Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sheryl Thomas Florals

Hey everyone...check Sheryl's blog for pics of her newest stuff. http://www.sherylthomasflorals.blogspot.com She's taking orders for Christmas!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankfulness

We had a great Thanksgiving! For many years we have spent holidays with Byron and Beth Williamson and their family...Ryan and Sarah and their kids and Shelly and Adrian and their kids. Our lives are interwoven and we are so thankful for our friendship. Our feast was more than food...it was laughter, stories, and love.

My mom, Sheryl and Beth


Sam riding his bike on a very cold Thanksgiving Day.


Maddie and Jack Williamson


Evy and Ella...and Vinnie.

Maddie has been torturing herself for weeks over one of her front teeth that needed to come out over a month ago. It was literally dangling. I told her yesterday that the time was UP! Sydney Williamson, Maddie's best buddy, came over after our T-Giving festivities and cheered her on as she faced the reality that her tooth was coming out--one way or another. After about 30 minutes of high drama, I tied a string to it and it was out in 1 second. She was so proud to have it out. I snapped this picture below...and it's one of those moments captured in time. I LOVE IT! It tells its own story. Maddie looks completely traumatized. Everyone else is so excited for her--especially Sam. :)



Sam, Sydney, Maddie and Ella. YAY, MADDIE!!

Today Sheryl and I spent most of the day in the studio working for Eric Wyse. We were doing background vocals for several recordings for Christian Book Distributors. http://www.christianbook.com/ We recorded several Christmas songs today including a version of "Hark the Herald Angels", "Mary Did You Know" and the old Sandi Patti song "Merry Christmas With Love". I used to love that song. It was fun singing that one. These are the accompaniment tracks that people order and sing with...so for each song we recorded 3 versions in 3 different keys. We'll finish sometime next week.

Tonight we were exhausted and stayed in and watched "Elf". It's OUR holiday classic. ) I'm so glad we have two more days off!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

On this Thanksgiving day we give thanks for all the gifts of grace in our lives...our friends, family, and God's love that covers us.

Ella had a class program this week...it's the perfect way to say Happy Thanksgiving today.



Every boy and girl in Ella's class was given an assignment to create part of the pilgrim village. It was quite impressive. Definitely some help from the moms and dads! :) There was also an Indian tee pee village but I didn't grab a picture of it.


I loved this picture she drew...it says "I'm thankful for the earth"


Ella's drawing of our family


I love that she wrote "Grandmol". We're thankful for Nonnie and MeeMaw!


Sweet Ella!



video

"Welcome"



video


"We Give Thanks"

Our Thanksgiving holiday began last night with an evening of hilarity. Bobby and Sonya Colvert treated us to the "Doyle and Debbie Show". It was so hilarious. Steve and Karen Speake, Keely and Melissa Hall, and my mom were with us. We laughed until we cried at songs like "Blue Stretch Pants", "Stock Car Love", and "Snowbanks of Life" ("I wrote your name in gold on the snowbanks of life"). Crazy and hilarious.

This morning we woke up ready to all pile on the couch and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. We're watching for all of our NYC friends. Good luck!

This afternoon we are having the traditional T-Giving meal at Byron and Beth Williamson's with Ryan and Sarah and their kids and my mom. We've spent holiday meals together for many years. We're excited to be with them.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! We have so many things to be thankful for this year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

American Music Awards

Lynnea Brown on the NCL Gem


Naples, Italy

Sunday night I cheered on one of our performers on the American Music Awards. Lynnea Brown danced with the hip hop artists and rocked it! GO LYNNEA!! Lynnea danced in our cast on the NCL Gem this year. I went to see the cast while they were in the Mediterranean last summer. Lynnea is pictured above (in front in the top picture and to the far right in the bottom picture). She is a great dancer and awesome on stage.

There were some other ok moments during the AMAs. Mostly it paled in comparison to the CMA Awards in my opinion. Adam Lambert was a complete wreck. Interesting career choice there, Adam. What the HECK? UGH.

We spent the weekend in Atlanta with ZOE. It was a great weekend at the North Atlanta Church. A member had given 1.5 million dollars to the church with strict instructions that it be dispersed to all the members of the church in vouchers so that they could go and give it away in acts of service through the community. Last weekend marked the end of that 40 day journey. We sang Saturday night and Sunday morning. There were lots of testimonies and incredible, INCREDIBLE stories of service. We stayed with Don and Susan McLaughlin. It was such a special time with them. We love them so much! Thanks to everyone there...Don, Susan, Melanie Chumley, Ken Snell and all the others who made last weekend so great.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who Is That Old Person In The Mirror??

Um...that would be ME. Ugh. I feel like in a way I have been running up a "down" escalator for months...running away from November 15th. You know what? Time marches on, people. Time marches on. (Sometimes all over your body and face...but that's another blog.) To be honest, I don't feel 40. FORTY? I mean...I remember when I was in Junior High and High School and thinking the people on that TV show, "Thirty Something" were so old. Now I'm not even thirty SOMETHING! FORTYYYYYYYYYYYY. OK. Turn the page, Brandon. Turn the page.

Whew...ok, I am so grateful for the years of love I have experienced with an amazing family and friends. I am a blessed man. Thank you, God for that.

Sheryl, in her incredible way, created an evening to remember at the Williams Grove Farm House. I was surrounded by some of my most favorite friends who spoke words of blessing into my life. What an amazing gift. THANK YOU, SHERYL!

My good buddy Jill Batson--a wonderful photographer--took some pictures of the evening. (Some of these I took--the not-so-good ones). Thanks, Jill!


Sheryl and I pose with Eve and Ben English


Grant and Jill Batson


Cory and Elizabeth Davis. Elizabeth and I have been friends since 1987. Whew! Cory and I met a couple of years after that...many years of friendship.

Sheryl and me...warming ourselves BY THE FIRE.

I love the sound of fun fellowship!


Jill Batson--Jill and Grant and their kids have been such a great blessing in our lives



Grant Batson, Mark and Holly Whaley, and David and Sharon Shaub. Hilarious.



Sweet friends--Mark and Holly Whaley


My dear mother. Without her I wouldn't be here! She is one of the coolest people I know!


Sheryl making last minute preparations...



Kevin and Kiki



Nathan Slingluff and Cory Davis


Sheryl did this awesome arrangement



Such a perfect setting!

Amy Westerman (We missed you, Scott!!)


Ryan and Sarah Williamson and Geof and Amanda Vickers. Ryan and I have been friends since 8th grade. His family is so deeply woven into my own it's hard to remember a time when I didn't know them.


Bobby and Sonya Colvert and my mom, Judy


My mom!

Yum! What a night! I will never forget it. Thank you to my sweet friends for being there and loving me!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

He Chose the Nails

I was going through a box in our bedroom and found a live recording of an Easter concert we did for several nights at Otter Creek several years ago called "He Chose the Nails". It is based off the book by the same title by Max Lucado. I had forgotten how great everyone sounded...even though there was NO editing or cleaning up or tuning. As in any untouched live recording, there are some mistakes, but it was still so sweet! The band was incredible! David Woodard and Jason Patrick did a fantastic job of leading them. John Catchings blessed us with his world famous cello skills too which just made the concerts so much better.

The vocals really sounded sweet too. Part of it is because I am partial to all those people...but man, they all sounded great! It put the biggest smile on my face to revisit this.

I am including a widget here (sound clip) from the concert. This is my wife Sheryl singing "How Beautiful". It might be one of my favorite songs to hear her sing. Kills me! And then when the cello comes in and the choir behind her. I still get chills. Click on the underlined song title and it should play.

15 HCTN How Beautiful
15 HCTN How Beauti...
Hosted by eSnips


If you'd like to hear more, I uploaded a bunch of the CD from the evening on Esnips where you can listen to all of it or even download it if you want. Be sure to listen to "Because of Love" too. "You Are My King" and "Made to Worship" are fun too. Tim Woodroof also did a great job narrating that night. The website for this folder online is http://www.esnips.com/web/HeChosetheNails

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feedback

Hi bloggers...
I know this blog gets a lot of traffic from various sources. Some of you end up here through google search for information on cruises or shows, others of you are here because you know ZOE or me. For those in the later category, I would really love to hear your thoughts on the previous post. Feel free to leave a comment and weigh in. I'm curious how some of those thoughts strike you guys out there. There is a good set of comments already going, but I wanted to take a minute and invite you to go back to that last post and join the discussion. I want to hear what you think.

Thanks!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Distraction

Sunday morning we walked into the worship center and the chairs had all been switched around into two sections facing each other. As Lloyd opened the service he talked about what happens when our "order" is distracted. They had rearranged the chairs on purpose...just to shake things up a bit and gently awaken people from the norm...even something as basic as seating. It's crazy how little things affect us. For me, it was great! I liked things being rearranged a little and I think it's good for us to have to get out of our comfort zone.

I've always thought it was weird when people complained about things in worship being out of their comfort zone. It's a bit ironic when you think about it. Worship...true worship does not leave us as we were. It is never about us. It is always about the unsurprising greatness of our Father and what HE wants to do in us and this world...or even simply about who HE is.

I believe the Lord DOES comfort us as we worship...but more than anything, I think He wants to prod us and convict our hearts. Frankly, when something is not to our liking or preference, sometimes we have to just get over it. Maybe it's in the discomfort that the Lord is trying to speak to you. Maybe that discomfort is the gentle hand of the Father leading us away from ourselves.

Ronnie Freeman rocked it leading Sunday morning. Lloyd taught, as he always does, with great wisdom and depth. But, the thing that meant the most to me was getting to worship with my family and with the Batsons who were there with us. Lloyd reminded us that we were made to be in relationship...even God is in relationship with Himself...the three in one. It is a beautiful thing to have friends who walk with you and who know you inside out. It just serves as a reminder that the relationship we are in with our Father is one of deep intimacy. There is nothing hidden from Him. He KNOWS us inside out...and loves us in spite of ourselves.

Blessed Be the Lord who would not give us up!
Blessed be the Lord for His unfailing love.
The snare is broken and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the Lord!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Trick or Treat 2009

Saturday seemed like a long day. The kids were ready about noon to trick-or-treat. We met at the Batson's early that evening ready to roll!

Batgirl, Ella the soda shop waitress and Sharkboy


The Batson and Thomas kids were a force to be reckoned with


Grant gave everyone the watch-for-crazy-drivers speech. Good thing he did. We encountered one. Hello, people??!! Who speeds through a neighborhood on Halloween??


Sam and Michael


Sheryl, Grant and Jill Batson and me

Today we finished our Discovery Classes at Fellowship. It has been a great series of classes and very encouraging spiritually. After church we had a ZOE meeting at our house. It was great to be together. What a great second family we have in all of them. 13 years is a long time to journey together. We've all grown up together in a way. What a blessing to have relationships like that. We will be travelling to Atlanta in a few weeks to sing. Hope to see some of you there!

Have a great week, blog family!