In The Belly of A Whale

October, glorious October when everywhere we look there are pumpkins around every corner. Fall….the most wonderful time of the year. My oldest son called from New York this morning, where they have gone to attend a wedding. As he began to describe the beautiful leaves that were changing and how the cool air was just so refreshing, it was easy to remember that soon, we, here in Texas will finally get to enjoy that most wonderful cooler air and the feel of Fall.

When Randy (oops, sorry, Peter Pumpkin and I are known as Peter and Penelope Pumpkin during this time of the year) aka, Peter and I began to realize that our travel time for 2019 was drawing to a close back in July and it was time to settle down here in Dallas, we had been praying about the church we would be attending, once we were here. In our minds, we knew that the church where we had belonged for 12 years was probably not an option as we were living in a totally different area of Dallas now. So we began to visit the churches around our new location. There were four churches which we felt would be possibilities. Like everyone, we had a checklist of things that were important to us. Did the church have Sunday School? Did it have a choir? Was it a church that preached that the Bible was the infallible Word of God and were they mission minded? Did they have a traditional service where there was a good mixture of hymns and praise songs?
Were the people friendly? As you can see, we certainly had a list of things that we had told God that was important to us. Why is it, when we are trying to find answers to our needs and questions, we tend to think that we need to tell the Lord what we need, as if He doesn’t know exactly what it is that we need?
As time went by, we had marked off a couple of churches that we did not feel drawn to or that just did not feel was doctrinally correct. But, we still had First Baptist Dallas which we had begun to visit. We loved everything about it. We loved the preaching that was truly so Biblically correct. They music was just amazing and the orchestra, do not even get me started on how this music major loved the beautiful music that was such a huge part of the worship service there. They had terrific Sunday Schools and it was not far from our home. One by one, we would check items off our mental check, each week we visited there. Each visit there we felt brought us closer to thinking that this would probably be the church we would grow old in. BUT God……… would think that by this time in our lives, we would remember that sometimes our plans are just not lining up with God’s perfect plan for us. We think that just because we have found a place that seems “right”, it might not be what is right for us. This week, on FaceBook, a friend of mine posted a little slogan that has meant a lot to me the last couple of weeks’ Discernment is not the wisdom of knowing right from wrong, but the knowledge of knowing right from almost right.
Was there anything wrong with us making First Bapt Dallas our home church, no. Was it almost right as opposed to right? Well, here is how the Lord spoke to my heart Sunday, Sept 22nd.
We had gone to church that morning as we had the previous 3 Sundays at First Bapt. Wonderful sermon on Revelation and such amazing music. We left there on cloud Nine, and we talked in the car on the way home that we certainly loved the worship time there. But why were both of us not feeling like we should be there? We came home after having lunch and Randy laid down for a nap. This gave me a chance to work on my Bible Study lesson, which is a book on Elijah that I am attending on Wed mornings with a group of women. As I read about Elijah in 1 Kings 19:15-18 when God told him to go back the same way he had come,to fulfill some assignments God was going to use him for, these were the words that jumped off the page to me.
“Sometimes God moves us in new directions, but often He tells us to go back and stay the course. He sends us right back into the same group of people with fresh vision and purpose.” I began to weep. I sensed in my spirit that God was telling us to go back to Prestonwood, our home church before we had moved to California and Arizona. We truly had no intentions of going back there, when we knew we were moving back. It seemed illogical for us. It wasn’t close to where we were living. Why would the Lord call us back? Didn’t He know that it was 20 miles up the tollway? Didn’t He know that we wanted a church that was close by that we could drive our wheelchairs to as time went on? The church has so many new folks that have joined? Why would He ask us to go back? Had I, like Jonah, in the belly of a whale tried to run from God in fulfilling His purpose for us? Did we really think that we would know better than He where we should go?
When Randy woke up I shared how I felt that God has spoke to my heart about this and he agreed that the least we could do was go visit the next Sunday. So visit we did. What joy filled our souls. We left there excited and couldn’t wait for Wednesday night to get here so we could go back to the Wednesday night service they hold the first Wednesday of each month. So night before last, we attending that First Wed service. We got in the car and Randy looked at me and said, that was such a sweet service.” We knew in our hearts that we were being called back there. For what reason, we don’t know yet. But to see friends we have known for years and to just be loved on was such a great blessing.
As the Elijah study continues and I finish the book of lessons, this was in yesterdays study.*”Though we should always be open to new relationships and friendships, we should be careful to treasure the history we have with loyal friends.”
But God….we had prayed for months asking for direction. We knew He would be faithful to lead us and direct our paths. But we still tried to tell God what we thought best. You would think by this time in our lives, we would quit doing that. So thankful that those two little words, “but God” can change our perspective, our knowledge to know that He cares and is involved with the small and large details of our lives. But God…He will always lead us to not just to what is almost right, but what is perfectly right…every time we lean on Him and wait on Him to reveal His perfect plan.

* Elijah, Spiritual Stamina in Every Season by Melissa Spoelstra

Spiritual Shelves

Isa 43:1 “But now, thus says the Lord, he who created you, o Jacob, He who formed you, “Fear not, for Ihave redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Matthew 6:30 “And if God cares so wonderfully for the lilies, that are here today and gone tomorrow, He will certainly care for you.

Yes, we have moved a lot. Yes, each move has shown me several different aspects of Who God is and how He delights to give good things to us.
This morning, as I was making breakfast, I happened to just glance over to the shelves which are in our kitchen. When we were in Italy and had begun to look for a place to live, through the internet, we knew the area we hoped to be in. Because we were dependent upon some friends of ours to check out any place that looked like it might be a possibility, we began the search, knowing that if this was where we were to be, God would provide a place. And that He did. We signed the papers via computer after Jack and Dena went and walked us through this place, via Face Time so we could see it (other than just the pictures on the web site) before making a final decision.

We have learned that from each move, we learn certain things to be sure to look for. Actually, some of the places where we lived for a month at a time overseas, reminded me of certain “necessities” such as a garbage disposal or dishwasher or washer/dryer hook ups, (which some of the places we stayed did not have them) that we should always be sure of before deciding. Realizing that most places now have these conveniences, automatically,I didn’t think too much about asking about laundry rooms or microwaves. The area we were interested in was built in the 50’s and 60’s and not your typical new Texas house with large closets or modern kitchens. They have large rooms and lots of character, but not all have built in microwaves or private laundry facilities in each condo. However, ours did have the laundry hookups…but…they were in the kitchen. Never noticed that when we were looking at it on FaceTime. My trade off is I have double ovens, which is actually more important to me than having a separate laundry room. In fact, I have got use to them in the kitchen and used them as extra counter space when needing a place to let dough rise, or cookies cool that leaves me my counter space by the sink. All this to say, that this morning, as I passed by the washer and dryer, as I glanced up at the shelves above them and the shelves opposite them by the fridge, I just stopped for a minute and realized that God is just so precious. Because I am a junkaholic and love to keep and display items which have become so special to me, I love having spaces to put out these different things that have special memories to me. Yes, we have scaled down our living space the last 3 moves which has forced me to “reduce and refine” but there are certain items which are near and dear to my heart that I keep until the kids back up a dumpster when we are gone and throw away everything that didn’t come from Crate & Barrel or Ikea. But that’s for another story.
As I looked at the items sitting on the shelves, I began to think back over some of these and how each one has been such a great reminder of God’s love and provision. He is so good to give us things that might seem so small to others, when in fact, these “small” little blessings are just a great reminder on days when we are in need of remembering how faithful He truly is. I didn’t even think to add “extra space” to exhibit important things to my list of things to ask Him for when we were moving here. But, because He does know our names and the desires of our hearts, we can always trust His heart to know that He wants to give us good things, even when we sometimes don’t think to ask Him.
Today, as I sat down to finish my lesson for tomorrows Bible Study, the author ask us to think of a time, when we sensed God’s presence this week. My answer was…this morning as I looked up at the shelves and could sense Him telling me that He loves me and He knows me by name. AND…He knows I needed shelves so I could have a place to see my sweet memories! That’s our God and He is a Great God. May I always remember that in times of difficulties or circumstances which might tempt me to forget that.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

A dear friend gave me this recipe last week after tasting them at her house. She followed the recipe and they were delicious. However, I wanted to make them for kids using fall themed sprinkles on the outside without the cayenne, so I just deleted it and the cinnamon….I have eaten about 10 of them. Guess my cholesterol count will be back up to normal next visit to the dr. Had been so excited when at last visit, it had dropped 50 points after we returned from Italy, but since we are back home and the baking has begun, and we are back to taking the car everywhere, my dream of a cholesterol count being around 200 is slowly fading.
However, enough about health and cholesterol, if you are wanting a wonderful little chocolate cookie that simply gives you a marvelous chocolate flavor and is a great cookie to mail, then this is your recipe. Peggy, thank you for sharing this gem of a cookie recipe.

2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teas cream of tartar
1 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teas vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Stir to mix. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture until dough is well combined. I added about 2/3 cup chocolate chips at this point, but the recipe did not call for them.

*I combined about 1/2 cup sugar and fall themed sprinkles in a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop, roll each scoop into the sugar/sprinkle mixture and place on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, Bake for 8-9 minutes and let cookies cool on paper towels. You can freeze them at this point for later use, of course, keeping about 2 dz out to snack on while cleaning up the kitchen and watching Wheel of Fortune.

Soap Opera Marriage

This post is a little different from previous posts. Next week I will be starting a new Bible Study of the life of Elijah from 1 & 2 Kings in the Old Testament.
Looking through the new study book for this course, one of the questions ask is,
What things in todays world is discouraging to me?” As I thought about that question, one of the things that came to my mind are the many marriages which are struggling. It seems that each week brings a new story of friends or acquaintances whose family is being torn apart by divorce. As I think back about my life and the struggle which resulted in divorce and the pain it caused for those in our family and friends, it made me stop and think about things we hear and know which certainly have not helped in today’s marriages. Yes, today’s marriages seem to be so different from the marriages of years past. What I am writing today is part my story and partly, stories of what I hear from friends whose kids are in the midst of trying to either save a marriage or trying to reconcile to the new season of being a single parent. Hopefully this post will allow someone to see themselves or someone they love and know that there is hope and there is a Heavenly Father Who is there to walk with them through what will be a very tough time.

As I listened to a friend the other day talk about one of their children’s marriage, we began to think back over our lives from when we were the age of our kids and what we felt contributed to some of the problems we had as young marrieds.
In the 70’s, I remember watching soap operas during the day while doing housework or taking care of babies. Thinking back over those years, it came to mind that as I would sit and watch, the addiction began that I couldn’t just watch one; as one ended, another would begin and I would tell myself that I would just watch one more. It became something that I found myself adjusting my housework or meal prep for times that I could sit down and watch my programs. When my husband began to tell me that my mood changed depending on what had happened that day on my “soaps” I laughed. But after a while I began to look at my marriage as one which did not look like the one on TV. My view of marriage became distorted. I began to expect my husband to be like the one I watched everyday in a world that definitely was not real. Reality became blurred.
Yes, there were other problems in the marriage, but this loss of reality certainly did not help. I remember a friend talking to me about my marriage and was I doing everything I could to make it whole. Yes, the old saying that “it takes two” to make it good or bad is true. But what was I really doing to help make it “good”? At the time, I thought I was doing my part. I kept a clean house, always had meals ready, took care of the kids and was always up at the school volunteering for anything needed. But, what was I doing for my husband and I? Now, when it is so easy to see some of the things that we now know were certainly not contributing to a healthy marriage, it would be so great to be able to help young marriages by using the wisdom gained through the years.
Looking back, when our marriage was deteriorating, I choose women for my friends whose marriages were falling apart. Instead of choosing wise Godly women who would have helped me and been able to guide me with God’s Truth, I choose the ones who sometimes encouraged me to divorce or would sympathize with me to the point to where I thought it was all my husband’s fault. It is so easy to criticize the younger generations today in saying that they are the “entitlement” generation which thrives on wanting everything they feel will make them feel better about themselves. But didn’t I do the same thing all those years ago? Now, it is easy to see that I wanted it to be all about me and what I needed and wanted.

Also, I did not do “everything” I could have done to help the situation. Reading today’s devotion from Jim Cymbala led me to think so much of our young marrieds. So many make decisions that hinder not only their spiritual growth, but hinder God’s working in their marriages. It’s not only the younger marrieds but couples who have been married for years. When we are facing battles in our lives, why don’t we turn to the Lord, instead of to the world? Why do we think that the world and friends who are not walking with the Lord, can give us the Godly wisdom which will insure that we can truly say, “we are leaning on God and His guidance? We don’t live in a sin-free world and we do know that Satan is out to destroy families and marriages. Knowing this, why does that not make us lean on God that much more? We struggle with daily life decisions. We struggle with daily relationships. We struggle with knowing how and what to do to help our kids have a life that allows them to see how important God is to us.
All these struggles are real. BUT…there is an answer. That answer is Jesus Christ who wants our hearts, our lives and our worship. Why do we think that we can walk in the world, yet expect Him to work a miracle in our life? As I mentioned in this mornings devotion, Pastor Cymbala wrote, “God is ready to radically change things because no obstacle is too difficult for him. Possibly you face a dilemma of some kind today. Maybe it is related to your marriage or a son or daughter who is not serving God. Or possibly you need the Lord to heal you in the realm of your emotions. Whatever the case, remember that we have a God who can “break out” and supernaturally help us. And it all begins when we slow down and humble ourselves in prayer. We must bring our individual circumstances before God, as David (in the Psalms) did, with a yielded will that desires to know what he wants us to do. “Break Outs” begin not with noise and clamor, but with a surrendered heart.” *
Why not commit our lives to daily walking in His ways, read God’s Word, surround ourselves with people who lead us to the Cross, not away from it. Attend a Bible believing church and allow ourselves to have Christian friendships which will walk with us in our struggles. Begin our day asking the Lord to guide us into ALL TRUTH and then use us for His Glory, not our own.
Soap opera marriages are not real. But God Is…trust Him and depend on Him wanting to “Break Out” of our old patterns and expect Him to do mighty and glorious things.
*taken from Jim Cymbala Daily Devotions

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Biscotti

This morning, I was looking for another recipe to take to a gathering this afternoon. Rodelle Brownies (they are already posted on the blog) was already in the oven to take, but I wanted something else and since we received a little rain and dark skies this morning, it seemed appropriate that something pumpkin should be made. I googled Pumpkin Biscotti and this recipe sounded just perfect. It turned out great and was so easy. Have enough pumpkin puree left to make another batch and place in the freezer for next weekend when I can take it to a tea.

4 tables softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 teas pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teas ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teas baking powder
1/2 teas salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2/3 cup chocolate chips (when the stores begin to get in the cinnamon flavored chips, I will use those instead)
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or very lightly grease the baking sheet (about an 18″x13″ sheet)

In a medium size bowl, beat the softened butter, sugar, spices, salt & baking powder until smooth.
Beat in the egg and pumpkin puree.
Putting the mixer on low speed, add the flour, incorporating until mixed well.
Add the finely crushed pistachios and chocolate chips to the batter and stir them in well.
Mixture will be sticky.

Divide dough into 2 halves and place on baking sheet. With a little flour on your hands, shape each half into a football shaped log. About 1/2 -2/3″ thick.
Sprinkle a little sugar over the top of each half and place in preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temp to 325. Let biscotti stand for about 5 minutes then using a serrated knife, cut biscotti into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices diagonally and place each slice down flat on one side. Return to oven and leave in about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn over each slice and bake again for about 10 mins. Turn oven completely off, leaving the door ajar and leave the biscotti in to cool completely in oven.
Biscotti can be frozen after completely cooled or stored in airtight container for about 4-5 days.

*taken from King Author Flour recipes

Meatless Mondays, Turnip Greens Tuesday, Weeds (oops I mean Salad) Wednesdays, Tomato Thursdays & French Fry Fridays

We are old. We now walk in the mall with the rest of the Seniors in the mornings. Because it is still too hot to walk outside, we have joined the Mall Walkers Senior Citizen Group of America. Randy said that next time we go we need to go a little later in the morning so we would be there when the stores actually open and reward ourselves with a cinnamon roll for all the steps we were getting.

After getting all settled in now and have all the boxes unpacked, we find ourselves putting on some of the weight that we had lost while we were in Italy. So we have come up with a plan. It started this past Monday with Meatless Monday when we decided that maybe we should keep up the “less meat” way of eating like we did in Italy. So we have declared Monday to be Meatless Mondays. As I thought back about the veggies I tend to cook, it seems that green beans and cabbage are usually a staple at our veggie meals. Looking through a Paula Deen cookbook, I ran across a recipe for squash casserole, which sounded delicious. I had everything for it except sour cram so I substituted Cream of Mushroom Soup. It was even better the next night when we had it for leftovers. Actually, Wednesday nights we head for El Fenix for the 2 cheese enchilada special. So We don’t really have salad Wednesdays, wait a minute. Yes we do. There is a little parsley on the plate of enchiladas so we count that as salad. We had got in the habit of making cut up tomato and mozzarella with olive oil for lunch when we were in Italy (I sill love saying or writing that, it makes us sound so suave and debonair) So we have decided that we need to keep that up instead of always driving to the closest Whataburger. Since my cholesterol had dropped 50 points from the time we left in April to the time we returned in July, I DO NOT want to hear a dr tell me it is back up to where I started. So we truly are trying to eat a little more healthy. In fact, just yesterday, I only ate one basket of chips with salsa at El Fenix. And today, having lunch with my sister-in-law at Houstons, I left half of my key lime pie to bring home to Randy. But…when Janece dropped me off at my car, I picked up the wrong bag and brought the bag that was suppose to go home with her. Being the kind person I am I had brought the other half of my pie home to Randy, but Janece ended up with that bag and I had grabbed her bag that had a whole piece of pie she had ordered to take home to her hubby. No…I didn’t know I did that. So after we share a whole piece of pie tonight we will plan on maybe easing up a little on the olive oil with tomatoes and mozzarella tomorrow for our lunch. What the heck, will cut back on the onion also, so we can have an extra piece of garlic bread to go with the bruschetta. Yes, we are a couple who thrive on eating healthy now and who are the proud owners of smart watches which count our steps as we walk to the donut shop.
Fridays we celebrate with hamburgers and french fries for all the healthy food we have endured during the week.

In case you have a veggie meal and you are in the mood for something different than green beans and carrots, try this squash casserole. It is delicious. The recipe calls for sour cream but if you have cream of mushroom soup,it works great also Either will be great.

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 medium yellow summer squash, thinly slice
1 large Vidalia Onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt & Pepper

1 sleve crackers, crushed medium to fine
4 tables butter

Heat oil and butter in little until butter is melted. Add squash and onion, salt and pepper and cook until squash and onion are tender.
Add both the Parmesan and cheddar with the sour cream, and stir until combined.
Pour into a baking dish and bake in preheated 350 oven for about 20 minutes. Remove and add crushed crackers over the top. Dot the 4 tables utter over the top and bake for about 10 minutes or until crumbs begin to turn golden.
(Actually I forgot, I used Progresso Italian Flavored bread crumbs instead of crackers and we loved using that. Tasted great.)

So from our healthy table to yours….you’re welcome. And Yes, the butter is healthy because…well, it just is. Just ask Paula Deen. Besides I have a cake server that has “LOVE & BUTTER” on the front. And if you can’t trust a cake server, what can you trust?

Sweet Tea & Jesus

We are finally back in Texas. It has been a month since I last posted and so much has transpired in this month. We are settling quickly into our new place here in Dallas and am quickly adjusting to all that Texas has to offer…great restaurants, great churches, great friends and of course, some of our family.

The last post was written as we were leaving Italy. As we look back at where we were just a month ago today, we realize our lives have already adapted back to how we lived before going to live in Italy for 3 months. We are once again driving instead of walking everywhere or taking buses. We have a dryer again and fast food on every corner. But we hope that some of the changes which we made overseas will stay with us…like giving up diet drinks and lots of meat. But that is for another story.
Upon leaving Dallas back in February, we had stopped at Buckee’s for gas, Dr. Pepper and snacks before heading down the road to begin our adventures. While looking over the kitchen items on each of the aisle’s at Buckee’s, there staring back at me was a pillow with this on the front; “I was raised on Sweet Tea & Jesus”. But because we already looked like we were road hoarders with every inch of our car loaded, I told Randy I would not buy the pillow on the way out, but would stop coming back into Texas and buy that pillow for our new place. Well, I’m sure you can guess what occurred…the pillow is no where to be found. I have searched hi and low and every web site I can think of but to no avail. Thinking back over my life, there have been very few days when I did not have sweet tea to drink and since I was raised in Church from the time of my conception, Jesus has been a part of my every day life as well. This pillow was right up my ally. Plus it was just so cute.

As the last box of items have been finally unpacked and our home is finally taking shape, we have had several things occur that has kinda blown us away. The first story I want to tell you about is how God gave us a most amazing table and chairs set for our new place.
Because we were storing all of our belongings in pods for 8 months, we decided before leaving AZ that we would sell as much as we could to avoid having to have multiple pods, so all of our tables and chairs were sold as well as living room couches and chairs. When we arrived here two weeks ago, we began to search for a dining room table with chairs. Because this condo is small, there is only one eating space in the dining room. Not wanting a table that looked like it belonged in a kitchen or wanting a formal look that didn’t go with our antiqued washed cabinet which is black, I went looking for a black table and chairs. After hours of looking at Pier One, Rooms to Go, Weirs, Ashly, and several web sites, I decided to start looking on Facebook Market Place. After searching for a couple of days, one popped up that would be perfect. It was an antique Farm House black Duncan Table with 6 chairs. I immediately texted her to see if it was available but the lady told me it was pending pick up for the following day. I ask her to please let me know if for some reason the buyers did not show up or decide not to buy it.(it had been posted for a 2 weeks I believe already), Honestly I did not expect to hear back from her, however, the next morning, she wrote and told me that they indeed did not show up. So we quickly drove over and fell in love with it the minute she opened the front door. The table and chairs were $100. We couldn’t believe what we got for the money. We found the perfect material already to recover the chairs and am in love with how it goes so beautifully with all of our things. God was so good to give us this great set.
The next story is about a set of chairs which we got yesterday. We have been looking for a chair for the living room to replace some chairs which we sold due to the fact that they were needing replacing long before now, but because they were so comfortable and they were my chairs where I would sit each morning for my quiet time with the Lord, It was so hard to actually sell them, knowing the sweet times of prayer that had taken place while sitting in them. In fact, I called them my “meet with Jesus chairs”.
There were times and seasons in our lives, when, like most parents, we needed to just pray for our kids for difficult times in their lives. Prayers were said for new grand babies being born, or jobs which had ended or changed and we were praying for God’s direction or wisdom before making decisions. Health issues were prayed over, aging parents and how to care for them were prayers which were said some times with tears in our eyes as we sat. There were certainly nights when we sat in these precious gold chairs while we would be reading God’s Word and praying for friends or family as they went through difficult days. When we had Bible Studies in our home, usually one of us would be sitting in one of these chairs as we would lead or discuss God’s Word with others. Yes, the chairs that we were now replacing had so many precious memories and were missed.
But, as we know, material things do not last forever. It was time for a new chair. Making a note to myself and out loud to Randy that the chair would need to be deep enough to sit back and curl my legs back under as that is how I sit when I read. It needed to be comfy and soft and yet, needed to go with the furniture we had already purchased. So this last week, after we would unpack during the day, we would sit at night and look at different web sites and at FB Marketplace. We went and looked at a few that looked promising, but nothing ever materialized. It would either be the wrong color, size, not comfortable or was to big or to small. Just like Goldilocks. Well, yesterday, after taking one chair back to Weirs which ended up not being the right color or size once we got it up here, we went to see a set of chairs which we had found on FB. On the way to look at them I told Randy, “I’m done. Im tired and if these chairs don’t work, let’s forget about looking at chairs for a few days and just concentrate on finishing up the little things which we need to do and take a few days off from looking. I was getting frustrated. Well the set of chairs that we looked at were not what we expected. So we got back in the car and I said, “ok that’s it, no more looking at chairs for a few days. Let’s go home.” it was hot, 104 and we were both exhausted from carrying the Weirs chair back down the stairs that morning. But as I got in the car, I felt led to go to FB and open the Marketplace. As soon as I did, there were two chairs, staring back at me and I quickly showed them to Randy. They looked exactly like what we would want. He told me to quickly text the guy and ask if we could come look at them, so I did. I noticed that they had posted one hour before and as before, I quickly went to the guys FB page for security reasons. We always do that. The mans’ name sounded familiar to me and I looked him up and noticed that he was friends with so many of our friends from Prestonwood. He quickly texted back and said to come right then and look at them. So off we went to the address he gave us. As we drove over there, it dawned on me that the address we were given was the address of First Bapt Carrollton and the man was their pastor.
As we pulled up to the church, we introduced ourselves to Pastor Taylor and in the next 15 minutes we had loaded one of the chairs into the back of our car. The other one will be picked up tomorrow, as we could’t fit both of them in. The church is moving and selling lots of furniture. As we drove the one chair here, I told Randy, isn’t it just so precious that my “meet with Jesus” chair is being replaced with a chair that we bought from a church. And the Lord gave them to us for once again, $100 for both.
God’s Word tells us that when He blesses us, we are to tell others of those blessings and gifts and to give Him the glory. Dear sweet friends, I pray this post today will not only remind you of God’s love but also that God cares and knows our needs, no matter how small. He is faithful to meet those needs. Yes, He even brought us back to Sweet Tea Country and gives me stories to tell others so that He will be praised.

Leaving is Such Sweet Sorrow

We are in our last two days of living the Italian dream! And it has been an amazing journey. We are going home with some great memories and wonderful experiences! Instead of words, I thought it would be fun to just post some of our most favorite pictures which represent some of our favorite memories! Just be glad Im not making you sit through a night of looking at 500 slides!

Tiber River Times

We are in our last week of this amazing adventure that began April 16th! Actually it began a few years back when Randy began to share that he hoped one day to just come to Italy and spend a few months living and just soak up as much Italian life as possible!

Last July while sitting on the beach in Newport, CA, we began to seriously plan that dream. We had just had a most wonderful evening at the Rose Bowl with some of our favorite people watching fireworks and of course sharing great food while laughing and making a great July 4th memory! So as we sat, watching waves roll in and listening to children running and laughing as the water splashed around them, it was then that we knew that it was time! Each season of our lives has allowed us different experiences that we can now look back and see Gods Hand of growth, faithfulness and yes, sometimes chastisements through different happenings.

If you read my posts regularly, you probably see a pattern in what I write! It tends to circle around God! It is so hard to express how I feel about Him but I will try! God is, God was and God always will be! He is our Creator, our Sustainer and Our hope! Because of Him, we live and breathe! So when I think about all that He has not only allowed, but provided for us, it is with great thankfulness that we know He put this dream (or desire) in our hearts for a reason! Do we know all the reasons yet, that He has lead us to every location we have stayed? No, and we might not ever this side of Heaven!

As we are in an apartment across the street by the Tiber River, it might be for the simple reason that we met the gracious host and her husband to just share a thankful heart of her going out of her way to bring us the key clear across town! Maybe it was for me to see precious ladies sitting on a half brick wall outside a little grocery with their little roll carts full of groceries, probably sharing neighborhood gossip or what had been going on in their lives this week! As I walked by them it was such a beautiful reminder of how even the simplest life can be full of laughter and great moments! I want to remember that as we return to a place and life that can easily become very hurried and not quite so simple! Maybe the events, some that we would not have wanted, were for the testing of our faith or dependence on Him! There have been days when I think both of us would have packed up and headed back home, but we didnt have a home to go to! It was in those difficult days of missing family and friends or difficult circumstances that our time with the Lord got a little more attention. All i know is that both Randy and I have learned more of what God wants to be to us!

In our times of everything going wonderful, and exactly as planned, it showed us that it is in those times, that we need to draw closer to the Great God who has given graciously to us so so many wonderful gifts, of special days that included worshipping with other believers here in Rome and Florence, hearing beautiful church bells, eyes that looked upon the most beautiful blue green clear water, ancient partial walls that protected towns from invading troops, artistically painted frescos in churches hundreds of years old! From the meeting of a young women serving us breakfast on Randys birthday and telling me that we were different from most folks who she served, to listening to gorgeous music by the 3 Italian Tenors; both of these rank just as high in my memories!

No, we dont know the reasons we have been allowed this experience! But we do know that we will be forever grateful for His Hand of protection and provision that we have experienced here in Italy! God is not bound to borders nor race! May God be praised for His goodness, no matter the location, no matter the memory!

As the Tiber River flows so smoothly by, may we be….”Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace 
Over all victorious in its bright increase 
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day 
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way”

Italian Life Sounds

Here we are enjoying another day at the water! We love the breeze that blows off the bay and the shade that is made by the turquoise and blue stripped umbrella between our deck chairs.

As we sit and read or nap, there are precious sounds that come from the water! Sounds of kids, who have apparently left all their cell phones at home and are playing ball in the water! The sounds of moms yelling “dont go any further out” as kids continue to jump and splash out further and further!

Just this morning as we opened the door to the street below our balcony, we heard a baby cry and a young mom trying “in Italian” to console the young girl.

In the evenings, as people stroll the Corso, musicians are playing guitars, violins, lariots or singing, we sit on benches along the boulevard and just people watch. It has been so amazing to just hear the sounds of their everyday life. Some are yelling to shop owners as they walk by! Others see a neighbor and stop to visit. We have seen women yelling down to the street below their home to familiar faces!

Today is one of those days when i sit and think about some of the things i will miss most about Italy, when we leave to go home in a few weeks! As i wrote in a previous post, of course we will miss the beauty of Italy, the simplistic lifestyle and of course the wonderful food, but the sounds which we have come to love will be one of the things I miss the most! And how can i leave the bell chimes? We have been so fortunate to stay in places that not only can we hear the bells, but watch them as well! That has blessed my socks off!

it is the sounds that make everyday life so interesting. That is one thing I hope to change when we move back to Dallas. It has always been so easy to drive in the garage from the ally, close the garage door and separate ourselves from the world! And…as some days we all need this alone time, it is going to be hard not to fall back in that routine! But as we settle into our new place, I hope that I remember just how alive we both felt as we watched and listened to the sounds of Italy and allow ourselves to slurp our spaghetti ever once in awhile or just go sit outside an ice cream parlor and listen to the sounds of Dallas. As we sat today in our chairs watching and listening to the families here, we began to talk to the couple next to us. They are from Plano, TX and are here with their twin girls! We began to converse about so many memories which we will take home. We have agreed that if we forget everything we have done or seen as we get older, may we never forget the sounds that have come to echo in our hearts! Tonight, Randy is treating us to go hear the 3 Tenors here at the opera house. It is the 3 Tenors of Italy who sing all the famous songs of Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Carreras! Sounds of music which will be forever a memory of our time here in Sorrento! From the men who jumped on the train hoping their music would bring them a few dollars to the opera stars this evening…..each will hold a special place in our hearts!

  • Italy…a land of beauty, history and so much more! So thankful for the memories!