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One of my favorite Christian bands is Fee Band, and they’re releasing a new album coming October 6th, Hope Rising.  As you might have recently read, Kalliope has had the wonderful opportunity to sing in Elevation‘s Children’s Choir and on their latest album, God With Us.  After hearing the track with the children’s choir, Steve Fee contacted Elevation to see if they’d sing on a track for his new album, and they did!  It sounds fantastic, and Great To Be Praised is one of my favorite tracks on the album.  Right now you can pre-order the album, and when you do, you can download it immediately.  It is really amazing!  Check it out!

Just wanted to let everyone know that our church has released another album and it’s now available for download on iTunes.  Kalliope is on it singing with the Elevation Children’s Choir at the end of We Unite.  She even has an album credit!  It’s all original songs written by our worship leaders and it’s an amazing album.

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I’ve been going through what some might call an identity crisis over the past several years.  I wanted to share this bit of insight about me because I really feel like God has done such a work in my heart and with my perspective this past week.

I guess it all started back when I had my first child, Kalliope.  Keep in my that I hadn’t found God yet, so bear with me as I fill you in with little back story.  Anyway…as most moms know, everything changes with your first baby.  I felt like I had to completely change who I was, how I dressed, everything!  I went through a phase where I wanted to simplify everything in my life down to the way I dressed and how I wore my hair.  I stopped wearing make-up and really caring about how I looked.  I was always in jeans and a tee-shirt with my hair up in a pony tail.  There isn’t anything wrong with that look, but it wasn’t me.  I used to have fun with my hair and style.  I was feeling like the real me was being lost, which is funny since who I am is not defined by how I dress or how I wear my hair.

Let’s see, about 5 years later I met a group of moms all with autistic kids and we get together for breakfast every Friday.  There I met Jennifer and she helped me see that I have to take time for myself and take care of myself.  I started care about how I looked and started feeling better about myself.

About a year later, I found God.  It was an amazing point in my life where I’ve never felt so loved and fearless and yet confused and unsatisfied with who I was.  I started studying the Bible and hanging around more Christians.  The more I did, the more I felt like I was not what God intended a Christian to be like.  I don’t run around hugging everyone, I’m more of a realist than an optimist, and I’m definitely not meek and submissive.  I felt like something was wrong with me.  I guess I expected some sort of overnight change in who I was and to be fill with joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control all the time.

So just a few months after being baptized, I felt a calling to homeschool Kalliope.  We started and I tried to get involved is some groups.  Again, I didn’t feel comfortable there.  I tried to dress the part and even act the part, but wasn’t feeling the part of nice, submissive Christian. 

The church that we were saved and baptized at was wonderful, but I never felt like I completely fit in.  I know it was just my perspective.  I mean outwardly I tried to dress the part of the nice Christian and when I was there on Sundays, I was pleasant and friendly to everyone.  So there we were for 2 years.  Towards the end, the main reason we left was to find some place a little more suitable for Zane since they were planning on restructuring the special needs ministry there.  We also wanted to find a church a little closer to home so we could get plugged in with volunteering.  We visited a couple of different churches and even looked online.  We stumbled across Elevation Church when I googled churches near Indian Trail.  I went to the website and watched a few sermons.  We loved Pastor Furtick right from the start.  So I went one weekend while Jason and Kalliope were out of town and I loved it!  I decided to audition when they were holding worship team auditions and made it. Being around Christians who dressed how they wanted really struck a chord with me, but that is such a small part.

At church this past Sunday, I was singing with 2 other women who are a couple of the nicest people I know and I just felt like there was something wrong with me again.  I jokingly told them that I hope some of their niceness rubs off on me!

Tuesday I had bible study with 2 very close friends.  Somehow the subject of God loving us the way we are came around.  I confessed to them how I felt about myself and was surprised that one of my friends had felt the same way in the beginning of her walk with God.  They assured me that my personality is fine the way it is and I don’t have to be oozing niceness to still be a good Christian woman, and that my gifts were in other areas.  That was such a relief to hear that!

Wednesday I met up with several other homeschooling moms from Elevation.  Again God showed me that you can be fun, loud, a little sarcastic, and still be a good, loving, compassionate Christian woman.

To sum it up, I’m really learning to accept and love myself exactly the way I am.  Does that mean I’m perfect?  Of course!  Absolutely not, but I’m not going to try to be someone I’m not. 

It’s been a few weeks, but this was so powerful!  I need to watch this every morning to start me day.

Elevation Church Easter Opener from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

I know it’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything substantial, I’ve been very busy so cut me a little slack. 

Yesterday I sang at Elevation Church like I do almost every Sunday now, but I got to sing at the 6 pm service that just started a few weeks ago.  The energy there was amazing and I was so pumped up for the rest of the night!

My mom just sent me a webcam, so I set that up today and set up a free video calling account.  We’re pretty excited about that.  I connected my laptop up to my flat screen in the living room so the kids could see better and hopefully Zane would be interested in it.  No such luck.  Anyway, the boys we’re getting hungry and my mom, who I was talking to at the time, suggested just leaving the call open since it’s a free service.  I agreed, but was very unsettled.  I kept looking up and seeing my mom sitting there on the TV and felt like I was on display.  I don’t think I’ll be hooking it up to the TV anymore.  Kalliope loves it and even asked if I could set my laptop up on her nightstand so she could wake up and call her Grandma.  My husband and I are amazed.  When we were kids and watched futuristic shows like the Jetsons, everyone had video phones.  Now it’s common for people to have webcams.  What’s next?  Jetpacks?  I can’t wait for that to come!

Here are a few pictures from Christmas Eve through yesterday.  I’m not as dedicated as those who got pics of their kids opening presents up on their blogs on Christmas.  I did want to add that I plan to blog more as another resolution for the year.  Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.

Miles with Elmo Live, his big gift this year.  Do you think he likes it?  I’ve also got a video of Kalliope singing at church but I’m having trouble uploading it.  I’ll post it if I can get it to work!

The past 2 years we haven’t let our kids go trick or treating and take part of general Halloween festivities.  I couldn’t sit here and quote scripture for you to back up our decision, but it’s been more of a feeling and a choice made by our conscience.  At the same time, I didn’t feel like I would be a good Christian by just turning off my lights and acting like we weren’t home.  How is that showing brotherly love to my neighbors?  I certainly don’t think we’re better than anyone, saved or not, and didn’t want anyone to think that we feel that way.  So we made sure to open our doors, lights on, and hand out candy.  I bagged up our candy and included a scripture in it and felt really good about spreading the gospel to all that came to our door.  This year, however, I made the last minute decision to let Kalliope go out trick or treating with her friends.  She dressed up as Mulan (a costume that she already had!).

With her being home schooled, I didn’t want her to feel any more left out than she already does because she doesn’t ride the bus with all her friends.  It’s hard sometimes because we took Kalliope out of school halfway through first grade, so her memory of school was still lots of fun with not very much work.  I try to tell her that as you get older, school isn’t all fun and there’s a lot more work, but she still remembers how it was.  Anyway, Kalliope did have a great time with one of her best friends and got a ton of loot!

At church today, we are in the midst of “The Real Change Campaign” series and pastor’s message today really hit home on so many levels, but I’ll try to stay on topic here. 

He talked about how real change doesn’t come from thinking “outside the box”, but changing things from inside box.  Even though he was talking about our countries current economic state and personal finances, I thought this really applied to Halloween or anything that a Christian might not agree with.  Rather than excluding yourself or start something different, infiltrate, and shine your light from the inside out.  Something like this:

(Is my sci-fi side showing?  I know, I’m a dork.)

So it’s only taken me a week to get back here and tell you all how our date went.  It was nice and quiet.  We didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves, but it was really nice.  We went to PF Chang’s for some yummy food!  We split the lettuce wraps, mongolian beef, and moo shu pork.  My mouth is watering as I type.  Then we walked around the plaza and stopped at Dean and Deluca’s for a little coffee and something sweet.  After that we headed over to Border’s to have a little quiet reading time.  I ended up buying something for the baby, but that’s okay.  All in all it was great!  Thank you, Elevation!!!!

Over the past few weeks our church has been doing a series titled “Visionary Love, Dream Sex”.  (I’ll give you one guess what it was about.)  One of the points Pastor Furtick has really been stressing is that men need to still be romantic and take their wives out for dates.  So this past Sunday, the church decided to put their money where their mouths are.  Elevation gave out vouchers for $30/married couple for restaurants around the Charlotte area as well as cards to send in to have 3 hours of babysitting reimbursed!  That is so cool!  Tonight we have sitter and to celebrate our anniversary that was on Wednesday, we going to PF Chang’s tonight.  I’m really looking forward to it since I’ve heard how great their food is.  I’ll let you all know how it goes!

This school year is proving to be a busy one.  I’m really trying to get a good routine with home schooling this year, which means sticking to my schedule, and that doesn’t leave much free time.  I try to schedule things for Kalliope to do all day, so that she doesn’t get bored and we don’t slack off.  As a rule, she isn’t allowed free time to just play video games or watch TV until her brother gets home from school (unless it’s an educational game or TV show).  School for Zane has been going well and he loves it.  Miles is walking now (when he wants to) and saying several words.  He points a lot, eye contact is great, and responds when you call his name.  My autism parents out there can appreciate that.  Some of the words he’s saying are:

  • Thank you
  • da-da
  • ma-ma
  • that (while he’s pointing to whatever he wants)
  • shoe

I’ve been pretty good about going to the gym, however I haven’t seen any big changes yet.  Our weekends are full with karate, serving at church, birthday parties, and chores around the house.  Singing at church has been a lot of fun and a great outlet for me.  I get a weekly break from the kids to do something positive and productive.  Jason has started gigging out and in the past month done 2 gigs, both playing kids music.  He really enjoys that and wants to pursue that more.  So if anyone out there is in need of a singer/guitar player to perform at festivals or kids birthdays, he’s the man to call!!!

Well, unless something exciting happens or until bloggers block goes away, I’ll be posting some pictures and videos of the family.