Great beginning to the new year (see the post below regarding our new partnering project with World Vision).
Great beginning to the new year (see the post below regarding our new partnering project with World Vision).
Greetings for the New Year!
In my desire to expand the territory of people with well done projects and groovy ministries please take a sec to check out these links that are…Fun.Fantastic+Fresh!
‘American Idol’s’ Christian connection
Mega-churches across the country’s heartland have served as the training grounds for many of the Fox show’s contestants, with parishioners doing their part with prayers and text votes.
By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times
May 23, 2010
She isn’t employed by the show and viewers never see her sparring with Simon Cowell. But Leesa Bellesi exerts her own kind of pull on “American Idol,” Fox’s top-rated singing contest that has a unique if often-unstated link to Christian churches.
Bellesi, who runs a Christian nonprofit in Lake Forest with her Pastor husband, visits tapings frequently, has befriended numerous finalists and helps wrangle funds and scout temporary housing for families who trek cross-country to see relatives perform on “Idol.” Bellesi said that churches form a base for the young singers as they try to win votes and establish fan bases. Half of the Top 10 last season were worship leaders in their churches, she said.
“Most of the kids that have been really successful on ‘American Idol’ have that huge support of their church that’s pushed them — they’ve had a lot of voting and things like that,” said Bellesi, who has no official connection to the show (a spokesperson for the producers said he had never heard of her) but was spoken of as an unofficial patron by former finalists Danny Gokey, Jason Castro and others.
Read it in it’s entirety at:
Note: Keep reminding yourself what a privilege it is just to have the opportunity to audition. That you have a voice to share. Many don’t. My best friend has no arms or legs and he never complains…EVER! Life Without Limbs :: Nick Vujicic So just be happy you can drive or walk yourselves to the audition location. It’s a gift to be alive…right! Then make a point of meeting and enjoying the people around you. Many have made life long friendships with those they have stood in line with. When I went to support a friend I experienced this. A few around us that we befriended made it to the top 24 and are still friends. What a blessing just to be a part of it all. Be in the moment and feel the joy and anticipation.
I heard great advice the other day. “If you feel that feeling in your stomach, you know that feeling…the one that makes you feel like you are going to hurl or double over. It means you are about to do something very special so enjoy the ride.”
Also…do not complain to the Producers about the heat, your exhaustion, your voice not being right, your song…be positive and hopefully they will be too. You are being watched
Love to you all…I will pray for you if you ask. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org – If you give me your phone number I will text you little encouragements, which is what I have been doing this morning to those in San Francisco. I’ll call and pray with you too if you would like.
God’s richest blessings! Leesa
Every year I always tell the Lord, I will obey. If you want to use me to bear fruit for your Kingdom here on earth and for eternity…I’m in. I don’t go looking for AI contestants, I just stay F.A.T. Faithful, Available and Teachable. Even though I am giving my body to Science (my last Kingdom Assignment on Earth) I do want a Grave Stone somewhere and I want it to read: “She was so F.A.T.” :-)
This season started unexpectedly early. I received an email from good friend Mark Joseph who had passed my info on to Byron Spradling who passed my info to Shelley Vance out of Little Rock, Arkansas and the Mother of Songbird Charity Vance. She needed a place for her husband “Vance” to stay while Charity was in Hollywood Week. I called Shelley…we talked, got to pray with Charity and my love affair with the Vance family began. Charity calls me Miss Leesa…gotta love that Just say it to yourself in a cute Southern accent and well…it’s just really cute, especially since I have not been a “Miss” in over 36 years. Shelley invited Denny and I to Hollywood Week auditions and it was such a joy to attend. When I first met Shelley and Charity face to face. I immediately gave her a AI Ministry Resource standard, made by my friend Deborah Harder, “Sterling Grace” Silver Bracelet which read Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future. I’ve given the bracelet to several of the AI players and have worn them on the Show, Katharine McPhee, Jordin Sparks (Jordin wore hers on every show until she won at the Finale), Paula Abdul, Kristi Lee Cook, Syesha Mercado now Charity Vance. God’s word as a constant reminder of His love and plan for them. Two kids that had a special place in my heart also made it to Hollywood Week and we were able to cheer them on. Colin Benward…He calls me his CA Mama, and has worked for me at the Award Shows, Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmy’s and others. He did so so good and he was just darling…spoken like a Mom huh?! But so true. As I held his Sisters had as the Judges said; step forward, step back we knew he would make it past the first round. He didn’t…whaaat?! My theory on that is 1) He looks just like Lee and 2) He’s from Nashville like Di Di, it definitely is not because he wasn’t good, because he WAS GOOD! Not all the best voices make it to the top. It is a reality show and they have many things to consider, especially giving every state someone to be proud of and vote for. The other favorite and friend was Michael Castro. He is just so talented and has grown so much in the last year. Surprised he didn’t make it further, but he made it a little further than Colin, Group Night. Big Mike was in his group and Little Mike did great, but sadly was sent home. Michael was so gracious, I was really proud of him.
Now on to Charity…
But hold on…off to tonight’s viewing party at the Dixon’s. Pics and her story when I get home
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. TNIV
From Billy Grahams Devotional Day by Day -
“The problems of the world could be solved overnight if people could get victory over their tongues. Suppose there was no anger, no profanity, no lying, no grumbling or complaining; suppose there were no dirty stories told, no unjust criticism-what a different world this would be! The Bible teaches that a person who can control their tongue can control their whole personality. We should ask ourselves three questions before we speak: Is it true? Is it kind? Does it glorify Christ? If we would always think before we speak, there would be much less evil speaking, and there would soon be a spiritual awakening that would sweep the church in America.”
There is a reason I do not allow comments on my Blog and the reason is… people have not gotten control over their tongues, or their thoughts. People have written me the most bizarre and unkind things. Down right evil. Kindness in the Blog world is a pipe-dream of mine. If you’re reading this and you make the practice of giving your unkind opinion about everything because you can, consider praying about or for that person instead. You’ll be laying up treasure in Heaven instead of breaking some ones heart. Sticks and Stones can break your bones, but names will always hurt you. Bones mend in time, Hearts may never. Some of these American Idol kids, well I don’t think any of them escape the cruel, mean, obscene comments people make about the way they look, their clothing, family members…what? No one deserves that. When I was in High School, I remember my Youth Pastor and good friend Jim Grindle told me and other student officers “what you say may be THE THING or final straw that breaks that person spirit”. I’ve always tried to remember those words and when I haven’t I try to apologize and ask forgiveness. Stay clean…let’s encourage one another with the words of our mouth as a testament to our lives. Must I remind you God hears not only our words, but our thoughts too.
Bring to an end the (verbal) violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— You, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. TNIV
If you want to email me you are welcome to write to me through our website at:
I know it really won’t matter to anyone else, but myself… but there is this pressure… you bloggers know what I mean… it’s when you have not updated your blog and you feel so behind and have no idea where to catch up.
I try to be respectful to the AI kids when they are here and not post anything until they are gone so that has been some what of my hold up. Jason Castro’s girlfriend Mandy and Michael Castro’s girlfriend Mackenzie have been our Interns for the Kingdom Assignment for the last two months living here with us in Lake Forest… so it has been a revolving Castro door for quite some time now. The girls parents came out and stayed at the Beach House and then here last night. But yesterday we sent a fond farewell to the girls with a big thank you for all their help. We gave them each a special gift of jewelry to remind them of the importance of prayer in their relationships and it was a blast to match it up to their personalities. If you see them ask them what they got
So more pics will soon follow. I have had some wonderful daily Billy Graham devotionals… time to share those again… whew… I am far far behind.
Okay so we are clear with a fresh start… let the blogging begin again
This post is long in coming… so much about AI I have not even gotten to, but I will. Got to go to the Finale and sit with the Gokey’s, After Party, Limo… all good and fun (pics to follow). But what I had to throw myself into the day after was the 3rd Annual WELL DONE Awards that I was producing. Millions of details including publishing and printing 3 new books. Kingdom Assignment 3 “What Will Do With The TIME God Has Given You”, Children’s book “I Have A Special Purpose” Daniel Goes On A Kingdom Assignment, and a pictorial book telling the story of the Kingdom Assignment and how it came to be… whew! Miracle… something only God could do and He did!
A few AI people were there… Phil Stacey, Jason Castro, Michael Castro, Warm-Up Artist from AI Cory Almeida, and from iCarly Nathan Kress and Noah Munck…
If you go straight to our website www.kingdomassignment.org you can check out the latest on the WDA, below is the thank you I sent to all who served us and the Master so so well. WELL DONE!
Check out the latest Article on the AI Ministry and the WELL DONE Awards, Sunday May 31st at the Grove of Anaheim… do not miss it
But thank you for the compliment On Tuesday of this AI week I was invited to sit with Danny’s family. His Sisters, Angie, Janell, Gina and Tracey had all been out to stay with us (see post below) and then a few weeks later their Husbands (Danny’s Bro in Laws) Rick, Rob and Brandon, sans one (Janell’s Husband Tony) arrived. I was honored and privileged to be asked to sit with the family and represent for “the Danny” as we, no I guess it’s just me, likes to call him.
I sat next to Kris’ Dad Neil and the rest of his clan… so nice… such a wonderful family. I noticed the AI Camera was there a lot, but having done this before I knew that that meant nothing and that the “booth” makes those decisions and that they might take a quick shot of the family when Danny sang, and that would be it. When I got out of the show my phone was flooded with “oh my goodness” they showed you more than the Kadarshian Sisters, no, more than Simon, no, more than Adam…right… I have funny friends…. I have not watched the show back yet, can’t bring myself to do it… too embarrassing… all I can do is laugh about it and hope I did not look too much like a dork…. so back to the point of this post.
The next day, at Wednesday’s Show, the sweetest people came up to me with this look, this gentle, precious look and these same words, as they took my hand, moved in close and said; Hi… “Are you Danny’s Mom”? “Oh no just a friend I would respond”. They would go on,”Well they showed you so many times on Tuesday… I was just sure that you were his Mom”. Understandably, curiosity would get the best of them… “well then WHO ARE YOU they would eventually ask”… which gave me opportunity to tell them about the AI Ministry and the Kingdom Assignment and the WELL DONE Awards. By the end we had exchanged information and were friends for life
That is the way I roll people! If I am given an opportunity to brag about my Lord and Savior I am going to take it. No one is going to get away from me with out hearing how much I love Jesus and if they don’t love Him already, it’s my hope that someday they will love Him too… rock on AI Ministry… rock on!
The Guys…Rick, Brandon, Rob on Tuesday night after watching Danny’s rendition of “You Are So Beautiful”. I seriously used to hate (that’s too strong, let’s say highly dislike) the Joe Cocker version and now… well now, after hearing “the Danny” version, it is one of my favorites. Go Gokey Go! iTunes download for sure…
What handsome boys… fun and in the moment of it all Smile Brandon Smile… “I am Smiling”…
Okay.. if you will scroll down you will see the Gokey Girls doing this same pose… had to get it with the guys… it was my goal… Sweetie thank you for filling in for Tony… you are such a good sport! Note: Denny and I also celebrated 35 years of marriage this last week. Honey… you are such a gift to me… okay now I’m crying…
Stream of consciousness…Crazy day at American Idol this week… Tuesday Margie , Lizette and I made our way into the line for the performance show… it was an especially hot day… I was dressed in all black… what was I thinking… after an hour of standing in the line longer than most… the CBS Page told us it had been a strange day… just to hold on. Hold on we did as Ambulances started filing into the sound stage and then right behind me a young girl fainted… more ambulances… more medics… we filed in an hour late…. got our wristbands… turned in our phones to then hear we weren’t getting in… bummer, but that we instead would get tickets to the finale to make up for it… nice Heard today that Stage Manager Debbie just needed stitches, but it was a very very serious fall. Thanking God for a good report…the young girl also made it back into the line only to not get in… all was well with her…Margie made it in and had many ministry opportunities and fun surprises as I did out on the street… met these two fantastic people (below)… became quick friends… they attend the Dream Center where Danny is attending right now and had also NOT gotten in… was there to root for the Danny…as we talked found out Adrian is a singer and he busted it out… fantastic… while Sherry is a Red Carpet Photographer. They both asked what can they could do to help at the WELL DONE Awards… what a wonderful surprise to find the replacement singer I needed and the Red Carpet Photographer I had prayed for just that morning out on the street… God is so good… gotta have eyes to see and anticipate them… their coming at us all the time… Please enjoy this string of pics from the last two weeks at AI.Singer and Photographer Adrian and Sheri… my new friends I met on the street after we all “did not” get in to AI… God had other things in mind for us…what a blessing
Unexpected prayer time out side CBS…
Beautiful pic of Sherry (Danny’s Cousin) waiting in line for the Dress Rehearsal two weeks ago… what a blast
Had to…couldn’t miss this opportunity to do one of our JUMP SHOTS with the CBS sign in the background… were 50 something and happy
Convincing the others was not difficult…
Lysa, Jenn, Sherry, Margie, Jenn and Lizette’s famous sign…This sign has a life of it’s own… everyone seems to want to pose with it… Lizette,Damadis and Lezzit (Sophia Gokey’s Sisters) Sherry (Danny’s Cousin)… later that night the girls introduced Lizette to her favorite American Idol Danny… fun memory huh girl…
AI Home Girls….Okay… so Margie got into AI Tuesday Night… while she was there she over heard an associate Producer talking about auditions for “Smarter Than a 5th Grader”… my Reality Star friend… remember “Mama Fogal” (google it) piped up… gave her a copy of her book “Tales of Crazy Pastor’s Wife” and right there on the spot the Producer auditioned her, fell in love with our Margie, gave her her card, told her to call the next day…which Margie did today and tomorrow Thursday Margie has a audition in front of the other Producers to be a contestant on “Smarter than a 5th Grader” …woo hoo… Margie you’re amazing….and God is so good… He loves to surprise us…
What can I say… when I picked up the Gokey Girls (all 4 of Danny Gokey’s Sisters) at the Airport in Orange County I was in for a good time. It was the first time EVER that they have been on a vacation just the 4 of them. They love taking pictures, they love laughing, they love laughing, they love their families and they are understandably super proud of their brother Danny. Their parents did a fantastic job raising them… I could not believe how much they liked each other… the pictures say it all.
I insist…first stop… Frozen Banana’s on Balboa Island…
I think they have done this before Tracey, Gina, Janell and Angie
Pretty in white… Babies due to Tracey and Janell in a few months… praying for easy labors girls.
I don’t know how this picture came to be… but I love it and the moment was hysterical… as you will see in this next picture… these darling girls became my trick ponies… I would say come on girls let’s do this and they would enthusiastically say… okay let’s do that…
Seriously… they did this over and over again…. I was like… Girls, you’re pregnant … and they would say let’s do it again nice form… huh!!
Long (happy ending) story after Janell’s purse is stolen out of my car at Saddleback Church. Thanks to the excellent Security work… purse, wallet (sans money), perpetrator found… quite a bonding adventure wasn’t it girls…
Later that night… Danny with his Sisters… Happy B-Day Danny!
Hollywood and Highland…
Let’s jump with Danny… okay
Happy!!! Girls… Mama Lee, as you named me loves you and I miss your wonderful, rich, true, honest, infectious laughs and sweet faces. Your ability to find humor and beauty in everything makes me smile daily… come back soon
What began as an unspoken dream and a silent prayer has now become a full blown ministry, proving God hears our thoughts and listens to our wildest of prayers. Forgive me as I reflect on the last four years and how God has brought something my way that only He could of done in the most beautiful and creative of ways. As of today Denny and I and our ministry partners have had the privilege of meeting the needs of 9 American Idol contestants families affecting over 75 people with flights, lodging, meals on the road, meals in our home, game nights (Apples to Apples , rides to and fro, gasoline to make it from state to state, lots of prayer circles, scripture bracelets to remind of God’s love for them… all round good stuff.
A big thank you to: Janet and Dave Brown, Nicole and Earl Reed, Dee Dee and Paul Dirks and their kids, Deborah and Gary Harter, Margie and Brad Fogal, Diana and Jerry LaMont, Suzette and Charlie Schafer for their faithfulness to this ministry. Couldn’t do it without you… no way!
Prayer requests: Please pray for Scott MacIntyre’s Sister Katelyn. On Friday April 17th she will be having kidney transplant surgery. Please pray for Katelyn’s and her donors quick recovery. Continued support of Sophia’s Heart Foundation.
Below are some of my latest favorite pics…
Danny Gokey’s In-Laws at Saddleback Church with the coolest, Youth Director….Josh Griffin…
Us jumping for joy… you go Josh… nice height…. truly Everyone… nice effort!
Sweet and wonderful, Ana (Sophia’s Mom) Damadis (Sophia’s Sister) Sophia’s Cousins, Amadis and Kimmy. At the Montage Hotel… had to show them the view… I love these ladies … ahh I miss you girls… but you’re coming back soon!
Friends we met along the way after a day at American Idol… what a blast… Oklahoma, Illinois, San Diego… we all still stay in touch.
Cinderella and Amber even came and stayed the night before their 24 hour trip back home to Okalahoma… home for Easter morning…. sweeeeet!
A night of fellowship and great preaching at the Dream Center in LA. Danny’s family with Dream Center Pastor Matthew Barnett.
Picked up Carole MacIntrye, Katelyn MacIntrye from LAX last Wednesday. They met up with Scott’s Music Teacher visiting from Canada when they checked into their hotel. Fantastic, gracious and precious people they are… if you look up “nice” in the dictionary the MacIntyre’s family picture is there Return trip thanks to Dee Dee and Paul Dirks… thanks guys!
What a warm and gracious guy… just like you see him on TV… authentic and real!