Dinner with the King’s

We climbed in the truck at 10:32 a.m. CST to head towards Ft. Smith Alma RV Park. Friends are coming for dinner tonight at the camper. I met Alicia Danielson the week after my Mom passed away, to the day. Mom died on Sunday, the 16th of February 2014, I met Alicia on Sunday the 23rd. She was working for the church we attended at the time, recruiting volunteers. They had a volunteer tent set up for sign ups. She was standing at the corner of the tent when I walked up. She greeted me with a smile, I’ll never forget the hug she gave me when I told her I had just lost Mom. I’m grateful to say, I’ve received many hugs from her since. If you know Alicia, and you’ve been hugged by Alicia, you know she has a hug sent straight from heaven.

The next year, when I left Nautica, I started volunteering for her on a weekly basis. Through that time together our friendship deepened. One particular conversation we had sitting in the old auditorium at WEC (Waters Edge Church), is particularly special. She was single at the time, I was encouraging her in her singleness. Within weeks, she connected with her now husband, Daniel. Their first date was Feb. 12, 2015. He brought her a teddy bear. They married Jan. 21, 2017 and lived in Chesapeake, VA until this past January, when they moved to Rogers, AR. I was afraid I might never get another hug from Alicia, but God willing, I’ll get one today. And one from Daniel, and their precious son Nathaniel. God is good.

The book we’re listening to on this part of our journey is below. Definitely keeps our attention and helps the miles fade away.

We pulled into our next stop at 2:13 p.m. CST. A quaint campground, I feel like we’ve stepped back in time. The King’s are on their way, trekking from Rogers, to see us. I can’t wait to hand deliver Scatter cards to Alicia.

I got my hug! The King’s arrived shortly after 3:00 p.m. A surreal feeling washed over me as I watched them pull into the campground. Yet at the same time, I felt like a little piece of home had just met me on the road. Everyone needs an Alicia in their life.

As soon as we saw each other we picked up right where we left off. The last time I saw Alicia was in January. We picked up lunch at a fast food place, and drove to Regent University, Alicia was the chauffeur. We sat in the parking lot and ate our lunch. Both of our lives were about to change in two very different directions. She was moving to Arkansas, and I was going back to school for my Masters degree after a 25 year hiatus. We sat there and ate lunch like none of that was about to happen, not knowing when or if we would ever see each other again. Who knew it would only be nine months. May we never go more than a year my friend, may we never go more than a year.

Pictures from our great day below.

Sweet Nathaniel, be still my beating heart!

A wonderful visit with wonderful friends.

Stumbled across a parade on the way back from dinner for S.A.D.A

WiFi wasn’t great here, this is the first campground we’ve had this problem. We would try a different campground in the area next time. Beautiful morning in Arkansas.

Rocco loved the rock! King of the world.

We crossed the Arkansas River on the way to church.

Loved attending Life Church Ft. Smith. Friendly greeting would be a huge understatement, I don’t think there was one person we walked past who didn’t greet us. We were barely out of the car before the golf cart was there asking us if we wanted a lift to the door, which we declined.

During the tithes and offerings, the Campus Pastor, Steve Reed told the congregation if anyone is in need, feel free to take any loose cash that is in the plate. The first time in my entire life of attending church have I heard those words come out of a pastor’s mouth. Bravo Life Church, bravo!

The Open Door program they have to help people connect is great. A stack of easy invite cards is on every seat.

Worship was amazing. Sang two of my favorites, “Stand in Your Love,” and “Surrounded.”. The band was playing “Free Falling” when we arrived which was amazing.

Sam Marin, Campus Pastor from Midwest City, OK, gave the message. Last message in the series, “Never Stand Alone.”

Great visit. Campus Pastor shook our hands on the way in and made sure to shake them again on the way out. The last thing we heard from a volunteer as we walked out the door, “Have a great week! We love you!”

God willing, we will. On to the next leg of our journey.