Friday, December 18, 2009

Whirlwind Christmas Season

August, Austin, Brittany, Bonnie, Todd, Georgia & Jordan

It has been an interesting and reflective Christmas season this year. . . the biggest lesson I have learned is that the Christmas season is not about the busy festivities, the gifts or the decorations, but it's about who you spend it with and what God teaches you through it.  . .

We celebrated Christmas early this year on Dec. 4 & 5, when Austin arrived home from Iraq for his two weeks of R & R. . .we had a wonderul time with him and the entire family and the many  friends who dropped by to see him that weekend. . To see him reunited with his beautiful wife and to see our children want to spend time together as siblings was such a blessing. .it's every parents' dream, really. . .I have been truly overwhelmed with thankfulness this Christmas season through our friends, extended family, our children and their soulmates. 

I have also spent a lot of time with my parents this holiday season, especially my dad. I have sat at the hospital almost every day with him as he struggles to recover from a broken hip and balance the numerous other health issues he has. My dad (age 82) fell a week before Thanksgiving in the pasture while trying to pen cows. . .Old farmer/rancher types do not fade into the sunset easily. . .They think they are invincible and don't go down without a fight, even if it's against their own aging bodies. . . .Although we have not seen "eye to eye" through the years, it has been a blessing to reconnect with him and talk about such  things as meaningless football to old stories of the past that reach far back into his childhood.  It's amazing what you talk about when you are stuck in a hospital room for hours at a time. My time at the hospital has also made me very grateful for my own health and how fragile it really is. . . every healthy day we have is a blessing.

Finally, this Christmas season has been one of reflection for us spiritually as well.  We are in such a different place in life this year, having finished our day-to-day parenting.(August, the last child, went off to college this fall.)  We have been asking the Lord  "How do you want us to live? What do you have next for us?" . . and daily, in little chunks, he has been giving us answers. . .We have begun to practice more day-to-day, minute-by-minute Christianity, instead of the usual organized Christian programming. . .We have had extra young people in our home 24/7 this fall, almost to the point of overcrowding. . but we wouldn't trade a minute of it. . We have learned that when you live life together, you can't just say you are a Christian. . you really have to practice it. . even to the point of personal inconvenience and discomfort. . .much like the Scripture Deuteronomy 11:19 tell us to do. . . It hasn't all been perfect or pretty, but it really has been about "loving the one in front of you" on a daily basis. . . And God has given us some amazing opportunities this year to share life and resources with believers literally around the world.  The "Body" of Christ and how God allows our lives to intertwine is truly amazing.

So as I reflect on this Christmas season, I have learned that you can take away all the gifts and decorations and parties. . . .but you can't take away the love and blessings of family, friends and of knowing who Jesus really is and the gift He was to us from God. . .John 14:6 "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. . no man comes to the Father except through me."  Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A new meaning to Veterans Day

I became pretty choked up today just watching some guys put out American flags in front of a business here in San Angelo this morning. . .Veterans Day has a whole new meaning for me today. .

I guesss I have always understood the sacrifices that our military has made for our freedom in a sterile, distant kind of way, as we have had no military folks in our immediate family for years. . . but this year is different. . .

As our oldest son Austin spends this year in Iraq away from his precious wife, we all feel the struggles that come with long distance communication and relationships. Our future son-in-law is serving at Ft. Hood in the Army and will also possibly be deployed in the future, and we are praying daily for a young man (who is a close friend of a former ASU student) who had both legs blown off in Afganistan. . . For really the first time,  the huge sacrifices are being directly felt by our family. . .

These guys didn't ask for this war, but they are proudly defending a cause that our leaders felt was crucial to our long term freedoms. Celebrating Veterans Day is a good thing. . .just to pause for a moment in our busy schedules to think about the cost.. . in lives lost, in time away from families, in facing terrifying situations for the sake of our nation's freedom. .

Is it worth it?. . .. I think so. . .

Monday, November 2, 2009

Football Game Gives Hope. . .

Well, I'm going to try and post my favorite video thus far. . .I played all kinds of athletics in school, my children played athletics in school and I believe in the many positive lessons a person can learn from the discipline and hard work that athletics require. Now I know that sports can quickly get "out of balance" in the life of a child and/or family. . . .and I realize there are also many excesses and negative aspects about team athletics.

BUT every once in a while, a story or situation comes around that really positively demonstrates the place that athletics can play in a person's life and becomes the vehicle for loving someone in a way that is counter cultural in our view of competitive athletics.

Again, I am posting this on my blog so that I can watch it every once in a while and remember to always love in a way that gives Jesus glory. . .so that others can see Jesus in us. .

That's what this video is all about. . .. please take a look at it and let us all remember why we participate in athletics and allow our children to participate. . .it CAN truly become the vehicle to give God glory. . .which is our sole purpose anyway:

Copy and Paste:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Canning Jar Bread

* I found this recipe in a cook book a couple of weeks ago and tried it out. . . It worked great! I shipped a couple of jars of pumpkin bread to our son in Iraq and to our son in college and gave a couple of jars to our future son-in-law stationed at Ft. Hood. . .All gave rave reviews, so I wanted to pass it on. I haven't used this method with other quick bread recipes but it should work. . .. hope you enjoy it!

Canning Jar Bread
2/3 c. shortening
2 ½ cup sugar
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ground cloves
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups pumpkin
3 ½ cups flour
1 cup pecans (optional)

Wash and dry 8 pint size (wide mouth) canning jars. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs and water. Beat well and add pumpkin. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Fill jars ½ full. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Test with toothpick. When done, remove one jar at a time from the oven. Leave oven on to keep jars hot or they may not seal. Put scalded lid on the jar and seal. If bread rises above the rim of the jar, press it down with the lid and seal. It shrinks a little when cooling. When jars have cooled, the lids should be depressed slightly, indicating properly sealed jars. If you vary the ingredients or use a different recipe, you may not get 8 pints of bread. Bread will keep up to one year.

Variations on this recipe: instead of pumpkin, substitute 2 cups of one of the following: apple sauce, whole cranberry sauce, shredded apples, bananas, shredded zucchini, or shredded carrots.

Great idea for gifts for friends, family or teachers. The best thing is that they can be made in advance. . .Add a small jar of homemade jelly or a little bottle of honey in a gift bag or basket for a special gift with a homemade touch!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goodness Precedes Greatness: A Call for Heroes

The following blog article was written by Jon Foreman, lead singer for the Christian band, Switchfoot.(10/16/09) It is so well written that I wanted to add it to my blog just so I would read it every so often as a reminder about how to live the Christian life and why we do it. . . Let this writing be food for your soul!

I write songs for a living, which is to say that writing songs helps me to live. The song becomes a place where melody and tempo can cover some truly volatile topics. God, women, politics, sex, hatred, disillusionment- a song or a story can be a deeper vessel and more forgiving than most conversations. Poetry can get under the skin without your permission, and music can offer perspective or hope that might have been hidden before. And so the song becomes a vehicle to cover some serious ground.

These days I have a hard time writing a song that feels bright or hopeful. The unemployment rate is edging up even further and spending is down. Foreclosures are way up and stocks are down. Our headlines are full of war, natural disaster, and corruption. So I go looking for songs of hope and stories that remind me of the incredible privilege of living another day. I suppose I'm looking for a hero of sorts. Someone who rises above the situation and does something incredible.
Remember the guy who threw himself on top of the passenger who had suffered a seizure in the New York Subway? As the train was approaching he jumps down onto the tracks and risks his life to save the life of a complete stranger whose convulsions had thrown him into the path of an oncoming train. Incredible. Have you seen Team Hoyt, the dad who pushes his disabled son through all the marathons? They've even done the Iron Man competitions together as father and son, which makes me tear up. Or the story of Mother Teresa, a woman who gave her life to the less fortunate day after day after day. These are the stories that I want to sing about. These are stories of hope.

Such sacrifice, such patience and such goodness is rare and rightly called heroic. But these are not the heroes of our times. Wesley Autrey is not a household name and neither is Team Hoyt. If you want to know the heroes of our society, follow the money, look at the posters on the wall. We pay them seven digit salaries, we put their songs on our playlists, and follow them on Twitter. These are the heroes we emulate.

Let's face it. Mother Teresa doesn't look that good in a negligee. And Team Hoyt won't sell beer commercials to the networks. But when the ball players and the supermodels end up in rehab, we end up asking esoteric questions about what makes a hero. In the movies the good looking actor who gets the girl is easy to point to. But after he gets the girl, then the house, and then a few kids and then a divorce and then another girl. Then what? After all of the special effects are gone, we're left with an aging mortal who looks a bit awkward on the talk shows. Perhaps we've set our goals too low. Or perhaps we've got it backwards.

I would like to suggest that the best parts of our human nature can be seen in sacrifice or surrender. A mother sacrificing her time for her child, a teacher devoting her afternoons to help students off-the-clock. These are truly our most incredible moments as a species: moments of unmerited kindness. Goodness. Virtue. Nobility. Grace. Morality. These are the truly remarkable moments. Perhaps our current economic climate of debt needs a fresh perspective on worth and value. Maybe our monetary crisis indicates a broader loss of perspective.
We live in the land of plenty, the land of milk and honey, where the lottery of birth has given us the advantage of education, of wealth, and of opportunity. Ammon Hennessy puts it this way, "You came into the world armed to the teeth with... the weapons of privilege." A trip south of the border can be an incredible reminder. We are living in the land of entitlement, one of the wealthiest nations in the history of mankind. And yet, money cannot buy us the true wealth of happiness, or peace, or of a deeper form of a meaningful life.

Perhaps the current climate of uncertainty would be the appropriate time to ask the question: what are we aiming for? Our technological achievements as a species are impressive. Our cities, our advancements in flight and our iPhones are all fairly remarkable. But there is nothing heroic about my cell phone. There is nothing sacrificial about it. Where is the song that's worth singing? What is our measure of success? Renown psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl says that "success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as a byproduct of one's surrender to a person other than oneself."

Maybe the fix is not the money. Maybe two and a half hours in a theatre isn't enough time for a hero to be born. Maybe it takes a lifetime- a lifetime like John M. Perkins. John Perkins is a man who devoted his life to those around him in simple and profound ways. He was quick to forgive, quick to utilize resources to help those in need. He has been a tireless civil rights worker who has endured beatings, harassments, and even prison for what he believes. With the help of his wife, Vera Mae, and a few others, he founded a health center, leadership development program, thrift store, low-income housing development and training center in his hometown of Mendenhall, Mississippi. His is a story of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of patience. He endured the suffering, holding on to a cause greater than himself.

John Perkins has is a song I want to sing. A song of a great man, the story of a legend. How do you replicate this goodness? Do you monetize it? Do you subsidize it? No. It's bigger than Washington, it's bigger than Wall Street. And it looks better than Hollywood. His is the story of a hero, a song of hope. His is a story that reminds me of a goodness beneath the system. Though Perkins was a devout Christian, he was quick to point out that this goodness is bigger than stale religion. Mr. Perkins once said that "many congregations do nothing but outsource justice." John Perkins said it right- you can't outsource justice. You can't farm out goodness to someone else. Your life is yours alone. Those decisions are yours to make.

I am the system. You are the system. We, the system of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, choose goodness. Yes, the system is flawed. Yes, the church is flawed. Yes, Wall Street and Hollywood Boulevard are all fatally flawed. Yes, there will always be those who take the easy way out. But that ain't your game. Your choice is yours alone. Goodness precedes greatness. Maybe the mother will always have more power than the atomic bomb. Maybe under the skin there is a song of hope and meaning waiting to break free. Or maybe not. It's our story. You and I decide with our actions. It can be as small as simple courtesy. Or get involved in your hometown. Find out what the local food bank looks like. Look up the local Habitat for Humanity. What is the world you want? You choose it with every breath.

In our current climate of fear and debt I am reminded of what I hold most valuable in this life: the human souls closest to me. We need each other. Human beings will always be the most valuable natural resource on the planet. The human story is still unfolding. We are telling it as we speak. The human song is still weaving its way towards a chorus, through the suffering, through the fear. We need each other. We need heroes. Let your life be a beautiful song. We need hope. Tell a good story with the way you live. What is the world you want?

Friday, October 2, 2009

A visit to Aggieland. . .

Well, we ventured back to Texas A&M on Sept. 18-19 to see a Big 12 football game for the first time in about 4-5 years. . .we haven't been back for a game since August has been playing high school football as he always had films to watch on Saturdays, so it was fun to be back. . . Todd, Georgia, Jordan (Georgia's fiancee)and I joined August and Jayton Lindley ( a senior engineering major from Mertzon) for all the weekend festivities. Since Jordan had never been to Texas A&M or to a Big 12 football game, we took him to all the famous sites.and sounds . .the campus, the George Bush Presidential Library, Free Birds (eating place), the bookstore and the ROTC "march in" and "fly by" before the game. . . The guys even squeezed in a Sat morning bike ride before it became too hot and humid.

The Texas A&M Aggies barely won the game against Utah State, but we had great seats and it was great fun just to be there again. . .It has been 28 years since Todd and I both graduated from there. . . no wonder those students all looked like they belong in Jr. High :). Special thanks to Randy and Susan Brooks for sharing their season tickets with us!

Hammin it up on the second deck of Kyle Field. . . Everyone is sporting their maroon and white!

Aggie Buddies. . .

August showed us how to make a giant burrito at "Free Birds". . our first trip there.

The famous Georgia Huckabee pose at the Bush Library. . .Notice that she had to stand on a post just to make it into the photo. . .

The studs. . . President George would be proud . . .

Waiting for 1 1/2 hours at "On the Border" for a table on Friday night before the game. . There's nothing like the crowds in College Station on a football weekend. .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Redeeming the Time. . .

This past week, I was studying Ephesians- Chapter 5, and although there are many powerful verses in that chapter, one verse jumped off the page for me. . . "Be very careful, then how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. . ."(Eph 5:16) . .and it's as if the Lord made me very conscience of how I was spending every second. . so much that I was thinking as I watched the microwave tick off time, I thought "there goes 30 seconds of my life that I can never get back. . . I know, sounds a little obsessive, but I can't deny that it happened . .

Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors have made it very easy to write letters of encouragement to persecuted and imprisoned Christians throughout the world via their websites. .

Open Doors asks you to write simple letters in English and mail them to the US headquarter where the letters are translated. . .You simply write them, put them in a bigger envelope and pay the cost of the postage to the Open Door headquarters in California. . .and if your children like to draw pictures and write simple letters also, Open Doors has a list of orphan children in Columbia who love to receive drawings and letters from other other children.

Voice of the Martyrs, on the other hand, has an incredible web program so that you can write letters and they are immediately translated into the appropriate language. These letters cost about $1.25 to mail overseas, about the same price as a medium coke at a convenience store. . And I have never taken letters into the post office without a conversation being started about who are receiving these letters around the world by interested postal workers. You can also send emails to the governments who are holding these Christians captive . . .all the instructions are there and it's easy to do. . .

Why do I mention this? Because this weekend, as we sit and watch College Football, the NFL and MLB. . .let's redeem the time and use our laptops to write letters to our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. . It's as simple as that. Here are the websites:

Voice of the Martyrs:

I've had people scoff at this and say "How do you know that those letters even get there. .well, I don't know. But I know that God has called me to DO SOMETHING, so why not pray AND write! As I sit and watch football this weekend, I'll be writing. . .hope you and your children will be too. . .



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Austin!

Austin and his wife Brittany- 2008

Austin, this one's for you - -

The weather turned cooler this week and it feels like Fall is in the air. . . .It's almost like flipping a light switch and the long hot summer is over. . Nature has done this at almost the same week every year for the past 25 years .

How do I know? Because 25 years ago on Sept. 15, 1984 , we brought home our newborn son, Austin, home from the hospital on the day the first cool Fall breeze of the season rolled in.
I'll never forget it. . .

You see, we lived in a small 2 bedroom, 1 bath home in Ballinger, TX that had one swamp cooler in the whole house to keep us cool during the long hot West Texas summer months. I had actually been worrying and praying about how I was going to keep a newborn cool and comfortable in our tiny hot house. . .and then, like a little gift from the Lord, the first cool front blew in on the day we went home from the hospital. . . and "poof". . the summer was over.

And it has been this way almost every September 15th since then. . .When Austin was in preschool and elementary school, he always wanted a swimming party for his birthday celebration. . . and every year, as we were sweating in the months of August and early September, we would plan one. . .and every year, when Sept. 15 arrived, we would be scrambling to change birthday plans from a swimming party to a pizza party or something indoors because the seasons had changed. . .literally overnight.

So I couldn't help but smile when the cool weather rolled in this past week and triggered the wonderful slow rains. . .Nature was right on time. . .Austin's birthday is almost here.

So, now I want to wish my 25-year old son a very special Happy Birthday, and pray somehow, someway you can feel how proud I am of you. . .how proud of who you are and what you are becoming as a husband and a man. . .and how much we love you and miss you as you spend this birthday in far-off Iraq. . .for our sake and the sake of others.

God has taken you on this journey for a reason and although we don't see how all these puzzle pieces of life fit together right now, I take great comfort in knowing that God does. . . . Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight". . . .I am praying for straight paths" for you today. . .
The 25 years we've had to share with you as your parents are truly a gift from the Lord. . .We love you more than you will ever know. . .

Happy Birthday to my precious son,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Are you rich? Am I rich?

Photo taken by Georgia Huckabee, Summer 2009, Ghana

Are you rich? Am I rich?

The following is an excerpt from Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love" ( pp.89-90) and gives us something to chew on. . ."If 100 people represented the world's population, 53 of those would live on less than $2 a day. Do you realize that if you make $4,000 a month, you automatically make 100 times more than the average person on this planet? Simply by purchasing this book, you spent what a majority of people in the world will make in a week's time.Which is more messed up - - that we have so much compared to everyone else, or that we don't think we're rich? That on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves "broke" or "poor"? We are neither of those things. We are rich. Filthy rich."

Robert Murray M'Cheyne was a Scottish pastor who died at the age of 29. Although he lived in the early part of the 1900s, his words are astoundingly appropriate for today:

'I am concerned for the poor but more for you. I know not what Christ will say to you in the great day. . .I fear there are many hearing me who may know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudgingly at all, requires a new heart; an old heart would rather part with its life-blood than its money. Oh my friends! Enjoy your money; make the most of it; give none away; enjoy it quickly for I can tell you, you will be beggars throughout eternity.'

The reality is that, whether we acknowledge our wealth or not, being rich is a serious disadvantage spiritually. As William Wilberforce once said." Prosperity hardens the heart."

Through our friendship with Hollie and Joel Dickens, medical missionaries to Northern Ghana, we have been made aware of the dire poverty in that region. . .Here is a recent statement from a young pastor from that area as he shares his ministry plan to reach his community. .

"Finally, we all agreed that Northern Region is regarded to the highest poverty zone in Ghana, I will therefore propose to have an intervention policy which will support the vulnerable, widows and orphans especially around the farming season where it becomes very difficult for most of the people to afford even one square meal in a day.To be able to do this I will need to engage in farming of maize so that during the hard season we can at least support the starving members and the vulnerable with some food to save them from starving to death."

This is a young pastor who must grow food for his members so that they will not starve. . That, dear friends, is the reality of 50% of the world's population. . .What can we do? . . .We can share. . .We must share. .

-Todd and Bonnie

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August left for college today. . .

August- age 2, 1992

"We can't be everywhere. But God can. We can't see everything. But God can. We can't know everything, but God can. No matter what age our children are, releasing them into God's hands is a sign of our faith and trust in Him and is the first step toward making a difference in their lives. Prayer for our children begins there."-Stormie Omartian

Well, yesterday was another one of those "release" days. . .August, our youngest child, left for college . . .

Everyone else was gone from the house and it got really, really quiet. . really really quick. . . After seeing him off, I stood in the kitchen for a while and keep repeating to myself "Okay God, this is what we have raised them to do, isn't it?". . . .I think I saw God smiling. . .For the first time in 18 years, public school started without a Huckabee child starting with it. . . .although we do not have an "empty nest" yet, ( Brittany and Georgia are still living with us), I have not had to get a child up and going at 6:30am and out the door by 7:15 for the first time in a long, long time. . . .the routine has changed. . . and I know that deep down if I look inside myself, I know that that is a good thing. . .yes, I have had some long sighs, and I have been a little nostalgic lately. . .but I know this is what God intends for us to do with our children. . .love them, nurture them, train them in the way they should go, and then turn them loose to follow God's plan. . .and not ours. . .

It has been a wonderful long chapter in life. . .and I know that it is not completely over. . .we will still be needed to solve a crisis or two, and there will be lots of phone calls with all our children in the days ahead. . .but the day-to-day coaching phase of life with the kids is over. . . and all I can do is thank God for the wonderful years and boat load of memories we have to recall. . .

So my advice to all young moms out there. . .hug your children today, tell them about Jesus, live like Jesus. . .and know that when the day comes, and the last child walks out the door. . .you will survive. . .If I can, you can too! . .

August's Senior Night at the last Home football game- Fall 2008

Getting ready to walk out the door and drive off to Texas A&M University. . August 2009.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Engagement weekend. . .

"A magnificent marriage begins with not knowing one another but with knowing God." - -Gary and Betsy Ricucci

On August 6th, Georgia and her boyfriend, Jordan Monroe announced their engagement to us. . .it has been somewhat of a whirlwind courtship this summer, but all of us have had a peace in watching this relationship grow. . Jordan was stationed at Goodfellow Airforce Base and began attending a Bible study for college students and young adults in our home. . .he and Georgia began dating in May and it was such a joy to watch the two of them grow into one. . .

We have prayed for years and years that our children would fall in love with Godly mates. . knowing that a Christian foundation in a marriage is essential to go the distance in life together and we are so thankful that that has happened with Austin and his beautiful wife Brittany and now for Georgia and Jordan. . .Jordan has a strong relationship with the Lord and it is easy for us to release Georgia to him. . .

Their first gift from the Monroe Family. . .

What a great gift from Jordan's parents. . .

Opening cards and gifts from his brothers in California. . .

We hosted an engagement party for them on August 8th.

Jordan and Georgia with Jim and Kim Day and Jordan's dad Mark Monroe.
Cindi Dauphin with Kim, Emmit and Sam Spooner. ..

Dan and Linda Wilson with Todd. . .Dan and Linda have invested much love into Georgia's life. .

Esther Gibson with Jordan's mom, Cyndi. . .
The wedding is set for June 26th, 2010. .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Georgia's and Keli's trip to China. .

On July 19-29th, Georgia and Keli Criner left for Tokyo and China for a 10 day trip. . Dr. Dan and Linda Wilson were not able to go with the girls as planned, due to a family emergency, so Georgia and Keli went by themselves. . . which was a step of Faith for all of us. . . The girls saw many of the sights of Beijing, walked on the Great Wall, and played with children in an orphanage for a couple of days. . .it was a great experience in being "flexible" and adjusting when your agenda doesn't always turn out as planned. . . Quite the Adventure. . .here are a few pics: Georgia and Keli inside the "Bird's Nest" site of the 2008 Olympic track and field events.

Enjoying a Popsicle on Tianeman (sp?) Square. . where Chairman Mao's body lays in state. .

The famous Huckabee pose on the Great Wall of China.

One of the cuties at the orphanage. . .

Painting fingernails with all the girls. . .

Lots of Hugs and smiles!

Keli making bracelets with the girls. . .

Georgia has many, many more pics but this is just a little glimpse into her trip. . .memories for a lifetime. . .

Georgia and Jordan's trip to CA

Georgia and Jordan (Georgia's boyfriend) flew to CA during the second week of July so that she could meet his family and see the sights of Californa. . .specifically San Diego and Corona- Jordan's hometown. Jordan is deploying to Iraq in mid August, so he wanted her to visit his folks before he leaves for 5-7 months.
Taking in an Angels baseball game on Sunday afternoon.. .

Georgia and Jordan with his parents, Mark and Cyndi Monroe . .

The whole family for Sunday brunch... Jordan has 3 brothers- Daniel (26) who is married to Erin, Andrew (22) with his girlfriend Ashley, and Isaac (17), with Mark and Cyndi .

Georgia and Cyndi, Jordan's mom...

Georgia, Jordan and Cyndi drove to San Diego to spend the day at Jordan's grandparents beach house. . .here is one of the views from their back yard. .

Strolling on the beach. .

The view from his grandparents' house. .

Enjoying the Pacific ocean. .

Jordan's famly had Thanksgiving dinner for him, since he will be deployed during that holiday..

They were also able to visit Georgia's Great-Aunt Kay Bruce, who lives in Anaheim Hills CA. . .all in all, they had a great trip and made lots of memories. . .

July 4th weekend in CO

We possibly had one of the most fun filled 4th of July weekends in Colorado this year ever. . .because we had a couple of folks with us who had never been to the mountains of CO, we did some extra things to give them a fun memory. . With us this year in Gunnison were Georgia, (our daughter), Jordan Monroe (Georgia's boyfriend), Brittany (Austin's wife) and Breanna Irvin (August's friend who has lived with us this summer while working for Dr. Dale Rollins, the A&M Research Center's wildlife biologist). . .Jordan and Breanna had not had the CO mountains experience, so we crammed alot of activity into the 3 days they were with us. . .hiking, biking, kayaking, 4th of July parades, hot air balloon lift off and fireworks.

Here are a few pics from the weekend. . .

This is Brittany kayaking on Blue Mesa Lake near Gunnison. . .

Here is Georgia climbing up Mt. Crested Butte. . it was a hard scramble the last few hundred yards. .The rest of the crew is above her. . .

On the morning of the 4th of July, we got up early to see 18 hot air balloons lift off from the park in Gunnison. . .it was beautiful. . .

It was a perfect morning. . . I've never seen the balloons hang so long in the air like that. .

The little town of Crested Butte swells to about 4-5 times its normal size for it's 4th of July parade. . .it has a lot of "flavor" to it and is pretty entertaining. . .it's a small town celebration at its finest!

Todd, Jordan and a friend from Gunnison, Chase Davis did a 20 mile bike ride down Taylor Canyon near Almont. .

Georgia and Jordan heading down the Gunnison River for a kayaking adventure. . .

Todd and Breanna launching off for a ride down the Gunnison River. . .

We had such a great weekend with all the guests and loved being together. . .the only thing that would have made this weekend perfect was if Austin and August could have been with us. . .but maybe next year! :)