Oregon 2010-Day Seven

After a short nights sleep, we woke up early to a beautiful morning! I love this weather, we have enjoyed days in the low 70's and the nights in the high 40's. Ahh. My kind of weather! We have yet to see rain. Our Oregon friends are loving it though as much as I love to hear and watch the rain, I wouldn't mind a little shower! But the good thing about no rain, all our outdoor activities have been accomplished! Larry, Gloria and I enjoyed a few cups of coffee in the mess hall before taking a long walk on the beach...one good reason for getting up so early! It was so peaceful and we so enjoyed this time with Gloria. She is an amazing lady and loves working with the youth at Tri-City. We took our coffee cups and enjoyed a nice long walk along the beach before breakfast! A memory I will long remember! Gloria and me...what a way to start the morning!
I think we could get use to having our coffee this way!
We walked back up to the mess hall and enjoyed a hot breakfast with our group. Everyone is looking forward to this day! The day was filled with games, devos, small groups, lunch, another session with Evan and Kory speaking, small groups and then a few free hours to play Ultimate Frisbee, play and explore the beach, dig in the sand, look for shells, rest...whatever! Larry and I started by taking a very LONG walk down the beach. It was so fun to look for shells, talk, take in the view...even sit on a piece of driftwood and just relax!

Larry went back to the cabin for a nap while Gloria and I sat on the beach and talked for an hour or so. She is delightful! Then we cleaned up for supper and more evening activities, including seeing an amazing sunset!! It was amazing, I will share a couple of dozens of pictures I took! :)

It was a very fun evening, complete with another bonfire devo, s'mores and time to share as a group about the ways we saw God this week! Another midnight curfew and a few hours sleep! I think Larry and I were both feeling our age...we need more sleep than this!! :)


Oregon 2010-Day Five and Six

Wednesday was another full day. We woke up early (at least the sponsors did!) to fix breakfast before everyone showed up to eat. I was constantly amazed at how well the group did on getting up, getting ready and being cheerful! We ate then the two groups headed out to finish the yard work. However, Kathi and I stayed at the church to start packing up the food for the retreat, fixing snacks for the retreat, start the task of cleaning the kitchen and building for church tonight and fix lunch for the hungry crew when they returned. After lunch and before we split into two groups for the afternoon activities, Larry and I cleaned up ourselves before going to the store to pick up laundry detergent. While we were out, Larry dropped me by our Host Couple’s gift shop. Belinda had invited me to come sometime during the week and see her and her shop! OH MY GOODNESS!!! It was one of the cutest shops I have ever seen! I had about 10 minutes, which was NOT enough time to take it all in, but she has adorable stuff…might be a good thing it is in Oregon! Each day Belinda and I found more and more things we had in common. We never ran out of things to talk about and our conversation was so easy...kind of like we really just "got each other". After we returned to the church, we split the group into two work groups. One group stayed at church and cleaned the building for services tonight with Larry, Evan and Odies giving instructions while Kathi and I took the other group to the laundrymat with ALL the dirty clothes! Wow. Each person did their own laundry plus someone else’s, so it really went pretty quick. It was fun to hang out with the group and talk about all that we had seen and experienced thus far. After we returned to the church, small groups brought in a wonderful Italian supper for us! Plus, Belinda had a cake made at a local bakery for our dessert. Funny story regarding the cake! On Sunday morning, at the end of the services an older gentlemen made his way to the front and said he had something to tell us "Texans". He said that he had been to Texas and seen how flat it was. He also said he had always heard we thought our state was the largest. He just wanted to correct us. He said if you "ironed" out Oregon's Mountains...that Oregon would be bigger than Texas. With that, he sat down. Of course everyone got a big laugh. Belinda went by the bakery and asked them to make a cake with Oregon and Texas on it. When she went back to pick it up...here is what they had done! We all had to laugh, as the bakery also must think Oregon is BIGGER! :) They have been so sweet to us and again it has been a huge help to Kathi and I! I can’t imagine if we had been in charge of 3 meals a day! Taking care of two plus all the snacks and water breaks has kept us hopping! As soon as supper was over, Kathi and I hurried to the kitchen to whip together some snacks to serve after the evening worship with the youth group. On Sunday’s the youth groups numbers are very low but on Wednesday night, they have a praise service and LOTS of teens from the community come. So we planned for around 50 total and we had 60! It was great to see that kind of turnout. Our kids visited with them, played a few games and then we worshipped together. After they left, at around 10, we had our Hillcrest devo and discussed the plans for the retreat, which started the next day. This week was so crazy busy every second! I wished we had enough time to just stop and take in more of this beautiful state. Seems like we are always moving in fast motion.
We were all up by 6 to pack up stuff and get ready to leave for the retreat we will have with the teens from this community. We had no idea how many might show up! First, a wonderful Christian lady came and fixed us a yummy breakfast and sent us away with full bellies and warm hearts...she was such an inspiration of Christian servanthood! She has blessed us all week with wonderful fruit and goodies to add to our meals! We love and miss her!
We were a little disappointed as only 11 kids showed up to go on the retreat but at the same time, we know we will really have a chance to get to know this 11 very well and give them lots of one on one attention! We loaded up the four vans and headed out. The retreat location was a Christian camp, called Wi-Ne-Ma and it is located about 4 hours from Tri-City and it is on the coast! Yahoo!!!!!! Let me just say, I was so excited and this day was filled with an incredible drive with some of the prettiest country I have ever seen! I thought Colorado trees were tall...but not like Oregon! Whew! Every where you look is gorgeous and lush with flowers growing wild in the bar ditches...and then we got to the Coastal Interstate where we got to enjoy the view of the ocean! Really...this day was sensory overload for me!!! Before we left on the trip, Larry and I of course did some research of good places to eat. If you know the Knights, you know we are always looking for a good place to eat! :) A friend at church told me about a place called Mo's in Lincoln City, Oregon. Well...it turned out that the retreat location was about 15 miles from Mo's. So it was decided we would eat lunch at Mo's before arriving at camp! GOOD DECISION! Oh my!!! I love seafood, in fact, it is my favorite kind of food! But living in Texas, we just don't get it much. We had a delicious lunch and enjoyed the company of Gloria, who had come along as a Tri-City sponsor! She is such a dear lady! We had Clam Chowder (YUMMY), Grilled Shrimp, Salmon, Larry had Oysters on the half-shell and to top it off some wonderful Coconut Pie!! I could have eaten there every meal!!! After lunch we traveled the short distance to Camp, all the while enjoying this view out the window!!!
As soon as we arrived at Wi-Ni-Ma, we unloaded, assigned cabins and then met back up to began the retreat. Our students had been working on this for months. Evan asked them to put all the things they have loved from past retreats they have gone on with the Hillcrest Teens into this one event. So, to say the least, it was packed with fun games, ice breakers, etc. We started out playing 3 different ice breakers...just so we can start learning each others name. That was followed by a one hour break where ALL of us ran to the beach. This camp has an amazing property! It is bordered by the beach and has a lovely lake...so pretty much wherever you are in the camp you are looking at water and feeling the ocean air! Ahh. We returned to the meeting hall for our first devotional and small groups before supper. Supper prepared and cleaned up by the camp staff...YAHOO! I really didn't care what we ate...I was just so thrilled to not have to cook and wash dishes for a few days! :) We did more activities and ended the day with a beach bonfire and sang songs...pretty much the most amazing way to end the day! With a midnight curfew...we packed as much as you possibly could into our first day at Wi-Ni-Ma! It was a huge blessing to have our retreat at such a beautiful location. God has smiled on us once again!! Larry and I taking in our first view of the ocean!
Our view from our cabin door
My new friend Gloria and I in the FREEZING water!
Our Eagle Scouts getting our bonfire going on the beach!


Oregon 2010-Day Three and Four

Isn't that so sweet!
The roses are amazing, its hard to tell but this rose was as big as my hand!
Larry and I woke up super early, so we snuck out and took a drive to see a little scenery! It was so fun and we came across a really amazing little country road with an adorable covered bridge! We returned to cook breakfast for this work crew. Kathi and I are determined to give everyone lots of healthy choices each day! We were so blessed by their attitudes...they were so excited about each and every meal, it made cooking so much fun! The morning was crazy busy. We cooked, served breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen and dining area, ran to the lumber yard for the work crew, took supplies back and unloaded them, fixed everyone a drink and snack, ran to the grocery store, came back and fixed BBQ Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, watermelon slices, Deviled Eggs, Bread and brownies and served lunch at noon! Whew. Then we cleaned up ALL the dishes, kitchen, dining area and spent the rest of the day either digging or taking water and snacks to the crew. The day flew by and by the time it was over the pit had been finished. I think we were all amazed...but totally exhausted. We all cleaned up then dinner was brought in by one of the small groups at the church...having supper provided was a huge treat for Kathi and I! Then we had our devo. This is one weary group! We didn't have to enforce "curfew" tonight, they could hardly wait to go to bed! Hard to tell but this pit was 2 feet deep on one whole end...that is a lot of digging my friends!!

We got up, fixed breakfast again and served the work crew. Today, we will work in two different yards, both needed lots of love! The crew was broken into two groups and we all headed out. We worked till noon and returned to the church where Kathi and I quickly put out a sandwich bar with all the fixings. After we ate, we all headed back out and worked till 4:30. We returned for showers, dinner and then left the building for a little drive to a fun and very beautiful park for a few hours of playing and devo time. This group has really bonded and so our time together is always sweet. Some played Ultimate Frisbee while others enjoyed sitting on blankets to visit. I walked around the park with a group and was there own personal photographer, they were cracking me up with "photo shoot". They are a group of 5, who are really close friends so they had so much fun posing! Sweet kids!


Oregon 2010-Day One and Two

Once again, Larry and I have been super blessed to be sponsors for a Jr/Sr Hillcrest Mission Trip. This trip was especially special because the Juniors of this trip are also our Huddle Kids. We have build a relationship with this group over the past two years being their Huddle Leaders, so to go on a trip with some of them and serve along beside them was so fun! Our trips main purpose was to go encourage and build up the youth group at Tri-City Church of Christ in Tri-City, Oregon, about 4 hours south of Portland. The youth group there is very small and their youth minister desired them to see how a strong vivacious youth group works and plays. So here is how the week went...
On Saturday, June 12th we left the church parking lot at 4 AM. We drove to DFW airport, checked in, grabbed some breakfast, ate and boarded our plane...destination...Portland, Oregon. The flight went well, except for some turbulence but we arrived safe and sound. We got our bags and ate lunch in the airport as we were waiting for one of our group to land on another flight (Karsten had gone to Camp Blue Haven and joined us on another flight 1 hour after we arrived). Kory and Mandi (the youth minister and his girlfriend) picked us up in the church vans and we started the drive to Tri-City. They stopped at a Super Wal-Mart and let Kathi (Kathi and Odis Wright, the other sponsors) and I out so that the two of us could buy groceries for the week for all of us! Whew. Let me just say that I have never ever bought that many groceries at one time in my life. Nor do I care to again! Ha. We had 8 grocery baskets full! We made quite the scene at the store! :) Gloria, a beautiful Christian woman from the Tri-City Church met us there to drive us to the church building once we were finished with our shopping. I am pretty sure we shocked Gloria right off the bat with the sheer amount of things we were buying. But after reminding her this was for one week for 25 people...20 of those being teenagers she quickly dove right in helping us gather stuff and pushing loaded carts around. Right then, I fell in love with my new sister, Gloria. We had so much fun all week! She is dear to my heart and I pray I can continue to build on our long distance friendship! We arrived at the church a couple of hours later and joined the rest of our group for dinner with our host families. It was fun to start meeting our new friends and at the same time enjoying the wonderful weather and beautiful views of Oregon. The drive from Portland to Tri-City was AMAZING!! I have never seen so many green things growing in my whole life. Things I struggle to keep alive in a pot in Abilene such as Boston Ferns, growing wild in the bar ditches here! It is lush and I immediately fell in love with this state!! After a very nice dinner, we all went home with our host families. I am always amazed at how God works. Here is a perfect example. We were matched with a couple, Steve and Belinda. Steve is an elder at Tri-City and has worked his whole life in construction based companies. Belinda owns a gift shop and when I saw it...I LOVED IT!!! She had lots of things in her house, that either I had in my house...or had admired in gift shops before. When we arrived at their house, which was lovely and had an amazing yard...we sat down in their living room and we both felt as if we had sat down with old friends...we talked for HOURS and the conversation was easy and relaxed and we continued to find things we had in common. Larry and I both felt so comfortable and "at home" with them. We both commented that if they lived in Abilene or us there...we would be best friends! The next morning we ALL woke up extremely early (us because we were still on Texas time!) so we sat and drank coffee in our fat pants and talked for 2 solid hours before getting ready for church. We ate a yummy breakfast then headed to church. We went to the High School class and then had a wonderful service done by Odis as the song leader and our young men did all the scripture reading and prayers, etc. Evan and Kory team taught the lessons. The singing was so great...so alive and exciting! After services, the church treated us to a delicious potluck and lots of fun visiting. We quickly changed our clothes and started our first service project, digging a very LARGE hole for a sand volleyball court on the back of the church property. I cannot even describe how much dirt we dug out. It was the first of many days that our kids simply amazed me. Their attitude and work ethic is incredible. They worked from 1 to 6, never complaining! Kathi and I were busy working in the kitchen, taking breaks to go dig for a bit, carrying water and snacks back and forth to the workers, etc. The day flew by with all the work. We stopped at 6 just as pizza was being delivered. We ate, then drove to a beautiful river and had our devotional while enjoying the gorgeous view. What a perfect ending to a busy day. We made a quick trip over to Steve and Belinda's for a quick shower. They graciously gave us the keys to their pick-up and the keys to their house. I cannot describe what a blessing this was...since the church had one shower for 25 people! We returned to the church and fell into our air mattress! We are exhausted but have already met some wonderful people and seen some breathtaking scenery! Love it here!! Oh yeah...the high today was 70! Yahoo! My kind of weather!!!


Little moments that end up being so fun...

I never want to take for granted how very blessed we are to have kids and grandkids in town. I think that has been on my heart so much more since Emma was born. We work very hard to see our "Mansfield Family" on a very regular basis, but of course, I miss the spontaneous get-togethers. Just like yesterday, we met Zach, Meg and the boys for a quick sandwich at Subway. The boys are always so fun and full of chatter and it just reminded me how I love watching them grow, change and hear of their day to day activities. I pray that one day soon, maybe God will open a door for David, Ashley and Emma to live closer...I know...I have it so much better than so many grandparents...but I can always pray big!!!!!!! Our kids have amazed us with their parenting skills! It is so fun to watch them. We pray daily for "our" kids...for patience, for wisdom, for guidance and for endurance as they raise their children. We also pray for these grandchildren. We pray for the parents out there that are raising someone that will be their spouse someday. We pray that Owen, Clay, Will and Emma will become men and women of God. It is so fun to watch them grow up (though it is happening way to fast!!!) and I want to cherish each and every moment in my heart!
Since we are talking of grandchildren...maybe I will just close with showing you a few pictures of them...after all, I wouldn't be a good "Honey" if I didn't share a few pictures!
When someone this cute is shooting you with a watergun, you don't even care!
Owen on his bunk at Knight Camp
Detective Clay...what big eyes you have!
Clay's blue eyes...melt Honey's heart!
Will has a million expressions...this is his serious look!
Will's charming look! He is a little ham in front of the camera!
Our sweet little Emma all ready for church!
This picture shows all of Emma's little rolls that I love to kiss on!!!