A good summer

This summer I changed my blog from Pastor-to-Pastor Initiatives to donfollis.com. I decided to put everything together, and make Pastor-to-Pastor Initiatives as one of the tabs. I wanted to let my readers in what I’m doing.

This has been a summer on the go for Don and Jennifer Follis. I thought a some pictures might help me explain it.

We spent the last days of May and much of June traveling with good friends Ruth and Steve Wegman from Champaign, IL, through France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. Quite an adventure!


Here Jennifer and I are on a hike in the French Alps.

These are our delightful and spunky travel companions Ruth and Steve at a cafe in Rome…

Dinner this night was at a cafe just above the Tiber River that meanders its way through Rome.

Over 3 1/2 weeks we toured lots of churches…

Yes, this is the famous leaning tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy. It’s actually the bell tower next to the church.
To put it in perspective, this is the Pisa Cathedral with the leaning Bell Tower next to it.

And how about this 15-century Cathedral in Salamanca, Spain. I took this late evening picture from the balcony of our AirBNB.

And this is the same view early the next morning…

Jennifer has been my traveling partner for 41 years — always up for a good adventure, flexible, a good problem solver and interested in everything.

Jennifer is sitting in the city square in Salamanca, Spain.

The days we spent in Florence, Italy, we were dazzled by the art, especially the sculptures of Michelangelo. For me, none matched his 14-feet tall “David,” which Michelangelo carved from solid marble. This is the masterpiece that emerged.

I tried to imagine sculpting anything out of solid marble. Beyond remarkable! Michelangelo completed “David” in 1504 at age 29.


Since returning in late June, I’ve made two trips to Kansas to see my mother. She is a sweet lady and a good mom. She has problems with her memory, but she knows me, and we had fun talking about my growing up days. Several times she told me she’s proud of me and that she loves me, and I told her the same.

On my second trip to Kansas in Mid-July I added an additional 300-mile trip on from Wichita to far northwestern Kansas, where I was born and raised. When I pulled into Hoxie, Kansas, I went straight to the cemetery.

People called my dad “DA. My mom’s name — Patricia — is to the left of my dad’s.

This is the house in Hoxie, Kansas, where I spent my first 10 years. Below it is the house in Colby, Kansas, where I lived in Junior High and High School..

In late July Jennifer and I spent 3 days with her 5 siblings at Rough River State Park, in Grayson County, Kentucky. Jennifer is the youngest of 6. Here they are in order from youngest to oldest, starting with Jennifer on the left — Jennifer, Donna, Phillip, Keith, Bev and Chris.

We stopped at the cemetery in Leithfield, Kentucky, and paid our respects to Jennifer’s mother Lucy and father Horace.


Of course, the star of the show this summer, the queen bee, the best remedy for any mental health needs you might ever have — is 19-month-old granddaughter, Malin James Hall, daughter of Drew and Maddie Hall from Indianapolis. (I counsel and serve pastors throughout central Illinois. Malin counsels me with her antics and smile.) … Obviously, when you have to fill your own swimming pool from the garden hose it can make you thirsty. 🙂