My vacation in Florida is over. :(
We realized early on in the trip just how much has happened in our lives in this place.
In college, some college buddies and I drove down to Clearwater three of the four years for spring break. This was my first venture to Florida. Jon Hentrich knew a youth pastor who let us sleep in the basement of their church building making it rather affordable. In this church building we also staged a very late night mock church service that we regrettably recorded and would probably get us all fired at most churches. That video still exists somewhere. :)
My senior year of college I spent 6 months in a preaching internship at Journey Church in Tampa. It was a very memorable and formative time in my life. A month later, Kelli, who was just a college acquaintance at the time moved to Tampa to take a job with Impact Ministries and pursue her MBA . Little did we know 5 years later we would be getting married in St. Petersburg and spending our first year of marriage in Tampa working for Journey and Impact at the University of South Florida.
All that to say, we have a lot of history in Florida and it was nice to be back and remember so many of them.
Some of the highlights of this trip (in no particular order):
1. Gram swimming (and pretty much doing anything else). The longer he is here, the more comfortable he becomes in water. For whatever reason, he doesn't care for the beach or the sand, but loves the pool. He also got to take his first trip to the aquarium where he spent more time walking up and down the stairs than looking at fish. Maybe next year...
2. Rum Runners. When you find a good rum runner, you plant yourself for a while. This is an amazing beachside drink that is hard to overestimate. Light rum, dark rum, blackberry brandy, banana liquor, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, and a cherry. Are you sold?
3. Celebrating Kelli's birthday at Shor restaurant. King Crab Legs, Red Snapper, Grouper, Wine, dessert, scotch....mmmmm. A bit of a splurge that we’ll pay off someday. Well worth it.
4. Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins. John Volstedt has a friend that works for the Rays and was able to hook Kelli and I up with a few free tickets. Out of respect to my friend Rob Grant, I was rooting for the Twins, but Johnny Damon hit a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth that ruined Rob's day.
5. Hanging with Adam Randall at the Dunedin House of Beer. Good to catch up with Adam and experience a good Florida beer bar. 40 taps of mostly east-coast microbrews. Adam is also one of my most talented friends and a great musician. Click here and listen to "Hope is Your Last Visitor" and "Bodies and Souls".
6. Visiting Journey Church. This was the church that I did a 6 month preaching internship in. At the time we were meeting at Gaither High School, but in the last few years they built a building which we got to see for the first time. There are still many people there that we've known for years and who we love greatly. I am always struck when we go back and visit how little time seems to have passed even though it has been 5 years. There's some good people at Journey. How do I know? Because they heard some pretty lousy sermons but encouraged me nonetheless!
7. Knowing that capable and gifted Evergreeners were coordinating and leading the gathering at Hawthorne in my absence! I hope they did good, but not TOO good. :)
8. Getting to do some pleasure reading. More specifically, Douglas Coupland's Generation X, Michael Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs, and Jack London's The Road. One day I even came up with a summer reading list that I'll post soon.
9. Moe's. This is a burrito place that actually had a location in Beaverton for a very short stint, but for some reason Beaverton folks don't know what's up, so it closed. The sour cream flows like cheap wine and the sweet tea....oh the sweet tea.
10. The Sun. It was about 85 and sunny EVERY DAY we were here. Amazing. I almost forgot what it was like to have that many sunny days in a row!
Back to Portland....