October 30th, 2014 | Author:

Oy! What a fantabulous month we’ve just wrapped up in Columbus!
We finished off our time with the kids with a visit to a local Pumpkin Patch, complete with a corn maze
Corn Maze Collage
Giant bouncing bubbles –

Fall cut-outs with just the right number of holes –
and even some interesting pumpkins!
But needless to say, the best part of the event was this gang!
PumpkinFun 2014
So our month with the Ohio kids and grands has come to a close. Did we put too many miles on the truck? (2250+) Were there a couple too many stops at area gas stations? (Thank you, Gas Buddy, for helping us find the best prices for our 10 stops!). Well, on the books it may seem a bit over-the-top, but miles driven to see family and dollars spent to spend time with little ones who will soon be not so little can never be counted as “too much”.
One last selfie with the Marysville clan
and one last snuggle with sweet Alexandra

and we were on our way!
On our way after a great month with the kids and grands. So hard to leave, but time to start the trek south and get back to our SOWER work! #ontheroadagain.
We were blessed with beautiful Fall colors all the way
Tennessee is putting on a pretty good show too! #ontheroadagain

and are now settled in for a regrouping day at a little campground in Gadsden, AL.

Tomorrow we head into our November SOWER project at Eagle Rock Boys Ranch just down the road in Attalla. We’ve so enjoyed our two months “off”, but it will be good to get back to work and have life return to a more normal (well, normal for us anyway) routine.

So today it’s all about soaking in the sunshine, taking deep breaths, and maybe even enjoying a hike through Noccalula Falls Park.  And just a bit of wishing those little ones could come along!

If you’d like to see more of the Pumpkin Patch fun – there’s a whole batch of pictures HERE! Go ahead, you know you want to! :)

October 23rd, 2014 | Author:

“Hey, why is Grams here?”
In our 11.8 years of being grandparents we have never been close (proximity-wise) to any of our grandchildren for any length of time. A weekend here or a week there, a crazy-fun holiday with all the grands under one roof – precious times all. But this last month we’ve been in close(ish) proximity to 6 of our 7 grandchildren. Aside from a bit of early confusion on the part of the kids (these grandparents showing up randomly on any given day), it’s been quite the delight. We’ve been able to do some fun family activities, spend some special time with all the kids and even help out with a bit of babysitting.
There was the Fall Festival at a nearby church –
Fall Festival-1
Hanging out with this cutie and his Fam at the Fall Festival. #bestpartofbeinggrams

Fall Festival-4 Fall Festival-5 Fall Festival-6 Fall Festival-7

followed by afternoon of apple picking –
(and then apple crisp, applesauce and even blooming baked apples started happening!)
and ending with a family visit to meet our newest member, Alexandra Dwinell
Now THAT was a very full day!
Things did settle down during the week (school and work does put a crimp in play time!), and while I concentrated on helping out with this little sweet thing –
Pops got busy doing what Pops does best – helping out with projects around the kids’ houses. (He doesn’t take many (any) pictures, you’ll just have to trust me on this. You do, right?). Doors, lights, bathroom updates – he’s been a pretty busy guy!
We took advantage of an in-service day for the school girls and had a fun overnight adventure with them
which involved a Chinchilla Ranch
a bit of shopping
and lunch and a movie! All in all, a great day!
We dropped of the girls and snagged Noah for his very own adventure –
Overnight in the RV –
then a total Pops and Noah day – Cabelas, a train store, a stop at Daddy’s work and lunch at Chick-fil-a. (Again, you’ll have to trust me on this since it was no one in that mighty duo took any pictures! :) )
And most recently – we all enjoyed a  local Halloween event, that aside from having WAY TOO MANY people in attendance (great for the event planners, not so great for keeping track of five kids in costume!) was lots of fun.
This one was pretty easy to keep track of (and she slept through the whole event!)

So it’s been a full, full month. Full of hugs and kisses, snuggles and rosebud lips, and tiny clothes and games of Racko.  And some of my favorite people in the world.

**Contented sigh**

If you’d like to see more of our Ohio October Adventures, you can find more pictures HERE!

October 12th, 2014 | Author:

(OK – she’s been here since Friday, but I was waiting until Lara and Herbert did all of their announcing before I shared it here.)
I am so delighted to introduce the newest member of our family –
Alexandra Dwinell Buckel
8lbs 14oz
20.5″ long

“Fearfully and Wonderfully made”
Psalms 139:14b

Category: Family and Friends  | Tags: ,  | 2 Comments
October 06th, 2014 | Author:

Just checking in with a quick hello so you won’t think I’ve fallen off the earth. I haven’t noticed that life has slowed down much since my return from TX so I think the extent of my post this time will be just some random shots from the last week or so.
Thankful for a safe flight to Tyler, TX today in anticipation of our Sower Board meeting next week. Glad to have my pilot buddy Jenny with me when we were on the puddle jumper into Tyler.  #thankfulphotos #sowers
Dallas from the air (heading East to Tyler in a little 30 seater). I love this shot – it was such a pleasant surprise when I scrolled through my photos from the airplane.
Meeting Clutter
Board meeting clutter. Twelve folks in the same room for two days (plus some miscellaneous meetings on the side) can generate a fair bit of mess. Hopefully we also generated some wise decisions. I think we did OK!

That girl on the right has a bit of attitude, doesn’t she?
On the flight home I was able to experience the sunset at 30,000 feet.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

I’m honing my Racko skills.
RACKO!!!!! #gameswiththegrands
And having a wonderful time with the grands and their folks!

And we’re waiting.

Official due date was the 4th, and they won’t let her go past Friday, so for sure by the weekend we’ll be holding our newest precious grandbaby girl. Who shall remain nameless until such a time as they decide on a name! :)

Finally, just because I loved how they looked

Heirloom cherry tomatoes from Fresh (at Brookshires). They tasted pretty good too!

Like I said, random!

The days ahead promise to be filled with kids and grandkids, house chores, post-board meeting action items and maybe even a bit of diaper changing. And maybe not so much blog updating. But you never know, there might be something to share in the days ahead!

September 25th, 2014 | Author:

The last 18 nights can be broken down like this –
3 Nights at Montrose
So thankful for our three months at Montrose Bible Conference. We love serving here and being a part  of their ministry. #thankfulphotos #instacollage #godisgood
After our wonderful three weeks at the cabin we had two days (three nights) back in Montrose to wrap up our time there and get ready to hit the road. Even with only 300 sq. ft. of house, it’s amazing how spread out you can get! It’s always a good exercise to get everything back in its official home, and it was also a good excuse to go through some of my closet. We (read Gary) have a rule that if we bring something IN the house (clothing, shoes, books), two things have to go OUT of the house. And let’s face it, after vacation you always have more Stuff. Needless to say, it was time well spent.
1 Night at Walmart (Oberlin, OH) 
Road to Michigan
We stretched our drive to Hillsdale, MI into two days, and spent our overnight in a Walmart parking lot in Oberlin, Ohio. Not quite close enough to the kids to meet for dinner, but it still felt good to be near.
1 Night at Michindoh Conference Center , Hillsdale, MI
Thankful today for a lovely walk around the lake at Michindoh Conference Center. #thankfulphotos
Since we were heading to Holland, MI to see friends and didn’t need the RV, we left the house at Michindoh. One night, one slide out (which is one more than when we park at Walmart), pack for the weekend, off we go.

3 Nights in Holland, Michigan – at the Rosenbergs
Oh, my! Such a grand time we had with Gord and Mar! We had never been in the Holland area and they were delighted to show us around! What an enchanting area! Lighthouses, lakes (Great and otherwise), channels, history, vibrant downtowns – Oh. My. We hadn’t seen these friends in 3 years, but we just picked up where we had left off. Lots to catch up on, lots of stories and laughter to share, lots of prayers exchanged. Oh, and lots of wonderful food. It was a very special re-connection and one that we will treasure. (If you’d like to see the whole batch of the pictures (everything from lighthouses to grownups taking selfies), check them out HERE!)
3 Nights The Mid-West SOWER Reunion at Michindoh
Thankful photo #22 - thankful for a tractor ride around the Michindoh Conference Center and a great start to the Midwest Sower Reunion. #thankfulphotos #sowers
This is a long standing SOWER tradition, where area folks gather for a sweet time of fellowship in different areas of the country. This was our first time at this Michigan reunion and what was so special for us was that we only knew about 4 of the 30+ couples that were there! There were seasoned Sowers (folks who had been in the ministry for 20+ years) and there were newbies – with only 3 or 4 projects under their belts. It was wonderful to meet so many of our fellow servants. We’re so glad we went!
2 Nights in Westerville, OH at Tree Haven Campground
– Two nights and one full day to get re-grouped (again) before I head out to Lindale for the SOWER Trustee meeting. (Full disclosure – While I’m only here for two nights before my next destination, the house and Gary will be here for much longer. We’re parked as close to mid-way between our two Columbus area kids as we could get and are looking forward to spending most of October loving on sweet family. We’ll be welcoming a new granddaughter (who I can only hope will wait to arrive until I get back from Texas next week), hanging out with Ellie, Hayley, Maddie, Noah & Reis, and helping out with some house projects with the big kids. We don’t often spend a whole month in a campground, but we sure are looking forward to this time with family! And there’s a good chance that the Lancaster kids will be making a drive out sometime during the month too! Be still my heart!) So – two nights for me, but actually 30+ nights in all. :)
5 Night in Lindale, TX – SOWER Board Meeting – Hasn’t happened yet (I fly out in the morning), but it promises to be a pretty full week. If you’re inclined, please pray for us – safe travels for those traveling to Lindale (some by air, some by car, some by RV), a sense of connection as we welcome our new members, and a God-honoring meeting.

18 Nights. 7 Locations. Head. Spinning.

PS – Today (Thursday)we joined Lara and Herbert for lunch and then the whole gang for a quick pizza dinner in Marysville.
I don’t know if it helped the spinning head or not (I still need to pack!), but it certainly helped my heart!
What's not to like about hanging out with this cutie (and his family!) #thankfulphotos #familypictures

Now where’s that suitcase……?