We made a quick (read: no time to visit with peeps) pit stop in Waco today, and I found a peach tree in Jared’s backyard. Feeling oh so whimsical, I just had to twirl around it. Opal felt the same need and joined in. I loved this quaint little find.
Just wanting to say thank you to the wonderful people in my life who made my birthday so full of love.
To Walker who decorated our house with ‘congratulations’ signs because upon purchase he thought they said ‘happy birthday’…along with flowers and glow-sticks and two perfect gifts meant just for me.
To my family who overloaded me with cards and cookies, e-mails, lunches and phone calls.
To my friends who called, texted, sent cards, told me in person, posted on Facebook and gave hilarious shout outs on Instagram.
To the Longinos who ‘surprisingly’ drove into town to watch me stuff my face at Auntie Pastas (sadly the picture is a no go).
And to Opal who obediently wore a glow stick, but must have partied a little too hard, because she is having stomach issues this morning.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I know 26 will be a year to look forward to because I have all of you in my life, near and far. Y’all are absolutely the best I could ask for!
We survived our weekend and spent our whole Labor Day in bed! We only awoke to pick up our puppy, eat and watch Bernie. Naps were the name of our game.
We spent Saturday and Sunday with our youth in New Braunfels floating the Comal River and watching 7th graders get sunburned at Schlitterbahn. I came up with my three favorite perks of traveling with youth:
1. Asking (making) the girls brush your hair and give you back scratches. (thanks, Alexis and Kourtney)
2. Group sing alongs to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air rap. (mainly feeling relieved that this beloved song hasn’t been passed over by the new generation)
It was a tiring two days but well worth the sleep deprivation. Thankful for two days away, time to build relationships with our youth, wonderful parent sponsors, watching young people be kind to one another and having fun, a chance to wear my polka-dot suit, and of course safety. But mostly, finding this gem of a water tower!
Katelyn: Your wife and an inter-tube?
Walker: Yes, but most importantly the river.
Hoping all our friends and family had everything they needed this weekend!
This weekend was both happy and sad here in Lufkin. On Saturday morning Walker and I worked with 72 other members from our church to pack 10,000 meals to send to the Horn of Africa. This region is currently enduring years of famine causing the cattle to die, water to disappear, crops to stop growing, people to suffer from starvation and the list goes on. We packed dehydrated vitamins, protein and vegetables into individual baggies, and each baggie will feed 6 people when combined with rice or chickpea! The rice/chickpea will be purchased in Ethiopia to help stimulate the local economy! With the other churches involved, Meals 4 Multitudes is hoping to feed 500,000 people in this region!
We had lots of laughter packing beside our friends Hall and Becca who we just found out are expecting their first little one in February! Sadly, our afternoon wasn’t quite as happy. We helped the Longinos finish packing their Uhaul and waved goodbye as they drove away. Our second set of friends to lose in the last few months. Boooo. We miss y’all already!
These past few weeks have been a traveling fiesta- just the way I like it. I tend to get claustrophobic if I stay in the same place with out some sort of exploration every once in short while. After Lubbock, we had a busy Sunday in Lufkin and then hit the road toward Nashville with our graduated seniors. Country Music Hall of Fame. Night time zip-lining. Pancake Pantry. Burger Up. Beth…
Straight from Nashville to Dallas, I was gifted with a girls weekend at the lake with some Baylor buds. We took the boat out, ran out of charge on the bad boy, cooked healthy meals, relaxed relaxed relaxed, caught up on life, and of course let the laughter spew from our hearts at every chance.
Next stop: Tucson with a sprinkle of Phoenix. I exchanged a boat for an airplane and headed home to the padres, the puppies and the besties. I’m already ready to go back.
Final stop: Houston. I parked in Lufkin Friday night, greeted the husband and kissed the pup just in time to glue myself to the opening ceremony of the Olympics! We headed to Houston, along with other seminary friends, on Saturday to witness our friend, Amanda, become ordained to the ministry.
I love traveling. And I love my family. And my friends. And my dogs. Most people might feel exhausted after 3 weeks of non-stop travel in 3 states/6 cities, but I find myself rejuvenated. And grateful.
We are currently in Nashville, but I wanted to post some pics of our wonderful experience in Lubbock last week with World Changers. 27 of us made the 10-hour trek to west TX for four full days of manual labor. We put new roofs on houses for 7 residents desperately in need of renovations.
Our church group was split into different crews with the other 3 churches present. I joined the Joint Clamps and Walker the Shingle Bells. The hours between 7am and 4pm (Tues-Fri) were spent scraping off old shingles, decking, felting and laying new shingles to provide the homeowner better protection. We not only got to spend time on their roofs, but we got to have conversations with the residents and play with the children. Nothing like loving on people!
On Wednesday night we got to visit with Phillip and Loren (Walker’s best friend) and their tiny tot, Henry! Even more fun ensued the next night at Joyland, a local amusement park! It was an exhausting week, but how awesome to see 4 churches from TX, NM and MO come together to help make life a little better for 7 families. And the best part is that most of the work was done by teenagers!
Above picture explanation: Walker and I were having a conversation on the border of the girls side and boys side of the sleeping quarters. The youth minister of the church in Lubbock literally pulled a gate down right in the middle of us. And there it stayed the whole week.
Mom, I spent a minimum of 36 hours in complete sunlight and came home with zero sunburn. Take pride.
Cross that one off the Lufkin bucket list!
In an effort to explore the tiny treasures hidden throughout Lufkin, Walker and I planned a date night to play Putt-Putt…in a pasture. For real, the course is in the middle of a grassy field, and a man was actually mowing while we putted away.
It’s not the flashiest mini-golf I’ve ever seen, but I think it’s my favorite! We loved laughing underneath the low-hanging twinkle lights (and one bug light) while competing for the lowest score.
Walker walked away with the lowest number of strokes, but since we gave the win to the player who won the last hole, just call me a champion. We found you charming King Putt! We will definitely be back, especially since you gave us a free pass.
I should keep a count of how many times my bright blue pants show up on this blog…
Last weekend we went on Wacation. Somewhere between a vacation and a staycation–we went to Waco. Our initial purpose was to attend Connally graduation where some of our favorite 18 year olds graduated. Our third graduation to attend in the last two weeks. These are some special youth from Walker’s church in Waco. Then, one day without consulting me Walker took Sunday off and decided we were going to have a mini vacation. After my “wait, you didn’t ask me?” and “what? that’s not the plan. you can’t change the plan!” I jumped on board.
We are in the middle of busy season. Actually, we’re transitioning from really busy season to super busy season. Spring is quite the feat for youth ministers. Between the baseball and softball games, scholarship and award ceremonies, dance shows, graduations, senior lunches and videos, and surgeries (gosh Lizzie, so high maintenance), we have been running around like crazy. Times all those activities by 2 since we have 2 high schools. There were a couple weeks where Walker didn’t come home until 9:30 every single night. Youth, if you ever doubt your youth minister cares about you, he does.
Now we enter super busy season. Camps. Walker and the youth will be on the move this summer as they head to Louisiana, Belton, Lubbock and Nashville. Not to mention all of their events around town. If anybody wants to come visit me, or wants me to come visit them, I’m all in! I know how to travel, too!
Realizing we needed to take a weekend just for us, we spent our three precious days in Waco. Walker’s parents took pity on us and got us 3 hotel nights so we didn’t have to inconvenience our friends as we always do. They also babysat Opal giving us even less responsibility! Thank you!
We loved our weekend away even if it wasn’t really away. Highlights:
1. Giving Opal hugs and kisses and then not knowing what to do without her.
2. Graduation and celebratory dinner afterwards. Lots of laughter and reminiscing.
3. A run in Cameron Park.
4. Exploring the new outdoor store in Waco. Walker wanted a bike. I wanted bubble tea.
5. Shopped around a real mall!
6. Ate dinner with Seth, Meredith and Monte before they move to Vancouver, Canada!
7. Ate too many sandwiches at a graduation lunch.
8. Saw Snow White and the Huntsmen…in the movie theater’s new leather seats!
9. Went to the Farmer’s Market!
9.5 Common Ground with Chris.
10. Drove to Dallas to visit Lauren before she moves to China. Went to fun ‘make your own pizza place’ followed by some freaking good cupcakes and then a food coma nap.
11. Met up with Jared and Gabby to eat Lauren’s goodbye (‘birthday’) dinner. Said goodbye. Sad face.
12. Rescued Dinah’s missing kitten.
13. Worshipped with our Waco church family.
14. Ate Jason’s Deli for Walker’s sake.
15. REUNITED WITH OPAL!!!!!!!!!
We are grateful for a few days of rest and a few days of together time. Feeling a little bit more prepared for the upcoming summer of chaos.This time Waco, Next time Spain! I Wish!
I think a friendship is strong when it includes napping together.
They slept like this on the ride home to Lufkin. THE cutest.
Mother dearest does a Texas Tour every summer when she furiously travels the state making her rounds to see as many friends and family as possible. I was lucky to make the cut this time, although I think we had two factors rooting for us…Grandmother lives an hour away and mom had yet to meet her grandpuppy, Opal. Mom and Grandmother made their way to Lufkin just in time for church on Sunday. After a wonderful, paid-for lunch we hurried home to see Opal Lou and our garden!
All four generations of girls!
Our first crop. Squash! (That we let get a little too big. First time farmers.)
Then we all made our way back to Jacksonville to spend Sunday evening and Monday. Mom and I visited a produce market and ran some errands around town while Walker caught up on some sleep and Grandmother cooked a roast!
Opal and Grandmother became quick buddies as the pup literally followed her step for step, but I don’t think Grandmother hated it one bit.
We said goodbye to Jacksonville only after a little drama caused us a delay. While walking to our car with bags in hand a neighbor rang the doorbell to say there was smoke coming from the roof. Walker was up in the attic even before we could tell him to be careful. Mom, Grandmother and I stood in the street talking to neighbors as mom asked one man (who she went to school with) about his brother. “Well, he passed away in his twenties.” Then she asked about his sister. “Well, she passed away the next year.” On that note, we made our way to the attic ladder to hear Walker’s findings…a leaky gas pipe that he temporarily repaired.
Our second attempt at heading home went a little easier until I realized (15 miles down the road) that in the chaos I completely forgot to put my two bags in the car. Back to Grandmother’s house we went once again. On our third attempt we made it back to Lufkin around 11 p.m.!
Mom came to Lufkin on Wednesday to spend the day with us but mostly Opal. We shopped around town, took a coffee and tea break, caught her up on the latest apps and taught her how to use the ones she has.
Thanks for including us on your Tour de Texas, Mom! We loved having you in our guest room, and Opal says thank you for the new bones! I actually gave her one before I started writing this so it would serve as babysitter her for a few hours. Your grandpuppy misses you, but probably not as much as she misses her Great Grandmother! Our little family will make our way back to J-Ville very soon!