I am grateful

~ That I honest to God had never seen Justin Bieber perform until tonight. I would've quit doing music and maybe withdrawn from society during the darker days of my summer had I of known there was a pre-pubescent Mickey Mouse Club boy romping around the stages of America making girls pass out with their pre-pubescent cell phones and teeny bop outfits on. I mean, I'm sure the kid is sweet and his smile is worth a million bucks. But I'm sitting here watching the MTV VMA's and these poor girls (OK and lots of boys too) are loosing oxygen and I am wondering...HOW HAS THIS HAPPENED? There is no hope for an artist like me.
~ For a friend and nanny extraordinaire who suggested that I immediately sign up for Etsy.Com and The Zoe Report's daily emails as a vital part of my soul vacation. These are the kinds of completely glamorous, frivolous things that I am endeavoring to fill my head space with right now. Thank you Lauren for ensuring that during this soul vacation I spend as much money as possible. If not money...at least I will lust and daydream after lots and lots of super cute things!

~ For the five year old little girl who came to our Clarksville, TN show on Friday night and said,
"Next time you're here I really want you to come to my house and play with me."
"I'd really like that!" I said.
"OK good. My address is 1149 B Lowell Street, Ft. Campbell. I'll invite some of my friends over too!"
~ For my mom who has decided that every time I come home she will have a little gift basket waiting in my room with fun things like loofahs and girl magazines. I think this is cute and thoughtful and it makes me smile to walk in and see what she has waiting. I am especially glad for all the Pond's make-up removal clothes. It's hard to wash your face on a bus with a sink that is smaller than the diameter and circumference of my butt. Really. If your butt is bigger than the sink, odds are, your face isn't gonna fit in it either. So thanks Mom, for those little face wipe thingies.

~ For Vonda, a friend who offers to watch my daughter when I am in her town and has made it her personal mission to buy cute "stage clothes" for me. I flew home Wednesday afternoon with only five hours to wash clothes and re-pack Annie and I for the next month or so. I was completely stressed to walk in my closet and realize I didn't have anything "cool" to wear on the fall tour and no time (OK, or money) to buy anything. As if by divine clockwork, Ryan walks in to the closet with a package from Vonda. It includes a note from her that reminds me how lucky I am to have friends. And most importantly it includes stage bling! The chunkiest, coolest necklace I've ever owned. Sparkly earrings. A silver jacket with big buttons. And a shirt to go underneath. I was so excited I modeled the entire outfit right there on the spot and wore it the rest of the night as I cleaned and packed.
"You know you don't really need to wear that right now Jen. Nobody can see it."
"Well yeah, but I can, and I feel freaking awesome in it, so I'm gonna wear it all night!"
And I did. Doing laundry. Taking out the trash and vacuuming. I wore my new cute outfit.
~ For a lady named Norma who accidentally got a job promotion last year when her superior quit a week before their big annual event. She ended up running the Navajo Nation fair, a 60 plus year tradition for the Navajo Nation in Arizona, all by herself. She did such a good job they asked her to stay on and run it again this year. This was not the job she planned on having but when her bosses asked her what new thing she wanted to see at the fair, she realized God had put her in a unique position.

"I want to see a Christian concert," she said.

In the 64 year history of a fair that has never welcomed in a Christian group, in a people group who are known for an absence of God's hope and light, in a work environment where no one cared, everyone doubted, and she was challenged to raise all the money and support by herself... Norma realized her opportunity and planned the first ever Christian concert for the Navajo Nation fair.

"From day one, I faced opposition. Challenge after challenge. It was like everything was trying to stop me. Everything." Norma, a short, kind, intense woman spoke these words to me as we stood in a puddle of water, an hour after the show was supposed to start, with rain coming down everywhere.

I had my girlfriends, and many of you around the country praying for the rain to stop this past Thursday in Window Rock, Arizona. A lot of people were praying for the rain to stop. Not so that Mercy Me and Addison Road could go through with our concerts (muddy rain shows are not my favorite and the way I figure it, our band is accident prone... so we would probably function as lightening rods). But we wanted the rain to stop because, as Norma had already experienced, there was a battle going on. The rain was just another attempt at a distraction. A diversion.

The rain continued, but all the while, people kept filing in. Waiting in the rain. They sang along to the worship music quietly playing on the empty stage. Their voices raised, hands in the air, calling out the name of Jesus...

While so many from their community watched in curiosity.
While Norma's bosses stood in amazement at the amount of people coming out, in the heavy rain, huddling under umbrellas, waiting for the show to begin.
While Norma stood in tears as, an hour after the show was supposed to begin, we took the stage.
I am grateful for a normal woman who inherited big shoes and didn't shy away from a big dream to bring God glory. A woman who took on an insurmountable task... sticking with it even when it got hard and she faced opposition. She fearlessly took a nation to a place they had never gone before and blessed the lives of thousands, and hopefully, started a tradition for years to come that will continue to bless others for generations to come. I am grateful for her inspiration.
~ Finally, for 10 bids on my Dallas Diva Day auction!!! Remember, you have all week to place your bid to spend the day with me in Dallas doing my most favorite things in the city (to benefit Porters Call). Click here to check out the LIVE EBAY LINK now!