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Monthly Archives: February 2013

“Oops, I did it again, I played with your heart, got lost in the game….”

A few years ago, the world was captivated by one woman’s struggles with herself and humanity. As a nation, we watched as she fell, struggled to get up again, fell again, and just kept falling. We gasped in horror at her misfortune. We watched with bated breath to see, would she triumph? Public places fluttered with whispered conversations wondering- what would happen next? Would she survive? Would we? Could we??

Obviously, I’m talking about Britney Spears. The original Honey Boo Boo. When pictures emerged of her shiny shaved head, my heart broke- where was the girl I loved?  When she stumbled through an awards show, looking like a baby horse who has just learned to walk and then was given muscle relaxers, I grieved. Rumors have flown around about drugs, brainwashing, and mental illness.  I don’t know what the truth is, but what I do know is I felt great sadness that it appeared she had ruined her life.

But no more. I do not feel sorry for Ms. Spears at all. My sympathy has dried up, for as of yesterday, Britney Spears has ruined my life. For real, y’all- I never ever ever ever ever exaggerate. Ever.

These last two weeks have been extremely stressful. Kids have been sick, I’ve been behind in many projects, and I have a school situation looming over me that is causing me to not sleep well. I’ve felt on edge and tense all week. As a person who loves music, I decided yesterday morning to turn on some music I listened to last week music from my youth to lift my spirits and have a little fun.  I turned on a Britney playlist, and started dancing while cleaning up breakfast. Malachi was playing and ignoring me, because he’s quite used to these impromptu dance parties. I was singing along to “Hit me Baby, One more Time” when the kitchen table decided to take me seriously. I did this half spin half leap while doing the “Single Ladies” hand motion and tripped over my feet and slammed my head into the table. But hey guys, I am an artist and I take my kitchen dancing craft very seriously, so I shook it off and continued. I’m sure the ringing in my ears will eventually go away.

That afternoon, I was again starting to feel a little overwhelmed and tense, so I turned on the music again because I had faith in you Britney and started to dance. A few songs went by, some of her newer things, her “hair extension phase”, I call it. And then- a song from her prime, one her best came on. Y’all, this was my jam. 

“All you people look at me like I’m a little girl, well did you ever think it would be okay for me to step into this world…I’m a SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE for you….”

I’m walking around, you know, dropping it like it was hot. I dance into the playroom, which is right off the livingroom where Malachi is. I’m putting things away when I spy something I need-  a large stuffed snake. Oh come on now, how am I NOT supposed to carry that thing around my neck, a la Britney at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards where she carried that huge yellow snake around her neck and managed to not look terrified?  And since I don’t own a flesh-colored sparkly bodysuit (I know. But there are just some things you have to give up when you are a mom), this stuffed snake would have to do. So I draped the snake around my neck and begin the belly dancing portion of the song.

Then I hear “Oh. Oh. Um, hello ma’am. Well. Ok.”

Oh PLEASE let that be Malachi and his voice has changed…

Nope. Malachi has let in a meat salesman. And Mr. Meat Salesman was staring at me as I slowly lower my hands from their belly dancing position to rest upon the stuffed snack wrapped around my neck. Hello, welcome to my totally not weird home.

He apologized for coming into the house, and I told him we were not interested in buying any meat and we did all these things without making any eye contact. The snake dropped to the floor and even though it is made of cloth, it seemed to echo through the silence of the house. He awkwardly bent down and picked it up and said “Um, here’s your….um, your snake?” as though unsure it was actually a snake. I resisted the urge to tell him it wasn’t a snake, it was some sort of spy device and I was undercover for the CIA as a sub par bellydancer and that he should forget he ever met me. Sweet fancy Moses, please forget you met me…

So between humiliation and a head injury, I’m breaking up with Britney because this is of course her fault and not mine. That might not make sense but let’s all remember that I probably have a concussion.

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Mama Mondays- Sour cream and tomatillo chicken enchiladas….

I made chicken enchiladas this weekend, and my kids loved them, and Selah actually helped me make them. It’s a pretty simple recipe that can be frozen (without the sauce), and can be adapted to be dairy free-


Two whole chickens (you can roast these yourself or buy them from the deli)

Corn tortillas

16 oz of sour cream

1 onion

2 bell peppers

2 cans of green chilis

16 oz chicken broth

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour


8-10 tomatillos

2-4 jalepenos


cumin, salt, pepper, paprika

Shredded cheese

Beginner version-

Begin by removing all meat off of the cooked chicken, season with spices of your choice (this is a great activity for your kids to help you with), set aside

Chop bell pepper and onions into small pieces and saute in olive oil until slightly softened, set aside

Combine chicken and veggies, and add one can of green chilis. (if you’d like, you can also add some cooked black beans to the mix, or substitute beans for a vegetarian choice)

Microwave a stack of corn tortillas with a damp paper towel on top for 30 seconds to soften them.

Fill each tortilla with the filling and wrap and place in a large pan. (another option that is a bit easier is to lie the tortillas flat and layer them, like a lasagna)

Sauce choices-

Tomatillo (dairy free)- Roast tomatillos on a cookie sheet at 400 for 10-15 minutes, until they are browned

Combine tomatillos, one onion,the jalepenos,  the juice from one lime, and about a cup of cilantro in a food processor and combine until smooth.

                                        Add spices to your taste

Sour cream sauce- Add sour cream to warm (not hot) chicken broth, stir to combine.

                                   Add one can of green chilis

Cover enchildas with sauce and shredded cheese and bake at 350 for 20-30, until the cheese is bubbling.


Advanced version-

Recipe is the same except for the sour cream sauce-

Sour cream sauce-

                       Melt one stick of butter

                       whisk in 1/2 cup of flour and keep whisking to form a roux

                       Once the roux is formed, whisk in 1/2 cup-1 cup of chicken broth

                       Once combined, stir in 16 oz of sour cream

                       Add the can of green chilis, some minced cilantro, and some lime juice. Season to taste

If you want to freeze this, assemble the enchiladas and then freeze them- you can freeze the tomatillo sauce, but don’t freeze the sour cream sauce- it will separate when thawed.

I actually made both sauces and used both, and it was yummy!  If you have younger kids who don’t eat enchiladas, just add the filling to flour tortillas and grill for quesadillas. They can dip them in the sauces.

Serve with rice and beans, and enjoy!

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“I saw the face of Jesus in a little orphan girl, she was standing in the corner on the other side of the world, and I heard the voice of Jesus gently whisper to my heart, didn’t you say you wanted to find me, well here I am, here you are…”

photo (28)

Yeah. They’re pretty yummy.

I just finished making around 1000 of these for the Uncommon13 marriage conference put on by our church, Watermark Community Church. The conference was excellent, and the pretzels got a great response. It was suggested to me that this might be a good way to raise money for Wes’ trip to Ethiopia. Every summer, Wes has led a team of single adults (and a few married folks) to Ethiopia with an organization called E3. (  They travel to a region outside of Addis Ababa and work with local pastors, sharing the gospel to the people there, encouraging and helping disciple new believers in the area, and interacting and teaching children. This year, our son Josiah will be joining him. I’ll admit, it has been a little difficult for me to think about my nine-year old traveling to Africa without me, but Josiah could not be more excited about going, and I could not be more proud of him.

So here’s where the treats come in- I’m sharing a link with you all for Josiah’s page with e3 to raise the money for his trip. I’m asking for a minimum donation of $10 for a dozen chocolate covered pretzel sticks. (they will be a combo of dark and white chocolate). Of course, you can donate whatever amount you want, or make several orders, but each order will be 12 pretzel sticks. If wrapped properly, these can also be frozen to be eaten at a later date.

Ya’ll, these make great gifts for teachers or clients, and are a good addition to a party or shower. Men, take these to your lady if you forgot Valentine’s Day.  And ladies, these are sweet and salty so basically they are a perfect PMS snack. Just sayin’ ; )

If you can’t donate or don’t enjoy chocolate, you can pray for a few things for Josiah-

He has never traveled out of the United States, or crossed any time zones, so he will get to experience jet lag for the first time.

Pray for his heart to be bold- he is a little nervous and intimidated with sharing his faith with others, so pray that he will be strong and courageous.

Pray for his lungs- this is a BIG concern. Josiah has severe asthma. He is currently on a pretty high dose of steroids, as our mild winter has not be easy for his lungs. Ethiopia has high elevation and very high levels of pollution, so it’s almost a certainty that he will have an attack there. Please pray for his healing, because for right now, he is unable to get the vaccines needed to travel because he is on such a high dose of steroids. We need him to be steroid free for three weeks to receive his shots, but right now, he is unable to even decrease the dose without having attacks.

If you’d like to order pretzels, you can do so in a few ways-

Email me here at

Message me on Facebook or Twitter-!/brandy.novakbutler

Check him out!

Please feel free to share this post with others! It’s been a huge encouragement for my boy to see the donations that come in and how people are praying for him.

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at

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“Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step, and I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet, so if all of these trials bring me closer to You, then I will go through the fire if You want me to…”










Is it possible to feel all these things in just a day?

You hear the term “mama bear”, but until you ARE a mama, you don’t understand the sheer rage that happens when you feel like your child has been attacked.  You go from a calm laid back person to a wild-eyed woman on a mission.  Road rage compared to mommy rage is like comparing a small campfire to angry vikings setting villages on fire. You never imagine you could feel this way. You never imagine that you might look at someone and think, “I will chant ‘Kali Maa’ as I hold your still beating heart in my fist” Breeeeeeeathe.

I’ve struggled with this feeling that my child is being wronged, and I am going to be real with you, there have been times that the feeling of rage has been strong. Each time it happens,  I feel like I am presented with a fork in the road, and every time, I have to decide which way to go. One way is retribution and the other is love. One way is trust and the other is control. One way is about me and the other is about Him.

I haven’t always chosen right.

And I want to be honest with you- I am tired. My heart is tired and I want to choose the wrong way. It would feel good to let out my frustration, to yell and snap, to demand justice. It feels right- I can almost convince myself that’s what good moms do- they stand up for their kids. No one could blame me for that, right?

But Jesus wasn’t kidding around when He said it would cost me something to follow Him.

 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.  If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.  Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate”- Luke 6:27-36

If it were up to me, that would read something like- “be nice to other people and they will be nice to you, kay?”  But when I look at this, it doesn’t say anything about how if I love my enemies, they will stop being my enemy. See, it’s not the initial act of love I’m struggling with, it’s the lack of return of that love. Do good to those who hate you- not who used to hate you. Bless those who curse you- not those who cursed you but now don’t.

I want justice. I want control. I want my kids to be treated with love. I want, I want, I want. But what does HE want?

He wants me to be like Him and to trust Him, and if I love Him and trust Him, there isn’t a valid reason to be unkind. I can’t justify it with saying I am just protecting my kids, because there was a time when He stepped back and allowed His Son to be abused and beaten and treated unfairly, and yet, He responded with love and grace and humility. And as much as I wish I could learn to be just like Him and love like He does when I am surrounded by sunshine and roses, it’s in these times that I grow. I’ve realized as I fight through my emotions, that He is not only growing me in loving people who are difficult to love, He’s teaching me so much more! I get to practice-

Patience- Sometimes it’s not on my timeline. I want it done, and I want it done yesterday. But He’s got this- I don’t have to stress about the timing. He’s got this.

Control- My kids futures are in His hands and His hands alone.  The type of people they will be will not be determined by outside circumstances,  it will be determined by if they follow Christ. Guess who their models are for following Christ?

Service- Will I continue to serve those who hurt me?  Am I only going to love those who love me, because He makes it clear that anyone can do that.  How will they ever know that having a relationship with Christ is worth it if I am not any different from any other frustrated parent?

So I will step up and advocate for my children- but I will do it with gentle hands and gentle words. I’ll remember the times I’ve acted like His enemy and He’s responded with abundant, all-consuming, reckless grace.

I choose Jesus. I choose love.

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Mama Mondays- “She spins and she sways, to whatever song plays, without a care in the world…”

“My insurance doesn’t cover Occupational Therapy but I think my son has sensory issues. We are on a tight budget and can’t afford to take him to therapy, so is there anything we can do at home? And why does it seem like so many kids have these issues now when you never used to hear about them?”

I know. It’s so frustrating that I could get any number of medications-brain altering, minimally researched medications- paid for my small child, but preventative measures are sometimes not covered. I hear you, mama!

Let me address the second question first. I am sure there is research about why sensory processing disorders (and other disorders that frequently accompany it) are more prevalent today that when I was a child. I am not an OT or a sociologist, so this is really just my opinion, but I think there are a few reasons-

1. It’s recognized as a disorder- I think kids who had these issues may have been previously labeled as “difficult” or “spoiled” or “quirky”, or even worse “defiant”. Who knows how many kids were diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder or with an Attachment Disorder when really, the root was sensory processing. Thirty years ago, if you had a child who screamed at the thought of wearing shoes, refused to hug anyone, and chewed on everything, they might have been thought of as antisocial or even mentally challenged.

2. It’s trendy- sorry friends, but I do think this is true. While I don’t have any personal experience with unethical Occupational Therapists, I have no doubt there are those out there who would diagnose a child in order to get paid. Like most disorders, SPD is on a continuum, and I have seen that most children (and adults, for that matter) have some sort of sensory “quirk” (a certain item of clothing you can’t handle wearing, a noise that drives you crazy, a certain texture of food you won’t eat), but the general rule is that if something interferes with your daily functioning, then it might venture into a disorder. I’ve talked to moms who say their kids have SPD but when you dig deeper, you hear that they weren’t really diagnosed, it was just that the mom read a book on it and decided that’s what their child had. However, I would say that I am guessing this reason is in the minority.

3. Modern culture- let me preface this by saying that I am in NO way saying that if you do these things, your child won’t struggle with SPD, or that these things will “cure” it. But I do think some of the things that we do as a modern advanced culture works against our kids in this area specifically. A typical day for many American children is wake up, eat a processed sugar filled cereal for breakfast, get driven to school, sit in a desk, eat a processed school lunch, be driven home, sit and do homework, play video games or watch television, or rush to different activities, eat a rushed dinner, watch television, go to bed. Please hear me- there is no judgment here- that has certainly been my children’s days at times. But if you view this kind of day through the eyes of a child who has these kinds of needs, this is a recipe for disaster. We don’t give children strict bedtimes. We don’t require good hard laborious chores from our kids. We don’t teach our kids self soothing methods that are healthy, we teach them that in order to relax, you veg out in front of a box. Part of this is also our fear- we don’t allow children to go run around the neighborhood anymore, we ask them to play in our backyards. We fill their days with sports and lessons and playdates, because we want them to be “well-rounded”, but it leaves little to no time for rest, serving others, or bonding with mom and dad.

So what about dealing with this at home? First thing I would tell you is that I understand about not being able to afford OT, but I think a good evaluation is critical. No two kids are exactly the same, and you can actually do damage if you just pick and choose ideas without understand where your child is struggling. Private evaluations can be expensive, but if your child is under the age of three, you can get an evaluation through the Early Childhood Intervention program in your area. If they are in school, the school can do an OT evaluation (although this is often times not as thorough as you’d like and it can be a fight to get it done). Another option is to find a practice that either trains students or works on a sliding scale (or has a payment plan). You might be able to call a local university that has a master’s program and see if they give evaluations at a reduced rate.

So let’s talk nutrition- I think this is important for ANY of our kids, but I think it’s especially important for those kids who seem more sensitive and don’t seem to “roll with the punches” as easily. For our family, we chose to take all food dye and artificial sugars out of our diets, and we are working towards cutting out high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives. We don’t buy organic- but we have seen a dramatic difference in Selah when she avoids all food dyes. This means I make most things from scratch. I love to cook and bake, so this isn’t a struggle for me, but if you don’t know how to cook, then I can see that it would be difficult, but I truly believe it makes a big difference. Good basic nutrition- lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein, fish, and good carbs. Lots of water. My kids only drink orange juice or apple juice as a treat. We do allow junk food, because I am not going to ban it completely, but we try to make sure that junk food is an occasional thing. There is a huge world of vitamins and supplements out there, but I just do the basics. Multivitamin, fish oil, and probiotics.

Another area that helps is activity. My girl doesn’t just like to be busy with her body, she NEEDS to be. I recently taught her how to bake bread, and I decided not to use my mixer, and let her mix it and knead it by hand. Perfect heavy muscle work!  I also let her help me cook, because it engages her body and her mind, and forces her to listen and do things in order. It’s also a stress release, which these kids who have been sitting at school all day desperately need. I’ve also considered teaching her to knit or crochet, or sewing by hand. When I see that she needs larger muscle work, I send her outside with a rake, or I have asked her to dig up my flower beds. I purposefully ask her to carry the groceries inside the house. I’ve let her wash the cars. One time I got desperate, and I handed her a bucket filled with water and a paintbrush and had her “paint” the fence. You have to allow time and creativity for physical activity, because if they don’t get it, they will take it out on your furniture!  There are many mornings when I will have Selah go outside and jump on our trampoline before breakfast- in her pajamas- because it helps wake up her body and brain so she can calmly sit and eat breakfast.

One more area that I have recently started doing is encouraging Selah to journal. One of the things that I think is frustrating to kids with SPD is that it is difficult to articulate what they feel and why. A child might say “I hate this shirt”, but be unable to pinpoint that they hate it because the tag and seams feel scratchy on their skin. Journaling has encouraged her to really stop and thinking about what she is feeling and then we work on the “why” together. Journaling is a wonderful habit to learn, it’s another great stress release, and I also think it will be helpful for Selah in the future to be able to look back to what she’s written when she was younger.  For younger kids or for kids who just aren’t able to do this yet, keeping a drawing journal might work just as well. Have them draw a picture of themselves and draw something to represent how that part of their body feels. Selah did this once and drew a picture of her in the car with fire coming out of her ears. She was then able to tell me that the music in the backseat is too loud and makes her feel like her ears are on fire. We now allow her to wear headphones to block out the noise- problem solved. Empowering our kids to really be able to stop and think before they act- isn’t that a huge part of parenting any child? How much better would we all do if adults could all do that as well?

Point them to the One who made them. I’ve had many conversations with all of my kids about how each of their struggles can be used by the Lord to bless others. I know, even on my worst days, I know that He has a reason for allowing Selah to struggle with this. I trust Him. I hate watching her struggle, but I also know that parenting my kids through difficulties has been one of the biggest tools for growth for me. I remember sitting in a waiting room with Selah at her OT’s office and there was a little boy sitting there with his mom. Selah was doing a puzzle with him and when he put the last piece in, she praised him and patted him on the back. He flinched and moved away from her, and his mom explained “He doesn’t like to be touched on the back”. Selah said “That’s okay buddy, that’s just how God made you. I’ll just pat you on the foot”, and she bent down and patted his shoe. I have no doubt whatsoever that she would not demonstrate that compassion if she also did not struggle. Praise Him that He never wastes our pain!

What about you, sensory mamas? Share any tips you have on managing this at home!

Psalm 139:13-18 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me,b O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at

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“I’ve had the blues, the reds and the pinks, and one thing’s for sure, love stinks….”

I’m taking a stand. I’m drawing a line in the pink and red sand and humming “We’re not Gonna Take it” under my breath. It’s time for us to join together and rise up against the machine of Valentine’s Day gifts for our children’s classmates. It all begins with you and me- won’t you join me?

When I was a kid, we used to go and buy valentines with cartoon characters on them. We would write our classmate’s name on the top and the next day, we would hand them out. We would have a party with chocolate cupcakes with red sprinkles and cheetos. We had cups of water, or if we were fancy, cups of red punch. One year, I decided to hand out little boxes of those candy hearts, the ones that taste like chalk dipped in powdered sugar. There was a boy- a quiet boy, but a boy who haunted my fifth grade dreams. He was a loner, my first foray into “bad boys”, and he didn’t play baseball like the rest of the boys, he just loitered around the field, looking all Dylan McKayish. He didn’t ever raise his hand in class. His voice had already changed, probably when he was four. He NEVER wore a helmet on his bike. I was enthralled. I dumped out all the chalk hearts and separated them into colors because one time I heard him tell someone that the yellow ones were his favorite (of course, he said this with disdain, as though he was scoffing at the whole candy chalk heart industry). Yellow ones are also MY favorite, which clearly meant that we were soul mates. You can’t fake a connection like that. I put all the yellow ones in his box. I waited all day, watching him to see when he would open them. I watched as he opened the box, Debbie Gibson’s “Shake your Love” playing in my head, waiting for the moment he would look up, and we would join hands and plan our yellow candy chalk heart themed wedding as we rode off, sans helmets, into the sunset.

What actually happened is that I saw him TRADE MY BOX OF LOVE to another kid for JOLLY FREAKING RANCHERS AS THOUGH THOSE WOULD EVER FILL HIS HEART. Heartbroken. Debbie abruptly stopped singing and was replaced by the mournful wailing of Whitney Houston’s “Didn’t we almost have it all”

I’ve never forgotten that. So Raymond Martinez, if you are out there, just know that every time I eat a yellow candy heart, I push down a tiny bit of bitterness.

But now that I am an adult (legally, anyway), I have a new issue with Valentine’s Day. I’m looking at you, Pinterest. You and your homemade crocheted hearts and cards made out of recycled pallet wood and individualized Baked Alaska’s and vegetables cut into hearts and arrows and dressing your kid up in a diaper and bow and arrow and the teachers gifts, DEAR LORD THE TEACHERS GIFT.  I tried your melt broken crayons into heart-shaped crayons project. Lord knows I have enough broken crayons, as my kids are convinced this will be the next Olympic sport and they are VERY dedicated to training for the gold. You know what I got? Heart shaped crayons that had melted into the color of “wet dog rolling in a pile of garbage” which is very difficult to fit onto the label. I also had the added bonus of my kitchen smelling like a spork factory. Nothing says I love you like the smell of melted sporks.

It doesn’t stop there. It’s not enough to send cupcakes or cookies anyone to class parties. Now we have to send marshmallow people holding carrot hearts, or cheese cherubs or cookies painted with Robert Frost poetry.

I can’t do it. I won’t do it. This is my stand.

Join me mamas, in taking back the Valentine’s Day of yore. Paint half your face blue and stand with me, and we will battle together against this one upmanship, for we know if we continue down this path, it will lead to our sons taking out loans for gifts that their girlfriends will expect because we taught them in third grade that a flower isn’t enough. Because they may take our yellow candy chalk hearts, but they will never take OUR FREEDOM!!!!!!


Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at

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“So long, status quo, I think I just let go, you make me wanna be brave…”

I am skipping Mama Mondays today because I have something really really really super important to write about and it can’t wait. I realized last night while obnoxiously live tweeting the Grammys that there is something most of ya’ll don’t know about me.  What I wanted to share today goes deep. It’s thought-provoking. It’s something I talk to my husband about in moments of intense reflection. It is, perhaps, something that I think you’ll agree is life changing.

I am totally BFFs with Nichole Nordeman.

Let that sink in, christian music connoisseurs. I know. It’s pretty impressive. Try not to allow your envy to grow. And before any of you naysayers say “Whoa, wait a minute here. I’ve never seen you with Nichole Nordeman. You must be mistaken!”, let me just say that our relationship is a little bit complicated, not like Facebook complicated, but more like we ARE BFFs even though one of us might not actually realize it in the fullest extent possible. That person being her.

So let me explain…

When I was pregnant with Josiah nine years ago, I walked into a childbirth class set up by the doctors in my ObGyn practice. I was there with Wes and another couple, Rob and Haley, who also saw the same doctor as us, Dr. Steven Harris (sidenote- if you need a good ObGyn in Dallas, I can’t recommend him enough). If you remember from previous posts, I didn’t enjoy pregnancy. I mean, it was great except for the 24/7 throwing up for nine months. But all that changed when about ten minutes into the class, Wes leaned over and whispered…

Wes- “Hey, I think that’s Nichole Nordeman over there”

Me-(scoffing)- “Right. Nichole Nordeman is in our birthing class. Oh wait, I think I see Steven Curtis Chapman over there too. He’s probably the midwife”

Wes- “No I’m serious. I really think that’s her.”

After some very subtle nodding in her direction with Rob and Haley, we confirmed that it was in fact, Nichole Nordeman.

Wes- “She’s like, one of your favorites. You should go talk to her”

Me- (pregnant lady eye roll)- “Uh…no.”

Wes- “Why not?!”

Me- “Because! It’s weird. It’s all like, hey, how’s it goin, so….you’re Nichole Nordeman. That’s cool. Whatever. And I’m Brandy. And we’re both having babies. No, I can’t do that. Besides, no one wants to talk to anyone about anything when you are 27 months pregnant and it’s summer in Texas. I don’t want to be weird.”

Wes- (staring at me)- “Well…it would be weird if you said THAT. Just go say hi and introduce yourself.”

So I did. And she was super nice and we laughed and made lunch plans and went shopping together for matching bff necklaces. Okay, that’s not exactly what happened.

Every week we’d go to class…

Wes- “Are you going to say hello to her today?”

Me- “What if I throw up on her?”

Wes- “Why would you throw up on her?”

Me- “Because I’ve thrown up on all the things in the world.”

Wes- “She’s a Christian. She won’t get mad.”

Next week…

Wes- “Seriously, you are never going to talk to her?”

Me- “She looks shy. And her music is all introverty and deep and stuff-”

Wes- “I’d lead with that-”

Me- “-and she probably gets tired of being approached-”

Wes- “Come on babe, leave a legacy-”

Me- “do NOT use her lyrics against me, Butler.”

The last week of the class, I gave myself a pep talk in the car. I was going to be brave. I would say hello. Rob had already been brave and asked for an autograph, which I didn’t want (I don’t really understand the appeal of autographs), I told myself- what if you’re wrong? What if she IS lonely? What if she does need a friend?  Seriously, I told myself- you are assuming she has a ton of friends, but what if she doesn’t and no one approaches her because they assume she does?

I walk in and she is not there. We found out later she had gone into labor that week.

I walked out, sad that I had missed my opportunity to make a new friend with someone whose lyrics really had spoken to me in a time when I was pretty convinced Jesus didn’t love me. Sincerely, I wasn’t interested in meeting a “celebrity”, it was just that at that time, her music and Rich Mullins were pretty much the only christian music I would listen to without rolling my eyes. With infertility and loss, and a marriage that was “perfect” on the outside and a train wreck on the inside, most christian music made me feel like they were filled with simple answers and “just try harder” advice.

So most of you are thinking “well, clearly you didn’t become friends then so how can you be so close now??”. Well, let me tell you. It all comes down to the Twitter. Ya’ll know I am not tech savvy, so it took me a very long time to sign up for the twitter, but once I did, I started following several artists that I liked, and of course, I started following her. One night, she tweeted something about Christina Aguilera needing to wear more clothing and “cover the girls” while she was on The Voice. I was watching too, and totally agreed (of course. Because we are in sync like that.), and so I tweeted back “No kidding. They are like the 4th judge”.

About two minutes later, my phone pinged and my world screeched to a halt. She replied. She said…are you ready….L.O.L.

Nichole Nordeman LOLed at me. Fo real.

Wes was at work that night but he texted me a minute later-

Wes- “Did Nichole Nordeman just reply to your tweet?!”

Me- “Yes. I am super casual about this. She loled me. I made her laugh. Out loud. Whatevs”

Wes- “Did you tell her you were in the same birthing class?”

Me- “No! I can’t do that. That was like, a billion years ago and what I am supposed to say “hey, you and I used to share a doctor together and sometimes I would look around the waiting room to see if you were there but you never were and one time I asked Dr Harris, “So, you treat any Dove award winners today?” but he would always just smile and never tell me anything even when I almost died after having Josiah and I asked him to tell me like it was a dying wish or whatever and  he still wouldn’t tell me and I am sorry I never asked if you wanted to go have lunch or coffee because I was convinced you have a ton of friends like probably all Dove award people friends like yall probably get together with your Doves and I don’t have a Dove or anything I mean, I have my letter jacket from All State Choir and I have a trophy I won when I was ten for softball but that doesn’t really count because they give you a trophy just for playing and I think somewhere I have my outstanding graduate student award thing but anyway, we could still have lunch if you want.”?

Wes- (long silence)- “I wouldn’t suggest saying any of those things.”

Since then, I’ve responded to a few of her tweets and she has responded back. Now some might say, yeah, so? But I am choosing to believe in the power of our internet friendship.  I like to think when she sees my twitter name she thinks “this girl reminds me of a simpler time. A time back when I took a class and there was a raven haired girl who seemed shy but also would be an amazing friend. I never introduced myself to her, but I could tell from a distance that she and I would have a connection.”

This is how all great friendships are started, right?

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