Ten Years Ago Today

Ten Years Ago Today - 1

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” – Rev. 12:11

Ten years ago today, on October 9th, I turned 30.  Warren would have forgotten that it was my birthday, but he stayed true to what had become a tradition for him.  Every year he would remember the day when my nephews would call to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me in their cute tiny little boy voices.  It was a good thing for Warren that my family never made a huge deal of birthdays either, so I was use to it.  He was imperfect, but I knew that he absolutely loved me.  Besides, we had a lot of changes taking place that we were trying to juggle.  We were dreaming big and taking some really big risks with those dreams.  Things were tough – exciting – scary – and did I already say exciting!  As scary as the risks were we were in this battle/adventure together, so life was pretty good.

Big plans were underway for a new project, all brand new songs, a dynamic brand new sound, and a brand new P3.  We had caught baby-fever and were planning to expand our family.  We were talking about and dreaming of tiny toes and itty bitty fingers.  Pink or blue, it didn’t matter to me, just that we could hold a little one all our own.  For some reason Warren was pretty sure God would give us a girl.  In the midst of all the personal family plans we’d even begun the process of hiring a whole new team so I could take a much-needed break from road life.  Ten years ago today, we were both holding our hearts desires in the palm of our hands, we just never got to wrap our fingers around them.

Our schedule was booked three years in advance, for the most part.  Everyone was so excited and full of wonderful expectations.  I must say, the new group was sounding awesome!  The new guys would come over to rehearse and I would stand at the bottom of the stairs to listen.  P3 was known for their harmonies, but the new team was soaring.  It was so beautiful.  Three guys were singing, but I was sure I could hear that 5th part when their tones locked.

Another change was in Warren’s piano playing.  He had won many awards in his field, even studied under some of the greatest in our industry, but I wanted to see and hear him create and produce the sounds that God gave him.  He had reproduced too many of the old classics like many others were also doing.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I knew he had so much more in him.  One big risk we decided on taking was for Warren to start writing and playing his own musical pieces.  I was so proud of all he was doing.  Most of all, I loved seeing him smile.

Ten years ago today, I pretty much held everything I ever wanted in the palm of my hand as we decided to venture out of familiar territory.  The following mouths were filled with excitement and lots of work.  We had to keep up with the original music and its schedule while we were working behind the scene building another team to slide into place.  My last scheduled trip out was January 7th through the first week of March, 2006.

Beneath the joy and excitement, I was battling memories of a dream I had a few months before Warren and I got married.  The thought of the dream came back to me earlier in the year.  I talked with my pastor in Canada, Dwight, in March, 2005.  I had gone to the back lounge of the bus and called him.  We were traveling down in Florida at the time.  I told Dwight about the dream and followed it up with this question.  “Dwight, does God tell you when bad things are going to happen?”  He affirmed that there are times God does, and then gave me some examples in scripture.  The only other person I told the dream to was my mom.  We all hoped it was just fear trying to distract me.

The week Warren and I started dating, the first week of October, 1995, I got a call that the gentleman I sang with had just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer.  Steve was a big man and strong, but what he thought to be walking pneumonia had broken two of his ribs one night when he sneezed.  The diagnosis shocked us all.  Steve and I were really close.  I called him my road-dad.  I spent every extra moment I had with the Miller family, I went on their family vacations, and I even inherited two little brothers I never wanted.  Ha!  I loved them too.  Steve Miller, age 49, went to heaven just a few short weeks later.  I thought I’d never stop crying.

~ The Dream ~

Gasping for breath I was jolted from a deep sleep.  I sat straight up on my couch where I had fallen asleep a few hours before.  I was sobbing uncontrollably.  I had dreamt that I walk into a hospital room where Warren lay.  His family and I stood around his bed as the doctor told me he was dying.  I walked out of the room and slid to the floor in a puddle of tears.  In my dream, I became a 30-year-old widow.

I never did tell Warren about the dream I had and why I started to pull away from him for the few weeks I did.  I thought my dream was produced from grief over losing my road-dad, the pain was so great I didn’t want to get that close to anyone again.  Steve’s wife, Sharon, said something to me at his funeral that jolted me out of my fearful decision to withdraw from Warren.  She said, “knowing what I know now, I would marry Steve all over again.”  Her strength gave me courage.  Warren and I were married July 27th, 1996.

At the beginning of 2005, that dream started to return to my mind.  Each time it would come to haunt me I would pray for God to take it away.  He would for a time and then it would return.  I chose to believe that it was fear trying to cripple me.  I did not put two and two together, but along with the memory of that dream came God asking me a question.  Three times that year he asked me, “Are you willing to give it all up?”  He always asked me in the middle of a concert during one of two songs, ‘Til There’s Nothing Left But You’ or ‘I Surrender’.  The first two times He asked me I refused to fully answer anything other than, “You alone know my heart”, but when God asked me again for the third time the third week of November, 2005, I surrendered.  I said, “Yes, Lord.  Apparently you have something else for me to do.”

~ Little Did I Know ~

That same week Warren woke me up in the middle of the night.  He said, “Little One, (that’s what he called me), if anything ever happens to me this is what I want for you.  I want you to remarry right away…”  I asked him, “Should I give you two weeks in the ground first?”  I thought he was joking.  Warren never liked to talk about this stuff.  He even feared he was having an aneurysm break if he got a headache that lasted too long, and he was always pulling some kind of practical joke.  I stopped being silly when I realized that this had been weighing on him.  “…I don’t want you to worry about keeping the trio going.  That’s my passion not yours.  I want you to write your life story, and I want you to remarry right away because I want someone to take care of you.”  He detailed for me all that he wanted for me, releasing me to live, and went on to talk about his family.

Warren was killed instantly by a drunk driver just ten minutes before midnight on January 7th, 2006.  My last scheduled road trip became P3’s last also.  I was 30 years old when I slid to the floor in a puddle of tears.

There are so many more sweet God encounter in my life’s story and much detail still to share with you, but for now I will close with this.

Ten years ago today I held all that my heart desired.  Today, I turn 40 and I grieve the loss of my best friend and my empty arms.  There are no tiny toes and itty bitty fingers, nor any pink or blue to remember, but I cling to the One who graciously gave me warning of this journey I’d have to walk.  I never thought this season would last so long, and often question if God has forgotten me.  I do know better, but I still talk it out when the feelings are like a heavy boot on my chest.  Most of all, I thank Him for catching me as I slid to the floor in a puddle of tears, and for never letting me go.  I will soon say again, “I thought I’d never stop crying.”

Today, I hold the most precious treasure of all, though not in the palm of my hand but in the core of my heart – God’s presence and sweet memories He so graciously allowed me to have.

~ Shannan

Ten Years Ago Today - 2

~ “Most of all, I loved seeing him smile” ~

Sweet Dreams

How Will Your Stone Multiply?

The other night I had a dream that the ‘Parker Trio‘ was touring throughout Canada.  At the same time we were on tour, Warren and I were in the process of moving into a small apartment.

We had a very busy schedule this raining day.  Warren’s family and the other members of P3 were helping us move into our new and very tiny dwelling.  An assembly line was quickly formed as box after box made their way up the winding stairs into the apartment on the top floor.  The rain was coming down hard, and we could see our new neighbors watching with curiosity through their windows as the boxes came off the bus.  We had just come from one concert performance and had to hurry because we were expected at another location in a couple of hours.  Time was of the essence!

Warren’s mom had a look of extreme concern as she watched me unpack some clothing items and place them in a child-sized wardrobe.  Everything about this already furnished dwelling was small.  The one room studio apartment was made up of old wooden floors and walls – a little dusty too.  The furnishings consisted of an antique looking bed with thin iron posts, and two small cabinets for personal items.  On one side of the cabinet was a series of four drawers and on the other adjoining side was a small wardrobe to hang the longer clothes.  The whole unit only stood about neck high to me, I’m a meager 5’3, and it stretched about four feet across.

Warren and I were smiling from ear to ear.  We were full of excitement, which was coming out of me in tiny giggles!  I was lacing a very valuable gem-stone necklace on a hook inside my credenza as Warren pulled a few other things from a box and handed them to me.  His mom could not keep her concern silent any longer, she asked to speak to him out in the hallway.  I watched as she expressed her concern for us choosing to live in such a place as this, but the smile remained strong on my face and in my heart.  Warren and I knew this home was temporary.  God gave us this promise at the very moment we put the pen to the paper to sign the lease.

You see, this dream is not about what was lost, but it’s about what is now found.  This dream is not about the sacrifices we made for ministry life, but it’s all about what has been gained in the process.  This is a dream full of what is most valuable – God’s word and each other.  Even now I am smiling as I share these thoughts with you.

It’s not hard to figure out the significance of knowing this tiny apartment was only to be temporary.  Each one of us are living in a temporary dwelling.  Our physical bodies will only last for a brief moment, but we have a promise that our perfect and permanent home awaits us when we cross from here into eternity.  Time as we know it is shorter than we care to acknowledge, so we need to make a conscious decision to appreciate and enjoy every moment.

The people who are lined up on the stairs lending a helping hand are all of you.  This is symbolic of the beautiful treasures I’ve obtained along this life’s journey – my priceless gems.  Gems that have created a necklace of great value.  Each precious stone is unique and yet somehow intertwined with the other.  As they touch, the color from one bleeds to the other, still it remains distinct – all its own.

Getting caught up in the everyday concerns of life, I often fail to remember that I do have a powerful impact on this generation and the ones to follow.  Every breath I breathe and every decision I make will cause a rippled effect in my life and in the lives of those around me.  Though I may not always see the outcome of my decisions right away, they are there and do have a great impact.  For this reason, I must be sure that the color of my stone filters the color of love into the precious stone of the person next to me.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” -Ezek. 36:26-27

My heart longs to bleed the love of the Father.  Even as I write this I am praying, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Show me the area’s in my heart and mind that still need to be transformed by Your light.  Keep my heart pliable to follow Your leading.

~Shannan

2011, Keeping It Real!

It might be a good idea for all of us to hang a plaque on the inside of our doors reminding us of this truth before we walk out into our everyday mission field.

Bon Appetit!

Everything has been so deep lately.  The holiday season was full of heavyhearted issues, as so many people seem to be facing extremely difficult situations.  My heart has cried out to God for Him to rescue both myself and others, but I do not want to forget that there is still laughter in the midst of chaos.  So, today I will tell you a funny story from my traveling days on the road.  Painful moments are a reality in the world we live in, but so are the moments that make us say with laughter, “WOW!”

Getting Curious?

If memory serves me correct, this took place the beginning of August 2005, just before hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.  We, The Parker Trio, were on a short tour down through Louisiana and Alabama.  We met some amazing people while traveling through these areas who continued to be a wonderful support to P3, even after they lost businesses and homes when Katrina came through.

The story I want to share with you happened one evening at a tiny country church in Alabama.  The church had a center aisle that divided the congregation in two.  As the people filtered in for the evening festivities, they took their seats on either side of the sanctuary.  We came out and sang our first few songs, then Warren introduced each group member as he usually would.  Just before he was to play his first instrumental piece, he attempted to connect with the audience by asking a lighthearted question.  He notice that everyone on the right side of the church was sitting as far to the right as possible, and everybody on the left side was sitting as far to the left as possible – leaving an empty gap in the middle.  So Warren asked, “Tell me something, does everyone over here not like the folks over there?”  Warren pointed, acknowledging the divide in the center of the church and said, “I’m curious too, if there might be a feud going on?”  The majority of the people laughed, but then one young girl on the front row stood up to make her thoughts very clear.  She said, “I like everyone here except that person right back there” as she pointed to the back opposite corner from where she was sitting.

I heard Angie begin to giggle and say in her native Newfoundland accent, “Oh My!”  Angie’s giggle is always contagious, so I had a hard time keeping a straight face.  Warren’s statement of, “Well Ok!” led me to motion to Brandt to start the intro to Warren’s instrumental piece and I began to introduce him as he started to play.  Whew!  That was a close call to a potential train-wreck.  Oh, but the night has only just begun!

The typical concert would start out very upbeat, then move on to some lighthearted humor, so we could get to know the audience and they could, in-turn, get to know a bit about us.  As the evening moved forward, we would begin to share a testimony or two and our hearts’ desire for why we chose to travel in full-time ministry.  On this night, I had given a fairly detailed description of the crucifixion and sang the song, ‘Thank God For Calvary.”  Out of the song we began to present people with the opportunity to accept Jesus as their saviour.  At this very serious moment, we looked down to witness the same young girl raise her foot to her mouth and begin chewing her toenails off.  Yes, Yes!  You read that right!  One by precious one, she filed her toes with her teeth!  When she was finished with the first foot, she then proceeded to lift the other to her lips.

Do you remember Angie’s contagious giggle?  Well, now it was a full-blown laugh.  Try to picture this.  I was center stage, Warren was to my left, and Angie to my right.  Warren was at his piano playing some soft background music as I spoke tenderly about what our Saviour went through on our behalf.  All at once, Angie raises her hand over her mouth as she turns her back to the crowd, trying to conceal her laughter.  I’m sure my eyes become wide with amazement, as I tried to hide the fact that I was witnessing one of the craziest things I had ever seen.  I looked to Warren to see his head bowed with his eyes now fixed on his piano, but his body bounced as he laughed.  It was all I could do to contain a full-out belly laugh.  So what did I do?  I did what any great minister/entertainer would do at a moment like this.  Our eyes were about to stream with tears, so I quickly had everyone close their eyes for prayer while the very real quiver in my voice allowed them to think the Spirit was moving strong in that place.

After the service, we found out that this girl was 18 years old.  Her mother came to us and introduced her in these words, “This is my daughter, (her name was given) – she has a few chromosomes missing.”  Yes she did!!!  I promise you, these were her exact words.  And, she said it with a smile!  I did not laugh at this moment, but we all had a great time when we got back on the bus and reminisced over the evenings events.

There was a pot-luck meal to top off the night.  We just loved these.  Usually we found someones hair in one of the dishes, but this night we had to wonder what the special ingredient would be….LOL!

Bon Appetit!

I only wish I had pictures from that night to share.

Hope You Enjoyed!

~Shannan

Do You Want To Know Where To Find A Diamond?

It’s hard to believe that five years has past since my husband, Warren’s, sudden death.  At the same time, it also feels like my life as Warren’s wife was a whole other life-time ago.  This day does cause my mind to think about what might have been had he not been killed, but it also causes me to say with the deepest gratitude, Thank You God!

I often tell people, I have been loved in a way that many will never get to experience.  Warren was far from perfect, but his adoration for God allowed him to love me with tenderness.

What I want to acknowledge in writing today, is not so much the might have been(s), but I want to give thanks for what the painful moments have birthed in me.  Though I have faced great sorrow from loving and losing, I’ve also been gifted with a far greater joy than the pain.

Click On Photo To View News Clip

 

The day before the funeral, I stood for 6 plus hours as people came from all over to share their love for me and Warren.  The line was wrapped around the entire church and backed for an hours wait outside the doors.  People I knew and many I failed to recognize came in support.

The next morning the church was packed wall to wall with people.  As I stood to speak, I could see the news media lined along the back wall and all their camera’s had red lights lit up to show they were in record mode.  Following the memorial service we all filtered in our appointed vehicles to make our way to the grave site.  It was all so surreal.  I looked out the window of the limo to see the Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P) standing tall, saluting as Warren passed by them.  I’m told there was three miles worth of cars that followed behind.

Not once did I hear people say how impressed they were with the stage and lights we stood on, but instead I heard countless testimonies of their personal one on one contact with Warren.  I wasn’t surprised at how his kindness was offered so freely to them, but I was shocked to hear of so many moments he’d never told me about.  He didn’t see his caring heart for others as anything out of the ordinary.  This procession proves how a small act of kindness can have the greatest of impact.

I am abundantly blessed!

For only being 35 years old, I have a huge archive of sweet memories.  Many of you do not know my childhood story.  My goal is to write more on this topic in the months ahead.  This life’s journey is a series of storms, no doubt, but we need to remember that God speaks peace to the storms.  He places His rainbow in the sky as a reminder that He keeps His promises, (Gen.  9:8-17).  Legend has it that at the end of each rainbow is a pot of gold, but in the legend I have yet to hear that anyone ever receive it.  I am here to tell you that God freely offers that “pot of gold” to each of us.  Though, you may have to adjust your glasses to be able to identify it because it may not look the way you think it should.  Oh Yeah!  By the way, I have been given a lot of pots!

I opened up my Facebook profile today to receive many (e)mailbox hugs from all over the United States and Canada.  Instantly my mind recalled the love given to me from all over the world the week of Warren’s funeral.  I had letters from South Africa, North Korea, and Ireland, just to name a few.  I was in awe!  We had no idea how far God had taken the ministry of the Parker Trio/P3 – this is a priceless pot of gold.  I may never have discerned it’s immeasurable worth had I not walked through the fire first.

I also received a letter today from a friend in Canada.  Lisa use to cut both mine and Warren’s hair.  Warren grew up with Lisa’s husband Jake and we all attended the same home church in Pickering, Ont..  Here’s what made me smile….

“….I felt confused about why God would take Warren home…. I felt the depression coming on me again….Jake and I decided to live without regrets that day in our marriage….because of what you said that day.

Warren and I got married young, I was 20 and he had just turned 25.  Man, typing that makes me feel old…LOL!  We went through that “and the two shall become one” thing, (Matt. 19:4-6) only God didn’t tell us how difficult it would be.  There is a battle of the wills that takes place in both the husband and the wife.  On top of this, we also lived the first 3 1/2 years of marriage with Warren’s parents.  So added to the blender of wills – chop, slice, chop!  Please try to hear me giggle here!  It was not funny then but Warren and I had many laughs about the beginning years later on.  Lisa’s letter means so much to me today, because I have a huge passion to see God restore the family structure the way He intended it to be.

What if it took Warren’s death to shed some light on a few truths for this marriage to survive?

Don’t take me wrong.  They are in no way responsible for what’s happened.  I do not believe God will allow an evil to fall on one of His own simply offer better to another, but He does say he will give beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61:3).  I am still hearing testimonies of lives being positively changed for eternity because of the ministry of P3 and Warren’s tragic death.

“….Find the courage to stand, God is working His plan, There’ll be beauty for ashes.”

The Parker Trio, ‘Beauty from Ashes’.

 

Click On Picture To Hear 'Beauty From Ashes'

 

We will all face trials, tragedies, and heartaches along life’s path.  Will you allow the fire to burn the scales off your heart and eyes, so you can see the beauty, or will you allow the enemy to devour you with the flames?  Either way, you are going to feel its heat, so you might as well choose the beauty that can follow.

“When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” – Isaiah 43:2b

Diamonds can be found in the trials of life, but you will never know those diamonds if you run from the fire.  Today, I have been hugged by diamonds from OH, WA, NC, TN, Ontario Canada, Newfoundland Canada, and today is only half over!

I do not measure my diamonds by their temporal value, but by their eternal quality.

I love you all and would gladly walk this road again for you.

~Shannan

What you place your value in today will either bring you strength and comfort tomorrow, or it will smother you with its weight.

“New life is His….HE LIVES!”

The Parker Trio, ‘He Lives.


 

Click On Photo To Hear 'He Lives'.