Category Archives: Travels

Places I’ve been and places I want to go.

Tuesday News Day!

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Sarah is working on a new procedure at work, Nicole bought a TV, Lori had her friends build a human pyramid, Kevin made a new friend, Paul saw a movie, Linda was sick with the flu, Kaylee had a school snow day, Cale bought a couch and George has been busy cleaning up after the house flooded. These are all examples of the latest news in our family.

Starting in January 2019, I wanted to come up with a way to stay in communication with all of my kids who live in varying parts of the country and to try to keep them in contact with each other.  Hence, the creation of Tuesday’s News Day!  The group text is sent to Seattle, Denver, Richmond, New Castle and to some within the same house.  I begin with a short recap text of what I’ve been up to in the last week and invite the rest to chime in.  It’s been such a fun, easy way to learn more about each other and what our typical or less than typical week looks like.

Scrolling past over the last 8 weeks I see where I finished reading Little Women, George is grateful for the book Cale bought him for Christmas, Nicole spent time in Florida, Kevin has been trying new recipes, Sarah binged on a podcast, Cale is trying to walk more, Lori took a Lyra class, Kaylee was cast in a musical & Paul went with his Dad to see the movie Escape Room.

Though I wish we all lived closer, I take comfort in knowing that on Tuesday, my phone will chime multiple times as people report in.  Gone are the days of waiting for handwritten letters in the mail, even live voice phone calls are sometimes hard to fit in, but the well-timed Tuesday text brings joy to all!

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“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”  –Romans 10:15 NKJ

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I’m so grateful to those who bring glad tidings!!

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Halfway There

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The plans are made, or at least the plans were made. We are all going, we are inviting friends, everyone is excited, “let’s do this!” Then, one by way, attitudes change, things come up, schedules conflict, fatigue at the end of the week, the excitement wanes and instead of enthusiasm, you are met with obligation. We are all going, but only half of us want to. The “want-tos” have to tolerate the “have-tos” and the whole event has changed. This event is no longer something even the “want-tos” want to attend.

So, do we go or cut our losses? Completely discouraged, I try to decide.  I turn on my computer and see the video link of my son’s cross country bicycle trip.  I don’t bother playing it, I’ve seen it a million times and can visualize it completely.  It usually inspires me, but I’m not even sure I want to be inspired.  How would it make me continue on in making plans for this failing event? The video shows a lot of close-up footage of his feet on the pedals going round and round. Spinning sprocket, he just kept going. However, today, though not in the video, I think I’ll join him in the times he sat at the side of the road and cried.  (I’m sure he did.) I’m sure as he pedaled on and on, at times he stopped and sat. “Nope. Not going any further. Not doing another thing.”

What now? How long can I sit here? What do I do or think while I’m not moving forward and not going back? Can I just stay here? I wish I could, but decisions need to be made and plans need canceled or carried out. I’m halfway there and it’s not a good place to be. The start was fun, halfway there is hard, who knows what the finish will be? My son kept going…he kept pedaling….in the end, I believe he was blessed, but geez, halfway there must’ve been really hard.

Halfway there, Ugh. I guess I can’t sit here any longer. I will make the best of the plans.  Maybe change the goal a bit, lower the expectations and concede that the “have-tos” are probably not going to change their position, but, the intent was good in the beginning and if we just keep going, we may actually win a few over and have a good time.  Sometimes when you are halfway there, you are at the top of the hill.  Let’s hope so.

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Photo by suzukii xingfu on Pexels.com

 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.                                    –Acts 20:242 

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.      –2 Timothy 4:7

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A Good Commercial

51088684-blank-billboard-with-urban-background-advertising-commercial-frame-advertisement-blank-outdoor-boardYears ago George and I were invited to travel with 2 other couples.  These childless couples traveled a lot for business, so they were flying first class while George and I were flying coach. This was back in the day when First Class was really something special.  At the airport, the one man asked if there was any way that George and I could be bumped up to first class using his frequent flyer miles.  There was only one seat left in first class, so George allowed me the treat of sitting up front.

I was seated by a businessman and I started to read my Christian Parenting magazine.  He smiled at me and said, “Are you a Christian?”  I said, “Yes, I am.”  He said, “Well, what does that mean?”  I hem-hawed around and stumbled with my words.  I’m not even exactly sure what I said, but I know that I stuttered a lot.  He very kindly said, “Well, sounds to me, like you need to work on a better commercial for Christianity in case you get the opportunity to answer that question again.”  I’m not sure what I replied, but then he smiled, stood up and said something like, “Let me show you a good answer.”

He went back to coach and found George.  He told George that he wanted to him to go to first class and sit with his wife and he took the center seat in the back of the plane.

We still aren’t sure we have a good commercial, but we never forget his.

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But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,…           1 Peter 3:15

 

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No Purse, No Bag, No Sandals

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I woke this morning full of anxiety.  We have so much to do.  So many fun events on the schedule and so much planning to make them happen.  I tried to rest my mind and journal, read, and meditate, but my mind kept speeding along and always returning to the stress involved in preparing to go to Creation Festival Northeast.  I have never attended this festival and camping with 70,000 people could prove to be a big stretch for me.  I don’t camp.  We have a house on the river and sometimes we refer to it as “going to camp,” but the truth is it is carpeted and has all the modern conveniences necessary.  Not truly a “camp.”  So, I’m planning on going camping.  I need to pack sunscreen, rain gear and …even forks?!  So much to think about.

I don’t think I worry much about my appearance and the fact that I will probably camp sans makeup is not a concern, but this morning while trying to quiet my soul to pray, I remembered that I won’t have a hair dryer.  My hair is a mess without a hair dryer.  I won’t need to curl it or straighten it, but I do need a hair dryer.  OK, so that is another challenge I will have to face.  In addition to remembering to pack toilet paper, bug spray and a pan to boil water for my morning cup of tea, I now have to consider a hat!

Oh Lord, how can I focus on my devotions with all of this reeling through my mind?! Because of the habit of rising each morning and doing it, I sit at the table and begin.  My heart’s not in it, but I will be disciplined and seek peace through scripture.  Today I am on Day #22 of a Summer Bible Reading Challenge and I am reading through the New Testament in 3 months.  It is scheduled and each day I know which chapters to read.  Today’s selection was Luke 22, 23 and 24.  As I mentioned, I wasn’t really in a very good place to be comprehending, but I kept reading.  I laughed out loud when I got to Luke 22:35:

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered.

Oh Lord, what a sense of humor you have!  So, if you sent them out without purse, bag or sandals, I guess I can go without a hair dryer!

 

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Today’s Chuckle

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Four-year-old Kevin was fascinated with a dead fish floating in the river.  After studying it for hours, he asked his mother, “Will the fish go to heaven?”

Knowing she was out of her theological league, she said, ‘We’ll ask Pastor Dave on Sunday when we get to church.”

“Why? Does he know lots about fish?”

Originally published in Nov/Dec 1994 issue of The Christian Reader.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.   –Psalm 126:2-3

 

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A Loss

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I got a message yesterday that my Dutch son lost his mom.  Kalle is a friend that my daughter met on the internet years ago.  She started writing to him while she was in high school and always referred to him as a penpal so that I wouldn’t keep referring to him as some “creep she met online.”  After months of her getting to know him online, we had the opportunity to meet him while we were traveling to London.  When she asked if she might be able to meet him while we were there, I said she could as long as she was handcuffed to her dad the entire time.  We kept our travel plans very vague with her in case we were still dealing with a creep who wanted to abduct her and we finally gave her a meeting spot.  She was to meet him standing under a clock in the train station.  He was to be wearing one green sock and one red sock.  We were pleasantly surprised when we saw Kalle and not a creep under the clock.  Before we allowed my daughter to approach him, we allowed him to meet her older 6’4″ brother and her dad.  Finally, he got to meet his penpal and we had a wonderful day touring the city.  It amazed me how similar he was to her friends from home.  Just a typical teenage boy, it seemed that we had known him forever.  Since she often wrote of her family, he knew a lot about us and asked us questions.  It was hard to remember that he was from a foreign country so far away.  We genuinely liked him from the time we met him.

He later came to visit us and spent a few weeks in our basement touring our neighborhood and then we went to visit him in Delft, Netherlands.  He was a gracious host as he showed us his beautiful country and reintroduced me to bike riding.  Now, this “penpalship” has branched beyond our daughter and has included the entire family.

Though I’ve never met his mom, we communicated online a few times.  I knew of her courageous battle with cancer and I knew of her sons’ attention to her.  Kalle talked of her often and I kept her in my prayers .  I mentioned her to friends and shared stories of her battle with others.  Yesterday she lost her battle with cancer.  Now, this friend of mine, who lives 3,852 miles from me is hurting and all I can do is send a facebook message and a prayer.  I wish my favorite “Netherlandian” could get a big hug from me, his “American Mom.”  But, for now, we’ll just shed tears together yet apart for his loss. My daughter sent me a text yesterday that said, “Sorry for your loss” and I replied “Sorry for your loss.” It is amazing that we truly feel a real loss for a woman that we had only got to know through stories told by her son. That truly says something for the power of the written word. I hope she knows how much I cared about her and how much I will continue to care for her son in her absence. Kalle, I am sending you all my thoughts and prayers. May your Mom rest in peace.  God Bless You All.bicycle

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Count Your Sharks’ Teeth

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Count your sharks’ teeth name them one by one.  Can you sing along?  I am currently on vacation on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  (I can admit to readers that I am away from home because my home is protected by my prank-pulling sister in law.  Burglars wouldn’t be safe to enter. View previous posts for more details!)  Anyhow, where we vacation each year is a beach blessed with Sharks’ Teeth.  Fossilized shark teeth are strewn across the beach by waves and mix in nicely with the small shells.  We spend much of our vacation looking at the little black triangles.  Some large, some small, some sharp, some worn smooth to an almost boomerang shape &  some even have an orange tint to them.  But, they are all sharks’ teeth from many years ago.

This year, as I was looking down and picking up these teeth on my walk down the beach, I thought of the hymn, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done.  Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done.”  I started to see a correlation between these sharks’ teeth and the blessings God sends me each day.

  1.  There are lots of blessings there.  You just have to bend over, look for them and pick them up.  Some are small and you may not deem them worth the effort, but if you collect enough of the wee ones, you will end up with a nice, interesting selection to study at the end of the day.
  2. Sometimes you may overlook many of the little blessings (teeth) that are there as you seek and concentrate on trying to find the big one.  Your eyes are focused and you are intent on getting that one big blessing that you will be able to talk about for years.  You step on all the other ones as you walk on by.
  3. You may be so busy gathering all the little ones that you never even notice an unexpected blessing that is near.  Yesterday, as my head was down and my back was bent picking up many little sharks teeth, a sunbather up the beach was yelling at me.  I ignored her a bit not sure she was speaking to me, but after she insisted, I raised my head to see her pointing.  She was sharing a sighting of porpoises playing in the surf.  I almost missed that blessing as I gathered up my little ones.
  4. Kaylee was with me gathering sharks teeth one morning and we found ourselves standing in a spot that had lots of shells.  I told her to just stay put and see how many sharks teeth she could find by not moving.  It donned on me then that maybe sometimes God says the same thing to me.  “Look for the blessings where you are now.  Stay put.  Wait.”  The blessings may arrive with the next gentle wave.

The comparison between gathering sharks’ teeth and gathering blessings can go on and on.  And, as I type, I realize that many people will never get the opportunity to hunt sharks’ teeth on the beach….but everyone can count their many blessings to see what God has done!

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Simple Definition of blessing

  • : approval that allows or helps you to do something

  • : help and approval from God

  • : something that helps you or brings happiness

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