Off to Youth Camp!!

We are heading off to Youth Camp at Baptist Hill Assembly outside of Mt. Vernon, MO.? I will be the camp pastor for the Greene County Baptist Association’s Youth Camp and Jenny and the boys are going to be hanging out with a bunch of teenagers.? Back to my roots!!? My friend, Kurt Simon, invited me to preach for them this week.? I am actually kind of nervous!? I haven’t been around a large group of teenagers in quite a while–and I am pretty scared of them to tell you the truth–just kidding.? I always have a nervous stomach before these kinds of events because I know the potential that is just waiting to be realized.

I can remember youth camp at Centrifuge in Glorieta, NM when I was going to be a Freshman in High School.? I can remember making a decision at that camp that I wanted to be around these kinds of environments for the rest of my life!? Maybe it was the shorts and t-shirts, but I think it was the Lord calling me to ministry!

Be praying that God really moves in the hearts of these students and leaders this week!

Beach Disaster Part Deux

We must be a real glutton for punishment as we ventured out to give the beach the old college try once more, but this time right across the street from the condo. Tucker didn’t get a good night’s rest, so he was teetering on the edge of meltdown. He was a little confused at where he was at last night and didn’t really get to sleep at all. Basically it was not going to happen . . . so Tucker had to go back to the condo and take a long nap. Taylor and I went to the pool later on.

Here is Taylor’s Travelogue . . .

The next day day we went back to the beach in front of our condo. We were only there like 20 minutes. Then we went to the pool by our room. My dad and me raced. I won every time!

No pictures of this crazy day

Beach Disaster–June 25

We decided to give the beach another try and headed out to the St. Andrews State Park (which is really awesome, by the way) to get some beach time. The boys didn’t think the “our” beach was clean enough, especially after going to the Shell Island beach the other day, so we were going to try to go to a cleaner beach. I find it funny that Taylor says “that is the cleanest/dirtiest beach I have ever seen.” Oh yeah, how many beaches have you seen buddy?

We had made our lunch, packed the chairs (thanks Gary and Fran) and a canopy shelter (thanks mom and dad). I realize that the picture on the front of the canopy is a beach scene, but they definitely didn’t have the beach scene we have had the entire time here–pretty brisk wind. So basically our canopy deal didn’t work because it was too flimsy for the large winds on the beach.

Secondly, what is always at the beach and tends to multiply?? Everybody? SAND! When God promised Abram that he would make his children as many as the grains of sand on the seashore, he wasn’t messing around!! I think the boys like the idea of the beach and the sand, but they get sand on their hands, then head to their faces to scratch an itch or whatever and the get sand in their eyes. Then add an anger management issues and throwing sand at each other and you have a disaster on your hands. That is what we had on our anniversary morning and early afternoon–a full on beach disappointment.

We left the beach just in time to head to Happy Hour at Sonic (wish is was something else, quite frankly–just kidding). It is “anti-customer service week at the beac”h for us, so even something as simple as some drinks turns into an almost 45 minute ordeal. The first hint was that the girl came over the speaker and said there was a 15 minute wait, would we still want to order. Well, we had just gotten done with an absolute beating with a two year old, so we needed some self-medication for sure. We ordered our drinks and watched all of the cars on our side come and go. . . 25 minutes go by and Jenny walks up to the door. She is not alone. There is a pretty upset senior adult who wants names and telephone numbers of district managers. The beauty of the deal was that the manager and assistant manager are both sitting down eating while the short staff is drowning. They didn’t even come out to face the angered public, they sent this poor teenage boy out to try to calm down the masses. Forty-five minutes and free drinks later, we were off to take a nap at the condo.

We had some really good hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and ventured out to get those awesome vacation pictures next to the sea oats and the sunsets. Did I mention that Tucker doesn’t really like the sand and waves? I think I did.

Overall, we had a really good time and we think we got some good pictures to capture the memories of this week. We had to go to the pool before bed and really had a good time at the pool.

Here is Taylor’s entry for the day . . .

We went to the ocean. It was a lot of fun. Then we went to the pool.

Here are a few of the pics from that photo shoot . . .

Anniversary in Florida

We probably put WAY too many eggs into the Anniversary basket and hoped that the boys would even give a rip about the fact that 13 years ago, we started this family and they are a huge part if it!!

I took the boys to the pool so that mom could have some alone time on her anniversary and then we came back and had a nap, yeah right!

We got to go out for a “romantic” dinner with the boys at a place called “Calypso.” We sat out on the back deck where they put all of the loud families with crazy kids. There was live music from a guy that did a bunch of 80s covers. He was really pretty good. We met some nice folks from Georgia that had a boy in between Taylor and Tucker. We had some awesome fried pickles as well as what Jenny called “the best onion rings I have ever had.” Overall, it was a really good experience for us.

Here are some pics from the Anniversary dinner . . .

Vacation Pics-Day 4 (including boat cruise)

Here are some pictures from our vacation that didn’t get sent last night as I forgot my camera . . . Enjoy!

Those dorsal fins are dolphins, not sharks. And yes, those folks are feeding the dolphins. Sorry all of these photos don’t go with the posts too well. . . but hey, we’re on vacation right?

Are you praying for our house to sell?? You need to be!!!

Sorry, there are a “boat load” of pictures in this post gallery . . . pretty punny, huh?

Vacation Pics–Day 3

Here are some pictures from our vacation that didn’t get sent last night as I forgot my camera . . . Enjoy!

In Loving Memory . . .

Just got this email from Jason McMillan about his mom who passed away last night.? Please be in prayer for the McMillan and Manna Worldwide families with the loss of Valerye.? Here is the email I received:

In Loving Memory of

Valerye Jean McMillan (Tweedell)
January 12, 1954 ? June 23, 2008

From a sweet little girl, to a great wife, to an unbelievable Mom, and now an Angel of the Lord.? She was the most kind, caring, faithful, and loving person we?ve ever known.? Her example of God?s love and selflessness will be her legacy.? Please join us in celebrating her life on Friday June 27th, at 10:00 a.m. at Barnes Family Funeral Home – 1700 S. 15th St. – Ozark, MO 65721 (417-581-7811) Visitation will be held at the same location on Thursday evening, the 26th, from 6pm to 8pm.? Hazel?s Flowers (417-581-2328) will be providing flowers.? However, In lieu of sending flowers, Valerye asked that donations be made to MANNA WORLDWIDE in her honor.? As a missionary with MANNA, Valerye received great joy in her work and would like that work to continue even after her passing.

Please make donations payable to MANNA WORLDWIDE 4201 W. Risinger Road, Ft. Worth, TX 76123
(817) 346.3641.? Please write Valerye McMillan Memorial on your check.

Happy 13th Anniversary, Jenny!

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary!! Feels like it was just yesterday when we got married and came down here to Florida for our honeymoon. Jenny has really been everything to me over the last 17 or so years!! I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have her to share my life with!! She understands me when others don’t seem to get me at all. She is able to “translate” for me all of the time.

We are going to have a romantic evening out for dinner somewhere with the boys tomorrow night! Ha! I hope we will be able to have many, many more years together as we start this new adventure in Carthage together!

I love you Jenny! Happy Anniversary!!

Taylor’s Travelogue–June 23

We got a well needed night’s rest last night, but not near enough as the boys were up WAY TOO EARLY for vacation time!! But, who can blame them as they were so excited to go to the beach and “see the fish.” We slowly got ourselves around and ate breakfast in the condo and ventured out to see about a boat tour to Shell Island. We took the Capt. Anderson III to look at the dolphins and go to a beautiful beach on Shell Island. There was an alligator at the dock on Shell Island called “George.” He was right next to the dock when we pulled in and stayed right by the boat the whole time! Pretty amazing. The captain said that we needed to stay on the boardwalks to the other side of the island where the beach was because of the alligators and such. He said, “alligators can travel up to 35 MPH on land and the only way you can get away from him is to outrun your friend!” That’s probably in the Florida tour guide’s Jokebook, 3rd Edition! Absolutely beautiful beach there on shell island. We also saw several dolphins on the way to and from the island. We also saw some people feeding the dolphins from their boats. That is a $10K fine . . . obviously not enough to deter these folks!

Got back to the condo and the three boys went to the pool while mom got the dinner started. I switched off with her and grilled out steaks! We had a really good meal . . . and we didn’t have to fight the crowds at a restaurant and it only cost us a fraction of what it would somewhere around here. There was a guy on the boat tour that said, “I think everything here in Panama City Beach costs $40.” No doubt. Everything costs much more than normal . . . including eating out.

Here is Taylor’s Travelogue for today . . .

Today I went to a dock and rode a boat ride. It was fun! I found seashells. We found an alligator in the bay by the dock. His name was George and he was ten feet long. I saw a baby fish in the ocean. I was sea sick on the the trip to Shell Island. I also saw a jellyfish on the side of the boat.

After that, we went to the pool. It was fun!

Will try to get some pictures up soon . . . left the camera at the condo!!

Seriously, you’ve never been on the tour??

As I mentioned earlier, we went to the Welcome and Information Center for Panama City Beach this morning to get. . . um, information . . . about what there is to do here in Panama City Beach. Of course there are those little brochure kiosks everywhere to try to get you into their place of business. But we wanted to hear an “insider’s view” of the attractions. Someone who has a “been there, done that, DIDN’T buy the T-shirt” (or vice versa) kind of informational experience. But it simply isn’t going to happen! Not today anyway!

Here’s a little tip for the city of Panama City Beach. See if you can’t spring for a couple of bucks to send the help to some of the excursions–ANY of the excursions. Basically, the lady(ies) who helped us had not been to ANY of the tours or whatnot in the town. “They were too busy working to have time to go on those things.” What!?! Isn’t that your job to know what tours are good and what tours stink?? Shouldn’t you be able to steer people clear of spare tours and tourist traps?? Seriously, you can be more help than “I think there are some brochures over there on that kind of stuff!”

For what it’s worth, I think that we in the church are a lot like that aren’t we? We are representing something that many of us aren’t really that enthused about, let alone even experienced!! To put it the way Rob Bell puts it, “we aren’t ‘smokin’ what we’re sellin’.” You can’t talk about an experience with Jesus until you have come face to face with Him and He comes in and changes your life. This isn’t simply something that you “do” . . . this Christianity thing! It is your “LIFE!” Every time someone comes into one of our environments (churches), people ought to get an “insider’s” view of the Gospel–EVERY TIME! They shouldn’t just hope they “get the good one [volunteer]” or not get the “guy having a bad day, ur, life.” Think about the consequences of not having an insider’s view of the Gospel at your church. Who is there because they had an insider’s, “I once was blind, but not I see” kind of person helping them to understand this crazy thing called the Gospel and the Church? Is someone there because you are “smokin’ what you’re sellin’?” Or are they turned away unsatisfied because you are no better than a bunch of brochures sitting all neatly in a row–lot’s of information, but no passion of an insider’s perspective.