Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tree felling, a conference and things in between

(All photographs belonging to the events described in this post are HERE.  There is a new format that I just downloaded today, so don't think that I sent you the wrong link.  As much as I dislike having another profile on the world wide web, it's the new way to display albums.  You’ll see nothing else on it.)

A few weeks ago, the Halls came up to help us take down a few trees on the property.  It was a weekend job, and we got it done!  Thanks to Mr. Hall’s tree felling expertise, and a neighbor’s kind lending of his mower/trailer, and a few rakes, by Sunday night we had tall piles of logs and a burn pile the size of a monster truck tire.  Now we have a clearer view of the lake! 

On Sunday afternoon, we took the boat out on the lake, now turning quite chilly.  We bundled up with towels and blankets, and enjoyed the crisp ride and turning fall colors on the hillside.  I had scrunched myself down underneath the passenger dash, hiding from the wind, and had been sitting there quite comfortably when I noticed a slithering movement out of the corner of my eye.  As my vision focused, I was able to see a small, brown snake curled around the fire extinguisher……almost on my shoulder!  Well, I scrambled out of there quicker than I had previously thought possible, and sure enough, that snake had itself wrapped around the extinguisher!  Dad threw it overboard and we watched it swim away.

The mornings are foggy here on Watts Bar, and it’s a beautiful sight to behold the glassy water with the mist rolling off of it.  Libbey plays outside with the neighbor girl almost every day, and life was just getting back to its normal unobtrusiveness.  Daddy and I kayaked across the lake from our dock on a chilly afternoon, battling a headwind to boot!  But we made the mile-crossing and back.  I felt very small out in the middle, but thankfully there wasn’t much boat traffic that day. J  In fact, our part of the lake is very quiet, and there are seldom boats, except for the fishermen and busier weekends. 

We’ve been attending, as often as we’re able, a family integrated church in Knoxville that has about 400 attendees.  They are soundly based in Biblical doctrine, and there are many homeschooling families that attend.  We enjoy the sermons and worship, as well as the fellowship afterwards, when they share a meal, the Lord’s Supper, and often a time of re-grouping and study time in the afternoons.  Unfortunately, we’ve been traveling so much and haven’t been able to go more than 3-5 times, but we hope to in the future. 

On October 31st, we packed up the truck and drove 3 hours to Ashville, North Carolina.  It had been our hope all along that we could attend the annual NCFIC (National Center for Family-Integrated Churches) conference held there.  After a stop at Waffle House for lunch (yes, lunch), we arrived at the Ridgecrest conference center.  We checked into our room in the Woodlands building, a hotel-like division with three bunk beds (we were in student lodging).  At least we weren't on the floor, like at Green Acres!  I was thrilled. :)

That evening, after a dinner in town, we enjoyed the opening keynote session of the conference.  Scott Brown gave the keynote, and after that, a short break.  We were able to talk to friends from Tennessee, as well as a few from California!  From 8-9:00 we listened to Pastor Joe Morecraft speak.  Following that, we were up until midnight, talking to old and new friends. :)  Click the link for Day 1 of official photographs, as I didn't take very many photos at all throughout (I was enjoying myself so much and didn't want to bother much with the camera).

The next morning, some of us attended a breakout session at 8:15 entitled, "Is There a Regulative Principle of Worship?" by Sam Waldron.  At 9:45 there was a keynote session, and another at 11:00 called "Puritan Theology of Worship" by pastor Joel Beeke, which I greatly enjoyed!  I had not understood the great importance of God's principle of worship, as commanded in Scripture, and am deeply grateful for these wise men to bring us this insight through the Holy Word.

Lunch hour was spent outside, as we chose to pack our lunches instead of paying for conference food.  And we ate good!  Salads and meats and pudding and fruit, all sorts.  Hurrah for packed lunches and large ice chests!!  I walked to the campus bookstore by myself afterwards, and when I came out I heard the music of bagpipes drifting in the breeze.  Like others, I followed the sound and came upon a young man playing under a tree, all sorts of ballads and hymns.  It was beautiful!

For the rest of the day, we attended a session on the history of worship by Dan Ford, and during breaks we met new people and visited the vendor hall.  I bumped into a new friend from church that I talked to for a while, and all of us picked up a book of some sort. :)  There weren't that many vendors, but plenty of books and CD's, and lots of people to talk to.

We had dinner in town, and picked up little mini ice cream cups at Ingle's to eat before going back to Ridgecrest.  From 6-9:00 pm, everyone gathered in the auditorium to sings songs and listen to two keynote sessions.  Scott Brown gave the first, and Kevin Swanson ended the night with "How Worldview Affects Music and Worship".  Again, we stayed up late making new friends and connection.  Day 2 has more official pictures to view.

Saturday brought colder, but clear weather, and everyone had their coats and scarves on.  The sessions and breaks went much like the day before, with different topics of course.  My favorite was titled "What the 20th Century Music Has Done to the Protestant Church in America" by Geoff Botkin.  He clearly laid out the detailed history of modern music and the effect it has had on our nation, and the church.

From 1:45-4:00 pm, everyone sat in for a Q&A discussion from a panel of men, and a final keynote from Scott Brown.  Then our family joined two other families for dinner in the cafeteria.  For the rest of the evening (night, actually), we enjoyed fellowship with our new friends and talked, played music, and prayed far into the night.  It was a rich time.  Day 3's photos are here.

At 10:00 Sunday morning, we checked out of our room and gathered in the auditorium for a Sabbath day service.  It lasted until roughly 1:00.  The congregation sang many hymns and psalms, and the Word of God was read and preached to exhort and encourage.  Lastly, we partook of the Lord's Supper before a final benediction.

Later that afternoon, we left the campus for an early dinner.  Dad drove us to Ole Guacamole's, an authentic Mexican restaurant nearby.  There we met up with two other families and enjoyed some delicious Mexican food and good fellowship!  A number of us ordered burritos, which were HUGE.  And mmmm....they were yummy!

Later that night, we gathered in prayer before going separate ways.  Our family made the 3-hour drive back to Kingston, and you can bet we had some great discussions during the drive. ;)

Well, now life is back to normal here in East Tennessee, until next week when we prepare for the drive back to CA........more next time!


  1. Oh I'm glad you'll be back here in Cali! ;) Tho you'll probably miss Tennessee.

  2. That was an incredible conference, God poured His blessing out upon it; Praise The Lord!

    It was wonderful seeing you all again... Look forward to getting together in CA!! I'll be praying that y'all have a safe trip back.