Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I had such a BLAST in Abilene and Dallas over the weekend. It's impossible to describe it all here. I flew in Thursday night and Stephen Bailey and Craig Fisher (college roommates--Chris Doggett couldn't take off Friday) rode with me to Abilene for Film Fest. Stephen and I were judges, along with Les Hunter, Cary Roberts, David Leeson (just recently won the Pulitzer!) and others.

When you get Stephen, Craig, Chris and me back together it's just trouble. This weekend was no exception. SO MUCH FUN!! There's such a gift in the knowing looks, the ability to read each others' minds--even after 13 years--and sharing what the Lord is doing in your life in the here and now. I couldn't have asked for anything more (except for Chris to have been there).

It was so generous of ACU to bring us in and it was so cool to be able to talk in round table discussions about Christians in the arts/entertainment/media. Saturday ended with a Symposium with the students. They are so smart, so talented, and have such a bright future! It's exciting to think about what God will do with them. It was funny to sit and think about others like Nelson Coates who's a major art director for Hollywood movies and Bonnie Curtis who began as an assistant to Steven Spielberg and now produces for him. It made me wonder where some of those kids will be in 15 years. We should never underestimate the impact of dreams.

Here are some photos from the weekend...

One of the best things about traveling to Abilene is EATING. We made a list on the way down which included Harold's BBQ. It's a hole in the wall--literally. Harold has been in business for decades. He's famous for stepping out from behind the counter and standing on a bench and singing Amazing Grace (or something similar). Unfortunately, he was hoarse on Saturday. But--it was truly heaven to eat his brisket again!

Another must-eat place is Lytle Land and Cattle. We had great steaks and ate in some authentic West Texas surroundings. Yummm--I want another one of those steaks!! L-R Craig, BST and Stephen.

Here we are at the Paramount Theater preparing for the Film Fest. What a cool place!!

It was really fun to hang with some old Abilene buddies. It's amazing to me how many Abilene-raised kids have gone on to great things. To my left are Cary Roberts and Les Hunter. Cary is a screen writer. Les lives in Los Angeles and was involved in animation before moving on to other aspects of the Film Industry. Stephen is standing on my right. His work at Reel FX included producing commercials and helping run the company as it grew from TV commercials to motion picture features like Spy Kids 2. It was fun to be surrounded by such creative minds!

Here's a picture of the judges and staff of Film Fest after the Event on stage at the Paramount. It was fun seeing Grant Boone too. (to my right) What a wacko! I love him.

We left Abilene Saturday and drove back to the Metroplex where we met the rest of the Bailey and Fisher families for dinner. Here's a picture of Owen (Craig and Beth Ann's youngest son. What a cutie!)

We got to eat some excellent Mexican food at On The Border. I always have to get my fix when I'm home since Nashville doesn't understand real Tex-Mex.

One of my favorite things about going back is always getting to terrorize my roomies' kids. I love those kids. It's always so shocking to see how they've grown. Here I am with Rainey Bailey and Riley Fisher. Maddie and Ella would have loved getting to see them again.

After we ate we took time for a picture outside of On The Border. Pictured here are L-R: Stephen, Rainey, Stephanie Bailey, BST, Owen, Beth Ann, Craig and Riley Fisher, and our friend Hainey Price who also was in school with us at ACU and who I grew up with in Abilene. It was so fun to be with all of them!

Sunday morning I got to go to Lake Highlands Church which was my home church in Dallas. In many ways, my heart has never left that place. It was HEAVEN to be back. The worship was incredible, the place bursts with exuberance. It's an ethnic and cultural melting pot--even more so since I was there 10 years ago. So many of my most influential spiritual family members go there. It felt so surreal to all be together. I convinced the Nofsingers and Paula to come join me for a reunion that Sunday. They are at different churches now. This picture is of Paula Agnew D'Spain. She is one of my life-long Abilene friends who ended up in Dallas when I lived there, then lived in California for years and now recently back in Dallas. If it weren't for Paula, I'm not sure my faith would have survived the valleys of the early 1990's. She will always be a sister to me. Here she is with her adorable son, Patrick.

Dennis and Julie Coleman are also long time friends. Their daughter is so beautiful! It was great seeing them and getting to hear Julie sing. I've always loved her voice.

After worship a group of us went to lunch at Mi Cocina. L-R: Tonya Perkins, Vickie Nofsinger, Paula D'Spain, Donjalea Reynolds Chrane, Kirk Nofsinger, BST and Michael Perkins (with his daughter).

We had to split up at different tables. I got to visit with Vickie, Paula and Donjalea. There is really no way to accurately describe the impact each of those people has had on my spiritual walk. Donjalea was such a prayer warrior with me in the early days of college seeking after the Lord. I've already mentioned the huge impact Paula has had on me and Kirk and Vickie Nofsinger, while not blood related, ARE family to me. I basically lived at their house while I lived in Dallas. It was like being in Heaven having time with those people on Sunday. God is SO good to me.

Meanwhile, while I was gone, Sheryl was the MAJOR TROOPER. She had some help, but basically managed the family single-handedly. (Remember, she IS Mrs. Incredible!) Sam ended up spending 6 hours in the ER at Vanderbilt on Saturday because of a bacterial infection. Of course, I could think of nothing else--being so far away and unable to help. Thankfully, Sarah Williamson went up and stayed the entire time with Sheryl at the ER. What a gift! Talk about family. Kiki had the girls at home. We are just so blessed.

I always love that moment of coming through the door after being gone. The hugs and kisses are better than anything else. I really missed them and was so glad to be home.

Last night the girls, inspired by Rainey Bailey, decided to dress up Bear. Bear has been our very sweet dog for 7 years. She has loved our family and been such a sweet puppy. She would even let the girls hold on to her fur as they learned to walk. And, as you can see, last night she took another one for the team. The girls squealed with delight as they dressed her up. I have to admit, she was looking pretty hilarious.

I know this is already really long. I'll stop. Last night, however, we had a great night of singing for the Gaylord execs who are producing the Radio City Christmas show here. I think we're going to sing one night before the show. Hilarious, I know. More on that later.

Have a great Tuesday!


Jenni said...

Sounds like such a fun trip. I am cracking up at you boys all in your colorful striped button down shirts!

Beaner said...

I thought the SAME thing - did you guys PLAN your outfits, or is that the just the lingering magic of being roommates?

Phil said...

It's that they're all getting fatter as they get older and they need the stripes to look skinnier.

Finally an Abrigg..... said...

Paula D'Spain's husband Michael teaches here in Irving with me! He is a very talented choir director, and we ALWAYS get in trouble together! So cool

Hoots Musings said...

I can feel the joy and happiness recounting the times spent with your dear friends.

Your enthusiasm is infectious!

Anonymous said...

I am guessing here, but I bet that the reason that Harold is solo in his picture is because you three amigos showed up on the the corner of 13th and Walnut dressed in those, lets say "city slicker" shirts? Did they come packed three?

Stephen Bailey said...

I would try to defend myself, but after looking at the pictures I have to admit, it's really indefensible. I'm old, I'm fat (shut up Phil) and I was just trying not to embarrass myself or BST. My favorite comment so far: "Did (those shirts) come in a three pack?"

Beaner said...

Stephen - I noticed that you 'tucked', while the other 2 remained 'untucked' - why are you trying to rebel against the group?

Brandon Scott said...

Please...stripes are cool. Leave us alone. How about that awesome orange western shirt Craig is sporting? BA got him that--pretty snazzy. I'd definitely wear it.

Age--let's keep it all in perspecitive. For the aged among us, just be glad we're clothed. Hmmm...running down Westhiemer, Abilene, approximately 1991...ring any bells, Fish??

Rob said...

You and Grant on the same stage. Oh my. I was at The Creek (sans Traci) on Sunday. Saw your mom and hugged her neck. You got a good one there. Traci and I were thinking of coming back up this Saturday night with our boys for the family worship thingy you're hosting. Probably won't make it due to little ones who are just now getting well. Sounds like a great gig though. Way to Otter Creek for having that available. Enjoy!!

Katherine said...

Good times, good times...

It was really great to see you on Friday! The Filmfest was...interesting!! ;)

What a great gift you have with those lifelong friends-that is such a blessing! Thanks for sharing the pics-The striped shirts ARE amusing, I have to admit...

Hopefully I will catch you when I am in Nashville in January!! God bless~

Malia said...

Did you have a good time? Because really I just can't tell, don't be so vague next time. Just come and say it.


Glad it was good for you, going home is sometimes just what the soul needs.

IgniterBlogger said...

Brandon, you went to Lake Highlands Church on Sunday? That means you were about 1.3 miles from my house. Let's not let this happen again! (you know, the 'not calling me' part... by all means keep going to church)

Joel Quile said...

That was cute how you and SB & CF all coridinated your swell stripes together.

I didn't know school administrators were that vain too. Fish, you let me down.

Good thing, ministers don't try to impress people!

Okay, I just choked on my own vainity!

I love you guys. Glad you had fun.

Jana said...

First comment - I am so jealous that you got to both attend and judge the film festival! Film is a great love of mine, and I am fascinated by the idea of Christians working in the industry.

Second comment - My bro and sis-in-law go to Lake Highlands. He told me he saw you there on Sunday and described you as "ebullient".

Third comment - Did you and your roomies PLAN to all wear brightly colored striped shirts at the same time? I bet you did.

Brian said...

WOW! that was awesome to see a picture of Dennis C! Man I havn't seen him in years!! Thanks for sharing the pictures.