If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20

Friday, November 30, 2012

Commercial Shoot, Callback and Sleep

It is raining in LA and has been raining since we stepped off the train Monday morning at 5:00 a.m.  For most of you, rain is not a big deal. In LA, RAIN IS A BIG DEAL!  It never rains (it rained 3 times between June 6 and Thanksgiving) so when it does, people freak!  As if it needed any help, traffic takes the major hit during rain.  I mean, on any given day, the traffic in LA is awful but you let water fall from the sky and you can be guaranteed that all cars will come to a stop.

With this in mind, Cole and I left extra early on Thursday to drive to Orange County for his commercial shoot for Fantastic Sam's.  Thankfully, we arrived on time and in one piece but not without some white-knuckle moments.

The crew for this shoot were incredibly professional and organized; two things that don't always accompany a production company.  And, even better, our set teacher was fabulous!  Anybody that can help Cole understand equations in algebra deserves a star in my book.

 I'm sure when the commercial airs, you will never be able to tell that his "bedroom" was just two portable walls in an open warehouse!

I wasn't able to take a lot of picture while Cole was filming due to space constraints but I loved the outfit wardrobe chose.

After filming and three hours of schoolwork (required by law for any student on set), we hit the road to head to Tarzana for an audition.  After an hour and half in traffic, we made it with 30 minutes to spare.  Needless to say, we were so glad to get home and get off the roads.

As we walked in the door, Cole found out that he got a callback on Friday for the Pizza Hut commercial!  So proud of all his hard work.

After sushi and mushroom miso soup for dinner (Sushi 101 restaurant around the corner is fabulous), Cole and I went to bed...at 8:00 p.m.  I think our bodies are still on Arkansas time.

Today, my goal is to unpack our suitcases and do some grocery shopping.  If plans change then we will continue to step over the suitcases in the middle of our bedroom floor and eat crackers for dinner! ;)

I am so missing this young man.  I just LOVED being with him at Thanksgiving and am counting down the days until I see him for our Christmas break.
Spencer and Cleopatra this past summer at Santa Monica pier.

I know I have used this Bible verse many times before but it is my reminder of God's promise to me and I needed it today.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Isn't there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing?"
~Matthew 6:25

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Back to Our Crazy Busy LA Life

Cole and I boarded Amtrak at 3:05 a.m. Monday morning with definite dread and trepidation.  After all of our “adventures” on our trip to Little Rock we were more than a little hesitant to make the return trip to LA.

However, our fears were relieved when the attendant showed us our own room with bunk beds.  And a door for privacy.  Cue the sound of angels singing!  Hallelujah!

The sleeper cars are definitely first class accommodations that include meals, complimentary juice/water/coffee and your own attendant to see to your needs.  Thankfully, Cole and I traveled to Little Rock under not-so-great accommodations so our expectations could only rise.

I am happy to report that our trip was very uneventful.  We ate, we slept and Cole taught me how to play the card game "Hearts".  Our scenery for most of the trip looked like this...
Mmmhmmm, pretty desolate.

We arrived at Union Station in LA at 5:20 a.m. Wednesday morning and caught a taxi to our condo.  We were so glad to be off the train and to be able to take a shower!

The rest of the week is shaping up to be busy.  Cole has to be on set at 3:30 this afternoon for wardrobe/styling for the Fantastic Sam's commercial, then back on set at 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning for filming.  Normally, early morning shoots don't bother me but the set is 50 miles away!  Driving 50 miles in LA traffic is equivalent to going 50 miles on a camel in the desert during a sand storm.  In other words, it's slow!  Guess we'll leave early.

 So thankful to have a safe journey, a wonderful time with our family for Thanksgiving and the fact that we will back home in Arkansas in 19 days!

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
~Matthew 6:21

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend

This year was by far, in my opinion, the best Thanksgiving ever.  I am sure being gone for three months had something to do with it but whatever the reason, I loved it!

Knowing that I would be arriving late Tuesday night, I planned on Brad and I providing the turkey and the ham and having everyone bring all the rest (don't you like how I think!) but Mr. Brad got a wild hair and stayed up Wednesday night making his mom's homemade dressing (so delicious) and then made mashed potatoes and gravy on Thursday morning.  He has turned into Emeril Lagasse while I have been gone!

My counter tops were laden with food but even better, my house was FULL of people I love.  We had so much fun with 23 family members.

Grandma with her four lovies...
Allie, Will, Cole and Spencer.

Uncle Bear, Aunt Marilyn, Mom, Uncle Danny and Aunt Martha with Gigi.

Post lunch outing.  Gotta shake all that food down so we can make room for dessert.

Zane, Shannan and Isabel stayed with us and we LOVED it!

On Friday, most of the clan came back over to our house for craft day.
We painted aprons but I can't post pictures because some of them are Christmas presents. ;)

The boys had so much fun with Izzy.  She is so cute and so smart.  If they could have her for a little sister, they would jump at the chance.
This girl can definitely hold her on with all the boys.

...and gets them to do exactly what she wants.

She and Spencer were throwing kisses to Rusty on the other side of the door.

Zane, Shannan and Izzy left early this morning, heading back to Texas.  It's our last day at home with Brad and Spencer.  Cole and I catch the train at 3:10 a.m. Monday morning for our two day train ride back to LA where we should arrive at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.  I am already counting the days until we get to leave LA come home for Christmas...19 days and counting.

Did you have a blessed Thanksgiving?

I sure am going to miss these sweet faces.

I'm sharing Spencer's favorite verse with you today.

"Therefore, you shall be perfect just as your Heavenly Father is perfect."
~Matthew 5:48

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Two By Train

Taking Amtrak home to Little Rock was not my first choice of transportation.  I am a girl who likes to get to her destination f-a-s-t, although I am not crazy about flying either.  I guess driving fits my personality better…I can leave when I want, stop when I want and listen to my music loud without bothering anyone else (headphones for my passengers to save them from my singing).  I was initially against traveling by rail but Brad convinced me to give it a try.  I knew Cole and I would have lots to remember so I decided to record our travels in a journal-style writing and use my blog.  For most of you, this will be boring but my family wants details!

Sunday evening at 5:45 p.m.
Coppelia graciously takes Cole and I to the train station in Burbank.  It is not a train “station” per se, just a platform with a bench. 

The train arrives 15 minutes late (a foreboding of things to come).  I struggle with my luggage and flashbacks of Brad and I traveling in Europe with backpacks (my pack weighed 40 pounds with items such as 5 pairs of shoes and an iron!) came to my mind and I wondered why I packed so much stuff.  I finally make it onto the train as it starts pulling away from the platform.  By the time our luggage is stowed, I am covered in sweat.  Great.  Sweat soaked clothes for the remainder of my two-day trip.  Can you say lots of Secret and perfume?

We arrive at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles 30 minutes later.  As I hobble off the train with all my luggage, we were greeted by a Red Cap (valet driving a golf cart) named Andrew who stowed our luggage on his cart and took us to the appropriate location to check our luggage.  Andrew was a wealth of information and showed us where to stand in line and even told us that he would be back to pick us up at 9:05 p.m. to take us to the appropriate train.  He doesn’t know it but Andrew was an answer to my prayer.

Union Station is, um, interesting.  It reminded me of the Union Subway station in New York.  Definitely not some place you want to go and just hang out.

Andrew was true to his word and picked us up at 9:00 p.m.  We settled on the train and Cole fell asleep almost immediately.  I, however, was awake until almost 2:00 a.m. when my sleeping pill finally kicked in.

Monday morning, 6:00 a.m.
Cole woke me up with a cup of coffee and the news that he had been exploring the train and had already eaten a cheeseburger for breakfast.  What?  Thank goodness the coffee was strong.

Monday, 7:15 a.m.
My first attempt at using the potty in a moving train.  Trying to squat over a moving object is an acquired skill but one I don’t intend on perfecting.

Monday, 12:45 p.m.
Our first stop where we can get off the train and stretch our legs was Tucson, AZ.  We had a 30 minute stop so Cole and I went exploring.

Wyatt Earp and Doc takin down the no-good-yeller-belly Cole Ewing!

Monday, 5:15 p.m.
Welcome to El Paso, Texas.  Holy smokes, it is amazing seeing the fence for the US/Mexican border, the Border Patrol and the drug sniffing dog that searched the baggage compartment on the train.  Traveling makes me realize even more how blessed we are to be Americans.

   I wonder how long Cole could hang on if we left him here!

Beautiful sunset in Texas.

Tuesday, 1:15 a.m.
As we are pulling into the Del Rio, Texas train station, there are a group of 20 guys playing basketball on the court next to the train station.  Hmmm……

Tuesday, 4:15 a.m.
I am brought out of my fitful sleep by a thud.  Our engine has dropped our sleeping car at the San Antonio train station and we wait for a new engine that will continue across Texas towards our Arkansas destination.  Our car attendant, Andre, informed us that we have at least a three hour stop so Cole and I head out to explore and 
to find breakfast and lots of coffee!  I mean, who doesn't want to go exploring the River Walk at 4:15 a.m.?! 
The Spurs' Stadium was adjacent to the train station.

When an older couple we met on the train, Miss Rita and Mr. Earl, found out we were going to Denny’s, she ask Cole and I to bring her some breakfast.  After her specific instructions about their order, she proceeded to pull her bedazzled and sparkly change purse out of her very ample bosom.  The look on Cole’s face was priceless!  Welcome back to the South, deary!

Tuesday, 7:15 a.m.
We finally pull away from the San Antonio station and head to our next destination.

Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.
At our stop in Austin, Texas, I start talking with Spencer on the phone and then decide to go potty at the train station.  I guess I waited too long to go because as I am exiting the station, the conductor is YELLING at me to get on the train and it starts pulling away from the station!  Now I know what it feels like to run for the train.  Ha!

Tuesday, 10:00 a.m.
Cole’s commercial agent calls to tell us that not only has Cole gotten a callback for a national commercial, but they want to Skype with Cole today for the interview!  Thank goodness for smart phones.

Tuesday, noon
I am NOT adept at walking on a flat floor, much less through the aisle of a moving train so imagine what happens when I am trying to carry my lunch?  And how can James Bond run down the aisle? 

Tuesday, 2:15 p.m.
I am not made for going more than one day without a shower but teenage boys should DEFINITELY NOT go more than 12 hours without one.  In addition to multiple applications of deodorant, he also smells like “Step into Sexy”, my perfume from Avon because I keep spraying him with it to mask his unshowered smell!

Tuesday, 2:30 p.m.
Cole asks for stomach medicine so I get it out of my toiletry bag and he takes it.  A second later I ask what was wrong with his stomach and he tells me it is hurting from what he ate at lunch.  Uh oh.  I game him a laxative!  Thank goodness he can regurgitate his food (TMI) and he spit it out and took some Pepto.  I’m about done with this trip.

Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.
People are cranky if they stay on a train too long (not necessarily talking about me but, yes, I am getting that way.).

Tuesday, 5:00 p.m.
The train stops for a 20 minute break in Austin, TX so I’m walking around the parking lot talking with Spencer on the phone.  Once again, I decide I need to visit the ladies room in the train station and once again, I waited too long to go.  As I was coming out of the station, Cole and I notice all the doors are closed on the train!  Yikes.  We run to the doors and Cole bangs on them to let us in and we jump on as they pull out of the station.  Oh lawzy.

Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.
Tired.  Want a glass of wine but I’m afraid I will fall asleep and miss our stop in Little Rock.  Need real sleep.

Tuesday, Midnight
We arrive at the Little Rock train station safe and sound and only one hour late!  Praise the Lord.

In six days, we have to repeat this trip!

"They are sustained as they travel along..."
~Psalms 84:7

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Monster & Me" Movie Premiere

This past summer, Cole filmed a movie entitled "Monster & Me" and Cole and I, along with Coppelia and our Manager, Katrina attended the premiere on Saturday.  It was so cool, cooler than words, to see him up on the big screen!  So surreal.

He made some amazing friends on set and it was fun for him to be able to get together with them again.
The Premiere was held at the New Beverly Cinema - Quentin Tarantino's Theatre with hors d'oeuvres outside so we could all visit before going in for the movie.

Cole, Hayz, Soren and Scher

Allison, Cole and Scher

Cole with his Manager, Katrina

Do you see a pattern in the above photos?  Yep, Cole only hangs out with beautiful ladies!

It was the first time for all of us to see the movie and we all loved it. Jeff, the Director, has said that the rights have been bought so it will be shown on TV as well as Starz or Netflix and then will be available on Redbox.  Unfortunately, all this will not take place until next year for the Christmas season. ;(

Now, we are packing and getting ready for our long train ride home.  I am a little anxious about the trip, since I have never ridden Amtrak, but Brad reminded me to have fun and take pictures.  I love that man.

I have this cutie pie to look forward to seeing in two days, along with some other people...
I hope he realizes that laying on my kitchen bar and drinking out of the kitchen sink will all come to a screeching HALT when this mama walks in the door.  He doesn't look too worried, does he?!

"For I know what I have planned for you", says the Lord.  "I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you.  I have plans to give you a future filled with hope."
~Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Boys

Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and phone calls I received concerning Spencer.  His doctor's appointment went as we expected...yes, the nerve to his vocal cord is showing some improvement, no it is not where Dr. Richter wants it to be and yes, Dr. Richter was really excited about the progress.  As Brad reminded me, the surgery that Dr. Richter did on Spencer last November was cutting edge in where he detached a nerve from Spencer's collarbone and attached it to Spencer's vocal cords to replace the one that was dead.  I do tend to overlook the fact that without Dr. Richter at ACH, we would have had to gone to The Cleveland Clinic to have the procedure done or most likely, Spencer would have never received the surgery at all.  I have mentioned in the past that I can be a very impatient person and would prefer that God handles these things in my time instead of His, haven't I?

Mom and Aunti Ruthi went to my house on Wednesday and Mom got this picture of Spencer and Max.
Two peas in a pod; both rotten!

Dr. Richter will do surgery again on December 27th to build up Spencer's right vocal cord with silicone.  He has had two of these operations in the past and they are pretty straight forward with the exception of not being able to talk for a couple of days after the surgery.  That for me would be IMPOSSIBLE but Spencer handles it like a champ, of course.

Mr. Spencer has also switched from helping with the Eagles football team (the season is over) to helping Coach Hogue with the boys varsity basketball team.  To say that he loves it is an understatement! I have always loved Arkansas Baptist but to see how they welcome my boys with open arms when they don't even attend school there makes my heart swell with pride.  Cole has already said that when he makes his first million dollars, he will donate money to AB to put in an AstroTurf field in honor of Spencer.  I was thinking more along the lines of recliners to sit in in the stands with heated seats and a Starbucks!

This young man has had me running hither, thither and yon!  He has had a total of seven auditions this week for commercials with one being tonight at 7:00 p.m.  So much for fun with our friends on Friday night.

After a late audition in Santa Monica on Tuesday, we went to The Grove for dinner and a movie.  It was decorated beautifully.

We have had so much fun with Coppelia being back in town.

Cole and I are scheduled to catch Amtrak on Sunday to head home to Little Rock for Thanksgiving.  I say "scheduled" because two of his projects that he has auditioned for have callbacks on Monday and Tuesday of next week.  My philosophy is if they want him, they better call early because this girl needs to get home to see her family.

"Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart."
~Colossians 4:2

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Prayers for Spencer

It is hard for me to believe that it has been 13 years that Spencer has been living faithfully through his trials and tribulations.  13 years.  Wow, what a long road it has been for him.  From being diagnosed with a brain stem tumor to having it removed and being paralyzed to almost losing his battle to death in 2008...you name it and he has seen it.  It makes my heart hurt to know that he is not able to do all the things he wants to do but the one that hurts the most is the fact that he loves food as much as I do but he can't eat by mouth.

In 2008 when Spencer was so incredibly sick, the doctor's realized that he was aspirating on everything he ate and drank.  This means that the food he was eating was going into his trachea and straight to his lungs instead of down his esophagus and into his stomach.  To remedy this problem, he had a g-button put in his stomach and all food and liquids are fed directly into this tube.  Does he complain?  Hardly ever and it usually is only when he is having problems with the feeding pump.  Does he miss eating/drinking by mouth?  Of course.  Does he trust God with all his heart?  No doubt about it.  Could I ever go five minutes without complaining?  Absolutely not!

Recently, Spencer told Brad and I that when he graduates from high school and before he goes to college, he is going to quit using his feeding pump.  Insert shock waves here!  By not using his pump, that means he will go back to eating by mouth and risk aspirating and getting sick.  This mama panicked.  I e-mailed his ENT and told him that "we" (meaning him and his team) only have two years to solve this problem!

So, Spencer has an appointment with Dr. Richter Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m.  We absolutely adore Dr. Richter and know that he is an extremely talented and God-fearing man and he will come up with a solution.

I say all this to ask if you will please pray for Spencer.  I know that God will reward his faithfulness but my prayer is that his reward will come sooner rather than later and that he will once again be able to eat by mouth.  I am also praying that I will be as faithful as Spencer and trust that God's plan and God's timing is perfect.

"O Lord, you alone are my hope.  I've trusted you, O Lord, from childhood."
~Psalm 71:5

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Friends and Filming

Our friends from Amarillo, Anna and Talton, arrived in Los Angeles last week and spent the week with us at the "crazy condo", as we like to call it.  It's like a frat house for grown ups (without the puking, dancing naked on tables or the loud music) that just involves fun things like food, laughing, food, playing Apples to Apples, food, wine and more food.  There is never a dull moment when all three families are here and it is perfect because it makes us forget, if even for a short period of time, how very much we miss our families at home.
Cole, Anna and Talton.

Anna and Talton left Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. and Coppelia flew in from Toronto at 11:00 a.m.!  She is in town for two weeks so there will be non-stop fun until Cole and I leave to head home for Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, Cole had his last day of filming for "Mobster Kids".  He was only in two scenes so he made himself useful during his down time.
Paul, the Director, had Cole acting as the Clapper at the beginning of each scene.  He loved learning how things work behind the camera.

After church this morning, we accompanied the Shea's to Chili's for lunch and then home so Cole could work on school work and work on a call-back he has on Tuesday for a tv series.  Fingers crossed that they like what they see and want to see him again!

Have you had a good week?

"You are the light of the world - like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see.  Don't hide your light under a basket!  Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all."
~Matthew 5:14-15

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life Returns to "Normal"

As my friend, Vickey, would say, "Normal is just a setting on the washing machine."  How true.  Our life is anything but normal.

Brad and Spencer returned to Little Rock Tuesday morning.  I know you won't be surprised when I say I was an emotional wreck.  I just loved all of us being together and we had SO MUCH FUN but the time went way too fast.
Spencer and Sara.  We are keeping Sara this week and part of next week while her owner is filming.

Cole had three auditions and a coaching session on Wednesday, an audition on Friday, filming on Saturday, an audition on Monday and a callback on Tuesday.  Thank goodness for coffee.

"You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!"
~Psalm 92:4

Saturday, November 3, 2012


To say that I am full to the brim with love for my family would be an understatement right now, especially since Brad and Spencer are in LA with us.  There have been lots of hugs, kisses, random and repeated "I love you's" in the middle of the grocery story, gas station or wherever...yep, I'm making sure the boys know how much we have missed them.

Spencer had his last flag football game Tuesday night which was played on the varsity field at Arkansas Baptist High School.  I love that Mom and Papa were able to go to the game and cheer him on.
Absolutely LOVE this picture and LOVE these people!

Trick-or-treating in Los Angeles for Halloween is akin to shopping at Santa's Workshop for Christmas.  It is the epitome of all things wild and crazy from houses hiring actors to dress up like zombies or gargoyles (and be on the roof of their house!) to houses having an entire crew dressed as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video and re-enacting it in their front yard!

Superman Slade, Cole the crazy superhero and Spencer, the crazed Chargers fan!  We had so much fun.

Brad and Cole are on set today for a new feature film Cole is in called "Mobster Kids".  I think Spencer and I are hanging out, watching college football and going to play laser tag.

"So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all the people..."
~Galatians 6:10