Summer Break

Hello!  Have you missed me?  I cannot offer any true reason for the summer's hiatus.  It was a busy summer, but not THAT busy.  I had down time...I could have written.  I just didn't.  And it was rather rude of me.  I just clammed up, without warning, and walked away.  Rather rude of me, wasn't it?  It's okay...I think it was rude, so don't worry if you do.  Forgive me.  The next time I decide to take a break, I'll give notice. 

Now that we've taken care of that, how about a little catch up?

So...Y1 graduated in May and the event was well celebrated by family and friends.  We were blown away by the generosity of friends and family who sent cards and gifts to mark the occasion.  He's still working on his "thank you" notes.  Be patient.  One will show up in your mailbox very soon.  He flew to Los Angeles the week after graduation, as part of our church's high school mission trip.  He enjoyed himself.  The boy loves a mission trip.  Life is different for people in LA.  Things that just seem second nature to life in this part of Dixie are missing and sorely missed in LA.  When the team gave their report about the trip, many of the students commented about the darkness and brokenness and hopelessness that seemed so ingrained into daily life.  Folks go to LA chasing dreams and when the dream dies, sounds like it all but stomps the life right out of a body.  When people lose hope, what's left?  I prayed that week that our students would be sources of joy and hope and that if just one person was encouraged by their presence, it was a week well spent.

We took vacation with the paternal side of Mr. Snark's family in June.  The family has it's roots in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, so that's where we went.  It was wonderful. There was hiking and fishing and shopping and eating and visiting and sleeping and lounging and tubing and lazing and picture taking and sketching and laughing and cat-napping and scenic viewing and laughing and teasing and loving.
 Y1 and Sunshine.  She came with us.  Pretty cool having extra female reinforcements.  Being only thirty minutes away from K'ville and being that Sunshine had never been and on account that she has wrapped us around her pretty little fingers,
we took a Sunday jaunt. 
Beautiful children...young people...young folks...but definitely NOT babies.  I was chastised for using "babies" when I spoke to them.

Our old stomping grounds!

Get it?  Peyton Manning Pass...'cause that's what quarterbacks do...they pass??!! 

The Torchbearer...ever watchful over the flame of knowledge.

Ayers Hall

Shady road...sooo green!

Love the play of colors.

Where one was, the other one was sure to follow...all summer long.  It's like they couldn't breathe if the other one wasn't around.

Those sandals doing what they're meant to do...leave oddball tan lines!

Super cool tree roots!

Little fish minding his own business.

Cousin Sandspur takes notice of the little fish...

and snatches him right out of the water...with his hands!

It's like she's miffed about the shirtless guy photo bombing their picture!

Oh, yes...that makes it all better!

Hello and thank you for sharing your home with us!

Do you see the rainbow?  This was looking out the back of our cabin.


The mist rising illustrate why they are known as The Smoky Mountains.

We weren't home but a couple of weeks before Y1 left for a two week mission trip to Puerto Rico.  We sent him off with the couple who were our youth pastors in B'ham.  His other parents...the ones that he loves almost as much as he loves us...true story!  Light construction, vacation bible school and community ministry kept him busy in the 90% or more humidity every day.
 The cool hat doesn't change the fact that the young man is a gringo!!
 Luis got stuck between the shutters and the screen.  Y1 thought I needed to meet Luis.
 In Puerto Rico, they my Fr*sties with N* know, that chocolate hazelnut spread that is beyond delicious!  AND, they sell churros with a dipping cup of N*tella!  Good thing he was sweating like he was...those calories are no joke!
 Y1 with Teo and Cher...barreling down some Puerto Rican highway, looking for the right street.  They are our people.  Like pieces of us we didn't know were missing until we met them.  They've had a profound influence on our hearts and on our lives.

Trumpet vine
Sometimes, you have to make a late night run (and if you're rolling with Teo and Cher, it's a near definite)to the local big box to buy air mattresses for the second week's mission team to use.  And when you make those late night runs, you're liable to be a bit slap happy.  And when you're a little slap happy, you might not be able to resist the coin operated kiddie ride.
Y2 had his own mission excursions.  First up, the church's annual trip to St. Simons.  He LOVES this trip.  We picked him up from his first go, in 2014 and he was hoarse!  From all the laughing and hooting and hollering that one is prone to do at that age. 
 Helping with the Bingo game at the nursing home.  Don't know what it is, but those folks get a kick out of having the whippersnappers come visit.
 Shooting hoops at The Boys and Girls Club.  I was told that he didn't hesitate for a moment when it was time to socialize and mingle. 
 Controller in hand...establishing his dominance, I'm sure.  He's logged enough hours, he could teach a college level class on the finer points of Sm*sh Brothers!
 Working with the Georgia DNR...bagging oyster shells to throw out into the water, to create stronger oyster beds.  Look very carefully at this picture.  That's him, on the the orange ball hat.  Ball hat, t-shirt firmly tucked into brand new cargo pants (because the boy-child had grown out of every pair of blue jeans he wore last school year), belt cinched, gloves and his water bottle attached to his belt loop with a carabineer!  I rolled out of my chair when I saw this picture.  Marked by mission trips and jobs with his dear old daddy!
 As all good youth ministers know, the daily afternoon break for a cold, icy treat is a MUST!
Home for just a couple of days and then on to the next adventure.  D-Now...discipleship now.  Local mission projects during the day, and worship/Bible study and all manner of harmless hijinks at night.  The boys stayed at the youth building and the girls were housed elsewhere. 
 Back to school supplies given to local children
 Evidence of the aforementioned hijinks.  I didn't ask.  But Y2 said it was the best night EVER!
 Spreading mulch on one of the church's playgrounds.  Y1 played there when he was in preschool.  Sigh.
 Tote that barge!  Lift that bale!
 Raking the algae off of one of the ponds at Brewton Parker College.  I was told that he was quick to step in when one of the girls ended up on this detail.  I was also told that the girl were glad to relinquish their was yucky work.
Summer marches on for another month...according to the calendar.  In this part of Dixie, we don't really see the changing of the seasons until late into October.  Their summer break has ended...back to school.  A subject for another blog, which means, dearly beloved, that mine has, too.


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