Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Anniversary Trip

 We have talked about doing something special for our 10th Anniversary since probably year #2.  We started saving two years ago because I knew we couldn't do it otherwise.
 We looked at lots of options and figured a cruise would be our best best.  We've always wanted to go on a cruise and since one ports from Galveston (5 hours away), it was reasonable.
 On our way to Galveston we stopped in Houston. We heard there was a neat water feature near downtown, so we stopped to check it out.  It was cool. (top 2 pictures) 
 We got on board the ship around noon Saturday.  We looked around and then ate lunch.  Lots of people were already living it up on the Lido deck where there was a small pool, huge jumbo screen, and flowing drinks.  We decided to check out the onboard spa so we could enter to win some freebies.  We also took an official tour of the ship, but bailed after a bit since we could hardly hear the guide.
 We spent the day at sea on Sunday.  Joel and I played an Ultimate Couple game, competing against 5 other couples on stage.  Joel named every article of clothing I was wearing (down to the name brands!) when the guys were blindfolded and had to remember their girl.  Then I did the best job wrapping my guy with toilet paper to resemble a mummy.  We ended up taking 2nd place because Joel couldn't quite hold a coin between his cheeks long enough to drop it in a bucket.
 We had no idea the whole game was being recorded and would be broadcast constantly on the ship's channel in every single room for the rest of the cruise.  For the rest of our trip, we got random comments as people would pass us saying "you're that couple; good job" or "we were routing for you".
 We enjoyed having a nice dinner every evening.  It was a treat not to cook or meal plan or decide what someone else was eating for so many days!
 We stopped in Progreso, Mexico on Monday.  We took an excursion to see the Mayan ruins at Uxmal.  Our tour guide was great--giving us lots of information but without boring us.
 We chose the ruins at Uxmal because you can climb them!

 The structures are amazing.  This particular building was designed in a way that caused voices to be amplified.  The leader could climb up about halfway and speak to the people and be heard by everyone.

 These ruins aren't just one or two little buildings.  The grounds are quite expansive.
 We stopped to get some lunch and do some shopping on our way back to the ship.

 We stopped in Cozumel on Tuesday.  We were one of three ships porting that day.  
Talk about tourism...10,000 people coming to one city for one day!
 Joel really wanted to snorkel in Cozumel but we both agreed we didn't want to pay a lot just for that.  So, we didn't sign up for an excursion.  Instead, we got a taxi once we were off the ship and had them take us to a little place where we could rent snorkel gear and just relax.  Our little beachfront was a small area, but the guy at the snorkel hut took us out to explore.  He stirred up a stingray, pointed out a variety of fish, and caught a shrimp to show us up close.
 Even with lots of sunscreen, we still got scorched!

 It was so humid outside that my camera wouldn't unfog unless we were inside.
 Every evening we were greeted with our beds turned down, 
a program for the next day's events, 2 chocolates, and fun towel creations.
 We had plenty of time to just be silly.
 With our skin a little pink from too much sun, we decided to hang out mostly indoors on our last day at sea.  We took a class in towel sculpting.  We also enjoyed the comedy shows, karaoke, and evening performances.
 It was a great trip.  We were really glad we made the choice to go on a cruise and 5-nights was just the right length for us.  We felt spoiled rotten the entire time and had lots of time to reconnect, reminisce, and recharge for the days, months and years ahead. 
Joel Fletcher, I cannot imagine my life without you.  The last 10 years have, indeed, been wedded bliss.  I look forward to many more decades of adventures by your side.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Random Shots from June

Our friends went out of town for a trip and we took care of their dog.  Our kids loved it!
 She was a good dog, but it affirmed my assertion that we aren't getting a pet any time soon.
Thought this was hilarious to walk in and see....grandparenting in 2012.
Jenna really liked the Judy Moody movie.  So, she made a chart for summer.  The pictures are (top to bottom) get ice cream, watch tv/movies, dive/swim, go camping, play basketball, go to the park, feed the ducks, have a tea party.  She has since modified the list and the last two have been deleted.  The list just makes me smile.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Fun -- Indoors

What do you do with four active kiddos when it's blazing hot outside and you don't want to get wet?
 Go to an indoor play area, of course!
 The metroplex has a play area inside every mall. The only problem is that those play areas are for smaller children.  Same goes for the play areas in fast food restaurants.  

But this awesome {HUGE} play area is at a church!  Brilliant move church peeps, brilliant!
 I'm guessing this part of the building was formerly the sanctuary (based on the structure).  There's a large play area for kids ages 4 and up.  Then, there's a smaller area for kids ages 3 and under.  Jett loves the little area, but also likes to venture into the big kids' part when a sibling is willing to let him explore.
 The girls helped him get up the playscape so he could reach the top of this very large slide.
 A place where all four of my kiddos can happily play.  We get out the energy and don't get heat stroke while doing it!  Score for everyone.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Annual Moooo-ving Event

What would July be without Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A and all the Fletchers dressed up?

We even had a mask for Jett! (Dad wasn't with us at lunch.)
 We met lots of friends for lunch.  The kids enjoyed the indoor play area while I visited with friends.
 Then Daddy joined us for dinner and we went to another CFA with some of the same friends!  It was great.

This year we weren't on the moooove like we have been in years past. But, the free yummy food was still much appreciated!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Changes For Our Family

Our family is busy with change at the moment.

I'll just jump right in and tell you what's happening. (This is part of the letter we sent to our supporters, so it's written as 3rd person.  Hope you don't mind.)

We are transitioning in ministry and will no longer be serving on staff with Gospel For Asia.  We have decided it's time to step back into pastoral ministry.

Joel has continued to have a heart for teaching and pastoring throughout our time on staff with GFA.   We have sensed for a while that when the time came for us to leave GFA that Joel would go to seminary to further his education.  With that in mind, Megan began the process of transferring her teaching certificate from Pennsylvania to Texas, knowing she might have to teach full-time to support our family while Joel went to school.  The more we talked about these "future plans", the more we sensed we should see what doors opened.

Megan met with the principal of our kids' school to ask questions and, hopefully, get some leads.  By the end of the meeting, she had a job offer.  Within that same week, Joel had an interview with Calvary Chapel Ft. Worth for their part-time youth pastor position.  He had a series of interviews and the opportunity to speak to the youth group on two separate occasions.  At the beginning of July Joel was offered the position.  The leadership of the church is supportive of Joel attending seminary and this part-time position will allow him the flexibility to attend classes and serve at the church.  He will begin serving as CCFW's youth pastor at the beginning of August.

With the job from Calvary in place, Joel told GFA's leadership of our coming departure.  His last day at GFA will be July 20th.  

As in every step of faith we've ever taken, we are relying on the Lord in this transition.  We believe this is where the Lord is leading us and are excited about the ministry opportunities that lie ahead...both at Calvary Chapel and at our schools.  We are also excited for Joel to begin classes and fulfill his goal for a seminary degree!

We will continue to need your prayer support and would appreciate you standing with us.  Megan is taking tests to get fully certified here in Texas. She has a One Year certificate, but needs to add certification for elementary grades since she will be teaching outside her original area of certification.  She passed her first test two weeks ago, takes her second test tomorrow (July 17th), and will take her third test in mid-August.

Our children have taken the news of the transition pretty well. Rylee has taken it a little hard, probably because she understands the implications the most.  However, this has been a good time to talk through some important things and teach valuable life lessons.

Finally, through all this transition we are also adding to our house.  Megan's mom has decided to leave Arizona and move to Texas!!!  We are very excited.  Our kids are beyond excited!  We will be going to Arizona the end of July to help pack up Linda and move her to Texas.  She will be living with us during this transitional school year and will be teaching part-time at a local private school.

We cannot tell you enough how much we appreciate all the ways you have stood with us for the past five years. We know you have prayed for us!  We have survived because you gave to us.  God has been incredibly faithful to teach us and show us His great love.  We can't wait to see what lessons He has in store through the next phase of following Him!

We hope you are finding the Lord faithful in your life as well.