Week 16-  Dec 12-18 Week: Heading for Halftime

Week 16 is the last week of our western loop already!  We planned to have a few days in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to stage ourselves for the trip back to Minnesota in the van.  We have worked it out that Harvey will have some maintenance work done over our break.  It works out great that we don’t have to find a place to store the RV, and maybe we’ll get Gwendolyn our GPS lady working for good! 

Our last church visit was to Stonebriar Community Church, where Chuck Swindoll preaches.  As we were looking up the church’s website on the internet, I noticed that one of the other pastors looked familiar.  It turns out that he was indeed the Father-in-law of one of my best trumpet playing friends growing up.  I e-mailed my friend Keith who is now doing academic missions work with Muslims in England.  He wrote back and had set up a time for us to meet with them at the church the next day! 

We very much enjoyed the service.  It was surprising how traditional the service was.  Listening to Chuck preach in person was a treat after hearing him on the radio many years.  He is very animated, something that is obviously missed on the radio.  We really appreciated his expositional preaching and clear applications.  After the service, we brought him greetings from Minnesota and he was quite friendly and interested in our adventure. 

Walking out of church to sunny skies and 75 degrees, we realized this wouldn’t last. There were foreboding forecasts of Arctic blasts on their way by the end of the coming week as we headed north.  The Texans were grousing that daytime highs were going to plummet to the 50’s.  Of course that meant that we would be greeted with single digit highs when we returned to Minnesota.  The kids took advantage of warmth of the day and swam outside in the middle of December! 

We decided to celebrate Brenda’s birthday on Monday, a day early, as Tuesday was the first leg of our travel up north.  It was a little tricky decorating our annual surprise cake for Brenda, but she played along well with closed-eye escorts when she had to come into the RV while we worked.  Our tradition is to make a cake that somehow embodies an interest or event from the past year.  This year, the choice of cake without question, was a 3-D model of her trusty camera! 

After putting new tires on the van, cleaning, winterizing, and moving out of Harvey, we headed off to Oklahoma City.  The van was packed to the gills as we were bringing back first half treasures and Christmas things besides what we needed for an almost three week break.

Our stop in Oklahoma City included a visit to the bombing memorial, a sobering but important experience.  We also made a quick trip to the Omniplex museum complex.  The main exhibit area we wanted to see was the Red Earth Museum, being that Oklahoma has such a rich Indian heritage and is presently the home of many Indian nations.  There was a great display that showed how all of the Indian tribes we have learned about in the west are related by language group.  A great map showed, generally, the areas where the ten basic Indian people groups lived on the North American continent. 

After the museum, we headed on to Kansas City where we stayed with the Lewis family.  I have known Randy since I moved to Minnesota and it was great talking about old times we spent together when he lived there.  I still can’t believe that it was twenty years ago!  I still think of myself as just out of college… 

Thursday was the big day!  We left Kansas City and headed out for the eight hour drive home.  It was fun taking yet another state line picture, this time of Minnesota.  We made it home late afternoon with a busy schedule ahead of us.  Friday, we had a chance to join Chapel Hill Academy’s last day of school Christmas chapel.  Besides trying to prepare for Christmas, the next days would be busy helping the kids reconnect with their friends. 

We are so thankful for the opportunity to return for this time with family and friends.  (And I’ll enjoy a couple weeks off from working on the website!)  Merry Christmas to all.  We’ll reconnect in the new year as we start the eastern loop!