Preacher’s Rock

We hiked up to a place called Preacher’s Rock on Big Cedar Mountain on the AT in North Georgia today. It’s a short hike (2 mile round trip with a 450 ft. elevation gain on the way up), but the view at the top is really nice.

The girls are having the college group over for games tonight. It’s fun seeing all these kids who were between 10 and 13 years old when we moved here as adults. They are all exceptional kids, and we couldn’t have asked for a better group for our girls to grow up with.

It’ll be an earlier morning departure for Atlanta to get Jenna to her flight. But we get her back in three weeks for a little longer visit.

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Happy Thanksgiving

It has been good to have everyone home for Thanksgiving. After going to a wedding Saturday afternoon, we drove down to Atlanta to get Jenna from the airport. Monday we did a short little hike not far from home at a place called Fire’s Creek.

Lauren got home Tuesday, and there have been lots of games (including the newly discovered Wikigame) and the annual Thanksgiving puzzle.

We had twenty-five people here for Thanksgiving lunch as several families from church joined us. It was a fun day with lots of good food

And since we’re planning on doing some hiking tomorrow at a place called Blood Mountain down in Georgia, we needed to begin the Christmas decorating just a little early.

The cat, as you can see, immediately took up her normal position under the tree.

Jenna has to fly back on Saturday, and Lauren gets to hang around until Monday.

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Art and Wood

On Friday, I took my Challenge II to Atlanta (thankfully avoiding the traffic nightmare that ensued since both President Trump and Vice-President Pence were in town) to the High Museum. We spent about an hour doing a quick walk through the main time periods of art from Byzantine to Post-impressionism. Then they split up to find a piece of art they wanted to do a presentation on in a few weeks.

Then on Saturday, some friends helped me tackle a tree in the yard that needed to come down.

Now the long process of cutting it all up and getting it split and stacked so it can keep us warm next winter.


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Two Birds with One Stone; Record Wins

We traveled over to Covenant today for two reasons: Rebekah did a college visit, and we picked up Lauren to bring her home for her fall break. While we didn’t need a campus tour, we did get to talk to a professor in the art department—Rebekah is interested in graphic design. We also saw another family from here who was also looking at the school.

The Murphy high school football coach is attempting to break the NC record for wins at 413 tonight. I have been to one game in the nine years that we’ve been here. I will not be attending the away game to see if he pulls it off. He has been coaching here for 36 years and won eight state titles, including three since we’ve lived here.

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Back in August of 2010, we started this blog so folks back in Texas could keep up with us. This is the 500th post. I don’t post near as often as I used to, but I have managed to post something at least once a month.

I need to back up a little, I never included a picture of Jenna’s temporary home while she was waiting to move into her garage apartment sometime in October.

Rebekah and I passed the six week mark in school this week. In addition to her classes and piano, a couple of weeks ago she and Dana added after school tutoring with the program which feeds into our Camp Cherokee.

And I’ve been trying to add a little color to the yard by working on some flower beds.

We also planted a bunch of the irises we brought from the old house. And because it hasn’t rained much and since this yard grows so much slower than the old one, a rose bush, that I thought had been completely dug up when the French drain was put in around the house, has come back. I have no idea how to care for roses, but I need to figure it out.

Dana and Rebekah are going to Texas next week. It’s Rebekah’s fall break, and they are going to visit Dana’s mom. And Jenna is driving over for the weekend to see them. I’ll be jealous. Daniel is in a play at Baylor, so they are all going to see him perform.


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Gary DeSalvo

In the late summer of 1992, I moved to Temple, TX to begin my first teaching job at nearby Ft. Hood. The first Sunday I was in town, I visited First Baptist Church. The second Sunday, I visited Temple Bible Church. I never went anywhere else. Gary DeSalvo was the pastor, and he had been there since 1981, when the church started. He remained the pastor until yesterday, when he passed away.

I had the privilege of sitting under his teaching for nine years. I’ve never sat under another pastor who communicated truth with such warmth, conviction, humor—often at the expense of Aggies!—and faithfulness to the biblical text. He was an encourager, a friend, and a man of integrity. He was an Italian-Cajun, native Louisianan and an avid LSU fan. He loved Bluebell ice cream. He loved baptizing people, and he loved teaching the Bible.

He was a shepherd. Under his leadership and the atmosphere he engendered at Temple Bible Church, I steadily grew in my faith. Despite the tremendous growth of the church during those nine years, he still made himself available to me and Dana for pre-marital counseling, and to us again when we were contemplating a move back to my hometown.

Gary loved life, and Sunday mornings were a joy to be a part of as he modeled both delight in our God and the necessity to take God’s word seriously as the only right guide to life. He encouraged the church to engage in our community and around the world—being active himself in the community and in ministering to a church in the Ukraine and refugee camps in Africa.

Gary was always praising others, giving credit where credit was due, encouraging other ministries and churches, and encouraging generosity from us all. The ministry was never his, always God’s, and so he was free to love his church and let God supply what God wanted to supply. We grieve the loss, but we rejoice in a life well-lived and a life finished well.

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And Just Like That

It’s back to school for Rebekah and I. We started on Tuesday with another year of Classical Conversations.

For Rebekah’s senior year she is doing a half day at CC: Shakespeare, Philosophy, and Chemistry. She’s doing two classes at home: U.S. History and Pre-cal. She’s taking a website-coding class from a homeschool dad in the community who does that for a living. And finally, she’s taking piano lessons.

I have five students this year, compared to the eleven I had last year.

For the first time since we started CC, I am not changing levels, but staying with Challenge II (Algebra II, Latin II, Logic II, British Literature, Western Cultural History, and Biology). And for the first time since we started CC, I don’t have one of my daughters in class with me. The downside of that is trying to keep up with my stuff and Rebekah’s.

We have Lauren for just a little longer. She goes back to school on Tuesday.

Jenna started teacher inservice this week and she’ll get her kids on Tuesday for a short orientation type day before she starts full days on Wednesday.

Dana is babysitting again for the CC community. And she and Rebekah will continue to babysit for another church on Sunday nights.

Other than cherry tomatoes and some mini romas, the tomato side of the garden is about done. The Okra and peppers are still doing well. And Dana has planted some more cilantro and kale. This past weekend, I planted a bunch of irises, and will work on another bed this weekend. This fall, we’re planning on getting a couple of trees cut down: one is too close to the house and is showing signs of rot at the base; the other is shading a prime spot for another flower garden. Hopefully, those will supply enough fire wood for the following winter.

On August 10, we passed the nine year mark here in NC and at Christ Community Church. I am about a month away from finishing up a series on the Sermon on the Mount at church. It has been one of my favorite things to preach through besides the life of Jacob which I did back in 2011–2012.

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