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What have I been up to?

Ok, I know that it has been quite a while since I updated my blog.  I do have a good excuse, though.  We have been on vacation!  This year, I made a commitment to my wife that I would completely disconnect for the 2 ½ half weeks that we were away.  That meant no work, no phone calls and no blog posts.   We had a tremendous time! Below is an update on what kept me busy for the past few weeks.
We spent time with family. 

This was the most important aspect of our trip.  While in Ohio we were able to spend time with both of our parents.  This was the first time that I saw my dad since his recent open-heart surgery.  It was great to see him doing so much better.   We also enjoyed our time with Vickie’s parents.  They live on a beautiful lake, which offers a great opportunity for fishing and relaxation.  Although, we had little success with catching fish, we were able to relax.

From Ohio we traveled to Naperville, Illinois to visit with our kids.  We had a blast!  Justin and Jenny are finishing up their time at Gracepoint Church where Justin has served for the past seven years.  We were able to hear him preach both Sundays we were gone.  What a blessing!  Mark is living and ministering there as well.  We spent some quality time with him and his girlfriend, Dara who also lives in the area.  We love our kids and were so grateful to spend a few days with them seeing how God is working in their lives.
We did some site-seeing
While in Naperville, we visited the Museum and Gardens of Cantigny.  While there we were able to explore American history as seen through the eyes of the First Infantry Division and gain a renewed appreciation for those who serve to protect our freedoms.  Cantigny is also home to some of the most beautiful gardens.  It was so relaxing to stroll through the gardens and experience the beauty of God’s creation.
While in Ohio we were able to go to the Carroll County Fair.   As a farm girl, Vickie especially enjoyed that trip!   We strolled through the animal barns, watched the horse pulls and horse races and ate fair food (I will say more about that in a minute!). 
We ate and ate and ate and then ate some more!

How can you not eat on vacation?  While in Chicago we ate Lou Malnati’s famous Chicago style deep-dish pizza.  We ate at Portillos, home of the famous Chicago style hot dog and ate ice cream from Andy’s Custard.  Mmmm was it good!   In addition, we benefited from the tremendous cooking of our moms and Jenny, our daughter in law.  We are now in recovery mode trying to lose the weight that we gainedJ.

 
I was able to catch up on my reading
One of the goals of the trip was to spend some quality time reading some books that I had wanted to read for some time.  Here is a list of the books that I was able to read either partially or in their entirety…
C.S Lewis, A Life:  Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet – Alistar McGrath
Killing Kennedy – Bill O’Reilly
Christians and Politics; Uneasy Partners – Philip Yancey
The Associate – John Grisham
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
The Story of Christian Theology – Roger E. Olson
As I mentioned in a tweet the other day, it is great to go on vacation, but it is better to come home!  With our bodies and batteries recharged, we are ready to jump back into the ministry that we love so much.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for us while away.

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