Monday, May 16, 2011

Seeing dear friends along the way....

One of the biggest blessings of our life has been friends - some who go back to high school days, through college, seminary, five pastorates, and four interims.  From the days when we could only keep in touch via snail-mail and usually just at Christmas, to this day and age when we are facebook friends with many and frequently in contact - its joyous!  And we have delighted in crossing paths with many during our travels, and especially since retirement.  This trip was no exception.  We'd never been to Indiana...but thought we should check with a couple of friends who might be in the area - one in Holland MI (only a two hour drive from Elkhart), one in Goshen IN (less than a fifteen minute drive from our RV plant.)  Wow - God is good!

The Nelsons were seminary classmates of ours.  Mary Gray and I were best friends during our years as students at McCormick, while Tom and Jerry were close friends as well.  It was Jerry's delight to officiate at their wedding some years later....and the years simply melted away when we reunited at their home in Holland.  Best of all, it was during the Tulip Festival, so the flowers were spectacular.
Unfortunately, we did not take one single picture of our overnight visit with Mark and Deb Lindemood, who have been friends since our days in Marshall MO...we just have our memories, which we treasure.  I think we were so busy talking we forgot all about shooting pics!

The trip home included a weekend stop in St. Louis to spend time with our surrogate grand-kids, Garrett and Shannon Worley, who are growing up into such lovely youngsters.  Garrett did his best to teach his Grumps some skill with "Angry Birds," or baseball on the Wii--guess who always won?  Shannon loves our Sparkie-doodle (as she calls her).  We loved being in their home and being a part of their family - no matter how many miles separate us.  Now we look forward to seeing them in the fall in the Ozarks for some camping time.

We attended high school graduation for Kickapoo High School to see another "grandson" graduate - and he was  one of the speakers at the Commencement!  Spencer gets to be our grandson by virtue of the fact that we adopted his dad as one of our own when he started college at Missouri Valley College in 1972...and the relationship has remained strong for 39 years.  Next week it will be Jerry's honor to officiate at the wedding of Spencer's sister, Meredith, in Sequin TX...and our whole family will be present.  (Hooray for Carla coming next week!)  Another blessing of being in Wichita this past year was that Kansas was in Mike's territory for his business, and we were able to spend evenings with him several times as he traveled through. We will miss those evenings and those visits! Thank you all for being our friends - and for sharing this journey we call life with us. You are special!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wichita to Wimberley via Elkhart IN


The year in Wichita is fast drawing to a close.  What a joy it has been to be this close to Carla (once again) She spent Easter with us and we celebrated her birthday as well.  And then I was blessed to have her present to make my Mother's Day complete.  NOTE:  On Mother's Day, Carla was with us...and on Father's Day, Jo was able to be with us - isn't that great?  We each got to share our special day with one of our children!
The church family honored us with a Texas Barbeque lunch following worship--good food, great fellowship, and special memories to take back to Texas with us.  This is our dear friend, Bob McCune, leading the group in singing "Home on the Range" to bring the festivities to an appropriate close!
One of the highlights of our weekend with Carla and friend Pat in Wichita was the opportunity for us to meet some more members of our friends' family. Sam and Mardelle Moyers' family from California were in for a visit - and their son-in-law is Eric Close.  Carla had been a big fan of "Without a Trace" which Eric did for 7 years.  Most recently, he is in a summer series entitled "Chaos".  He was charming, down-to-earth, and the whole family was just plain fun to be around!
And then the day arrived - we left Wichita heading towards Elkhart IN to pick up our new RV and trade in this one.  Here is Jerry making the last run on this Itasca that has given us so many fabulous memories--it has served us well, and we are so glad we had it.  I called the folks we bought it from, and left them a message telling them how much we had enjoyed many miles we had put on it..and what a blessing it had been to us.  I had a nice call back from them catching us up on what had been going on in their lives, including a battle with cancer.  Finally, we are in Elkhart, and Jerry gives a big "thumbs up" as he examines the new Phoenix Cruiser.  (You can check it out on their website, if you are interested - model 2400.)  We are so very pleased with it!


Monday, May 09, 2011

God at work

The interim is completed in Wichita, and we are on our way to new adventures - back to our new home in Wimberley with our new motor home..but first we are on our way to Elkhart IN to make the trade.  And so this is the the story of the first day of the journey and God's incredible blessings for His family.

It was time to stop, and we really wanted to dry camp someplace...but along I-70 east of Kansas City you just don't run across Wal-Mart Supercenters, which is our favorite spot.  So we decided to pull off at Concordia MO.

Now Concordia is not very far from Marshall MO, where we spent 13 fabulous years...and when you live that close, there was never any reason to go to Concordia, so we were not familiar with it...except to know that it is a strong Lutheran community with several Lutheran churches and schools...its lovely in appearance, clean, well-kept homes...and as we drove around on this Sunday evening, we couldn't locate the city park, so I offered to go up to a home and see if the folks would mind us parking on the street at the side of their home.  And here was a nice home on a huge lot with adults in the driveway--perfect.

As I walked over towards them,  the gentleman walked towards me..and I ask him if he would mind if we parked on his side street.  He suggested traffic was a little heavy on that street, why not use the church parking lot. I had not noticed there was a church on the other side of his house.  He tells me he is the pastor (first God-incidence) I tell him my husband is a retired Presby pastor (who is very good at flunking retirement!)...he says he holds dual membership, Disciples of Christ and Congregational, and this is a Congregational church he is serving.  So we check out the parking wouldn't work for our he sends us to the Community Center parking lot across the street.

Now we are set up, sitting in our lawn chairs enjoying the Missouri breeze and cool evening, and he walks over to tell us he has notified the Police that we are there with his permission, and all will be well.  He meets Jerry...and finds that Jerry is an AAMFT counselor, while he is a Pastoral Counselor with a small practice in Blue Springs (God-incidence #2).  He asked about Jerry's pastorates, and when Jerry said "Enid OK", he says he is a graduate of Phillips Seminary  (God-incidence #3..since I was Registrar at Phillips for several years), so he and I share names of acquaintances.  And then we start on the pastor friends we share (God-incidence #4)--Dave Carter in Hobart OK, Lloyd Gentry in Aurora MO, Bob Sweeten in Marshall MO - all Disciples and all pastors our new friends knows.

We swapped cards and thanked him profusely for his hospitality, had a great night's sleep, and were on the road when he called to check on us.  Thank you, Dr. Alan Gatewood, pastor of the Bethel United Church of Christ, Concordia MO.

Once again, there is NOTHING like the Family of God!

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