Great news! This Monday, Focus on the Family will air my interview with Jim Daly and John Fuller. Do you have any “TOO BUSY” mom-friends? Make sure to have them tune in.
I was in their Colorado Springs studio in August. I couldn’t believe I was actually there and told them as much. Their Focus on the Family radio show reaches over 220 million people worldwide. My daughter, Meghan, will be listening in from Zimbabwe, Africa!
What a kind and welcoming God honoring duo Jim Daly and John Fuller are. Before we taped I met them both in Jim’s office. They talked with me about my book and asked questions about my family. In the middle of our conversation I had to stop and tell them, “Do you know how many years I’ve spent listening to your program? I used to shout out my answers in my kitchen over the hum of my dishwasher!”
Jim Daly smiled and looked at John, “Do you think we have a dishwasher around we can run to make Joanne feel more comfortable?”
“I’d have to change out of these clothes and pull my hair back into a messy ponytail and slap on a t-shirt and black sweatpants if you do. We’d need the whole affect.” I laughed.
Heading into the studio to tape was like being in a Get Smart episode, lots of doors and elevators opening to corridors with more doors and elevators. I was lost the moment the producer, Eva Daniel, led me around the first corner. Having lunch with her was so fun.
It’s a shame the public doesn’t get to meet the editors/producers/sound engineers behind the scenes. Talk about an impressive bunch.
I was able to meet with Vance Fry, an editor of Thriving Family Magazine. He was so kind and knowledgeable. A great help to me when we discussed the route I’d be taking on my Sabbath article for their magazine. (Out this month. Shameless plug.) On a sidenote for you writers: He is always looking for a good article.
Like so many moments before, this time was clearly a miraculous slice of my life that God had planned from my beginning. If you knew how many people I had praying for me you’d understand why my interview happened at all. To say I’m grateful for this tiny moment in my life is an understatement. Jim and John made the taping as comfortable as having coffee with two friends. And, now as I see my air date is sandwiched between Pastor Andy Stanley on Friday and author and Hearts at Home founder, Jill Savage on Monday I’m a bit veklempt. Paul and I will be listening with Grace and Samuel in our Tennessee family room. I’ll try not to cry but I know I’ll fail miserably. Pathetic I know.
A Little Backstory
If you’ve never been to Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado you must put it on your “places to see” list with your kids. Our family was there about eight years ago. Our four kids were much younger, and we’d just come from visiting the Air Force Academy where my son was stung by a large bee that flew up his nose.
Seriously. I can’t make this stuff up.
Did I mention he’s the one child of our four allergic to EVERYTHING? Lots of parents might have packed it all up and headed home. Not me. I did what any good mom on a mission would do. I removed the pesky insect, carried him back down the hill we were hiking, stuffed him full of Benadryl, shoved him in the car and told him he’d be just fine.
After all, we were on our way to Focus on the Family—and nothing was going to stop me. (Que the sinister laugh.)
Once we arrived, it wasn’t long before the medicine kicked in and all our kids were running from fun spot to fun spot. Their favorite? The corkscrew slide “A-bend-Ago”. Focus is a huge place where The Odyssey is produced and taped and where thousands of people work together to reach millions around the globe for Jesus. It is the largest Christian ministry in the world.
There was one thing on my radar. One thing I just had to see. One place I desired to venture more than any other. I’d been daydreaming about this special spot—their bookstore. Here’s where Paul’s and my recollection of what happened next gets a little fuzzy. He says as soon as I stepped inside I wandered around from aisle to aisle with a glazed look on my face, mumbling joyful gibberish as I picked up book after book—for hours.
I don’t remember it that way.
It felt like only minutes. I don’t recall any glazed look or catatonic posture but I do admit to saying a couple of “Awesome!” or “Yay!”s under my breath every once in a while when I picked up a book by an author I respected. Oh my, what a magical place this is – full of every book, Bible study and devotional you can imagine. I was in love.
Paul had to drag me out of the bookstore. Of this we both agree.
Being a family of six, we made bag lunches to save on our family trip and went to the parking lot to put down our tailgate and eat our noon meal together. As the kids got busy filling up on sandwiches and juice boxes, Paul and I had a loud argument…ahem…debate about just how long is too long to spend in the Focus on the Family bookstore.
Apparently, one hour and forty-six minutes is the answer.
As Paul made his case I remember thinking, I bet Dr. Dobsen is watching us right now and sharing with his audience of listeners exactly how NOT TO communicate in marriage. I just knew he had to be telling women all over the world how long is too long for a wife to hold her husband hostage in a bookstore. I watched the beautiful Focus on the Family buildings grow smaller in our rear view mirror and I just knew I’d never be back again.
Yet, years later, here I was invited back and as an author no less. It was never something I planned. Never something I thought I’d do or be. It’s just another chapter in the story God had for me. In obedience I wrote what I believe would encourage parents and in faithfulness He took it from there.
Busyness. The one thing I believe is tearing apart families and they don’t even know it. I have a passion to teach families to slow down and God gave my heart’s message a cover and put it on a bookshelf.
Guess where I made sure to stop and visit when I was there in August? The bookstore. The lovely Diane Ingolia, head of guest relations gave me a behind the scenes tour of everything. I’m not sure anyone knows as much about this ministry as she does. When she led me inside I just had to share my prior experience from years ago. God sure has a great sense of humor. Not only was I back with hours to spend, I had my very own book on their shelf. The darling Liz Feola made sure to send me a snapshot of this very special full circle moment.
Well, minus the parking lot argument…ahem…I mean the loud debate in front of God and Dr. Dobsen and the bumblebee up my son’s nose.