Now reconnected to the internet after a 2 year hiatus.
In July of 2013, I gained a new son-in-law! In late 2010, Hannah (age 21) moved in with her uncle down in Georgia following the death of his wife. She met a young man named David Watson, and started dating him. After dating for over 2 years, they were married on July 26, 2013. They are living in Milledgeville, Georgia - which is my hometown. They're living about 4 miles from my parents. She's working full-time at the hospital where I was born, and is also attending college full-time, so her plate is very full.
Casey (age 19) successfully completed her CNA training, and is presently employed with a nursing home in Rutledge, Tn. She's attempting to develop a caseload of private sitting jobs so that she can work for herself.
Tyler (age 23) is still working in the maintenance department for Koch Foods in Morristown, Tn. Still living at home, he's now 23 and in his last year of a 6-year commitment with the Tennessee National Guard. He says that he's not going to sign another contract with them, so he'll be a "free man". Last September, he met a nice young lady named Taylor, and last night, he proposed to her. So I'll be gaining a daughter-in-law sometime in the future.
Caleb (age 16) is a self-described "hillbilly's hillbilly". If he loves nothing else, he loves to hunt & fish. He'd rather be out in the woods than anywhere else. He's also very involved with the youth ministry at our new church, as well as learning to play the guitar, which he's gotten very good at.
Jacob (age 12) is now in the 7th grade and doing well. He's at that stage where he's no longer a little boy, but not yet the teen he so desperately wants to be. He's active in the mime and sign-language classes at Trinity Christian Academy, the homeschool co-op we're members of.
Elijah (age 11) is in the 4th grade and is very, very, VERY active/busy/energetic. He'll tell people "I have ADH - oh look at that kitty!" You've not met a kid like this one! He's the comedian of our group -- he'll see a man walking across a parking lot, and start shouting "Dad!! Dad!!! I'm over here! Please don't leave me, Dad!" He loves to make people laugh.
Josiah (age 8 - our "trail baby") in the 3rd grade and while he might be the youngest, he's not about to let you forget that he's in the house. He's doing the same coursework as Elijah, and loves to read. He also loves making others laugh.
Leisa (age **) is doing absolutely wonderful. In June, she and I will be married for 24 years - and those 24 years have gone by so fast! She's been homeschooling now for 16 years with another 9 to go. Additionally, she's taking classes to have her teaching certificate reinstated, as well as working for a grant program that offers after-school tutoring for at-risk kids. She often feels scatterbrained, but with everything she's trying to hold together, it's easy to understand how she feels that way.
It goes without saying that our house is a very, very busy place. In addition to the above, we've also had "The Yankee" living with us since August. Quintin, an 18-year old young man, was in a bad living situation, so we took him in, because that's what we do. He'll be leaving us next Monday to return to New York State, which is both good and bad, but something that he needs to do.
We have others who pop in several times a year. They'll stay anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. We've done this throughout the history of our marriage - and again, it's just what we do. We claim Jesus as Lord, which means that we claim to be His. So, if we are His,then what's ours is His -- our time, our talent, our home, our possessions, etc.... We may not have a lot in this world, but we're going to use what we do have for Him. It doesn't come close to "easy" - nothing worthwhile ever is. But the investments we make in the lives of others aren't measured in terms like "easy". And we may never know the payoff of our investments until we reach Heaven.
The last bit of "news" surrounds our church move. A little over a year ago, we left the church we'd been in for 7 years and started going to Corryton Church. ( www.corrytonchurch.com ) The move has been phenomenal. Corryton has blown out of the water everything I believed to be true about "mega-churches". It's a Southern Baptist Church, and is unlike any other church I've been a part of at any point in my life. There is so much I want to share with you about the church, but this post has already grown larger than I thought it would be, so I'll save the sharing for another time.
I recently learned of the death of someone very dear and very instrumental to me. Bill Irwin, the only blind person to hike the Appalachian Trail unassisted, died this past Saturday. Bill was highly instrumental in my decision to hike the Appalachian Trail. When I traveled by bus to Maine in order to start the north - south portion of my hike, I stayed with Bill & his wife Debra for about a week, and so enjoyed the fellowship - not just the fellowship of a fellow hiker, but more importantly, the fellowship of a co-believer. I was very saddened to learn of his death, but so very glad (and a wee bit jealous) that he's able to stand before Lord Jesus face-to-face and SEE Him! He's survived by wife Debra, daughter Marianne, and sons Billy & Jeff. Rest in peace, old friend, and I WILL see you again!