Thursday, March 29, 2012

Truck Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Trent and I can be a bit snobby particular about where we make our stops on the road.  There are those occasions, however, when we do not have the luxury of being picky.  And by that I mean, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

 I'm here to tell you that we love a good truck stop.  Not only do they tend to offer cleaner restrooms (thank you Jesus), they have a vast selection of pretty much anything you could ever need while traveling. 

For example:

Lumbar support.
Lots and lots of electronic accessories. Including 7 piece cell phone kits.
State memorabilia in the form of the usual: shot glasses, keychains, coffee mugs and my personal favorite...magnets.
Lots and lots of CDs.  Check this one out.  "Super Hits."  Tanya was rocking that hairstyle, wasn't she?  They should've titled it "Super Hair."  Ba dum bum. 
Healthy-ish options for meals.  These were gross.  I didn't even finish mine.  And I always finish my food.  This girl likes meal time (and snack time). 
Got gas, a cold, or hairy legs?  Truck stops gotcha covered...and then some.
Like I said, clean restrooms.  This truck stop went above and beyond with the floral arrangement and wall art. 
PJ pants and other clothes are available at the more fancy establishments.  This one is blurry because someone was looking at me strangely.  (Like he couldn't understand why on earth I would be taking pictures of flannel pajama pants. Silly man).  
Jesus t-shirts.
Cow headwear.  Or is it a pig?  No, it's a cow.  Or is it? 
And then there's this. 
But the pièce de résistance, in my opinion, is this giant lighter.  With a wolf on it.  I have big hands, so you should be able to get an idea of just how HUGE this thing is.  But seriously.  Who goes into a truck stop/gas station and sees a giant lighter with a wolf on it and buys it?  (If you have, please forgive me.  I'm sure you had valid reasons).

Happy truck-stopping!

Monday, March 26, 2012

MERCH Madness

One of the things I do on the road is merch.  I'm talking CDs and t-shirts.  And now, we're looking into getting some stickers.  It will tie in nicely with Trent's stickered guitar.  


I had this idea back in December and I started taking some pictures of my "set-ups."  I try to be creative but some final products are better than others. 

Russellville, KY.  I called this the "Dreamer Tree."
 Van Buren, AR.  Can you guess what the T stands for?
 Williamsburg, VA.  Happy face.
 Toccoa Falls College / Toccoa Falls, GA.  
 Hampton, GA.  I really liked their zebra tablecloth.  Note to self: get a zebra tablecloth (or another animal print) and convince Trent that it's a GREAT idea.
 Boca Raton FUMC (East Campus)
 Plantation, FL
 Boca Raton FUMC (West Campus)
 St. Marys, GA...I made a pyramid of sorts.
 My favorite.  This was for The Rock youth bible study in St. Marys, GA at Lighthouse FM.
 Orange Park, FL.  Outside by the fire.  Not my best effort.  It was windy and I was lazy. At this point, please notice our CD box back there...held together with duct tape.  Note to self:  get a new box.
 St. Marys, GA / Lighthouse FM Sharathon.  The day we decided to order more t-shirts...because we literally had 3 left.  
 St. Augustine, FL / Reverb Church.  I really liked their table runner.  Note to self: get a table runner.
**Note to self:  I should've titled this post, Note to Self**

That's all for Merch Madness.  As far as March Madness goes, we're upset the Baylor men are out, but are hopeful for the Baylor women!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Daytona and St. Augustine

We love Florida.  We are lucky to be able to go there often. 

We were near Daytona Beach while camping and it was bike week.  So, we ventured down to check it out.  Very, very interesting. 
The closest we got to the beach that day.  Sad face.  It was yucky and rainy.  However, I wore a new tank top.  I like it.  It's from the Walmart.  It was $3.88.  
Now to St. Augustine.  Our dear friends, Bryan and Renee Lamoureux, planted a church called Reverb and Trent performed special music.  Here's Trent and Bryan talking music stuff.  In-ear monitors, to be exact.  
*Note: if I ever get a pair of my own, I want them to be pretty and blingy in either hot pink or turquoise* 
Reverb meets in a middle school and the set-up is awesome!  Doesn't even feel like a school.
One of my adopted nieces, Taylor.  (Bryan and Renee's youngest).
Ashtyn and Renee!  (My other adopted niece and my adopted sister).
This was the end of our run, so we made it a priority to get some beach time.  We are beach bums at heart.  
Here's my book choices:
We take our beach time very seriously.  Like, we sit there for 6 hours (or longer).  On this particular day, we decided to stay planted until the tide reached our toes. 

We already miss it.  It's chilly and rainy here in Nashville today. Thank you, Florida.  We'll see you in June!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sweet Words from a Stanger

Sometimes, fans will send Trent messages on Facebook or an occasional email.  We enjoy reading all of them.  We save them, we re-read them, and now I want to share one.  First, listen to "What Soldiers Do."  Trent doesn't do this song very often anymore, but he will if it is requested.  Anyway, this message is from a military wife whom we've never met.  I've changed her son's name, but the story remains incredible.  Enjoy.

I never had the chance to meet you and your wife when you did the Young Life benefit concert but my husband had the nicest things to say about you two. He had me listen to your song, "What Soldiers Do", and of course, it brought tears to my eyes back then. He's recently been sent away again for another deployment, and he showed the song to our oldest son, Cade (6yrs old). He used it as a complete outline for his pre-deployment talk with him, and Cade loved it. Cade listens to that song every single day, and every time he does, he cries. He recently called my mother-in-law to talk, and told her about the song too. She listened to it with him over the phone, and heard him crying and singing along. He said to her, "It's okay that it makes me cry, Nana, because it makes me feel closer to him too. Dad said soldiers can cry too." A couple of nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of Cade sobbing so loudly. I figured he must've been having a bad dream, but when I walked into his room, he was hugging his little e-reader, listening to that song, and just crying away. I was speechless. This situation isn't listed anywhere in the "parent handbook". He looked up at me, face all wet and eyes swollen, and said, "I know I have school in the morning, but I just miss him so much, and this song works when I miss him. It makes me remember him talking to me. Can I listen to it just one more time?" So, I listened to it with him in his bed, just one more time, then one more time, then one more...until he fell asleep.

Thank you so much for what you do. I know there must be days when you wonder if you're doing the right thing or not, when you wonder if you're walking the path that God wants you to walk, and I just want to encourage you to continue whatever it is that makes you feel closest to our Father. I appreciate you, my husband appreciates you, and most importantly, our little boy appreciates you. If you ever find yourself back this way again, please bring the family by. I'd love to make dinner for you all some time!

God Bless you, and your family for what you all do!

We read that in a coffee shop in St. Augustine, FL and the tears flowed.  Kind words like this keep us going on the days where this business gets hard.  She didn't have to take the time to type that, but she did. And it came at an important time.  God bless her and her family and we thank THEM for what THEY do.   

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

***The Last Leg***

We left Orange Park, FL and headed to St. Marys, GA.  We were there from Tuesday - Sunday.  Great area and even better people at The Lighthouse FM.  

Trent at The Rock Bible study at the Lighthouse FM.   
After the show, Trent had to fiddle with the guitar.  If you know the story of the guitar, you know how fragile it is.  I'll post about it at some point.  Anyway, the guitar fell out of the back of the car (on my watch) while we were checking into the hotel. The guitar sounded funky during The Rock, so this is what resulted.  Thankfully it sounds fine now, but we had a moment of panic. 
With Unashamed Youth Ministry at St. Marys COGOP.  I like taking pictures during sound check.  I can get closer to the action and not look like a complete fool taking pictures with my phone.
I told you it was a hot mess down by our suitcases.  It becomes one big pile, really.  
Trent injured himself while we were camping.  The only bandages I had were neon colors and Strawberry Shortcake.  He went for the neon blue.  It was the manliest option, clearly.
Thank you note writing...
Nothing says good food like a captain's wheel, an elk head, and a disco ball.  We found the best hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint in Woodbine, GA called Captain Stan's Smokehouse.  (Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a "sister" restaurant called Lieutenant Dan's)?
Friday PM on the grounds at the Lighthouse. 
Sweet Maria.  Love her and her hubby Jimmy.  She always gives us beautiful seashells when we come! And saying her name makes me want to sing this song and this song.
Performing at the Sharathon.  It was hot.  Really hot.  He brought a towel and kept drying off.  There have been several times (outdoors and indoors) where Trent sweats SO MUCH that the guitar shorts out.  
Paul and Vickie Hafer.  They are some of the sweetest people we know and the directors of the radio station.  Truly genuine and loving with the most amazing hearts for God. 

Stay tuned for some more time in Florida!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Night Off

A night off during a run (with us, anyway) can be explained in one picture.  Allow me...
1.  Sitting in a hotel in what we call "our comfies." (And we apparently sit the same).
2.  Guitar out with Trent's writing journal, pen, and phone (for voice memos, of course).
3.  Me with freshly painted toenails (I chose Koala Bear-y by OPI).
4.  Me reading a book. I'm still working through The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. 
5.  Remote. Duh. I will say that when we are in a place where there is cable television, it's pretty much ALWAYS on the Food Network. Or DIY, History, or Travel Channel...
6.  Laptop. 
7.  At this point, I would like to point out our suitcases back there.  Don't let the seemingly organized appearance fool you; it's a hot mess down there.
8.  Now, check out how we keep the curtains from flowing around all crazy like.  That's tennis shoes.  They're multi-purpose.

And that is what we do on a night off.  Pretty fascinating, right?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

*** The First Leg ***

Like I blogged about in this post, February was a bit slow.  We were *and are* excited to be busy and back on the road.  So, here is the night before leaving Nashville...for about 3 weeks.
The car. We call him Chuck. Clearly you can see that there's not much room for anything else.  (Don't tell my dad; he would not approve).  
Don't worry.  This was taken at a red light.  (At least, I'm pretty sure it was).
First stop was Boca Raton, FL.  We love's beautiful.  Trent did special music at Boca Raton FUMC for both campuses.  I didn't get pics there, but I did capture the view from our room at the Tift's house.  I would not mind waking up to that everyday.  Right? 
On our way to camp, we had to stop and document this beach.  It was breathtaking and I want to go back to there.  
Next stop was in Plantation, FL at Victory Life Church.  I just loved this set-up.  And the candles had a yummy, honeysuckle smell. (Or something like that...I'm not completely up on all the floral scents).  And I liked it.
I just love church babies.  I love all babies, really.  It's just most church babies seem to be more "cool" with being held by complete strangers.  
It was a great show.  The students (youth and college) loved it!
Then we camped and headed to Orange Park, FL.  Trent did AM and PM youth events for Orange Park UMC.  Their youth house is awesome and they always feed us s'mores.  We leave wanting 'some more'... *ba dum bum*
On this particular night, there was a love offering taken for us.  (Love offerings are common in what we do).  A teenager came up to Trent and said, "Man, I love your music.  I don't have any money to give you, but I have $40 in movie passes that I'd like to give you, if you like movies."  We, of course, said yes and were thankful and appreciative.  Now, obviously, we can't pay bills with movie passes, BUT, the heart behind this donation was precious, genuine and humbling.  It's one of those moments we'll never forget.  (And we love movies).
On this run and the one to follow, we're doing some radio interviews.  The first was at HOPE FM in Palatka, FL.
Craig asked if I wanted to be on air.  I politely denied the offer.  Trent is so good and it's just not my favorite thing to do.  Had Craig offered me bacon, I might've changed my mind.  
I kid, I kid.
(Kind of).  
And time for Chuck to get a good scrubbin'... 

We had fun and are now in Georgia!  Stay tuned...