I think there's something wrong with me. I had the opportunity to go to Busch Gardens for free on Thursday for the last 'fun day' of the missions week, but I stayed home and did yard work literally all day long. And that was just weeding and I didn't even finish. I guess I shouldn't feel too badly about not wanting to go to Busch Gardens - 4 of the 6 of us didn't want to go so I wasn't the only one. Nicole and Nicholas represented us just fine. :-) So that was Thursday. Yesterday (Friday) the kids and I mowed the lawn and Tim edged. And today we need to trim the hedges and the ficus trees and weed whack, and I really want to lay down mulch to hopefully curb all the weeding I do. I am really missing living in the RV right now! Even the rental house we were in for almost 2 years afforded us so much more time in our lives due to not having all the yard work and house maintenance! When the kids are gone I'm thinking I will need to hire a lawn service - or maybe we'll sell the house and go back on the road in an RV! The Lord only knows. :-) Well, it's time to end my ramblings and start the day. Hope everyone is having a great weekend, with a lot less yard work than us! :-)
When we last left off, it was mid-June and Father's Day had just past. A few days after that I went down to Port Charlotte to spend the day with my Dad, and we had a great time hanging out and catching up. After spending time together at the house, we grabbed some lunch and went to a park in Punta Gorda on the water - it was SO nice! From there we went to the nursing home that my mom is in and hung out with her for awhile. We went back home and then my sister got home so I was able to spend some time with her before I made the trek back to Riverview.
The next day I met with 2 former IBM colleagues for lunch, and we had the BEST time! I still don't miss working there (and neither do they!), but spending that time with them reminded me of how much I do miss the people. I worked with some of the best of the best, and it was really quite emotional hearing of their ups and downs and highs and lows over the last several years since the last time we got together. Here's a picture of the three of us:
The next week saw Nathan and Nicole taking advantage of an opportunity that came their way to attend Worldview Academy at Clearwater Christian College. Worldview Academy is a 1 week Christian leadership training, and they came home fired up and excited about the prospect of going next year. They were especially challenged in the area of critical thinking, so much so, that we have seen them more discerning of things that have come their way since then. Here are a couple of pictures that were taken of them at the camp that week:
Then this past weekend we had THE BEST time! We drove up to North Carolina on Thursday and arrived at our dear friends, the Hoffman’s house that evening. We were greeted with a great southern meal of lamb stew along with green beans and fried potatoes from their garden. The reunion was sweet and the kids get along great! The next day was July 4th, and they had a company picnic that we were invited to since Tim had done some consulting with their business, and let me tell you, they know how to throw a company picnic!! They rented out this whole quarry with a lake and rock climbing and volleyball and sack races and a huge fireworks display - the kids had a BLAST! Here are a couple of pictures from the event. You've heard of a belly flop or a back flip? Check out Nicholas' back flop! You could hear him smack his back on the water wherever you were - I heard a few people groan in sympathetic pain! :-) He was no worse for the wear, though.
The last time we visited the Hoffman's, Mrs. Hoffman had mentioned that she would really like us all to go on this 17 mile bike ride called the Creeper Trail in Virginia - about 2 1/2 hours from their house. I gotta tell you, the first she talked about it I was really not interested. 17 miles! Are you kidding?! But we arranged to go on July 5th, hurricane notwithstanding, and ended up having the best time and the most gorgeous weather you could imagine! Much like the canoe outposts that take you upstream and let you paddle back to the base, we were driven in a van up a mountain and given bicycles that we rode 17 miles downhill back to the base. It took about 3 hours, and with the exception of Nicole's acrobatic flying episode over her handlebars and scraping her chin and chest, we all made it down virtually unscathed, and everyone absolutely loved it!!
The next day we went to church together and then just spent time together at their house. Noah and their youngest, 3 year old Joseph, hung out at the pool together - they were so cute to watch their interactions! Laura and I picked wild blackberries and subsequently noticed we had a ton of chigger bites between us! Argh! They cooked a feast on the grill for dinner, and then we enjoyed a time of blessings and thankfulness, where we shared things we were thankful for about different members of both families, and then the parents blessed each of the children. It felt very powerful and life giving, and we heard from several of the kids how thankful they were for that time. We've known the Hoffman's for almost 30 years, so to have that kind of history and love for each other is very special indeed - we feel incredibly blessed!
As my mom has always said, all good things must come to and end, so this was no exception. We took off in the morning yesterday and arrived home safe and sound last night. This morning we got up early to go to our church and join the rest of the youth group for the local missions week our church has been doing since Sunday. This morning Tim went with the kids to a local elementary school in a poor section of town to read to the kids and hang out and share the love of Christ with them. This afternoon Tim had to work, so I went with them to the fire stations to hand out food and goodie bags and thank them for serving our county and to pray over them. Tomorrow we go to a local nursing home, and then to the beach. I'll see if I can get some pictures from that time. Hope everyone is doing well! Blessings to all!
Tim & Jodie