Monday, August 28, 2017

UPDATE - August 28th - THEY'RE HERE!

Ready or not - HERE THEY ARE!

They came!
I know I shouldn't be surprised - but there was that moment when I wondered if I was going to be the only one to show up at the party! Ha!

From Left to Right: Kate Donahoo, Ashley Trewhella, Grace Mezzy, Tate Heisler, Sarah Wilkins, JP Flynn, Natalie Bayer, Patrick McCarthy, Morgan Bonds, Tucker Bartholomew, Abbey Sams, Caleb McKillop, Ned Erickson
What a week!

Monday - We watched the eclipse from the field at Summit - 

Tuesday - We celebrated the first day of school - 

Anna Rose - 5th Grade
David - 3rd Grade
Wednesday -  The Fellows Arrived. 

First Fellows Photo - Winston-Salem Foundation
Special Thanks to Shannon Rainey and Lia Erickson for setting up and providing a great luncheon for us. Also, thank you to Scott Wierman, President of the Winston-Salem Foundation for officially welcoming the Fellows and sharing the vision for the future reality we see for this city. 

From there, we jumped in the car to Lake Norman to enjoy a day on the water. 

We all found something to float on

Mike Baughan was able to throw every single Fellow off the tube!

A little windblown

Kate Donahoo and Grace Mezzy getting to know each other by smelling each other's feet

JP Flynn and his large duck

Mike and Julie Baughan - the hosts with the most
Julie had the brilliant idea of breaking the ice by having all of us put on hats and wigs...

Tucker, Tate, Morgan, Ned and Ashley

Caleb, Abbey, Sarah, Mike, Kate, JP, Grace, Patrick, and Natalie

After dinner we had a great night of worship - we have some fantastic musicians this year - shout out to Tucker and Kate!

Thursday - we spent the morning at the lake, had a great time of worship, solitude and book discussion then packed up and drove north to the mountains!

Natalie, Sarah, Grace, Ashley and Kate on Bullhead Mountain

We discovered Ashley really likes flowers

That afternoon we went over the handbook, then had another great night of worship. 

Afterward, we went on a night hike to the top of Bluff Mountain. Natalie took a great picture of the stars and the Milky Way

That "cloud" is the Milky Way!

Friday - We woke up the next morning, spent some solid time in solitude then traveled just down the road to Grayson Highlands for a day hike!

Here is the gang with our new mascot - Potato!

Tate and Potato really got close

Patrick really digging this hike

Sarah taking it all in
Natalie scaled some rocks

Then took a picture of our lunch spot

The Director was getting pooped
That afternoon we finished off the handbook, ate tacos and watched an amazing sunset...then had a family game night.

Morgan and Abbey

Saturday - we had a great morning of worship, prayer, and solitude in the Cave Rock Chapel. 

Then, we had our first official public event at the finals of the Winston-Salem Open! Thank you Don and Robbin Flow!

Back: Kate, Tate, Tucker, Patrick, Ashley, Sarah, Grace
Front: JP, Caleb, Morgan, Abbey, Natalie, and Ned

The Fellows gave the whole experience a big thumbs up
Sunday - The Fellows were all commissioned by our four church partners: First Pres, Hope, Redeemer, and River Oaks. It's one of my favorite days of the year as it gives me an excuse to visit four of my favorite congregations all in one morning!!!

Caleb, Morgan and Tucker being introduced at Redeemer
@ First Pres
- Ashley Trewhella
- Patrick McCarthy
- Sarah Wilkins

 @ Hope
- JP Flynn
- Kate Donahoo
- Natalie Bayer

@ Redeemer
- Caleb McKillop
- Morgan Bonds
- Tucker Bartholomew

@ River Oaks
- Abbey Sams
- Grace Mezzy
- Tate Heisler

That evening, we held a Welcome Celebration at the Redeemer Lawn...

Fellow Alumni, Jessica Kok and others

About 100 others

Special thanks to Holly Heath our celebration coordinator. 

 Also Special Thanks to my amazing, beautiful, smart, and gracious wife who has one of the hardest jobs in the world - handling me!



Today is the first day on the job for the majority of the Fellows (some start in a few days).

And I'm dubbing this week "Hero Week" because of our line-up.

Tonight, we have our first Round Table, which will be hosted by Bill and Myrtie Davis.

On Wednesday, we will have our first Leader Lunch with Nigel Alston.

When it comes to leadership and heroics - Bill, Myrtie, Nigel (and Sarah) are about as heroic as heroic gets.

Tucker Bartholomew's birthday is also Wednesday, so we will have a little something something for him!

As for the director - it is lots of coffee and meetings.

Actually, here is a prayer item, on Tuesday I will be giving my Classification Talk at the Downtown Rotary Club.

And Friday, I'll be taking the Fellows to the mountains for another little beginning of the year adventure!

I can't believe we are here! We couldn't have done it without so many of you - truly, too many to count. Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

In the coming weeks, I hope to thank many of you personally and publicly. Y'all are amazing. 

Hi Ho Here We Go!

Monday, August 21, 2017


The Wait is Over!

View from the new Quarry Park



I couldn't be more excited about this year.

Wednesday morning, Fellows from Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and and good old North Carolina will be converging on Winston-Salem to begin what we hope will be one of the most transformative years of their lives.

I couldn't be more excited about this group, nor be more excited about what we have in store for them. One of the best parts of my job is the opportunity I have to showcase this city and region.

The new Quarry Park above is merely one of the newest examples.

Right here in Winston. A gathering place of every color and background. Designed by local architects and developers. The Quarry Park was a sweet ending spot for a great anniversary date, and a spot to which I will certainly be taking our Fellows!

On Saturday, Lia and I celebrated our 17th Anniversary. It was a classic Ned and Lia date. We biked to Flint Hill Winery then to Kitchen Roselli's, one of our favorite restaurants, then drove down past Bowman Gray Stadium (Lia's favorite spot in Winston) to the new Quarry Park for sunset. Thanks to Grace Mezzy and her friend Emily who gifted us babysitting. A great night.


On Monday, my great friend at the North Carolina Study Center, Madison Perry, called me to ask if we had any more spots available. I said, "As a matter of fact, we are open to one more."

He told me Tate Heisler is the one.


I've met Tate a couple times. A Young Life Leader, counselor at Summer's Best Two Weeks, living at Park Place - Tate impressed me a year and a half ago when I first talked to him after speaking at Chapel Hill's Young Life Leadership.

A whirlwind week ensued - with several phone conversations, an expedited yet well-done application, multiple in person interviews with key folks, discussions with board and church partners - all of which led to the extension of an offer on Saturday, which he promptly responded with a YES!

After all the work we put into some of these Fellows that don't pan out - having Tate fall in our laps is one last reminder (as if we needed one) that God totally has this!

Welcome Tate! We are so glad you are joining us.


I had the privilege of hanging out with Brad Cox, David Keller, Josh Benoit, Jason Whitener, Karver Bolton, and Stephen Edwards on Thursday to watch the Wyndham on probably THE HOTTEST day of the year!

Thank God for the Army Outpost that handed out free drinks to veterans (and their friends). (Thank you for your service Brad!) We walked by their tent like ten times!

I took this picture of the Wyndham sign in honor of my good friends at Salem Sports and the Graphics Design Team, which includes Grace Mezzy!

She had a lifelong friend as well as her sister swing into town this week, so our house was swelling!

Grace and her sister Sarah Mezzy at the Winston-Salem Open

Later that Thursday, I went straight from the golf course to the homeless shelter!

With Chad Brown, Chuck Long and David Speakman - we tore up some Hobart and had a fabulous (and basically sleepless) night serving at Samaritan Inn. 

The day before, representatives of our Church Partners, Brian Edmonds, David Speakman, Peter Barnes, and Tripp Sanders met with me to synergize and pray over the coming Fellows year.

On Friday, we interviewed Tate from 11-5!

I was pretty tired Friday night.

One other shout out: Ashley Trewhella came to town for the week to nanny for us. THANK YOU ASHLEY!



Anna Rose loves Lucky

A great week at Hidden K Stables

David and I went fishing. He out dueled me 4-2

I can't get enough of that view!
Thanks all for your support!!!

Keep sharing the story and spreading the love.

Monday, August 14, 2017

UPDATE August 14

I'm out of practice snapping pictures. We will have better pictures soon. Promise! 


We are sad to be losing Grace to her new host family. This week, while the girls were out, Grace, David, and I did something I have never done in Winston-Salem: play bocce ball in Reynolda Gardens. I looked at the rules and didn't see a rule against it!

Wow! Does this city deliver or what? Two weeks ago, we had hardly any host family commitments. OK. We had one! (Thank you Rob and Becky our early adopters). Today, we have a family for everyone, with a couple back-ups!

Thank you!

Peter Barnes

Jon and Holly Brower

Todd and Becca Chase

Clyde and Valerie Godwyn

John and Jeanne Lenham

Dave and Lisa Meyer

Rob and Becky Paynter

Terry and Jess Phipps

Jeff and Deanne Trollinger

Jim and Janice Weiss

Tripp and Patricia Wilson

What a line-up! If you see any of these folks - please thank them! 



Jessica Kok and I did some editing of the website this weekend and were able to add in a new page that we would love for you to check out.

If you haven't perused the website before, feel free to poke around. I'd love your help making it better. 

By the end of the month, I'll be editing our 2016-17 with a where are they now find of feel. Stay tuned!


We had a couple fun surprises this week. Ashley Trewhella came into town on Tuesday just for the evening. We went to Young Life Summer Stud then out to dinner and shut the restaurant down. So fun!

Sarah Wilkins stopped in on Thursday to do some blood work for her new job. She was able to have lunch with her Host Family Dave and Lisa. Then, she met me at Wake Forest where I was attending the Global Leadership Summit. She sat in on probably the best talk of the entire two day conference (Bryan Stevenson's. The man is the man.) I was also able to introduce her to basically the entire First Pres staff (which is where she will be attending). What a treat!

Then, I got this picture last night!

Abbey Sams and Sarah Wilkins when they first met!

Sarah was visiting friends at William and Mary, went to church, and somehow providentially ran into Abbey Sams at a young adult mixer! What!!!

This week. 

Abbey is coming to town for work orientation. Morgan might be coming in as well. Ashley is moving here early. And Grace and Natalie continue to kick butt in their summer positions. Exciting stuff. 


Another great week. If you measure it by the number of slots getting filled - it was a banner week. However, I battle the "slot-filling" mentality. Each "slot" is a person. A new relationship. An answered prayer. Each name I write is a story about to be written. And no one has arrived on that board without the activity of God. 

Other highlights: Backyard conversations with Tripp and Patricia Wilson on Monday. Summer Stud on Tuesday with special guests. A great board meeting Wednesday night. The Global Leadership Summit Thursday and Friday. The Annual Hope Spades Tournament on Saturday (we went undefeated, but gave our slot to some "lucky losers"). And watched Anna Rose win a champion ribbon at her first horse show!

But the BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT was celebrating Lia's 40th Birthday!


Not much to report. But here are two ways to give financially:

Mail Checks to

Winston-Salem Fellows
851 W. 5th St
Winston-Salem, NC 27104

Or go to


Pray as we orient our host families and employers. 
Pray for our Fellows who are having final interviews this week with employers. 
Pray for those Fellows already hired that there are no surprises (I'm done with surprises!)
Pray for good family time in our last week of summer!
Pray for Lia and I celebrating our 17th Wedding Anniversary on Saturday!
Pray for Fellows as they get ready to arrive next week. 
Pray for details coming together. 

Monday, August 07, 2017

UPDATE August 7

growing up so fast



Met with John Eanes this week to get to know him better before he brings on Patrick McCarthy this year. Both of these men are in for a treat.

Sarah Wilkins surprised me by coming into town for an interview with Tracy Farmer at Forsyth Endocrine Specialists. She got the job! She'll be coming in this week to do some blood work and begin the onboarding process.

Ashley Trewhella completed her first week of training at her new employer: Boosterthon. Sean Henderson, a graduate from last year's class now employed full-time with Boosterthon, called me to tell how great a job she's doing.

You thought that the beautiful sunlight that has graced us this last week was weather. No, I think it was Grace Mezzy's arrival. I think she brings sunshine wherever she goes. I checked in on her mid-week at Salem Sports to find her "crushing" some Adobe Illustrator.

J.D. Lehman's interview was amazing. Paul Williams and Aubrey Linville both met with him to give the survey of the land of commercial real estate. Campbell Anderson joined us for dinner and sold him. I used the tickets Tripp Wilson and I won at Trivia Night a few weeks ago to take them to the Dash game. Will Troxler gave him a bed to sleep in. I think if we can work out the job stuff, J.D. will be in. Pray!

We also had a great response to housing. Thank you Rob and Becky Paynter, Terry and Jess Phipps, John and Jeanne Lenham, Jeff and Deanne Trollinger, Jim and Janice Weiss, Clyde and Valerie Godwyn, Tripp and Patricia Wilson, and Christian and Katie Moretz for taking a step. Pray for these guys as they pray about it!


I just mentioned one. A job for J.D. Lehman. There is a good chance we can work an arrangement with Linville/Team and GemCap, but we will need your prayers for it to happen. 


Morgan Bonds is in a conversation with Habitat for Humanity. Pray that something can get finalized this week. Pray for my conversation with Mike Campbell today. 

A special THANK YOU to Fred Jorgenson who is helping us think through opportunities for J.P. Flynn. I'm having a conversation about him at 7:30 this morning with Richard Shore at Aladdin Travel. Hoping for a fit. Prayers are already being answered - an outstanding conversation with Richard this morning - could be a match.

Kate Donahoo is finalizing (we hope) discussions about her new role at Forsyth Country Day School. Pray all goes well. I think the biggest challenge is funding - so pray specifically for that. 

Natalie Bayer had a GREAT interview at ABC Child Development and has been asked back for a second interview. This will take place next week. All signs point to a positive outcome, but you never know until you go through the entire process. 

Caleb McKillop is waiting on word from Allegacy Credit Union. I think the powers that be were on vacation last week, so hopefully we can tie this up this week. Pray!

Tucker Bartholomew's job with the N.C. Bar Association which I was told was a done deal has recently not turned out to be a done deal. VERY Discouraging. In anticipation of this, we have been pivoting to other opportunities. Tucker talked to one over the weekend. I'm on a phone call at 9am with another. We would love something for Tucker in the realm of either Advocacy and Law or Sales and Marketing. The experience of thinking he had a job to the arrangement fizzling out has made Tucker question his call to the Fellows. We had a good but hard conversation on Saturday. Please pray for a positive outcome here for Tucker and the Fellows. Prayers are already being heard - A very promising conversation with NCS this morning - could be a match. 

Housing. We have several folks praying about hosting a Fellow. Some are closer to Yes than others. I say realistically we need three or four more folks to come out of the woodwork for me to feel safe. Pray!!!



Fellows Sarah Wilkins (left) and Grace Mezzy (center) joined us for dinner Friday night. Photo cred Jessica Kok (Fellows alumni)
We are gearing up for a great year. If this pre-dinner is any sign - these Fellows are going to fit right in.

Kevin Frack, our resident Historian is planning his History of Winston-Salem lecture and walking tour for us. Terrance Hawkins, our resident Black Historian is putting together his Freedom Ride for us. The Center For Creative Leadership just sent me their contract. Dr. Clay Cooke and Dr. Jack Wilkerson are working on their curriculum for the semester.

This week I'm updating the Handbook and sending that out.

Orientation is coming together. Thank you Mike and Julie Baughan for the use of your lake house. I've got several surprises up my sleeve, so just trust me when I say - orientation is going to be memorable.

One note: We will be having a welcome to Winston-Salem Bash for the Fellows on August 27th with Host Families, Board Members, Employers, Churches, Former Fellows, Donors, and if that describes you, expect to see an Evite this week!

We have a Board Meeting on Wednesday.

Lia has a very special birthday on Thursday.

I hope to attend a good portion of the Global Leadership Summit this Thursday and Friday.

We will have several Fellows in town week for a variety of reasons.

I need to do a better job at pictures.


My kids had an amazing time at Farm Camp at NOMAD Farms. Mark and Dana Nicholson are treasures to this community. So thankful for them and their mission.

Farmer Dave Dave

Farmer Anna Rose
Dana wrote me this morning: "Anna Rose - what a beauty of this earth! Tell her she is welcome to keep farming here in prep for having her own farm smeday. I tell you she should shadow Hailey - the Geer's oldest daughter is super-hardcore and she's doing her own dairy business you may know about Sunrise Creamery." So awesome.

Grace Mezzy had a great first week of work.

Lia and I were able to take the kids to the mountains - it was the first time it was just the four of us since July 8th!

Leaping A-Ro

Happy moments in the woods

Summer and Ice Cream - the best
Shout outs to John Eanes, Andrew Miller, Tim Gardner, the good people of Young Life Summer Stud, Holly Heath, Josh Benoit, Karver Bolton, Rob Alexander, Will Reeves, Tripp Sanders, Paul Williams, Aubrey Linville, Stuart Stogner, Shannon Rainey, Lea Metz, Zaneta Robinson, Shontell Robinson, Jenny Scholl, Clay and Bekah Cooke, Caroline and Brad Cox, Mike and Gayle Ford, Mark and Dana Nicholson, among others that made this week a great one.

WE HAVE STARTED IN OUR NEW FISCAL YEAR with $15k in the bank. A little behind where we like to be, but with tuition money coming in at the end of the month we should be ok.

This would be a great time to begin thinking about what you would like to contribute to the Fellows this year.

Mail can be sent to

WS Fellows
851 W. 5th Street
WSNC 27101

or giving on line is at

There is a monthly option on the web portal.

Thanks guys.

A little fun video for those of you who have made it to the end...

After two rounds of me obliterating my family in Water Balloon Thermo Nuclear War - they got their revenge