Posted in My life in pictures, Post A Day Challenge

225/365 The Excitement is Building

THIS is on my mind. Next Wednesday Gil and I pack up and head north to Panama City Beach for the 6th Annual Rock By The Sea Charity Music Festival. This is on my mind for several reasons. First, I’m so stinking excited about spending a long weekend with not only my sister, but soooo many others that I consider family – my music family. The other reason is that as a board member for the charity that hosts this event, I’m anxious about how well the event will go and how much funding and awareness we’ll be able to raise for our selected charity recipients this year. I am in awe of the amazing job the other board members and volunteers do to make this event happen every year and I’m so honored to play a small part in it.

Please take a moment to check out the website for Rock by the Sea and read about the amazing charities we support. Oh, and the music. Check out the incredible bands and musicians who give of themselves to help us bring this event to life. We would love to have you join us. There’s also a link to our donation site if you can’t attend but would like to help us support these very worthy organizations. Even if you can’t attend or help us out financially, I would ask that you keep all of those traveling, working, volunteering, performing, and attending in your prayers.  Thank you.

Posted in My life in pictures, Post A Day Challenge

215/365 Easter is Here

Six weeks ago I posted a picture from our very unusual church service that day. On that February Sunday, the entire worship area was directed out of the back doors and onto three awaiting tour buses. We weren’t told where we were going but watched Pastor Paul deliver his communion message via recorded video displayed on the bus’s TV monitors. He explained that we were heading to Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa. This was to be the site of our church’s Easter celebration and we were going there to pray over it. Upon arrival at the park, we were handed a Sharpie as we exited the bus and instructed to write the names of those we wanted to join us for this epic Easter celebration on pieces of pine bark mulch lining the various flower and plant beds.

I took a seat on the ground and grabbed a  few pieces of bark. I wrote my mom’s name first, then my nephew and sister. I knew that having them join us today would be a long shot but I wanted their names in that pile of mulch that so many have prayed over in the past few weeks.

Next, I sat and thought about who else I would want to join us. The list was long, but I wanted this to be special. I thought about those local friends and acquaintances who could use a serious boost of our Father’s message and honestly, no one came to mind. I’m sure if I had been given more than 10 minutes to think about it, I could have come up with a decent list but the time just wasn’t there.

Then, it hit me. I knew that my blood family would most likely not be able to be with us so I immediately thought about my other family. If I couldn’t have blood with me, I would at least want to celebrate this special Holy day with those I consider family by choice.

This is the piece of bark that I scribbled on.

Today was proof that God does hear and answer our prayers. For 12 months our church has prayed about this day and for His glory to shine in the city of Tampa. We asked for 5,000 people to show up and 5,560 did indeed. Pastor Paul asked for beautiful weather and at the start of today’s service, the thermometer registered a comfortable 73 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. We all prayed God would speak to those who needed him and at the end of the day, 30 people became new Christ followers.

One more prayer was answered today. That was my prayer said six weeks ago in a park over a piece of pine bark. I prayed that our friends Matt and Michelle (Matelle) and Jeff and Ellen (Jellen), along with their families, would join us for this special celebration. As you can see, they did just that. I am so blessed to call these people my family.

Back row: Ellen, Jeff, Tanner, Gil, Kurt, Michelle, Matt. Front row: Abby, Emma holding Olivia, Lee, Natalie, Chloe.
Posted in Uncategorized

200/365 Kitty Face

It’s Renaissance Festival time in Tampa and we decided to bite the bullet and go. It was the first time for both of us so we weren’t sure what to expect. I’ll admit that at first it seemed a little over-the-top but it didn’t take us long to get into it. We even joked about dressing up for next year’s festival. I have to admit I could totally get into the ornate dresses and over use of feathers and fur and lace as embellishments. Oh, and the masks…we can’t forget the masks.


Posted in Inspired by Music, Post A Week Challenge, Treasure Chest

Monday’s Treasure Chest – Anticipation

An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing. ~ Samuel Smiles

Today I opened up my Treasure Chest and was a little surprised by what I found. It wasn’t a person or a thing or any particular act that overflowed from the top of my blessing box. It was, instead, an emotion. It was anticipation. It was something I never considered a blessing before tonight, but after thinking about it all day, I am certain it is my treasure of the day.

Gil and I start a much needed and deserved vacation Wednesday morning. We’ll be heading up to St. George Island in the panhandle of Florida. Since 2008, we have made this journey north to attend the annual charity music festival known as Rock by the Sea. We look forward to this trip every year because it’s an opportunity to hear some of our favorite artists, discover new ones, hang out with our music-loving friends who have become family and well, it’s at the BEACH, people. What’s not to love about this?

Rock by the Sea (RBTS) is a Florida not-for-profit organization dedicated to planning and producing music festivals and events that raise money for deserving charities that provide direct services to those in need. RBTS has created an outlet for those agencies to gain exposure with the public and to facilitate donations. Through musical concerts, silent auctions, merchandise sales, and general donations, RBTS has been able to create awareness and provide an avenue that leads to involvement and enhancement of the direct services provided.

Even though this is our fourth year attending RBTS, this year is very different for us. It’s different because we will play a role in helping to make the event the best it can be.  Late last year, we were invited to join the RBTS Board of Directors and I can’t even begin to tell you what an honor that was. RBTS is an event that has been very near and dear to our hearts since our first year attending. Not only does the event benefit a variety of charities that are incredibly close to our hearts, it just so happens our dear friends, Beth Gosnell and Gail Harkins, are two of the founding members of Rock by the Sea.

I’ve admired Beth and Gail since I first attended Rock by the Sea II in 2008, and to be asked to be a part of this organization was one of the highlights of my life. This group has managed to make this event look completely effortless for those of us attending. I’m so very blessed to be a small component within this group of extremely giving individuals. I have so much to learn from them, but at the same time, I hope to add value to the organization as well. I’m very new and very green when it comes to charity event planning, especially fundraising, but I’m willing to learn. It’s what I hope and dream I’ll be able to do with my life someday, and being given this opportunity has only reinforced my desire to make this dream come true.

The anticipation and uncertainty of the upcoming week consumed me today.  I managed to be super productive at work but every second my mind had a chance to wander, it did just that. I thought about things like the weather, the idea of too much sun on my frog-belly-white skin, what food to pack, how many pairs of flip flops I’ll need (yes, I said NEED), and other vacation related concerns we all think about before a beach vacation. But this is not all I thought about. My mind also drifted to concerns of how much I’ll be able to contribute, how much money we will raise, will the honored charities be happy with the level of awareness we bring, will the event hit any snags along the way, etc. The thoughts just went on and on.

The anticipation inside of me fuels the hope I have for this event. My hope is that we do the charities proud, that we raise enough money to make a difference to at least one person, that everyone’s journey to and from the event is safe and without incident, and that the feelings of love and selflessness envelope us all weekend. I hope that when the music has stopped and it’s time to pack up and head home, we leave St. George feeling as if we’ve accomplished something extraordinary, both individually and collectively.

I’ve been given the gift of anticipation, and my anticipation level is ten times what it’s been in the past. My reward, however – or shall I say, my treasure – at the end of the weekend, can potentially fill a thousand treasure chests. For this, I am truly blessed.


This year RBTS has selected three amazing charities. They are University of Florida’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Program, The Down Syndrome Association of Tallahassee and Camp Sunshine. I invite you to visit each of the charity’s websites and see the incredible services they provide to people in need.

If you would like to know more about the organization Rock by the Sea, please visit our website or Facebook Page. If you would like to know more about our upcoming RBTS 5 event, you can check out our Facebook Event page.  We also invite you to follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you would like to make a donation to Rock by the Sea, you can do so here.