Monday, October 29, 2018

UPDATE Week of October 29

Isaiah and Abbey Thomas
Yesterday, we partied into the night with #teamthomas as we witnessed Abbey Sams and Isaiah Thomas (he does play basketball) get hitched.

What a great time! Abbey's parents were amazing hosts. Thanks Roger and Lisa!

Kate Donahoo and Sarah Wilkins provided the wedding music. I captured a bit of their practicing...

More photos to come!

Natalie can't wait!

Poor Isaiah was having a hard time getting down the communion bread!


work. or should I say: work?

Mathu had a great week at Boosterthon

Team of volunteers at High Point Christian

The got color too!
Mathu had to celebrate - the school raised a record amount for the triad!

Christian McConnon also had a questionable work week. NCS, his employer, sent him off for five days in Germany.

Did Christian clone himself and then climb a golden sphere?

Oh boy

I really can't say anything - I got to 14th Street early and joined the line dancing group...I guess my work could be called into question at times as well!!!

Line Dancing at 14th Street 

I had the privilege of joining Fellows Alum, Natalie Bayer and Fellows friend Ally Hall at the ABC Gourmet Luncheon. 

This was the best table...
I'm serious about that. I was surrounded by Natalie's coworkers that wept the whole time out of love for the kids they serve. I'm not telling ABC what to do - but if they spread these ladies around, they would have raised more bucks!

Their tears doubled my donation!

Natalie also made their annual report!

Sweet Natalie

ROUND TABLE at the John and Mary Spangler. 

Bryan and Andrew and hors d'oerves
It was so fun to be with Tim's parents Monday. Mary joined us for worship, announcements and prayer. She is so cool.

LEADER LUNCH with Steve Lineberger

Steve and the gang

Steve bought enough pizza for each of us to have our own pie! The crew at Winston-Starts was pumped! We had a special guest come in - friend of the Fellows Lauren Miller, co-owner of Up Dog Kombucha. 

Steve shared his story and gave us some amazing insights from his life. He is a repeat performer for the Fellows - but this is the first year that we have actually been able to have a leader lunch with him at his office. So cool. If you haven't checked out Winston-Starts yet - you've got to. 


We started our service action projects this week. Some Fellows are working with Terrance Hawkins at LIT City. Other Fellows are working with Bill McClain at GIDE. Still others are working with Senior Services. 

This is the Fellows' chance to do a deep dive in service. I can't wait to see what comes of it.

Abbey reading some Exodus

Ned is celebrating the completion of a 4th grade essay

Tim supervises

Kelly and Andrew at Middle School Youth Group
Garrett getting ready to wrangle some kids


We interviewed our first Fellows candidate for 2019-20. We shall see!


We had class inside (outside it was pouring rain). We said good-bye to our Fellows candidate. We ate some chips and salsa. Bryan and I talked about life. A good day.

Anna Rose and Topanga were Peanut M & M's
David ate lunch with his shades on
We tried to make funnel cake

Anna Rose did horse yoga
What do you think about that?

Then it was off to Powatan, Virginia to Abbey's wedding

The gang

Gang symbols?

First dance


Thank you for supporting the Fellows. To do so - send checks to

Winston-Salem Fellows
851 W. 5th St
WSNC 27101

or give on line at


-ROUND TABLE at the Wilsons.
-LEADER LUNCH with Stu Epperson Jr. 
-among other things!!!

the gals


beautiful spot for a wedding wouldn't you say?


not sure if this was on purpose - but we like it!

thanks all! keep sharing the story and spreading the love!

Monday, October 22, 2018

UPDATE Week of October 22

Lots of fun in this update.

Trent went for it.

Love that guy
You have to give him that.

Still love that guy


It's hard to believe it began with a Young Life Banquet. 

Garrett Briggs with his mom and dad
The Banquet is always one of my very favorite nights of the year. I leave inspired every time. It is equally exciting to invite the Fellows along. They might not be the biggest givers financially - but they are the type of future leaders we need to keep this great mission living on beyond us. 

Team work makes the dream work
Garrett and Christian remarked to me later how amazing it was that they had only been Fellows for a few weeks, and yet there were so many people in the room that knew them and that they knew! I love that. 

Because of Young Life, ROUND TABLE was moved to Tuesday night. Thank you Ashby! Not only did she prepare for us a killer taco bar, she also shared her story. The best!

Making us feel at home

LEADER LUNCH was with none other than the Pickle Lady herself - Jenny Fulton

Mathu is the human selfie stick
Jenny always brings the energy. I knew she would blow the Fellows socks off. And she did. She also burned a few Fellows real good and also solved all their problems and told them how they could make all their dreams come true. 

Sorry I missed. 

The old Sears Roebuck Building in Memphis - now the center of Crosstown

I was on a plane to Memphis for a whirlwind two days of meetings and learning. It was a series of nonstop God winks. I wish I had the time to get into them all. Suffice it to say - it was a special 48 hours.

Here is a summary list of the people I got to see and spend time with...

Chauffeuring and coffee with Deb Coleman, the Memphis Fellows Director
Lunch with Blake Barber who I keep calling Barker for some reason, one of the Coaches for the Memphis Teacher Residency. 
Phillip James, friends with Troxler and Waldorf and pretty much everyone else I know at Chapel Hill (he is one of the recruiters for MTR)
Erin Johnson, one of the Residency Directors, and nearly two hours with David Montague, the founder of the Memphis Treacher Residency.

David dropped me off for dinner (take out from Central Barbeque) with great old friends from our Residency days (medical residency) Giles and Betsy Robinson and their three wonderful children Jack, Harris and Kate

It had been more than ten years but it didn't feel that long

What a gift to catch up with old friends!

Started the next day with a solid run through Overton Park, the Memphis Zoo and Rhodes College (shout out to Julia). 

The Memphis Lion?

Then, Giles drove me over to Crosstown where I spend the morning with seventeen or so college and university career counselors and educators. Talk about a Fellows recruiting opportunity. 

Touring Kingsbury Middle School

The majority of the universities represented were HBCUs! What a God-send! The gal in the tan shirt is a career counselor at Florida State. And by that night - she was all in about the Fellows. Come on!

The Streets
One of the best parts of the community-based model at MTR is the wrap around service partners that have come around the vision. Kingsbury Elementary, Middle and High School are on the same block and right next door to them is Le Casa family services and The Streets after school and mentoring facility. That is so key. Working together for the common good - that is true community development. Let's make it happen Winston-Salem!

From there, I cruised by to cross town to have lunch with another visionary leader, John Carroll. 

We need a dude like this

If you want to be inspired, check out the website - but be careful it will make you want to move to Memphis - what I want you to see instead is - LETS DO THIS WINSTON! We can make this here. 

All right - prepare yourself - here you go -

The rest of the afternoon I was in meetings, learning about MTR (another thing we are bringing to our city - stay tuned - an official announcement is forthcoming). 

After that, I had the good fortune to hang out with Brandon Chase one of my good friends and son of Todd and Becca Chase two of the best people in Dash City. He is the one who got me on this MTR train in the first place. One thing he has learned so far - it ain't easy!

From there, I did dinner number 1 at Amerigo, which is an Italian Restaurant (go figure). Then, I was picked up by none other than Rahel Tafese!

She is consulting for a company in Memphis. We went to this Ethiopian Restaurant that Giles and Betsy told me about. Rahel talked to the owner who cooked us up something special. Then, Ragel taught me to eat Ethiopian style. aka finger food! What a fun night. 

She dropped me off at Giles and Betsy's. I got about six hours of sleep and Ubered to the airport and flew back. In Atlanta, I ran in to Sean Kinder and we spent the lay-over catching up on life. Like I said, God winks everywhere. 

All that led us to the FALL ADVANCE!!!!

the biggest part of the week. 

Andrew Miller - guardian of the fire

We headed to the mountains for our annual Fall Advance. 

Wow! What a weekend. 

It is a weekend of intense reflection that is hard to put into words. Let's just say it is powerful to watch the transformation taking place. 

At the same time, it is a weekend of extreme fun. 

Friday, I got off the plane. Drove home. Packed my second bag of the week. And we headed out to Sparta. 

We got our Spikeball on

We also worked on our frisbee game - the Ultimate Frisbee Tournament is in two weeks!!!

We made a fire in the fire pit, had a great night of worship and intense reflection and then a game that was so funny I wept. 

Saturday, we had a beautifully lazy morning (I of course went on a run - which is sort of my version of lazy). Then, we had another round of worship and reflection. 

Then, it was time for fun. 

We ate a quick lunch and then headed back down the mountain to the Alpha and Omega Corn Maze!

The Fellows

Team Mathu, Garrett, Christian, Laura, Tim and Bryan won

Next were the Hamster Wheel races

This is what it looks like afterwards
David and Lia joined us!

We then had a full board Tug of War - I think Lia has the video clip - 

Then, it was off to the running of the hay bales. 




Father and son

Fellows family

Then it was tricycle racing

David took the lead
Next game the tandem of Bryan and Mathu

Ned brought up the rear

Then, it was the barrel train


We aren't done!

Then, it was a game of Fellows Knock Out

If you don't watch to the end - the Director won! Wo hoo!!!

Then, it was pig racing time

Spoil alert - pink wins!

Then, it was the wagon ride

David and Mathu up front

Christian and Aly in the back
Yee haw

The day was just getting started!!!

Enough of the kid stuff

It was time to introduce the Fellows to Yadkin Valley wine country. 

Raffaldini was having a big shindig so we went next door to Picione which was slammed with all the other people avoiding the big shindig
Tim smoking a breadstick
Trent and Aly with a flight of white
Tim, Abby, Andrew and Kelly

Nose fail

The crew
 We cruised back home for a little rest while Laura, Abby, Andrew and I cooked brinner (breakfast for dinner).

nap monster was wreaking havoc

After dinner, we headed downtown to go dancing at the Allegheny Jubilee. BUT IT WAS CLOSED because all of Sparta was at the Allegheny Community Hillbilly Comedy and Variety Show. 

So we crashed it.

As close to on stage as we got

It certainly was something.

We headed out and went back to the cabin for our own dance party.

Trent teaching folks to shag

We closed with a round of thankfulness to the Lord and headed to bed.

The next morning we were treated to this:


And we had some great church together. made some declarations. cleaned up. and headed back down the mountain.



Monday Round Table - at John and Mary Spanglers - parents of Tim the Fellow!

Tuesday Lunch - ABC Gourmet Lunch

Tuesday Night at Summit School - Community-wide showing up the Mr. Rogers Film

Wednesday Leader Lunch with Steve Lineberger - President of Winston-Starts among other things.

Staring our Service Projects!

Thursday interviewing our first Fellows Candidate for NEXT YEAR!

Friday - classes with Clay and David. 

We also had classes this week - I forgot to tell you!

Then Sunday - we are marrying off Year Two Fellow - Abbey Sams 

Isaiah and Abbey!!!


It is giving season - and we need your gifts!

here is how

checks to

Winston-Salem Fellows
851 W. 5th St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

or give online at



Mathu on Friday night doing his thing

In case you were wondering

Wine is fine

Luv these guys

Running on hay bales is way funner than running between them

I swear I wasn't frowning

Precious Lucy. 
R and R

Sunny days

Soaking up the rays

David wins


Barrels of fun

The variety part or maybe the comedy part of the Hillbilly comedy and variety show...

Love these guys