Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last weekend we went to Trunk or Treat at Otter Creek. The kids had a blast. We took our good friends Grant and Jill Batson and their kids. Everyone enjoyed themselves.

In true Sheryl fashion, she transformed herself into Lucy...and totally looked the part! She also made each of the kids' costumes by hand. Way to go, Sheryl!

Ella was a malt shop waitress. Maddie was Batgirl. Sam was Shark Boy... and Sheryl was Lucy

The Thomas kids and the Batson kids.

Maddie as Batgirl

Sheryl and Amy Westerman

On Monday night we went to the TV taping of Amy Grant's "Holiday Postcards From Home" at the Grand Ol' Opry. It was so great! Take 6 was there as special guests. The Air Force Reserve band played as well as the Air Force Strings. It was a gorgeous full orchestra! I had gotten tickets through work and so we made a family night of it and had Kiki and Kevin, Mom and her friend Dorris Colvet, and our adopted daughter Dani and her friend Maria.

Bird's-eye view of the stage

Take 6 performs

Amy sings "Tender Tennessee Christmas"

This special will air on the Armed Forces channel on Christmas Eve. I'm guessing it will air elsewhere too. I'll keep you posted.

Sheryl has a couple of new pictures on her blog from an arrangement she did as a centerpiece for a formal Asian themed gala. Check them out at

Have a great weekend, blog friends!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Perfect Fall Day

This morning we slept in a little and ended up hitting the 11am service at Fellowship. It's so great to actually have a Sunday morning where you're not rushed and show up to worship with your wits about you. :)

Ronnie Freeman had lost his voice but the worship team carried on while he played keys. We sang several of my favorites including "No Sweeter Name" and "Desert Song". I am so glad we put those on the new ZOE CD. (speaking of...I'd love to hear from you do you like the new CD??)

After church we went to my mom's for lunch. The Langfords (some friends from Texas) were visiting and we had a nice time of catching up on life. The kids love going to my mom's. It's such a HUGE blessing. The role of grandparents cannot be emphasized enough!

This afternoon, Maddie, Ella, Sam and I played football in the back yard. It was a sunny, but crisp fall day. The leaves crunched under our feet. Our noses ran. It was perfect. We even built a little bonfire and roasted some marshmallows.

We ended our Sunday night as we often watching Extreme Home Makeover. Our kids love that show. As they commented tonight during commercials, it struck me...this is also teaching them the way of Christ. The whole act of helping those in need is certainly not lost on them.

Last week marked 18 years since the death of my dad. Many of you knew him or have heard stories about him. He was something. My kids often say, "I can't wait to meet Poppy someday." I hope they can. He was a great man and a great influence on many. And...he did a lot of it through humor.

I'll close with an excerpt from my mom's blog. I had completely forgotten this story and it made me laugh out loud. This was my dad...

Eighteen years ago last night just before midnight, a large group of people, Brandon and I were sitting on the fifth floor of Hendrick Memorial Hospital listening to the last breath of my husband Sam. He had fought a valiant 8year fight with prostate cancer, and it had won.

Although the mood was somber, we couldn't help but tell some Sam Thomas stories. Sam was a notorious prankster. After he became a principal, there was the story about his interview with a prospective, newly graduated teacher. Seems she had slipped her shoes off during the interview, and he had somehow maneuvered to get them under his desk. When the interview was over, the woman realized she couldn't find her shoes. She was embarrassed to ask, so just started walking toward the door barefoot, until Sam confessed and rescued her. She got the job.

His favorite thing to do was to put plastic bugs or snakes in the mail boxes of unsuspecting teachers (it didn't take long for them to catch on). The teachers could always look for candy in their mailboxes on Monday and many times there would be a personal note of encouragement, as well.

He loved stealing lunches of his teaching buddies and putting paper in the sandwich and then returning the lunch to its proper place. If we had guests for dinner, a large ugly plastic fly would find its way to the bottom of the ice tea glass, or a plastic piece of cheese would be placed among the other pieces. I couldn't do much about his propensity for fun--I loved it.

Even after all these years, I miss his sense of fun and his warmth. Love you, Sam!

Yes, love you, Dad!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Life

ACU--ranked #1 in the nation fell today to West Texas. BOOOOOOOOOOO!!! What a great game though. It was so fun to follow @acuoptimist on Twitter!

On the other hand, the University of Texas showed their stuff today by beating OU. HOOK 'EM HORNS!

Sheryl and I watched "The Proposal" last night. Cute movie.

Lots on our mind this weekend. We're living in some very uncertain times. Sheryl's brother Shelby lost his son yesterday. Matt was 27. We don't have a lot of details yet, but we're all sad. Please pray for Shelby and his family.

Sometimes things just get put into perspective.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Mary Alice Duncan Photography

Many of you know Phillip Duncan who sings some with ZOE and is a good friend of mine. His wife (also a good friend) has an amazing photography business that you HAVE to check out. Run, don't walk, to this website

*notice some of the first pictures are of ZOE's own Amanda McKinney Vickers! Awesome shots Amanda and Mary Alice!

Praise God for weekends!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Welcome Fall

1 Chronicles 16--

31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"

32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!

33 Then the trees of the forest will sing,
they will sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Thank you to Grant Batson this morning for being a David in my life and ministering to me through prayer, the Word, and hearing his amazing skill on the guitar. God sat with us this morning over coffee.

If anyone loves guitars, check out his work or follow him on Twitter: @batsonguitars

Monday, October 05, 2009

NCL Spirit Fall 2009

I returned on Friday from a week of intense show installs on the NCL Spirit. There are three shows (2 of them brand new) going out there so this cast had their hands full. We all went out and for a week worked around the clock trying to get the shows up and running. Thanks to Jason, lighting designer from Nine Inch Nails, for the amazing light design. Thank you to Gavin who did the sound design. Thank you to all the wonderful costumers who came to the ship and worked so hard...Lee Ann, Rose and Julie. Thank you to Angi who was a fantastic production manager. Thank you to Paul--their very gracious and kind cruise director. And, thank you to Robert Hertenstein at NCL for his presence and keen eye.

The cast did an amazing job. Kudos to Jenna, Becca, Ryan, John M, John S, Tobin, Michael, Cass, Kristen, Jessica, Lauren, and Carlos.

The ship's itinerary was really beautiful--although none of us were able to get off the ship all week. We went from Boston to Maine, up to Nova Scotia, and around into Quebec City, CA.

The the end of the week as we celebrated the successful opening of both shows.

L-R: Robert Hertenstein (NCL Entertainment), The Spirit's stage manager, Rusty, Angi Weiss-Brandt-our production manager, Jason Bullock (lighting designer) and me.

Jessica, me, Cass, Lauren, and Ryan

We made these motor cycle fronts for the rock show. They were really cool! Great job, Gary Musick Scenic!

"Life in the Fast Lane" from Soul Rockin' Nights

Ryan--country section of "Soul Rockin' Nights"

Jenna--country section

Becca sings "Last Dance"

Ryan sings "Love the One You're With"

Pinball Wizard from Soul Rockin' Nights

The theater on board the Spirit

The cast also did a show called "On Broadway". It features sections from Mama Mia, Wicked, Movin' Out (the music of Billy Joel), Swing, and Hairspray. It's a fun show!

One of the difficult parts of show installs is not only working out the staging of the show, but also adding lights, sound and costumes. They were all very patient with their costume fittings. It can be very tedious but our costumers make it fun.

costumes for Mama Mia

Jenna and Becca as Glinda and Elphaba from "Wicked"

Jessica and Kristen in their "Wicked" costumes

singers...Becca, John, Ryan and Jenna in their "Swing" costumes

"Hairspray" costumes

Jenna, Becca, Jessica and Kristen showing some "Hairspray" attitude

Opener of "On Broadway"

rehearsal of "One Short Day" from "Wicked"


This was taken in Nova looked beautiful but cold. The deck was as close as I could get to land with our rehearsal schedule.

"Soul Rockin' Nights" opener

"Cloud Nine" from "Soul Rockin' Nights"

"Dance to the Music" from "Soul Rockin' Nights"--the cast was having a great time in rehearsal. This number in the actual show was really awesome and the audience loved it!

"Life in the Fast Lane" from SRN--these are the bikes from the earlier picture. Really cool.

"Fire and Rain" in SRN--John has seen some fire and rain in his own life. He is a great guy and his own experiences made this song really come to life in the show. And HOW had I never heard the real story behind James Taylor's "Fire and Rain"??

part of the Folk section of "Soul Rockin' Nights" rehearsal

Pinball Wizard..."Soul Rockin' Nights"

Sunday, October 04, 2009

ZOE Conference 2009 "Inside Out"

I made it home from the NCL Spirit (I will post some pics and video later from that trip). I came back just in time to finish out the 2009 ZOE Conference. Friday night we had several families over for dinner. It's always such a great time to see special friends.

Two of my very best friends and our sons...Peter and Brayden, Sam and me, and Josh and Noah.

Baby Brayden and Lindsey

Pete and Sam

Maddie and Brayden (the kids were enthralled with Brayden)

Philp Organ, Kevin Penna and Peter Wilson...waiting to sing with ZOE at the conference

Amy Westerman and Karin Hensley preparing to sing with ZOE

Greg Taylor served as the MC for the weekend at ZOE

Josh captivated the audience yesterday afternoon. I love his heart. He's a good man and a good friend. I've learned a lot from Josh.

Rich Smith teaching at the ZOE conference

After the conference, we went out to celebrate. There's a new Texas BBQ place in Brentwood called Judge Beans. INCREDIBLE!! It was like a little piece of home in Tennessee. I've lived here 14 years but still consider TX home.

Family! Zach, Peter and Lindsey, Sheryl and me, Taylor and Bruce

Ella really loved holding Brayden. She loves babies but really LOVED Brayden.

Peter and Sam.

Bruce and Taylor stayed with us for the weekend along with Sam and Scott Souder. I didn't get any pictures with Sam and Scott. It was so awesome having all of them in our home.

This morning we stayed in and had our own devotional here with The Morgans, Wilsons, and Souders. It was a very special time. Afterwards, Taylor made the most incredible breakfast. I am so grateful for them and how they've blessed our lives over the years.

Bruce and Taylor are so great with our kids. Bruce won them over a couple of years ago when we were all at the beach together in Malibu. Bruce helped them rehearse for an afternoon "show". The kids ate up every second of it.

Sam made up the words to this one. He likes to sing it...a LOT. It is the song that never ends....yes it goes on and on my friends...!

Though I missed most of the weekend, I was so thrilled to get some time with all those who were here for ZOE and to get to worship with everyone at in the Saturday sessions. It was a great day! I am exhausted this afternoon and ready for a looooooong nap. I have a lot to process from the weekend and a LOT to be thankful for!

To everyone who came to the conference--God bless your travels home. Hope to see you next year!