Monday, March 30, 2009


Ok, that's 23 pounds as of this morning that I have lost..

It's also very important because it the starting weight for my weight loss contest against this girl..

Katie such a funny sweet silly girl, she thinks she can lose 30 pounds before I lose 60 pounds.

Heck, she doesn't have 30 pounds to lose..when I drop another 60 lbs I'll still weigh 279 lbs. I'm thinkin this is a slam dunk..silly little girl.
Now she has posted her weight loss progress over here. Check it out if you want...
Silly little girl..

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Setlist 3/29/09

March 29

Gathering Music (announcements on screen; lighting of candles)

Wholly Yours - Crowder

Welcome to FCC

Teaser (dramatic reading/monologue of portions of Psalms 51 & 32.)

Choral Anthem: "Create in Me a Clean Heart"

Praise Music

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)Tomlin/Giglio/Excell/Reese

Change My Heart, O God-Espinosa

Here I Am, Lord-Schutte

Children's Sermon (Kathy)


Worship Music

Open the Eyes of My Heart-Baloche

Pure Heart-Caraway

Prayer (Cory)

Communion/Offering (Kathy - meditation)

Communion Music - Take My Life-Powell, Carr, Avery, Lee, Anderson

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34 (Artie)

Sermon (Mike)

Invitation - Here I Am, Lord

Postlude - Pure Heart

See other cool Sunday sets here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Setlist 3/22/09

March 22: Restoration

Prelude (announcements on screen) - Restored (Camp) -Artie Anderson

Enter the Light of Christ

Opening Song- Everything Glorious (Crowder)

Welcome to FCC/Announcements

Youth Ski Trip Video

Praise Music- Take my Life (Holiness) (Underwood)

Enough (Tomlin)

Children’s Sermon (Kathy)


Worship Music- Better is One Day (Redman)

- Empty Me (Way/Comer)

Prayer Time & LP (Mike)

Prayer Response

Communion/Offering (choir - It is Well) (Artie at Table)

Sermon– Cory w/Youth (scripture embedded: 2 Samuel 7:1-16)

Invitation- Enough

Going Forth- Everything Glorious

Check out other cool Sunday Setlists done today here

Friday, March 20, 2009

More from Hannah and her trip to Italy-Venice!!

Fw: Walking in venice! From @hannahstar on TwitPic

Fw: Look familiar? :) from @hannahstar on TwitPic

Feeding birds in venice fr @hannahstar on TwitPic

@hannahstar feeding birds in venice italy on TwitPic

@hannahstar On the gondola in venice on TwitPic

More on ancestors..

Donna was very interested in the info we had uncovered at the San Jacento battlegrounds about my ancestor... so she did a google search.

She found this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More pics from Hannah in Italy

Hannah at the church of St Francis of Assisi. The writer of my favorite hymn..

Hannah at church of st francis on TwitPic

Hannah at Assisi with the Tuscan countryside behind her.

Hannah at assisi looking over tuscany on TwitPic

The Tuscan countryside..

Tuscan country side. Hannah's spring break trip. 2009.  on TwitPic

A pic from Hannah

Hannah is traveling in Italy during spring break.. something I have not gotten to do.. She's loving it. Here is a pic she sent via text of the Vatican.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

San Jacento Battlegrounds.. and ancestors..

The San Jacento Monument. La Porte, TX

Below is an e-mail my brother sent me and others.. it starts with comments from him about our family and then most is a message from Senator Hutchinson. I knew my family had deep roots in Texas history but didn't realize it was so deep and strong... by the way my mom, Christine Lena Williamson, was raised by her aunt..Artie Lena Thomas, not her mom. So you can see the immediate connection... Interesting. I've added pics from our visit to the battlegrounds today.

From my brother.....

My ancestor, David Thomas signed this document, he's below Sam Houston. They both represented Refugio County. David was Secty of State, and later additionally acting Secty of War. He was traveling in a stagecoach when a pistol discharged and wounded him. He was taken to De ZaValla's home (the VP of Texas) where he died the day before the Battle of San Jacinto (April 21st). He is buried in the De ZaValla burial plot, located south of the Battleship Texas, behind the huge sundial. A red Texas Granite tombstone sits over both De ZaValla and Thomas at each corner on the plot.
Thomas is on the maternal side of our family.
Some claim that one of the reinforcement troops from Gonzales, Tx to the Alamo was one of our family, a Williamson, who died there.
doc anderson

Texas Independence Day Honors Our Tradition of Patriotism
February 27, 2009

Nearly 173 years ago, two very different groups of Texas patriots led a double-barreled effort that would eventually secure Texas’ independence from Mexico and change the future of the United States.
On March 2, 1836, a convention of 54 men drafted and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence at a small settlement called Washington-on-the-Brazos. Among the signers were my great-great grandfather, Charles S. Taylor of Nacogdoches, and his friends Sam Houston and Thomas Rusk, who later became the first Senators to represent Texas. On behalf of all Texans, they declared, “We, therefore . . . do hereby resolve and declare . . . the people of Texas do now constitute a free, sovereign and independent republic.”
During this time, 189 Texas soldiers were under siege at the Alamo in San Antonio by an estimated 6,000 Mexican troops who were determined to extinguish this newly created republic. Under the valiant leadership of Colonel William Barret Travis, these Texans, outnumbered 10 to 1 by Mexican forces, fought courageously in the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution.
Though Colonel Travis and his soldiers were willing to lay down their lives in service to Texas and in pursuit of its freedom, they knew that without reinforcements they would not be able to withstand the much larger Mexican army. In a final letter to all Texans shortly before the fall of the Alamo, Colonel Travis wrote:
Fellow citizens and compatriots: I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man – the enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison is to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demands with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the wall – I shall never surrender or retreat.
Then, I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and of everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country – Victory or Death.
William Barret Travis, Lt. Col, Commander
The sacrifice of Colonel Travis and his men made General Sam Houston’s subsequent victory at San Jacinto possible. As cries of “Remember the Alamo!” were delivered during the final battle of the Texas Revolution, General Houston and his soldiers won independence for Texas.
The Texans leading the fight against Mexico weren’t alone in their sacrifice. The signers of the Texas Declaration, like their forefathers who signed the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, risked their own lives and those of their families when they put pen to paper. They were considered traitors to Mexico as they used their voices, professions, and positions of influence to wage a critical battle in Texas’ struggle for independence.
My great-great grandfather’s own loss was significant. While he was doing the work of the Republic, all four of his children (ages seven and younger) who remained back at home in Nacogdoches died during the “runaway scrape,” when the women and children in the Nacogdoches Territory fled toward Louisiana because they feared Indians and Mexican troops were headed their way. Our family story did not end there, however. Charles S. Taylor and his wife, my great-great-grandmother, went on to have nine more children who were blessed to lead lives of independence and opportunity in Texas.
It is important that every generation of Texans pause to remember these patriots: each soldier who gave his life at the Alamo and Goliad; the 54 men who met at Washington-on-the-Brazos, putting their lives in danger by signing that Declaration of Independence and becoming heroes for a cause; and every man, woman, and child who struggled to make Texas the marve lous place it is today. While few of these Texans could have predicted Texas’ future prosperity and achievements, they all knew independence and freedom were worth any sacrifice.
Each year on March 2, I am honored to recognize our history by reading Colonel Travis’ letter on the floor of the United States Senate. The late Senator John G. Tower, who served in the Senate between 1961 and 1985, initiated this practice, and I am proud to carry on the tradition today. It is my hope that this ritual will last for generations to come, as our children and grandchildren carry on our state’s legacy of freedom and patriotism.

A view of the battle grounds from the monument.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Houston we have a problem....

Today we went to Space Center Houston.. Man this place touches me way down in my inner child. I grew up watching people blast off in to space to try and get us on the moon. I was a little over a year old when Yuri Gagarin had made history by being launched in to space.. Alan Shepherd made the trip not to long after that and yada yada yada when I was 9 Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon (see more here)... it was that yada yada yada that was a part of my growing up.. tang, the space race, coupling that space race with the cold war, bomb shelters in peoples back yards and the fear of just what the russians would do to us from the moon if they got there before us made the whole space thing very important to almost all of us growing up back then.

I also used to lay on my back in the yard at night and use our binoculors to look at the moon.. believe it or not it always looked closer and more detailed than by the naked eye..

I had a map of the universe when I was in first grade and I would pull it out and look at it over and over again. I used in school for presentations several different times as I grew up. Space, NASA, all that stuff was just a part of me as I was growing up...

Also..schools in the Houston area went to NASA often.. Not every year but we went pretty often.

So...going to Space Center Houston today was something I was really looking forward to. The last time I had been to NASA.. it was just the Johnson Space Center.. there was no Space Center Houston. I had heard a lot of good things about Space Center Houston (SCH) so I was looking forward to today..on many levels.. I had a real good time.. you can see the pics I took here.

Unfortunately... it wasn't nearly as good as when it was just JSC... probably because I imagine how great it could be. Basically me and my family stood in line for over 3 hours today to go on 2 tours.. shop a little and go home. I studied recreation and parks in college and so did Donna. Donna even worked at Disney in Florida and knows how important it is for things to go right for there to be a quality experience for visitors....guests..whatever term you want to give to those poor suckers that come in the gate in the morning and hand you a pretty decent stack of cash to spend the day on your property..

Here are just a few things that need some attention Houston...

Tour guides or hosts do not need to be texting friends while guiding your group.
Tour guides or hosts should not make sarcastic comments about the place they work while on duty in front of guests.
Tour guides or hosts should not bob their heads to the music on the guide video no matter how sick they are of "The flight of the bumblebee".
Videos used on tour buses should be less then 10 years old.
Audio files used on tour trams should be less than 10 years old.
Security screening should be done at the beginning of the que line while people are waiting to get on trams..not at the end of the line so that people are delayed boarding their trams.. It must have taken at least 15 minutes (Donna's guess.. I think more) to load a freakin tram.. 3 minutes tops to get everyone on...maybe a tad more if you have physically challenged guests. This was insane!!
Don't tell people to return to the tram at the end of a tour and then tell them they should be sitting in the same seats they left AFTER they return to the tram.
If you are going to have flight simulators in the flight simulator part of your facility you should have more than 2 of the 10 working.

We didn't get to see anything else because it took so freakin' long to do these two tours. I'm sure I would have seen more that needs attention.

I know that JSC specializes in rocket science.. but this isn't rocket science.. it's hospitality, expectations, follow-up, leadership and respect....but then again this is a government agencey (NASA) and I'm sure SCH is the lowest bidder.. I really don't know how this was put could be so much better..

and bobble head host told us today they were only expecting 6000 guests but would have over 8000 tomorrow with all the parking lots full including the staff parking lot.. good luck folks..the tram lines don't go too fast...and the security people that are going through your stuff and scanning you with a hand held metal detector are in no rush..which wouldn't matter except that the tram is waiting on you and the 80+ people behind you to get on... yawn..

I really hope to go back some time soon so I can spend more time in the main facility and skip the tours because they took forever but it was what I wanted to do today. I didn't get to look at any space capsules up close like I have every time I've been to JSC. I didn't get to see any rocks like every time I've been to JSC. Again.. it was the choices we made, they were long slow choices with a lot of standing still but I'm ok with that.

I'm not mad..I love the place.. I want to see more.. I just know with some minor changes that would cost nothing so many more people could be serviced with no extra effort put fourth by any of the underpaid, under motivated hosts on staff.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A little trip to Houston..

We didn't go on the church ski trip... Austin nor Donna wanted to ski.. Hannah was going to Italy so we didn't know what we would do for our little spring break jaunt.. Austin had a neat idea.. let's go to Houston and do like we do when we go to New York.. in other words.. let be tourists in Houston..

Having grown up in the Houston area and generally having a disdain for the city because it's hot, and humid, and un-zoned, and humid, and has never seemed to have the hiways it needed to move people around like it needs to I really wasn't fired up about that right off the bat but then I thought better of it.. so that's what we're doing..

I went to and bid on some 5 star hotels in downtown Houston and got a nice deal on a room at The Inn at the Ballpark.

This morning we had church..and in the midst of church Hannah took off for Italy.. once church was over we headed to Livingston to have lunch at The Courthouse Whistlstop Cafe.

A very nice cafe with very good food and good sized portions. Service was excellent even though some of the Sunday specials had been eaten up by a large after church crowd. We had lunch with family there (Donna's mom, sister, brother-in-law, and our nephew John). After visiting and eating we headed on to Houston..

We had been toying with the idea of going to a hockey game.. it was looking like we weren't going to miss much of the afternoon game of the Houston Aeros so we went to the Toyota center and enjoyed the sport from the great white north.

The Aeros won and we had fun..minor league sports are a hoot because they do so much to keep you entertained.. same with minor league baseball.. anyway, we had a good time and then checked in at "The Inn".

Room is spacious and the bed is's huge and comfy.. The lobby, bar and cafe all beautifully appointed with baseball memorabelia.. well so is the room.. even little baseball stickers on the toilet paper rolls... we really did get a nice deal now that I've seen it.

We go eat in "The Ballpark Cafe".. food is pricy but good. Donna had the ballpark burger..I had the ballpark hot dog (a foot long that was about 18" long..stuck out about 2 inches on each end of the bun)..and with ballpark dog I had to have a bock..Austin.. always one to watch cost of items on the menu had a $6 salad and the fried shrimp.. The bill was ... well alot for a burger, a dog and 5 shrimp but the place was nice and the waiter was fantastic.

Back at the room taking it easy.. contemplating going here tomorrow..

Sunday Worship 3/15/09

youtube of practice continues to help our Sunday morning prep and the quality of our offering.. another very good Sunday as far as music and a very cool service that I hope helped people think just a little bit more about their every day lives.. Check out the layout of the worship service below...

10:45 AM

Gathering Music – The Cross of Christ (Wright) (announcements on screen)

Enter the Light of Christ

Praise Music

God of Wonders (Byrd/Hindalong)

How Great Thou Art (Hine/Baloche)

Welcome and Announcements

Introduction to Theme (Donna: Exodus 20 video)

Choral Anthem – Alas! and did my savior bleed? (Banks) (Guest Choir Director, Mike Hunter!)

Children’s Sermon (Kathy)


This morning we invite you to introduce yourself by stating which of the Ten Commandment YOU think is the most important.

Worship Music

All in All (Jernigan)

Wonderful Cross (Reeves/Tomlin/Walt/Watts/Mason)

Prayer Time & Lord’s Prayer (Kathy)

Prayer Response – Enid Hunter, oboe

Scripture Reading – Exodus 20:1-17 (Artie)

Sermon – Does the List Matter? (Mike)

Invitation to Respond

Invitation Music – Sanctuary (Thompson/Scruggs) (transition to table on second verse)

Call to Communion (Mike)

Prayer for Elements

10 Word Exercise

This morning we invite you to circle the word identifying the commandment you struggle with most. You will keep one copy for yourself and bring one forward to lay at the foot of the cross before you participate in the offering and communion.

Communion & Offering (praise team instrumental)

All Christians, regardless of denomination, are invited to participate in this meal of love and remembrance. Come forward to lay your tablet at the cross, before presenting your offering and partaking of communion. You may come to the Table when you feel led and depart on your own.

Go Out in God’s Peace…

See more Sunday worship setlists here

Peace everyone..

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I didn't eat any of this..

Brownies were made earlier this week.. I had none of them..I promise! No... really!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

CC (DOC) NEA CYF/Chi Rho Mid Winter..

Just some memories of CC(DOC) NEA CYF Chi Rho Mid Winter Audio sucks but I hope you can pick up the energy... we had a great time leading the kids but I also had a great time worshiping with them and the band.. It was so free and open and uplifting. It was so much fun and so much a sabbath.. as little sleep as we got (the band) it was great just hanging out and visiting. What a great weekend. I look forward to doing it again someday!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nice news..

Random March 3rd stuff

Tuesday March 3rd Hannah and I went to TCU for another visit.. she wanted to visit with people from the environmental science department and I wanted to check on her scholarship situation..she also wanted to see one of the dorms she had not seen yet.. We ate at fuzzy's she fell in love with enviro science..(she wants to save the world).. we saw several friends of hers and even some of my friends..Then we went to U of Dallas to see her friend Allison Guse.. It was kind of a long day.. but fun to spend it with Hannah..this is just a short clip of the day..

It also proves that if you are going to eat chocolate ice cream and wear white skinny will get some on your pants...

Monday, March 9, 2009

New tune..

A new song I just wrote.. I haven't written one in a pretty good while. Let me know what you think..not that I'll change anything..but I might :P No know who you are.. give me your feedback.

You can also check out some other cool original tunes here.. at the online songwriters showcase..

Sunday's worship.. 3/8/09

This Sunday we did some cool creative/experiential stuff... it really touched some people to actually write "Child of God" on a name badge and wear it.. it was very meaningful.

On the other side they wrote all the things that they were, could be names or titles .. I wrote husband, father, song writer, worship leader, freight guy, friend, bald guy, fat guy, friend, lazy, workaholic, but the key thing is no matter what I'm called I'm a child of God.. here's how worship flowed..

March 8: Blessing

Prelude – Nelda (announcements on screen)

10:45 AM - Lighting of candles

Opening Praise Set

Give Thanks-Smth

Hallelujah (You’re Love is Amazing)- Brown/Doerksen

Stethoscope video

“I got a name” (Croce) – Artie

Welcome to FCC/Announcements (Mike)

Children’s Sermon (Kathy)

Greeting (introduce yourself with label – “Hi, I’m an accountant”)

Worship Set

Every Move I Make -Ruis

Wonderful Cross- Reeves, Tomlin, Walt, Watts, Mason

Short Prayer & LP (Cory)

Sermon – Genesis 17 (Mike)

Transition Music (Sing Hallelujah)-Stassen

(Elements and Guitars lead procession to FH)

Name Making Experience (Cory sets-up, background music on iPod)

Words of Institution (Mike)

Communion – at multiple stations (choir music)

Invitation (Wonderful Cross) Reeves, Tomlin, Walt, Watts, Mason

Prayer of Dismissal (Mike)

Postlude -Give Thanks-Smith

It was a very good Sunday, The experiment with recording practice and posting it on youtube for at home rehearsal for those who need it or can't make practice is still proving to be a big help to the Sunday morning offering by the team.. I really appreciate the effort they are putting in to making worship a priority.

Check out other Sunday worship offerings here


Well.. feeling pretty good... seem to have more energy. Daylight savings time didn't have a huge impact on me.. had more energy dealing with that God forsaken event than I have in recent years. My new pants (a couple of months old..that's new for me) have little buttons on the side.. you can take them up one button on each side. I have taken both of those buttons up the one notch that is on there and they are still very loose.

Hoping that I can be at least to 342 by spring break and payday. That would be 20 pounds off and a nice place to have a celebratory cheater meal. We're hanging around Lufkin next weekend and I'll be at church Sunday morning.. then we're sending Hannah off to Europe early Sunday afternoon..then Donna, Austin, and I are off to downtown Houston. Staying at The Inn at the Ball Park just to try and experience downtown Houston like we have done New York.. find some neat downtown restaurants, go to the zoo, museum, Austin wants to go to The Galleria.. somewhere in there I plan to be bad.. but.. not too much.. I'm really enjoying how I feel and enjoying how my clothes are fitting me. I have one more notch on my new belt then I may be shopping for another new belt. Yeah!!

Those of you who follow me on twitter have probably noticed that my usual 2 x Tuesday (Domino's Pizza) with a Shiner Bock has stopped... I might very well partake in a pizza and some beer.. well some Bock or other dark beer.. while on vacation. I do find God in that little combination!

More to come..

Thursday, March 5, 2009


2 more a week. I'm doing ok, not wanting to splurge too much although last Friday was a very stressful day that involved removing someone from their position here at that place I work at full time.. Never fun.. and I wanted Olive Garden that night and a couple of italian margaritas.. if you haven't tried one of those they are wonderful...

Anyway.. that was my one indulgence...stress induced as it was.

Hope to put up a few more posts later today..

FYI.. if you are not on youtube.. I'm posting video of our worship practice on youtube. It came from the fact that we are changing worship times and we will not have the time we used to on Sunday morning to run through the songs. I also have band members that have conflicts on Wednesday night that can't make practice but they will invest the time to be ready on Sunday if they have the music.. this gives them the music the way we will do it.. not the way Crowder, Tomlin, Baloche or Wright does it but how we will do it and they can work on how they fit in to the mix and be ready Sunday morning. There are also those in the praise team that need more reps on the songs and this way they can sing along with the rest of the praise team to get a better feel for the music.

We only have time on Sunday morning to do a quick run through of our transitions.. example.. this week we'll work on the transition between the last half of the chorus of "Give Thanks" in to the first verse of "Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing)"..that's it.. then the end of "Every Move I Make" in to "The Wonderful Cross".. We'll touch on one other song quickly and then we're done.

We did this last week..and with all the confusion of set up and new service times and getting settled in to where we were supposed to be along with pluggin in and tuning it probably took us between 15 and 20 minutes to work on our transitions between our 2 three song sets...and the music in church was AWESOME!! Everyone came prepared and the church loved the first set so much they applauded us.. that just doesn't happen in our church very often.. one other time in the last year and a half it's happend (when we introduced our rockin' version of "How Great Thou Art"..kinda like Baloche but not...). We got tons of great feedback on the music and how good it was..the church was in to it and the Spirit was moving.. it was a great day...anyway...

The vids go up at and Donna has been doing the editing because Moviemaker keeps cratering on my pc. She's good and pretty quick. She also worked very hard on getting the sound right on the internet feed and our vids this week sound much better..(we are pulling our vids off our computer/video feed we use for Sunday morning live feed broadcasts). The ones last week were not bad but she's got them sounding much better.

In the short run this little experiment has turned out to be a great success.. Hope it continues to be a tool for a quality music offering on Sunday morning.