Our Story

The Thomas Family

Louisiana meets Iowa meets Missouri meets Tennessee. A family that has blossomed through life's unexpected twists and turns but brought together under God's plan. Each of us has been gifted with our own set of skills and talents that we hope one day will shape the world. If we've learned anything over the past couple of years, it's that one action can lead to an avalanche of change, even if that change is completely out of our control. We hope that our story resonates with you as you learn more about our family. 


Tony- Born in Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1969 where he demonstrated interest in drawing and painting in his early childhood. He received his initial art education at the age of 12. He worked in numerous mediums and explored traditional drawing and painting techniques. During his teens, he exhibited his work in area art shows and galleries in southeast Iowa. 

He attended Iowa Wesleyan University where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Commercial Art. He also completed a Master's Degree in Art Education at the University of Florida while living in Managua, Nicaragua. He served there as a missionary teacher for five years. Currently residing in West Monroe, Louisiana, he spends most of his days painting and perfecting Louisiana recipes. Tony spent several years teaching students how to play the violin as well as organized a fencing club at an international school. As a skilled fencer himself, Tony has competed internationally and has medaled in fencing competitions. If you ever find yourself camping together, there is a 75% chance that Tony will search for natural clay in the soil to shape and create jewelry that he will bake in the campfire like it's a makeshift kiln. 


Phyllis- Born in Ruston, Louisiana in 1975 where she excelled in school, loved to read and attended church on her own. Phyllis had many ups and downs in her childhood and teen years until she found a family to live and attend church with at the age of 14. At age 17, Phyllis moved to Missouri to be near her brother, sister and new boyfriend, Tony. She finished high school and she and Tony were married two weeks later. Tony and Phyllis moved to Vidalia, Louisiana where they had two children, Grant and Joel. Phyllis was a stay at home mom until their youngest, Joel, started Kindergarten. Back in Missouri, Phyllis attended Crowder College and earned her nursing degree. While in Managua, Nicaragua, Phyllis served as a missionary nurse and teacher. She also earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. Upon returning to the States, Phyllis has worked as a dialysis nurse.

Phyllis learned that her biological father was the Duck Dynasty star and Duck Commander, Phil Robertson, in late 2019. She now lives in West Monroe, supporting her husband's art business, working at a dialysis clinic, and getting to know her newfound family.  Phyllis still reads every day and spends most hours listening to worship music.


 Grant and Julie- After meeting at Missouri State University, Grant and Julie moved to St. Louis where they have started their careers. Grant and Julie have made St. Louis their home but you are more likely to find them on a camping trip or hike. Inspired by the world around them, Grant and Julie like to spend more time in the outdoors than stuck behind a screen.


Joel and Kendall- They started out as two crazy kids claiming to just be friends, but love didn't take long to bring them together for a lifetime. Opposites truly did attract when it came to their marriage. Joel is the quiet, rolling stone while Kendall is the middle-of-the-dance floor, planning type. They fill in each other's gaps with two completely different backgrounds to share. Joel is the handyman of their household. He likes to work with his hands and get things done. He went to NIACC's vocational program for building trades, so it's no shock that he would be interested in construction and maintenance. He spent most of his life in Missouri, but was also a missionary kid through his high school years in Nicaragua. His love for the mission field and to work on projects has made him passionate about helping people in the simplest ways. Sometimes all it takes is someone who knows how to use a screwdriver. Kendall is the dreamer and planner of the household. She's the one who has a way with words and loves to use them. This comes through many different avenues of her writing, speaking, and creating simple content to encourage others. She found her love for this while in college for a Leadership Degree with James River College and a Business Management Degree with Evangel University. Before she moved to Missouri, Tennessee is the only home she ever knew. Growing up, she loved to write poetry, sing on the worship team, and play sports. She was never shy of being a team player. From her ponytail, Tennessee past to her bleach blonde, Missouri present, she has always had one goal: to help others.