Alice's Restaurant ~ Dishin' Up Food for Thought

Alice's Restaurant ~ Dishin' Up Food for Thought ~~~ A place to share what I am thinking, reading, feeling & contemplating as I travel on this journey called life.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections of 2012

As I have gone through my day today I have thought about this past year.  Some of the struggles I have faced, the joys and sorrows that have come my way, seeing how the Lord provided when I could not see a way, making new friends, losing friends, questioning why somethings happen, and rejoicing in new blessings.

As 2012 began we thought we knew what our life would be like for the next 16 months - continuing as managers of the Alamo Area SKP Co-Op, the Lone Star Corral.  We had a great vacation planned, lots of fun activities to look forward too, traveling around and checking out new places in Texas, continuing to hang with those we thought were our friends, content to know we didn't have to look for a new job, and just enjoying going through life...but...God had other things in mind for us...

March found us making a nine day trip to Washington & Oregon to see family and friends.  So good to give lots of hugs & kisses to our grands ~ even Max humored us with a few hugs (when you are almost 14 that is just not the fun thing to do).  Visiting our church home, Northwood Alliance Church, staying with friends, sharing meals and lots of coffee and seeing as many people as we could in a short amount of time.  A trip that was fun, fast, tiring and exciting that I wouldn't trade for anything.

Lone Star Corral - we had hit some rough spots with the change in the Board of Directors, we seemed to be stumbling and being criticized from behind closed doors but not to our faces.  Things were being told to us  by some people and then hearing from others that other things were being said.  Tears were shed, confusion of what should we do or do we do anything and then on April 4, 2012 we were fired from our jobs! Shock, disbelief, now what, we had a signed 2nd year contract ~ didn't that mean anything.  And questions of what do we do now?  where will we go?

Well we went to Medina Lake Thousand Trails and just rested, prayed, relaxed, prayed, sought counseling with our pastor, sought the prayers of others and trusted that God would keep his promise.  And claimed

Jeremiah 29:11-13  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

And thanked the Lord over and over that those were the verses He gave me the morning of 4/4/12.   And once we kept our focus on the Lord, His plans became clear.  Alice was offered a part-time job in Branson, MO so we moved there on 4/15/12.  Thinking Ron would look for work once we got settled.  But God had everything under we were offered and began full time work as campground managers right there in Branson.  

We have faced some struggles ~ like finding a Ladies Fellowship group and a church but we have found those groups that help us keep centered on the Lord.  We have been loved on and welcomed with open arms.  

We have been blessed with some "perks" as campground managers: free tickets to Silver Dollar City, won tickets for the Branson Belle where we got to see a show and enjoy a nice dinner where we celebrated Ron's 37th birthday.  Saw many of the shows at Grand Country, was honored on our anniversary with special greetings from Michael Patrick & Jamie Haage, seen Neil McCoy and the 3 Redneck Tenors, enjoyed the regular and Christmas show at the Dixie Stampede and have met lots of nice people who have come and stayed at Branson View Campground.  Even today, got a phone call from one of the couples that stayed here a month who just wanted to wish us a Happy New Year and see how we were doing.  We have been blessed to hear some of the most beautiful music ever as well as see some beautiful country. 

We have seen Amish children playing in the school yard, attended our first ever Amish Produce Auction ~ saw watermelons go for $1.50 each (selling at the grocery store for $6 each), been swimming in Lake Taneycomo, driven on some old country roads and enjoyed the Fall Colors as we have never seen before.  We have worshiped and shared the Lord's supper with new friends.

We had visits by family: Jim & Sharon Tuck, Lee & Karen Wheeler, Erv & Anita Bach - and cheered Anita on to the finish line of her first ever marathon!  Visited with Uncle Rex & Aunt Erma.  Met some of our Facebook friends in person and met the needs of some of those we have come into contact with.  Ron helped a friend move to Fort Wayne, Indiana and I was able to see my grands in an unexpected way.

We have struggled financially yet seen God meet our needs in a supernatural way - receiving $2000 from friends and family to cover the cost of a needed new eye.  Food appearing at our door unexpectedly.  Phone calls out of the blue just to see how we are doing.

Most of all we have become closer as a married couple and welcomed a new grandson into our family as well as welcome a new puppy (Linus) into our traveling family.  We are thankful for the many blessings of family and friends, saddened at the loss of some in our lives that we thought were our friends but most of all we are thankful for our boys, Jamie & Brandon, their sweet wives, Suzanne & Danalyn, and enjoy every time we get to talk or see (via Skype or Facetime) the joy of our lives: Max, Opal, Christopher, Treyson and Alexander!!

And as we look forward to 2013 we are thankful for our continued jobs as campground managers here in Branson, the anticipated trip to Washington to celebrate the marriage of Jamie & Suzanne, seeing our granddaughter, Opal and spending a few days in Oregon with Brandon, Danalyn and the four boys along with being able to meet and greet many new guests here at Branson View Campground.  We look forward to seeing more of this beautiful country we live in and seeing how the Lord uses us to minister to others.

Wishing each of you a joyous and Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy 77th Birthday Mom

Today my mom would be 77!  She has been gone from this world for 7 years!  I want to think of happy memories of her today but instead woke up crying and feeling discombombulated...don't get me wrong, I loved my mom, she was my mom yet when I think of my mom many hurtful and painful memories crowd in.  I didn't have the best childhood but has anyone had the perfect childhood?

My mom and I didn't agree on a lot of things and yet some things she shared with me I am so thankful for so those are the things I want to share ~

~ my mom shared with me the gift of reading.  One that I have passed onto my kids and it is exciting to see my grandchildren also love books and reading.

~ my mom told me I could go to any church I wanted as long as it wasn't Jehovah Witness.  I was raised in the Catholic church but in my teen years I went to a small Assembly of God church where I met the Lord.  And when I was 17 I accepted him into my heart and he has been with me through the thick & thin of things in life.

~ my mom told me when I said I was going to marry Ron I could not just run home when we had a problem, "I made my bed and I had to sleep in it."  And I know my mom and many others didn't think our marriage would last - but in two days we celebrate 37 years of marriage!!!  I just love this guy and I know my mom did too.  Sometimes I think she loved Ron more than she loved me but that is for another time.

~ my mom told me the morning I flew to Holland to join Ron as I was blubbering that I was too scared to get on that big ole plane "go in the bathroom, wash your face with cold water, pick up that baby (Jamie) and do what you need to do."  And I did and when I think of that morning so many years ago I have to chuckle because I did exactly as she said and I am so thankful I did.  And sometimes I still have to repeat those words to myself, like I did this morning after crying through some thoughts and things laying heavy on my heart.

~ my mom taught me to make her gumbo recipe (not the typical seafood or chicken gumbo you hear about from Louisiana) but her gumbo and every time I make it, I think of happy thoughts of my mom.

~ and she taught me there is nothing better than a York Peppermint Patty, especially delicious when it is wrapped in the colors of Christmas and frozen
(so I may be going to the store later today to get some 
York Peppermint Patties and the makings for gumbo)

~ she gave me the gift of enjoying long rides, hey maybe we will do that this afternoon, just go for a ride and see some of this beautiful country we live in.

and so I say "Happy Birthday Mom!"  And I really do love you!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kicked in the Stomach - Leaving the ? ~ Now What

A Good Verse to Remember

Just got notified that we have lost our case with the Texas Workforce Center in regards to Ron's unemployment.  My first thought ~ now what?  Second thought ~ how can that be?  More thoughts ~ why did the truth now win out this time?  What and how is it God wants us to respond?  Can they (The TWF( just pull the money paid to Ron out of our account? If so, we are screwed as there is very little money in any of our accounts.  I should just go to bed and dream of things of revenge.

AND THEN  I heard a little voice say ~ "you trust God, you believe in God, and you say this is all in His hands ~ is it really?"  YES!!!  So I stopped, asked for forgiveness for even thinking of wanting to get revenge and instead  I claim God's word:

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

My life verse came to mind:     Proverbs 3:5-6             
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

1 Timothy 6:17b
  but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our needs.

And now I feel at peace again.  Still perplexed but know God has things under control.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ramblin' Thoughts

A lot has been going on and I was going to try to catch up but that makes me get all stressed out so thought I would go back to my mine reason for this blog...just writing whatever comes to mind or thoughts that just keep running through my mind.

I have been thinking about my blog and why I have it, why I write it and what I want from my writing.  Yesterday I was at Forever Friends, a ladies group where we gather to pray, share our burdens, study God's word and someone mentioned how important it was for us to each write out our life story...something I have wanted to do for a long share the life lessons we have learned and how God has worked in our lives.  I've felt for a long time that with all the trials I have gone through and the many things I have learned that maybe there was a nugget or two that I could share with someone to help them through some part of their journey of life.

And then today we were asked to be a part of a news program on healthcare and the struggles of finding good healthcare, affording necessary medications, eating healthy on a limited budget and meeting our obligations and living expenses on a limited budget without health insurance.  I posted in a group on Facebook about the possibility of the interview and was encouraged to share what is going on with us because there are many who are in the same situation as us and maybe getting the story out there would help us and maybe others.  So we did the interview.  Not sure how it will turn is on KSPR 33 tonight at 10 p.m. and then will be online at sometime later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Which brings me back to my questions:  I have been thinking about my blog and why I have it, why I write it and what I want from my writing. ... I write my blog as a way to journal what thoughts run through my head, how God talks and encourages me, what struggles I face and how God leads me in working through them, to share the many blessings I have in my life, to share my goals and ideas, to be an encourager to others and share who I am with family and friends.

In reflecting on the past few months I have let busyness be in control, spending way too much time on Facebook and not doing the things I enjoy like crocheting & cross-stitching, writing, sending cards to friends and just enjoying time with my hubby, family and friends.   So today I had a long talk with myself and realized I need to get back to taking care of me, having time with the Lord each morning, being "intentional" in my actions  - my word for 2012 that seems to have been lost the last couple of months, being in control of my time (as much as in control as I can be) and nurturing my relationship with Ron and with our son's and their family's and my friendships near and far.

So stay tuned for more thinkin' and sharin' on my part.  And know there may be no rhyme or reason to what I write BUT know it will be from my heart.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Living by Faith

Woke this morning thinking of Kailey today.  Today would have been her birthday.  She was just 17 when she was killed in a horrible accident.  I miss seeing her smiling face and hearing her happy laugh but oh how much more her parents, Tim & Cindy must be missing her.  It's been 6 years since she has been gone.  And so this morning I ask the LORD to be with Tim & Cindy, and the rest of the Walter clan, to celebrate the joys of Kailey as the pain of her  being gone are just as raw as on that February 28th night.  We love you Tim, Cindy, Krista and the rest of the family.

After spending a few minutes in prayer for the Walter family, I made my way to the kitchen to make coffee and then realized I forgot creamer yesterday when we were at the grocery store.  I like my creamer and then remembered I still have a little bit of powdered Hazelnut creamer ~ all is good again :)
And then I opened my Bible to the devotion for today.  It is found in Habakkuk 2:4b "But the just shall live by his faith."  And what I read was Just Live By Faith.  Not THE just but JUST!!! Wow!!!  
So I looked up the word JUST ~ 
As an Adjective ~ suitable, appropriate
Synonyms ~ legitimate, right
As an Adverb ~  definitely
Synonyms ~ absolutely, completely, precisely, smack-dab, squarely
and so today I am reminded to  Live appropriately, legitimately, right, definitely, absolutely, completely, precisely, squarely and smack-dab in the FAITH of the Lord!  and so has I start this new week I remind myself that God doesn't ask any thing from me or give me more than I can handle and that I just need to keep walking one foot in front of the other, knowing and believing in Faith that God is right here with me, every step of the way.  And I thank you Lord for this powerful message to me this morning.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Faith ~ Being Obedient

Woke to a beautiful Fall morning here in the Ozarks Mountains.  Am enjoying the colors of the season.  It is like every day the trees are changing right before our eyes.  And I thank the Lord for his beautiful masterpieces.  Can't wait to go for a drive this weekend and enjoy more of God's handiwork.

I am so enjoying my Women of Faith Devotional Bible...God is so good and meets me every day right where I am.

This morning's scripture was from Joshua 6:1-20 ~~~ the story of Joshua and the city of Jericho.
And God commands Joshua and the Israelites to walk once each day for six days around the city of Jericho.  No talking, no singing, nothing but silence for six days and then on the 7th day to Shout when given the direction.  And then the city of Jericho fell!!

What this says to me is that no matter the circumstances we are in that we have no control over/can't conquer (our walls)  God tells us that we will be victorious in Him.  He just asks us to walk (TRUST) trusting Him w/the details EVEN when we don't understand or can't the see the point or would rather talk/do it on our own, argue/complain God asks us to have enough FAITH to keep walking, one foot in front of the other and God will be victorious.

Which leads me to Romans 8:28

NKJV Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

The MESSAAGE Romans 26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

And I am encouraged today to pray today for us to keep walking  one foot in front of the other, doing what we know we need to do and put today in the hand's of the Lord, keeping our eyes on Him and our trust in Him.

So I encourage you to keep moving, putting one foot in front of the other, seeking God and believing that God is working everything in our lives into something good.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Devotional Theme for October ~ Faith

I am enjoying my new PURPLE, Women of Faith Bible and it fits nicely in my new Bible cover ~ thanks Mike & Elaine!!!

One of the things I like about this Bible is the daily devotions and each month has a theme.  The theme for this month is FAITH.  And if you know me, my Faith has grown in leaps and bounds especially since 2007 to 2009 when I was immersed in counseling and prayer, getting some medications straightened out, more counseling and prayer, lots of love and support to work through the horrible abuse I had suffered from in my childhood and teen years.

Each day I learn to trust more and lean on the Lord more than the day before.  And this morning I was once again reminded about God's love and my need to remain steadfast in my belief and faith in the Lord.

The scripture for this morning was Exodus 14:13 - 14 ~

New International Version (©1984)
Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
New Living Translation (©2007)
But Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.

I usually use either the NKJV or NIV translations but really like the NLT version for this verse and it reminds me once again to STAND FIRM in what I know is the truth and TRUST the LORD as he brings me through each day. 

And it brings me comfort as we prepare for another hearing with the Texas Workforce Center due to the 3rd appeal by the Alamo SKP Co-op, Marti O'Hare, BOD President and their statement that Ron was lazy and never worked while we were the Managers of the Lone Star Corral.  We know the truth ~ Ron is a very hard worker, goes beyond what is expected and does his job with a smile and positive attitude.

So once again, my prayer for today is "Lord, I come to you this morning and ask that you help me to NOT feel anxious, to stand in confidence and know that the TRUTH will set us free.  Amen"

Do you need an extra boost in dealing with an issue?  Stand firm, put your TRUST & FAITH in the LORD.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Amazing ~

Isn't it amazing how someone (me) with good intentions (trying to be intentional) can let a month of time slide by?  That's me this past month.  It seems like I am continually setting new goals, to get on the healthy track, to be intentional with my time and not just slide by each day and yet God meets me where I am.

I am trying to get caught up on The Wandering Workentins blog - currently up to August 15th which is where I share about our day to day lives.

This morning in my scripture reading Wait...a couple of weeks ago I grabbed my Bible out of the window (where we keep them for easy access) and found out with all the moisture that had been in the air my Bible was now wet, not damp but soaked about 1/3rd of the way up :(  I laid it out to dry but even after a week the pages were still a little moist and reeked of moldy misty smells...time to get a new Bible...I like devotional Bibles and so the search began.  First I was blessed by Mike & Elaine Loscher,
who were visiting us from Texas who bought me a beautiful Bible case for whatever new Bible I found.  And so the search continued online, in a couple of stores and then finally at Books a Million I found a PURPLE Bible~ New Kings James Version ~ Women of Faith Devotional Bible.  I was looking for a New International Version as that is what I have used for years but couldn't find a devotional Bible so I went to the NKJV and found this Bible.  It meets my criteria: a devotional (this one has 365 devotions broke down into 12 categories - the first one being Grace, leather bound and being PURPLE was just a gift because God knows I love PURPLE!!

Last Sunday night (9/23/12) after cheering Erv & Anita Bach over the finish line at the Branson 70.3 Triathlon (Ron's cousin and his wife) and being so proud of Anita as she has battled 3 surgeries and Breast Cancer since January of this year that she FINISHED the race.  I thought to myself I have no excuse to not be INTENTIONAL in what I do each day so I had another one of those FAMOUS self-talks about being intentional with my day, my eating, my exercising, my spiritual & emotional life, my relationship with God, family & friends and went to sleep praying for the Lord to help me get up in the morning and be Intentional about what I do.

So yesterday I met my goal: time with the Lord first thing in the morning, a 15 minute walk around the campground, good eating choices OK, I could have done better and enjoyed being with the people who came into my life throughout the day.

Today is Day up at 6:30 a.m.  (my goal is 5:00 a.m.) but that is better than 7:45 and flying out the door at 8:30 to get to work.

This morning in my scripture reading and prayer time I read my devotional for the day: Theme is Grace.  Scripture was 2 Cor. 8:1-7 and was immediately challenged by the Lord.

~ Love my enemies
~ Bless them that curse me
~ Do good to those who hate me
~ Pray for those who despise or persecute me

And just what I needed this morning as we once again have a hearing with the Texas Workforce Center regarding Ron's Unemployment Claim from April 4 to May 6th and the Alamo Area SKP Co-OP (LSC) and the fact that they are once again appealing the TWC decision in granting Ron his benefits.  We have many questions: Ron filed for unemployment after we were fired from LSC and was granted benefits.  Marti O'Hare, BOD President appealed.  We filed a report, had a hearing and was once again granted favor and Ron was approved for benefits.  And then lo and behold, Marti et al appealed once again.  The claim then went in front of the TWC Commission.  And last week we were notified we have another hearing on October 11th... (How many times can she/they appeal the decision is one of our questions?)

And yes, ANGRY feelings surfaced, PANIC raised its ugly head and I found myself once again crying out to God "how long is this going to go on?"  What else can we say or do?

And then this morning God led me to the verses above along with Jeremiah 32:27 where God asks "is there anything to hard for Me?"  And I am once again reminded He is in control and loves me more than anything and He will provide for me/us.

And so as I went on my 15 minute walk around the campfire, up and down those darn hills, I prayed for everyone involved: the TWC commissioners, for Marti - don't know what we did to turn her against us and that is not for me to figure out...praying for a good day for her and for her to get things right between herself and the Lord, for the Lord to heal any hurts she is dealing with and for me to extend the same GRACE that God gives to me each day to her.

And continuing to pray for the Lord to find favor on us regarding this claim...Ron is and has always been a hard worker and deserves his unemployment and we just pray that the Lord will show that to the TWC commissioners and we can hopefully move forward and get past this situation.

And I ask that you pray along with us that God's will will be done, that we will rest in Him and continue to trust Him with our lives and every aspect of our lives and to continue to live life the way we believe the Lord wants us to...extending grace to others just as HE extends to me!

Now off to work, drinking lots of water and making healthy food choices and being intentional in my interactions with those who come into contact with me today!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Time for Everything

Slept just over 3 and a half hours last night, waking at 1:25 a.m.  After tossing and turning for almost two hours I finally decided to get up and start my day.  Read my emails and scrolled through Facebook ~ found quite a few friends who were also unable to sleep and who were up early and beginning their days.

First up for me was to make a "Ali's Daily To Do List" much easier for me to stay on task when I have a list where I can check things off.  Here's a peak at my new list - (the 1 after each number is really a square on my actual list so I can check it when it is completed.  I have it done in 3 columns = 3 days.

Ali’s Daily To Do List
Date: ________________________________
1.  1 Get up at 5:00 a.m.
2. 1 Have my quiet time with the Lord, journal my prayer time.
3. 1 Do my Slim in 6 DVD
4. 1 Shower & have a great day at work!
5. 1 Drink a Smoothie for breakfast
6. 1 Limit my time on the computer
7. 1 Work on one craft project
8. 1 Make healthy food choices
9. 1Write in my Gratitude Journal
10. 1 Make a delicious dinner for myself & hubby
11.  1 ___________________________________
12. 1 ___________________________________
13. 1 ___________________________________
14. 1 ___________________________________
15. 1 ___________________________________
16. 1 ___________________________________
17. 1 ___________________________________
18. 1 ___________________________________
19. 1___________________________________
20. 1 ___________________________________

it has 10 things that have to be done each day and 10 lines to add additional things that may need to get done that day.  I printed up two sheets/6 days worth.  Additionally on my day for today is to do laundry :) & go to Silver Dollar City for the evening concert.  I made it a template so if you would like a copy to make your own Daily To Do List just let me know and I will send it to you.

So this morning I grabbed my first bottle of water, 23.7 oz - need to drink 3 to 4 of these each day.  And then picked up my Bible, journal & devotional book.  Once again I had to chuckle with how God encourages me with his sense of scripture reading from the Old Testament today was Ecclesiastes 3.  See last night I made a decision that I need to get back on the healthy track, get back to losing weight, eating healthy meals and making my time with the Lord to be a meaningful time not just something I could check off my To Do List.

Vs 1 ~ There is a time for everything!!  Today is the day for me to start to get healthy!!  I am 54 years old, the age my sister, Kathy was when she died of a massive heart attack and I have too much to live for - my life with my hubby, with my son's, with my daughters-in-love and our grandchildren!!!  Friends to see, family to visit with and this wonderful country to travel around.  It is time for me to get healthy!!

Vs 6 ~ A time to lose!!  Okay, I don't think God was specifically telling us to lose weight but just maybe today he was telling me ~ it is time to lose that weight sweet daughter of mine!!!  At least that is how it read to me this morning!!

Vs 13 ~ Enjoy the good of all that God has given me (which I had also just read from the book "Almost Amish" where the character Julie realized that she could enjoy the daily responsibilities in her life like making a shoo-fly pie).  That I need to find JOY in everything I do!!

And then in my New Testament reading I Cor. 8 where God tells us not to have idols in our lives, not to put those idols before Him.  What I heard was "Don't let food or my goal of losing weight become my main focus.  But I need to keep my focus on the Lord and he will help me reach my goals, the desires of my heart."

Completing my devotions this morning I was also reminded to seek God, ask for His help, He wants us to be successful and wants to give us the desires of our heart.  So in my prayer time I laid it on the line...telling God one of my biggest struggles is making healthy food choices and so I asked Him to help me in making those good choices today.  And putting it out there to Him and writing it out in my prayer journal and reflecting on it again now as I write...I know the Lord will help me ~ I just have to remember to ask Him for that help and then follow His leading in my life.  And then I gave thanks (I don't think we do that often enough) for the many blessings I have in my life: the anticipation of a new grandson due 1/4/13 but who will probably arrive in late December, for a job that lets me have fun while doing it ~ so often it doesn't feel like work, it is fun to help others have a great vacation whether it is for one night or a week or two, and for the reflecting I did yesterday while writing an email to a special person in my life on my life today, how healthy I am emotionally and spiritually and how I now can keep those wild horses corralled so not to live in chaos every day, every hour, every minute of my life.  And also thanked him for little Andrew Christopher who was born this week weighing in at 3 lbs 11 oz, 13" long - who was delivered safe and is growing every day and will soon be able to go home with his momma, Stephanie & daddy, Matt and oh, so many more things to be thankful for!!

Have a great day ~ it is TIME for me to some exercises and get the blood pumping in my body!!!  On to a more healthy me!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Chat with God this Morning

Busyness has seemed to be my life lately.  I have been dealing with a sore back ~ was a bit too zealous with a new exercise and getting healthy routine.  Then I got an ingrown you know how hard it is to walk with a very sore toe.  And I have allowed the computer to become my idol.  On the computer in the mornings, on the computer throughout the day, and then 2 or even 4 hours in the evening ~~~  yeah, a bit too much.

Had some different dreams last night.  Can't remember all of them but little snippets (I like that word this morning ~ more about this in a bit).

1.  Offered to buy a group of young people lunch and what was supposed to be simple hot dogs and burgers turned into a fiasco, with a ton of dirty dishes and no one willing to help me clean it up.  Woke up thinking ~ I need to think things through completely before committing to do it; make sure I have a plan that is possible to follow through on.

 2.  Was visiting with a friend and she asked me where something that I promised to do was?  I remember looking at her and saying "Oh, I got busy doing this and that."  She looked at me and said "you promised."  I woke up thinking...I keep saying I am going to do this for, and this for and even this for...and yet I am allowing computer time to rule my life. 

See the theme going on here.  And then I got up and began my normal day.  I always start with writing out what I/we did the day before and then read in my Bible and Guideposts devotional.  And boy did the Lord talk to me this morning:

Snippets from my devotion this morning:

From Job 37:14 "Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God."

A young man asks God "Why didn't you give the things I asked?" God replied "I could have BUT I wanted to make you happy ." Remember God wants the best for us. Trust Him with your whole heart ~ He is the original heart surgeon.

Faithfulness means continuing quietly with the job we have been given in the situation where we have been placed...a lot of the road to heaven has to be traveled at thirty miles per hour, not speeding by at 150 miles per hour. ~ Evelyn Underhill KEEP ON KEEPING ON!!!

Love these reminders this morning to BE STILL AND KNOW I AM GOD!!

I needed these reminders this morning, they went right along with my thoughts after waking from a couple of dreams in the night.

So I had a little chat with God this morning, rather he had a chat with me :)  And I have decided I need to make some changes in my evenings as I spending way too much time on the computer and not enough time BEING with my hubby,  working on projects (cross-stitch, crochet, writing) or keeping our home clean, enjoyable and a fun place to relax. 

So my new tentative schedule is this:  AND YES, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK ME HOW I AM DOING WITH IT!!!

Up, drink a bottle of water
Have my quiet time w/the Lord
Do my scheduled exercise for the day ~ Slim in 6, Stretching, Yoga w/Dr. Marian, Wii Country Dancing or Wii Sports.  These exercise routines are from 20 to 60 minutes and need to be a part of daily routine
Shower, Breakfast and go to work

Lunch - and computer time :)

Dinner ~ continuing to work on making healthy dinners and not going out to eat too often (big fail this week as we went out to lunch 2 days in a row :( )

Evenings will be spending time chatting with Ron, cross-stitching, crocheting, going to different activities
and then doing a quick clean-up before heading to bed.

Using my two days a week I am off (Tuesday's and Saturday's) to spend some scheduled time writing.  I take pictures and think of things to blog about and yet don't take the time to write them.  I also want to get back to writing my book about healing from abuse and trusting and allowing God to heal.

Thank you Lord for speaking to me through my dreams, through your word this morning, in my prayer time and thank you for this  new day to start again on being who YOU want me to be.

Monday, July 16, 2012

And God is Faithful

Overslept this morning so decided no walk before work but instead to read God's word this morning.  And God is faithful to meet me right where I am.

From my devotional this morning "God's Little Devotional Bible" I am reminded that "the Christian faith imparts meaning to life.  A living faith that is centered in God as revealed in Christ takes our chaotic, disorganized selves, with their crude jumble of pleasures and pains, and knits them together into a steadiness and joy that can endure anything with God.

Trust God today to turn your brokenness into something of beauty and value."

As I cried out to God last night when I went to sleep just mumbling over and over "please send me a friend, please send me a friend" amidst my tears I heard this voice say - "You need to be a friend too.   Nurture the friends you do have, share the love that overflows in your heart with those you know whether near or far."    I slept well last night, almost too well as I woke up an hour later than planned.  I need to remember to turn the alarm back on on Sunday nights.  (I turn it off on Saturday night so we can sleep a little later on Sundays).  I woke feeling refreshed.  Ready to start my day.

Made coffee for Ron.  I usually wait for him to make it and then remembered a little comment he made to me the other day.  "Sometimes it would be nice if you (Ali) made the morning coffee."  Not a hard thing to do, something a friend would do for a friend ~ make them a fresh cup of coffee to start their morning.

And then I read my devotion -  and heard God can make it through this, you have faced much bigger obstacles and challenges in life.  Remember to have a friend you need to be a friend ~ a reminder from what was in my thoughts as I fell asleep last night.

And then realized I may have overslept for a reason - my chest area, rib cage is very tight this morning, kind of achy and walking up the hills in this campground may not be a good thing for me today.  I will walk on the treadmill in the office this morning instead.  And why have I not thought of that before - the treadmill is here, a really nice one with all sorts of buttons - I can use that :)  still go for a walk outside each day and maybe Ron would join me if I did a walk in the evenings instead of at the crack of dawn when he is still sleeping. 

Well it is time to get on with my day.  Just wanted to share my devotion from this morning.  Hope whoever is reading this has a great day and remember God will supply all your needs!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Hard Place to Be In

Today as I was sitting in the worship service I missed my Northwood family terribly.  I kept looking around the room wondering if any of them would become a friend of mine.  Talked to one person and then made our way out.

Then went to work and worked for four hours.  Checked in two new guests ~ a good thing as our guest occupancy was very low this week. 

Ron went to hear the Bacon family in a Gospel Show at Grand Country.  After he got back and I was off work we decided to go for a drive.  We drove around the area, went to Crane, Galena and then decided it was time to head back toward the campground.  Told Maggie, our GPS to take us home the shortest route ~ 26.4 miles.  We drove down some winding roads, up some hills, saw pretty valley's, some quirky colored homes, some beautiful brick homes, cows, cows, and more cows and green trees & bushes.  It was beautiful.

And then I said to Ron "What would you say if I wanted to go home (meaning WA/OR)?"  He didn't say anything for a minute and then he asked "When?"  I told him I didn't know, I just know I need to go home.  I miss having friends.  I love Ron more than anything and told him that.  But just being with him is not enough.  I need to be around friends, I need to have coffee with friends, I need to worship our Lord with friends and not just in a room full of strangers. 

And then more silence.  And tears were running down my cheeks.  I know Ron wants to continue to travel around the US, see more of this beautiful land we live in, see friends and family who live in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and I want those things too but I need friends along the way. 

Branson is a beautiful place and like our jobs and enjoy the perks of free shows and am loving the weather even on super hot days.  We enjoy going swimming in our pool.  We enjoy seeing new areas around Branson but something is missing...friends.  Someone to go shopping with, people to have dinner with, go swimming with, worship together with, friends.

After grabbing a hamburger for dinner and stopping to pick up  some bananas, radishes and cheese & lunch meat we headed for home.  Ron was pretty quiet.  I asked him what he was thinking - he said he knows I need more than just him and he feels bad that I am feeling so alone right now.  He asked me again when did I want to go home...and I said just some day.  I love you (Ron) and want to be with you as you fulfill your dreams of traveling around the US.  And I know in a couple of days I will be back to my happy go lucky self enjoying our lifestyle and where we are. 

Once home I walked into the rig and into the bathroom (where I do lots of talking to God) and asked Him to please send me a friend or two here in Branson.  And I know He will...maybe not tomorrow but one day.  And in the meantime we will continue to try churches till we find "the one," continue to chat with friends on Facebook, via the telephone and email.  And I will continue to pray to my Lord and know that he will supply all my needs.  I know this and believe it with all my heart. 

And I know tomorrow is a new day and after a great night's sleep I will feel better and so I close just asking you to say a prayer for God to bring a friend into my life while we are here in Branson.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm so Happy and Here's the Reason Why

The little song: "I’m so happy and here’s the reason why"  has been running through my mind for most of the last weekAnd this morning, it was there again as I began my devotion.

I’m so happy and here’s the reason why;Jesus took my burden all away.
Now, I’m singing as the days go by;  Jesus took my burden all away.
Once my heart was heavy with a load of sin; Jesus took the load and gave me peace within  (my heart and)
Now I’m singing as the days go by; Jesus took my burdens all away.

Last night when I went to bed I could not seem to shut my brain down and it was late - after 11:00 p.m.  I laid in bed and prayed for those who came to mind: Jarrett & Chelsea, Peyton & Conner as they mourn the loss of their little Trek Atlas.  As they step forward in continuing to live and yet missing Trek so much.  For Lauren who's little baby Elijah drowned just over a week ago and who's husband sits in jail being charged with murder and for the four little girls she is trying to love on, take care of and yet deal with the harsh realities of the today.  For my Aunt Joan who has recently been diagnosed with cancer as she awaits treatment.  And for Uncle Don as he stands by her in love and support.  And for our Northwood family heading into a busy time with VBS on the horizon along with fundraising for the Tanzania missions trip next summer.  For our boys: Jamie & Suzanne waiting on word on a house they are trying to buy, for them to have patience with all the request of the bank.  For  Brandon & Danalyn as they prepare to leave on vacation to Michigan today.  For safety as well as little one's who are cooperative and don't get overly tired.  And giving thanks for a hubby who loves me more than words can express.  For all the ways he blesses me each day with his funny homemade songs, fixing me a nice ice cold beverage when it is 104' outside and it is still already 8:30 p.m. and does not seem to be cooling off.  And thanks for new friends and old who love on me/us and encourage us each and every day.  And asking the Lord to help me wake early so I can get all that needs to be done before it is again 103' outside.  And drifting off and sleeping all night long and not waking up till 6:24 a.m.  And waking feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

And this morning in His word in my devotions: to prepare Him room in our hearts and what that means:  to discard the unsightly, value the good, clean the dirty, tend the true, bring in the fresh and make room for a guest (from Guideposts Daily Planner 2012).  And what jumped out at me: tend the true ~ and what a reminder I needed as once again we find ourselves dealing with the Texas Workforce Center as BOD Pres. Marti O'Hare has once again appealed the decision on Ron's unemployment benefits and once again we pray for the truth to remain and God's mercy to be on us.

And from 1 Chronicles 28:20:  Be strong and of good courage and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed for the Lord God will be with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. - be strong and of good courage, He will not leave you or forsake you.  Thank you Lord for the minder that you are with us each day and we just need to trust in you.

And from Daily Guideposts 2012 ~ Judges 19:6  Be content...and let thine heart be merry. ~~ A reminder I may not like the situation we find ourselves in but God is with us/me and I can be content and have a happy heart knowing that Jesus is with me every step of the way.

Thank you Jesus for the jobs you have provided, for all the wonderful benefits of that job: seeing shows we never could have afforded, meeting such wonderful and friendly people and allowing us to help them have a nice and fun vacation.  For our health, though at times I wonder and worry where the money will come from for things like a new artificial eye ~ yes it is getting to be that time once again.  For providing food and fresh vegetables from strangers who pass through our lives and for the love of so many You have blessed us with both near and far.  Lord help me to remember to count my blessings and name them one by one....wonder just how many I could write down ~ maybe a new type of list is to be made, not what needs to be done but all the blessings of Your love on us.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Rambling ~ Part 2!

If you have not read Just Rambling - scroll down to read the first half of this post ~ thanks :)

We have been ~~~

~ working as managers here at Branson View Campground (you can like us on Facebook - it is the one with the picture of the look out area) for just over six weeks.  We have met many new people.  Since we started here we have had two events.  First was a Bluegrass Music Concert & Potluck where we enjoyed lots of great food and great music.  Our second event was our Father's Day BBQ & Potluck where we enjoyed lots of great food including strawberry rhubarb pie (YUMMY) and 3 hours of conversation.  We will be planning something for July in the next week or so.

We have 40 RV sites, one tent site and one cabin for rent.  If you are coming to the Branson area we would love to connect with you.  Give us a shout out and lets make some plans.

~ we enjoyed visiting with Ron's cousin's Sharon & Jim and Karen & Lee while they were here on vacation.  It was fun to see family pictures, laugh and tell stories and give/get lots of hugs.  So fun to be with family. 

~ hurting and praying for so many friends.  Two of our friends have lost a baby.  One baby, Trek passed away at the tender age of 18 months after being diagnosed Niemann Pick Type A in January 2012.  You can read his story and about his family and how they loved on him each and every day of his life by clicking on his name above.  Another baby tragically drowned last Saturday in Australia where his family live and travel.  Elijah was only 7 months old.  And then we join our friend Sheila as she mourns the loss of her hubby.  They were married for over 40 years when Larry was diagnosed with cancer.  Sheila and Larry are full time RV'rs and we met them first via the Women's RV Forum that I belong too and then we met in person once in Salt Lake City in 11/09 and then again in February 2011 while we were on our way to Texas. 

~ and then yesterday I found out my Aunt Joan is battling Mantle Cell Lymphoma.  She is currently being tested to find the best treatment options.  Many of you know my aunt is my mom's sister and we are very close.  She has always been there for me and a major part of my life.  I remember she came to Las Vegas to be at our wedding (December 1975) and then brought my Grandpa to WA state to see us when we were stationed at McChord AFB (Summer 1980) and in summer of 2009 she came to see us for just a few hours before heading back to CA to pick up Uncle Don from a trip to Alaska.  Aunt Joan & Uncle Don have loved on us, hosted us numerous times at Noyes Ranch, treated us to some wonderful meals and fun times with our family.  Each of us have fond memories of being at the ranch, riding the ATV's and one major wreck (Jamie & Brandon) and many stories, laughter, and visits. 

And so I ask that when you think of me or Ron, to please say a prayer for one or all of our friends and my aunt for God's healing and comfort during the trials they are each facing. 


Just Rambling

I know it has been awhile since I have written.  I could say it is because we have been so busy ~ yes we have but that is no excuse.  I could say because nothing new is going on and my every day stuff is boring ~ but that is not really true either.  I could say I had writers block ~ but don't really think that is it either.  What was going on was I being lazy, spending way too much time on Facebook and playing computer games (Mahjong is addictive!).

Lots of things have been going on ~~~

~ Ron had his hearing with the Texas Workforce Center; the hearing was a necessity as the BOD Pres. Marti O'Hare appealed the TWFC decision to grant Ron his unemployment benefits.  After reading the 40+ pages that were sent to us from LSC we knew that what was being said/written about Ron was totally untrue.  We received some letters of support and along with those and the documentation that we had: 2 managers reports that we submitted to the LSC BOD and members in Oct. 2011 & Feb. 2012 that were approved at both of those meetings, plus lists of all the projects that Ron completed while working at LSC and tons of prayers the hearing was held.  During the hearing Ron questioned "their witnesses" and then answered questions from them.  The Hearing Examiner said a decision would be made.  The Hearing Examiner upheld the original decision that Ron's unemployment benefits were/will be paid.  We thank the Lord for the outcome as it validated the work Ron did at LSC and that others knew the truth and the the accusations/allegations that he was lazy, did not do the work required of him and spent most of his day playing games on the computer were false. 

~ One week later I had my hearing with the Texas Workforce Center.  As expected I lost my case and that was okay.  I had not received any money from unemployment, I knew I had stepped out of line one time and that was it.  During my hearing I was able to question the BOD Pres. Marti why if they had been having so many complaints about me (she stated since December) why was nothing said to me?  why did they renew our contract?  Her response "well I should have."  Still have no clue what all the complaints were about.  I was also able to question one of their witnesses who said I did not honor his request for some information out of the membership office while the remodeling was going on.  He did concede that he knew that the membership office would be closed for approximately two weeks during the remodeling project.  Two of their witnesses were not available by phone and so their statements were not admissible.  I tried to address the statement by BOD Pres. Marti that I have posted derogatory comments on Facebook and in my blog posts but she said she didn't have the documentation present and could we postpone till later date.  Nope, don't think so, you have no documentation at the time of the hearing, not going to be postponed to another date.  And why did she not have documentation ... could be because nothing was ever posted that was derogatory.

And so now we move on.  Our time at LSC had many fun components.  Did we like how it ended ~ nope, not at all.  Have things worked out the best for us ~ ABSOLUTELY!  God provides for us and gives us many blessings. 

~ I was only unemployed for two weeks and Ron for 4 weeks.  Ron's unemployment kept our bills being paid and we had no problems with the motor home or travels while we made our way from Hondo, TX to Branson, MO.  We have received so many blessings since coming to Branson.  As managers of Branson View Campground we get many free tickets for different shows here in the area.  We have seen almost all the shows at Grand Country, have been to Dixie Stampede, Legend of Kung Fu, Yakov's Dinner Adventure, God & Country Theater where we saw Statlers Revisited and are going to the Showboat Belle for a dinner cruise on Ron's birthday (July 27th). 

We have made new friends since arriving in Branson.  I have connected with a great woman's prayer group (an answer to prayer for a fellowship time with other Christian ladies) and we have attended some great worship services.  And we have a swimming pool right here at the campground for those hot (100' +) days where we can go and swim, relax and enjoy time together.

To be continued at Just Rambling ~ Part 2!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Day

 I want to preface this post ~ this is not a glowing, mushy talk about mothers.  If that is what you are looking for you need to look elsewhere.  The following blog post is from my heart, sharing from the past and moving into the present and then taking steps forward.

Mothers Day is probably one of my least favorite days of the year, along with Fathers Day I have wished this day away for many years.  And today was no different.  In the past I have chosen to not attend church on Mothers Day.  I can't handle hearing all the wonderful stories about all the wonderful ways people were raised by their almost impeccably perfect mothers (fathers).  But today was different.

I wanted to go to church.  I wanted to be in fellowship with other believers.  I wanted/needed to hear a message from God's Word.  The question was where do we go?  Here in Branson many performers do a Sunday Gospel service at the different theaters.  Didn't really want to go to a show.  Just wanted to go to church.  Two weeks ago I attended a ladies fellowship at Friendly Baptist Church (yes that is really the name of the church) on Saturday.  Then the following Sunday afternoon I got an email from a gal I met on Facebook who lives here in Branson (the same gal that invited me to the ladies fellowship) that being the 5th Sunday their church had a special music night and she wanted us to know in case we wanted to come.  So we did.  And in leaving church that Sunday night, after a great time of singing and worshiping the Lord, I saw a bulletin from that morning.  I picked it up and brought it home.  In reading it I saw that today, Mother's Day, was going to be a Celebration Sunday.  It was the 5th Anniversary of them being in their new church building.  I thought then, maybe we could do that because the focus wouldn't just be on moms.

We were going to visit their last Sunday but that didn't happen due to the changing of management here at Branson View Campground.  We ended up just going out for a late breakfast before taking on this new journey of managers here.

So this morning I was up early and was reading emails.  And one was a devotional email I just recently started getting.  And it was titled Mother's Day.  Of course.  And the first paragraph started out about "good momma's" but the second paragraph grabbed my attention.   "Others struggle when Mother’s Day arrives. For whatever reason, your mother may not have been, and still may not be, a good, healthy, spiritual role model. Your heart weeps as you continue to cling to sullen memories, anger, and bitterness. This wounded condition is actually robbing you from additional blessings God desires to bestow upon you. He wants you to enjoy life abundantly more than you could ever hope or imagine. Forgiveness is a vital key to unlocking more joy and blessings of the Lord into your life."

 And then it got me thinking.  A lot.  I have (thought I had) forgiven both of my parents and even my step-father for the abuse I suffered at their hands.  And I thought I had moved on.  But the line underlined in the above paragraph really jumped out at me.  I am missing out on blessings today because of the continued hurt/unforgiveness that I must be harboring inside my heart.  And as I continued reading this mornings devotion that there was still hurt and unforgiveness in my heart that I needed to let go of.  I prayed for awhile and then it was time to get ready for church.  I was feeling a little nervous, wondering what else God would have in store for me today.  Letting go of past hurts is not easy but I knew inside that more of the hurts (picture an onion being peeled)  had been stripped from my heart. 

We walked in the door of Friendly Baptist Church and was greeted with a big hug from one of the men greeters (reminded me of our sweet friend Gerald and his great big bear hugs that I have been missing a lot lately) and then another two more people introduced themselves and gave me another hug.  Feeling a little like home (Northwood Alliance Church) and so missed in our lives over the past 14 months it was very refreshing.  And then we went in and sat down.  Now, most people know I like to sit right up front, Ron likes to sit more toward the back.  Ron was in front and we ended up about 5 rows from the back.  It was okay because of the shape of the sanctuary I could still see the whole stage and most of the congregation.  As soon as we sat down the couple in front turned around and introduced themselves (this same couple, right after church asked if we were staying for lunch ~ I thought "of course, free food ~ you never turn down a free meal.")  And then another couple people came and introduced themselves to us.  And Virginia, my friend from Facebook was sitting across from me waved and smiled.  It felt good to be in the house of the Lord.

The music was wonderful.  Was amazed at how many  guitars & fiddlers were up there.  Even a little guy that looked to be about 9 or 10 was playing a mandolin.  So beautiful to be ministered to by some great musicians.  We sang hymns and a chorus.  Just like we like - a nice balance of the oldies and new ones.  And scripture reading straight from the Bible.  We attended one church in Hondo, that there was none, none read nor any used in the sermon.  We like to hear scripture being read!  And special music...two solo's and a duet.  It was wonderful.  And then came the time I dread "when they honor the mothers."  Ron reached over and held my hand (he knows this is a difficult time for me).  But the pastor was wonderful.  First he asked for all the children to come to the front of the sanctuary.  He said we all have had mothers.  Some of us were raised by godly women, some not, some had a great upbringing and some were raised in difficult situations.  He was speaking to me.  And then he asked for all the great-great grandmothers to stand ~ there must have been 10+ standing.  And then he asked for great grandmothers were asked to stand.  Wow, at least another 25+ women stood up.  And then he asked for all the grandmothers to stand up.  I stood up ~ I am so thankful for the gift of grandchildren and am so truly blessed with the 4 grandchildren we have (and miss the two little ones that are now in arms of Jesus) ~ probably another 30 women stood up.  And then he asked for all the moms out there and those who mother others to stand up (never heard that one before ~ don't many women who have no children of their own still mother others?) and probably 10 women stood up.  And all the people in the congregation clapped for all those women who were standing.

The pastor then gave each of the children a stack of cards to deliver to all the women standing.  As we were given our cards we were to sit down (so the kids would know who still needed a card).  And then we opened our cards.  Inside was a little card (like a bookmark) and the scripture on it read "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."  Hebrews 13:5...oh how many times that scripture was shared with me over the past 20+ years that I have been dealing with the abuse of my childhood.  Once again, the Lord told me HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME.  And he never has!!!  And the message inside the card "May God bless you this May...when the flowers are in bloom, when the blossoms on the hillsides fill the air with sweet perfume, when all the birds are singing, when the sun shines bright above...At Mother's Day and always God bless you and those who love."  What a sweet message ~ just asking God to bless me for me and for those who I love.  I felt so loved in that moment.  By God and by Ron as he held my hand tightly for quite a long time.

And after a couple of the special music selections it was time for the sermon.  Still not feeling too comfortable - guess waiting for "the perfect mom stories" to come.  But again, God is gracious and that was never shared from the pulpit.  The sermon was titled "The Three Foundational Supports for a Successful Family."  The scripture was again Philippians 1:9-12.   And the most important Foundational Support is that we are to love intentionally.  Boy did God speak to me.  You see the word that I have focused on this year is "intentional."    God knew that was the word I needed to be reminded of.  Being intentional.  Refocus on what is important for me this year, this month, this day (and we sang "This is the Day the Lord has Made"), and this moment is to be intentional in all I say and do.  Being intentional in my relationships ~ relationships with God and with my family and friends, intentional of choosing to do the right thing, in all my actions.  Being Intentional.

Thank you Lord for all the reminders today that how I am and what I do is important and that I need to be intentional in all I say and do.

And as the day continued on.  I am so blessed!  Phone calls from both of our sons and their families.  Hearing from each of my grandchildren, except for Treyson who just wants to eat the phone, is a special blessing.  Being totally focused on those phone calls and the conversations was so special.  Visiting with new friends over lunch, being specifically invited back to church next Sunday, being loved and spoiled on by my most special blessing in this world ~ my hubby who loves me more and more each day ~ he tells me that often.

I have so enjoyed this day ~ this Mother's Day.  I know that God healed more of the hurts from my past.  That He blessed me with lots of love from so many people and places.  And I know, Mother's Day & Father's Day will not hold me captive ever again!  Thank you Lord for a beautiful day!!!

And as always, please share your thoughts, questions, comments with me.  I love to hear from all my readers!!!