Monday, May 24, 2010

Ella's First Grade Program

Tonight was Ella's First Grade program for Mrs. Stark's class. Mrs. Stark is one of a kind. We feel so incredibly blessed to have had her as a teacher this year!





The kids were supposed to dress as any kind of American professional. Ella chose a chef. :) I love that!

The boy in the middle is Body Gwin. His brother (Austin) is at ACU and in Gamma Sigs. After talking to his mom early in the year and discovering that, it made me feel completely ancient. Body is so awesome! The Gwins are one amazing family.

Brianna, Ella and Natalie

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Ella got to sing with Mrs. Stark's husband to close out the show. She sings at the end of this clip...I was SO PROUD! Of course, Sheryl and I just cried. Thank you, Mrs. Stark!! We love you! Way to go, Ella!!!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Family Weekend

We have just had one of the best weekends ever! My cousin Mary and her husband Chris were here. What a joy! Chris and Mary are such amazing people. Our kids are pretty sure they hung the moon. Chris is British but now works for FC Dallas--the professional soccer team in Dallas. He had all the kids saying "mate" after every sentence. Mary and Chris both coach soccer. Mary coaches at Plano Senior High.

Family is a gift. We have always believed that. This weekend just proved how important these experiences are. We watched old videos of our family...and some hilarious ones from one of our many family vacations to New Braunfels. We spoke of our fathers (both have passed away) and the great memories we have. We reminisced about playing hide-and-go-seek at my parents house when we all were terrified of my father scaring the daylights out of us. So many wonderful memories together!

Our kids were crushed when the weekend finally came to an end. As we drove away from the airport, Sam exclaimed, "This is the saddest thing of my whole life!" Bless.

Mary and the girls

Chris and Sam pose as tea pots...a soccer game Chris taught them.


Mary and Sam

Brunch Saturday at my mom's

Sam and Chris

One of the many soccer games the kids coaxed Chris to play with them

Mary and mom

Sheryl and Mary

hanging out at my mom's

Saturday night we went out to Arrington Vineyards/ The kids are all sporting FC Dallas backpacks


Arrington

Mary and Chris at Arrington



After church this morning (Fellowship was just incredible today...one of my top 10 Sundays ever) my mom treated us to lunch at Mere Bulles and then we spent the afternoon handing out. The girls played beauty shop with Mary several times over the weekend...always turning out some interesting hair-do's. Nice pink unicorn, Chris.

Mary and Ella are teapots!




Mary and Chris sent this picture tonight from the airport...showing the "silly bands" the kids gave them. It was such a fun weekend but we are already missing them terribly!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chris and Mary

All of us are so excited about the arrival of Chris and Mary Clarke. Mary (Morse) is my cousin. She and her 2 brothers were more like my siblings growing up. We spent a lot of time with the Morse family...holidays together, road trips, vacations etc. They are my siblings. Our families know what it's like to live life together--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Most of my childhood family memories involve them and playing endlessly. One Christmas, Josh and Jeremy and I watched "The Empire Strikes Back" LITERALLY 17 times in one day. I don't know that I've ever been able to watch it again. Pretty sure I could still quote it from that one day though!

pictured here: L-R... Mary, Josh, me, Jeremy

Several years ago, Mary met a wonderful English guy by the name of Chris Clarke who was a professional soccer player for the Dallas team. He fits perfectly into our family. Chris is hilarious, great with kids, and an overall incredible guy. I always wondered if there would be someone good enough for Mary. We were so excited that she found Chris!

They were scheduled to fly in last weekend but all flights from DFW were cancelled because of weather. When I told the kids it was as if someone suddenly turned on a switch for uncontrolled crying. I know this is kind of mean, but I thought it was hilarious. It was just so instantaneous. Like...get ready....set...OK cry NOW! Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!

Maddie drew this picture to send them and I decided to take a picture of them crying to text them...just to turn the knife a bit. :) Well, not to be stopped, they immediately re-booked their tickets for this weekend. YAY!! They will be celebrating their anniversary with us!

Sam has been practicing his soccer moves, Maddie has been obsessing over how clean her room is for them and Ella asks me several times a day, "How much longer until Chris and Mary get here??"

Chris and Mary--we can't wait to see you! And, we're praying for NO cancelled flights!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Las Vegas Reunion

I haven't had a chance to post anything from my trip to Vegas with my friends. Things here have been so crazy. It was actually this weekend...while I was in Vegas...when the rain started and in a matter of two days dumped about 20 inches on Nashville.

I had such a blast with these guys. We re-lived our ACU roommate days and reminisced about our place on Westheimer. But, that lasted about 30 minutes. The rest of the time, we spent laughing about life and sharing about our families and jobs and faith. And...being stupid. It's so fun to be stupid with these guys. I'm pretty sure that we had a contest one night walking down the sidewalk to see who could get the most "legitimate" high fives. Stupid.

Chris Doggett, me, Stephen Bailey and Craig Fisher

You never know who you might run into on the street in Vegas. This was just priceless. This guy was taking a break...in full KISS gear.

We ate at Bobby Flay's restaurant one night and it was seriously one of the best meals I have ever had. Incredible! Yeah...I took a picture of my food. I sure did.

Vegas--NYC hotel

This pawn shop is the setting for a popular reality show called "Pawn Star" which is, as I understand it, kind of like a ghetto version of Antique Road Show. :)

Craig loves that show. We came here to humor him.



I have several friends out in Vegas who are in shows. We got to see Tim Johnson perform. Tim has worked for Gary Musick many times and I've hired him for a couple of shows. He's a great guy and did a fantastic job!
I wanted to see my buddy Travis Cloer in "Jersey Boys". He plays Frankie and is AWESOME. If you go out there, go see it. We ran out of time this trip to see it, but next time!





It's funny that after 20 years, you can still pick right back up. It's like not skipping a beat. We've all been together over the years and shared family time, but this was our first time to be away with just the four of us. I'm so glad we did this! It was totally worth it!

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In true Chris Doggett fashion, Dog explains our trek to the famous "Pawn Star" pawn shop. What a name. These video clips are but a wee taste of the fun we have when we're together.

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There were so many moments I wish I had captured on video from our few days together. I was laughing so hard most of the weekend that I forgot to film anything! we had such a blast. Here's to being 40, boys. And here's to 20+ years of friendship!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nashville Flood--City of Dreams

I love this video...it was written by Victoria Banks who had this to say about it, "I wrote this song on the road home to Nashville during the historic flooding that happened a few days ago. Lives were lost, many have lost everything and are living in shelters. Please donate what you can to the Nashville Red Cross at (615) 250-4300 or ww.nashvilleredcross.org."

The people of Nashville continue to pick up the pieces. With so much going on in the world, many friends we talk to are surprised to find out the depth of need we are experiencing here. Many, MANY people have lost everything. Stories are emerging of friends and co-workers of ours who had to swim to safety...or one family who had to walk arm in arm through chest high water leaving their home and all their belongings behind just to survive. The linked arms saved them from being swept away...other friends who lost all their earthly belongings, or loved ones...impossible to adequately describe. As flood waters go down, bodies are being discovered. Families are finding closure with sons, fathers, friends who were missing. One friend described his experience of gutting a home this week by telling me that as they tore the drywall out, snakes and huge spiders spilled out in the water remaining in the walls. I'm telling you, it's like something from a movie.

Please continue to pray for our city. The domino effect is even hard to describe. Millions and millions of dollars in lost revenue through tourism and the closing of Opryland Hotel, the Schermerhorn, The Wildhorse, Opry Mills...etc. It's impacting all of us.

But we are the fortunate ones. Some have lost everything. One woman interviewed this week was a Katrina refugee. She moved here after Katrina to start all over. She, again, lost everything. As she described, "It's hard to believe someone could experience two catastrophic disasters like this in their lifetime." It's true.

The beauty right now is in the people...the churches...the artists who live here who are all banding together. One people. One need. God is being glorified through this in ways that are immeasurable. People are taking a break from naval gazing to look to someone else's needs. It's recreating this city in a way. I pray that peace will flow and love overwhelm all those who are hurting and feeling such loss. Keep them all in your prayers!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nashville Recording Chapter--Grammy Block Party

Here are some pics from the Grammy Block Party last night. The block party is an annual celebration for the members of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) NARAS members make up the Grammy Association and vote on the Grammys, etc. It's the Recording Academy's way of thanking their members each year. Always a fun night...and a little respite in all the chaos that has resulted from the flood. There are still hundreds and hundreds of people with no where to live. Frustration is beginning to mount...as you can imagine if you were having to live out of a shelter.

I was excited to see my buddy Jamie playing when I got there. Jamie is the front man for a group called Dailey & Vincent. They are unbelievable. Check them out http://daileyvincent.musiccitynetworks.com/

Jamie Dailey with "Dailey & Vincent"

Jason and Alisha were there too. Most of you guys know that Jason is VP at Provident and handles artists like Michael W. Smith, Mercy Me, Plumb, etc. Alisha is the publicist for Provident and so she was working hard last night. Jason and I just enjoyed catching up and EATING!

Steel Magnolias performed. I missed Darius Rucker but went home and watched American Idol where I saw Lee Dewyse. Same difference. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Grammy Block Party

Grammy Block Party today! I am looking forward to going. Anyone want to go as my guest?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Nashville Flood--1000 Year Flood

The Army Corps of Engineers declared that the Nashville Flood of 2010 is not the horrible "100 year flood" that we hear about. They deemed this a "1000 year flood". The national media is finally picking up the story of Nashville. Some are calling it "breaking news". The people of Nashville are too busy picking up the pieces, looking for missing loved ones, sifting through debris, and working hard to help each other to mention that this news "broke" about 5 days ago. Though you may be very late to the punch, national media, thank you for coming here and allowing us to tell our stories.

I got these images from The Boston Globe. These pictures describe in real ways what we've all been experiencing here. Obama declared it a national disaster area (so FEMA funding is now possible). The Governor declared damages yesterday of well over 1 BILLION dollars. I'd say that's a conservative estimate.

The Cumberland River floods outside of its banks Tuesday on May 4, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. More than 13 inches of rain fell over two days, more than doubling the previous record of 6.68 inches and leaving as many as 30 dead in Tennessee. (Jeff Gentner/Getty Images)










The General Jackson showboat floats near Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills...all suffered major damage from the flood. The Grand Ole' Opry lost everything...equipment and set...and the Opry suffered major water damage inside. Many country stars lost their homes and equipment. Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Ben Folds and others had their musical gear all stored in the same warehouse. All of it...gone. Kenny Chesney's house is completely under water. What I appreciate about these stars is that all of them have come together to help raise awareness and money for flood victims saying, "We realize we can afford to replace these things...most can't replace what has been lost."



The loading docks at the Opryland Hotel are flooded and damaged from heavy rains on Monday, May 3, 2010. All of the estimated 1,500 guests were evacuated overnight. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, John Partipilo)

Michael Bunch wades on a flooded downtown sidewalk in Nashville, Tennessee on Monday May 3, 2010. (Rusty Russell/Getty Images)

Shipping containers float in floodwater Tuesday, May 4, 2010, in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

State vehicles sit stranded in a parking lot on May 4, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Rusty Russell/Getty Images)

Floodwater from the Cumberland River creeps into downtown Nashville, Tennessee, Monday, May 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Residents remove flood debris from their homes Tuesday, May 4, 2010, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Gabe Gardiner, left, sits with a neighbor on his living room sofa outside his flood damaged home in the River Walk subdivision of in Nashville, Tennessee, Tuesday, May 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

Lighthouse Christian School teacher Heather Harrell reacts after finding her grandmother's Bible in her classroom that was destroyed by the flood in Antioch, Tennessee on Monday, May 3, 2010. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, Shelley Mays)

Clare Baker, right, hugs her friend, Melinda Murphy, as Murphy leaves after helping Baker salvage items from Baker's flood-damaged home on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Metro Fire Department Special Operation rescues a Belle Meade police officer off Harding Road in Belle Meade, Tennessee on Sunday May 2, 2010. Police officer Norm Shelton was clinging to a tree for an hour before being rescued. The location of his patrol car is unknown. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, Shelley Mays)

A sign in River Front Park becomes visible once again as the waters of the Cumberland River slowly started to ebb across from LP Field, Tuesday, May 4, 2010, in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/(M. Spencer Green)

A vehicle rests upside down in a sink hole which opened on West Forest Avenue during heavy storms just west of Madison County General Hospital on Saturday, May 1, 2010 in Jackson, Tennessee. The vehicle's driver was rescued and taken to the hospital. (AP Photo/The Jackson Sun, Morris Abernathy)

The roof of an SUV is just visible, submerged in flood waters covering downtown streets and sidewalks May 3, 2010 in the Lower Broad district of Nashville, Tennessee. (Rusty Russell/Getty Images)

A flooded neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, is seen Monday, May 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Jennifer Coleman walks down a ditch where a car identified by family members as belonging to Bill and Frankie Rutledge, Coleman's aunt and uncle, was found Monday, May 3, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Ed Rode)

Robert Turner describes the rapid rise of water in his home May 4, 2010 in the Bordeaux district of Nashville, Tennessee. (Rusty Russell/Getty Images)

Cars and trucks sit covered with debris as they wait to be cleared from I-24 east. The wooden structure to the left is the porch of a building that floated down I-24 earlier according to TDOT workers on the scene. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, Tom Stanford)

The inside of a water damaged car is seen in a severely flooded West Nashville neighborhood on May 4, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Jeff Gentner/Getty Images)

A woman wades through flood waters on a downtown sidewalk May 3, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Rusty Russell/Getty Images)

Dover Anthony sings on as he overlooks the parking lot of submerged cars at the Knights Motel in East Nashville, Sunday, May 2, 2010. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, John Partipilo)


This video shows both the devastation AND spirit of Nashville. God is here in the midst of all of this!

The following post has inspired our city. The messages stated here ring true and describe the deep character and spirit of the people of Nashville.

link to the blog post that created a movement here: http://www.section303.com/we-are-nashville-4366

That blog post also inspired a t-shirt that is being sold that profits flood victims. Here's a link to the t-shirt: http://store.coolpeoplecare.org/products/we-are-nashville-t-shirt