Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year!

Along with everyone else, we’re wondering how 2011 passed by so quickly!  We’ve had quite an adventurous 2011, so we have a few ideas where the time went :)  And we’re taking that adventure into 2012!!  What are your plans for 2012?  Actually, a better question is… what is God’s plan for your 2012?? 

Since a new year is upon us, it’s a great time to make changes.  I’m going to trying to blog a little differently.  Hopefully, it’ll make it easier to follow our adventure in real time.  I will continue to blog about our adventures at each location, but I will also post about where we are and where we’re headed next as those events are happening.  I also still need to give you a tour of our RV!  

We’re so thankful you are on this journey with us!  Your prayers, comments, and emails are a blessing to us.  We LOVE hearing from you!  If you have a question, please ask.  Also, if there is something you’d like to know about that I haven’t mentioned… just let me know.  

And to catch you up to our current location… we’re in San Antonio, TX!  We’ll be here for a week and then we’ll continue our journey west to El Paso, TX. 

May God's blessings be yours in 2012!!  It's going to be an amazing year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A few days in the Georgia Mountains....

We're now officially "Westbound"!

After a short travel day on Nov. 30th, we arrived at our next destination... The Mountain House, near Helen, GA.  We got to spend a few days hanging with G and Nan!  More friends from Panama City that the Lord has moved north.  Our relationship with the Evans was actually knit *after* they moved!  We knew each other from church, but the Lord has been building our relationship in an amazing way for the last 14 months.  The Lord really does bring people in our lives at pivotal times and then we are blessed all the more for those relationships.

Our "campsite" :)  We're actually parked in front of their 5th wheel RV (which you can't see because it's tucked in on the other side of the house.)
And yes, our trucks are twins :)
The night time temps were c-o-l-d here (19*-29*).  We're so thankful our hosts made us sleep in the Mountain House.  :)  Although, they didn't have to twist our arms too much... hee hee

Our hosts are very are young at heart and love to play!!  The kids had a blast riding the ATVs, firing their weapons, baking cookies, and playing with their critters.

DT Ripstickin'

Jolie on the little ATV.  Faith driving DT on the big ATV.

DT and Jolie

Takin' my love to the back 40 ;)

Baking sugar cookies with Nan :)

This is the BEST dog!  Jolie and Brodie....hanging together.
(The kids have missed their doggie very much, so they really enjoyed loving and playing with Brodie and Shiloh.)

We also took care of a couple of other things:
Inaugural run on FaceTime with friends from Panama City getting ready to also head out on a grand RV adventure.
Squeezing in math between ATV races.

A Quick Field Trip

After many trips to this area over the years, we finally made it to the Cabbage Patch Babyland.  We were practically the only people touring the "hospital" the day we went.  (We are getting very spoiled being able to enjoy places and not have to wait in lines and battle crowds!)  It was a sweet, funny field trip.  Shhh...don't let them know I told you this, but even the boys enjoyed it!

A concrete baby head coming out of a cabbage... kinda creepy!

We started the tour by going through the nursery...

There was a nursery baby "nurse" that was very sweet and friendly.  She was rocking the "baby" when we walked in and she let Jolie hold the "newborn".
Then we made it to the magical crystal tree where the cabbage patch babies are born.  We got to see a live birth...  (there were PA announcements in the hospital announcing that there was a cabbage- 10 leaves dilated. Bwahhhaaa.... too funny.)  The "delivery" nurse talked as she "delivered" the baby, making it sound like she was really delivering a baby.

Labor and delivery at the magical crystal tree

It's a BOY!!!

After the birth, the baby gets all checked out...weighed and measured.

The kids had the honor of naming the baby...  
meet Jon Daniel:

That's their namesake in the bassinet.

Merry Christmas from Babyland General Hospital!

On Saturday, Nan and G's grandsons came over to play...  and boy howdy... did they play!  Football, DS, riding the ATVs, shooting, and roller skating!

G and the boys playing with their toys!

Practicing for his possible future profession.

Faith is quite the sharp shooter... hitting most targets attempted!

Don't mess with this Texas girl!

Still not worn out from all the morning's activities... so we took them skating!

The trip to the roller rink provided an extra field trip for Daniel... to the Urgent Care facility!  The ladies there were all so very sweet and he got a lesson about radiology:)

Xrays of a wounded elbow.
We took Daniel in with a potential broken elbow, but praise the Lord... it was only a serve bruise.  He's rocking the cool black sling now :)

Another Sunday... another new church.  This time... a megachurch:  
Free Chapel!

Amazing sound system...  this picture was taken about 1/3 of the way back in the sanctuary.   There were still 2 more sections of seating behind here!

Mac Powell from Third Day rocked the praise and worship.
Pastor Jentezen Franklin rocked the preaching!
"Step OUT of Line" was the title of the message.
And well, that's exactly what we did when we started this
RV adventure!!

After church we went out to lunch...where Nan and G surprised Faith by having the restaurant staff sing Happy Birthday to her :)

Another 13th birthday surprise!  :)

Farewell "Mountain House"
... you are so cozy tucked into the north GA mountains!

Monday morning...  time to head for our first week of service!!!  Tuscaloosa, AL will be home for the next 10 days as Jon serves with Samaritan's Purse rebuilding homes destroyed by the spring tornadoes that devastated this community.  He is so excited about this opportunity to be the hands, feet, and back of Jesus...

Monday, December 19, 2011

We were Resting Travelers in South Carolina

Ah, we made it to the quaint town of Traveler's Rest, SC.  This was home for 2 weeks.  We came to this area because one, we love it here, but most of all.... we love a few of the people that live here :)  God has blessed us with dear friends from Panama City, FL that now call Greenville, SC home.

We arrived just in time to attend a Britt Nicole and Brandon Heath concert!  Whoooopp!!  Check out more about these Christian music artists:

Britt Nicole
Brandon Heath

Eden and Faith... super excited to worship God together again!

Britt Nicole and Brandon Heath... so on fire for the Lord!  

We spent the next 3 days visiting, eating, and playing with the Santanas.  We got home LATE each night :)  It was so nice for the kids to play with old friends and it was wonderful for us to have deep conversations about the Lord.

Faith and I built our dream log cabin.  The kids loved playing with toys that had lots of pieces!  We don't have many of those in the RV.  :)

A little volleyball

Trampoline fun :)

We had the pleasure of attending LifePoint Church Sunday morning and the honor to participate in a Pure Princess Club at a children's shelter Miracle Hill, Sunday afternoon.  The topic of this month's meeting was Modesty.  It was such a nice time spent with some very sweet girls.  I really had to fight the urge to take a couple of them home with me!  Please pray that these girls will know that the Lord loves them and sees them as precious.  I would love to share pictures of the girls so you could see their beautiful faces, but taking photos of the children is not authorized.

Then we had 3 days of taking care of real life in the RV...schooling, a field trip, cleaning, blogging, hiking, and going to Wal-mart.

Practicing survival skills on a hike...using acorn crowns as whistles.

This was our "backyard"!  We had a creekside campsite :)

And a field trip to the BMW plant and museum...

BMW Zentrum
Gorgeous facility and cars.  Can you see the license plate on the blue car (Z3) on the left???
Yup, that's the one and only 007 car from the movie, "Golden Eye."
Fantasizing about being a secret agent :)
BMW motorcycles... displayed sideways on a wall--so cool!

For the race fans.

BMW made RVs?  Who knew???   These were the cutest and tiniest things, even coming with curtains.  We were joking that the RV is actually more like a metal sleeping bag, for ONE!  To get a size reference, these were only about as tall as Jolie :)

There is also a factory tour of the plant (the only downside is that the minimum age is 12).  It was an amazing tour!  BMW does all things with excellence.  It is a must-do if traveling through the Greenville/Spartanburg, SC area.  We all want BMWs now :)  One of the coolest benefits of buying one is that you can come to the facility to pick it up right off the production line.  Then BMW will give you a model just like yours for an ultimate driving experience---lessons and an open driving course/test track to learn and test the limits of your new ride.

The last step in the assembly of a BMW is adding the BMW emblem on the front---this is known as "Spanking the Baby."  :)

Faith and Jon, ready for the factory tour.  

On Wednesday, we were preparing for our first major holiday while in the RV, Thanksgiving.  We have a few dishes that we love on Thanksgiving and I was able to prepare them in the camper.  I made my first pie and batch of cookies in my *tiny* oven!  It might be small, but it works beautifully!  It was so fun having the smells of Thanksgiving wafting through the camper :)

Pecan Pie with homemade crust...

We spent Thanksgiving at the Santana's.  A day of gratitude spent with friends we are so grateful for.

A few of the Thanksgiving Feast guests...

Thanksgiving was also my birthday :)  And everyone pulled off a big surprise on unsuspecting me!  I came around the corner ready for pie, but encountered everyone yelling, "Surprise!" and an ice cream cake!  It was so fun.  :)  A few days later I got to return the favor...

Happy 41st!

At the end of the day on Thanksgiving, we were once again blessed with another thoughtful gift.  What does every fulltime RV family need?  Date nights for Mom and Dad :)  The kids had a sleepover at the Santana house while we had the camper all to ourselves.  It was really nice, but very quiet!

We woke up to Black Friday.  We did NOT join the frenzy because we slept in :)  However, we did make our way to two stores in the afternoon.  First, we bought a very special gift for my Faith.  Her 13th birthday is in December!  The hardest thing now is storing and hiding it in 36'!!!  When I share what it is, you'll know why :)  Since she reads the blog, I can't share what it is :)
Store number 2... we purchased another laptop.  We were hoping that we could survive with one laptop and an ipad, but we have discovered that it's very challenging to accomplish all we need to with 5 people clamoring for time.  We're so excited, especially the kids.  Now maybe they can spend some time on their blogs (which is their computer science class.)

After shopping, we went to have dinner at the Santanas and pick up the kids.  While there, we enjoyed a dinner party with another family the Lord has started to knit to our family, the Cannons.  I know that God in His graciousness, set the evening up just for us!

Men bonding time... in the kitchen!  :)
**We thought that when we started this adventure, that we were going to go out to be a blessing.  So far, we've been far more blessed than we've blessed.  Our love tanks are FULL and RUNNING OVER!  God has loved us through friends, taught us through the various pastors we've heard preach, and ministered to deep needs in our spirits.**

The rest of most days were filled with visiting, studies, hiking, eating, and running errands.

On Sunday... I got a turn to throw a surprise birthday party---for my sweet Faith.  We celebrated Faith with a 13th birthday party!  Her birthday isn't until Dec. 10th, but on that day we won't be near family or friends.  It was so fun watching her and her friends, both old and new... laughing, playing, and giggling.

First up was a trip to the O.P. Taylor toy store in downtown Greenville:


Sweet friends

Followed by sweet treats:

Psychedelic Sorbet

Sugar rush 

The two weeks in Traveler's Rest, SC weren't restful, but we left recharged!

Site #27, Valley Park RV Resort, Travelers Rest, SC