The End of An Era

Today, the Black Bear Frozen Yogurt shop near our house closed its doors. It was the flagship store of a small chain, and provided Joshua and Rachel their first jobs (and valuable experience in customer service). Some of our dear friends were involved in starting the chain, and the enthusiasm and excitement of this new commercial venture (especially in a time when jobs were so scarce) was very refreshing.

Rachel served us (as always) with a cheerful smile.

Rachel served us (as always) with a cheerful smile.

The cozy lobby of the store (complete with fireplace and huge bear statue) has served as a favored venue for many informal meetings, birthday parties and even the occasional concert. It was well-patronized by our church and community, and it is sad to see this era of frozen yogurt come to an end.

My sweetie has enjoyed many meetings with her friends at this convenient spot.

My sweetie has enjoyed many meetings with her friends at this convenient spot.

Rumors swirl about why the store had to close, but apparently the current owners did not (or were not able to) renew the lease on the storefront, and it passed to another company.

We will miss you, Black Bear!

Project 365, Day 207
Tim

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Home Again Birthday

Let’s face it, there is nothing quite like being home for your birthday. Celebrating a birthday at Fort Clark, TX, is all well and good, but there is just something about being home, especially when you have sweet friends who decorate for you!

The birthday celebration rages on, for these two girls.

The birthday celebration rages on, for these two girls.

Ah, it feels good to be home.

Project 365, Day 199
Tim

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College Bound!

Today Daniel received a very exciting and anxiously-awaited email. We had hoped that word might come this week — we were so excited to get definitive notice today.

Daniel's college acceptance letter!

Daniel’s college acceptance letter!

Daniel spent the last year at Clover Park Technical College, studying low-voltage electricity and learning about fire alarms and security systems. Frustrated with the tedium of academic life at the end of his junior year, Daniel pressed us to allow him to pursue an alternative final year of high school. Truth be told, it wasn’t a resounding success. The coursework was not very challenging, and he was not inspired by the instructor or the subject matter of the course.

So when Daniel reached the end of his senior year, we weren’t sure how to advise him. Should he start taking classes at a local community college, to see if he can get back into the swing of academic life? Should he pursue a short-term mission trip? Or should he work a year or two, to gain some real-world experience, and maybe come to desire a college education? Maybe by working, he would find a career path that was inspiring …

We believe that Daniel is being stifled, to a certain extent, living at home. Most young men need a chance to make choices, determine their values and priorities, and, hopefully, acquire wisdom. Living under our roof, with Kathy’s tendency to “fuss” and my tendency to pompously “lecture,” we think that Daniel was not really able to stretch his metaphorical ‘legs’ and stride into manhood.

As Spring was ending and Summer beginning, we began to worry. What could Daniel do if he wasn’t eager for a four-year academic program, didn’t have a job that would allow him to support himself away from home, but was also suffocating a bit under our, ahem, mildly overpowering influence??

“Not to worry,” Rachel told us, confidently. “I’ll take care of things.”

Next thing we knew, Daniel had applied to Calvary Chapel Bible College, and was gathering letters of recommendation to send in. Several of our friends’ children have attended Calvary Chapel, and we think it will be a good fit for Daniel. What a great opportunity for him to spend a year or two studying the Bible and learning to live on his own, yet in a fairly controlled and safe environment, around other students who love Jesus!

Daniel is still a little in shock.

Daniel is still a little in shock.

We are so excited for Daniel, and delighted that he has been accepted. Calvary Chapel’s focus on servant leadership is an excellent fit for Daniel’s spiritual gifting, and we hope that he will thrive there.

It will be strange to have the three older kids away next year, with just David and Sarah home with us. Each of the kids add such an important dimension to our family, it is hard not to feel rather diminished when one or more of them are away. Visiting Joshua, we attended his church, and then engaged in a little family weirdness …

Preparing for a long drive, we gave each other a back massage ...

Preparing for a long drive, we gave each other a back massage …

We got a few strange looks from the other folks in the lobby — too bad that Joshua will now need to find another church.

CONGRATULATIONS, Daniel!!!! Can’t wait to see what this next year holds for you. We love you and are very proud of you!

Project 365, Day 194
Tim

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Metal Longhorns

Today we visited Joshua in Waco, TX, where he is participating in a physics research project at Baylor University. Apparently, if you are a physics major, you must engage in some kind of advanced research before you graduate; Joshua was very glad to be accepted to the National Science Foundations’ Research Experience for Undergraduates (which pays a stipend and some travel expenses).

Daniel always wanted to be a missionary cowboy when  he grew up.   I just never expected this day to arrive!

Daniel always wanted to be a missionary cowboy when he grew up. I just never expected this day to arrive!

Since Joshua is here all summer, we decided to include a visit to Baylor during our trip to Texas — we were so glad to get a chance to see Joshua. He gave us a tour of his cool lab building and joined us for a quick jaunt up to Dallas. We’ll go to church with him tomorrow, and then be on our way.

Waco has some interesting history to it, including some rather horrific racial atrocities in the early 1900s and the Branch Davidian siege in the 1980′s. Most recently, there was the biker gang massacre at the Twin Peaks restaurant that left nine dead and more than 170 arrested.

But Waco seems a sleepy town, with some real beauty to it. Baylor’s campus is very nice, and the parks along the Brazos river are very lush and shady, a lovely respite from the hot Texas sun. Apparently Waco was also a famous stop for many cattle drives from Texas to Kansas — charging $0.05 per head of cattle for using the suspension bridge.

Nobody charged us a nickel to cross this bridge.

Nobody charged us a nickel to cross this bridge.

These goofballs really took the whole 'suspension' part of the bridge very literally.

These goofballs really took the whole ‘suspension’ part of the bridge very literally.

In commemoration of the cattle-driving history, a herd of twenty metal cattle and three cowboys were recently added to the park as a tribute to the cattle drive and cowboy culture in general.

Although hollow, these metal cows are very sturdy.

Although hollow, these metal cows are very sturdy.

Fortunately, I had my own cowboys with me, and so we paid a visit to the park while we waited for our hotel rooms to be made available.

I'm not sure the cows were really designed to be ridden ...

I’m not sure the cows were really designed to be ridden …

Traveling with boys is interesting. Their desire to conquer (and to climb on) everything is a reminder of my own youth — albeit now a rather distant memory.

I've heard of cow-tipping, but never cow-surfing ...

I’ve heard of cow-tipping, but never cow-surfing …

I was rather impressed by the detail in the sculpture of the cowboys (and their horses) — definitely the highlight of the exhibit.

I must admit, after seeing this sculpture, I wanted to be a cowboy.

I must admit, after seeing this sculpture, I wanted to be a cowboy.

Project 365, Day 192
Tim

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Dan the Gardener

This year Daniel gave me a unique and special Mother’s Day present.

From my sweet son!

From my sweet son!

Weeding – Planting- Paying for Bark

Happy words to a mother’s heart! At least a mother who has a bare and forlorn looking front yard.

Of course, I love presents of ALL kinds, but I was especially excited by this gift! I feel extra special LOVED when my family helps me around the house and take on on big projects for (and with me). I so appreciate Daniel’s generosity of his time and finances, and also his sensitivity in knowing I have longed to brighten up the front yard for years.

Tim’s mom bought me some beautiful flowers, Daniel prepped the land, and Tim planted the flowers.

It’s been interesting figuring out when and how Daniel likes to tackle yard work. I have really learned that a gift is one that is given – not nagged or fussed out of a person. There have been times over the past month when I thought, “This would be the perfect day for yard work.” And Daniel was busy with school or work at Chick-Fil-A or even his own relaxing. I had to learn patience. And I got the opportunity to get out in the yard and enjoy some of the labor myself. Tim was very kind to step in and help me get the wilting plants into the ground – it has been one HOT and DRY summer.

Meanwhile, Daniel continues to work on additional improvements. And he’s not reluctant to spend some of his own money. He bought us a large broom for sweeping up the driveway. He surprised me with a new welcome mat.

And today he went out and purchased 7 bags of topsoil for the flower beds.

Thank you, Daniel! I feel very loved!

He also pulls up naughty trees that are trying to infiltrate the yard.

He also pulls up naughty trees that are trying to infiltrate the yard.

Project 365 – Day 188
Kathy

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The musings and ravings of a bloggart family