Enchanted Rock 2014

Last week, out of the blue, Paul said, “Hey, let’s get a hotel and go to Enchanted Rock!”

So, we did….

We headed out Sunday night, after my parents left Giddings.

Monday morning we got up (fairly) early and headed over to Enchanted Rock (from Fredericksburg). It was beautiful morning, and we really enjoyed it!

About to start the Summit Trail

About to start the Summit Trail

Summit Trail

Summit Trail

Summit Trail

Summit Trail

in front of some neat rock formations

in front of some neat rock formations

the view

the view

at the top!

at the top!

"I'm on top of the world!"

“I’m on top of the world!”

very cute picture of the two of us!

very cute picture of the two of us!

taking a rest, on the way down!

taking a rest, on the way down!

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A Tearful Good-bye

Yesterday my parents came to Giddings to see us one last time before we move. We had a great day! I’m really glad they came to visit.

(Paul has been playing golf like crazy lately, so he and my dad played golf together yesterday afternoon)….

Paul vs. Paul–the ultimate showdown at Giddings County Club!

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Paul vs. Paul

Paul

Paul

Dad

Dad

Giddings Country Club is just a 9-hole course, so it only took a couple of hours. They both enjoyed it, I think.

My mom and dad just stayed for the day, so they left around 5:00pm. It was a tearful good-bye, but I know we will see them again soon. Illinois is only a train-ride away!

Mom, me, and Dad

Mom, me, and Dad

We Love

On Friday and Saturday we got to love on some of our kids!! Over the past 2 years or so some of the H.S. girls have come over a handful of times and I’ve made tater tot casserole. They love it, so they asked me if I’d make it again before we moved. So, on Friday, Kimmie and Victoria came over for lunch.

Kimmie, me, and Victoria

Kimmie, me, and Victoria

Later that afternoon we went to the Homecoming Pep Rally. Yes, I know I blogged a couple of weeks ago that I had gone to my last pep rally, but things changed! Paul went with me, which was fun!

Paul, Kyle, and me

Paul, Kyle, and me

Kyle is a junior and the quarterback for the Varsity football team. He and his family go to our church, so he’s had a special place in our hearts over the past 2 years.

On Saturday, Jaycie and Dana came over for lunch and ate the rest of the tater tot casserole, and we visited for a couple of hours!

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Dana, me, and Jaycie

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me, Dana, and Paul

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me, Jaycie, and Paul

Saturday night we drove over to Bastrop and had one last dinner with Kris, Heidi, and the girls!

Aubrey and Paul

Aubrey and Paul

Aubrey loves Paul!!! (Kinley will grow to love him, as well)!

Paul and Kinley

Paul and Kinley

This is such a great picture of the four of us all together!

Kris, Heidi, me, and Paul

Kris, Heidi, me, and Paul

We will certainly miss Kris and Heidi! Thank you for being our friends and loving on us over the past year and a half!! We love you!

We Are Loved

Over the last several days we have been loved on, and we have shown love to those who know us the best.

As I mentioned in the last post, Sunday, October 12th, was our last Sunday at First Baptist. However, we still had one Wednesday night to go.

So….on Wednesday, Oct. 15th, we went to church for the last time. The youth threw us a little “party”

all of our GIRLS at FBC!!

all of our GIRLS at FBC!!

Then, after the Business Meeting downstairs, the church had a cake for us, along with some well-wishes and a basket full of cards! It was surprise and was definitely a BLESSING! We got a few very unexpected monetary gifts, that will certainly come in handy as we begin the move next week!

The Cake

The Cake

us with the cake at FBC

us with the cake at FBC

Let me back up a little bit. On Tuesday I did not have to work, so I thought I would pack another box (or two). Well, what ended up happening was that I pulled everything out of the top of the closets and then just stopped. I got overwhelmed and didn’t want to finish. Here’s the evidence….

the extra bedroom BEFORE!!

the extra bedroom
BEFORE!!

So, it sat like that for a couple of days. Well, Thursday Paul finished it for me!

AFTER!!

the AFTER!!

Thank you, Paul. Also, on Thursday afternoon Paul went crazy and just started packing everything in the kitchen!!!

Crazy guy!!

Crazy guy!!

This is what it looked like as I was trying to make dinner, and he was packing!

The disaster....as I'm trying to cook!

The disaster….as I’m trying to cook!

Luckily, I got it cleaned up afterwards!

Much better....

Much better….

So, because of Paul’s packing frenzy, more and more boxes keep getting packed!! (It’s reality, people; we have 6 days, and we are out of here)!!
CAM04361 CAM04357 CAM04358Friday and Saturday have been really fun, but those pictures will be for another post! My parents are coming tomorrow, and I have to finish cleaning!!

Some More “LASTS”

This post is just filled with a bunch of random stuff….

Because we are moving back to Great Oaks, we will be required to send out monthly support newsletters, like we have done before (when we were there from 2009-2012).

Below is the start of our very first newsletter we wrote in February 2009.

FIRST Newsletter

FIRST Newsletter

This is our latest newsletter that went out this past week!

LATEST Newsletter

LATEST Newsletter

Ready to be mailed

Ready to be mailed

Here’s what it says,

Dear Friends and Family,

Callie and I are excited to announce that I will be rejoining the staff at Great Oaks Camp (in Lacon, Illinois) this November. I will be resuming the role of Program Director, but my duties will also include Guest Services, which is a new twist on my former position.

For those of you who may not know or don’t remember, Great Oaks Camp serves 225+ inner-city children and teens from Peoria (the next “big city” over, about 30 miles away from Lacon) every summer by providing a 100% free week of camp to each child who qualifies and chooses to sign-up. The weeks of summer camp at Great Oaks are divided by age and gender to help those in attendance focus on what it means to trust in a loving God and have a relationship with Him through activities, games, Bible studies, and interaction with the full-time Great Oaks staff, as well as the summer counselors. A select number of teen campers are invited back during the final six weeks of camp to participate in a discipleship program known as T.R.A.I.L. T.R.A.I.L. stands for Transforming, Renewing, And Impacting Lives for Christ. During the fall, winter, and spring the T.R.A.I.L. campers are also invited back to camp to participate in two-day retreats in order for the staff at Great Oaks Camp to continue their year round ministry and continue impacting the lives of young people from Peoria.

Great Oaks Camp has a unique approach to ministry (through inner-city camping) and although offering a free week of camp to 225+ campers can be a blessing, it can also be a tremendous drain on their financial resources as a whole. For this reason, staff salaries are kept to a minimum so maximum resources can be used directly for the ministry. All members of Great Oaks staff, from the Executive Director to their summer counselors, raise monetary support to supplement their lower salaries. When Callie and I both worked at Great Oaks Camp (from 2009-2012) any monetary support we received through fundraising was certainly welcome and was a blessing to us, as a financial “bonus.” However, as we return to Great Oaks this fall, financial support through monthly monetary donations is going to become a necessity, in order for our ministry to be the best that it can be, as well as for us to be able to support ourselves.

Our goal for this coming year is to find TEN (10) people who would be willing to give a minimum donation of $25.00 per month, in order to supplement our cost of living. (It can also be flipped the other way; if TWENTY-FIVE (25) people would like to donate a minimum of $10 a month, that would be fine, too). We are looking for at least a one-year commitment from those who are willing to donate that way.
.
One time donations are certainly appreciated and welcome but because Callie and I see living and serving at camp as a long-term commitment, we are looking for others to join us and support us in our ministry long-term.

Included with this letter you should have received a response slip and a return envelope, for your convenience. Please use it, as you wish. If you would like to set up automatic withdrawal, so it will come out of your checking account each month, without you having to write a check, Great Oaks can certainly help you with that. Just give the office a call at
(309) 246-4005 and ask for Tyler.

Callie and I covet your prayers, as we begin this journey and adventure.
• Please pray for safe travels as we pack and move at the end of October/beginning of November.
• Please pray we are able to get the financial fundraising we need to supplement our income each month, beginning in November.
• Please pray for Paul as he transitions into his new position and hits the ground running.
• Please pray for the children and teens that Great Oaks serves. Pray God would speak to their hearts and that they would be blessed because of Great Oaks’ ministry.

Thank you for your friendship and love.

So….70 letters went out this past week. We are praying the Lord would provide for us, through those who would like to support us each month monetarily.

On a different note, this past Saturday we went to Austin and sold Mom/Dad’s car. We’ve been driving Mom’s old car (1998 Toyota Camry) since June of 2012, when Mom got a new one. Well, we knew that we didn’t want to take it to Illinois (and didn’t really need it, to be honest), so we asked if we could sell it. So, we took it to Carmax and sold it! We were pleasantly surprised with how much we got and will definitely use the money we got to help us move!

1998 Toyota Camry

1998 Toyota Camry

This just kind of a “funny story” but back in 2011-2012 (before we moved) I worked at our church, Chillicothe Christian. Each day I would make myself a “To Do” list for the following day, so I would know what I needed to work on/complete, etc. Well, after we had shared the news with CCC that we were moving, here’s what Bob (our pastor) wrote on my “To Do” list….

Bob's "To Do" list for me....

Bob’s “To Do” list for me….

If you can’t read it, it says, “Inform TX we will NOT be coming, going to stay in Chillicothe instead.”

Well, Bob….your wish has come true!

Here’s another sign Bob made for me and stuck it on my desk!!

Bob's note for Texas!

Bob’s note for Texas!

Well, again, Bob, we’re coming home!!

On another note….we spend a lot of time (and money) at Sonic, getting drinks during Happy Hour! This sign used to hang in our kitchen (I took it down last week)….we’re going to have to get used to not having a Sonic 2 minutes away! Peoria has a Sonic, but it’s 40 minutes away!!

Sonic!!

Sonic!!

This past weekend (Friday and Saturday) we drove over to Hamilton to see Paul’s mom/dad/sister. Paul’s mom has chickens, which Paul had not seen, so we fed the chickens while we were there.

Chicken Whisperer

Chicken Whisperer

Saturday we drove over to Stephenville and ate lunch at Jake and Dorothy’s. (It’s a tradition to go anytime we’re in Hamilton)…..

Father and son.

Father and son.

Today was our last Sunday at First Baptist, Giddings. Here are just some random pictures with some of our kids….

Jasmine and me

Jasmine and me

Melissa and me

Melissa and me

Walker and me

Walker and me

I like this next picture a lot…..

our last Sunday

our last Sunday

Walker now goes to church in Round Rock with his dad, but he came back to FBC Giddings today to play with Paul one last time.

Paul and Walker playing together

Paul and Walker playing together

I worried about how Walker was going to take us moving, but…..he is moving, too! In November, after football season, he is moving to Round Rock with his dad, who is getting married! So, it actually works out perfectly (I don’t have to worry as much)….

As I said, today is our last Sunday at FBC. We will, however, be there on Wednesday, for one last Wednesday night. So, some of our good-byes will be delayed a little bit longer!

Packing Up….and Reflection

Packing Up

Well, since we’ve known for 6 weeks now that we’re moving, we started packing a couple of weeks ago….

We’ve moved 7 times (lived in 8 different places) in 8 years….we should get a medal or something!!

Paul packing books

Paul packing books

We’ve kept most of our boxes through the years. The benefit of keeping the boxes is you can use the exact same box for the next move, just change the date and the destination. 🙂

old box, new move...

old box, new move…

This was our “small” pile of boxes as of last week. It’s gotten bigger since then.

small stash of boxes.

small stash of boxes.

Fragile stuff takes the most time because it has to be wrapped! Uuuggghhh!!! I am NOT looking forward to packing the kitchen!

a day off of work last week meant an afternoon of packing a box or two

a day off of work last week meant an afternoon of packing a box or two

Uuuummm….I made a mistake and made it to heavy. So now we have an “end table” for the couch!

I packed it and now I can't lift it!

I packed it and now I can’t lift it!

About three weeks ago we were trying to decide what truck company to use for the move. But, more importantly, what size truck to get. So, Paul and I measured all the furniture and the appliances and he drew a model scale of the truck to see if it would all fit! 🙂

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measurements and a scale drawing of the truck

Here’s hoping we measured right, and it all fits! 🙂

And, because I’m so excited about being back with my friends, Shannon, and Ember, this is for them! (I’m coming back)!

IMG_20140918_115854Reflection

I have come to the conclusion that Paul and I are who we are; we are different. We don’t fit the mold of what a “normal” young, married couple is. (Whatever the definition of “normal” is). We will always go where the Lord leads.

IMG_20141003_205850It is a joy to be in His presence.

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Psalm 16:11

I know it’s hard for some people to to understand why we want to move back to Illinois and work at Great Oaks Camp again. I can’t really explain it, except to say it just feels right. Words can’t really explain it, but God is calling us home.

home-is-where-the-heart-isI know….Waco is my home(town), but, for the past three years, my heart has been living in Illinois. Even though we’ve been here in Texas, I knew we weren’t going to be here forever. We’ve had some difficult times over the last three years, but God has been faithful. Our ministry in Giddings is important and has led us to learn and grow in our faith, more than ever. But, now, we are ready to move on. We are ready and willing to follow God into a new chapter of our lives. Over the past year we have been looking for other places to serve, and nothing has worked out. God has blatantly shut those doors, perhaps knowing all along, where He wanted us to be. We just had to wait on His timing, not our own.

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Proverbs 19:21

I know being in ministry is sometimes a hard thing for people to understand. Ministry is so different than any other work field/career; it’s hard to explain unless you live it. Our ministry field is based on our faith and our desire to follow after Christ in everything we do. Paul and I both embraced that mission when we decided to go to seminary and have continued down that path through 8 years of marriage, 4 (now almost 5) ministry positions, and 7 moves. Nothing we do is ever flippantly decided or just done on a whim. Every decision and every choice we make is bathed in prayer and not taken lightly. We base our ministry and our life on God’s promises that He will remain faithful to us if we continue to seek His will (Hebrews 11:6 and Deuteronomy 7:9).

Ezra 10:4

Ezra 10:4

We remain faithful, knowing the Lord will bless us on the mission field. It IS a mission field. It may not be the jungles of Africa, the deserts of Saudia Arabia, or the seas of the Caribbean, but right smack in the middle of Illinois, there is a mission field. In a small town called Lacon. At a camp called Great Oaks. It is our mission field.

Jesus says in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

What did He mean by “go”?

Many theologians says it means “as you go….”
So:
  • “as we go” about working at Great Oaks Camp, we will make disciples
  • “as we go” about living at Great Oaks Camp, we will make disciples
  • “as we go” about shopping/living in Lacon, we will make disciples
  • “as we go” about worshiping at CCC, we will make disciples
Disciple-making is so much more than making something, like a craft or a new recipe. Disciple-making isn’t a one-time thing that you create and then stand back and admire, as a masterpiece (as if you’ve created a new piece of pottery or baked and decorated a new bundt cake)….it’s a way of life.
As you go about life today, make disciples.

And, to conclude. Paul and I are on this journey….together. Whatever comes our way, we can do it. Together.

“Side by side they visit God’s church and partake God’s banquet, side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations….. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. …Seeing this Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present.”
-Tertullian