Sunday, April 29, 2007

Here's a picture of me with my smokin' hot wife taken last night...we were guests of Gary and Ellen Musick at the annual wine auction at Opryland Hotel to benefit the Cancer Society. It was a neat night--lots of amazing food! Sheryl and I enjoyed visiting with Ellen while Gary ran around making sure the show was running smoothly. (Gary's company produced the event.)

This morning was good--really convicting for me. We are still in Romans and talked about living for Christ in spite of the circumstance you find yourself in...and not giving yourself permission to react in ways that are not Christ-like. I realized how many times I do that. I felt God poking my heart a little this morning.

After church we came home and our friends, Any and Missy Harrison and their kids came over for lunch. Andy came down to run the Music City marathon. Missy was in singing groups with Sheryl at ACU and Andy and I were in Gamma Sigs together. It was so cool to hang with them and catch up on their lives. They are such amazing people--and always have been. Their kids are absolutely adorable and our kids fell in love with them.

All the kids...Maddie, Sam, Poem, Valor, Noah and Ella

Andy and Missy Harrison with their kids, Poem, Valor and Noah.
2 days and counting til Malibu. The girls have been "packing" for several days now and it's all they can talk about. (and, um...we're pretty pumped too!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

We're getting excited about our trek out to Malibu in a few days. It's been a few years since we were all there together and this time there's a whole herd going. Sheryl and I are bringing all three kids, her parents AND Kiki! Lauren Gingles is coming too. Melissa Kirby, Amy Westerman, David England, Zach Wilson, Lindsey Morgan, Doyle Corder and Peter Wilson are singing with us.

I love the beautiful Malibu landscape. I can't wait to go to Coffee Beanery, Marmalade, Dukes, and to the beach! I always look forward to more focused time with people out there. The sessions are always so awesome and encouraging and we always see lots of old friends. I am also excited to see my old singing partner, Beverley Staunton and her husband.

If you'll be at Pepperdine next week, come by and say hello. Pray for SUN!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Recently, I was showing some pictures saved on my laptop to some kids who were only a year or two out of college. It was at that moment that I realized exactly HOW DATED those pictures are. Oh my word. It was a walk back in time--and gave all of us a great laugh. I decided to share a little of memory lane with you today as I take a quick mental break between planning 5000 different worship segments (at least that's how it feels!!).

These are simply priceless. The sheer embarrassment I am bringing on myself by posting some of these is all worth the pain...because I am getting to embarrass others too. :) I'll be sure to point out some of my favorite parts...

Freshman Class officers--Tara McKnight Seidman, Shannon McKnight Wilburn, Jennifer Wade Shewmaker, Amber Bogle, Stephen Bailey, Wes Stamps, me, Brent McCall, and Shane Holland. I would love to point out how curls were obviously "in" or how Brent looks like he's 10 years old, or how Stephen and Jennifer are trying to give a cool "gang" sign that ended up being the "I love you" sign...but my mullet seems to overshadow it all. Bless.

Our Freshman year in Sing Song we were eye balls. Yes, eyeballs. It was my first run in with a serious uni-brow. Our costumes flipped up and down and changed from brown to blue when we sang "Don't it make my brown eyes blue..." I think I can actually still sing that entire show. Hilarious. Stephen was our director and he was a giant bottle of Visine! Pictured here are Wendy Wray Ogren, Amy Nichols Boone, Nino Elliott, me, Stephen Bailey, and Patrice Nataliccio Powell. (that's right, you Otter Creekers...that's Patrice Powell!)

These were my college roommies... Stephen, Chris Doggett, and Craig Fisher. This was taken at the Siggie golf social in 1989 or 90

Who can forget Matt the wildcat? He lived on my floor in Maybe and one night Stephen, Alan Brown, Matt Robbins and I sat up laughing until all hours of the night in our hall. The stories from that night 18 years ago still live word...Dingleberry man.

Shelly and Kendra pose as flight attendants---Soph year Kojie Sing Song 1990.

Soph class officers. This was at our Soph class "Return to Happy Days" social. Tara McKnight Seidman, Shannon McKnight Wilburn, Jennifer Wade Shewmaker, Shane Holland, Brent McCall, Wes Stamps, me, Stephen Bailey. Stephen was about to take a smoke break.

Drew and Shelby Anderson pose after Sing Song our Junior year 1991. I got to see both of them at the ZOE conference in Lubbock. It was so AWESOME to get to worship with them and see their beautiful children and share with each other for a while.

My Junior year I was a Sing Song host with some of my very best friends! It was such a blast. And...unfortunately the mullet had only grown. Pictured here are... Val Durrington, Kimberly Meador Condor, me, Kristen Beherends Ward, Stephen Bailey, Darcy Washburn Chapman, and Martha Kate Stallings Gunn.

I was also in a couple of touring groups at ACU who toured and recruited for the University--Take One, Daybreak, Reflections... this was Reflections performing in the amphitheater at ACU. This picture absolutely cracks me up. Can you imagine telling a college student today in 2007 that they have to wear a pantsuit? What?? And the hair...oh my soul, the hair. Kimberly must have destroyed an entire layer of ozone. This picture was taken around 1990.
pictured here are Stephen Bailey, Martha Kate Stallings Gunn, me, Andy Kirby, Kimberly Meador Condor and Jennifer Langford.

My senior year was one of the best---they all were, actually. This was taken at a cookout at my parents house. I LOVED the twins! Jennifer and Julie Wade are pictured here with Wynn Bradley Heyen (hi, Wynn!!!). These were three of my favorite people.

Senior year Sing Song...Kojies dressed up like maids. 1992

The ACU Homecoming court our senior year...if none of the other pictures date themselves, this one DOES!

Our senior class was Fred and Wilma Flinstone in Sing Song that year---1992

I directed Gamma Sigs that year. We were doctors and surgeons. 1992

Senior class officers--taken at my parents house... Stephen, Mike Shanks, me, Craig, Terry Sparks, and Chris Campbell. Nice sweater vest, Fish. You should frame that and put it in your office at school. Oh ALREADY DID!

My roommates...we finished! 1992 Graduation---Stephen, Chris Doggett, me and Craig. We still email and talk frequently. I'm so, SO grateful for their friendship. It's seen me through some hard days. I remember flying to Dallas last May and sitting around a table with the 3 of them for hours as we poured out our lives. They helped me step OFF the cliff! HA! But, seriously, isn't that what real friendship is about...being in it for the long haul? I am a blessed man.

OK...well there you have it. Some hilarious pics from days gone by. I am certain there are comments to be made. Hope this made you laugh today...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's been a busy week. I am sorry that I've been a blog slacker. Monday I spend some time with the cast from the Marco Polo again teaching them the last of the shows they have to learn before heading for the ship this weekend. It's called "Standing Room Only" and is really challenging..there are probably at least 20 different songs from musicals like "Wicked", "Hairspray", "West Side Story", "Les Mis", "Crazy For You", "Music Man", and others...they were a bit overwhelmed but did a great job. I know they are just ready to have this stuff learned and get on with the to speak! :)

Monday night I worked for GMC at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. It was the annual YMCA of Middle Tennessee "Celebration". There were several different areas that were themed with music and food---gospel, classical, jazz, Caribbean, and R&B. Each area had a character host that fit the Carmen Miranda, Marie Antoinette and others. I hosted the gospel area and got to listen to the amazing Voices of Mt. Zion choir from Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville. WOW!! They were awesome! And Gary Musick's company did a great job of creating a wonderful vibe in each space with music and food.

I have been buried the rest of the week in planning for the next sermon series with Tim, working on Romans and themes for the next few weeks, planning our 6 times of worship at Pepperdine next week with ZOE, and getting ready for Kyler (our worship intern who arrives May 17th!) Whew! It's been crazy! We have rehearsal with ZOE tonight. It will be fun to be back together and to get our minds and hearts around what's coming next week!

And...American Idol last night was fun...but were the judges hearing correctly? I was surprised they didn't grill a few of them more than they did. There was some MAJOR pitchiness going on---at least it was loud and clear coming through our TV. Who's getting kicked off tonight?????

Monday, April 23, 2007

Good Monday morning to everyone! It's been a busy week and I haven't gotten around to blogging. I hope you're all doing well.

One week and counting until we leave for Malibu to sing with ZOE. We will be at Pepperdine all next week. I'm really looking forward to going!

Sheryl and I have been working more on our fence--painting a solid stain on it. Thanks to the help of our awesome friend, David Wilkins, it's gone a little quicker. We're making progress slowly but surely.

Last night at life group I witnessed some true community...big strong guys willing to sit still while Ella painted their fingernails. It was pretty hilarious. After the kids went to bed there was plenty of fingernail polish remover being passed around and a lot of laughter.

I remember growing up around my parents' good friends who became like family to me. It's one of my favorite things about having a church family. I'm so thankful for all who invest in the lives of our children and make them feel so valued and special.

Sheryl's cousin Kim is officially a live-in. She sold her house last week and will be staying with us until her wedding day in June. We're glad to have you, Kiki!

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

With all the heartache in the world what we need today is a little change of pace...with TJ's permission I am sharing a couple of clips from our upcoming release called "I Want to Shine" The first one is called "Ice Cream" and the second one is called "Pray Over You" (I cried when he recorded precious!) Enjoy!

Ice Cream.mp3


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Many prayers go out today for the families and friends of Virginia Tech students. Our hearts are saddened by such a loss. It makes me think of senseless violence everywhere though--not just in Virginia. Many families across our world will be affected by loss today in ways that are hard to imagine. Whether it's someone gunning down students... or men, women and children caught in the cross-fire of war, or others dying from starvation and disease...May God bring us peace.

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now,
In the good times and bad,
You are on Your throne
You are God alone.
(Phillips, Craig, and Dean)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Saturday morning the kids and Sheryl came with me to watch the cast do a run of "Hit Me With a Hot Note". Gary Musick was there and Sam was glad to see him. They have this neat friendship going! Sam decided weeks ago that he thought Gary was the coolest thing around so every time he sees him he runs right to him. Here's a pic of the two of them...

Rochelle had Sam all decked out in one of the costume hats...

"Zoot Suit Riot"....

Here's a group shot with all of us

After the run through Saturday morning, Sheryl and I were blessed enough to get to spend some real quality time with each other celebrating her birthday. Lauren kept the kids (with help from Katey--THANKS GUYS!!!!!) and Sheryl and I had a real live overnight date! I took her out to eat and then we stayed overnight at a nice hotel. It was so needed and such a great break for both of us.

We rejoined the land of normal people after lunch on Sunday and cleaned up to get ready for Life Group that night. It was great. We had some good sharing and then I sat at the piano and we just sang for a while. I was glad to be able to worship with friends.

After our life group left our friends, Jeff and Anna Berry, came over and we did what we love doing with them...lots of full-on heart sharing. They have some major decisions to make. We are so excited to see what God will do!

Here's a pic of Anna and Sheryl...

Jeff and me...

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I stopped by to check on progress with the cast yesterday before they ran the "Night of Stars" show for everyone. They are going to run "Hit Me With a Hot Note" today. The girls are so excited to go and see!!

Rod, Dallas, Sarah and Rochelle

Rod, Rochelle, and me

rehearsing one of the numbers...the girl in the white is one of the awesome dancers in the cast, Chelsea

more rehearsal

Here's a cast picture with everyone except Gene. He is already out on the ship filling in for someone. The wonan on the left in the red shirt is Claire--their awesome choreographer. I've really enjoyed working with this group. It's been a little nuts with everything else going on, but COMPLETELY worth it to get to have interaction and influence with the performers.

Just and aside here...but for those of us in music/worship ministry, I think it would be cool sometime to discuss ways to extend what we do beyond our walls. If we talk so much about being are we going to take action in practical ways? Yes, we have jobs that call us to give 110%, but it's important to think of ways to take light and encouragement through music to places other than our churches. I'm thankful for Gary and Dave trusting me and allowing me to join them this week.

Yesterday was Sheryl's birthday. We had a small birthday dinner last night and we're going to celebrate more this weekend. Originally, we were going to Six Flags in Atlanta but the rain kind of ruined that. We will not be defeated!!! There is birthday fun to be had!

We love Casa Fiesta! Most all of our birthdays are spent there. It was fun celebrating with Sheryl! Happy Birthday, Sheryl!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What a week! We are all still spinning from the incredible Easter experience last weekend. We had an all day ministerial meeting yesterday where we discussed visioning and how to fill some of the gaps we're experiencing in a growing and busy church. It was a great day to reconnect with each other and some of our dreams and goals for OC.

I took some time "off" the beginning of the week to take care of some other things that I needed to get done. I am also vocal directing for a cast for Norwegian Cruise Line and the Gary Musick Company in my off time. It has been such a fun thing to step back in that world for a moment. The kids are so talented! I am jealous of their itinerary. They will be performing on NCL's Marco Polo which basically will take them around the world. (maybe I'll get to go check on them?!)

Back when I worked for Norwegian, the shows were produced by a company out of Fort Lauderdale...which is where we rehearsed and lived for a few weeks. Now, Gary has some of the Norwegian contracts and he is based here in Nashville so the casts come here to rehearse. It provides a great opportunity to get outside the church walls every now and then and get to be involved in the lives of performers who are in a different world. This cast is smaller--4 singers and maybe 5 dancers or something. The singers are from NY, Toronto, Boston, and Iowa. It's been nice getting to know them. Maddie, Sam and Sheryl came up at one point this week to check the progress. Maddie was so thrilled to be there. She is a performer at heart! Saturday they will run the show and the whole family will get to come and watch.

Rochelle, Sarah and Maddie

Rod, Dallas, Sarah and Rochelle look over one of their shows called "A Night of Stars" before doing a vocal run of the show.

Dallas and Sarah croon through one of their run-throughs

Last year Parable Bookstores commissioned Eric Wyse and me to make a CD for kids. I wanted to do something with a Jack Johnson kind of sound (he recorded the soundtrack to the movie "Curious George"). TJ McCloud immediately came to mind because he is one of my favorite artists and has that Jack Johnson vibe going--especially now that he and Holly are really LIVING on the beach! (They are missionaries in the Dominican Republic...look for their website in my links.)

The CD was called Playground and you can order it here . It was a huge success for Parable and brought some great attention to TJ's awesome style and writing abilities. Parable decided they wanted another one so TJ has been hard at work writing a new set of songs. The new CD which is titled "I Want to Shine" will release after Memorial Day.

TJ flew in last Friday and has been working on vocals all week. I am producing this one and having a blast. In my opinion, the songs are even better and the tracks are stronger. TJ has really knocked it out of the park! Some of the songs include, "Firefly (I Want to Shine)", "Jonah", "We're Goin to the Beach", "God is Good", "I Will Song Over You", "Playground--remix", "Ice Cream", "John 3:16" and more. I absolutely LOVE "Ice Cream" (maybe because it's dedicated to the Thomas kids!)

Here's TJ...aka Captain Dominican

We used the studio group "Kids Call" again this year for the songs that have kids' voices on them. They are fantastic!

I am so proud of TJ and I can't wait for you to hear this new record! I'll let you know more about ordering once it gets closer to release date.

I have a special interest in TJ's music career. He was my worship intern 5 years ago and then moved to Nashville after graduating from ACU. I am such a fan and so thrilled at what God is doing in and through him in both the Dominican and in the States!

Speaking of interns...I've also been spending some time this week getting things ready for my first worship intern SINCE TJ. Kyler will be here the middle of May. He has a great heart for worship and I think he will be a great leader. I'm looking forward to journeying with him this summer.

Now...if only my taxes would magically be done...Have a great week, friends!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

We have had an absolutely fantastic weekend... The Otter Creek Easter egg hunt on Saturday, time with the Williamson family that night, a Sunday morning that goes down as one of my top three favorites since I came on staff 11 years ago, an amazing lunch at my mom's, and a jamming night of worship tonight. It was a full, amazing weekend. At some point I'll share more about this morning and the life-changing testimonies we heard. But for tonight...simply a slide show of sorts beginning with Sam sitting in a sea of eggs!

The kids pose after the Otter Creek Easter egg hunt on Saturday

On Easter morning the cross was covered in fresh flowers and laid on the front steps of the stage

Easter morning--worship choir

The Thomas family at my mom's house for Easter lunch

Kevin, Kyle and me at my mom's before Easter lunch

"Alive Forever Amen!"...our awesome band guys

tonight was so fun---everyone did a great job! The band was awesome! The singers sounded incredible and we had an awesome time of worship.
Happy Easter, everyone!