on Monday Night Football. Tho, it didn’t turn out the way I would’ve preferred, I had a blast with my friends from PLG (Provident Label Group)
Steve, me, AJ, Brian
(you may recognize Brian from some very fun videos that we’ve filmed!)

Having some fun before the game! Did I mention it was FREEZING?!

My screaming “Let’s go Pey Pey” didn’t work this time!

Times are tough when your label friends feed you stuff from the bottom of the sea! JK! I love sushi! Brian, with EMI reps Tomlin. You might have heard of him. Thiele that is. Not Tomlin. Photographer: Josh :)

Don’t even ask. I do not know him, and he’s not one of my friends from Nashville. He just happened to be sitting at the next table when me and my girlfriend, Andrea were having dinner. Not sure, but I’m thinking he may have had too much “sweet tea”. He kept telling the restaurant that he was a walrus. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Lastly, (but certainly NOT least) – my lil’ bro BFF, Brandon Heath had a #1 party for “Give Me Your Eyes”. Yep, it’s a monster hit – and I couldn’t be more proud. And it totally worked out for me to attend for a few minutes on my way to the airport. Yay!! I was honored to see him recognized by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors & Performers). This one will always be extra special to me because it was on the way home from JOY FM listener, Melissa Moore’s Memorial Service (where Brandon sang) that he played me the “rough cut” of this song. I loved it then. And still do today.

Here’s my takeaway from my short trip to Nashville . . . I’ve been going to Nashville, several times a year . . . for years. As most of you know, I got my start in radio in another format before Contemporary Christian – one of which I will always love and will forever be grateful for that time. However, the qualitative difference in my professional relationships now is that they have Christ at the center of them. I’ve known most of these folks less than 4 years, but feel like I’ve known them forever. I think that’s how God intended it to be when we have community as brothers and sisters.

I pray you have community, too.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Proverbs 27:17

A Message to Dave & Bill #2 . . .

Meet our friend, Jim Houser. Actually, if you’ve listened to the show any time at all, then you already know Jim. Jim is Steven Curtis Chapman’s manager, but I much prefer to introduce him as one of our bestest buddies in Nashvegas! He lives in Nashville with his BEAUTIFUL wife, Sarah and their 3 BEAUTIFUL children! (OK – Jim, you are BEAUTIFUL, too!)

As you can imagine, life has been a blur for Jim the last 5 months or so. He’s been the spokesperson, encourager, brother, and one of the primary caretakers to The Chapman’s. He’s also had well over a million hits to his blog, The House Mix, corresponding and updating our larger community as to how the Chapman’s are doing, and how we can continue to pray for them. (BTW – please keep Jim in your prayers, too!) His blog has made me laugh, made me cry, made me question, but ultimately – it has brought me comfort. The one line that I will forever remember that Jim shared in the depth of his grief was this: “The gospel better be true”. And Praise Jesus, we know that we know that IT IS!

I had a chance to see my friend this week, and he had a little message for Dave & Bill.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LPON3LrUpQ]

Lucy Moment #2722

So yesterday I decided that I wanted some real cowboy boots. Not foo-foo boots. Real, bonafide cowboy boots. I was meeting my girlfriend, Andrea, an executive for Word Records (she just got a huge promotion…I’m so proud!) for dinner on Broadway in downtown Nashville. She sent me to Trail West to make the purchase as she was just there a few days ago with the girls from Point of Grace, and knew the owner. After trying on several, I decided to go with classic black since it’ll go with most anything – and it’s not like we get to wear them for very long in Florida!

As with most women, I wanted to wear them out of the store. I met up with Andrea about an hour later at an outdoor cafe’ down by the stadium. Just as we sat down, she said, “Oh let me see your new boots!” Totally not realizing what we (the salesperson and I) had obviously forgotten to do, I lifted my jeans leg just as the server was walking up and – yep, there they are – ALL 3 TAGS from my new boots. To which Andrea yells, “Did you pay for them?”. LOL!! One thing you have to know about Andrea is that we are just ALIKE!! Loud, crazy, clumsy, no filter between brain and mouth, and the list goes on and on! So after I explained to everyone on the patio that I had indeeed paid for them, Andrea took this quick picture. Enjoy! :)

Feeling Quiet

I’m sitting at a coffee shop in Nashville. Well, actually Brentwood – which is just south of Nashville. I’m catching up with a girlfriend in just a couple of hours – but am totally enjoying an hour of solitude. Just me and my thoughts. Isn’t it interesting how much we change over the years? In my 20’s and early 30’s I would’ve NEVER sat anywhere alone! Much less, like it. Now, I can’t get enough of it!

Earlier on the plane, a very nice lady sat down next to me. Boy, was she a talker! But I have to be honest…I wasn’t in the mood to talk. Today, I want to be quiet. To just observe. To listen. To take in my surroundings. Maybe it’s 13 years of talking for a living that has changed me. Maybe not. Maybe it’s the fact that in our quiet, we hear Jesus the loudest. Days like today when I’m out of town – and nobody knows my name – I realize just how “noisy” my life is. I recognize that the routine of life and the responsibilities I have compete for my attention. Why is it that our modern lives are a blessing and a curse? :) (I’m sure many of you would argue it’s more of a curse than a cure!) But as I look out the window of the coffee shop and see all of the golds, browns and reds of Nashville’s Fall leaves, inhale the wonderful smell of freshly brewed coffee, and feel the much cooler temperatures outside, I am grateful that in THIS moment – life is quiet and I can fully appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.

Not sure what kind of company I will be tonight. My hope is a great listener. :)

Thank you, Bebo!

http://youtube.com/v/B_Q_wVfGAfA

I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song. Having two daughters, it brought me to my knees. Bebo wrote this song one night after seeing the image of Britney being brought out on a stretcher with obvious fear in her eyes. He sat on the song for a long time, insecure about how it would be received. It’s a song that reminds us of how we treat the wounded. And especially the church! We’re so good at standing in judgement – in utter disbelief at someone’s behavior. As Dave said so eloquently this morning . . . our reaction should be that of Jesus’ with the woman at the well or the woman caught in inappropriate relationships.

The song is not an endorsement of bad choices, but rather a reminder of our Christ-like resoponse to them. It is my hope that our voice of condemnation doesn’t out-shout the voice of the Holy Spirit.

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