Continuing our Deep in the Heart of Texasseries, some of our best memories of Texas are the oldfriends we reconnected with during the conference and also the new friends we made while there.
On the first day as we were waiting for the conference doors to open, we looked around at the folks gathering and spotted a family Jonathan recognized from having visited their website. So we introduced ourselves to the energetic and sociable Wahlquist family:
And the girls and I met Beth, one of the three daughters in the Wahlquist family. Little did we know at the time that Beth would figure prominently in the weekend:
And here's a picture of the whole Petersen family taken after we ate lunch together one day:
Tom contributes: Also during the conference we met up with Joel and Theresa Salatin, our friends and local neighbors from Polyface Farms here in the Valley. We got to know them 10 years ago in a church fellowship when we first moved to the Valley, but we have not seen them much in recent years. It took traveling 1400 miles to south Texas to meet up with them again!
Joel was one of the keynote speakers at the conference, and Jonathan attended every one of his workshops:
Tom contributes: Then there’s the cheerful Munck family (below), hailing from Tennessee. We were first privileged to meet some of them at the Gospel Centered Marriages Conference in NC last October. This time we got to meet the whole family – very nice folks who love the Lord. Here are some of us having a chat with Arthur and the boys:
And here are some of the Munck ladies sitting on the lower level of the conference center below where the guys were talking:
Here's Hannah talking with a couple of the Munck young ladies: Elizabeth, Amanda, and little Mary Ann.
And last, but certainly not least...in fact, it was a big part of the conference! Our friend, Erich--who lived here in Virginia for a few years, was part of our church, and worked with Jonathan at the airport--came strolling up to us between sessions and announced, "Girottis, I have news."
Between dinner break and the next keynote address at the conference on Friday evening, Erich and Beth were betrothed to be married! We were very excited for them both...because we liked Beth when we first met her! The wedding will take place possibly in October. Congratulations, Erich and Beth!!
"And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord." ~ Hosea 2:19-20
Well, I've certainly enjoyed writing about all the folks we were with during the conference. I hope you've enjoyed tagging along with me to Texas!
Next up: Deep in the Heart of Texas ~ Flavors of Texas
This is the last post in this series, and again it focuses on meeting friends--but this time after the conference was over and as we were on our way back home to Virginia (so I guess officially it's not really about the conference, but in my mind it will always be Part 4 and the last adventure of our trip).
We stopped for the evening in Statesville to have a meal with the Toms family and to tour their farm. Here we are just arriving and getting re-acquainted: Earlier this year our friends stopped by our place to eat with us and told us about their property and small farm beginnings. This was our chance to see their gardens, pigs, chickens, and cows...we are so not cut out to be farmers!Here are the girls posing together outside one of the barns:
Unfortunately, Sarah and I were called in from the farm tour to rush Granny to ER and didn't get to sit down to the meal with them (we hear that it was delicious!):
Thank you to everyone who prayed for Granny and asked about her. Her blood pressure had risen dangerously high, so they admitted her overnight in a strange hospital in a strange city. (After a couple of weeks she's recovered now and was well enough to travel to the craft show this weekend!)
While Sarah and I were racing to the hospital, the rest of the family stayed at the Toms and enjoyed dinner and a musical evening together. Jonathan checked out their dulcimer while Rachel played guitar:
Here's Mrs. Toms recording Jonathan playing some fiddle tunes called Salt Creek and Gold Rush:
Thank you Toms family for being so understanding of the situation and for your great hospitality. We'll have to plan a re-do of the evening with all of us in attendance...except let's not invite ER to the party!
Part 3 ~ Friends Who Invited Us Over At the Conference
As we arrived at the conference center and started checking in the first afternoon, we began to see some familiar faces. The Hynes family spotted us and invited us to come over to their room on campus and have supper that first evening with them.
It's amazing the food you can cook on a griddle or in a crockpot when you're not even in your own kitchen with a fridge! Thank you, Hynes family, for the fellowship and food!
Look who else we ran into during the conference...Erich and his family who traveled from Texas (23 hours of driving, ouch!) to attend:
They invited us over to their rented log cabin a few miles away from the Ridgecrest campus after the conference ended for a Texas chili supper and hot chocolate (Thanks, Austin!) by the fire (thanks, Travis!). Whee-doggies! Now this was an adventure!Thankfully, we didn't see any bears out there in the deep dark woods...only a deer head above the door of the cabin. I think I could live here. I loved the plaque above the fireplace:
The dads, David and Tom, enjoyed catching up with each other's lives:
And the moms enjoyed talking round the kitchen table:
Dessert time for everyone!
Before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye and head back to the conference center for the night. We wanted one last photo with everyone in it. Hard to do without a tripod, but Hannah experimented:
...and somehow we all managed to get in this picture! Thanks, Ehlingers, for a very fun evening!
Next up: NCFIC Gospel Centered Marriages Conference ~ Part 4 ~ Visiting friends on the way home to VA
Seeing folks I know at conferences we attend and meeting new people are two things I really enjoy...actually, I love it!
The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches conference I wrote about in the previous post was attended by 2,200 people! What a turnout! It was so fun to see many folks we knew from Virginia there, but also we saw many old friends from across the United States.
First, let me tell you about two blogging friends that I met for the first time--in real life! I was so excited!
Here's "Mrs. U" from the blog Making a House a Home. She recognized us all from seeing us on the blog, but we'd never seen a photo of her that I could remember. We met her family and kept running into each other throughout the weekend...and hugging every time we did! (Sorry about the slightly out-of-focus photo.) This was a very fun meeting!Below: here we are visiting after Mrs U introduced us to another family she knew from Canada while we waited for Tom who was standing in the long registration line.Next I met sweet Laura from The Muncks Quiver!! Most of her children stayed home to run their family business, but we did meet her husband, oldest daughter Elizabeth, son, and baby #11 at the conference. Behind us Elizabeth and Sarah are getting acquainted:And here's Tom, Jonathan, and I meeting Mr. Munck and Elizabeth as they arrived to check in:Dear friends we know from the Richmond home fellowship group came over to visit. There's Alli on the left, her mom Julie, Alli's little daughter Esther, and Alli's mother-in-law Dawn.
Here I am with my friend Julie: And here's Jonathan talking with Julie's husband, Tony:
A family who drove all the way from California sat behind us at one of the keynote sessions and introduced themselves afterwards. It was so interesting talking with them and finding out we know friends who have attended their church...Hi, Fracchiollas!...small world! Below: also attending the Petersens' church out in California, Miss Antoinette, over at Practical Simplicity, and Hannah met for the first time; they have been online acquaintances for awhile now. Grace, of the Petersen clan above, also joined the girls:Old friends are always fun! Below are the Girotti and Hayden ladies talking at breakfast. We first met through our blogs many years ago, and we posted about their visit to our home here.Hannah met Tiffany from Kentucky and enjoyed eating and conversing together--we learned that we have mutual friends here in Virginia...Hi, Woods!: And last, but not least, we met a family from Washington State who sat across from us at lunch one day. I had never heard of Gig Harbor, Washington, but found out it's very close to Port Orchard. I visited a friend there years ago, so I could picture exactly where they live. It was fun getting acquainted and exchanging email addresses: I hope you've enjoyed meeting a few of the people we ran into at the conference. And there are more, too!
Next up: NCFIC Gospel Centered Marriages Conference ~ Part 3 ~ Folks Who Invited Us Over
This was our first time to attend a family conference at this location, and we enjoyed it tremendously! The conference was designed to bring parents and their children together to consider the biblical doctrine of marriage and to prepare the rising generation for gospel-centered marriages.
Here we are waiting for the opening keynote session on Thursday evening and chatting with our friends, Mike and Ginger:
Some of the session titles we heard included: Principles of Courtship, Equal Yoking (one of my favorite talks and very practical), How Fathers Qualify Suitors and Receive Daughters, Friendship in Marriage (another favorite), What is the Role of Romance and Emotions, Wedding Ceremonies and Covenants, and many others.
The cds of the conference are now available for order here. And more posts and photos can be found on the NCFIC blog (scroll down).
Next up: NCFIC Gospel Centered Marriages Conference ~ Part 2 ~ People at the Conference!
Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in His ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.
Happy 30th Anniversary, Dad and Mom! We love you so much - thanks for being such a godly example of marriage for us! Your faithfulness to each other is a wonderful picture of the love Christ has for the church. God's grace has been evident in your lives as you have sought Him during the past 30 years in your marriage and in being our parents. We love being your children!
Here's Hannah, the maid of honor, posing with Courtney for a picture during the reception.
And speaking of reception...all the baking Sarah was doing this week culminated in a beautiful wedding cake with gorgeous fall flowers. We're so thankful that the cake was a success and a blessing to the bride!
Of course, we have many more pictures we could share, but we don't want to take away from Courtney's special day and what she'll share later. Be sure and check her blog as I'm sure she'll write about the wedding when they return from their honeymoon.
Please pray for Christopher and Courtney as they begin their new life together.
Last weekend we girls traveled to a shower in Richmond honoring our friend, Allison, who is getting married in November. It was great to see her and her mother along with all the other ladies and girls in attendance, some of whom we hadn't seen in at least a year. Alli's aunt Rhonda, Joanna, and Meredith did a lovely job of hostessing and preparing the delicious spread of shower food.
We enjoyed chatting over tea, playing a fun shower game and watching Alli open the many generous gifts for her new household.
Congratulations, Alli! We're glad we could celebrate with you.