Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm not even sure where to begin to describe the last few days. Our trip to Texas was so full it seemed that we could not have possibly packed one more thing into our experience---and that was both wonderful and hard. Precious time with our dear friends the Lorenzes and more.

But my favorite thing of all was watching the girls all weekend. In some ways, I know each of my college roommates and I have encouraged relationship with our children, but to see it actually be the sweet friendships we've always hoped they would end up is simply a gift beyond description.

(my college roommates and best buddies--Stephen, Chris and Craig)

After chapel on Friday, we spent some time at the Fishers. (Craig just accepted the CEO position of Abilene Christian Schools...the campus school. GO CRAIG!) Pictures here L-R: Rainey Bailey, Ella, Maddie, and Riley Fisher

Owen and Riley Fisher show the kids their new house with lots of TX flavor!

The reality is, life is more than memories. If it were only memories we had, it would be sweet but somehow lacking. It seems to me that life is more about the consistency of community. This weekend we didn't just celebrate what we had 15 years ago--we celebrated what we've had ever since...and what lives on. Friendships are a beautiful thing.

Here are some pictures from our weekend. ( knew there's be pictures, right???)

The campus events and alumni staff did a great job on the set in the coliseum for this year's Homecoming circus theme!

The hosts and hostesses from ACU's Sing Song 1991 (my year) led worship with me on Friday and Saturday in Moody. We had such a great time and once we opened our moths in rehearsal realized how much we had missed singing together. (pictured here--Kristin Ward, Martha Kate Gunn, and Darcy Chapman)

1991 Sing Song Hosts R-L... Val Durrington, Kristin Ward, me, Darcy Chapman, Martha Kate Gunn and Stephen Bailey

Friday Chapel

Sam, Ella and Maddie

Shane Holland and Patrice Powell. Shane and Patrice were some of my very first friends my Freshman year at ACU--still great friends today! Patrice and her family live in the Nashville area and our kids play together. Shane and Lori and their family have been very special to our family since college days.

After chapel on Friday a bunch of us were standing around talking and I grabbed a Kodak moment... (front row L-R: Kelly Vaughn, Martha Kate Gunn, Camille Dickson, Patrice Powell, Darcy Chapman. Back row L-R: Shane and Lori Holland, Sheryl and me, Kyle Dickson, and Tim Chapman)

Friday night there was a carnival on campus in the mall area for alumni. It was such a blast! I think it was one of our favorite parts of the, music, inflatables, a train for kids, food, and lots of laughs.

the kids loved riding the train. Thanks for riding with them, Shel!

This magician was walking around doing neat tricks for the kids

Mitch Wilburn has always been a hero to me. He was named Young Alumnus of the Year this Homecoming. Quite deserved! Shannon...his wife has not changed a bit since we graduated. They are such a neat couple and are so much fun to be around. Thanks to Arlene for her picture taking skills! (Hi, Arlene!)

Another great blessings of the weekend was getting to hug Tod and Lee Ann Brown (Stephen's sister). You may remember that last summer, they lost their son in a tragic car accident. Their family has been in the process ever since of figuring out a new life without Connor. It did my heart good to see Lee Ann smiling. I loved getting to visit with them. (L-R: Stephanie Bailey, Tod and Lee Ann Brown, and Stephen Bailey)

Stephen and Stephanie's precious and beautiful daughters Emily ("Emmy") and Rainey.

To my amazement (considering her father's fear of high places) Ella decided she wanted to try the big kid rock wall...she jammed! Go ELLA!!

The night ended with Ella, Cecily (daughter of Patrice Powell), Maddie, and Sam rockin' out to the music.

Saturday morning I went to the Gamma Sigs' Homecoming breakfast. We had to capture this's been a long time since this group has been together. L-R Shane Holland, Chris Seidman, me, Brent McCall. Brent and I were roommates my Freshman year and lived next door to Shane and Chris. We were all instant friends and have so many wonderful memories.

After breakfast it was time for the parade. The ACU "Big Purple: kicked it off right.

Maddie and Cecily Powell made sure they were in position to get to the candy tossed from all the floats passing by!

Martha Kate and I pose

Gamma Sigs' float...something circus. Honestly, I have no idea... sad.

Brooke Lorenz Nichols and I pose together at Saturday chapel. Brooke has been my sister since we were born. Her parents and my parents have been best friends for many years.

Sheryl and Darcy---they knew each other in Michigan...pre-ACU. It makes our friendship with Tim and Darcy even more special.

Dr. Money presents Alumni award to Mitch.

Brent McCall and I pose with our kids

My roommates and I pose together. God has been good to us!

The first picture I posted today of us caught my eye tonight. In the background is a sign that reads, "And they lived happily ever after..."

"Happily ever after" means more to us than just having everything work out. These are men who have wept real tears with me as my father died. We've shared the good, the bad, the ugly with each other...sometimes flying miles just to have a conference with each other in our worst moments. Happily ever after is really more about walking the road of life with friends...practicing unconditional love, rejoicing together, mourning together, and pushing each other to run after Jesus more completely...more fully.

After 15 years, I came away feeling blessed because of God's goodness displayed in my life through the hearts of so many of the friends written about in this blog today. We had a GREAT weekend. Even if Sam did melt down in the DFW airport on the way home. But that, friends, is ANOTHER blog!


Kizer said...

Story about the float: It was a lion's cage at one point and was built to the maximum specifications that ACU allows. However, no one told the trees hanging above the road along the parade route what their minimum specifications were and the two collided with the fury of a thousand Michael Vicks on to a family of homeless chihuahuas. Needless to say, tree > float and thus the lions were accidentally freed from their cages. Casualties are still being counted, but many a person still enjoyed the craziness that is any GSP float. Glad to see you this weekend bud.

Stephen Bailey said...

Yes, blessed. Because we talk so often, I don't always comment on your blog, but I wanted to amen your feelings about the weekend in hopes that others will seek out community like we have been blessed with. I don't know what I would have done without you and Fish and Dog over the last 15 years and more specifically the last few months.

We were not wired to travel the road of life alone and I thank God for your unconditional friendship and the undying love of an Idaho girl.

Thanks for the pics. You know I depend on you for that.

Arlene Kasselman said...

I was there and felt like I relived the weekend via your post, thanks! I was amazed at how great some of the bands were on Friday night's JamFest.

Deb said...

Mercy! Brooke looks just like her mom did when I was an ACU student all those years ago – gorgeous as ever!!

So just how many buts did Shannon change BEFORE graduation?

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had quite a weekend! Its so great to see all those familiar faces in the pictures. Its amazing that, like you, most of them really haven’t changed a bit (or ‘a but’ in BST speak), if only all of us had aged so well!! Glad you had such a fun time and a safe trip back.

Anonymous said...

Hey, B.

If you are the "B" I think you are, call me:


Your nephew asked me questions about you for 20 minutes Thursday night.

Another "B"

SG said...

I just noticed that in all these pictures you are the only guy wearing a tie. Did you have a pledging flash back? :) Great pics! It's great to see familiar faces from the past!