From CO to TN (in photos)

Fun, successful, tiring, and encouraging:  that was the month of June.

A beautiful army of 15 adults and 18 kids from our River Churches family helped load us into the Penske truck to leave Colorado at the end of May.  We had a gathering with these folks in some form or fashion every night the week before we left.  What a great community.

Here’s the rest of the month of June in pics:

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First, we woke up on moving day to find our “was-gonna-be-spayed-but-we-procrastinated” cat giving birth in the garage.  She finished birthing her three kittens while we loaded the van.   Then she, the kittens, our other cat, 4 of the kids, and Laura squeezed into the van, complete with luggage, cat food & litter box, and pet carrier for 3 solid days of driving from CO to TN.  Isaac and I commanded the Penske.
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Laura’s view for over 1,650 miles of the 3,800+ miles we travelled in June.  We stored our stuff in Limestone, TN, a little town outside Johnson City.  We put our “everyday living” stuff at my parents’ house near Nashville where we will live until we find a rent house this summer.

 

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After recouping a couple of days with my parents, we headed further south to visit family, friends, and churches.  Our first stop was north MS.  We spent the night with a wonderful, mission-minded family who gave up (unbeknownst to us) their master bedroom for us to stay.  Later that night, we visited HeartLand Church.  How nice to see some great friends of a decade now and to see how good the church was doing.  I was amazed that the Lord has been teaching HeartLand many of the same things He’s been teaching us: the power and everyday importance of the gospel, following Jesus not religion, and being “Kingdom minded” (realizing all us churches are on the same team.)  The next night we had a gourmet supper with some friends who stuck with us through the hard Waiting Years in Coldwater…lots of laughs and a late night of giggles for the kids.
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Then we spent some time in my hometown of Florien in central LA, seeing family & getting to speak at a great church there.  My grandmother fed us into oblivion, and we got to see a lot of family and old friends and people who have been my inspiration since I was a kid.  After a few days there, we descended into heavenly-food country in south LA where we spent a week with Laura’s family whom we hadn’t seen in a year.  In this photo, Silas got to learn to swim in the same pool his mama learned thirty years ago.
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South LA.  Laura’s dad hosted a fishing trip on a beautiful pond, and Sam got to do his favorite thing.
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That’s a wad of people, ain’t it?  Friends of ours with five beautiful kids of their own.  Great family and great to hear what the Lord has been stirring in their hearts lately.
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Laura’s uncle hosted a tubing venture on Prien Lake in south LA!
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South LA.  Some friends hosted a fish fry and game night.  We laughed a lot with those folks who have been friends of the family for many years.  As you can see, they know how to be cool.
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Movie night with Laura’s dad for Father’s Day.  Disney cartoon was on tap that night; John Wayne was earlier in the week.
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Next stop was Pineville in central LA.  We got to share our seven-year story at The Gathering Place, a great church who is seeking to follow Jesus, not religion.  And we met up with Camille, a friend we had just left in Colorado!  She is from LA and was in Pineville visiting family when we were there.  Small world.
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One of our last hurrahs was supper with these friends who have loved us since before we were married.  We were part of the same church when Laura and I were engaged.  Love these folks!  We also had frozen yogurt with friends from college days who are still loving people for Jesus in our college town.  AND, on the way out of town, we stopped in on our pastor and his wife from the first church I was on staff.  Such beautiful people, and we loved hearing how the Lord had sustained them and given them a more blessed life now than ever.
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After the grand “tour” of the south, we returned to my parents’ house, helped a bit around the place, and caught up on laundry and finances.  Just when we thought we’d go visit Johnson City again to look for a rent house, the kids came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.  Fever & itchy hands and feet (mouths were spared) worked its way through all five kids, in varying degrees.  THEN, Silas went through a couple of days of stomach trouble that I won’t even discuss that kept us up late and sent us to Urgent Care.  (I will say it involved lots o’ prune juice, paper towels, and a Wal-Mart parking lot at night.  Make of it what you wish.)  And a big thank you to friends in the medical field who saved us the cost of an ER visit!  When we all recoup, we plan to go back to Johnson City/Jonesborough to check out rent houses, hoping to move there by the end of July or early August to begin setting up our online businesses, getting in the community, and meeting those whom Jesus wants us to disciple.  We think it’s great how God hasn’t spelled out exactly what we’re going to do there…keeps us on our toes and following Him.  He’s setting the agenda.  And it’s good.

And, so, there’s the month in pictures.  I wish we had pics of ALL the people we saw along the way.  That way you could see how the Lord went ahead of us to arrange this whole month; we were able to reconnect with way more folks than we thought we’d be able to, representing over 30 years of relationships.  And we were encouraged to hear how God is teaching His children so much about Himself and those He loves, all over the U.S. from Colorado to Tennessee to Mississippi & Louisiana.

Thank you all for being with us!

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