Update on Debbie

Debbie Stuart is being used by God to minister to the women of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, TX. Because she is being allowed to put the video’s on the Church’s Facebook page, please go to Green Acres Baptist Church Facebook page to watch Life Together videos and other teaching videos.

YOU WILL BE SO BLESSED! Thank you so much. Trudy

Mountains & Valleys

Last week, we enjoyed so much going to church with our kids who live here. Because I was fighting the flu, and didn’t know it, we drove on to church with me laying down in the seat with my feet on the dash of the car. If you read my previous blog, you will know that I was actually not just feeling weak from giving blood the day before, but was already experiencing flu symptoms. Randy kept asking me if I was sure I didn’t want to head to Urgent care but I told him to just drive in the direction of the church and I would let him know by the time we arrived if I needed to go to the doctor or if I was able to go to church. Thinking that surely the effects of donating blood would simply go away, I choose to drag myself into church. After all, getting to sing and hear God’s Word taught “should” energize me and help me forget how bad I felt. So in we go, all the while hoping that I would be able to stand to sing.
The preacher began to talk to us about living our Christian lives and how we seem to think that if we do everything “right” we would have more mountaintop experiences. As I sat there and listened to him speak, it became evident that he had a word that I needed to hear. The scripture reading was from Luke 4:30-44
“Once when he was in the synagogue a man possessed by a demon began shouting at Jesus, “go away, why are you bothering us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you are are–the Holy One sent from God.”
The pastor brought up an interesting point that I had never thought about before. This man, who was possessed, was sitting right there in the pew, listening to Jesus preach. Were the other’s so use to this man being there every week that they never paid attention to him? Did they just think he was just a little weird? Did the others there that day think that he was just like they were? All scripture tells us is that there he was, sitting in church, listening but yet unwilling to surrender. The pastor began to talk about us as Christians, we think that the more “mountaintop experiences” we have, the holier we are. But is that what Christ is calling us to? Nothing more than people who live for those mountaintop experiences? No, we need the times in the valleys when we are reminded that Christ should be our hope, our peace and the one we strive to grow into His likeness. Mountaintops give us times when we experience times of refreshing and experiencing God’s faithfulness. We know that the prize of our salvation awaits us for all eternity. BUT..it is those times in the valleys which grows our faith and allows us to serve others while they are going through the storms and valleys of life. We are called to serve. We are not called to live on the mountaintops. We must come to the point in our lives as Christians that we seek out those who are struggling and come along beside them to show Christ’s love, compassion and giver of eternal life.
He ended the sermon with this thought:
Am I a friend to Jesus or a demon in the pew? Am I sitting here week after week, listening to Jesus Words, but not allowing Him to use me or surrender to what He has for me?
This week I have had more time than usual since I was quarantined for 3 days to think about that? Am I living for just those those wonderful mountain top times, not wanting to surrender to the valley times so that His light will shine thought me to others? Or am I sitting there, like a devil in the pew week after week?
Thank you Pastor Grosshans for a great reminder that God didn’t promise us a life of no valleys, but He did promise us that He would go with us through them.
The Christian life does have some mountaintop experiences. But we cannot stay there and just glance down to those in the valleys. We have to be down here with others, serving, loving and praying that God’s glory will be evident from our hearts to theirs.

Brain Exercises

Well, here we are in Orlando, Florida enjoying the great state of sunshine and oranges. Except for today when it is cloudy and cold…and I have the flu. We were told that when we got to Florida everything would be sunny and glorious. That the weather now would just be perfect. And for most parts it has been, other than a few days of rain which was really neat to cool the day off. Guido has decided in the last couple of days that he is growing his mustache back. He told me that he thinks he looks to young to be with me so has decided before we go to Italy next month that he will grow it back so that we look more closely matched. When he left this morning for errands, I had the locks changed.
A friend of mine has been telling me about all the brain exercises that she and her husband do on the computer that is suppose to help your brain keep active. They do sound really fun and probably do work, but I told her that we have a game of our own that is not on the computer and that is certainly keeping our brains active.
The game is called, “keep moving around to different addresses”. As I was writing a few cards this morning while sitting and resting and drinking lots of Dr Pepper to help me get over the flu (I wonder if that is what the Dr meant when she told me to go home and drink lots of fluids?), I started to think about all the zip codes I have had to remember to put on cards and bills since we left Arizona the end of December. Yes, I know we could get a PO box and have everything sent there, but what is the fun in that? It is more fun to keep people guessing where we are and how long we will be in each spot.
Our kids have given up. They just text us and ask us what we are having for dinner and that helps them know where we are. For instance, if we are having Tex-Mex or Whataburger, we are in Texas. If we are having fried seafood, we are probably in Louisiana or Florida. If we are having Fried Chicken, grits and Pee..can pie, we have traveled a little north to Savannah, so I can hopefully catch a glance of Paula. Surely the third time will be successful. But, getting back to our memory, each time we settle for a little bit, I have to learn a new return address and zip code.
The last few days when I finally decided to find a urgent care to see if I was diabetic, dying from high blood pressure or high cholesterol, just the exercise of calling a million different places to see if they took our insurance was exercise enough for a week. After calling about 10 places, we found an urgent care about 25 miles away. Then we add it to our phones and have to navigate our way there, fill out 10 sheets of paper and then if you haven’t died yet, you get to wait for an hour to see a 15 year old Dr. But, my brain has had a great workout this week. So hopefully after I am over the flu I will feel good enough to try my hand at one of the brain games on my phone. But right now, I think it has had a good enough workout for a few days.
FYI, all the things you have heard that are signs of having the flu are not complete.
The only symptoms I had were: weakness, dizziness and so tired, I felt like I had baked 100 cupcakes in an hour and tried to walk in a pair of 3″ high heals.
No fever,no congestion, no cold symptoms, but when I crawled into the Urgent Care office, I tested positive for Type A…go figure! Would have never even thought about having the flu. But was to go home and rest and drink and stay away from others. I thought all the symptoms that I was having were a result of giving blood on Saturday.
Randy and I had seen a Blood Donating Bus in front of the movie theatre a couple weeks back with a sign out front that said “Donate Today and get 2 free movie tickets” Well, you don’t have to ask Randy twice to do anything if he is going to get something free. So Saturday morning we awoke to him saying, “let’s go online to see if the blood mobile is still in front of the movie house and we can get 4 free movie tickets.” Bless his heart, he gets so excited when he knows he can get free stuff. So off we went to the blood mobile. We climbed the stairs into the big red bus, filled out the forms and gave my butter laden blood to a poor recipient who, I pray will not have a heart attack from getting my blood. But as the technician gave us our paperwork for the free movie ticket, it said we would get one free ticket. WHAT? I had gone through all that for one ticket? When I ask her about getting two free tickets, she replied that that was a special promotion that weekend only and we only got one ticket each now. We took our free cookie, free movie pass and climbed down the stirs with a disappointed heart. I looked at Randy and said that if he took me to Dillards, I would forgive him for making me go through that ordeal for one ticket. So we walked across the parking lot to Dillards. By the time I got inside the door, I was close to fainting and about to vomit. So he sat me in a chair right inside the door in the shoe department. Normally any shoe department would immediately energize me but not today. I told him that he had better ask someone really fast where a bathroom was as I was about to loose it. So off he goes in search of a bathroom. People began to come over to me and ask me if I’m ok. I guess I looked worse that I had thought. The manager comes over and tells me she is going to call EMS and sends another lady over to get me a water. I assure her that my husband is someplace in the store and that he will surely be back in a few minutes and I will be fine. the 3 ladies standing over me tell me I don’t look fine and proceed to ask my husbands name. When I tell them, the manager pages Randy over the store intercom to please come meet his wife in the shoe dept immediately. Well, about 10 min later, here comes Mr. Turtle, moozing over to where he had left me. It took 3 people to help me walk to the car. As soon as I could talk I began to ask him where he had gone and why did it take him so long to come back. He told me he had finally found the bathroom on the second level. And anyone who knows Randy knows how slow he walks on a normal day. When I told him that I had got concerned that maybe he had walked off someplace and got as week and faint as I had got, he told me “no I was fine but just could not find any bathrooms on the first floor. When I ask him if he heard his name being called out over the intercom he replied no, he did not hear it. Our next brain exercise will be to find an ENT Dr. for him that takes our insurance.
I guess I already had the flu and giving blood just sent me over the top. So my advice to you is, if you are not feeling exactly “chipper” do not give blood, even if they are giving away free tickets to anything. It is not worth it. When I get well, Randy has assured me I get to choose which movie we see with our free ticket. He just gets sweeter and sweeter.

As I have written about in previous posts, both Randy and I are in a new season of life…retirement. Not by his choosing, but circumstances out of his control. So we find ourselves home much more than we have ever been. When I think about Randy and how well he has adjusted to not working, it was so amazing to find this story that I had long ago forgot. It is just as applicable today as it was back in 2002. Here it is. “Wow, what a seemingly hard, almost impossible, for so many, myself included to do..to sit and be still. The world we live in today is so fast paced, so busy, that we have a hard time just sitting and doing nothing. It seems that we have to have some noise around us at all times. We just do not know what to do with the quiet. A couple of years ago a dear friend of mine told me that I was addicted to business. I laughed and said that I probably was, but just didn’t think too much about what she had just told me. One day, while having a quiet time and praying to the Lord, I thought of what my friend had told me. In the deepest part of my soul, I felt that God was telling me that what Simone had told me was true. I had been so busy with things. I was in the habit of telling the Lord what I wanted to do and then wondered why He was not speaking to me or using me like I felt He should. It was then that I realized that as soon as I finished telling God what I thought my day should look like and what I needed from Him, I would hurry off and proceed with my day; never giving Him a chance to speak to me or showing me through His Word what He might have for me. Guessing that He would send me a message via billboard, text message or hear something through a radio message, I would quickly go about my busy day. Yes, He can speak to us anyway He chooses, but what if He was wanting to speak to us in the quiet? Would He have a chance to do that? After years of running kids around, working, spending time with friends for lunch, hobbies, it has been hard to stay home, after being in the habit of staying gone all day. But moving to California, took so many things away that for the first time in years, I had time on my hands. no more friends until I had the chance to make some. No church activities to keep me busy until we found a church and got involved. I fought it, I griped about it and tried to tell the Lord that this was not going to work. I needed lots of things to do and I wanted Him to keep me busy…NOW! When He didn’t answer in the way I felt He should, I began to look at my life and realize that for so many years, I was asking Him to walk with me in the paths that I wanted to go, doing what I wanted and expecting Him to bless me. Now, I realized that when I didn’t give Him the chance to work in my life, or give Him a chance to speak to me, He “helped” me find the quiet times. Slowly and finally in surrender I began to see that when we give Him the opportunity to speak, He is more than willing. He did create us for His pleasure. He doesn’t need anything from us, but he desires things from us..a humble, quiet and surrendered heart. I began to pray each day that I will be willing to “be still and know” that He is God and then allow His truths and light to flow through me to others He places in my path.” Even though that story was written back in 2002, I read it and realize how easy it is to once again fall into business of life. With both of us home now, we have to try a little harder to spend some alone time with God each day. We think that the older we get that we will have more time to spend with the Lord, but somehow, we seem to always find other things to do. My prayer for 2015 is that I will give Him more of my time and more of my heart. That each day I will “Be still and know that He is God.” And then trust Him for His timing, leading and guidance in my life. He is always faithful, I pray that He will be able to say that about me one day.

Italian Nut Balls

We have settled here in Orlando for two months before heading to italy for hopefully 3 months! So in these two months we have time to not only bond with our Florida kids, but to go explore some of Florida’s great attractions. This week we have driven to Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach! We took an extra vitamin yesterday and walked around Downtown Disney! Tickets have been purchased for a lake tour and a day next week we will drive back to Daytona to experience the Daytona Race Track Tour!

When we visited Daytona on Tuesday we walked thru an antique mall where I found a basket of all kinds of little recipe booklets. You know the kind that is always right by the register when you check out! I love those little cookbooks and have a million of them! Well maybe not a million but enough to warrant their own shelf in the bookcase! So what did i do but buy 5 more. After getting back to the condo and leafing thru the cookie one, i found this little recipe for Italian Nut Balls! I started reading over the recipe when Guido ask me what i was reading. I told him I was reading a recipe that sounded just like what we are! Italian Nut Balls. Do not think we don’t know what some of you are saying! “What do they think they are doing, selling their home and traveling for 6-8 months? Don’t they realize they are old and need to stay close to a hospital or nursing home?” Yes, we can only imagine what friends must be thinking or saying! Lucky for them we are hard of hearing and can’t hear what they say!

So in the meantime, think I’ll bake these little gems and pack them in my suitcase to snack on while flying to Italy! Will help me remember why we are doing what we are doing……because we truly are Italian Nut Balls!!! taken from a Pillsbury Cookie Cookbook 1987

Miracle on High Street

Today marks 60 days until we leave for Italy for 3 months. On Dec 29th we began our adventure of being gypsies! We have traveled a little more than 3000 miles and have driven from sea to shining sea! We have experienced some awesome memories and have seen Gods Hand at work already in so many ways! To say that God shows up in unexpected ways is an-understatement! God continues to show us that He goes before us and behind us!

We are settled in downtown Orlando now for a couple months! I have to admit that it felt so good to unpack and know i wouldn’t have to repack for 2 months! It also felt good to go grocery shopping yesterday! For those of you who know me, you know that i am not one of those who “eat to exists”. The slogan ” i love to eat” was created for me! So se have had a ball traveling from California to Florida eating at places which have, in the past, made it to our “must return to this place” list or to new places which had been recommended to us!

When we stopped in Albuquerque for one night, we were blessed to stay at a B&B downtown! We had stayed there one other time. This was our first little “unexpected” blessing that God had provided! I had booked us in an Airbnb the week before but had put the wrong dates in so as we approached Albuquerque I texted the man who had leased his apartment to us for the night which he called immediately and told Randy that I had put in the wrong dates and he was full that night. So I had to quickly find a location for us to stay. I began looking at all the hotels and exuberant prices and finally Randy told me to check the bed-and-breakfast where we had stayed on a previous visit. I told him that it did not show up as being available for that night and he told me to just call them directly and see if maybe there was a chance they had a room. So I did. The lady answered on the second ring and I told her that we had stayed there before did she possibly have a room. She informed me that she only had one room left and the reason why it was not on the availability list was that when it didn’t rent by noon time she pulled it off because then she didn’t have a maid service but she did have the downstairs room which is what we needed anyway. When we got there the room is ready and we woke up to a magnificent gourmet breakfast. I went in the kitchen to tell Carly how wonderful the breakfast was and we were so thankful that we were able to stay there! she told me that she normally does not answer the phone after 5 o’clock but for some reason she was sitting there watching TV with her daughter and decided to pick up the phone. We knew God had provided this wonderful place for us! Also as we were eating breakfast I realized Randy was talking to a couple of the guests that were eating breakfast at our table! It amazed me because he’s the one that never wants to stay at a bed-and-breakfast as he does not enjoy visiting with total strangers! When I saw him talking and enjoying himself, i knew i was experiencing a miracle! If you are ever in Albequerque, remember this B&B on High St. You will be so glad you did!

It has been almost two months that we have been on this adventure! As we settled here on Tues night, we thought back over the last 6 weeks and realized that we have had precious times with the kids we dont get to spend time with as often as we wanted! It has been fun to cook in different kitchens at our kids houses and sit and visit with new friends as well!

So here we are Feb. 14th in a condo owned by a precious friend who is allowing us to stay here! God continues to be faithful to us in so many different ways. No matter the season, no matter the circumstance we see His great love shining down on us! Happy Valentines day to all….as we bask in the glory of His great love by the giving of His Son….Jesus who loved us so much to lay down His life for us!

Beyond The Sunset

Yesterday as Randy and I prepared to leave Puerta Vallarta to head back to LA for a few days before heading out in the next leg of our journey, we had to once again say goodbye to some friends who have become so much more than “friends” to us both. As I left the hotel with tears in my eyes and a sad heart realizing that we did not know how long it would be before we saw each other again, it dawned on me that life is full of goodbyes! We have several friends at this time who are enduring really scary health issues and are possibly facing having to say goodbye to life as they know. As seasons of life change and new circumstances come into play, we all have to say goodbye to certain things. But yesterday seemed to take on a whole new meaning. As we had several hours on the plane. I began to really think about this! As we left Arizona a few weeks ago, we said goodbye to new friends who we loved and also to our kids that live there. That was truly very hard. Because we have kids, and family in Texas, Florida and Arizona, there is no place we could live that did not make us have to say “goodbye” at times to family! Friends who we love dearly are scattered around in different states which is wonderful, but also trying when it comes to saying goodbye as we leave to go home!

On the plane as i continued to think about this, the thought that came to me was that one day, one glorious day, we will never have to say goodbye again! Oh what joy to be united together and live in Thanksgiving and praise to the One Who has made that possible! As we flew into LA, the phone could not capture truly the most beautiful sunset i have ever seen in my life! There above the horizon was a color of red that could not be described. It was just magnificent and a most significant reminder of Who Our creator is! It made me so thankful that one day…..one day we will be beyond the sunset, never having to say goodbye again

Beyond the sunset
Oh, glad reunion
With our dear loved ones
Who’ve gone before
In that fair homeland
We’ll know no parting
Beyond the sunset
Forever more

Waves of Wonder

We are officially “homeless” and on the road of a new season! A season of some adventure and wondering what the Lord has in store for us as we seek Him and His plan for our lives!

Leaving the comfort and familiarity of home is always a bit challenging especially when you dont know exactly where you will end up! Our friends/family seem to kid us about writing our home address in pencil which, if i think about all the times we have moved, seems like a great idea!

We love change and we love the challenge of learning and exploring new places! But as we get older and certain things become not quite so easy to acheive, we are grateful for all the things, experiencss and adventures that God allows us!

At this time, we are in Mexico with dear friends who we have spent so much time! We have had weekends in a cabin in Sequoia, stayed in their homes on our trips to California and weeks together in Mexico! They have visited us in Arizona but also endured family crisis with each other!

Trust me when. I say that sharing meals, bathrooms, certain medicines and sometimes even “readers” or shoes does tend to bond us!

This morning as I sat out and listened to the majesty of the roaring waves splash upon the rocks and then subside as they flowed upon the sand, i could not help but think of our lives as being like those beautiful waves! Each one so very different! Each one designed by our Creator! As i continued to watch, i thought about seasons of change and how each change brings different results. Just like waves, each season has a purpose. As one wave came crashing on the rocks I thought about some of the circumstances that made our lives come crashing in….the loss of a job, a medical report that was certainly not what we wanted to hear! A child having a drug problem! Then there are the waves that flow so easily and calmly upon the shore! That brought back memories of some seasons which were just that….easy and calm; when there seem to be little or no strife in our daily lives!

Before I left the balcony of our room, it gave me such a peace and comfort to know that the God who created these beautiful waves is also the God who created me and that just as He directs each wave as to how far it will go upon the shore, how much splash it will make, He is there to direct each and every day of my life! May i live my life in such a way that His goodness, His faithfulness will “splash” from me, no matter the shore that He takes us.

As His peace washes over me, may His glory be seen in me!

Only God

This week has been such an up and down emotionally roller coaster. Loving all the things about Christmas, the carols, the Christmas Eve services with family, the dinners that gathers us around the tables, allowing for laughter, retelling of memories and partaking of God’s abundant provision. Christmas is a glorious time of reminding us of what God truly did for mankind. We have been given the most amazing gift that anyone could receive. The gift of eternal life and a most abundant life here on earth.
Sitting there Christmas Eve with our kids, we were so blessed to have our 9 year old grandson say that he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart. What a great memory to have as we leave this place in a few days. To know that Caleb has made the most important decision of his life, and we were blessed to be there when he did.
As we are moving on to our next adventure of traveling for a few months before settling back in Texas, this past month has been, like I said, had it’s ups and downs of emotions. Everything we have done with friends or family has been great, but then we stop to realize that each of those things we were doing for the last time for awhile. That always brought some tears and tore at our hearts. But to have witnessed some of the things God has done these last couple of months has been such an amazing gift to know that God, in all His glory, still cares about the things that are important to us,no matter how small they may seem in the scheme of things.
Randy and I made a prayer list of things in October that we have been praying and asking the Lord for. One by one, we have been able to check the requests off that lists. Out of the 9, there is only one that remains, but it isn’t time to worry about that one anyway.
About a month ago, we decided to try to sell our living room furniture. We began to think that if we didn’t have these 3 big chairs and couch, we would be able to fit everything into one pod and not have to pay to store a second pod. Each week, I kept revising the price and details of the furniture on several web sites that specialize in selling preowned furniture. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No one ever showed up to look at it, much less buy it. Randy kept asking me where we would sit, should it sell before we were ready to leave on the 27th, but I kept saying that I didn’t think he needed to worry about that as no one had even come to look at it. When Jodi, our daughter, and I started talking about the furniture last week, we both talked about that if it didn’t sell before Christmas and the movers were coming the 27th (tomorrow) it would just go to Texas with us.
Also, I had just shared with several friends that the Lord had not revealed my word for 2019 to me yet. I had told them that I felt that maybe my word was “trust” but it had not been confirmed to me yet. At Christmas Eve service the pastor ended his sermon using the word “trust” several times and I began to think even more that God was showing me that that was going to be my word.
Well, today about 11 a.m. I was on the phone with Jodi when I told her that someone had just written to me asking if our furniture was still available. So I quickly responded to the lady that yes it was. I didn’t get excited because several had written in the last month, but then I never heard back, so figured that this was going to be the same. But then the lady wrote back to ask if she could come look at it. She showed up, and ended up paying for it, BUT…..she cannot pick it up until tomorrow. God worked it out that we still have it to sit on until the movers get here tomorrow. Only God…..He always goes far and above anything we can ever imagine. It is always exciting to see how He reveals the word He has for us and this year was no exception. He not only confirmed my word to be “trust” but took care of our needs in the process.
Only God….can make a way when there seems to be no way.
Only God….can arrange our lives in such a way that not only brings Him glory, but allows us to have a story to tell others.

Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Only God! Thank you Lord for all the ways you have taken care of us and continue to show Your faithfulness. May we always trust in You, no matter the bends in the road, no matter the circumstances.

Taco Soup Supreme

Last night I was trying to use up as much of the things left in our fridge as possible since the movers come next week! Since it does get chilly here at night and i had a half pound of hamburger meat i wanted to use, i decided to make a quick taco soup.

After adding the can of diced tomatoes, onion, celery and 2 chicken bullion cubes, I diced up the potato and carrots i had! Actually had some fresh cabbage that to chop up and added also. Found a small can of whole kernel corn, drained it and dumped it in! It was at this point that i remembered what a friend of mine told me! Dianne always adds a can of refried beans to her taco soup! So opening the pantry to see if i had one, there it was just waiting to be used! So i added the can of refried beans. Two cups of water and an envelop of taco seasoning were then Poured in and wala the soup was ready for the oven

Preheated oven to 325 and then baked in a covered pot for about 2 hours. Our kids came over to pick up some furniture last night! They said “something sure smells good” the minute they walked in the door! I’m sure you know the rest of the story! We had an impromptu dinner with tamales that i had just bought and fritoes. We all LOVED the soup. Thanks Dianne for the idea! Best taco soup ever!