Back in Texas

I stepped off Southwest Airlines 11 days ago and have spent every minute until today with at least some of my sweet family.  Wow!  It's  been a whirlwind.  I was greeted at the Midland airport by hugs and kisses and hugs and hugs and hugs - even from Hannah, who doesn't always like me.  We've had a wonderful time. 

Here we are avoiding bedtime by playing with Nana's new phone and taking our own portraits:

We Celebrated Holly's Birthday with brunch at
Wall Street Grill in Midland. 
The buffet includes fruit and salad with the
 scrumptious cinnamon rolls.
But, how can my child be the same age I think I should still be???

On our way to my house in Snyder, we drove over to
Wellman, Texas for a look at the
Extreme Home Makeover home. 
 We tried to volunteer,
but they had more than enough unskilled help. 
It airs in January. 
(Harrison, Holly, Hannah, & Yvonne)

The next day in Snyder, Holly and I set up the new booth in the Antique/Crafts Mall in Snyder. 
 Here are some of the soy wood wick candles Holly has been pouring into vintage containers:

Cotton Fields in West Texas are ripe for the harvest..
Looks like a good year for the farmers.

Neighbor and talented photographer, Carol, (http://www.carolmccowenphotography.blogspot.com/),
gave the kids a hands on tour of her family's cotton field:

Hannah climbed the tree
(Harrison hid in the leaves)

and had a tea party...

in the dress Granny made for Nana...
...a loooooong time ago!

Hannah stayed with me until we left for our place at San Angelo's Dove Creek
 to meet the rest of the family for Thanksgiving.

The view from the hammock
hanging on the banks of
Dove Creek
was beautiful - a warm, clear, perfect day on the creek.

Thanksgiving Day when we each told what we were thankful for,
our answers were all sincerely "family". 
We were so glad to be together.

The day after the turkey feast, we were without water and  electricity for about an hour.  Then a plumber was called to fix the clogged upstairs plumbing.  While the plumber was still there, the bathtub water cascaded down through the kitchen ceiling.  In this picture, the plumber is working and Holly is mopping. (note the t-shrit)

We had our own Extreme Home Makeover!

We've survived too much food, lots of love and a few old house challenges.
Holly & Kids are back to school.
Tommy & Ted are back to work.
And I am home alone
with mundane chores that can't be done from afar,

And God is Still Good. 


Daybreak by the Lake

Today is my last day in Louisiana for a while (going home to take care of some business - including Holly, Harrison, and Hannah  business) so this morning I grabbed my lawn chair, Bible, journal, and pen, and headed to the lake.  As I watched the birds soaring and diving in the rising sun - I had a lot of random thoughts:

"What would it be like to be watching the eastern sky
and get to see Jesus coming on a cloud of glory. 
 I can only imagine."
 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:26-28)

"If eagles soar on thermal currents, how much more 
can we soar on God's currents of love, grace, goodness, forgiveness, blessings, favor, power.... "
 those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles...  (Isaiah 40:30-31)

"What is so peaceful and refreshing about being in the first light of the day, beside a body of water?"  
His compassions never fail
- they are new every morning...
 (Lamentations 3:22-23)

"But the thoughts where I parked the longest were about Jesus, withdrawing from the crowds by Himself - alone. (As in John 6:15)  If Jesus (who left all his Deity and royalty behind to be totally human) needed time alone with the Father - how much more do I need that time?  I can do all kinds of good works, but if I do not take time to be in His presence, I do not have the strength or power to accomplish any good work"
 Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:18-20)
He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.(Psalm 23:3)



This vagabond, gypsy life we have has allowed us to cross paths with the neatest of neat people.  Here in the RV park is a couple, having just returned from Singapore who are now waiting for their permanent assignment.  They sold their home here when they went overseas, and are camping out here to be near friends and family.  Euvah has graciously given me tours, information about the area, and rides to Walmart since I am without my truck.  She is also an accomplished photographer and has a great blog. 

Yesterday afternoon I was out walking and joined Euvah as she sat by the lake with her camera and paraphernalia.  I am sure she would have rather had the time alone in the presence of the Creator and His creation, but I barged in anyway.  Here is Euvah, sitting by the lake with her mega camera smiling at the crazy woman photographing her with a phone camera.

As she clicked away, she told me the names and
characteristics of the birds in her lens.

  "Look there's an eagle",
"that bird is a shrike, it has a lizard in its mouth",
 "watch that bird dive for fish",
 "see that flock, they are pink",
"a bird just went in that hole".

Her pictures from last night are posted on her blog:


A Day Off

After that 2,000 mile trip, and a couple of weeks adjusting to a new job Ted was ready for a day of fun.  So we headed to New Orleans for breakfast at Camellia's Grill.
Opened in 1946, and closed for 18 months after Katrina, there's usually a line outside.  We sat at the counter and gorged ourselves on pecan waffles with maple syrup. 
Ted's breakfast drink of choice was milkshake.

We didn't want to go to the French Quarter, but did want to see the beauty of New Orleans, so we hopped on the historic St. Charles Street Car and rode the entire loop through the garden district, commercial district, past the universities, parks, zoos, historic mansions, and back to the end of the line where the seats were flipped and the driver moved to the opposite end of the car. 

On our loop, we passed a happening down a street far from Bourbon Street.  So we decided to get off and check it out.  It turned out to be the Po-Boy Preservation Festival
 and we beat the crowds.

I think there ended up being more people there than in the entire state of North Dakota!  Someone was selling t-shirts that said, "Keep Oak Street Awkward".  (Not quite as catchy as "Keep Austin Weird").  But New Orleans may have beat Austin on weirdness!

  And po-boys were served more ways than Bubba Gump knows shrimp.  We tried bar-b-q shrimp, lobster, soft shell crab, pork & coleslaw, eclairs, and craw fish bread. 
Some of the lines were 1-2 blocks long. 
Before we left, we were picking out the middles and trashing the bread - bread is just a waste of calories in my opinion.

There was music all over the place, but our favorite was 101 Runners.  Don't know what their style was, but they made the crowds crazy.  The lead singer was wearing what  might have been a Mardi Gras Costume and played a mean tambourine. 
 I picked up a few pointers for the next time I visit the
W.I.L.D. (Word Is Life Deliverance) Church back home!!

We feel like we've been on a mini-vacation,
Back to reality and the laundromat! 



Sometimes, I just wonder exactly how things work in the spirit world.  The reason I say that is because of something that happened in Walmart at the milk case.

As I walked up, there was a lovely lady standing there at her buggy.  She looked up at me and said, "I just lost my husband.  We were married 55 years."  Now, why in the world would she say that to me?  After talking to her a minute, she told me that he had died September 11 of this year.  That day was the 14th anniversary of Heather's death.  I thought of my first grocery store trip without her and how hard it was just walking down the isle, while the other shoppers went about their business, oblivious to my pain.  Heather loved to cook and had done most of our shopping for a couple of years. I asked the little widow if she and her husband had shopped together.  Of course, they did. 

Right there in the dairy section, that beautiful grieving lady got a prayer, a blessing and a hug. God bless all those who grieve.

Coincidence?  I think not......

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

Louisiana Crab Cakes

I walked down the street to the house with the sign,
"Crab Meat For Sale"
and bought two pounds of crab meat. 
 I found a recipe on line and we had
yummy, yummy crab cakes for dinner.  

I am so in trouble with the great food here. 

In the words of our North Dakota friend, Doretta,
from the Courthouse Cafe,
"the Norskies up here are pretty bland",
so, yes, I am ready for some tasty food. 


Cypress Lake

Cypress Lake - at the RV Park. 
Not a bad picture for a phone camera!
Rumor has it that a few friendly alligators live there.....

So while I toodled around in capri pants and short sleeves today,
 my friends back in North Dakota were watching it snow. 
I miss the friendly folks there,
 but will not miss the winter we would have had.

Life is Good.


Grocery Shopping

We just went to an amazing grocery store.  It's the HEB of Texas (Hill Country Fare) and the EconoMart of North Dakota (Pride of Dakota).  However, Rouse's is over the top cajun.  Every thing is Zatarains, Tony Chachere's, Louisiana Hot Sauce, and Tabasco.  Also, fresh shrimp, crab and crawfish in season.  There's a mix for everything: etoufee, jambala, crawfish pie, beignts, red beans and rice - everything.  It makes me think I can do it all!  I can hardly wait to buy some fresh crab from the guy down the street and get to cooking.  Mmmmmm.


RV Park

Here's the scenery from our RV Park in Berwick, Louisiana:

Before & After House Pics

Some of you have been asking to see before and after pictures of our little house in Alexander. 
Here is what we had finished when we passed it on
to Lonnie and Vickie:

 Front Door: Before

  Front Door: After

Living Room Before

Living Room After

Living Room: Before

Living Room: After

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen: After

Kitchen:  After

Bedroom:  Before

Bedroom: After

Bedroom: Before

Bedroom: After (Closet Removed)

The furnishings were all with the house, donated, or rummage sale finds.
All were discards - cracked, faded, chipped and broken.
We took them just like God takes us - just as we are.
He patches, repairs, and lovingly fixes our brokenness.
Then He puts us together as the body of Christ
- and somehow it works.

Seasons of our Lives

"I am with you and will watch over you
where ever you go.
I will meet all your needs
according to MY glorious riches.
Nothing in all creation will be able
to separate you from MY love."
...from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
page 324 November 5

...where ever I go...
Lord, I thank you that you meet my needs where ever I go.

This week we've traveled about 2,000 miles
going from Alexander, ND to Berwick, LA. via Snyder, TX.
We got to love on Holly and the kids for a day,
unpack, reload and take off again. 
We've gone from border to border in 5 days. 

We left snowy winter in North Dakota.
and passed through colors of fall beginning in Nebraska.
Louisiana is cool, but still beautifully green.
We passed through 3 seasons in less than a week.

Sometimes the seasons of our lives feel like that.
We just barely leave one season, when there's another one. 
I'm not finished processing the season of North Dakota yet -
and here I am beginning another one!

In North Dakota we said hasty goodbyes -
goodbyes aren't easy any way you do them.
I had left gifts and an email for the sweet gals in the
Jonah Bible Study,
but there just wasn't enough time for everyone. 
Some got a phone call and some just a note.
We left Lonnie and Vickie working on the house.
J.O. helped Ted hook onto the RV.
Alan and Diana came by for a hug just as we were pulling out.
And Dave stood on his porch and waved as we passed by.

My tears were flowing, until I noticed the
'for sale' signs flying off the RV.
  It was a funny sight.
Just like us, they tried to hang on,
but finally let go and spun away.

We have loved North Dakota
and will always hold our new friends in our hearts.
I bet we'll be back.


Passin' Thru Texas

Short post today - we are "Passin' Thru"  Texas on our way to Houma, Louisiana, where Ted has accepted a  job offer.  Good career move, warmer weather, and closer to grandkids.

We rented our little house to Lonnie and Vickie,
who are gladly finishing the projects we started.   
I think it's a blessing for all of us!   

I'm not quiet finished with my thoughts on North Dakota, so I'll revisit those thoughts soon.  
The 36 hour drive has caught up with me tonight!
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