Monday, May 29, 2006

We spent Memorial Day at the YMCA pool. It's such a fun place! Beach music blaring, hoola hoop contests, fountains, food, swimming, playgrounds...what more could any kid or adult want? Here are some pictures of our day. Happy holiday, everyone!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Geof Vickers, our good friend and fellow life group member, had a bike race today. We took the family out to watch. He did a great job in the severe heat. Here are some pics from the race.

Happy holiday!

Friday, May 26, 2006

The girls got to see the Broadway tour of Annie last week when it came through Nashville, thanks to Nonnie. They enjoyed it a lot.

Ella got in trouble yesterday for taking her skirt off and dipping it in the sink and drenching it. As she was cleaning the floor (Sheryl recounted this story to me last night), she had the towel and was wiping up the floor and in all seriousness was singing, "It's a Hard Knock Life". Love that!

Chores and many of you do this and what are the things that have worked for you? How much are the chores worth? (keep in mind, these are pre-schoolers)

This is my last Sunday on leave from Otter Creek. We're going back to Mosaic. I had a great two hour lunch with their pastor, Gary, this week. They are pioneers and have all the joys and struggles that come with the territory. I bought McManus's book, "Seizing Your Divine Moment" this week. So far so good. I'll let you know more about it as I continue.

Happy holiday weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

OK--please know this is all in fun. I took a break tonight to watch the season finale of American Idol. There were some hilarious moments. Here are some of my favorite in a top ten list...

1. Dionne Warwick. Bless her 115 yr. old heart. She has been looking for San Jose for like 50 years now. What WAS that note she tried to sing at the end of that medley?

2. Prince.

3. Meatloaf. I've never been a fan of meatloaf...either kind. Tonight was no exception.

4. Clay Aiken. There just aren't words. That entire just scared me.

5. The Simon video tribute--fantastic!

6. Please, please, DJ's out there...please don't play that song, "Do I Make You Proud" (How many graduation videos will have that on it next year?)

7. The girls' medley was awesome. Mandisa--you betta sang! Incredible!

8. Did anyone else who wasted money on the movie, "American Dreamz" have a hard time not flashing back to it tonight during the finale?

9. My boy, Elliott. He sounded great tonight!

10. David Hasselhoff. Did you see the cameras pan to him at the end? He was crying. David. Hasselhoff.

What were some of your favorite American Idol moments?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Last Saturday my cousin, Mary, got married in Plano, TX. Mary, Josh and Jeremy have been like siblings to me my entire life. It was great to be with family and watch Mary be joined to Chris Clark. Chris is from England and works with a professional soccer team in Dallas--FC Dallas. It was wonderful getting to know him better and getting to see family from all over.

Mary, Chris, and some of the wedding party (including my adorable young cousins--the twins--Madison and Caitlyn)

L-R: Jeremy, me, Josh
Jeremy has been coaching soccer at SMU and Josh played soccer all of our growing up years and into college. These guys were the brothers I never had growing up. It was fun being back together and re-living memories and laughing at dumb family stories.

My mom, Mary, and me in the atrium of Prestonwood

L-R: Stephen Bailey, BST, Chris Doggett, and Craig Fisher

For over 16 years these guys have been my best friends--brothers. 16 years ago we were all living together while attending ACU and it was just the four of us...well, really 5 of us counting Karen who was dating Chris and eventually married him. Now there are 18 of us counting spouses and kids. It's really scary if you think about it. They all live in the metroplex and we had some precious time together on Saturday night and Sunday all day. We used to try and do that at least once a year, but with the demands of family, it's been a while. It was really amazing to be laughing so hard that your sides were hurting and then 30 minutes later crying together over some struggle or hurt. I was reminded once again that I am a blessed, BLESSED man when it comes to those friendships. Not everyone has that. I'm so thankful! I also had some awesome soul-filling time seperately with Joel Quile and Brad Voss. All of those guys from my roommates to Quile and Voss cause me to dream bigger dreams. It was food and drink for my soul.

There's so much to blog about that's just not bloggable. I still covet your prayers. Praying hard for discernment, wisdom and vision as I look to my re-entry date next week--June 1st.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Monday, May 15, 2006

Maddie and Lauren Gingles were talking this weekend. Lauren was asking her about different parts of the body and what they did. Maddie wanted to discuss the belly button. Lauren asked her what it did. Maddie said, "I don't know...but it makes lots of boogers."

Still today these lyrics are running through my head as I listen for God...

"All of my ambitions, hopes, and plans
I surrender these into Your hands."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day to the best moms in the mom and Sheryl! My mom has been a constant source of encouragement and renewal in my life. What an example she is! Thanks, Mom! We love you!

Sheryl is such a great mom. She loves our kids, plays with them, teaches them, and protects them. They are such blessed kids to have her as their mom!

One benefit to this "leave" is being able to experience other churches. This morning we went to church at Mosaic Nashville. Incredible!! Many of you have read Erwin McManus's book, The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within. Mosaic is sort of his brainchild. It started in Los Angeles. It was an absolutely incredible experience this morning. It is, to me, what church should be like. I needed that this morning. My mom and Lauren Gingles went with us. It was really fun!

Their pastor, Gary, gave a very scripture based, relevant message. It was about the implications of John 1:41 (Jesus changing Simon's name to Peter) on community. Did you know that Simon means "one who vacillates"? Doesn't that make his new name (Peter=rock) even more meaningful?

He talked about levels of involvement in community (church). He said we come in evaluating our likes and dislikes (making it about us). Then, hopefully we move to the next stage--evaluating whether this makes a difference in our lives or not (still about us). Finally, we should move beyond what church can do for us to that next level--investing in the lives of of ourselves.

It struck me that it seems that in so many churches the majority seem to camp out in that first stage. That's why we have so many complaints and gripes. If it's not just the way we want then we gripe. There are those who move on to stage 2...but it really does seem that we need to work on expanding the number of people in stage 3. I know I struggle myself with living in stage 3.

On so many levels, today was a blessing. Even in the worship, we sang a song that couldn't have been more fitting for where I currently find myself. Here is one section of lyrics from Robin Mark's song, "Jesus, All For Jesus"...

All my ambitions, hopes, and plans
I surrender these into Your hands.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there...especially to those who have so lovingly mothered me over time...Darla, Jeannenne, Kaye, Pat, Beth and Jeanette.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Most of you know that I am in the middle of a leave of absence from Otter Creek. I have also taken some time off of ZOE...time for reflection, renewal, and rest. As I always do on this blog, I have written about certain things and chosen not to write about others. And, as is always the case, I like writing about family time.

Make no mistake, this time has been very intense. I have found myself unraveling months, even years, of compensating for things I haven't had or made time to do. Most important in that category is quiet reflection. I have had a lot of time alone. To be honest, I've found it difficult to detox. To be honest, I'm processing through some things that I've put off over the last couple of years. But, having said that, some of that processing is best kept between my family, close friends and mentors.

At some point I will blog about it. For now, I am being fed by being quiet. I'm being fed by close relationships. I'm being blessed by reflection and reading. Meanwhile, I will not be posting pictures of me looking dour or reflective. Life goes on at our house. I just wanted to give a little update just in case, by some crazy notion, anyone out there thought that my leave of absence was all zoos and birthday parties.

There is a lot of processing going on with me. I have seen friends from church who have asked me if I'm having fun. I know that what my friends and a lot of my fellow Otter Creekers want is for this time to be full of refreshment. It's hard to answer the question about fun. I am definitely having fun seeing more of my family. I'm not sorry for that. I'm enjoying having time away from the hamster wheel that my mind sometimes slips into. But fun? I'd say that some people really love processing. Some people really enjoy facing issues and deficiencies head-on. I am not that guy. A lot of this time has been extremely difficult for me. It's something I hope to write about at some point.

I know many of you have prayed for me and maybe even wondered why I haven't written more about this time off. I so greatly appreciate your prayers. Just keep them coming. Being molded by the Potter is often-times difficult, but always beneficial for Life.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wednesday we went downtown to Otter Creek's Wayne Reed Inner-city Daycare. Johnathan Vest (most of you know him through ZOE. He sings with us and arranges some of our music) teaches music at an inner-city elementary school. He brought his 4th grade percussion ensemble to the Wayne Reed Center to perform for the kids. He invited us to come and bring the girls and Sam. Of course, they LOVED it! I was completely amazed at the talent and abilities JV brought out in these kids.

JV leads his group in a percussion number. They were awesome!

Maddie got to sit with her buddy, Abby Mangrum. They had a great time! At one point Abby looked over at me and said, "This is impressive!" Impressive. Gotta love that!

Here's a picture of JV and his entire group. The cute little girl in the upper row in the middle wearing the blue shirt is named "Precious".

JV and I pose with one of his students. This kid sang a "blues" number about how his girlfriend had made him miserable. It was pretty hilarious.

It all makes me think...praise God for teachers like Johnathan Vest. JV has his masters in piano performance and is finishing his doctorate this year. He moved from a wealthy Brentwood school to teach music to these beautiful children who might end up becoming household names one day as musicians. What a gift he's giving!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A lot has happened since I blogged last. Sheryl and the ZOEs had a great time in Malibu. The girls and I did well here at home. I spent a weekend in Wisconsin retreating and got back on Monday.

There've been a lot of conversations, a lot of thoughts, a lot of questions. Part of taking time away involves evaluation. Thankfully, I have friends and family who are great in helping me process.

There's also been plenty of fun!

Last night we went to celebrate our friend Randy's 50th birthday. It was such a blast! They rented a room at the Richland Country Club and his friends surrounded him to celebrate his life. Randy is the president of Lyric Street Records, the Disney Country Music label. This picture is a great representation of the night. Randy on the left being completely goofy, Shaubie in the middle trying to be serious, and me. David and I had way too much fun. We're dangerous together.

It was fun getting to hang out with the Shaubs again. Jonathan and I pose together here.

Jonathan (who is Randy's nephew by the way) and I pose with Kristen from SHeDAISEY, one of the country groups on Randy's record label.

Two of the Rascall Flatts lead us in Happy Birthday to Randy. (The Flatts are also on Randy's label) What a fun night!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

In February of 2005, Jonathan Shaub was in a terrible pedestrian accident in New York City where he was attending Columbia University. Many of you read daily accounts of his progress on my blog and his family's. The Shaub family has meant more to me than I could ever put into words. They made Nashville home in the beginning and have been family ever since. It's been grueling to watch Jonathan go through the healing process, but he has stayed true to his over-achieving form. He's really doing well.

Ella and Maddie still pray for Jonathan virtually every night. They've been bugging me for weeks to go see him, so tonight we went to the Shaubs and spent some time laughing and playing with them. Jonathan had to leave early to teach his LSAT prep class. (The boy scored a perfect score...literally...on the SAT.)

After dinner, David got on the floor with the girls and played dolls...actually at the moment this picture was taken I think he was showing them how dolls pick their boogers. Love it. Of course the girls think David, Sharon and Jonathan are the coolest people ever. And...I think they might be right. Praise God for Jonathan's progress!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's a gorgeous day here! Sheryl, Sam and the ZOE's made it safely to California. The girls and I have been having a blast. We packed a picnic lunch and went to the ZOO this morning. Nashville's ZOO is so nice! Here are some pictures from our day.

Here's a picture of my mom (Nonnie) with the girls posing in front of the Elephant Savannah.

Daddy and the's nice and sunny!

The ZOO recently put in this amazing carousel with lots of colorful animals. The girls loved riding! Ella rides a blue tree frog.

Maddie is riding the Kangaroo!

Ella was totally cracking up at this goat. The goat actually looks a little amused himself!

Enjoy your day! Howdy to all you Pepperdiners reading!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Yesterday we loaded everyone up and drove to Home Depot to buy some flowers and veggies to plant in the garden. The girls LOVED getting to "help" plant the flowers. We planted marigolds, impatients, daisies, tomato plants, basil, rosemary and a large hydrangea bush. The gladiolas and elephant ears are already coming up and looking good. It was a lot of fun--we were all covered in mulch!

Later that afternoon the girls were sharing an ice cream cup from McDonald's but got distracted playing and Ella placed it under the kitchen table. Apparently, Sam found it and hid himself under there finishing it off. Here's a picture I snapped of him.

Pray for ZOE this week. This afternoon, Sheryl and the rest fly to Malibu to sing at Pepperdine. For the first time in 8-9 years, I am not going. I'm really going to miss being there! For those of you going, have a blast! I am staying here with the girls. It's not Malibu, but it might end up being warmer! Have a great day, everyone.