Do you ever feel like you are in limbo?–Like you are waiting for something. Maybe you don’t even know what you’re waiting for. Lately, I’ve felt that way. In fact, I’ve felt that way lots of times in my life. I think advent has arrived a bit early at our house this year.

I am expecting my second son and there’s a lot of limbo going round–not the dance. We are waiting for the, as Max calls him, be’be’ (sounds french when he says it), and for all that the be’ be’ will bring into our lives. That kind of waiting is exciting…. joyous… exhausting…. and life giving.

I’ve also been waiting to finish this new CD of music “So Far”–I love the title. It’s a reflection of where I am these days–what I have to offer so far. The reward for this kind of waiting is being able to share it with others–the new songs; the stories that they came out of; the music; wonderful ideas of those who worked on this project; the message of love and hope and faith that I experience as I share these songs. It was worth the wait– some things are. My prayer is that this might be an encouragement to others in there time of limbo.

Other things I’ve been waiting and wondering about have not been as rewarding. Like what is going to happen to our country. Will war be part of our lives in the coming weeks, months or years? Will other events of terror darken our door in the near future? These are the things that bring me to tears and keep me up at nights. Last night I watched yet another hour of television about the past weeks events. There were stories about the families holding memorials in New York… firefighters … World Trade center workers…. police officers… moms… dads.. sisters.. friends… ugh. Many people were sharing how they were waiting for news–any news to hear if their loved ones had been found….ugh. What a terrible limbo that must be… my heart goes out to them. What a sick, sinking feeling –that kind of waiting is like walking through the valley of shadow of death… a valley that must seem to continue endlessly as you walk through it.

We have all waited for some wonderful things to hurry up and happen… and for some horrible things to pass quickly. And time is nonchalantly taking its dear. sweet time bringing about these changes in our lives. What can I do during these times? **I can remember that I do not walk alone.** I can turn to a God who is there for me and for you in our limbo–a God who in the form of Christ, knows what it’s like to wait. I can turn to a God who promises to be our refuge and strength during these kinds of times; a God who brings comfort and healing… when none can be found elsewhere; a God who says nothing can separate us from the love that is offered daily as a gift. May you and I both learn during these days…. to take a deep breath… and trust that God is with us.


It’s hard to believe the destruction that has taken place on our soil… in New York, Pennsylvania and in Washington, DC… my heart goes out to the families/friends who lost loved ones, to those continuing the search, to those being searched for, and to our whole country as we will prayerfully watch these next days and months unfold…

As I opened my Bible this week, I turned to the book of Psalms… Psalm 23 came to mind… it was one of the first scriptures that I learned as a child… “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… especially verse 4… even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death… I will fear no evil for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff… they comfort me”… I feel reassured by these words …… I know that the only thing I can count on is God’s love covering me… and Christ’s presence redeeming me… and the Holy Spirit sustaining and comforting me… I pray that we will be able to lean on our faith, friends and family as we trust that God will be with us… today and everyday.

Ice Cream

Hey From Me: the art of eating ice cream…..

What is it about ice cream? As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved ice cream…. I can still remember the sound of the ice cream truck coming into our neighborhood… do you think I ever had my money ready and anticipated his arrival… it was an event every day… digging in my room… screaming to my mom… finding loose coins on my father’s dresser and claiming them as my ice cream money… I can remember racing after the truck…. what to have… so many choices… it came down to a few for me… fudgesicle… bananasicle… nutty butty…. every once in a while I’d get crazy and get a push-up… those were the days… eating ice cream in the heat of the summer…. slip-n-slide in my front yard… yummm…. and always ice cream was present at church dinners…. many times we’d have homemade ice cream…nothing quite like it… it was an event at our house… I’d have to say a celebrated event… I loved making ice cream and getting to crank the ice cream maker… to be in charge of adding more salt to the ice… I’d sneak a piece of salt to eat on my shift… man that ice cream was good…. and I guess more than the taste … those memories were good… there was something pure, genuine.. and real about those times… there are moments in each of our lives where goodness shines through… it is clear and present and no mistaking it…. a couple of weeks ago I was in Athens, TN… for a church revival….. evenings with the youth of the church… luncheons…. lots of singing… lots of good preaching… eating pot luck dinner… and oh did I mention … Athens is the home of Mayfield Ice Cream…. lots of ice cream…. moose tracks will set you free… this past Tues… it was Mayfield Day in downtown Athens… and anyone could get free ice cream between 11-2 pm. I showed up, stood in line and got me some free goodness… it was neat to see folks of all ages… sitting around trying out new ice cream flavors… it was friendly…. it was a hot summer day and that cool treat hit the spot… it was 2 scoops of moose tracks for me but more important it was 2 scoops of goodness…
…. while I’m on goodness… I was reminded at the revival of another goodness… in my life… God’s goodness… never runs out …. free to everyone…. it’s pure, genuine and real… all the time… through all things it’s something I can count on …. that’s something worth celebrating…hope you are enjoying the memories you are making this summer… and your days are filled with the goodness of this life… good friends… family … God’s love… and lots of ice cream… gotta go… just remembered I’ve got some vanilla bean in the freezer.. screaming my name.

scoop on brothers and sisters….

The Undo Button

We started work on Celia’s next album. For those of you who have been with us from the very beginning, this one makes five. We have no idea what the final title will be, but we like what we have recorded so far. I am amazed at how the technology of recording has changed since we began our recording journey back in 1990. One of the newer inventions on the recording machine (the one we’re using now doesn’t use tape) is the “undo” button. What an incredible invention. I wish I would have discovered / invented the button. Here’s how it works: if you don’t like what you just did, you simply hit “undo” and presto you’re right back where you were before you made your last attempt. This is a big leap forward in the recording process. In the “old days,” like a year or two ago, you had to choose between keeping what you had on tape and taking the risk of destroying it in hopes of recording a better take, (You could burn up extra tape to keep both efforts). But, it was pretty much a “do or die” kind of situation. Now, you just give it your best effort and then make your choice with no risk.

You may have had some personal experience with the undo button. Maybe you’ve encountered an undo option on your computer. We have grown so comfortable with that option that our computers now tell us if we’re about to perform a task that cannot be undone. Commitment on our part is no longer expected as the default option.

I have thought of some other applications for the undo button that would help me personally. I’m thinking I’d like to have one close by for the times when I say an unkind word. Or maybe those times when I share a word of gossip or a secret that wasn’t meant to be shared. Or what about one for school or work. Have you had a time when an incorrect answer or a less-than-great idea somehow escaped your brain and made its way from your mouth to the ear of someone you really respected. Sometimes I don’t even know that what I did wasn’t a great idea until I see someone else’s reaction. The undo button could handle that situation as well. The listener wouldn’t even remember what they’d heard. Life would be as if the thing never happened.

I am not alone in my need; I think there were some times when the disciples could’ve used such a button. How about the time they had that argument about who was the greatest. Or what about right after Peter heard the cock crow a third time. I bet he would have given anything for a shot at the undo button. Or what about Judas when he was counting the cost of those thirty pieces of silver.

But life is not like that. We cannot undo most of what happens. There wasn’t a safety net at the circus I went to as a kid and we knew it. It made everything more exciting. You knew those performers high in the air were at risk up there.

My hope today is that you and I would live just a little more intentionally, knowing that there is not an undo button for what we do and say–this isn’t a dress rehearsal . . . so, walk chalantly.


On Receiving Love

It’s 10 PM on a Saturday night… Max is finally asleep… I find that I get most done when he has yet to wake in the morning and is slumbering late at night… of course, I’m also most tired at these times…. it’s a good tired… kinda like a dry heat in Dallas… you know what I mean…

… the wind is blowing outside… and it just started to rain… I’m reflecting on my day.. my week… nothing out of the ordinary happened today… lots of little things… read Max “Where the Wild Things Are”… great book from Maurice Sendak….he’s the kind of people I want to hang out with …folks with that kind of imagination…. a couple of things jumped out at me today from this book that I’d like to share… first it was written in ‘63… the year I was born… I only discovered this book in college thanks to a wonderful teacher who taught Children’s Lit… Bob Hallquist…. he made books come alive and taught me that a lot can be learned from children’s books at any age…this book starts with Max causing mischief… and his mother calls him a WILD THING… like any good book I don’t want to give anything away.. but I can’t help but share more.. he is sent to his room without dinner….

…. there, he has a fantasy of his room being transformed into a forest… and of sailing to where the wild things are… and wild things he meets … he tames them and is made king of all wild things… I love the next part.. they dance and played and finally Max was lonely … “and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”…. I missed this line for so many years… the friend who gave me this book…. she underlined this line…and I am so thankful… I have missed it for so many years…Max was lonely …. “and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”….thinking about it now … in the quiet of the night makes me a little teary eyed… I realized how much love I have in my life…

… not only that I have felt loved… best of all but more importantly I have loved by giving the gift of love to others… in the movie “Marvin’s room”… there is a scene that has always moved me…the older sister, Lee and her two boys are visiting her younger sister, Bessie… Bessie has recently found out she has Leukemia…and her sister has been estranged from the family for many years… Lee and her boys are there to be tested as a bone marrow donors…Bessie has spent most of her adult life_taking care of their ill father and frail Aunt Ruth….the two women are in the kitchen late one night and Bessie says to Lee… “I’ve been so lucky to have had Dad and Aunt Ruth… I’ve had such love in my life.. I look back and I’ve had such love”… the older sister Lee, looks down and says, “they have loved you very much”… but Bessie corrects her by saying, “that’s not what I mean… I mean I loved them… I’ve been so lucky to have been able to love someone so much”… what a gift to be able to loved someone completely… to love someone best of all… that’s when love comes our way.. that’s when we don’t feel lonely… that’s when I forget about myself and, like the leaves I hear tossing outside my window, I am carried off by this love… love I feel from my family… and friends of course.. and God who is ever present… but, best of all, love I GIVE as a gift…

….. that’s the kind of love I want for Max… my friends… my family… for you… and for me….

…other favorite children’s books… (it’s a long list I know)…Runaway Bunny, Good Gorilla, GoodNight Max.. by Rosemary Wells… she has lots of Max books…Pat the Bunny… Velveteen Rabbit… I Promise I’ll Find You, by Heather Patricia Ward…. Anno’s USA, by Mitsumasa Anno… great pics… Santa Mouse… my folks read this to me when I was a little wild thing…. The Paper Bag Princess (a must have), by Robert Munsch, who also wrote I Love You this Much… Berenstein Bears… Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss… The Giving Tree (and any poem books), by Shel Silverstein… A Fly Went By, by Mike McClintock… Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst… There’s a Monster in my Closet, by Mercer Mayer.. and my favorite picture book … The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg…

enjoy my wild friends… celia

On Patience

it’s like this… I’m in the bank line.. you know the drill… I’ve got a deposit to make… I choose the line next to the window, because I can’t find a pen, so need to share one with the teller (you know the old pen & teller bit)… besides, there are only two cars in front of me… couple of lines beside me with only one car… and I’ll be quicker in this line, because the pen won’t have to travel through a tube… well… I sit… and I sit… the line beside me has only one car in it… I get out of my line… you know what happens… I get in the line with the one car… unbeknownst to me, he is handling all of the deposits for Christmas shopping for a big weekend at the mall (apparently)… I wait… the line I have just left… it clear two cars pull up and zip through while I am still waiting… during all of my waiting I play with Max… who is babbling to himself in his car seat in the back… I sip my coffee…. I dig through my purse.. wow I do have a pen in here… ugh!!!… finally I am next… I place my checks in the tube… and I wait some more.. I am staring at my teller as if that will speed up this process… finally she greets me saying something nice and Christmasy like good morning … hope your holidays are going well… I’ll be with you in a second… by now I am wondering what the rush is … why am I so impatient…. the sermon from Sunday is wafting my way…. Advent…. waiting…. preparing… being patient…. making room for the Christ child in my life.. in my heart… ugh!!! she sends me my deposit slip and says Happy Holidays…. I drive off thinking of Sunday…. why are we–am I–so impatient…. for me … it’s difficult to just slow down sometimes and enjoy the moment…. enjoy this season… to realize the importance of Advent…is maybe to realize the importance of waiting… preparing our hearts… preparing our lives…. for the coming of the Christ child…

… I am reflecting back on my life today… waiting to begin my music career… starting it in Dallas… all I learned about myself and life… during college times and teaching school after college…. if I had gone straight into music after high school…. I would not be where I am …. I know the waiting to make that step … for me was the right one… waiting to get married… we dated for 6 years…. no need to rush in to things …right!!… for us, it was the right decision… during those years we learned so much about ourselves… our relationship… and how to truly love and accept each other….the move to Nashville… waiting for the right time…. the right reasons… the support of friends and family… the churches in Plano and Franklin believing in us and encouraging us made a huge difference… waiting to have children… having Max this year has been a life changer…. it has been wonderful.. and I am so glad I was in tune with God’s time… and I didn’t miss this oppurtunity… Ron and I working together now … traveling with Max… my life is rich in ways I cannot begin to express or explain… and some of it has been the choices I have made.. and others have been the choices I have waited on and been patient to listen to God’s lead….. finally we just bought a house… a home of our own… for years we have looked…it never was right .. always obstacles… always pushing and trying to make something work… then this fall … seems like it all fell into place…. I’m sure you can look back on your life.. and recall similar stories….

so what does God have to teach me about myself … my life this advent season… like my past … maybe I need to trust that God is doing something new…. in my life… if I’d just get out of the way… and not try to rush God.. If I’d just slow down a little and be still… I’d hear God whisper… Celia … I’m coming for your this year… I’m coming to be born in your heart… I’m coming to heal your hurts… I’m coming to bring reconcilation in your relationship… I’m coming to be your Savior… I’m coming to love you and teach you to love… that’s worth waiting for… right….

Merry Christmas… may your lines be short this year…your eyes still filled with a child’s wonder…. and may you learn in the waiting moments… God (like the good parent I want to be..) could use this time as a teachable moment… if we’d only be open to it….


On Remembering

What do you want to be this Halloween? I called a friend to ask him what his children were going to be this Halloween and he said that is yet to be decided… what I always loved about Halloween was that every year you had a do over… what worked last year hardly ever was repeated… new ideas… new directions… new interests and trends had to be carefully taken into consideration… two Halloweens in my childhood stick out in my mind

one when I was very young and my older brother and sister took me walking around the block in our hometown at the time, LaPlace, La… I might have been eight… they were older than me and I don’t even remember what I wore that year… but what I do remember was being with them… feeling safe that they were with me… and the fun we had… and walking quickly past some lady’s home that gave me the willies (she had spooky music playing on her porch… I didn’t even knock on her door!)

another year I remember going it alone… my brother and sister were off to college… I recall dressing up that year in some ballerina/fairy outfit… tutu, wand and all…it rained that year… trick or treating in the rain… ugh!!

oh yea the candy…I remember the candy… mounds of candy… much more candy than any child should consume… smiles from my neighbors… every once and awhile running into someone who did not give candy… who maybe gave a little toy… or the one year someone give me a fifty cent piece… I thought that was neat… and always the quest for the quintessential costume… some years a mask from the local discount store would suffice… remember those things… how funky it was to look out of those eye holes… and I’d always stick my tongue through the mouth… funny what we remember… and other years I needed something more elaborate… more creative… more unique… kids talking at school who already knew who they were going to be… and sometimes not knowing

Sometimes I find myself… right back at that question… What am I going to be? forget the mask.. the costume… the candy… this year in my life what am I going to be… now

Halloween has many meanings for folks… and really I’ve always seen the fun in kids dressing up … family and neighborhoods getting into it… also I remember that Halloween came from All Hallows Eve, before All Saints Day (Websters calls All Saints Day a festival in honor of all the saints… November 1)… remembering those who have gone before… those whose lives have touched us… maybe that’s where the spooky part got involved… Halloween was never about something really evil for me.. (although I believe in evil, but that’s another newsletter – see Psalm 23 if you are having trouble with that evil thing… it helps me)

All Saints Day is about remembering those who have gone before… what they changed about this life… how they made it better… how they are remembered… how will I be remembered… what was important in their lives… what is important in my life .. some churches have services or moments in services to reflect on these people in our lives… and maybe to look at our own lives and ask ourselves who we want to be? Who does God want us to be… want do I want to change in my life this year… what do I have the power to change… what resources are available to me… what worked last year might not work this year… on a personal note, this year we lost our saint of-a-dog Smokey… he died on Easter morning… he had been with us for 14 and 1/2 years… what we could learn about living and loving from that dog…

I don’t know where you are in your life but those are some great questions for me… what I am going to be in many areas of my life has yet to be decided… but what I do know is, I am following God’s lead a little more… trying to listen better… spending more time giving than taking… kissing Max and Ron and our other dog Blue as often as I can… celebrating my work and all the people I get to meet as I’m out singing… telling family and friends that I love them… laughing out loud as much humanly possible… accepting people for who they are, instead of who I want them to be… continuing to let go of past hurts and forgiving quicker… feeling really good about who I am today and what’s important in my life right now… so who do you want to be this year?… if you haven’t decided that’s OK

may you hear God in your life… may you smile when you remember someone in your life who is no longer here and have a moment of thanksgiving… may you always know that you can be anything you want to be… with God’s help… you can be yourself and that’s enough…


by the way the Whitlers this year have decided to be clowns (I know, it’s a stretch)… we’ve got our red noses ready… and we like chocolate!!!!!

What are you dreaming of?

What are you dreaming of?

This summer, one morning Ron, Max and I were eating breakfast at our favorite local hang.. Merridee’s… Ron and I were munching toast and getting our fill of coffee…while Max was asleep and a young girl looked in on him and I asked her… “What do you think he’s dreaming of?”… without hesitation she said… “the first day of school”… we all cracked up… what a great answer…. for the 7 yr. old girl the first day of school was right around the corner… and was exciting and new… all of us are dreaming of something…

These are some of the things I dream about… at night and during the day…..
+ new shoes.. I’m into red these days
+ the beach
+ 2 dress sizes smaller… ok I’m human
+ heaven… what it will be like… being with Christ… being with loved ones who are no longer here… trusting that God will be with me
+ good friends to hang out with
+ happiness… sometimes, I think happiness is a choice… I can choose to gripe and complain about what’s not going right or I can rejoice in the good that I experience daily
+ songs… lots of times in my dreams I hear music…. new melodies… new lyrics… sometimes in the morning light they don’t hold the luster they had a 2 am
+ what Max will be like when he’s older… what will he look like…what will he like to do.. what will interest him….how will he change the world… what will he be when he grows up
+ what will I be when I grow up.. what’s next for me in my life… it’s exciting to think about.. and scary… I know God will lead me. Ron and Max will journey with me as will several friends with whom I will
+ share love,nuturing and inpiration at every crossroads peace… for me, for my loved one, for you, for the world.

This new year…. will bring many new dreams… one thing I’ve learned about dreams is that the harder you work, the more they seem to come true. I love the quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption.. great flick… never gets old or dated… Morgan Freeman’s character says, “you can get busy livin’ or get busy dying”….I might add to that get busy dreaming…..what are you dreaming of?


Greetings! Alot can happen in a week….. this time last week Maxwell ‘Max’ Grisham Whitler was born into the world…. 4:08 pm central daylight time (we hit the send button on this email, exactly one week later in celebration of his one week birthday–at 4:08 pm)…..Ron and I have had a wonderful wild week…. thank you for your notes, calls, e-mails, advice, flowers, gifts, prayers…. during this pregnancy and this week…. many of you told us it was going to be an experience of a lifetime…. I had no idea…. Max is great ….. like many other parents… I think he is beautiful…. readers digest version of the week and Max: he’s got dark blue eyes and I think he looks like Ron , he’s got dark brown hair…and lots of it…. when he is awake …. he is checking everything and everybody out….. he was born very alert and active… mother’s genes…..anything can happen when you are changing a diaper….. especially with boys… look out! … he has the cutest sneezes… 3 or 4 in a row…. and after them most of the time he lets out a sigh that cracks us up….the name… we like Max and Grisham is a family name… sleep is overratted…..moms who have had little sleep can be brought to tears over a can of biscuits…. and dads have to listen to this nonsense, smile and give hugs…. in short- Ron has been very supportive and a wonderful partner….. we are glad Max is finally here, on the outside….he’s a good guy to be around….. and it will be a joy to see his personality develop…..

… there’s been a lot to learn this week…. a lot to take in ……

… I have thought about Mary and in the Bible where it says she pondered these things in her heart…. what must have been going on in her mind is a mystery to me the week after Jesus was born….and how she had Jesus in the midst of the chaos that surrounded her amazes me….how did she keep her cool… how did she focus on the baby…. did she ask for help from Joseph…did she ask other mothers advice and share her fears with them….. I have pondered lots this week….. and I wonder if she had similar questions and worries that I have had….will he always be safe….. will he always feel loved….. will he know what’s important to Ron and I…..will we continue with God’s help to grow as parents and partners….. will he learn to lean on his faith …. and be in true retationship with God and others….. will he be a giver and not a taker…..when he’s 16 and says “yea right” to me in a sarcastic tone… will I remember how cute and sweet and loved uncontionally he is and continue to support him as he grows into his own…..

…..I thank God for this week…. for Ron… for Max… for you in our lives as we enter this new chapter of life… the journey is to be enjoyed… in the midst of pain, questions, fears, laughter, elation….and this week it has been……

To see pictures of Max, follow this link:

The stats: Max joined us at 4:08 pm CDT. He weighed 7 lbs 6 ozs, was 19.5″ long.


Celia delivered today. We had a 7 pound 6 ounce baby boy this afternoon at 4:08 pm central time. His first name will be Maxwell and we’ll call him Max–middle name TBA. We’ll follow up with more details and point you to some pictures at a later date, but lots of folks have been asking, so we thought we’d let you know. We appreciate all of your prayers and thoughts through this wonderful time. Mom, dad and baby are fine!