Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Texas Holiday/Vacation

This is Hope Shannon and I am going to detail our recent trip to Texas for you.

Just before leaving Fairview, Alberta we had an exciting time of worship at Cornerstone Baptist Church on March 8th. There were two baptized in our morning service. One was a young man who would have his 16th birthday the very next day and the other was a dad of a 5 year old little girl. God is so good to provide such a salvation for all who will call on Him. We had a potluck dinner after the service and had around 135 in attendance.

On March 9th Ray and I along with Darla Ponath drove to Cochrane, Alberta where Darla and her husband Ken live. He is over the Baptist Builders and she is over the Disaster Relief. She has been overseeing the Missions House at the Convention and we were able to stay there on Monday night. We also were able to have dinner with DK & Brenda Hale along with Ken & Darla. It is always good to catch up with friends and find out what is going on in their life.

Tuesday morning found Ray visiting with Aaron, one of the seminary students who would be staying in our home the next weekend and preaching at our church. Darla then drove us to the airport and we were on our way to visit our family and friends in Texas.

On arrival around 7:00pm Max and Janice Graber picked us up and we drove to El Rancho Grande in Ft Worth for some of the best Tex-Mex food ever made. We were met there by Frank & Patty Ford and Linda & Larry Carter. What a relaxing time - except for when we looked around and everyone else was gone and the chairs were up on top of the tables...oops we needed to leave. We stopped by our son Paul's home and hugged grandsons Jacob (15), Caleb (13) and Luke (11). Our daughter-in-law, Laura, had our house looking so nice. They are currently living in our home. We slept at Janice and Max's home which was close by in Arlington.

Tuesday morning found Ray picking up a car from Ron & Carol Hey for us to use during our visit. They were most gracious to provide our transportation. I did some major shopping for jeans and baby clothes at Kohl's. I sure miss that store! Janice and I ate at the Corner Bakery and I enjoyed a club panini and black current tea (COLD). That afternoon I picked up Jake from his house and he rode with me to get Luke and Caleb from their schools. Paul and Laura's three sons attend a high school, middle school and elementary school. A lot of fun for morning delivery and afternoon pickup! Max and Ray got some visiting time in while Janice and I attended her monthly Pokeno group. It used to be my group too and they are actually holding my spot...what a group of great ladies. Ann Hale and Patty Ford provided a wonderful tasting dinner with pecan crusted baked chicken and a delicious peach pie.

Our first few days there it was rainy and cool which was a big disappointment to Ray and I as we were seeking warmth after leaving a -36C in Canada. On Thursday we took Luke & Caleb to school and visited the Christian book store to pick up some VBS teacher material. We decided to drive to Corinth to see the two younger grandsons which is a little over an hour drive. We arrived a few minutes before Heather pulled up and she let us take the boys to Sonic for a cold drink. Peyton wanted a vanilla shake with hot fudge in it and we just sat and did some catching up on what was going on with them. We took a little side trip to Walmart and looked at toys. When we got back to their house Heather had a wonderful dinner of chicken and dumplins. Cole is 9 and Peyton is 6 but will be 7 in July. After the boys went to bed we drove back to Arlington.

On the 13th of March Janice had planned a great "couples" dinner for some of our friends. It was so good to see them. We had not been in Arlington since June of 2007. We ate and played a game and then they asked us what our highest high and lowest low had been over the last two years. It was a reflective time and then they prayed for us. We are so blessed with Godly friends. Then we got to have chocolate cake and homemade vanilla ice cream... YUM!

Carol Hey turned "60" on the 14th and she and Ron TOOK US out for breakfast at Mimi's. It was our first time to visit this restaurant and what a nice treat. I had the cinnamon raisin french toast and Ray had the Belgium waffles...they almost floated out of the room.

We were able to have all our family under our roof on Saturday afternoon. The grandboys are not able to get together that often so it is a nice "gift" when they can. I fixed Carmen Enns' sweet and sour meatballs, mashed potatoes, caesar salad and biscuits along with blackberry cobbler. Ok, have you picked up on the trend that we ATE the entire time we were in Texas and brought back several extra pounds?

Sunday morning found us at Lake Arlington Baptist Church and in the Adult I Sunday School Department at 8:30am. Eunice Menefee had invited us to share the entire time and show pictures of our church in Canada. It was fun to see the folks we had loved and served for so many years....but also sad that some were gone on to glory since we had left. We sat in worship with Paul, Laura and boys and experienced a powerful praise time with a good message following. Laura was giving a baby shower afterwards so Ray and I went to Mac's with Janice and Max...they have the best Sunday brunch (cinnamon rolls to die for). Ray and Max HAD to go play golf to walk off some of their lunch and Janice and I had to shop. We went to see the movie "New In Town" since it was about a lady who went from Miami to Minnesota (like the Shannons leaving Texas and going to Canada). It was a cute movie and I really could relate to it.

Can you believe that someone would go on holiday/vacation and have their teeth cleaned? Well Ray and I did and we sure do thank Dr. Mark Moore for letting his girls take such good care of us. We then headed to Cedar Creek Lake where Paul and Laura and Jacob, Caleb & Luke were staying for spring break at Laura's parents (Mike & Mary Fickle) and Laura's grandma (Memaw Husketh). The weather was beautiful for spring break and we got to do a lot of visiting and fishing. Those boys were out in the boat or on the dock fishing the entire time. Pop Fickle has a great fishing boat that knows the way to the great bass holes.

On Tuesday Ray and I drove Jake into Arlington for a Martin High School Baseball game. It was a great win and we enjoyed the one on one time with our oldest grandson.

More fishing, visiting, EATING and getting larger continued for the entire time at the lake. Thank you Laura for all the good meals you planned. Mary had a broken arm and was still able to be a wonderful hostess.

Paul and Caleb left for a father-son fishing outing to Lake Sam Rayburn Wednesday evening and on Thursday morning we headed to Corinth to stay at Matt & Heather's for a few days.

Cole and Peyton took Nanny Hope on a picnic to their local park and then we went on a hike. We did not stay long after we saw a large swarm of bees. Cole is like his daddy and does not like buzzing anythings! We did go see "Race to Witch Mountain" and ate popcorn and cotton candy.

Matt & Heather live close to Lake Lewisville so we took a picnic and fishing poles and headed there for the afternoon. It was a beautiful day and full of fun and relaxation. We toured an open house that listed for 1.2 million and was situated on 3 acres overlooking Lake Lewisville. You could get lost in there.

THE DAY we were waiting for....we attended Southmont Baptist Church. Matt & Heather's Sunday school class was in the middle of a marriage series and we enjoyed the time laughing and learning. Paul and Laura and sons along with Heather's parents (David & Debbie Bennett) and her grandmother (T Momma) were able to be with us in church to see Ray baptize Peyton. I will attach a picture. This made our family complete in the Lord. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. After the worship time we ALL went to Johnny Corina's for some Italian food (had not had this yet...) We went back to Matt & Heather's and visited and then went to baseball practice with Cole. It was a very windy and cool evening.

The next morning we were able to take Cole and Peyton to school before we headed back into Arlington. Several of the GIRLFRIENDS met at Friday's for a birthday lunch for Linda Carter (yes, she really is a Wonder Woman). I was able to get in to see my former hair stylist and get my mop cut which was a much needed stop. I picked up Luke and Caleb from school and headed to Max and Janice's to meet up with David & Phyllis Jenkins (Ray served on staff with David for over 20 years). We NEEDED to go eat at Red, Hot & Blue for a pulled pork sandwich with slaw on top with a baked sweet potato on the side. The cinnamon butter for the potato is a bonus.

Now after all this food the next morning Patty Ford, Nina Burgett, Janice and I met for breakfast! The four of us used to get together to pray for our families and it seemed like old times to be able to have this particular group together. I had to leave them to go to lunch with Paul, Laura and Matt at Mac's (Matt used to work here while in high school). The good news is we skipped supper but did sneak in a banana split before going to Luke's baseball game. What a real blessing to be able to attend some of the boys sporting events. Luke had also won entrepreneur of the year for 5th grade at Cory Elementary. He makes MENS JEWELRY and sells it. The whole program was a very big deal and he received a $100 savings bond. He was quite proud as he should be.

The sad day has arrived and we headed to the airport (thank you Max) to fly back to Calgary where Darla was waiting. It seems like we are so very far from Texas but it is just a short flight and a long drive home. Darla got out at the new Bass Pro Shop in Airdrie where Ken and her two brothers, Manny and Stan were checking out the new place. After telling them goodby we started the drive home - which Ray did solo. God treated us to a magnificent display of Northern Lights just outside of Fairview. Ray stopped so I could TRY to take some pictures but there is hardly a way to capture God's creative genius. I needed Matt who is a photographer to be here. We arrived home around 10:30pm and were greeted by Ryan and Shaun our two NAIT students who live with us. It seems like it is always BOYS.....but we sure do love all our boys.

We feel so blessed to be able to take a holiday/vacation and have folks to lead in ministry in a very capable way while we are absent. Thank you to each of you who prayed for our safety and relaxing time away. We are refreshed and anxious to "live with urgency" which is Ray's current sermon series. We are hopeful that anyone who reads this blog will seek to live a life worthy of the Lord Jesus. We know we are not worthy of the grace He has shown to us by sending us to serve this wonderful group of folks. Now let's all work till Jesus comes.

Lovingly, Hope