Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Texas - Part 2 !

Courtney had her car loaded up with things we had brought for her to take back to Alabama.
Isaac is the little stow-away!!  Nope......he stays with us.

The drive down to Buffalo, Texas, was lovely and we enjoyed spending the weekend with
Joe's aunt and uncle.  They have a beautiful property in this small town. 

Isaac and Joshua were more than ready to run around and get the wiggles out!

They had fun with cousins James and Joshua (second cousins? once removed?)

Joshua very quickly remembered the toy closet under the stairs!

Getting ready to enjoy one of the many good meals on the deck.

Courtney and Cousin Robby's wife Amber.

Aunt Lee Gayle - always the gracious hostess!

The couple on the right are missionaries to Nicaragua and were back on furlough.  
It was fascinating to hear about their lives there.


Amber's dad most graciously took a picture of all of us!

Hmmmm......one afternoon we went outside to see that Isaac, Joshua, James, and Joshua 
had been trimming bushes!

Boys helping Uncle Bob out in the barn.

Courtney and I were ready to head out on an adventure!

But first.......a quick check of the engine, tires, fluids, etc. by dear ol' Dad!

And we're off!  We went out to lunch and then went to the Russel Stovers outlet store!

Then the next morning we were ready to head out VERY EARLY to make it back to Arizona in one day!  Of course, gaining two hours as we headed west helped us quite a bit.

Saying good-by is so very hard.

Yes, this is the view for the majority of the drive back!

What a great trip we had!  Looking forward to doing it all again next year!  
Only next year we will be visiting Alabama for Courtney's college graduation!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back On Track......Texas - Part 1

Back in April, we headed to Big Sandy, Texas, for the ATI Regional Conference.  We had heard about this for years, but had never gone.  We had good friends, the Doughty's, who had been and HIGHLY ENCOURAGED us to go!  So we pulled David out of school for a week and headed east!

The beautiful, deep, blue skies of Arizona quickly changed to .........

........storms!  It was bad!
We drove through heavy rain, hail, and strong winds.  It was so bad that
we had to pull over in the Dallas area and spend the night at a truck stop.
So we arrived in Big Sandy a day later than we had hoped.

We arrived on a Sunday morning and set up the truck and travel trailer.
The conference did not start until Tuesday evening, so we had a few wonderful
days to relax, learn our way around, and enjoy great fellowship!

It was cool and rainy when we arrived, but quickly warmed up with UNBEARABLE humidity!

We walked down to the lake and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

Joe and Mr. Doughty took the younger boys out for a canoe ride!

That's David in the other canoe.  He hooked up with some of his friends from QUEST last year.

And had fun in the lake!

Yes, David....this is fun!  Put your happy face on!

It was so great to see the Doughty's!  Here are David and Ashley.

This young man, Samuel, was adopted from China, and hooked up with Isaac and Joshua right away!
His family lives in Florida.

We got a nice tour of the entire campus, and saw where David stayed during his time at QUEST.

Great fellowship every night as families gathered together!

The opening ceremonies were spectacular, with great fanfare!
The theme of the conference was "Draw Near To God" and all of the speakers we 
heard were fabulous!

During the day, the boys went to the Children's Institute and enjoyed crafts, games, teaching, and singing.  It was like an all-day Vacation Bible School!

David was part of the Alert Cadet program and did hiking, rappelling, and other outdoor activities.
You can see him in the back of this picture.

Well, the excitement grew as Courtney drove from Alabama on Wednesday evening and spent the rest of the time with us!  It was SO GREAT TO SEE HER!!!!!

Joe, Courtney, and I were wandering around the conference hall in-between sessions on Thursday, and here comes Amanda!  Neither one of them recognized each other 
at all (it had  been three years, I think?)  
But once they did, the hugs and joyful screams abounded!  Great times.............!!!!

It was so great to spend some time with Courtney!

The key speaker this year was Dr. S. M. Davis whom we have enjoyed for many years.  He has tremendous teaching on families, children, and relationships.  
We own quite a few of his DVD's, so it was such a treat to hear him speak in person multiple times.

Imagine our surprise one evening when he and his wife showed up for dinner down the lane!  One 
of the families had invited them to dinner so we all got to fellowship with both of 
them and enjoy dinner together!

We had to leave the conference a day early to head south down to Buffalo, Texas, where 
Joe's aunt and uncle live.

Stay tuned for Texas - Part 2!!!

(Thank you Doughtys for letting me borrow some of your pictures!)