Sunday, December 29, 2013


 I am fairly sure we are at our best when we are within a fairly close proximity of water... unless it has alligators in it.... but this seems true with our recent trip (and very first time) in the gulf of Mexico.
I am so far behind posting actual photos of our journey it's not funny. Even this specific adventure was a few weeks ago.... and I find it strange that I have so much less time it seems on the road to be on my computer.
 As usual our crew was a crazy zany mess... but the scenery was amazing ... the day beautiful ( even if we did get there later than we had hoped) the water was warm and we got to see dolphins in the distance and a million birds.
 In a grand attempt to get Christmas photos done we attempted a few shots of the kids in the water near sunset... only to discover that Judahbug wasn't going to play nice UNLESS Frank was in the photo.
 And the shot of Frank & I was great EXCEPT I closed my eyes. And ...of course... Justyn didn't take a second one. but I did with my phone (it's down a bit)
 our little girlie was delighted to find a big body of salty sandy water after she got wet. But this picture was too cute to not share it.
  Home is relative these days.
and we close out our year... and we look back on last year at this time ... it's kind of crazy the journey.
This was a great day. Sometimes I wish more of our adventures were beachy like this one.
 Our Oceanside born boy was happy to see the open water
 Frank paddled out with Micah
 This is the miracle boy. His nose is healing at an amazing rate. Another sign of God's abundant blessings in our life.
 And this kid is such an adventurer. He is learning the guitar and jamming with musicians as we journey. I just love his smile.
 and I am missing the west coast... and our eldest girlie something fierce. Every time I see a sunset I think of here somewhere out there...
There is something so amazing about a day at the water. a soothing balm for the heart. well. any of you that know us... it works for us anyway.

and Just in case I don't have the time to post again before New Years Eve...

Happy New Year from all of us

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our 1st Christmas on the Road

Nothing was "normal" about Christmas this year.... Except the pizza on Christmas Eve. ...
baked outside in a Dutch oven over an open fire.

there was no tree.
It wasn't as strange as I thought it would be.
The awning held our 1single strand of twinkling lights.

There wouldn't be any big gifts this year. A few donated gifts from a new friend & a handful of homemade crocheted items.

The kids still woke earlier than usual.

Made calls to Frank's dad & my mom.

We opted for a less traditional Christmas dinner. Inspired by our missing SoCal
maybe we watched Turbo one too many times in the past few weeks.
simple gifts of socks and toothbrushes were ok ... And a birthday cake for Jesus.... Covered in candy canes to end our day.
It was quite simple.
But it seemed ok.


3000 miles away our daughter lives with her friend... We were missing her. Sadly she was too busy to connect. There was an ache of her missing from us that cannot be filled. We are learning that even in the midst of good days ... Sometimes there is sadness in the journey.

It's always hardest to miss people at this time of the year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas not so long ago

A year ago...

the cookies were baked.
the tree was up.
the ornaments were hung with care.
our family was still whole.
daddy was retired & in school full time
we were finally starting to settle in to being retired from the USMC.
it was Judah's 1st Christmas at home
and little did we know then it was Arianna's last one as a child living with us.
the presents were wrapped & the eager anticipation hung in the air...

life has changed. It's different but it's still good.
there isn't a tree.
ornaments are tucked safely away in storage.
We still haven't baked a single cookie.
little did we know then the journey God would place before us.
that we would be holding memories of friends & family
that we would meet new people we would care for as we journeyed.

our menu for Christmas may be stranger than other years... & God had told me to remove the tree from our home for years. There are gifts because of others kindness. & I am thankful God lets me be crafty for my kidlets.

despite the change
( and dearly missing my 18 yr old)
life on the road is good.
but in a good way.

normally I would be freaking out about not having time to bake. I have struggled with the inability to buy gifts...

but the heart of Christmas is not lost.

While there is no tree filled with toys
there is still a wonder.

that wonder should point to the Saviour.

and while we may not spend all day fawning over dinner .... It is likely we will be poolside soaking in some warm Florida rays.

I may have never imagined...
not in my wildest dreams...

but I am so glad God doesn't need me to imagine how HE can use a simple family like ours ...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Moving Days

Life is an adventure.

especially in Florida

but this morning none of us were really ready to leave camp.

our membership makes us move every three weeks unless its peak season in Florida...then it's every 2 weeks. (which I don't pretend to understand since the parks are NOT filled to capacity but rules are rules)

and we should have been looking forward to the move. I mean Orlando is right in the heart of the fun part of Florida...right?

unless you can't really afford to do much of the fun stuff... So its like living in SoCal wishin you had the money to do everything everyone else seems to be doing... But you can't.

but are we really missing out?
what does God have planned for us at this stop? So far there is always a bigger picture ... One which I look back and see exactly how God ordains each and every step of the journey.

there are quite a few other full time families here at this campground so we are looking forward to meeting them during our stay here but moving days are hard. The littler kids napped in the car and were starving once we arrived. Then after we were picked up from lunch we went and checked out the park. By the time we got back kids were thirsty and hungry. After dinner Judah took a nap. He woke back up around 7:30 right as Aaron was putting himself to bed.

I realized today that I still haven't gotten around to editing Christmas pictures or writing our annual Christmas update.

I keep telling myself I have no one to compete with.

now I just have to believe it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gospel Braclet Video is here.... or is it?

Well this is an attempt at loading our latest video.  having issues in the mean time I hope this works.  we might just have to come back and edit it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Recently our GPS has been misguiding our steps...
It seems especially true whenever we are heading to a new church.
This morning was no exception.
Of course the normal Sunday chaos ensued.
the kids didn't get up quickly...
the coffee wasn't waking my morning fog.
Diapers were changed but we couldn't find matching shoes.
Normal Sunday morning spiritual warfare.
We pulled out 10 minutes later than we planned
and the GPS told us to turn right.
so we did.
and about 5 miles down the road
the cows were our only neighbors and the numbers didn't match the GPS
we began to wonder if we were going the "right" way.
and of course... the church was in the exact OPPOSITE direction now.
still 11 minutes away.
and it was 3 minutes til 11.
and church started at 11.

I think in those moments the devil wants us to get angry and turn around.
to give up.
to fight with our spouse or our kids.

I was frustrated but we turned around and went anyway.
To a beautiful vibrant 130 year old church
that had a beautifully done Christmas production

As we walked in the church was full.
An usher looked for seats
and came back apologetically and asked if we could sit separately.
He had gathered chairs on each side of the sanctuary to accommodate our family.

What a good problem to have.

and yet it begs the question .... WHY is it standing room ONLY ....

Are we not sharing our passion for Jesus all year through?

Why do we only seek the Saviour as a babe lying in the manger?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Random Rambling Reflections

1.     Pinterest is not a good source of anything if you don’t have good internet access

(& that we SHOULD HAVE packed a few inspirational cookbooks for standby cooking when creativity is at an all-time slump)

2.     There is NO good substitute for a good long shower with lots of soap.

(both  BOYS and GIRLS without regular soapy showers STINK!)

3.     Travelling more than 100 miles a day when hooking up with 6 kids is too much sometimes… and THAT’S OK. We just need to have grace. Other times it is necessary to beat the bad weather. It’s ok to let them watch a movie to keep things quiet from time to time.

4.     There is not a good enough substitute for not plugging in at a good church on Sunday whenever possible.  It is ok for that good church to be online if you cannot find a good local church.

5.     Taking simple things for granted is easy. Running out of supplies a long way from town & having to drive to get them at a REASONABLE price when we are in a national park is a challenge. Or NOT being hooked up to power ALL the time presents an entirely different set of challenges. Mostly we have full hook ups but on the occasion that we don’t it reminds us to be thankful.

6.     Friends both old and new surprise us at each step of the journey. Be friendly… you never know what new friendships will bloom. It’s not always who WE planned to see. Focus on the Lord and HE WILL direct our destinations

7.     Honor God in all you do. Remember that HE is in control. Not YOU. Sometimes that’s a tough lesson… BUT it’s worth it. When you chase the SON … there are blessings beyond what we can even begin to imagine

8.     Your mom (or dad) will be upset with you if you don’t have regular cell service and didn’t warn her ahead of time that you will not have service because she (or he) cannot reach you.

9.     Play and learn with your kids. And swim. And bike. And read. And play. And snuggle. And take pictures. Life is short. Live intentionally.

10.Graham crackers with with nutella and fluff *almost* taste like smores when you can’t build a campfire.

11.Quiet hours at some campgrounds are just a “suggestion”. The other campers are there to have a good time because they are on their weekend camping trip. Don’t expect them to understand that it’s your lifestyle

12.There is never enough money. Find a way to make it work.

13.The gas gauge is always wrong & when the check engine light comes on do NOT panic.

14.Life’s a journey… make it an ADVENTURE!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

4 stops til Florida

a week and  a half ago we laughed about 20 year old jokes as we drove through NC

           " Look.... guys marshmallow plants" Frank joked.

Knowing full well I was closer to tears than laughter.

MaryRachael fell for it and we all had a chuckle... you see once upon a drive to NC 19 years ago Frank had gotten his young gullible wife to say ....

               "wow. really?!!?"

as the miles passed we drove right on by Smithfield NC where my parents had lived for almost 14 years before my dad got so sick. Before they moved to CA. We chatted about going to White Swan for lunch again, someday.

that someday was still hanging in the air when we passed Highway 40.

I had planned to get off there.

I fell apart.

Being on the road is supposed to let me visit whoever  I want on the journey. And since I had clearly planned this in my head for almost 8 years God was going to let me stop 4 more times before we went south to Florida.

I was angry when we drove by that exit. And hurt. And oh so disappointed.

As we drove closer yet to South Carolina and the wave of tears had dried
I began to remember that this journey is NOT about me.

I tend to forget that.

Seeing people is a perk of the journey... but NOT the purpose.

See there were 4 very important stops to make.... according to ME.

INSTEAD... God had another plan. One He knew perfectly well I wouldn't like very much.

And here we Florida over a week before we had planned.

I am reminded that HIS plans are better than my own. And even though it hurt terribly to not visit with those friends YET on this journey... there is time.

 Just not now.

And while I did not even want to understand WHY God made us come to Florida so soon and skip those things which HE knows are dear to our heart.... I DO TRUST that His plan is the RIGHT one... even when I don't want it to be.

Our camper would likely not have made it without damage through the deep freeze that is sweeping the US right now

And HE has placed us and blessed us with productivity(even some camper improvements ...another post though) a place to worship and fellowship here beyond our wildest dreams.

But still, despite the sun and warmer temperatures I was having a hard time.

so God lovingly brought the exact people to invite us to church, share a thanksgiving meal, and new friends our way.  Perfect examples of how perfectly God takes care of us.

But like Jonah I still was not thanking God as fully as I should.
I was still thinking I should have been in Jacksonville with our friends or Salisbury or Atlanta or eating Rene's perfect biscuits in Dublin....

God has whispered into my heart that I will get sweet fellowship with old friends...
But it will be on God's timeline... not mine.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I am sad to report that we don't always find a church to attend on Sunday.

(sometimes we do church online through the week)

But this Sunday... we did.
It was refreshing.

The church is smack dab in their Christmas production and rather than dwell on the negativity of this particular campground we have decided to plug in & help out. Justyn has been brought on the tech team.

I am thankful for our church in Oceanside that took the time to foster his love for sound and the technical things churches often use today.

Sometimes I almost wish we were normal.

and then it passes.

 God HAS chosen us for this adventure.
The Gypsy life
The Narrow Road

but sometimes it just feels good to stop and fit in with a group of believers.
It builds us up... to be yielded to building up a body of believers and at the same time being fed spiritually.

What I am constantly reminded is that this journey is not about us.

God has also shown me it's not what I expected either...

But days like today... being adopted into a family of believers
and accepted
and given an opportunity to use our gifts and talents
and even to be asked to share my testimony this coming Wednesday night
on a week of constantly being harassed just because we have children....
we have met several people..
that have impacted us in very positive ways as well as a few negative ones

and ministry isn't always easy.
but it sure is nice to be brought in and built up before we head to a new location.