Tag Archives: Tallahassee

Changing Seasons

We recently hosted our best friends for almost a week here at Mexico Beach.  A number of weeks ago one of them visited for a few days and we were able to share our life now with her.  It’s not perfect but it’s the season of life we’re currently experiencing and enjoying!  Most of our evenings are filled with scenes like this:

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Living in a beach town that has year round residents of about 1,000 has it’s benefits!  Of course the population swells beginning in March and will last until September but that’s ok.

For the past 27 months we’ve traveled every weekend or at least a portion of it to Tallahassee, Florida.  First we commuted from Inverness until September 2012.  Then for 7 months we made the commute from Mexico Beach.  That season of our life was spiritually encouraging and fulfilling.  But I’ve got to admit it was physically draining and not to mention the miles in the car and the time in the car.  We calculated at one point that we spent literally a month (yes, one month) of our lives just commuting!

Cyndi and I both feel we were doing exactly what God wanted us to do during that season.  We experienced lots of cool things, met some unbelievable people, led some great discussions, had some life changing conversations and like to think we were used by God in other’s lives as well.

That season has faded away and now we are taking a break.  A time to refresh physically, emotionally and spiritually.  This may be the first time in a very long time we are embracing a season in life like this.  Without going into all the minute details, we know God has blessed us and placed us exactly where He wants us to be once again.  We know He’s going to use us again in some incredible ways!  We’ve learned that it’s not about being a Christian but instead it’s really about being a follower of Christ and that impacts the way we approach life!

In this season, there’s going to be lots of opportunities to see things like this:

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And who knows?  Maybe our venture into All Tide Up will continue to take off and will open other opportunities for us.  In the meantime, there will continue to be days like this:

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Saturdays

Here are a few pics of some of our Saturdays over the past few weeks:

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Sunrise in Panama City a few weeks ago!

 

 

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Same sunrise kinda framed by some oak trees.

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I canoed and played in this bay more than 40 years ago when there was a summer camp on the shores.

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Part of our tailgate food for the FSU/UF football game.  Bad outcome for the Seminoles but a great pregame party put on by Tri-Eagle Distributors – fried gator, gumbo, raw oysters and of course a lot of different beverages!

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And some live music by a local band Houston Deese – some friends of ours!

 


September Thoughts

It has been more than a month since I have written here.  No excuse other than lack of internet during the evenings!  It’s amazing how dependent we can become on something as simple as internet access!

Random thoughts from the past month:

1.  Moving 30 years of belongings from a 3500 square foot home is daunting.  Little did we realize how many Uhaul trucks and how many days it would actually take.  But it is done!

2.  Moving back to an area you have lived before has its pros and cons.  Not sure which outweigh which yet!

3.  Living a few blocks from the Gulf of Mexico is a plus.  Almost daily walks on beautiful beaches with my bride of 30 years is a huge plus.  The opportunity to take hundreds of photographs is nice.  Sunsets, birds, water, boats, moon rise, etc.

4.  Having full-time employment for the first time in almost two years is nice.  Missed the interaction.  Grateful for the opportunity and enjoy the faith my employer has in me.  Having group health insurance is awesome!  I welcome the opportunity to pay for Cyndi’s simply because it’s group and there are no pre-existing conditions!

5.  Driving through an U.S. Air Force base each day is daunting.  Having F-22 fighter jets fly over as they prepare to land can be both exciting and kinda scary.

6.  Despite what some people would have you believe, there are thousands of people who are unemployed that would like to work.  I see people every day that would rather have a paycheck than receive any type of public assistance – whether that is unemployment compensation, food stamps, social security disability, etc. – they want a job.  Problem – there are not enough jobs for them to have in today’s economy.

7.  I get the opportunity to serve beside some of the best people.  Each Sunday I’m amazed at the dedication and genuine concern for others these people display.  City Church Tallahassee.

8.  Catalyst 2012 will take place in three days and Cyndi and I won’t have the opportunity to be in Atlanta for it this year.  Catalyst 2010 was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve had and was certainly a defining point in our spiritual journey.  Not the event itself, but the opportunity we took advantage of while there.

9.  My wife is amazing!  She is my number one supporter and fan.  30 years ago I married so far out of my class!  Thankful for who she is, what she stands for and what she is willing to do to make our lives better together!

 

 


Some Random Midweek Thoughts

Although we were in Mexico Beach the past weekend, no photographs were taken!  That may be a first for this family!  Mostly rain during the day but there were some interesting lightning shows at night that would have been great to capture!

Espresso – our current morning drink because we don’t have a regular coffee maker right now.  We first drank espresso in Key West 30 years ago.  Most mornings we’d wake up and walk to the corner laundry which also included a small bodega and get some espresso and warm, buttered cuban bread – breakfast of champions!

City Church celebrates a five-year anniversary this week!  I really didn’t know how young it really was when we became friends with Dean Inserra.  Thankful that our daughter Meghan introduced us to this ministry!  Who would have known that we would devote more than a year and a half to sharing the gospel in Tallahassee with these friends?

Love that we have met some really good friends while spending time in Tallahassee.  Josh and Brandi Hignight are two of those!  Couldn’t have completed Ethan’s move into a different house over the course of eight days without them!  But more than that help, they genuinely understand us and are friends.

All Tide Up is up and running.  Still needs some additions and fine tuning but proud of my kids for making it happen!  Check out there site as you get a chance!

Proud of our friend Ryan Hachenberger also.  His writings at Florida Fowler are good.  Check out what he has to say about some life goals and life!

My wife, Cyndi, is unbelievable!  She has almost packed up our entire house in just a few weeks.  We will have been married 30 years the end of August.  We’ve lived in Inverness for almost 20 years and in this house for 15 years.  You can accumulate a lot of memories and a lot of things over 30 years.  Reducing it to moving boxes can be difficult but she has accomplished that!  Trying to determine where to move it is difficult also.  Sometimes the decisions you make can’t just be made with your heart.

While I do believe God is sovereign and He has a plan, there are times when we just don’t know what to do next!  Curious to see how the next season of our life goes and excited to see where it will be!


Divine Opportunities

For a few years, we spent every Monday afternoon with a group of compassionate people feeding and loving on some friends and neighbors who were less fortunate than we were.  We provided a hot meal, companionship and sometimes a ride to homeless and hungry people in the small town of Hernando in Citrus County.

When we began commuting each week to Tallahassee to serve at City Church on Sundays and lead a community group on Monday evenings, one of our biggest disappointments was not being able to serve those people on Monday afternoons.

Saturday, my wife Cyndi, my daughter Meghan and I stopped for a hamburger on the east side of Tallahassee.  We were hot and dirty from moving Ethan into a house for school that starts in a few weeks.  I had stuffed some cash in my pocket earlier and as we finished eating, I took it out to fold it neatly and put it back in my pocket.  As I did there was a man standing at the counter watching me.  The man was neatly dressed – old, dirty clothes but neatly dressed.  He took his 78 cent hamburger to his table, spread the wrapper out and slowly ate his dinner.

As Cyndi and I looked at each other, we knew that God once again had provided us a divine opportunity.  I walked over to the man and asked him if I could buy him a beverage for his meal.  His eyes lit up and he very graciously told me that would be fine.  I purchased the man a beverage and some more food and placed it in front of him.  He thanked me and smiled and said something to th effect of how nice we were to think of him and hoped that God would bless me.

This man didn’t know that he was my blessing.  I never believe in coincidences.  I believe God has ordained our paths each day.  Some days we refuse to open our eyes and see what He has for us that day.  Other days we are more willing to listen to what He has to say and to see what He has in store for us.

I haven’t had a full-time job in 20 months.  But I have enough to provide something for someone who has nothing.  Because of Jesus.

That interaction caused me to think a lot more about how we view our stuff.  On Sunday, Stuart Owens said in his sermon something to the effect of whether we have $10 or $10 million in our bank account and if we obsess over it, it’s still greed.

I pray that God will always allow me to give back to him and to those He places in my path.


The Beginning of A Move

About a week ago we signed a sales contract for our house.  We have intended to sell our home and move for about 20 months.  Our home has been our safe haven during the current season of our life.  When I quit my job and we began the 200 mile commute to Tallahassee each week, our home was a refuge for us – a place of our very own that served as a spot that protected us from everything and anything negative in our lives.

While we said we wanted to sell our home, we did little to make that happen.  While we said we trusted God to provide for us, we held on to stuff that we thought we had control over.  Even when we listed our home almost a year ago, I’m not sure we fully surrendered the process to God.  When our listing expired about six weeks ago, we decided to list it ourselves and see what would happen.  What happened was God brought a family to us that was looking for just this house!  God’s timing is usually never our timing but it is perfect!

As Cyndi has begun the process of packing our stuff, we’ve realized how much we have accumulated over time.  We’ve been married almost 30 years and in this house for 15.  You can keep a lot of stuff in 30 years!  We have begun selling some of our furniture and belongings that we just don’t want to move. And for the most part we are ok with letting go of our possessions!  There are a lot of memories attached to things and that makes it harder and longer to pack or let go!

I’m thankful for what God has provided for us in our lives together.  He has and continues to be our strength – as corny as that may sound.  Without our faith, I would have given up a long time ago!  I’m thankful for the unknown blessings He is going to provide for us – unknown because we really don’t know what the next step is!

Kind of crazy to sell your home without knowing where you are going to live isn’t it?  We don’t think so.  We think this is our physical demonstration of our faith.  He has never let us down and we don’t expect this to be the season where that happens!  I’ve referred to this scripture before and it’s very relevant today:

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper  you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I’ve got to believe!


Another Random Wednesday

Just some random thoughts and happenings of late:

A dear friend texted me today and asked if I would like to pray for her upcoming trip to Malaysia!  My answer could never be anything other than of course!  Lisa has spent the last few summers traveling to Malaysia and leading a team in sharing the gospel of Jesus through basketball and developing relationships while there.  Here is a pic of Lisa from last year with some of the folks she was with:

Constantly reminded of the good friends we have and the relationships that have been developed over the past few years. Here are a few examples:

1.  Thankful for friends who are still helping me look for full-time employment.  Ryan over at  Florida Fowler is a great friend and has begun writing again.  He has been on the lookout for me even though it might not always be easy!

2.  Thankful for friends who care about our finances.  This past week I had some car trouble – thought it was going to cost me a lot of $$ to get it running.  Josh and Brandi Hignight offered to drive to Inverness on their anniversary weekend so Josh could fix my car.  Unselfish friends wanting to help us.

3.  I’ve shared before about our friend Matthew who has opened up his home to us for a place to stay as needed as we commute each week to Tallahassee.  Having a houseguest each weekend for about 18 months can’t be easy – even if I am the guest!  Trying to give him a break for a month or so during the summer as we stay in our son’s apartment as needed.

Father’s Day was a blast for me.  I always enjoy spending time with Cyndi, Meghan and Ethan.  This past weekend was no exception.  I have the best wife and children a husband and father could ask for!  Meghan even posted a picture of us from many years ago on one of her own blogs, The Life of Mugs!

Reminded this week of the value in investing in others.  You may never know how much impact you can have on those around you!  And the impact others will have on you!

 


Some Wednesday Thoughts

Cyndi and I are headed to Mexico Beach, Florida tomorrow afternoon.  This view is what we’re hoping our evenings will be like for a few days!

Some random thoughts:

1.  We’ve been walking for 12 straight days!  Three miles in the morning and three miles in the evening!  Great time to spend with my wife!

2.  I calculated this week that we have spent about 25 days (24 hour days) commuting from Inverness to Tallahassee the past 18 months.  Knowing that this was what God intended for us in this season of life has helped with the fatigue and stress that creeps in.  Knowing He has a plan for our future keeps us going!  Waiting for Him to reveal that plan!

3.  Leadership is/can be hard.  If it was easy, everyone would be a leader.  Leaders who won’t do the hard things really aren’t leaders.

4.  Laughter is good!  We celebrated our end of semester community group this week with a “cook out”.  Great food and so much laughter with some of our best friends.  I can’t remember when I have laughed so hard or so loud!

5.  Good friends are valuable.  If you have a good friendship, work to keep it.  If you don’t have a good friend, work to find one.


Weekend Anticipation

Usually my simple writings try to detail some event or experience I’ve had in the past week or so.  This post is somewhat focused on what will be happening the next few days!  Not too detailed but with some quick descriptions!

Exciting weekend plans for Cyndi and myself!  Friday we will drive to Tallahassee to attend a Good Friday service at City Church Tallahassee.  Cyndi has been fasting (Daniel fast) for about 10 days and we both will fast on Friday until the end of the service.  Good Friday services are mostly somber and quiet remembrances of Christ’s death on the cross.  We’ll end the service with communion – the first food all day!  I enjoy these types of services in a selfish way – they help me focus and remember in a personal way why I believe what I believe.

We’re headed to Mexico Beach, Florida after the service – hoping to spend Saturday in the sun!  Kayaks will be accompanying us and we’re excited to spend the day on white, sandy beaches on what we believe is the most beautiful stretch of Florida’s Gulf Coast!  Hoping our kids will join us for the day as well!

Sunday is Easter!  The time of year when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!  We will be celebrating along with thousands of others the Civic Center in Tallahassee.  City Church Tallahassee has rented this venue to share the gospel with as many people as possible at one time on Sunday.  The past several years City Church has held Easter services at The Moon – a local nightclub in Tallahassee.  The past year was standing room only so the decision was made to move to a larger space!  In addition to the band and production team, it will take hundreds of volunteers to have this event – people will serve in our Kid’s program, First Impressions as greeters, parking attendants, information stations, ushers, care team members, etc.   It’s going to be an exciting day and I’ll be posting pictures from it soon!

Easter this year has a special meaning to Cyndi and me.  I have prayed for years to be allowed by God to be a part of a large movement of His.  Tallahassee is experiencing such a movement right now and we believe Easter will be a celebration of that.  If you’ve been reading along over the months, you know our journey with City Church is unique.  I quit my job 15 months ago so we could be a part of this group!  We travel about 400 miles round trip each weekend to help out where we can.  I’m thankful for the opportunity this season in life has afforded us.  Who knows what will take place after Easter?  I’m still looking for employment and am confident God has a plan for us!  Anticipation about the future – our future!


170 Hours

Quick post about my week.

Today when I drove into my driveway I had been gone from my house for more than 170 hours.  Seven days and a few hours!  Loved every minute I was away but also secretly wanted to be in my house, watch my tv, sleep in my bed tonight – you get the picture.  Tomorrow morning we pack up and head out again – but for a much shorter time!

I had the opportunity to spend about 40 of those 170 hours with a group of staff and volunteers from City Church Tallahassee as we road tripped to Anderson, South Carolina to participate in Unleash – a one day conference hosted by Perry Noble and Newspring Church.  This was not my first visit to Newspring but I enjoyed it as if it was!  Having an opportunity to worship, listen to some incredible original music by Newspring Worship, hear Perry Noble twice, talk and connect with some people who do community groups with excellence, participate in a breakout with Shane Duffy as he shared about cultural relevance and Biblical truth – all with 34 others from City Church (of yeah and about 3,500 other people!)

Here are two take aways I brought with me:  1.  Numbers do matter because every number is a person.  Every person has a story.  God is interested in our stories.  Numbers do matter.  2.  If you’re going to do something, why not do it with excellence.

I love what is taking place in Tallahassee right now!  Easter at the Civic Center is going to be unbelievable!  All because of Jesus!