Monday, May 30, 2011

Going Away Festivities

This has been an amazing weekend with friends! From our surprise going away party to swim time with friends and a farewell dinner with some of my close brothers. I have so much to write but I feel like if I don't post some of these pics it will never happen with the craziness of moving.

Here are some pictures and video from our surprise party...(more to come later)

There was a "Roast" part of the evening...nobody was safe. Johnathan Vest was hilarious and fried us all!

The girls wrote a "Hee-Haw" song about Sheryl. It was really cute. L-R Amy Westerman, Laura Troup, Gail Gonzalez, Kiki, Amanda Vickers (Bobby Colvert was on guitar with legendary steel guitar player Carco Clave)

Our long-time friends, Steve and Karen Speake, presented us with a beautiful picture on canvas that Karen had taken in Ireland. One of Karen's paintings hangs over our mantle. We love the Speakes and will miss them dearly.

In case you missed's the video Amy Westerman put together for us. This is why we were crying! :)

Kevin, Kiki, Sheryl and me

Scott and Amy Westerman, Sheryl and me

Amanda Vickers, Amy Westerman, Sheryl and Kiki. These three girls planned the party and really blessed us with all their hard work and special touches. It is a night we will never forget.

The party took place at the Wilcher's. Randal is an elder at Otter Creek and Dele teaches at Otter Creek with Sheryl. They have blessed our lives immensely.

Randal, Sheryl, Dele and me

Sunday morning my good buddy Josh Ross team-preached at Otter Creek with Josh Graves. Many of you remember Josh Ross and have prayed for his family over the last year as they walked the very difficult path of losing his sister, Jenny Bizaillian from a freak infection. The morning was powerful! I so loved having Josh there. Afterwards, the Ross and Graves families came to our house for lunch. Sweet time with great friends!
BST, Josh Ross, Josh Graves

Josh and Noah
Truitt Ross and Sam

Kara Graves and Lucas

Truitt Ross

Sheryl, me, Kayci and Josh Ross, Josh and Kara Graves

Lucas Graves was like, "Enough talking already! It is NAP TIME!"

Sunday afternoon we went over to JR and Joy Roper's house for a swim party. They have an amazing home and their back yard is something out of the Garden of Eden. We had a blast and Ella actually lost her last front baby tooth. Thank you, Joy and JR for your years of friendship, musical inspiration, and love.'s really THAT beautiful!


Maddie. Cameron Hunt is smiling back there in the background


Their infinity pool was so gorgeous!

Last night I had dinner with some of my closest Nashville brothers. It was so fun and so great to get to laugh together. I love these guys.

L-R back row--Daren Stanley, David Shaub, Jeff McInturff, (front row) Daniel Green, and Brian Layton

Daniel, "Shaubie", and Brian.
"Shaubie" was an elder at OC for much of the time I was there. He is also like a brother to me. I lived with David and Sharon for a little while before Sheryl and I got married. His whole family is like family to Sheryl and me.

Daniel and Brian have been dear friends to me. Daniel and Mary Ann were in life group with us as young marrieds. Brian's kids and our kids carpool every day to school. Both of these guys have loved me even on days when I have been unlovable.
Today we had more pool time and lunch with the Graves and Ross families. I spent most of that pool time in the shade because I have fried myself already this weekend. Tonight Ella wasn't feeling well so she and I stayed home and watched a movie while the rest of the family celebrated Memorial Day out in Nolensville with Kevin, Kiki, Chris and Gail and their kids. Here are some awesome cousin shots. Thanks to Chris for sending these!
Canaan, Maddie and Sierra

I love this picture!

Sam, Canaan, Maddie and Sierra. I wonder if you could hear Sam screaming over the deafening cicadas??
Back to work tomorrow...this is my last week. Much to do! More goodbyes. I'm storing up these moments in my heart...every last one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Surprise Going Away Party

Last night we were surprised and surrounded by many friends who have meant more to us than we could ever put into words. Thank you to everyone who came and especially to Amy Westerman, Kiki, and Amanda Vickers for planning the most perfect send-off. I will share some more pictures and video later but I wanted to share the video Amy Westerman put together this morning. Last night we laughed and cried all the way through it. Thank you for the time and energy it took to complete this! What can we say? We love you and you are family!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Days of Whine and Roses

I find myself feeling waves of emotion that come and go right now...generally brought on by seeing or talking to friends and thinking of leaving them. Last night my good buddy Mark Whaley threw a going away party for me. It was really fun. These guys mean a lot to me. I loved having a night of laughter!

Jeff Lovett, Grant Batson, Mark Whaley, Stephen Chisolm, me, Gary Musick
I stopped by to see my sweet cousin who is the manager of the Starbucks near our house...we lovingly refer to it as either St. Arbucks or Star$$. Ang drew a little mural on my coffee cup in protest of us moving...

But meanwhile, work still has to get done. I am producing my last show at TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center) this weekend. It's the Legacy Dance Show. Today was load-in and rehearsal.  Here are some pics of the set going up.

One last thing today...our friend, Amy Rieder Owen, sent me a picture of Sam from graduation last Friday. I LOVE this picture. Here's why...each child had to write their definition of love and read it. Sam's was, "Love is my daddy playing with me." In this picture he had just read it out loud and was looking at me. I was sitting on the front row of the balcony filming it. It was such a sweet moment. I love that Amy captured it! Thank you, Amy!

It's going to be a busy but fun weekend. I am excited about the coming weeks and all the adventures that we will have! God is giving us such a sense of anticipation about Abilene. So many amazing experiences to be had! But, first, we must figuratively sing "Friends Are Friends Forever" as we pack up everything and say our goodbyes. These are sweet tears we're crying...and tears of great gratitude. But they're still tears! :)  So, thank you for continuing to pray for these days of transition for the Thomas family. Have a great weekend, blog family!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Transition Stuff

I have these two personalities that live inside me...I have a definite explorer spirit...who has to somehow commune with my homebody spirit. I have always loved traveling and experiencing new things. I am at home on the road. I love navigating new cities and discovering new places. But, I grew up in the same house from the time I was born until I graduated from High School. My mom later moved (AFTER I was married and living in Nashville). I love to explore. I hate to move. I have been confused by this, but I think I have figured out that the explorer spirit thrives when there is a known home base. I'm experiencing some weird emotions lately that seem to be in direct conflict with each other. I am excited about the new adventures ahead for us. I can't wait! I am excited about all the pages of life that are yet to be written. I guess it's the moving thing that's stressing me out the most. If it were possible to snap my fingers and have the whole thing done, I would. I am serious. I so TOTALLY would. However, as I have learned more than a handful of times in my life, God teaches us some things in going through a process that we could never learn otherwise. We learn dependence. We learn to trust. We learn to pray. We learn to wait upon Him. That pretty much sums up where I currently find myself.

In the meantime, the kids are finding ways to incorporate their thoughts about moving into some fun games. Last night at bed time I sat on the bed with Maddie, Ella and Sam and played a game that Maddie termed, "I'm moving to Texas." It's a memory/alphabet game that we had some fun with. You had to repeat every word and then add your own each turn. After all was said and done, here are the things we're bringing with us to Texas:

A: Apple
B: Banana
C: Car
D: Dog
E: Elephant (get ready Abilene ZOO!)
F: Frog
G: Gargoyle
H: Hainey (our dear friend who currently lives in Washington DC)
I: Iguana
J: Jackpot (um, yes, please)
K: Kiki (Aunt Kiki, will you come with us??)
L: Lemon
M: Maddie (good thing!)
N: Nancy (as in Fancy Nancy)
O: Ocean
P: Parrot
Q: Queen
R: Robber
S: Seventeen Snakes (Maddie did this because she knows I have a phobia)
T: Telegraph
U: Universe (Sam thinks in big terms)
V: Venomous Rat (Ella...this item kind of sums up our hilarious Ella)
W: Weirdo (pretty sure we're bringing 5 of those)
X: X-ray
Z: Zapper

The kids amazed me with their ability to remember all those words and think through to the next one. Sam received a little coaching from Maddie, but he did a great job too!

I also wanted to share some video clips with you from when ZOE sang at Otter Creek last weekend. Thank you to David England for making these available and to Jackie (his wife) for taking them!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gary Musick Productions Marina Cast 2011

Our work with Oceania Cruise Lines continue to go very well. The cast of the Marina is here rehearsing. All of them except one have worked for us before. It's fun when we have returning cast members. It's like a reunion! This particular cast has some of my favorites! Yesterday they did a run-through of the "Con Molto" show for the producers and production staff. We loved it!

Here are some highlights...

Heather, Chris, Blake and Jen

Cherry, Serena, Danielle and barely seen Stefanie

Serena, Stefanie, Jen, Cherry, Blake

Danielle, Cherry and Blake


Cherry and Serena

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sam's Kindergarten Graduation 2011

Today came sooner than we could ever have believed. Since 1960 graduates have collected Kindergarten diplomas, sung songs and caused parents to shed many a tear. Since 1996 I have watched as this process continued. In 2003 our first born, Maddie, began her experience at the Otter Creek School, going through pre-school and finally graduating from Kindergarten in 2008. Ella followed. Today, Sam graduated from Otter Creek Kindergarten bringing an end to 8 wonderful years that our kids have been a part of that school. Sheryl has also been a teacher there for the past 2 years. We knew this day would come, we just didn't know it would come in the blink of an eye.

Sam nailed it. He was awesome! All the songs were so fun! Each child also presents their art work definition of love and speaks into a microphone in front of everyone telling them what their definition means. Sam said, "Love is my daddy playing with me." That made my whole week!

Here are some pictures and video from the day. What a blessing we have received from this wonderful school and all those associated with it!

These are the "Love is..." masterpieces

All the graduates received a Bible and a diploma

My mom ("Nonnie") with Sam

David, Charity and Becky Rubio. Charity was in Sam's class. David and I were on staff together at Otter Creek Church for many years. He is still the youth minister there.

Otter Creek School/ Otter Creek Church buddies