Our great friends Dale and Karen made it out here to Midland Monday night and it just absolutely made our whole week! We spent six years together with the Coopers in our covenant group at the Central church and they have been a vital part of our family for even longer than that. Surrogate grandparents to our three daughters and an inexhaustible source of strength and encouragement for Carrie-Anne and me, Dale and Karen are two of the kindest and most generous people we’ve ever known.

We didn’t have much time – they were only here in town for a few hours – but we managed to eat a mountain of onion rings and fried catfish at Clear Spring and catch up on our kids, our churches, our jobs, and Dale’s recent retirement. We reminisced about those early covenant group meetings in which we cried and prayed together around our dining room table, serving breakfast and praying with the residents at League House on those monthly Saturday mornings, climbing up and down Masada together on our trips to Israel, building the arch for Valerie’s wedding, chicken-and-dog-and-house-sitting while they went on another rock-and-roll cruise, Dale’s over-the-top July 4th fireworks extravaganzas, and baseball. Lots of baseball. We stayed up talking and laughing Monday night as long as we could, until we started to fall asleep on the couches.

And we set plans to spend the weekend of March 4-6 together when our sticky buddy, Evie Granado, comes to West Texas to dominate everybody’s faces. Can’t wait.