I started out as an ordinary mommy; passing my time away, rocking babies, washing clothes, changing diapers and facing mounds of dishes to wash. I was a carpool mom with my lipstick on. My husband was a physician by day, daddy and husband by night who joined me in our crazy, busy life. I loved being a mother and wife, although sometimes it was mundane. Once a year we called in the troops, better known as the grandparents, to relieve us so we could leave town for a well-deserved break. Did we hop on a plane and escape to an exotic Caribbean island or climb aboard a European cruise ship to relax? No, but we were tempted. Instead we packed our bags and headed off to the Catholic Medical Association’s yearly conference. Our goal was to leave behind our life as parents and go forward to a romantic getaway for just the two of us. It was successful, even if we had to sometimes bring a nursing baby in tow. As soon as I exited the door of our home, like a magic moment frozen in time, I transformed from Mary Poppins to Supermodel. Leaving babies, toddler, tweens and teens behind to join the adult world once a year was just what the doctor ordered for parents of close-together children.
Each trip was memorable but one stands out. Why? Perhaps because I was not pregnant, nor carting a newborn along. I, footloose and fancy free, was able to roam about catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones. Or was it unforgettable because of who I encountered? I met a woman that I will never forget. I don’t believe in chance, and this incident proved my belief true. Determined to tell her my whole life story, I, the wordy woman, began chattering without taking a breath. Finally I let her get a word in edgewise. I was so glad because her words changed my life. They became the catalyst used to set my ministry in a new direction. Our conversation went something like this, “Oh Ellen you have so many children and are a writer and speaker too. I would like to have you be a guest speaker on a radio show I host. If you ever are in Los Angeles California, please give me a call.” I was speechless but found my voice in time to exchange phone numbers. Waving good bye, I departed not knowing if we’d meet again. Walking away I thought, “When would I, a mother of many get the opportunity to fly over to the west coast?”
Soon the conference ended. Faster than Mary Poppins could say the words, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” my romantic-getaway date and I were re-entering our real world of married with children where this supermodel went back to her ordinary life. However that was all to change. Here is what I recall. My five year old daughter Kaitlin and I were running errands together. We happened to be at the Bible book store when I noticed a coloring contest display. “Kaitlin” I suggested, “Why don’t you enter it.“ She agreed so we took the coloring sheet home. With crayons in hand, Kaitlin enthusiastically gave it her best artist try. After handing in her entry, I never gave the contest a second thought. One day as I was cooking dinner the phone rang. I ran to catch the call. “Hello,” said the joy-filled caller on the other end. This time I was the one who did not get a word in edge wise. “This is Salty the Singing Songbook. Is this Kaitlin’s mother?” “Who?” I muttered. “Salty the Singing Songbook,” he repeated. “I am calling you from Los Angeles, California. Kaitlin Mongan has won our coloring contest.” he added. Before I could stop them the words popped out of my mouth, “Is this a prank call?” “No, actually Kaitlin has won our coloring contest. She will receive a trip for four to California. This trip includes airfare, motel, a rental car, and Disney tickets. The four of you will also be my guest at my Salty the Singing Songbook Concert.” I quickly jotted down the information, thanked him, said goodbye, and then ran to tell Kaitlin the good news.
In no time at all we were boarding a plane to the west coast. Kaitlin and I were accompanied by her sister Tarolyn, and my sister Julie. I was astute enough to have called the lady I met at CMA about being a guest on the radio show. Miraculously she arranged a radio interview to coincide with our trip.
I arrived at the studio just before the live show began. I sat down confidently. As I put on my earphones and adjusted my microphone, the light, “On Air,“ flashed boldly in the studio. The moment I had been waiting for had come and I was ready to take my Quantum Leap through the air waves. I listened politely as she introduced me; butterflies began to stir in my heart. It was not until the first question was asked that I realized I was anxious. Maybe it was the nervous laugh that spontaneously flowed out of my mouth that clued me in. Fortunately I had a ready reply to her question. I smiled with assurance and began to speak. Unfortunately, all that came out of this wordy woman’s mouth were the words, “Blub, Blub, and Blub!” I felt exactly like the character Charlie Brown does when experiencing an embarrassing moment on the Peanuts cartoon. I wanted to crawl under my chair and disappear. Instead I quieted my heart and silently prayed. Effortlessly the words began to flow freely. I sounded like a talk show pro, even though I had never been on air before. Gratefully, I did not BLUB anymore for the rest of the show. As I left the station I was flying on cloud nine.
This Quantum Leap opened a door and took my ministry in a new direction, toward Media. Since that day I have spoken on television, at mom’s clubs, in churches, and have been a guest on radio programs. It did not take long before I felt at home in front of a microphone. What started out as my daughter wining a coloring contest, colored my world beautifully. If I had never taken this quantum leap I would never have discovered that media was part of my mission. Ladies, taking a leap into the unknown is always a bit scary. Leap anyways. Don’t let a little stage fright paralyze you. It is only failure to not try at all. If your heart tells you to go forth— leap boldly toward your goals; take the plunge. You can do it if you try. Get ready girlfriend to face the world unafraid. Take your own Quantum Leap; keep on moving forward and don’t look back.