one for the books

Last February, I shared a blog post called “a week to remember” - all about an amazing week my wife Joey and I had and the special moments we shared together... from our first Grammy nomination to our last Valentines Day and the celebration of our little Indiana’s 2nd birthday.  Now here it is a year later, almost exactly, and this week too has already been one for the books. 

It started with Joey’s mama making the trip down from Indiana to stay with Indy and Russdriver and I catching a flight to Los Angeles to attend the Grammy Awards. Joey and I had been blessed to be nominated again, but this year it was for our "Hymns" album. Released on Valentines day last year, it has since sold over a half-a-million copies - one the biggest selling albums of the year they tell me, in all genres. It had been Joey’s dream to record an album full of the hymns that she grew up singing in church as a little girl and for her to see it get finished and be released was a dream come true for her. And to be at the Grammy’s this year, hearing our names called and going up on stage with Joey’s daddy to accept the award on behalf of my sweet bride was much more than a dream-come-true for me...

Though I ran into quite a few music-business friends from Nashville there in LA, none of them seemed to have their bus-driver with them. But I'm so glad I did. Russell was with us last year in Indiana when the Grammy's came on and took this picture of Joey and I watching the show together...

So it was only natural to have him with me this year... 

Besides, he comes in pretty handy when your father-in-law's wife gets blisters on her feet from walking in heels and needs a ride to the red carpet. Though Russ didn't have a bus with him, he quickly improvised...

The morning after the show, Russ and I boarded a flight headed for New York City and by nightfall, we were in cab riding down the streets of Manhattan... 

We're here in New York doing press for my book "This Life I Live" that came out in stores yesterday.  Though I'm still a little nervous doing interviews without Joey by my side, I had a wonderful time sitting down talking with Matt for a few minutes on the Today Show. He's such a nice guy... 

Afterwards, we taped an interview w Kathie Lee that will run tomorrow. She too is just wonderful. Her faith is so strong and her heart is so big. She lost her husband a year or so before Joey passed away and so she has a special connection to our story. She's followed our journey for the last year and a half and has prayed continually for us and our family. While I was there - before the cameras started rolling - she took my hand and prayed for me and Indiana and our older girls and the life that God has in store for us. It was so special.

After the Today show interviews, Russ and I walked down 5th Avenue to the closest Barnes & Noble bookstore to see what "my life in-240 pages" looked like sitting on a shelf...

It means so much for me to get to share more of our story in the book - Joey's and mine together - and also some of my own story. Scenes from my childhood and life that I haven't able to tell in this blog or in our music or videos.  I have tried to be as honest and transparent as I could be.  Probably more than I needed to be at times. But it's also been good for me. To remember how I got here. How Joey and I got here. So I can better understand where God is leading us in the future. 

The week was also special because it was on Valentines day fifteen years ago that Joey and I had our first date. When we spent our first real time together, and when I first held her hand in mine.  Neither of us having any idea where that date would lead or how our lives would change. The joys we would share, the tears we would cry and the love we would get to experience together.  

That love turns three-years-old this Friday.  She Face-timed with me yesterday just after the Today Show taping. She was in her carseat with Hopie, about to head into her school...  

As always, Indy helps me make sense of this life that God has given us.  With just a smile and her little voice saying "Papa", the pain of not seeing my wife's smile this Valentines day gets a little easier.  How could it not (this was the night before I left at bath time, just after a bowl of chocolate ice-cream),,,

I do more interviews today and fly home tomorrow to start getting ready for Indy's birthday party. Joey's mama and daddy and sisters will all be there along with our older girls. I can't believe Indiana's turning three years old already!  And did I mention that she's walking? 

I'll think I'll save that video for the next blog post...