Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 17-23 in Dallas, TX

When we left Rogers, Arkansas, we headed to Dallas, Texas so I could spend the next week babysitting Jay & Amy's kids.  Jay & Amy were headed to Puerto Vallarta for a relaxing week with some friends.  Andy got to spend the night and some time with their kids before he headed home the next day.

Andy was using his funny voices to read to Dassie and she told him to quit.  She wanted his real voice.

We got to eat dinner with the Wrights before the parents left.

See that stuff on the ground?  Pollen.  Stuff I'm allergic to!

Olivia, Dassie, & Addie
The next morning, the Wright parents were gone when we got up, but after breakfast, David, Ryan & Addie came!  Andy got to see those grandkids, too!  Which was very special since we knew they were moving to Minnesota!

Josiah, Isaac, & Ryan

Tough guys.

David and the kids got to spend the night!

Boys showing off their new shirts.

When these girls get together, dress-up is always involved!

Saturday night was movie night.

The girls served us caterpillar soup!


Dassie...growing up.

Three-man basketball.

Discovering new caterpillars.


Cousins being silly!

David throwing the football... the guys on the trampoline.

Olivia giving one last goodbye to the family moving to Minnesota.

We spent the next three days going to school, doing homework, playing, and listening to music by the boys. 

Mom told the kids if they misbehaved, there would be no presents.  So we staged this photo after I'd told them I'd called mom and told them they'd misbehaved.  They are good little actors.

Olivia has the kindest heart...and she's so patient.  She waited for a couple of days for me to get some tape to repair her cards...patiently.

Mom & Dad got home!!  (And they sure were relaxed!!)  And they brought presents!

Masks & snakes for the boys...

Dresses, fan and suckers for the girls.

So glad to have mom home. 

Dad played some music for us.

And the next morning, I boarded a plane to head home.  What a great time with family.  I'd gotten to see David's family, Zach's family & Amy's family.

And before I got home, Matt texted and asked us to meet him for lunch.  
Full circle and all four kids.  
I'm one blessed Mom, Gee, Gran, Guh.

April 13-17 in Rogers, Arkansas

We left Tulsa and began our way to Rogers, Arkansas.  We stopped at Siloam Springs along the way and saw this beautiful spot.

I hadn't paid much attention as we traveled through the small Arkansas towns until I looked up and saw this sign:  Tontitown Fire Department!  TONTITOWN?  The Duggars live here!!  (19 Kids & Counting, for those who don't know.)  I got a little too excited, according to Andy!

Our GPS took us directly to this "cabin."  An amazing cabin with 6 bedrooms and 6 baths.  We would be here for a week with Paul & Mary Burleson leading a Pastor's & Wives Retreat for us and three other couples.  It was a pilot retreat and the brainchild of some very dear people, the Campbells, who own this cabin and founded a ministry for pastors and their wives.  That part probably meant as much as anything--knowing someone has noticed many pastors and wives are hurting and need a place to come for refreshment, encouragement, and healing.

Our amazing hosts, Tom & Jan Stockdale, greeted us at the door and gave us a tour through our home for the coming week.  (They didn't have a dish in hand at the time.)  They couldn't have been more gracious hosts.  They cooked three meals a day for us...amazing meals!

And our place settings were so beautiful.

This is the great room.

The kitchen with snacks, drinks, coffee for us.

The fireplace in the great room and the loft above.

The dining room looking out to the back deck and Beaver Lake.

Beaver Lake looked different at different times of the day.  This was my favorite.  It was cloudy and misting.  We found out after we got to Rogers, AR that our kids, David & Lindsey, had been offered the job in Minnesota and had accepted the offer.

We met twice a day--for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening.  Our times were rich.

We made some incredible new friends.

We've already set up a way to stay in touch.

The fire pit in the back yard overlooking Beaver Lake.

We served on staff with Paul & Mary Burleson at FBC Broken Arrow, OK.  We knew coming to this retreat that we were in for something special.  We felt privileged to be included.  We had no expectations, but we did believe God had some divine connections for us.  And He did.

Ryan & Lauryn Gilbert--the young couple among us!

Mike & Freddi Booth

Andy & Bro. Paul singing, "I Don't Know Why" which is their all-time favorite song to sing together.

We had deep discussions.

We sang and laughed hysterically.  I mean...hysterically! 

Judy Robinson sang...

...with her husband, James Robinson.  (All of my photos of them together were blurry!)

The Gilberts had never heard most of our songs.  (Before their time!) 

Tom & Jan ministering to the rest of us.

Jan & Judy

Meal time became our favorite time.  Wild, funny stories were told that literally had us crying because we were laughing so hard!  It was healing.

Our last night, we met at the fire pit to sing and talk.

Looking down from the deck.

I caught Tom & Jan listening to the singing from the deck.

The sunrise on the last morning of the retreat.  What a rich, rich week.  It was full of ministry, teaching, old & new friendships, and healing.   God was there.  The name of the ministry is "Double Honor."  We were certainly shown double honor by the founders of this ministry and our hosts.  We were blessed.