The Bates Family


by Kelly on July 21, 2011


Lawson has dreamed of making a Christian western movie for a long time. This year he began calling old western towns in Arizona and began talking to producers. He calculated his lawn budget and set goals to begin his film project.

He planned a short trip to Arizona to scout out the area and decide particulars about the settings for various scenes.

While there, we were able to do some sight seeing in some of the most beautiful areas we’ve ever seen: Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon!

It was an incredible, unforgettable adventure and Lawson came home with renewed motivation to advance his movie plans!





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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey July 19, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Looks like such a fun trip! Can’t believe the size of that cactus! So excited for Lawson and his adventures!


Kay July 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm

What a beautiful trip. Best Wishes to Lawson as he works to produce his movie. This also explains the background in the lovely pictures when you shared the joy of your pregnancy with us. I didn’t think that looked like Tenn. nor like a drop in a photo studio. It is an amazing part of God’s creation.


Lynsey July 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Good for him!! :) great photos! what a handsome young man he is!!! ;)


Sarah July 20, 2011 at 12:09 am

Wow what wounderfull pictures!!! Was it just you, Gil, Lawson, Erin, and Judson that went on the trip? Also I was woundering if Lawson wants to go into filmmakeing as a career? Much Love Sarah!!


Gil July 20, 2011 at 12:55 am

Dear Sarah,
Gil, me, Lawson, erin, Judson, and a friend from church went on the trip. Love, Kelly


Jody July 20, 2011 at 12:20 am

You go, Lawson! I wish you the best of luck & God’s wisdom on your project! If you find yourself needing the assistance of someone who knows nothing about making a film and has only watched one western (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – unless Love Me Tender counts), then look me up (:

“God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try”. Mother Teresa of Calcutta


Nicole Pelkey July 20, 2011 at 2:35 am

Wow, it is beautiful there!!


Meegan July 20, 2011 at 7:44 am

I loved visiting Arizona while I was on my trip to the US, such beautiful country there. Hope all is well, God Bless
Sydney, Australia


Tanja July 20, 2011 at 9:12 am

Thank-you for sharing the photos; I especially like the sepia ones. It seems like you have a lot of photographic talent in your family!


sonja petersen July 20, 2011 at 11:48 am

What a beautiful area, i think Judson had the best view! He really is a doll! I’ve seen on tv there is a very hot weather in the USA, so I hope you can enjoy the summer and sunshine, or is it too hot?
Best wishes from Hamburg, Germany


amber landers July 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Lawson good luck and what a great place to see! When we live in Cali we got to see some of those places and love it. Can not wait to hear more about this and all that you do!

Kelly, I have sent you an email a while back to see if you all had time to come and bbq why you all were going to be in Michigan, and I just thinking it got over look becasue I have not hear anything back from youall. Please just let us know if you all would have time and if that’s something that youall wold like to do. Thanks! Have a safe trip to Michigan and can not wait to see youall when you are here. Love Amber


Gil July 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Dear Amber,
I’m so behind in responding to e-mails. I’m sorry! I’ll ask Gil to check with the pastor about our schedule. Love, Kelly


Eileen July 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I lived in Arizona for 6 years, so agree with you about it’s beauty, which I miss most of all. The sunsets are the most beautiful I have ever seen. I do not miss their hot summers though! :0) What a wonderful idea Lawson has. I wish him the best in this new endeavor.


Teri July 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Sounds like a fun trip! We live in the Phoenix area and are a homeschool family. If Lawson is in need of a place to stay while making his film he is more than welcome here. We have some HUGE Cactus!


amber landers July 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm

that’s okay it’s not like you not to get back with any email. hope you all had a great trip! And thanks for the lovly pic!


Johanna Kautt July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm

That’s neat! I hope goes well with the film-making! :)


hackels July 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm

We are very happy to see that you had a chance to get away to a very beautiful location. Your family continues to amaze and encourage me. It is so awesome to see how the Lord provides. May the Lord continue to bless you with health and unity in your wonderful family. We love you here in the Hackel Home. : )


Tamyra July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Good Luck Lawson! It’s so great to have a dream to pursue.


Katie July 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Beautiful pictures, Arizona is so beautiful! We lived in Sierra Vista, Az for 9 months while my husband did some training for the Army at Fort Huachuaca. There was an old west town nearby called Tombstone that we visited a few times, it was really neat to see. Can’t wait to see Lawson’s movie oneday!


Sam July 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Beautiful place!!


Elizabeth July 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm

If there’s anything we can do to help please let us know. My husband is a horse trainer in southern Utah (we just moved out here from TN!) so if you needed horses or something that may be something we could help you to locate. Utah has some beautiful locations also. ;^)


Lizzy Becher July 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Lawson, I wish the best of luck with your talent of movie making. Arizona is the best plast to learn how for the western type.


Liz July 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

There is something just so sweet about a daddy wearing his baby in a carrier. :o )


kasey July 21, 2011 at 12:03 am

Dear Kelly,
Im so excited you made a trip out my way. I live in AZ as well. I wish i would have known you were coming we could have met at the Grand Canyon. Well i hope you come out our way again. We would love to meet up with you sometime:)


Tammi July 21, 2011 at 2:49 am

The Grand Canyon has been the most beautiful place I have ever visited. I think it’s the most glorious of all God’s creations! I hope you all enjoyed your trip.


Holly from Wa. July 21, 2011 at 2:52 am

Wow! What an amazing aspiration! Especially at such a young age! Has Lawson always been wanting to be in the film business or is this just a new idea for him? And are you giving out any clues as to what the storyline could be? Heehee! I love the idea of more God-based movies coming out. One of my favorite past-times used to be going to the movies, but now I don’t even keep track of what is playing due to the nature of them. We NEED more christian-based movies out there and I give Lawson a hearty CONGRATS for pursuing this. God Bless and HUGS!


Holly from Wa. July 21, 2011 at 2:54 am

Oh yes…….and the “over the edge” picture is a crack-up! Look at Judson’s face……LOL! It’s like he’s saying, ” come on dad, you can do it!” Toooo cute!


Calamity Jane July 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Great Pictures!

Who is going to write the script, music and lyrics? Let me know if you need some help!

Have a great day.


Gil July 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Dear Calamity,
I’ll tell Lawson! So far, people have just made reccomendations and have given him names to pursue. God has really opened up a lot of doors for him. Love, Kelly


Jennifer July 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Congratulations and prayers for his endeavors =)
Can someone explain what a “lawn budget” is?


Gil July 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Dear Jennifer,
Lawson has a lawn mowing business, so he is using his money from that to plan a budget for his movie. Love, Kelly


JenT July 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Do you understand what made us want to stay out there? We love the southwest!


Jennifer July 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Oh of course! Thanks =)


Shauna July 22, 2011 at 5:27 am

I was on another blog that referenced your family, and here I am!! You do have a beautiful family. When I was reading about your son on the about me page, I thought of our church. I attend Church on the Move in Tulsa, Ok, Pastor Willie George, who did the Bill Gunter children’s ministry western videos. They still have the “old west town” that they were filmed in, now called Dry Gulch USA. I don’t at all know anything about anything, but I thought I would relay this information to you, as maybe he could contact the church (it’s a big one, just an fyi!) for more information and guidance in his dream!! Again, I’m just a member (my husband was raised in this church), and don’t really know much, but I thought I’d post this anyhow!! Good luck to him in making his dream a reality!!


Gil July 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Dear Shauna,
Thanks for the info. We will certainly look that up! It sounds just like Lawson’s dream! Love, Kelly


sara( italy) July 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

The place seems to be perfect for a western, good idea Lawson!


Anna July 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Nice pictures. I would love to see the Grand Canyon. =D

Have you ever been to Europe?


Gil July 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Dear Anna,
My father took me to London on a company trip when I was in high school. I loved England! Love, Kelly


Savannah August 24, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Oooooh! I am so excited to hear about a Bates movie possibly in Arizona… =O) Looking forward to hearing more on that!


Juanita P. September 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Have you visited Tucson? There’s a place called Old Tucson that was used as a movie studio. One of the most famous places for westerns. It’s where John Wayne’s and Clint Eastwood’s movies were filmed. I admit not Christian films but it still has some of the old buildings and saloons (most is newly constructed because there was a fire there) it could help him have a more visual aspect of how everything was constructed. Not much is filmed there now but you can still walk around as visitors. They have displays of different guns and costumes too! Also there’s Tombstone. Where Billy the Kid, Doc Holiday, the Earp Brothers, Curly Bill and the Cowboys all lived. It’s where the gunfight at the O.K. Corral happened. That gets acted out by actors there a lot. It’s neat to watch, and has the audience interact with them. It also has a lot of displays and of coarse a lot of history. Both of these places can give Lawson a lot of ideas for his film. Sorry it’s such a late reply though. I hope this helps even a little! Have a wonderful day and good luck to Lawson! <3


Christy September 14, 2011 at 1:34 am

Hey! Our friend just got into filming! He got the equipment and is going to school for it… so far his stuff is really great! He wants to get into Christian film making and he’s a strong follower of the Lord! If you need to pick his brain let me know I can connect you two. :)


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