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PoG Blog

My Christmas Family - Part One

As most of you know, we are out on the road for most of the month on our Home for the Holidays Christmas Tour. We are only home for two days this week, then back out again for five. It’s kinda funny that we named our tour Home for the Holidays, since we are anything but. We were on the Gerry House show the other morning in Nashville, and he said we should call our tour “The Big Lie.” Not a bad idea.

Most buses have 12 bunks. When we’re not on a budget, sometimes we convert our bus from 12 bunks to 8 bigger bunks, and get a separate bus for the band and crew. That’s the high life. More space, more privacy. Currently, we are not living the high life. In fact, we actually converted the back lounge of our bus into another sleeping room with 3 additional bunks. So we’re at 15 now.

15 people on a bus.

We’re a family.

Meet the Family/ Part One

You probably know Leigh. She is drying her hair at the venue in Detroit.

In MY dressing room with MY hairdryer.

This is Derek our drummer during intermission. He used to play for Kelly Clarkson. We got to meet her once because of him.

He’s too good for us, but he doesn’t act like it.

This is Denise. She likes to work out. She tries to make us do it, but we always think of a reason why we can’t.

Today mine was, “I’m taking pictures for my blog.” Leigh’s was,

“I’m drying my hair.”

This is Mark our sound man. We drive him crazy. That lady’s name was “Mom.” She picked up our dinner and also swore a lot, especially for an older lady.

Anyway, if we sound good, it’s because of him.

Now this girl is an angel sent from heaven. Her name is CeCe. You know that yogurt place Sweet Cece’s? Named after her.

She is fluffing the trees in this pic.

This is Marcus. He is our lighting guy. We met him on tour with Mark Schultz.

He is amazing. Marcus, not Mark…

This is Walt. Plays bass. You know those people who act like
Jesus? He’s one of them…

So, that’s the first installment of my road family. If you come see us on the road, come up to them and say hi. Call them by name and freak them out.

Day of Rest

After two back to back shows in one day, I’m too tired to think of anything to write. This is all I got. PS we were so scared we were going to break my bunk doing this. I told them it was all for the sake o’ the blog.

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells

I thought maybe today I would tell you about what a typical day on the road is like. The random things that happen, the things we eat, and people we see. Today was a good day in Grand Rapids all in all, except from about 12:31 until 12:32.

Michael, our piano player, and I were walking out of the hotel and I slipped on a little bit of ice. And I mean I BIT IT. BAD. I honestly have never fallen that hard in my entire 41 years of life. I fell on my face, and only my hands kept me from breaking my nose to pieces. The right side of my lip started to swell up, and Michael actually said it looked good-like it was Botoxed-and that I should do the other side. I’m thinking about it…

So we went and grabbed lunch at this Chinese place and I tried to recover. I was pretty shaken up.

I had to clean up really quick, but this man always puts a smile on my face in the shower.

The gingerbread man, that is. Yummy smelling shower soapy.

Then Denise, myself and a new artist that is on tour with us, Chris August, went to visit the Zondervan/Family Christian Store headquarters. We brought them Christmas cookies and caroled a little bit. We are just getting to know Chris. He is really funny and I promise I’m not just saying this, but his record awesome. Not a throw away song in the bunch-all good. Every stinkin one of ‘em.

Leigh didn’t go because she was getting a massage.

Just kidding.

She is sick and having a hard time singing, so she wanted to rest her voice. And we let her. Because we’re nice.

Onward to the venue. The very wonderful Program Director who has literally not stopped playing our music for 20 years, Chris Lemke from WCSG in Grand Rapids, brought us a wonderful surprise. Especially since I didn’t have time to eat dinner. He brought these little cucumber cups with this yummy shrimp and tomato filling, and these little toast things with pulled pork, mashed potatoes, creamed cheese and cheddar cheese on top. WOW! I told him we were putting those in our next cookbook fo sho!!

I had four. Of the mashed potato things.

That’s our new member. Just kidding. It’s Chris’ wife.

Then, as most of you know, my husbands’ entire family is from Michigan. It was really great to see all of them that came out to the show. Mom, Dad, sisters, aunts, uncles, lots of friends…
The number of people below is the amount of comps I asked for tonight! It was A LOT.

OK, so see the guy on the far right in the red sweater. That’s David’s dad. My father in law, Phil. I talked to him earlier in the day and he informed me that he and David had spoken a month or so ago about a shotgun. David has been wanting a gun for awhile, and his dad offered to just give him one of his. So Phil told me he was just gonna bring it to the concert for me to deliver home to Dave.

OK. Sure. Just walk into Grand Rapids First Assembly and stick the gun under the pew until intermission.

He brought it to the bus after our set.

This is our bass player Walt, with said gun.

It’s good to know we will all be safe tomorrow in Ft. Wayne. Don’t mess with us.

Christmas Shoes

We JUST finished our first show in Minneapolis on our Home for the Holidays tour. Everything went really great, especially for the first show.

Well, almost everything.

I think I mentioned the other day that our stylist, Amber Lehman, got us our clothes for the tour. She is this really cool girl with GREAT taste, a knack for putting things together to create an “original look”, and she really gets us. The only real problem I even have with her is that she has a perfect body, (I won’t elaborate on that, but she seriously does)and sometimes, when you’re trying on clothes in front of her, you feel a little, well…bigger.

But that’s not her fault, it’s my fault. So I don’t really hold it against her.

Back to tonight. Amber got us really cute outfits and really cute shoes for our tour.

Really cute torture device shoes.

So right now, my feet hurt so bad after just one show that I’m going to google Grand Rapids hospitals right after I write this post, so that tomorrow, I can check myself into one before our show. And they can operate on my feet or something. Because they are THROBBING. THRO-BBING.

Shelley’s Christmas Shoes

See what we do for fashions’ sake??

Leigh’s Christmas Shoes

Hers’ are a cheery red!

Denise’s Christmas Shoes

I really don’t want Denise mad at me with that weapon of a heal.

That’s all I got.

I need to go now because it’s going to take me about 3 hours to walk to the bus from the church.

PS FOR REAL ya’ll need to read Amber’s Blog! It’s like so totally awesome! She always finds real cute clothes and shoes and shows you where to get them. And you can also see the big stars that she dresses. Sometimes she writes about them and shows what they wear on her blog.

PSS You won’t find us on her blog.

PSSS Look at this cool pic that our drummer took tonight during the show….

TOP TWO REDONKULOUSLY AWESOME SEASONAL DESSERTS THAT I DO NOT MAKE MYSELF

The holidays are all about eating things that you wouldn’t normally eat. And drinking things you wouldn’t normally drink. Kinda like in October, when you have been getting regular coffee all year, and you drive through Starbucks and willingly say “Yes, I WILL take a grande pumpkin latte. It’s October. Thank you.” It’s just the right thing to do.

Fast forward to December. I’m going to tell you about two sweet treats that scream “THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! with every bite you take. Oh and these are in the “Christmas treats I don’t bake myself” category.

Do yourself a favor, go order a dozen or so of my number one pick. Tell ‘em Shelley sent you. They know me.

As for number two, just go one of the bazillion Starbucks around and get yourself one. Tell ‘em Shelley sent you. Say it real serious and see what they say. Just for fun.

OK.

Number 1. (Stop reading right now if you are a family member or even a remotely close friend of mine because you already know about these as I have most likely force fed you one. Just move on down to number 2.)

About 5 years ago, Heather, who was the fourth point before she retired a couple years back, walked in to soundcheck on our Christmas tour from a day of shopping and said, “OMG, I FOUND IT!” Actually she probably didn’t say OMG, because she never really said that. ”Found what?” we asked. “The greatest iced sugar cookie ever baked,” she told us. She knew of my great obsession with all things vanilla sugar cookie with butter cream icing. She happened upon a little cookie store at a mall called “Blondie’s.” We came to find out that they were a small family operation based in Indiana, and we started ordering all our corporate Christmas gifts from them from that point on.

Which reminds me I need to do that. Or have my assistant do that. Which means me. Because I am my own assistant right now. Because my real- albeit unpaid- assistant decided to move to Africa. For real.

So here they are. And I swear I DO NOT lead people astray on food. Maybe on other things. But not food. These have this other-worldly buttery soft cookie dough, baked just right (meaning they are not hard and crunchy AT ALL) with a shortbread like flavor. And the frosting. REDOOOOOOOOOOOOONK.

You can thank me later. Or send me some. Blondie’s has my address.

I should mention that all of their cookies and baked goods are incredible, but what you want to order for sure are what you see above. They are called the “Sprinkles.” And don’t worry, this is the only picture I could find, but they will be sprinkled red and green if you get them during the holidays.

I should also mention that they aren’t fat free.

Number 2. Cranberry Bliss Bars. Starbucks. Have you HAD these??? OMG.

OMG OMG OMG. So surprisingly good. I mean, we’ve all seen the cardboard boxes sitting on the back counter at Starbucks with the pastries and stuff in them. It’s no secret that they don’t bake all that stuff in house. But seriously, most of their stuff is pretty darn good. I mean, like really moist and delicious. You’d never know they all came in the mail in card board boxes if they didn’t leave them sitting around so we could all see them. Pretty impressive really if you think about it.

Onward. Cranberry Bliss Bars. They are- well- Bliss. Seriously.

Lemme describe….these are sorta like a chocolate chip cookie DOUGH, but with WHITE chocolate chips and some dried cranberries. Very moist and chunky with the chips. Sweet with just the slightest hint of salt. Then there’s this cream cheese frosting. With these dried cranberries. AAAAAAAAND, this like orangish-tasting drizzle. Oh, the drizzle…

Mommy. Help me. I can’t stop eating them. Oh, and you can buy them by the dang box. And it’s a cute box. So it makes you want to buy it. Kinda like you want to drink real coke during the holidays cause Santa is on the can. So much more fun than the snowflake on the diet coke can.

So, go get a grande Pike Place and have yourself one of these.

Oh, and I looked it up on google. One website said 320 calories per bar, one said 290. I’m going with the latter. It’s Christmas.

Wanna know when I looked it up? The other day, while simultaneously eating one and watching the Food Network. Yep. I was googling “Calories in a Cranberry Bliss Bar” while I was doing that. What a weirdo.