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).
‘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
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
Sophia Martinez Gokey was one of four Sisters. We got the privilege of hosting another Sister, Margarita with Ivan, Petto and Marilyn (Mari)… Don’t miss the jumping shot… it is one of my favorites…
Whoa! Nice height :-)
See below to meet more of Sophia’s family. And please check out Sophia’s Foundation at: www.sophiasheart.org
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!
It has been 15 days since my last post due to “computer photo adding issues” and then was sick for, going on, two weeks now. But as you will see this cough and cold did not hold me back from having a full birth month. My family party was a blast, Tea Party with Camy, Baseball games with Caeden, Emily’s 1st B-day, Beach House stay by Danny, Suzanne, Emmy and Jake from Lakepoint Church in Rockwall, TX, Visit by Jason, Betsy and Jackie Castro, Lunch with my Homies… Lysa, Terry and Claudine, Spa B-Day with my Girls… Brookie and Talie…. one of the best days of my life… really, a day uninterrupted with my girls… yipee! Denny and I enjoyed watching friends Jerry and Brenda Wilkinson’s son Keith win the National Championship for USC’s Basketball team…. how cool was that! Fellow worship leaders with Danny Gokey at his church made a visit. Destiny and Yadi drove 39 hours and stayed with us in Lake Forest… precious girls! Great prayer time, Balboa Island Frozen Banana’s (my fav), Montage Resort visit, Josh Griffin (Youth guy at Saddleback Church) meeting at the Refinery, waved goodbye and sent them to stay with Diana Carreno so they could hang with Danny in LA. They made so many new friends and went so many new places… back on the road again… be safe girls. They will be back for the WELL DONE Awards and do back up… awesome. So here are the pics to follow the words.