Monday, December 31, 2001

Titans-Packers Game

"Guy" Road-Trip to Nashville!
The Titans prove to be less than hospitable hosts
for the visiting Packers (much to Philip's chagrin)

Tennessee 26
Green Bay 20

The December '01 holiday season was special for lots of reasons, but the fact that we had tickets to see the Titans play Green Bay was certainly up there at the top of the list!

After coming up empty for the previous season, we finally got tickets to see the Titans, and better yet, they would be playing the Packers! The only down side was that we got the tickets in July and had to wait until December 16th for the game!

Though it hardly seemed possible at times during the next few months, December actually did arrive, and together with Dave's good friend Matt from work (and his dad), we headed for Nashville. Equipped with chairs, a tarp, Matt's TV and grill, lots of cokes, and more food than we could possible eat, we tailgated for few hours while watching the early games.

We painted up the boys' faces and chomped on some delicious steaks, and then, when we couldn't stand to wait any longer, we headed over to Adelphia Coliseum to see the Titans and Packers.

The game was great, and the Packers had their chance right up to the last few minutes, but the Titans prevailed, which pleased Tucker quite a bit since the rest of us were pulling for the Packers :-)

It was a great time, and mom says we can make it an annual tradition!

Over the next couple of days after the game, we scanned through the videotape to see if we could spot ourselves, but the network execs apparently weren't aware that we were there.

Guess we'll just have to get better seats next time :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

September 11

What could our family do to help?!

The events of September 11th will be burned into our memories for the rest of our lives. Like many others in the days following the attacks, we struggled to find something,...ANYthing, we could do to feel like we were helping. Sitting around the TV and watching the news over and over sure wasn't making us feel any better.

So, Karen came up with the idea of us doing a family project. We decided to try and raise money for the Red Cross by selling items we made, then set about thinking of things each of us could create. The boys made patriotic bracelets, with red, white and blue beads. Karen made little pins with bows made of red, white and blue ribbon. We twisted pipe cleaners into little praying figures. We made gallons of lemonade. We each made posters. Then we packed it all into the car for the next day.

Bright and early on Saturday morning we headed over to the parking lot adjacent to our local super market and set up our little operation. We weren't sure what would happen.

The response was overwhelming! All morning long there were cars driving buy and honking their horns in support. Many people stopped just to see what was going on, but as the morning went along, more and more people stopped to give. The items we brought became "thank-you" gifts for donations, instead of sale items, and by the time we were done, folks had ended up donating over $450!

The next day we presented the money to Barry Porter, the North Alabama regional director for the Red Cross, who happens to go to our church. He accepted the donation with thanks, and several weeks later we received the certificate below. Still, for us the best part of the whole thing was seeing so many people express their patriotism and generosity.

God has truly blessed America!

Friday, June 15, 2001

Family Trip to Venezuela

In June of 2001 we finally made the family trip that Karen has been talking about since we first met,...back to her roots in Venezuela! For two weeks we traveled throughout the country, meeting old friends, saw places we'd been hearing about for years, and (best of all!) ate all sorts of exotic and wonderful foods.

The event that finally brought us south was the closing of Christiansen Academy, the boarding school that Karen and her twin brothers attended in Rubio, Venezuela while their parents were missionaries across the mountains in Colombia. The folks at Christiansen decided to make the final graduation an event to remember, and invited all former students and faculty to come down for the festivities.

Using Rubio as our base of operations, we traveled to Merida and the Andes Mountains (by bus), to Caracas, the capital city (by plane), and to Chichiriviche on the Carribean coast (by van). Each step was an adventure!

As we traveled around the country, we were able to see so many things that make Venezuela unique and beautiful. We also witnessed the disparity between the rich and poor there.

There are so many great memories from our trip that it would be impossible to describe them all here (for that, you'll have to come watch our 7 1/2 hours of video tape!). Some of the highlights included: driving up the highest road in the Andes to Pico de Aguila (13,000 ft); going to church at the downtown Caracas Baptist Church (all in Spanish), being guests in the home of the Canizales family (Karen's childhood friends), spending several days on our own little private island off the coast of Chichiriviche, and of course, Karen being interviewed for national TV while we were stopped at a little jam and jelly shop! It was a coincidence that they happened to be filming in the shop, but it seemed a fitting tribute to this native daughter :-)

All these great memories, and more, continue to bubble up in our conversations since our return to the states. And it now appears that we may be putting the experience to practical use, as our church starts thinking about organizing a foreign missions trip sometime over the next year or so. And you'll never guess where!

Look out Venezuela,
we're coming back!

Thursday, February 15, 2001

Disney World

The Burke and Wilson Clans meet at the "Happiest Place on Earth"!

In February, the long anticipated trip to Disney World finally happened. We flew down to Orlando where we joined Dave's parents, his sister Amy and her family, her husband Eric's brothers and their families, and their parents.

We spent 4 days hitting all of the theme parks, meeting the characters (Philip has quite an autograph collection!), riding the rides and seeing the sites. With three boys along it's no surprise that the "theme dinners" proved popular. After all there's FOOD involved! We started with a "Villain" dinner, which was attended by Captain Hook, the Queen of Hearts, Prince John (from Robin Hood), and a few others. Then, on our last morning, we had breakfast with Chef Mickey at the Contemporary resort hotel.

The Animal Kingdom was an unexpected treat, both for the real-life sites during the safari ride and the high-tech thrills at the "Bugs Life" show. But the best part of the whole trip was that we practically had the place to ourselves! February is definitely the right time to hit the Magic Kingdom!

Captain Hook subtly shows his displeasure
with Dave's insistence on whispering
"Tick, tock, tick, tock" whenever he was around.