Mosaic

I felt a sense of panic as we were trying to park our big bus at a campground in Michigan. We‚Äôre big, and we sort of stick out like a sore thumb, so¬†when we are in campground, I always get a little self-conscense. We were finding that the sites that we hoped for were not available and our day was getting away from us. It was hot and we were warn from¬†a weekend of intense community. In my panic, I went a bit faster in my¬†vehicle, trying to get between our site and our bus, which was parked in a lane way. I wasn’t really paying attention to the impact I might have on those around us. I had tunnel vision, so to speak. A man began to chase after my van, yelling for me to stop. I could hear him¬†vaguely but kept going, time moved¬†slowly and I felt like I was floating. However, as soon as I stopped my van and jumped out, the man was there in my face, screaming that I needed to slow down, insisting that I was breaking the rules and demanding I listen to him. Time raced, my heart raced, I lost my cool and fought back, giving him an excuse as to why I should be able to break the rules, but they fell flat. I finally slowed down¬†enough to step back into reality and told him he was right and I was sorry. As he huffed away¬†I glanced around at everyone, including my family, watching the train wreck. Then, as I slid back into my van,¬†I nearly had a break down emotionally, I was¬†embarrassed and felt totally out of control.

IMG_5209We finally settled into our site, but the lingering feelings of disconnect consumed me. I began to mentally give myself lashings, how stupid and selfish I had been, totally hypocritical. And, as I continued the internal discord,  a spirit of condemnation began to seep in. It was low-lying and thin, so I could barely tell it was there, yet my moodiness displayed its blatant presence and it was starting to affect my family. Which lead to more internal dialog about how lame I was. The next day, I ran errands, picking up groceries for the week and getting gas. Switching to logistics was a nice distraction and masked some of my discomfort. Later, we all enjoyed dinner and watched a sunset, which was refreshing but as soon as my head hit the pillow, the cloud reappeared and I was soaked in reproof.

Day three was OK, I was over the¬†embarrassment and had moved on to how¬†ridiculous it was that I lost my cool over something so silly. The inner dialog turned from¬†‚Äėyou are stupid‚Äô to¬†‚Äúwhy did I panic over something so stupid?‚ÄĚ I began keeping an eye out for the campground guy in hopes of offering a sincere apology. ¬†So, it seemed a bit healthier and yet that spirit of condemnation lingered, with it‚Äôs sly smile and edgy tone. With no tasks at hand, I tried to consume my mind¬†with relaxing, trying to find a moment to sit on the beach and read my book. I caught little glimpses, but felt unsettled. Then I turned my attention to trying to find WIFI because of a missed e-mail that was¬†‚Äúurgent” to get out. That seemed to do the trick, although I really am not a fan of urgency, it‚Äôs a little to close to panic. Anyway, after about three hours, I finally got the work taken care of that I needed to, and was going back to my bus to make a beverage. I felt I¬†deserved¬†it, I was¬†exhausted mentally, spiritually and physically, specially after the last few days of internal battle. It was dinner time but I had no gumption to make dinner, all I could think about was trying to catch a break, a moment of refreshment, so I made my drink and was out the door.

As I made my way down to the beach, I heard the faint voice of my daughters saying my name. I turned and she was coming towards me, yelling from down the road. “Mom, mom, someone stole my bike!‚ÄĚ With no capacity left in me, I exhaled a long breath, suggested she go report it to the office, told Craig and kept on my way. I sat down on that beach, sipping my drink, trying to escape, trying to find peace. I sat there for about five minutes and then distinctly heard in my spirit, “Get Up! Stop wallowing, get up and go back and engage.” I felt the sacred conviction and immediately snapped up, briskly walking back to the camp. My family was all out¬†searching, so I decided the best way I could help was to start dinner. I put my drink away, took a deep breath, and clearly saw that spirit of condemnation standing there in¬†front of me, laughing. I sunk low, but then remembered who I was. I was a daughter of the God of all gods and that because of that I was not longer under the law of condemnation but rather, affirmation (Grace). I¬†immediately spoke that¬†identity out loud, demanding the spirit leave. Instantly I felt the¬†presence leave,¬†with tail between legs. I¬†began to sing my heart out offering adoration and thanksgiving to my creator. ¬†Soon any lingering effects had worn off and I was back to thinking straight, and dinner was underway.

Everyone returned with an update on the stolen bike. Seems, Graciana had been up at the campground lodge checking her Instagram and an older woman had come up to here asking to use her phone. She responded that it was an iPod. The woman walked around the corner, got on Graciana’s bike and rode away. It was later reported that she rode the bike back to her campsite and hid it in the woods behind her tent. The staff in the main office were alerted and called the sheriff to come and help them remove the bike from the campsite. Sure enough the bike was still there, in the woods behind the ladies tent. When confronted by the authorities about the bike, she said she didn’t know where it came from. So, the sheriff and the camp staff came back to us and asked if what our hope was, did we just want the bike back or did we want to take it further and press charges. We declined pressing charges and were happy to have the bike back but still aware of the uncomfortable disconnect as fellow human beings.

I wanted to wallow in my victim stance for a minute. I had every right considering the circumstances. However, I was humbled knowing the internal struggle I had just trudged through and I was reminded of God’s amazing grace and wondered how that plays out in our everyday interactions. I know one of my deepest longings is for others to show me mercy and grace.

So, thinking about this lady and how somehow in her head, that bike was hers to be used and when it was no longer needed, she disowned it. I wondered what her internal struggle must be, trying to put myself in her shoes. I though about the camp staff who I yelled at a few days prior and how he must have a certain opinion of me, who by the way, I was never able to find again to properly apologize, thus leaving our connection in a state of disarray. I though about my husband and how he handled the situation with honor and humility, wanting to protect his family, to see justice served but also understanding the brokenness of humanity. I though about the sheriff and what it must have been like for him to deal with this awkward interaction. I though about my children and how one of them wanted retribution, while the other was almost carefree about it, stating that if the lady needed the bike, she could just have it.

All this to say, we‚Äôve been thinking about the idea of the heart of God towards Justice and how it¬†correlates¬†with worship. We‚Äôve been thinking about this specifically because it is the subject matter¬†at a conference that we‚Äôll be sharing at in Cambodia in December. It‚Äôs a big idea and to really think about it sort of makes my brain hurt. And yet, these past few days have been just the catalyst for observational and experiential process. ¬†I know God is just, He says he‚Äôs just. But what does that mean. I know He has a heart for justice, but what does that mean? I also know we are created to worship, yet how this all correlates is a mystery.¬†And, scripture says we are to “live justly,” but how does it play out in the context of relationship where one betrays another?

mosaic-td_600Most days, I see life, ideas, and concepts in tapestry or mosaic form and so to look at just one fragment of the picture or one line of thread doesn’t come naturally. I see a God who is the creator of the universe, who is all-knowing, the beginning and the end, who is faithful and just, who is love and truth all wrapped up in one. I see a God who is deeply relational to the core and because of that, he pursues every avenue for connectivity. Likewise, I see that we are created in this God’s image. We have the capacity for deep relationship. We are made for it, and there is an intense link between this connectivity and worship, that maybe worship is participating in that connectivity with God. But how does this play out in the nitty-gritty of everyday life.

I’m not really sure the answers to all of these questions but I have a feeling love and mercy have something to do with justice and I will continue to seek them out as I move in relationship with God and others.

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Sacred Space

IMG_3435We talk about sacred space, sharing sacred space and creating sacred space often. It’s not a common term in our circles but it’s not a foreign concept either. Understanding there is nothing new under the sun, we take the idea of going to church, in its limited construct, and usher the sacred into any space that we are in, nature, buildings, buses, etc… so that the space around us becomes “sacred space,”¬†paying sole attention to the Creator of the universe, with hearts of thanksgiving and humility.¬†We do this by leading and participating purposefully in acts of worship, song, reading sacred texts, meditation, reflections, sharing woes and joys, prayers, seeking wisdom and encouragement.

As we travel we are often¬†invited into others expressions of sharing sacred space and¬†it’s always a joy to partner with these folks committed to moving beyond religion and dogma, to the deeper act of worship and sharing in community. Sharing sacred space for us is a necessary part of our journey, it’s like going to the well to refill our water jugs. It’s life-giving and we don’t take it for granted.

Sometimes we meet folks along the way who have grown up in a particular religion and have had what we call “an allergic reaction” to that religion. The result is an on going struggle with guilt, shame, anger and resentment. The conversation tends to revolve around someone or some ideal that they felt betrayed by, leading to disillusionment as well as apathy. Yet, they long for more, but fear and potential lack of desire to push through the pain keeps them from finding the deep connection that comes when we share in the sacred. Our bus rider, Chris, was one of those souls. Our first stop after picking him up from the Mega Bus depot in Washington DC was Frostburg Maryland, where we parked and lived community life with the good folks at Savage River Farm. It was a jam-packed first 24 hours getting to know Chris, digging in the fields, getting to know our hosts and on our second night we made a huge dinner for the everyone, along with about 15 other kinfolk who came to share sacred space. After dinner, we all gathered on blankets and chairs, Ben read a reading from the book of Common Prayer, we spent five minutes in silence, taking in the sounds around us, listening past those sounds in hopes of hearing that still small voice and then we spent the rest of the night sharing our story, bearing witness of our Makers faithfulness in our lives, encouraging those there in their pursuit of God and community and closing with a song. Afterwards, we made our way back to our bus where Chris let us know that maybe he wasn‚Äôt on the same page as we were regarding our faith. We answered, that‚Äôs OK. It was late and we suggested a sit down in the morning where he could share his spiritual story with us.

The next morning he took us on his journey through childhood including a mama and grandmother, a pastor and a teacher all with a strong but simple faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; a faith that included a beautiful beginning, then a disconnect from God, then reconciliation and restoration through God’s son, Jesus. Chris said he was wrapped in this story as a child but that as he got older he met others with different beliefs about God and some with no belief in God at all and began question this simple story of redemption. He felt a swaying towards apathy and eventually claimed to be agnostic, throwing himself into a sexually and status driven mindset. He said that he found some success and happiness during those years but there was always something missing. He expressed a longing to be in union with the God of all gods and a longing for the sacred. And, that lead him to this conversation with us, sitting on our bus. He expressed an acute awareness of this longing and an openness to seeing where the journey on our bus would lead and we continued forward. We knew God was orchestrating the ride of Chris’s life and we were excited to see it unfold.

Through out the course of the month on board, Chris met people all along the way, who without knowing it, answered questions, spoke wisdom and truth and lived out the simplicity of their love for God. We spent loads of time engaged in sacred text with the lens on inquiry, spending time working out some of those pending questions from years prior, finding that somethings were evident and some were mysteries yet to be unfolded. We read and prayed, asking what the text was trying to communicate about Gods character as well as our identity in the story. At one point, Chris began to understand the preciousness of his mother’s simple faith and that was when the invitation came from Chris’s childhood pastor, also named Chris, whom he hadn’t seen in five years, to come and share his faith journey with his church, Grace and Truth Chapel, just outside of Boston, MA.

We were also invited by Pastor Chris to bring an offering of worship, incorporating a time for Chris to share and to deliver a word of encouragement regarding God‚Äôs faithfulness. We love to share in any setting, with any group of kinfolk but it‚Äôs especially wonderful when we get to meet those we are preparing a spiritual meal for and learn from them first. So, we were pleased to be able to meet Pastor Chris and his beautiful wife, Rose the evening before and share a meal. We found out that they originated from Ghana and were delighted to also find out that their community consisted of folks from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo and other parts of West Africa. Having never met someone from Ghana we spent most of our night asking questions about their lives, cultural traditions and faith. We listened intently as they shared the dramatic story of their recent trip home to deal with the death of a loved one. They shared that their cultural traditions are wrapped up in ‚Äúspiritism” and much of the story consisted of their constant redefinition of the local gods (spirits) who were always needing appeasement and would anger easily to the living God who is loving, patient, relational and kind. Rose and Pastor Chris respected their elders by showing a consistent love, embracing the relationally healthy traditions and rejecting those traditions that were relationally destructive. And, although their time there was tremendously wearing, they were fearless in their dealings with the local spirits, setting a new tone of faith that celebrated life but was free from the bondage of fear and ritualist slavery.

This conversation was very helpful in understanding how we would share in sacred space with the kinfolk at Grace and Truth. We knew that our time with them would focus on God‚Äôs faithfulness and we began to look into sacred text for ways to communicate this truth. We found Psalm 145:8-21 which paints a picture of a king who is faithful and compassionate, specially to those who fall. Also, we sourced Paul Penley‚Äôs book, Reenacting the Way, and found many stories of Jesus declaring his Godship and setting a new tone. For instance at one point Jesus sits down to share a meal with his friends and takes a cup, holding it up and declares it the blood of the new covenant. Why would he say that? Culturally, this statement correlates with the first covenant meal ever (you can read about it in Exodus 24:3-11), where there was a meal that took place in the Sinai wilderness a few weeks after the first passover. At this meal God made covenant with the Israelites and they respond that all that the Lord had spoken they would do. Fast forward to Jesus at this passover meal and he announces that his body would be broken and his blood poured out to inaugurate a new ‚Äúcovenant‚ÄĚ which frees people to love and serve the living God. God promises faithfulness by stepping towards us, so that we may fall in step with him. This covenant is pure and relational and requires a two-sided commitment. And, even when we fail in our commitment God is still faithful, slow to anger, quick to love and like the prodigal father, welcomes us back, no matter tribe, tongue or creed.

IMG_3436We love because God loved us first. This is our story, this is Chris’s story, and best of all Chris got to share how this awesome covenant had new meaning for him with people who cared deeply for him. And, this really is the beauty of sharing sacred space.

On a fun side note; for those who have never shared sacred space with West Africans, the gathering lasts about three or four hours and includes loads of “amens,” rollicking songs, clapping, dancing, speaking out prayers, praying over others, words of encouragement, hugs and more words of encouragement and finishes with a hardy and delicious meal!

 

Rest Doesn’t Come Easy

IMG_9969We’re in Austin, TX for four months, resting. Well, that’s what we tell people.

But, after three years traveling two different continents at a relatively active pace, I would say we are here in Austin to learn to rest.

Rest doesn’t come easy when one’s value is based upon what one accomplishes. Poet, David Whyte writes; “Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is not stasis but the essence of giving and receiving. Rest is an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually, but also physiologically and physically. To rest it to become present in a different way than through action, and especially to give up on the will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we put it right; to rest is to fall back, literally or figuratively from outer targets, not even to a sense of inner accomplishment or an imagined state of attained stillness, but to a different kind of meeting place, a living, breathing state of natural exchange‚Ķ”

Oh! It it is nearly impossible to engage in. All of the elements are in place, our desire to seek rest initially lead us to have conversations with kinfolk in Austin when we were here in May. They in turn began to share our need for rest with their neighbors, etc… We prayed and asked for this rest. Then a friend spoke with a friend, who had a friend, who had a precious plot of land right on Lake Austin. He was happy to gift us with a place to park our rig, allowing us amenities of sewer, water and electricity. He met us when we arrived and welcomed us, stating he hoped that we would use the property well and that rest would come. He then took us for Texas BBQ and went on his way.

So here we are with this beautiful setting, the sun shining on cue each day we wake, and just enough in our fridge to fill our bellies.

The first week, Rhys was still with us, finishing out his four weeks on the bus. So, much of our time was spent showing him the amazing sights and sounds of Austin, including Barton Springs, Torchies Tacos, Congress Street, the University area, Contra dancing and a day for packing and swimming at the lake. It was a great week and I’ll write more about it later.

The second week there was an inkling that rest was upon us, but the slow down was going to take time. Our bodies were ready, but our minds were still consumed with outpouring and giving. We volunteered with our kinfolk at MLF, we sought new friends on street corners, and through our social media and began hosting gatherings at the lake.

Then in the third week, we were scheduled to attend a folk music conference. We went, engaged with our fellow folkies and shared music. We met Matt Nakoa, a fellow muso from NYC, and quickly found kinship with him. We were careful though, as we didn’t want to distract him from benefits that the conference had for him.

All the while, we could feel a wooing happening in our hearts towards rest and the desire to give in to the rest was coming upon us like a wave far out in the ocean, building and building. What a dichotomy to have a spiritual awakening in such a physically driven place. It started to feel like we were trudging through mud, we were meant to be networking and gleaning wisdom about the music industry. Instead, many conversations, which started with practical ideals about traveling and touring full-time, ended in philosophical and spiritual musings about faith and purpose. Some of the conversations where so beautiful, and others were met with a deer in the headlights stare.

You’d think after that weekend we’d finally give in, but instead we had another party at the lake. (And, I should mention, that we all were feeling different levels of this pull towards rest, however, I was the one most resistant) The party was relaxing and some really great conversations happened. Another weekend passed and then it hit. My mind started to spiral after a few misses from friends who we still hadn’t seen in Austin, all whom had worthy excuses. None the less, it brought up insecurities and feelings of unworthiness, and lack of purpose. On Saturday night we shared sacred space with a group of folks we met a few weeks earlier. It was refreshing, yet I struggled to maintain composure. We went to church on Sunday and the minister talked about how important encouragement is to the soul. He talked about how we need to encourage one another day after day, so that we won’t lose heart, leaving us vulnerable to temptation. I could feel my heart slipping. I wanted rest, but rest seemed to represent loneliness, a feeling I know all to well.

IMG_9971So, here we are one month into our stay and this morning, after weeks of mind battles about rest,¬†white knuckling, running here and there on supposed errands, worrying about this and that, I woke with an ever-present monkey on my back. I knew it was there all along, but I finally decided to let it go. I spoke, “I want rest. Real rest.” I needed worship. I needed a moment of intimacy with the one who offers rest. I downloaded “All Sons and Daughters, Tonight” and as I listened and sang along I allowed the wave of rest to wash over me, remembering and¬†releasing the need for an inner sense of accomplishment or even an imagined state of attained stillness, but rather to a different kind of meeting place, a living, breathing state of super natural exchange. I’m sure it will be a journey but as these waves wash over us through the next few month, I trust that we will slowly, rest easy.

How do you define rest? And, how do you find it?

Being Present

IMG_3788When one thinks of Carmel, California, images of surf beaches, movie stars, a playground for the elite arise, and to some extent it is.  However, there is a whole underbelly of kinfolk who live and work in this region who are desperately trying to hold on to life. There are those who work 3 jobs to pay the bills, trying to uphold the standard of the upper middle class. And, there are those who wonder the shore line without a home, looking for work and a place to lay their heads at night.

The economic divide is vast and yet there is a rising up.¬†The rhythms of the¬†“hidden community”¬†beat stronger and stronger. There¬†are kinfolk in all walks of life, doing the hard work of community. They are committed to the trials that come when one is trying to bridge two worlds. They are committed to the ministry of reconciliation.

The Bajari family is part of that hidden community and they invited us into the fold, to experience the local struggles and joys, and to share their radical hospitality with us. Brian is involved in the global conversation as the executive director for Care Corp International, a NGO that specializes in trauma counseling for refugees around the world. His beautiful wife, Suzie is as a counselor for youth who have experienced extreme violence and trauma in the neighboring town of Salinas.

IMG_3942On a local level, Brian Bajari has a heart for the marginalized in his area and has made efforts over the past five years to build community amongst these weary friends and travelers.

Originally the youth paster at one of the wealthiest churches in Carmel, Brian left the secure position to engage the greater community in a conversation about humanity and what it means to care for one another. He, along with a faithful team of volunteers, build bridges with the city councils in the surrounding areas by attending meetings, they listen and they advocate for the homeless. They communicate with the area churches about drops for the homeless, places that they can bring goods and meals. They also facilitate Gathering by the Bay, which meets every weekend at 9:30am, beachside Monterey, across from the McDonalds, and is open to the public.

IMG_3946Brian leads a simple time of prayer/meditation, sharing stories from the week and an encouraging word, he opens it up for a song and at the end, they share a meal. We were invited to participate last Sunday and our time with them was precious. When we arrived there were a handful of homeless gathering around a few picnic tables on the beach. Cars with boxes of supplies, socks, sweatshirts, pants, shoes, toothbrushes, etc were unloaded. Michael and Tia brought a home made meal and by 10am the beach was filling up. A bicycle race was just finishing up and families were making their way for a day at the beach. All the while, the Gathering by the Bay continued.

We¬†stood in a large circle, with room enough for others to enter in, if they wanted to.¬†Passers by would stop and have a listen or sing along, engaging at all different levels. ¬†It was humbling sharing sacred space with those who have but the shirt on their backs. The thing we were most impressed with was the authenticity of it all. Brian’s motto on caring for others, “It’s not about fixing or solving, its about being present.” And, that is what we felt when we were on the beach with them, presence. There was no agenda for outcome in the way we have seen others approach the poor or homeless.¬†There was a trust and understanding between his crew and those that they were caring for and most importantly there was permission given to the homeless to care back.¬†¬†In a results driven missions economy, this open approach was refreshing.

20131017-144257.jpgWe spent a ten days with the Bajari’s, jumping right into the rhythm of their lives, sharing meals, story, and friendship. Our first night in town they welcomed us by hosting a BBQ with their neighbor Dan at the helm. We parked/plugged in our rig, just down the hill from their home on a patch of land owned by the city. All of the neighbors were welcoming. Our twelve-year-old and their twelve-year-old hit it off immediately and were inseparable the whole visit, making swords and shields for an epic battle, video gaming, playing ping-pong, boogie boarding at the beach and exploring the woods and river where they¬†caught craw dads.¬†The two youngest delighted us with songs and their sweet smiles. Our high schooler’s took a little longer to warm up, but once they did, it was a blast to see such a rich connection. Craig did a few handy things around the property and I was able to have, Ellis their elderly neighbor, over for afternoon tea.

IMG_3932We also met Justin and Maddie who welcomed us by offering to teach us to surf, connecting us with local folkies, Anne and Pete Sibley, and putting together a fantastic bonfire on the beach for our final farewell.

Justin, who grew up in Carmel, was genuine, kind and down to earth with a passion for youth. He invited us to sit in with him at Carmel Presbyterian after we finished at the Gathering by the Bay. So, with four minutes to spare we hoped on stage and joined he and his congregation is a few songs. It was such a trip to go from one extreme to another that morning, from the homeless church on the beach to such great wealth in a bright, new building. In the end however, we’re all made of the same mud, we’re all one. What a joy to be with the Saints!

After the service, we got to chatting with British artist Simon Bull and his wife Joanna. They invited us to lunch where we engaged in fantastic discussions about the momentum in the body, about the hidden community and the faithfulness of the Lord.

We met some fantastic friends in Monterey and can’t wait to get back. Plus there is that beach thing!

Big Texas Love

20130324-123754.jpgWe crossed the state line into Texas on March 8, 2013. First stop Lubbock, TX. The drive from Albuquerque was long, hot and the landscape was flat for miles and miles. In fact, it was so flat that it felt like we were plastered to the ground. Trains ran along the highway and we had fun counting the cars and wondering if we knew any train hoppers on board.

20130324-123816.jpgIt took us about 5 hours to reach our host home, the Latham family. We were referred to this big ol’ Texas family by our friends, the Morfords, in Bend, OR.¬†Scott and Diana along with their teenage and adult kids are real givers. They are actively involved in the spiritual growth of their community and host regular gatherings at their home for young adults and couples. They are beautiful, thoughtful kinfolk and graciously welcomed us into their community. It was inspiring to be around the depth of conversation and experience that they offered, specially listening to their children share the genuinely positive influence growing up with parents who live by faith and service. ¬†They offered us an opportunity to share our gifts and talents in sacred space at a little Methodist church on a Sunday morning.

This was our offering…

Call to worship- Song, Come Before the Lord.
Deceleration of God’s faithfulness- Song, No Other.
Reading: 2 Cor 4:18 The things we see now are hear today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can not see will last forever.
Sharing/Teaching: Walking by Faith, Our journey learning to “swim upstream”
Lectio Divina: (prayerful reading of scripture) Psalm 62
Response: Song- Unfashionable Wisdom (No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived, what God has for those who LOVE him)
Closing Songs: Morning Star, Old Timey Trio- I’ve Got a Home in Gloryland,I’ll Fly Away, Amazing Grace, Oh When the Saints.

20130324-123853.jpgSunday evening we drove down to Snyder, TX to visit with an old friend, Brad Floyd. Brad is one of the brightest stars we know. His smile is contagious and he’s about the kindest big ol’ Texan you’ll ever meet. He introduced us to his wife Sally, mother and a few friends, made us Chicken fried steaks. Dinner was a hoot as we heard stories from one of their friends, Anne. She’s in her 50’s and suffers from MS. However, her spirits were high as she declared her mischievousness and shared about some of the nonsense she got up to as a youth. For example, the time she and a few friends shot an arrow into the town generator and the whole power grid went out. Or the time she stood at the top of a water fall and dumped laundry soap down the falls. The bubbles filled the river so high that they began to spill over onto the streets. Our favorite story was of her two friends who’s fathers owned the two car dealerships in the town, one Chevy and one Ford. One night the three of them snuck into the showrooms of both car dealerships and switched the hub caps. It was a few months later that a customer came in questioning why his new Chevy had Ford hubcaps? Ha!¬†Meeting folks like Anne and experiencing these kinds of moments are so special to us. Later in the evening it was a natural progression to for us to share a few songs with these kinfolk, and so we did. The next day we followed Brad down to Fort Worth, where he treated us to a tank of diesel, a stay at The Comfort Inn and dinner out. Their gift to us was more than we can possibly repay and so we are glad it’s a gift ūüôā and we are honored to call Brad and Sally friends.

20130324-123910.jpgOur next stop took us to Dallas were we stayed at an RV park for two nights. We meet up with our old friend Donny. He, his wife, Jenny and baby daughter came out to our bus and we shared dinner, while hearing their story. It’s amazing where life takes you. When we met Donny in 1999, he was a tattoo ridden, cool drummer dude. In fact, he was drumming at the time, in a band called Unwed Sailor that performed at our wedding in March of 2000. Then fast forward to March 2013 and he’s newly wed to a precious woman named, Jenny and has a son who is 11 and beautiful little girl. He has his¬†PhD in Biochemistry/ Chemical Biology and is working at UT Southwestern Medical Center, researching cancer. It was an honor to hear his story and to be able to encourage him in his marriage, faith and efforts in science.