May 2016 Louisiana Trip

May 2016 Louisiana Trip

We had a great whirlwind trip to Louisiana from May 6th through May 16th. It was great being able to spend Mother’s Day with my Mom in Patterson, Louisiana and it was great to see family and friends. Even though it was a ten day trip, it was over way too quick, and I didn’t get to see everyone I had hoped to, but it was long overdue.

With a full tank of gas and a full cup of coffee, we headed out down I-20 and reviewed our plans during the first part of the trip, stopping for lunch at Cracker Barrel – one of our roadtrip traditions. As we drove through Shreveport, we talked about and prayed for our Crossroads Associate Pastor, Calvin Fuchess and his wife and family. We are so excited they are at Crossroads!

We stopped for our first night in Arcadia, Louisiana where we have two new high school graduates. We didn’t have time on this trip to stay for the graduation, but wanted to acknowledge them for the fine young adults they are becoming! Thank you Gerald and Tammy Pepper for the hospitality and late night catch-up conversation!

On day two, May 7, 2016 we got a late start, but once we said our good-byes we headed south. The very air seems to change once you hit Acadiana. We stopped at Prejeans in Lafayette for our first Cajun food of the trip. I’ve eaten at Prejeans before and it was awesome; but, I must say that I was a little disappointed this time around. Great atmosphere, but the food quality was just so-so and the service was lacking, but I was thankful for the food and the atmosphere. Once we left Prejeans we continued down to Patterson, where I got a great big Momma Hug! That hug made the whole drive worth while!

Day three, May 8, 2016. Mother’s Day! Went to church with my Mom and sister at Bayou Vista Baptist Church and they had a really nice service titled The Genetics of Godliness. On our way to church, Kim and I stopped and said hello to a childhood friend and made plans for a longer visit, since she was at work. After church, everyone went to my brother’s house for a crawfish boil and then he and I went and played with his drone in Morgan City along the Atchafalaya River. Thanks again, brother!

Day four, May 9, 2016. My 45th birthday! Had a relaxing day while my mother and my wife ran around making arrangements. My mom made a delicious stuffed roast, my childhood favorite, and a real German chocolate cake. My brother and sister and their families came over for dinner and cake to celebrate with me, my birthday, our trip, and my recovery. Kim and I shared our calling to Moldova and some of our future goals, plans, and dreams.

Day five, May 10, 2016. We spent the morning picking up some fresh local raw honey from Jake Perez and then chasing a battery for my wife’s watch, ended up buying us each a Fossil automatic watch at Brown’s Jewelers in Morgan City, and then we stopped in at Rouses Supermarket, where we were very impressed with the variety and selection of organic foods available, I guess we were hungry because we bought way too many groceries and not enough Beazell’s Cajun Seasoning!

Instead of doing a full separate post, I decided to append the original May 2016 Louisiana Trip post….so, here is the rest of the story! I have left out some of the details that I had in the first part, but I think I got the bases covered!

Day 6 – May 11, 2016

Relaxing at Mom’s

Day 7 – May 12, 2016, Hunter Wells’s Graduation and Graduation Party in Berwick, Louisiana.

Day 8 – May 13, 2016

Visited graveyard in Belle Rose, Louisiana and travel to Kamie StPierre’s house in St. Amant, Louisiana. If anyone is looking for a custom house in the area, check out Generation 4 Home Builders!

Day 9 – May 14, 2016

Kole Guerin’s Graduation Party

Day 10 – May 15, 2016

Church at The Church in St Amant, Louisiana

Day 11 – May 16, 2016

Traveling home, stopped and wandered around in Natchitoches, Louisiana and decided complete the drive home to Duncanville, Texas.

One step closer to Moldova

One step closer to Moldova

Several years ago, I bought a small half-acre lot in a subdivision that had been planned, but never realized. I had hopes and dreams of building a small off-grid mancave on the property, somewhere to just get away and yet still close enough to run home for lunch or whatever.

I’ve enjoyed my little piece of the earth. It was overgrown and underutilized, it called to me. I’ve created raised beds, planted olives, cherries, almonds, blackberries, blueberries, etc.

I’ve experimented with solar power, wind power, rainwater collection, different farming and composting techniques – all those weird messy things your wife really doesn’t want you doing in the yard or to your house! My little mancave property has given me opportunities to chop down trees, dig holes, gather “stuff”, park a boat, build a tiny-house from scraps, and more – all at my own pace and whim.

It’s also exposed me to the ugly facts about our society. How quickly people will steal a chained and locked trailer, or will help themselves to your garden. I’ve had lessons on security, lessons on patience, and lessons on forgiveness, to name just a few.

When I had a heart-attack in November of 2015, I knew that my affair with my little mancave property would end, but being the eternal optimist, I knew that the land was paid for, and the taxes were minimal. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue to work out at my little mancave – it just wasn’t practical to be out alone working in the Texas heat, I dreaded the thought of selling it. It represented a lot of time and sweat equity. It represented my work and efforts, it was my own messy reflection of me, and it was mine!

While I was recovering from the surgery, I had a lot of time to sit and think, to reflect back on my life and both the things I had gotten right … and wrong. I thought about the people I had helped, and the people I had hurt. I felt good about the people I had helped the nice things I had done for and to people, but I felt terrible about the pain I had caused. I know that I have been forgiven for my past sins, and I’ve even dealt with my own unforgiveness. I don’t deserve it, but I welcome God’s grace in my life.

After accepting that Kim and I would be going to Moldova, I felt a tugging at my heartstrings, it was time to let the mancave property go. At first, I really didn’t want to. I wanted to keep it, it was mine! But the more I prayed about it, the stronger I felt the need to let it go, now, not later. So I obeyed and we listed the property for sale.

Within twenty-four hours of listing the property, we had an offer and many, many calls of interest! It took a week or so to strike a deal and we closed today, and that chapter is now finished and we will be able to sow the proceeds to the efforts in Moldova.

Homeless Outreach in Dallas, Texas

Homeless Outreach in Dallas, Texas

Our home church is Crossroads of Life, in Duncanville, Texas. One of the church’s outreach programs is to the homeless in the Dallas area, since Duncanville is basically a southern suburb of Dallas. For the past 15 or 20 years, the church, through this outreach has provided weekly meals to the indigent persons of Dallas County as well as health and hygiene items, clothing, and etc.

This past Sunday, the church announced a need for spring clothing for the outreach. I talked to the person who is in charge of the outreach and where I could bring clothes and/or hygiene items to help with the outreach (It is time for some Spring Cleaning around here!) and he let me know that if we brought our stuff to the church office, located at 123 U.S. 67 Frontage Road, Duncanville, TX 75137 that the church would contact him to let him know it’s there and he would pick it up from the office.

Since it’s an ongoing outreach program, things are (of course) always needed. I asked him what kinds of items and he said that (other than clothes) they always have a shortage of toothbrushes, toothpaste (small travel size), disposable razors, shampoos, soap, etc.

Over the next couple of weeks, Kim and I will be putting some of these things together for the outreach program.

Since the items would be donated through the church, they would basically qualify as a tax deduction, so if you have a few things hanging around that you don’t need, instead of just throwing it out, get a tax deduction and help someone less fortunate!