Adams Family Adventures in
Daniel knew Emily's family while he attended DayStar Academy in Utah between 2003 and 2005. Her dad served as pastor in the Price, Moab and Castle Valley areas. In June, 2007 the family moved to Lexington, TN. During our visit, they drove 4 hours each way so we could get acquainted - and be with Emily, of course!
Here Isaac, Emily, Leslie and Pastor Steve enjoy a family back rub.
After enjoying a meal at a Mexican Restaurant, Daniel took Isaac and Leslie flying. He had Isaac read through the pre-flight list, and showed us the different things that need to be checked to ensure a safe flight.
Let's see . . . fuel in the tanks, flaps and lights working, air in the tires, propeller fastened tightly - yep, it's ready to fly!
Headsets on, checking the instruments, starting the engine, testing magnetos - OK, let's go!
Daniel revved the engine and lifted off. After flying just above the runway gaining speed, Daniel suddenly pulled into a steep climb, catching Isaac off guard. What fun!
And off they went, circling around doing a fly-by, then off in the distance some of the fun maneuvers - canyon turns, zero gravity, Dutch rolls and stalls. Isaac had a great time!
Next his adventurous mom Leslie went. She was more fun because she squealed and grabbed onto Daniel during some of the roller-coaster type maneuvers!
Soon it got dark, so we spent the evening playing games, visiting, having worship and taking pictures. The kids still had plenty of energy, so while we grownups prepared for bed, they climbed the hill behind the school, built a campfire and ate roasted Big Franks.
The Caza's are a nice family - Pastor Steve is quiet, sensible and enjoys humor, Leslie likes adventure and communicates openly, and Isaac acts like a typical 14-year-old.
Our second week sped by rapidly, and we didn't see Emily very much - she had piles of essays to grade, finals for which to study, and everything else that goes with college.
On Wednesday evening, we ate and visited with the Gates, Mills and Burgdorff families. Becky & David Gates along with Lina, Brad & Levi Mills had just flown in from South America. Ted & Betsy Burgdorff had arrived from Bolivia a few weeks before. After eating, we looked at pictures and videos about the Familia Feliz Orphanage in a remote corner of Bolivia, where Daniel plans to serve in January.
Another evening Emily somehow persuaded her somewhat shy roommate Amy MacPhee to come out of hibernation and eat supper with us. Amy is a really sweet young lady, and we enjoyed getting acquainted. Her grandfather's sister Bea Coupland and my mom have been very good friends since they first met at Camp Wawona in 1940!
Shortly before we had to leave, Diana got her turn to fly with Daniel as well. Diana isn't quite as adventurous and gets airsick easily, so Daniel did only one near-zero-gravity maneuver, and that was enough for her!
Diana was happy to just fly normally, enjoying the lakes, mountain ridges and other scenery in the Ocoee area.
But night comes quickly in December, so they flew off towards an awesome sunset.
Flying over Chattanooga's bright colorful lights at night was rewarding to see, as well as a flight over Rock City at the top of a nearby ridge.
Landing at night with the brightly lit runway made for a perfect flight at the end of a great day.
Faye McColpin, a longtime friend involved in missions, invited us to eat at Golden Corral to celebrate my 52nd birthday on December 13.
Afterwards, Daniel and Emily sang a really special song to both Diana and me in honor of my birthday. Much better than the typical "Happy Birthday," they creatively adapted a Mother's Day song. Below are the lyrics:
1. My Dear Father, my close friend, on this your birthday we reflect on how you've led. You've led us forward, you've picked us up, you've kept our eyes on what is true.
2. Dearest Mother, truest friend, today we thank you o’er and o’er again. For all you've given, for all you've spent. You walked beside us all the way.
3. We love your counsel, we love your smile and your commitment to go the extra mile. You've held high standards yet joined our fun. We give our thanks for all you've done.
4. Heavenly Father, faithful God, please bless our parents draw them to Your side. Endow their labors with strength Divine such as the branch draws from the Vine.
Wow, that really made us feel loved and special - much better than any gift they could have purchased! If you have high-speed Internet, you can download the 18 MB WMV file by right-clicking here to enjoy it. Use the "Save Target As" option.
Our apartment was very nice, but it had no Internet access. So we often drove to the nearby Collegedale airport, sat in the car parked as near to the building as possible and tapped into their wifi to check e-mail and take care of other Internet business that's a major part of my life!
The following Sabbath we drove an hour and a half north to the Dunlap church, full of active, mission-minded believers as well. We visited the Youth group, where Daniel spoke and shared a video about the Bolivia orphanage. Then he showed pictures during the church service, sharing mission experiences from Venezuela and inviting folks to get involved in foreign missions. Meanwhile, I met with the Hispanic group and shared some of my mission experiences. It was a real blessing to worship with folks who were eager to learn more about mission service.
After a quick potluck lunch, we rushed south to visit old teacher friends from DayStar Academy - Donald and Genella Hunt. After visiting awhile, Emily played the piano and we all sang hymns together. Emily plays the piano very well, making music literally seem to flow as her hands gracefully flew over the keys.
We spent Sabbath evening at the home of John and Virginia Holley, where they had a delicious supper for us to enjoy.
Daniel had stayed with the Holleys during part of the summer, and they are a very nice, mission-minded couple.
Emily is quite petite, but she can eat an amazing amount of food. But not nearly as much as Daniel, who's always had a voracious apatite!
After eating, we watched Emily and Daniel play Dutch Blitz. And wow, is Emily fast! She slapped cards down left and right - we couldn't keep up with what was happening! Daniel was slower, but he had his strategies, and he beat Emily - just a few times though!
Eventually more young people arrived, and things got really lively with 8 of them playing Dutch Blitz.
We also played a word game called CatchPhrase, which kept our minds active trying to describe words or short phrases for the others to try to guess. It felt good to interact with the younger generation, after many years of hardly any social activity at our quiet, peaceful home in the hills of California.
Spending time with Daniel and his friends meant a lot to us - he's growing up and a long ways away most of the time now. But we appreciate his keeping in touch with us several times a week, as well as enjoying pictures and video clips he uploads to Picasa web albums for us to enjoy.
All too soon the time came for us to pack up and leave. We would have liked to spend more time there, but we are extremely thankful for the good times we enjoyed there.
From what we saw and heard, many good things are happening at Southern Adventist University. We attended Miss Bonnie's Psychology class twice, and were highly impressed by the relevant, practical, real-life applications she shared during her classes.
So here we are, tightly squeezed into Emily's car, ready for Daniel to drive us to Nashville, from where we flew back to California. Emily had study and take her finals - which is a good thing, as she wouldn't have been able to squeeze into the car anyway!
From what we've observed, Daniel and Emily appear to be a very good match. Their desire is to be positive examples of Christian principles in their growing relationship.
Time will tell what the future holds for them, but meanwhile, they both need time to mature, to continue their training and discover where God leads in their future. Emily should spend time in overseas missions as well, so she can find out how she will fit in primitive environments, different cultures, and challenging situations.
Meanwhile, we appreciate the totally open and frequent communication that takes place between Emily and her parents, as well as with us. And Daniel also communicates often with Emily's parents. We feel blessed to see "our kids" aiming in the right direction, and pray each day that they will always allow God to lead in every aspect of their lives.
Daniel plans to take his Instrument rating check ride in January, 2008. He's really eager to get into frontline mission work. So, if everything works out, he plans to volunteer at the Familia Feliz Orphanage in Bolivia for an unspecified amount of time.
Our visit to Tennessee is full of memorable experiences, and we hope to return again - next time with our van so I can get around easier and see some of our friends we missed this time!
UPDATE: During the first few days of
January 2008, something totally unexpected happened that left all of
us completely overwhelmed. Through a series of events, God
made it known that Daniel and Emily were to end their relationship.
At this time we don't understand, but someday we will.
Meanwhile, we are trusting God to lead in their futures according to
His plans. And we are very proud that Daniel and Emily have
chosen to stand for principle rather than follow their own desires.