Sunday, August 11, 2013

new site


I'm blogging now at  This blog isn't going anywhere until I can figure out how to archive it all.  But new posts will be updated over at the new site.  Followers, I hope you update your feeds so that you continue to get updates from us.  So long, amberjoyfull...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Indiana so far

catching crawdads in the creek

Riding the tractor several times a day...

meeting new friends (moving to Liberia!) at McDonald's

Indiana! O, Indiana!


our retreat center in Abingdon, Virginia

We're at missions training at CMDA and Samaritan's Purse in VA and NC

while we're away...    Grandparent de-tox begins 8/3/13 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The week in review

We have had another busy week at home, but it's been great! We have met with many friends and still managed to have a few family game nights at home. Where Is Sock Monkey is our new favorite diversion.
Last night after Bible class, we were treated to ice cream with good friends of ours. Stephen got more than his fair share! Who can resist his smile? And when he opens wide and leans into your cup, what's a person to do but fill that chomper with more?!

Sunday evening we missed our small group and went to Ol' South pancakes and Menchie's frozen yogurt. What a treat!

We were honored to have the McRays in our home for Sunday lunch. I can't say enough good things about these people. Love them to bits!

And (finally!) my brother Keith asked, and Morgan said "Yes!"

It was so much fun to be a part of their engagement celebration! 
Now why they wouldn't want to plan their wedding for September before we leave, I'll never understand...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tennesse photo dump

We just returned home from a week and a half touring Tennessee with family and friends.  Our first stop (well, besides the 3am hotel stop in Memphis) was to Decatureville, TN to see Kent's cousins: Katharine and Luke (and their kids, Evie and James) and Caroline.  

Evie and Stephen are just a few weeks apart, and they had so much fun playing together.  

Stephen loved riding/driving the boat!

 We fished.

And caught some!
Ruby carried around two worms the whole time like little pets. 

We could get used to this...

We had such a lovely visit with cousins, and we're so thankful to them for hosting us on our way to east Tennessee.  And so thankful for the memories.

We pressed on the next day to a chalet in the Smoky Mountain National Park (near Gatlinburg, TN).  This was our view from the deck behind the kitchen:
It was really beautiful!  Every day, or every moment really, it looked different.  The clouds and smoke and shadows would change so quickly, sometimes completely obscuring the view past a few feet.

 We met up with all of Kent's family there: his parents, his five siblings, their spouses, children, and dogs.  Twenty three people in all.  Kent's brother Kerry brought with him this 45-pound king salmon from his in-laws' fish camp in Alaska.  It was a gift to the Brantlys in congratulations of 50 years of marriage.  We feasted!  And so did the dogs!

 You hate to pick favorites, but I do believe Landon and Collin may be Stephen's "most-likely-to-be-asked-to-play-with-me" cousins... 

 This cabin was huge; we had 12 bedrooms, 11 baths, swim spa, theater, hot tub, and decks spread out over four stories.  And the table was just right for the 23 of us!

 Fourth of July sparklers and romps through the rain puddles.

I am so proud to be welcomed as a member of this family.  What an accomplishment to celebrate your 50th anniversary!  These people are all very cool.  We played games, watched a few movies, went on a few hikes, ate delicious food, but mostly just sat around visiting and being together.   What a wonderful week we had together!  I am so thankful for these memories and pictures to take with us to Liberia.  It was a very sweet time together.

After a week in Gatlinburg, we all checked out of the cabin and headed for home.  But we had another destination on our itinerary.
We drove a little farther into east Tennessee to see two friends who graduated from JPS a year ahead of Kent.  They are both physicians and serving in a rural town, practicing full-spectrum family medicine - just what they were trained for. 

 They had a very nice view, too. 

 It was great to catch up with old friends and see their home and work.  We are so happy for them, being in a place they love and doing what they love to do.  It made us all the more excited to set up our own home in Liberia this fall.

 We have been pretty drained by the travels and the constant surroundings of people, but so richly blessed by it, too.  The laundry is (mostly) caught up.  Does it ever end?!  And we're getting down to the business of preparing ourselves for our move, which will probably be pushed back into mid-October.  Watch for our prayer card photo coming soon!

Saturday, June 01, 2013