I thought that you said that you had retired.

Well, we thought we had retired!

However, Ellen, at least, has been called out of retirement from August – November, 2023. How does that work? Well, John Myrick, an experienced TCK (Third Culture Kid) educator, became the TCK Education consultant in January of 2022 and has been doing an excellent job. However, the third-grade teacher at Rift Valley Academy and her family will be in the US for their Home Assignment from August – November of this year. John, along with his wife and two girls, will be heading to Kenya at the beginning of August so that John can fill this gap at the school. His wife, Becky, is also an elementary school teacher and will serve as a tutor. In a fun twist, both of their girls are rising third graders, so you guessed it – they will be in their dad’s class! This means that John is not available to fill the role of TCK Education consultant for the fall – I was asked if I could fill in and Bob and I agreed.

What does this mean? I will be part of the Children’s team for Waypoint from July 29th – August 4th in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. I will also be part of the Engage staff at Peachtree City, GA November 5th- 9th.

The Waypoint Retreat offers:

* Time alone with God in a beautiful, restful environment
* Time to share experiences serving cross-culturally and their impact within a small group and individually with a trained debriefer
* Dedicated, age-appropriate debriefing program for children and teens (through grade 12)
* Wide range of recreation options

Engage AIM is held at AIM’s Headquarters just outside of Atlanta as a final evaluation in determining if AIM is a good fit for our candidates. The week will orient missionary candidates to AIM and provide an introduction to African culture, insight into the missionary life, and training for raising financial support. These events are held in March, June, and November, with an age-appropriate children’s program running in parallel. A final decision on appointment to AIM will come about week after the event. Other responsibilities will include being in touch with each of our families who have been appointed and work with them on their Education Plan.

I will also be in touch with each family who is in the US on their Home Assignment and work with them on updating their plans for their children’s education. I am looking forward to this time of reconnecting with families that I have worked with in the past and getting to know new families at the beginning stages of their career.

Bob and I attended Waypoint at the beginning of 2022 as participants and believe that it is a very worthwhile program. He will be with me this time around as well and helping as he can.

In June we were able to visit two of our kids and their families. Much of the month was spent with Ginny, Stephen, Luke and “Little Blue” Bracht. We enjoyed camping at the Grand Canyon and Ghost Ranch as well as time with them in their home in Albuquerque.

In the middle of that trip, we were able to spend about 10 days in British Columbia with James, Daphne, and Peter (with Luke and Ginny joining us for a few days). Being together was amazing, but the big highlight was that James was ordained as a priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Church! The music sounded like a heavenly choir and now James is further able to officially use the gifts that God has given him.

Otherwise, we are becoming reengaged in our sending church, Creekside Community Church, spending time with Bob’s mom who is now in a wonderful memory care unit in Gainesville, working on projects in Bob’s mom’s 64 year old house where we are currently living, and visiting our kids, grand kids and other friends.

July 22nd marked one year since Bob’s open-heart surgery. His cardiologist recently told him his heart was beating strong and steady. We praise God for his good health

March notes

Here we are well into 2018. We started the year in Columbus, Ohio, where we had been with Ellen’s Dad and our kids and their families for Christmas.

In January I had surgery to repair an abdominal hernia; no problems, recovery was rapid. Also that month here at ECHO, we hosted a one-week Tropical Agriculture Development class. (read more about ECHO classes at www.echocommunity.org/en/pages/tadi)

People like to visit Florida in the winter!

In February Ellen’s 97 year-old Dad came down to Florida for a 10 day visit. We always enjoy the time we can be with him.

In March Ellen was in Peachtree City, Georgia connecting with new missionary candidates with AIM. And then our son James and his family were down from Boston for a visit. They managed to get their travels done in between the winter storms that battered the northeast.

Next week our daughter Ginny and her family will be here for a short visit. We look forward to celebrating Easter with them and with my mother and sister up in Gainesville, Fl.

There have been other visitors and events to enjoy but that pretty much brings us up to date.

Until the next post…


This and that from March to June

Bob date 24132

I only had my cell phone with me while birding so flowers instead of birds 🙂

A species of phlox

Relative of sunflower

Connect Week

I have been in Peachtree City, Georgia this week at AIM’s US headquarters. Ellen arrived back from Kenya on Sunday and I drove up from Florida to meet her here. We’ve met some great people and I have enjoyed reconnecting with friends.


Our grandson Isaiah, who was born in March (14 weeks early) was released from NICU in Orlando on Monday. Everything looks good at this point. For more about this young fighter see Craig and Laura’s blog “A Way in the Wild“.

Next grandchild

So Ellen and I have been together this week after her two and a half weeks in Kenya but tomorrow we head in different directions! She is going to Albuquerque to be with our daughter Ginny who is expecting our 7th grandchild any day now. Actually, labor will be induced on Sunday if nothing happens before then.

ECHO — Climate change initiative and crop selection tool

One thing we have been working on at ECHO recently is how to help small-scale farmers deal with uncertain yearly weather and long-term climate change. We worked up a proposal to develop a strategy for tracking changes in any country. We also plan to develop a crop selection tool that would indicate which crops would be best suited for a specific location, both at the present and in the future based on reliable models of climate shifts. Of course all of that depends on funding!


For several years now I have taken up the “June Challenge” to see how many birds one can find in a specific county in the month of June — basically the worst month for birding in Florida. So far I’ve seen 16 in Lee County (haven’t had much time for birding there yet) and 30 in Fayette County, Georgia where I’ve been this week.

2016 starts with surgery

On January 27th I had surgery to repair an abdominal hernia. Pretty straight forward, not serious. It was supposed to be outpatient but ended up being a little more involved and so I spent the night at Cape Coral Hospital. The staff took great care of me there and then it was Ellen’s turn when we got home Thursday. I am blessed to have her by my side through these adventures that come with aging (I’m 65, Ellen is younger :-).

I was able to work from home most of the next week and return to a normal routine at ECHO that Friday (Feb. 5th). I’m still limited in what I can (should!) pick up but otherwise back to great health.


  • grateful for excellent medical care and adequate health insurance
  • grateful for general good health
  • Ellen’s bout with cancer and this remind us we are mortal and aging
  • We are happy to be able to continue in full-time ministry at ECHO and with AIM