You Are Enough

When you see me crying
I hope you feel encouraged and not sad
Encouraged that we are all in this together
Encouraged that every mom and dad have their struggles
that nobody has a perfect “social media” life
We’re real
We’re in this together
It takes a village
and I’ve got one
I’m lucky
Fortunate
Blessed
I have friends who know what it is like
Friends who have been there
Friends who will be there
Friends who walk this road with me
There are days, like today when I need a friend
When my children feel lost and I feel out of control
When I feel lost and my children feel out of my control
When all I can do is cry out to Jesus
“I am enough, because You say that I am enough”
Remember today and always- YOU, my friend, are enough, just the perfect mess that we all are
YOU ARE ENOUGH 

Seven Year Old, Bakri’s First Song

Our oldest son, Bakri had an assignment to do a family culture project for his second grade Fall project. He wrote a song about our family. He sang the lyrics. I jotted them down quickly. We made our way to the piano and he continued to sing. He wrote several verses and a really cute chorus. I worked on recording the music and then Bakri sang his part. We recorded it with garageband. Once Bakri’s lead vocals were recorded, the kids and I recorded our parts. Once the song was done, we recorded video for the music video. I am very proud of my Bakri and his brothers and sisters. What a fun project!

How are the ELS!?

Summer 2012 is almost here and we have been super busy this Spring. The kids are all doing really well. We had a spell with a couple of them struggling with respiratory issues, but all seems to be much better now. Here is an update on all of the ELS.
Trinity is 3 and a half years old. She is just finishing preschool. And, she had her dance recital last week. She is a wonderful dancer, full of energy and ideas. She loves to make new friends, tell stories and learn about family history. She still has a very low and unique sounding speaking voice. It’s fun to hear her talk. And, she talks with those big brown eyes too.

Leeland will turn 2 this Summer. He is so much fun. He loves his siblings so very much and enjoys doing everything that they do. He really loves baseball and has mastered his swing along with sound effects. He’ll also say “homerun” or “strike” when he (pretend) hits the ball. He was on breathing treatments for several weeks and as I would hold him in my lap he would point to the television with the remote control saying “baseball, baseball, baseball.” I would (sometimes) let him watch part of a game if I could find one on tv. He is a joy!

Trinity’s dance recital

Moustapha and I attended a friend’s wedding at the Hyatt Lost Pines. This is a pic from the golf cart ride to the wedding ceremony.

Listening to my album mixes has become a regular occurance for all of us. Luckily, the kids all really like the music. I’m hoping they are a good test market for the target audience. ūüôā If so, we’re making a really popular cd.

Bakri is nearly finished with first grade. It has been a wonderful year of growth for him. He has made some great friends. And, his reading abilities have amazed us. He loves to read big books and will spend hours reading. He is also great at spelling and art. Here he is on “all art day” doing a chalk painting on the sidewalk of his interpretation of Boats at Saintes-Marie. He still loves baseball and he and Maddux have enjoyed another year of playing on the same team.

Maddux, second from the left, is five and a half years old. He is graduating from pre-k soon and he will officially be a kindergartener. He loves his school and friends. Maddux learned to read and write this year. It helps to have an older child working along side other children. So, while Bakri was working on reading, Maddux was picking it up too. Now he can read everything. He will tell me when I’m in a left turn only lane or that I’m not supposed to cross a double white line¬†or read any sign on the side of the road. He keeps me on my toes and remembers everything!

Trinity at the water park

Leeland, Maddux and Bakri

We are looking forward to a fun Summer. My album will be finished soon, so I will have lots of work to do as far as marketing and delivering all the products to those that pre-ordered it. It’s an exciting time. We’ll try to swim a lot and play a lot this Summer too. Enjoy your Summer. Enjoy your life. It’s a gift. “Give thanks to the Lord. For He is good, so good to us!”

Many blessings,
-Rebekah

I was really encouraged by so many of you after my last post. Telling you that I’ve had doubts in my life, and that I’ve been discouraged, at times, by the words of others was difficult. It was humbling. But, it was honest. And, many of you said you have felt the same thing in your own lives and that it encouraged you to hear a little of my story.
So, that got me to thinking about the power that we have to encourage one another. When we see gifts in our friends, let’s tell them.
Do you have a friend who is an encourager? Tell him/her. Let them know what it means to you to see them encouraging others and how they are making a difference. Do you have a friend who has the gift of great counsel? Do they listen well and give great advice? Are they wise? Tell them. Are they a gifted photographer, artist, amazing mother or father, teacher, singer, community leader, blogger, friend, etc.? Tell them! I know that the negative words that are said can have such a powerful impact, almost crippling us from doing the things that we should do. But, I believe that we can overcome the negativity, and overcome those that just want to discourage us, by rising above and choosing to encourage others. I believe that God intends for us to do just that. Just a thought for this Friday.
Isaiah 40:28-31 says:
“Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The¬†Lord¬†is the everlasting God,¬†the creator of the ends of the earth.¬†He doesn‚Äôt grow tired or weary.¬†His understanding is beyond human reach,¬†giving power to the tired¬†and reviving the exhausted.¬†Youths will become tired and weary,¬†young men will certainly stumble;¬†but those who hope in the¬†Lord¬†will renew their strength;¬†they will fly up on wings like eagles;¬†they will run and not be tired;¬†they will walk and not be weary.”
And, below I share with you a photo of something I looked at everyday while in Nashville. It reminded me of several special ladies in my life who I love with all of my heart. Ladies that encouraged me every chance they got. I don’t believe this sign in this place was an accident. God is reminding me that He is with me. To wait. To be ready. To encourage others and to be encouraged. Be blessed, dear friends. Love, Rebekah
Thinking of Nannie
and Momma in Nashville

Writing A Special New Song inspired by Leeland’s Baptism and a Powerful Song by Chris Medina

Sunday was a pretty special day for our family. We baptised our youngest child at our home church amongst friends and family. I led worship on this very special morning as well. And, when preparing for the message, felt inspired to write a new song entitled “Your Promises.” I would describe it as a very simple, soulful song that expresses the way I feel about my walk with God in the simplest of terms. There are times I felt like I was alone and I was making all of the wrong choices and yet, now, looking back I know that I was never alone and God was with me and carrying me through even the hardest of times. God has promised His Blessings and He fulfilled and fulfills that promise through His son Jesus. I am walking proof of God’s promises and in this song I describe how I feel each day as I “hold tight to Your promises.”¬† Our pastor shared the story of American Idol contestant, Chris Medina and then played his video which tells of His continued love and commitment to his fiance after she suffered brain injury in an accident. Lyrics to Chris Medina- What are Words¬†To view the video we saw this week click here: ¬†http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQY4dIxY1H4

If you haven’t seen it and/or heard it, get ready with the kleenex. It is a tear-jerker.
So, it was pretty impossible to sing the song “Your Promises” after watching this unbelievably emotional video and listening to this beautiful song. But, I believe it was meant to be and part of God’s plan for our service. I hope that the congregation knew could feel that I was singing from my heart. It is impossible to commit to be with someone and support them in the way Chris sings about without God’s love coming through you and without clinging to His promises. I am thankful to have so much life to look forward to in front of me and to know that God will never leave me. I will forever hold tight to His promises.

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions that You’ll Actually Keep

My friend Jeff posted this on his facebook¬†status and on twitter¬†yesterday: “In 2011 I’ll take life less seriously, make jokes & take lots of photos.” I believe he posted this mostly in jest. I mean if you even know Jeff a little bit, you know that he already does all of these things and does them quite well and with consistency. But, his resolutions got me thinking about new year’s resolutions and how we all should be so smart to make resolutions that we are sure to keep. How do we do that?

First, think about what you are good at. Is there anything that when you do it, people almost always compliment you, affirm you or ask you when you’ll be doing that again? If something pops in to your mind, then you should resolve to do that more often in 2011! For me, it’s song writing. I always¬†keep myself super busy with so many other activities. In fact, in¬†2010, I was very involved in some important issues in our neighborhood. Some, that took up a lot of time. Maybe too much time. As much as I love our neighborhood. I am not going to resolve to spend more time on issues in the neighborhood this year. Instead, I am going to help where I am needed and do something I really love- write music. We completed work on¬†seven songs this year and were blessed to be able to play them with the band and teach them to the congregation at our church. Many times, I was given the highest compliment I could imagine at this point in my songwriting career. And that is being told that “I love the new song you guys are doing. Who sings the new one you did today?”- meaning, who recorded it and made it famous? And, I get to say that I wrote it. That is super fun! I’ve even been told that some of the songs I’ve written are favorite songs. And, that’s before they are surprised to learn that I’ve written them. I was telling my pastor that sometimes I feel a little strange even saying I wrote the songs that I’ve written. Because, I really feel that they are gifts. They really are. They are gifts and I resolve and hope to keep receiving the gift of songs in 2011! I promise to share if I do!

What is something that you do that makes you YOU? Let’s talk about my friend Jeff again. He’s funny. Not a comedian, necessarily, but a genuinely funny person. If I was going to describe him I would definitely include “doesn’t take himself too seriously” in the description. It’s funny, really. Jeff and I have been friends for over ten years now. And, I promise, I never would have thought that would have happened considering our first meeting. He drove me crazy. Constantly calling me a nickname that I hated and he pretty much seemed to obtain a lot of pleasure from driving me nuts. But, he was funny. He drove me crazy, but he was funny. And, once I got to know him, I really liked him…a lot. Now, I would say he’s hilarious and super fun to be around. He’s constantly smiling or making others smile and his energy is infectious. When Jeff says he’s going to take life less seriously and make jokes, he’s just saying that he is going to do something that he already enjoys doing and that he does well. The thing I heard about me a lot this year was how relaxed I am. I was not always like this. But, I also didn’t have four kids and a totally fun life before either! So, as for me, I am going to be more relaxed in 2011. I’m going to go with the flow, be myself and embrace the chaos of my life. These are things I already do and I’m going to do better in 2011. My kids are going to keep surprising me. My house is going to almost always be a mess. There will still be a drumset in my living room. And, this momma¬†WILL be relaxed and go with the flow in 2011!

Jeff is a photog. From the time we first met, he always took pictures of everything. He probably has a photo from that awful first meeting at the Farmer’s Market! Every event, every party, every person, every detail, every thing! Now, he gets paid to take pictures. He’s a professional and he’s taken lots of headshot photos for up-and-coming artists and actors in Hollywood. He’s turned something that he loves to do for fun into something that he can do as a career. That’s amazing. And, while that works for some of us,¬†most of¬†us¬†just get to have a hobby that we can do and keep doing this year. So, pick something that you love and know you will do all year long; for birthdays, events, parties and resolve to do it. Make it your “thing.” Mine is hosting parties and baking. I resolve to bake more in 2011. I have four children. So, there will be at least four birthday parties, most likely at my house, this year. Plus, Leeland will be baptised this year, we’ll have Easter to celebrate, Christmas, Moustapha’s birthday, my birthday, holidays and I’d love to have party that we always do each year. I still haven’t figured out which one that will be. I’m leaning toward an annual Christmas party. But, we’re just not sure yet.¬†But, with all of the guaranteed parties we’ll have this year there is¬†lots of opportunity to do my “thing!” I will bake cakes, cookies, cupcakes and more¬†for these fun celebrations. Yesterday, I made cake balls for the first time. They were delicious! I will definitely find a special occasion to make these treats this year. I am thinking about eye balls for Halloween.

To conclude, my new year’s resolutions are 1. to write more songs, 2. to be more relaxed and 3. to have more parties and bake¬†a lot. In other words, I am going to be more like me in 2011. I am going to be myself and I’m going to share the things that I believe I am good at with others, which will only bring me more joy and happiness.

Looking forward to a wonderful 2011. Happy New Year, Everyone!

me & my two youngest Els celebrating ChristmasÔĽŅ

Yes, We’ll Gather at the River!

It’s true. We know how to live well…on a shoestring budget! ūüôā Last weekend, we went on a mini-holiday to visit our friends Julie and Will at their place in New Braunfels. We had an AMAZING time. They live right on the guadalupe river. The boys loved playing in the water and we all enjoyed our time with friends. It was great.

This is their outdoor fireplace.

They have a sliding glass door that separates the outdoor-screened in porch from the inside of the house.

Part of our fun weekend included a party to celebrate Julie and Will’s wedding at the end of last year. We had a Couples’ Shower at Whitewater Amphitheater. We enjoyed food by Wahoo’s Fish Tacos (formerly one of our favorite LA hotspots), music by Seth Walker (very smooth style- check him out) and a fabulous atmosphere. After the party, Seth Walker opened for Jerry Jeff Walker. It was a super fun night! Thanks to Julie and Will!

Here’s Bakri and another view of the porch.

Angela and Moustapha enjoying the party.

Me, Miss Trinity, Julie and her baby bump!

Moustapha and Julie in the kitchen.

Me and Miss T on the porch.

Maddux playing by the river.

Trinity on the porch. Can you see her two bottom teeth?

Trinity, having a great time with Julie.

Julie with her Aunt, her momma and my momma. What a great looking group!

Moustapha and the boys had such a good time playing in the tubes in the river. The river and lakes are really low this year. So, that made for a less rowdy crowd on Saturday. That was good for us, but not so good for business. Hopefully we’ll get some rain soon.

Sweet Angela and Trinity. Angela has a baby daughter that is one month younger than Miss T. I think she was missing Meri that night!

Here is a view from Julie and Will’s porch. I’m not sure how they felt about a family of five moving in for the weekend. But, we had the best time and can’t wait to go back!