What a beautiful day! The sun is shining so brightly and I can see my tulips coming through the ground. Now I have to hide them from the dear. I cannot believe so much snow melted while we were in the US. I don't think I have seen this much "grass" showing in April since we moved here in 2006. It has been a little over two months since I have written. Where does the time go? At my age it is so hard to remember what we have done during that time.
In March Jake turned 17 - now that does make me feel old. Tyler and Terry Shannon had birthdays and it was so good to see them while we were in Chattanooga. Ray had the opportunity of preaching a revival at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Carrollton, Georgia the 3rd - 6th of April. On March 29th we drove to Calgary and stayed at the Acclaim hotel (great place to stay and PARK if you are flying out from Calgary). We then had to be at the airport at 5:00am on March 30th. We flew to DFW and thankfully Max Graber was able to come through security so we got to visit with a friendly face but no family :( Because of some work he does with his company at the airport he was able to use his badge and visit with us. It was very good to catch up with him.
Then we flew out to Chattanooga. We picked up a rent car and met my sister, Marylyn and her husband, Doyle for a Mexican food fix at Amigos. Yummy! The next day we drove to Spring City, Tennessee and visited Auntie Ruth in the nursing home. She actually called me by my first and middle name! Yeah. Then we drove to Crossville to see Auntie Bell and Uncle Wenton (it snowed on the drive over and I almost got sick). She was doing very well but since we have been back home to Canada she has been in the hospital with a lot of fluid on her heart and lungs. As we started back to Chattanooga we drove to Lenoir City and met our sweet sister-in-law, Linda Shannon, at Cracker Barrel. It was so good to connect with Linda. We stayed at Marylyn and Doyle's home in Red Bank during the time of our visit in Tennessee.
We were able to get together with Ray's brother Bob and his wife Sharon, brother Terry and his wife Darlene. We actually drove to East Ridge and ate at the Epicurean. Thanks Bob for the treat. The next morning we drove to Carrollton and arrived at Becky & Robert Ellington's home in Carrollton that afternoon. What a beautiful drive - so many dogwoods and azaleas blooming! We began the revival services on Sunday morning and with different groups providing the music for the services it was so enjoyable. Of course the Pleasant Ridge choir did an excellent job under Angie's leadership and Becky's playing :) Thank you so much for what you added to the worship. Ray preached powerful messages at each service. We were treated at lunch and dinner to be welcomed into several of the member's homes. We gained weight but did so with a smile on our face.... great southern cooks. Thanks to each of you who opened your home to us (we have thank you notes on the way). We stayed in Carrollton the day after the revival and Ray got to enjoy a 2nd round of golf with Brett and his dad. During our visit I got to see Calloway Gardens in all it's glory. I will attach a picture or two.
At this point we returned to Chattanooga and enjoyed the next evening playing Shanghai with Marylyn, Doyle, their son David and his wife Tracy who had driven up from North Carolina. Way to go Tracy - the rookie was good.
Saturday was a day set aside to honor Marylyn and Doyle for 50 years of marriage (anniversary is in June but their children wanted Ray and I to be there for the celebration - so it was held early). Susie and her family arrived from middle Tennessee. Joni, our brother David's wife drove from Pennsylvania with their 4 younger sons, Andrew, Benjamin, Wesley and Jesse. David's son Connor lives in California and was working. David & Tracy's son, Dustin, is serving in the US Navy and is on the USS Paul Hamilton and unable to join us. So there were 16 of us who enjoyed a lunch at home with a beautiful cake and yummy BLUE BELL ice cream.
David Wayne treated the family to a night at The Redneck - Italian Wedding. It was a murder mystery theater. We had seats front and center and they sure including most of us in the evenings events....whether we wanted to or not. I ended up dancing (yes dancing) with the mafia dad "Poppie" and the redneck bride's sister took a liking to THE SILVER FOX (that would be Ray). She put a lot of lipstick on his cheek. Jesse was a suspect in the murder as well as Bailey. Marylyn & Doyle had to go front and center to be recognized as well as David and Tracy who were celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary that day. Congrats kids.
We had a full pew plus at Oakwood BC where Marylyn and Doyle attend. It was fun to worship as a family. We all returned to M&D's for lunch (great ham) and people started heading out to their various states.
Ray drove back to Carrollton to visit with Dan Dockery on Monday after having lunch with brother Bob. I took off with Darlene and her daughter Carrie and her son Carter to do a little shopping.
Ray and I continued visiting with other family members. We saw my Auntie "Cooter" Clara Victoria and Uncle Pete and visited with Auntie M (Marme or Marleita). On Tuesday night we went to Terry and Darlene's home and got to play with their three grandsons. Terry & Darlene's son Tyler and his wife Amy were there with their two sons Owen and Tanner. Handsome Shannon boys. Carrie's husband Mike also joined us with Carter.
As our time drew to a close we felt the need to revisit Amigos for a last Mexican fix. We then said goodbye from the restaurant and headed to the airport. Checking into the Chattanooga airport is sooooo much better than checking in at DFW or Atlanta! It was a sad day though to again fly through DFW and NOT see our family. It was almost 10:30pm by the time we got out of the Calgary airport and heading to our hotel. No snow - yeah! The next morning we planned on an early start so we could get home early. Oops - 10" of snow the next morning! It was a very slow drive the first couple of hours and it took 12 hours to arrive safely at home. Thank you dear Jesus.
Before leaving for Tennessee and Georgia we had finished up our college/singles Bible study and got to see a Monday night baptism. Thats right Monday night. Ray had baptized two young boys, Leif & Sage Gillett, and a young lady, Ember Selnes on Sunday morning the 27th of March. That afternoon he received a call from one of our college students, Roy Bai. Ray had the opportunity of leading him to the Lord earlier on and he had decided he needed to follow Christ in believers baptism. Since we were leaving on Tuesday morning and he would be gone back home to Calgary before we returned from the states.... what could you do. We called our folks and about 50 of them showed up Monday night along with 5 of Roy's friends from school and we had a baptismal service. God is so very good.
Bridget and Josh Zylstra waited until we got back into Canada before having baby "Hannah Lynn" - yeah - we got a girl. We have four more babies coming but we know two of them are boys.
Now, for what is going on with us! In order for us to apply for an extension to stay in Canada to pastor - immigration required that the church see if they could find a Canadian pastor. The church put out an advertisement and a student at the seminary in Cochrane who will graduate in May felt led to send his resume. Trevor and Amy Schaffrick are now being looked at as the possible next pastor for Cornerstone. Ray and I cannot be sad at this turn of events SINCE we have prayed that a Canadian pastor would come to the forefront since we came to Canada almost 5 years ago. We will let you know what the outcome of all this will be. God's timing is always better than ours!
We need to head out to the service at longterm care and then the Palm Sunday service at the Anglical church - so talk to you later - remember God is good all the time - we serve a mighty God.
If you have a chance to watch my song of the month on youtube my deliverer is coming in honor of Rich Mullins.... be sure you do. http://youtu.be/Ac4GnpqXQAQ