Fort Myers, Florida was on our "must stop" list for the sole reason:
the Weinmans!  If you know this family, then you completely understand.  When the Weinmans lived in Tucson, we had the pleasure of getting to know them through Young Life committee and at Cornerstone Christian Academy (Emily and Christina were in K and 1st grade together).  David and Susan have so much missions experience that we literally could not wait to get their take on things.  And they didn't disappoint! 
In addition to just getting to hang out with the Weinmans, their church was having their Missions Conference the next weekend.  The speaker for the mission dinner was a Business as Missions guy.  Bonus!  So we went back to Ft. Myers again, and again. 
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We bought tickets to attend New Hope Presbyterian's missions dinner, and there we heard Michael Baer speak on the topic of his book, Business As Missions: The Power of Business in the Kingdom of God.

A former pastor and currently active in the business world, his message was clear and powerful.  We are all called to work for the Kingdom in whatever area of influence we have, whether it be business, ministry, or elsewhere.  He was a great encouragement to us, and we look forward to futher discussions with him about the work he is doing, what we're doing and how God might weave it all together. 

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David, Susan and me - at the Missions dinner
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Christina
Emily joined Christina and Paula in helping to serve at the dinner. Hopefully it made her feel a little more at home.  She fit right in with the servers...and she didn't burn anyone with hot coffee.

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Max and Daniel hit it off...they went out in the canoe, shot airsoft guns and played video games.  Here they are sitting with a sweet couple at the dinner.  They apparently carried on a very nice conversation too.  He's growing up...*sniff...sniff*

 
 
Even though it's been a few weeks since my last blog entry, it does not mean that nothing has happened.  Of course Christmas has now come and gone, and we managed nicely to make Buster come alive with the holiday spirit.  It's been pretty chilly 'round these parts, but we are blessed to be warm and cozy inside of our home on wheels.
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It was a little colder than we are used to
We camped at a state park just a few miles from the Haleys.  So we had the best of Buster and the best of friends!

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Tiny Tree Christmas
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I apparently failed to pack a box of Christmas decorations.  (It WAS June when I was packing), so we had nothing.  Thankfully the Haleys had an excess, and so we had just enough to get us in the spirit of things without going overboard.  This is Buster in his decorated state.  We tried to make a Bethlehem star on the side of Buster, but after fashioning the star and mounting it, half of the lights didn't work.  So we just scrapped that idea.

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We were so glad to receive so many Christmas cards!  You found us!

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, we kept busy with school work, Christmas shopping, going to the library, and hangin' with the Haleys.  We also:
  • went to the Rock Hill Christmas parade
  • got to know some RV neighbors who gave us some knitting lessons and lots of love
  • had lunches with old friends and dinners with new ones
  • knitted and crocheted gifts for a handmade Christmas
  • watched our favorite Christmas movies and made our usual cookies and treats
Max went to Jacob's 12th birthday party with a bunch of boys and lots of pizza and wings.  Max and Jake spent lots of time together over the weeks going fishing, playing the Wii and pool, and I think he slept over about every other night. 
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Max's hair got shorter and shorter as he got taller and taller.  I think he may have just been trying to blend in with the Haleys.






Emily's choice of activity was the modern art museum:  The Mint Museum in downtown Charlotte.

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Here's a little slide show of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Click "Play".
We'll be heading to Florida for some warmer weather and to visit with family and friends.  It seems they are everywhere!  Who knew!?!
 
 
When we left Yosemite and the brilliant 80 degree weather, we headed across the Mohave desert towards Flagstaff to meet our friends.  Oh it is good to have friends that will drive 4 hours to spend the weekend camping with you and your big red bus.

We had some great face time with the Hurtiennes, Maddox, and Wambach clans...mostly around a campsite with lots of hot dogs and s'mores.  Good times.
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kids with their lips and mustaches
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the charming Wambachs
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Here is friend, Joe W, and cute lil' Maggie, their faithful companion.  We had a few hilarious episodes one day.  After packing up all of our stuff, we headed to the Church of the Resurrection where Pastor Maddox was to preach and the lovely Maddox ladies were to sing.  All was going well on the drive there when SPLAT went a watermelon on the floor.  What?  Our first major mess, and what a mess it was.  But we got it cleaned up and made it to church in the nick of time.

Winston was kind enough to recognize our Tucson contingent and invite people to talk to us about Investing Your Talents after the service.  Emily went out to the bus to get some additional flyers to hand out, and when she came back in, Maggie (the Wambach's cute little dog) followed her in!  Apparently Maggie is quite attached to her family and did not like being left in the car - even for church.  She somehow pressed the back hatch release button, and then promptly followed Emily right into church.  So mid-sermon, there goes a cute little dog right across the front of the room - hey! look at that dog - wait a minute!  That's Maggie!  Get her!  Sorry, Pastor, hope that didn't mess you up!

God has blessed us at every church we have attended along the way.  Always a different type of building, a different worship style, different pastors and teachers, but always the same love of Christ and grace extended us in our journey.  We have been the recipients of much kindness and generosity, planned for us by God, who has been leading us on this new adventure from the beginning.  We are so thankful!  It has been particularly interesting to see how different churches "do" Missions.  We are learning all sorts of lessons!

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favorite baby

 
 
I almost forgot!  On our way to Portland we were lucky enough to cross paths with the beautiful Van Stelle girls.  We had a hearty breakfast at Elmer's and then sent them on their way back to Arizona.  Until we meet again...
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Begin humming now....ok, so we're on our way down to Temecula after picking up the kids from camp, and we make our usual stop at Home Depot to gather supplies to fix something or other.  Emily and I are on the bus and there is a knock at the door.  Emily yells back to me, "Mom, it's some lady who knows us."  Interesting description.  Not sure what she is really saying, so I go to the door and it's Robin Petteys!  Robin and Leno are friends from church in Tucson, who have a place in Rancho Bernardo.  Apparently we were at "their" Home Depot!  So we followed Robin home and had a great visit.  We returned to their house later in the week for lunch and to dry some laundry. 

Chance?  Coincidence?  Is it really a small world?  No, God has ordered our steps!  And we are so thankful that God has blessed us with spiritual mothers and fathers who share their lives with us.
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Jennifer mentioned to me the other day that maybe I am missing the point of a blog.  She would apparently like to have more frequent posts.  I do have some good reasons for these lapses in posts.  Being new at this blogging business I am still feeling a little insecure wondering if anyone really cares what I write.  I also tend to get motion sick when I am not otherwise concentrating on NOT getting motion sick.  This would involve me looking straight ahead and not looking down, around, or backwards OR lying in a fetal position on the couch (the added benefit of traveling on a bus is that we actually have a couch for a backseat).  So while I would love to be multi-tasking while we are cruising down the road, it is just not practical for me.  And so I must wait until we stop, when of course, there are many other things to do that require my attention.  You would be amazed at how much time it takes to keep 300 sq. ft. tidy and orderly.

So, for Jennifer, and the rest of our fans...I mean friends...here are some of the places we have been since we left Jennifer in San Diego on July 10 - oh my, it has been a while...sorry!
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my grandpa Hargis
While in San Diego, we parked in front of Casa de Jennifer - a lovely neighborhood and exceptional hostessing!   We got to see lots of friends and family while in San Diego.  Joe and I lived in San Diego for about 5 years while I was in going to law school at the University of San Diego.  We love SD and the weather this week was AWESOME, even chilly!   We also got to see my Dad and brother DJ and sister Alex.

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Belinda, Dad, Emily and Max
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Here we are with Jen.  For the record, I beat her twice at Upwords.  That's a personal record for me.  I'm not sure I've ever even beat her before!  I was feeling so smart.

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the Riojas' live in Oceanside...we tried to play at Mission Bay but it was too cold!
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Dave, Vivi and Ian came to visit us!
 
 
From Forest Home we headed to Temecula, California, in search of the Hurtienne's and their famed grapes.  The Dorothy Alice Vineyard is 4 acres of beautiful vines and warm hospitality.  Brett, Shelbie and the boys were there, welcoming us (as usual) into their family.  Thanks Walt and Nancy for a great night of swimming, ping pong and drinkable fruit!
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Shelbie and me posing with the grapes

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Hurtienne cousins

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The whole Hurtienne clan.