Saturday, December 29, 2007

Prayer Request

A few months ago one of my dear friends, who was raised in my church, returned from a mission in Irag. He has made the military his life-long career. Shortly after his return, he had excruciating pain in his back and was taken immediately into surgery for a herniated disc that was putting pressure on the nerve that feeds the legs and spine. He seemed to be recuperating fine, returned to base, and was getting ready to board ship. Suddenly, he had a turn for the worse and it appears he will be facing another surgery. He is a man who loves God and believes in the healing power of God Almighty. On Christmas Sunday, he was home for service but moving very slow. Our entire congregation prayed for him and we want a miracle. He is one of the nicest, most friendly, people you could ever meet. Regardless of circumstance or situation, I have never seen him without a smile. His name is Alex. Would you add him to your prayer list?
P.S. The pic is Brian and I with Alex on Christmas Sunday.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I Am So Sorry...

How could I?!?!? How dare I?!?!? Please, please, please forgive my oversight! Christmas is never complete without Brian's specialty, made from scratch, red velvet cake. This year he made not one but TWO and I forgot to give him credit in my last post. Then, just last night, he made sure he had all the ingredients to make cake number three! I mean we have really scored this year! If you have never tasted Brian's red velvet cake, I can only assure you have missed out. It is a recipe handed down from my late Aunt Veneta. The cake is thick, delicious, but it is the icing that takes it over the top. He first cooks a mixture of ingredients, lets it cool and then blends it with the remaining items. It isn't heavy like buttercream nor as light as cool whip and doesn't have any cream cheese in it. The taste is so heavenly I can overdose without even considering how many pounds it is costing me.
Thank you, Brian.

I can't celebrate Christmas without you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

Being the princess she is, Bryn had been asking for a chandelier. We found a small one at Lowe's within the budget allotted by Grandpa and Grandma Allard. Brian installed it in her room then told Bryn to look. When she got to the door of her room, she began to jump up and down and holler, "A chandelier, a chandelier, a chandelier.....I love grandma and grandpa!" The big party then began Monday night with food, food, and more food. Ham, barbecue chicken, couscous, smoked turkey, and all the extras. There was even some Mexican food - burritos, tamales, my specialty nachos, and more. Yes, we pigged out. Our good friends, Mark, Debbie, and Sheldon Pryor came and added more to the stash. Tuesday, we had a visit from Steve and Patty Watts and their girls. Can you believe they brought even more dessert?!!!! I can't leave out that my mom brought about six pies! By now, you should be convinced that we seriously over-ate. LOL Gifts were exchanged and then it was time for dessert and more dessert and more dessert. Tuesday morning, the kids rushed to their stockings to see what Santa left. Bryn had a note from Santa that said her gift was too big for the stocking and to check under the kitchen table. She hurried to the kitchen table to find another note that said it didn't fit there and to check under the grand piano. As fast as her feet could carry her, she ran to the piano to find yet another note. This one said to look in her bathroom. When she got to the bathroom door, she softly opened the door and saw a dry erase board with 10 colored markers and an eraser. She was so excited and now thinks she is a teacher. :) Blake got the Nintendo DS he has been wanting and Bryce got a new Cannondale bike. He loves to take long (30-50 mile) rides with his friends. I don't think I could handle that many miles on a bike. Of course the gifts were appreciated, but nothing took the place of the love and laughter we all shared. Before going to bed, Bryn gave me a hug and said, "Thank you, mommy, for all my presents." Her sweet gratitude made it all worthwhile.

Pictures: Bryce, Blake, Bryn, and cousin Sara with Grandma Wilson; the chandelier

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sharing E-mail


1. Avoid carrot sticks.
Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an "eggnog-aholic" or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas.

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello???

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat -- have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all costs. I mean, have some standards

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips. Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO what a ride!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Greatest Gift

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.- Norman MacFinan

During this season of gift giving, let generosity flow from your spirit. Material gifts are nice, but nothing is greater than giving love, forgiveness, kind words, smiles, and this list could continue. My husband recently preached a sermon titled, "The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Family." He spoke of many wonderful things we can give, but the greatest is forgiveness. It was a beautiful sermon. Sometimes our lives are so busy and involved with other people that our family takes the second shelf. Let your family know they are important - love them, laugh with them, and most of all, forgive them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


As promised, here is the final report of our week in Nashville. After several long days in studio, we finally finished all vocals late Thursday night. Friday morning, the boys had a photo shoot. The photographer, Kim Lancaster, took them to a brick alley in downtown Nashville. She did several different poses and the pictures are quite nice. You see the boys in the alley, but the top of the pic shows the sky with some city skyscrapers in the background. After the alley shots, we went to Kim's studio and finished some other shots. When she was finished with the boys, she told Bryn to pose for her and then added Blake. I now have some darling pictures of Bryn and Blake and, of course, I can't resist sharing them with you. Consider this another brag moment. LOL When the photo session was done, we went to Daywind's offices and toured the distribution center. It is quite impressive. Finally, we were free. It was about six in the evening and we headed for downtown Nashville. We walked quickly to take in the sights of the symphony house, Country Music Hall of Fame, music row, etc. We stopped long enough to eat then headed over to Opryland Hotel. There, we rode the boats, saw all the amazing Christmas decorations, watched the dancing waters, and capped it off with dessert - pastries and Godiva Chocolates. Saturday was a rainy day and we drove through some other areas of downtown Nashville before heading to the airport. Now work begins on finalizing the CD. Today the project is headed to mixing and some other songs will be headed to orchestration. When it goes to mastering, we will get MP3 files via e-mail to decide if we like the mix. It won't be complete until we are happy with the sound. If all moves along smoothly without delay, the finished project should be available for purchase the end of February. I think I am ready to get this project off my mind until after Christmas. It is now time to enjoy my family. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


We arrived home safe, sound, and exhausted. My final report of the recording will have to wait because my brain is tired but, I did want to let you know the boys decided on a name. It was worse than choosing a baby name! LOL We had a huge list of names that ranged from silly (God Quad) to great (I won't list any so we don't get any thing started on "I like..." or "Should of..."). Alas, they made a decision and we are accepting.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Still The No Name Quartet

Working hard on their vocals, they are still the no name quartet. Your feedback is appreciated and don't hesitate to give more if something sparks in your brain. A couple of songs have had some rough moments working out different parts but, considering all things, it is going well. I am very convinced it will be a first class project. Another WAY Choir member, Weston Cantrell, is with us in studio and having a great time working with the engineers. I have also a new blog link to my favorites. It is Marty Funderburk, the boys vocal producer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We Want Your Suggestions

It was a long day, but we now have four songs recorded with the guidance of Marty Funderburk, their vocal producer. This took place at Daywind's A studio where many gospel greats have recorded. Gold and platinum CD's line the walls and the boys got to take a pic on the famous red couch in the green room. Their music producer has spent 28 years in radio work and would like the boys to consider a different name. He thinks WAY Quartet is too "vanilla" and is hoping for something more catchy. The producer offered, "Alliance," "Blood Reliant," and the boys are stumped. They aren't convinced they would like the word "blood" in the title. Would you like to offer us suggestions? We need help!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Recording Begins

Quad Studio was the place where WAY Quartet music was born. Today the music tracks were created and it has been a long day. I am not even going to try and mention all the names of engineers, musicians, and the misuc producer. You will just have to buy the CD when it is released and read the credits. LOL The boys were awestruck when they realized they were recording in a studio where Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, and so many other famous people have recorded. While tracks were being made, Bryn and Blake were being entertained or entertaining the studio interns. A highlight for them was meeting Berkley, a gorgeous brown Doberman. He was a gentle giant and we were stunned that Bryn actually wanted to pet him. She played with him the rest of the day and night. The rough mix of tracks sounds incredible and I am confident this will be a great project. We left the studio about 11 p.m. and headed to Waffle House. UGH! (It was the only thing open!) Tomorrow morning, we head to Daywind A studio to begin recording vocals. I will try to keep you posted.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Making Memories

It was about 11 years ago when we first met our friends Nathan and Charla while sharing a conference banquet table. We just clicked or, as some would say, we hit-it-off immediately. Brian and I are more than a decade older than our friends, but that hasn't made any difference to our relationship. Throughout the past years, we have laughed, cried, and survived together. Nathan is a cancer survivor, Charla nearly died when she had the baby, the baby was in NICU for a couple weeks, and they prayed when I had an angiogram/heart problem and, cheered Brian when he broke his arm/surgery. In spite of all the drama, our times spent together have been some of the best times of our lives. We laugh till we cry, love fine meals, and keep each others secrets. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! LOL True partners in crime are we! They have watched our kids grow and been great influences in their lives. Blake loved Charla from the first moment he saw her. At two years old, he let everyone know Charla was his girlfriend. Now, as you can see in the above picture, Blake is nearly as tall as Charla and she is still his girlfriend. Blake is also smitten with the new baby. Suffice it to say, we had a wonderful weekend making more memories.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Prettiest Baby In Charlotte

After an hour delay, we finally departed LAX heading to Nashville. After a few minutes of looking out the window, Bryn fell sound asleep. We arrived in Nashville and quickly got our rental vehicle to drive to Charlotte. The hotel beds felt so good and we slept in to catch up on some much needed rest before meeting our friends for breakfast. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it was to meet our dear friends newborn baby. He is just beautiful and such a good baby. We all had to have a turn holding him. Bryn played hard-to-get to Nathan's (baby's dad) endless flirting but did pose for a quick snapshot. Blake is ready to take this baby home with him. It was just a wonderful day hanging out with our friends!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Nashville, Here We Come

Late tonight or very early tomorrow (whichever you prefer), we will be heading to LAX and flying to Nashville. The weatherman says there is a storm coming tonight with snow on the grapevine and we are hoping the weatherman is wrong or, at least, spoke too soon. We must cross the grapvine (I-5 mountain pass) to get to the airport and snow will close the pass. Upon arrival in Nashville, we will pick up our rental and head to Charlotte, North Carolina to see our dear friends and their new baby boy. We will spend Saturday with them and Brian is preaching at their church Sunday morning. Bryce and I will also be singing. After Sunday lunch, we will head back to Nashville and start laying music tracks for WAY Quartet on Monday with vocals beginning on Tuesday. I'll do my best to keep you updated. Please say a prayer for the boys. We want all flights to arrive safely and on time, and all cough, cold, and flu bugs to stay at bay.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Girl

During the Christmas season, Bryn loves to dress as Santa's helper. We went out to one of our favorite restaurants the other night, and Bryn had to pose by the tree. I am not sure who loves Christmas more - her or me. Her enthusiasm is contagious and she brings so much joy to our house. Do you have any little ones with sparkling eyes waiting on Santa to arrive?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas! That Magical Time of Year!

Another busy week-end, but it sure was fun. We had our annual Christmas dinner with our church family and this year we decided to have a table decorating contest. Above are some of the tables. I missed getting pics of some of the kids tables. "Christmas Dogs" was the theme of one group of little girls. Blake and one of his friends built a stable and set up a nativity scene. Friday night, several people arrived and the creations began. Bryce decided to make a chandelier above our table. He took a small Christmas tree, hung it upside down, covered it with lights, ornaments and finished with a large flashing star. It was actually quite cute. There were elegant tables, along with winter wonderland and a table that looked like a giant present topped with a variety of wooden houses. Saturday night was the dinner which, by the way, was delicious. Afterwards, there was singing by young and old interspersed with comedy. Of course, Brian and I sang our traditional song, "How I Wish Christmas Would Never End."