Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Hurricane Homily

Internet art

Originally the plan was to update my readers on our safety from Hurricane Idalia with my next post this weekend. But out of consideration for those who expressed concern and requested an update after the storm had passed, here it is.

In spite of dire forecasts, we are safe in the middle of Florida's peninsula with hardly any evidence in our community that anything wild was going on. While those positioned much closer to both coasts had much to warrant worry, we were blessed with no problems at all. There are a few twigs (not branches) from the trees lightly littering our street. We got a fair amount of rain but I haven't seen the total of that yet.

When we woke this morning, the TV was turned on to learn the status of Idalia. At that time she had grown to a category 4 hurricane and was very close to landfall at a Gulf Coast beach about a two-hour drive northwest of us. 

In the hours since then, the storm surge combined with normally-occurring high tide and our current full moon have resulted in terrible flooding at the landfall location and nearby coastal communities. 

We are humbly grateful all turned out well for us and pray for those who have been adversely affected. There is a stark contrast between wet pavement littered with a few leafy twigs and buildings submerged to the windowsills in warm hurricane water. 


Romantic daydreams from my past of owning a quaint beach cottage have vanished with today's storm surge. For me, practicality overrides fantasy. It's the safer way to live.

Also, there is this from the Bible's New Testament: "... be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:24-26

I do not mean to judge those who live and work in coastal communities; but we do well to build our lives on wisdom. I, like everyone I know, have sometimes built on sand. May we learn helpful lessons from our experiences.

Until next time, grace and peace.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

In the Path of the Storm

I'm interrupting this otherwise peaceful interlude between my usual weekly blog posts to give an update on our status with regard to Hurricane Idalia. 

First, I'll say I'm relieved that those who give hurricanes a name are past the first letters of our names in this household (B and G). There is no concern to having a destructive storm named after us (for this year, anyway).

Hurricane Idalia is approaching; Gary feels we may lose power, so while my verbiage can still connect with the Internet, I thought I'd record what we've done to prepare.

Forecasters say the effects of the hurricane here in our part of North Central Florida will probably be starting around 5pm today with the arrival of the eye of the storm in the wee morning hours on Wednesday. The “cone” seems to wobble a bit every few hours, sometimes with us inside its boundaries and other times just outside of it on the right edge (the “dirty” side, as it’s called, where you’ll find some of the worst weather, including powerful gusty winds and the largest tornado risk). 

While I am not afraid, I don’t look forward to being without air conditioning and fans. One would think that with the passing of a huge storm like this, the air would cool and the wind might even feel refreshing. I’ve learned from previous hurricanes that it’s not especially like that. Our high temps have been in the mid-nineties and tomorrow the high is supposed to dip down to 88 or 89. Not a lot of relief. 
And of course a hurricane brings humid air. The consolation with that is humidity gives my hair more body and plumps the skin so my wrinkles are not so pronounced. 👍🏻

Prior to their move to Florida, Gary and his late wife lived for some 13 years on 5 acres in Virginia, a couple hours west of Washington DC. From the front of their house they could see Skyline Drive where many tourists would drive from Front Royal to Charlotte, in the Appalachian Mountains. 

He tells me that during winter snow storms they often lost power. As a result, he acquired (and kept) handy stuff such as a camp cooking gear and all manner of flashlights and lanterns, and so forth. 

We have got our cordless phone chargers charged and as you saw on FaceBook, we’ve been eating ice cream so it won’t go to waste. Between the two of us, we have a lot of non-food frozen items for headaches and injuries that we keep in the freezer all the time in the bottom bin. This morning Gary distributed those throughout the shelves of the freezer to help prolong the cold temperature on our food. We just have the kitchen refrigerator/freezer. We seldom entertain, so that is all we need for just the two of us.

I am aware of at least  5 sister bloggers who are similarly affected by the approach of Hurricane Idalia (one is probably getting the first rain bands even now). I have begun to pray for you all and I know for a certainty that many of you are also praying. Thank you! As my BFF in Colorado has often said, "Your prayers will not be wasted."

As I've said in recent posts, our Lord tells us to expect storms, they are a normal part of life now, before we reach heaven. But in them He is with us at all times, even when our world seems to be falling apart. Most of us already acknowledge this but do we really apply it when times are tough? 

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and to not lean on our own understanding. That means to not depend too heavily on what we think is going on. We may be completely wrong. God wants us to rely on Him, His judgment, His way of doing things. A storm is a lot like having a baby: the labor and delivery may hurt like the dickens, but the result is intended to be good, very good.

I hope to resume to publishing my usual weekend blog post with a report of how Idalia treated us in her passing. But if not, then I'll write later, when things have settled down.

Until then, grace and peace.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

International Dog Day August 26 (2023)

 Today my blog has "gone to the dogs!" 😊

Sister's two Basset Hounds

Quoting my Sister: "The puppies pooped out after a morning of obedience class, a ride thru the car wash (not scary at all), and a trip to Dairy Queen! The Bears are on TV but they’re not watching." 

The pups are named Maggie and Daisy. If my memory serves me well, they will be 18 months old in September and have probably reached their full size. Over the years Sister's household has had 17 Basset Hounds. Charlie was the first, then came Samantha. They married and had 12 puppies (all at one time and within weeks of when Sister gave birth to triplet daughters!!).

me with my niece's Basset Hound

The puppies were sold and eventually Charlie and Samantha died. Sister got another Basset named Linky who lived a long full life and then passed. Years went by with a house empty of pets and children until 2022. 

In the  meantime squirrels and rabbits had figured out no dogs patrolled the property and became a serious nuisance to my brother-in-law's large garden. Daisy and Maggie came to them from a carefully-researched breeder in a neighboring state.

Gary and I meet my niece's Basset Hound, Andi 

Last October we made a road trip to the Far North, including in our stops our first meeting with Sister's pups and also my niece's Basset Hound. 


In the late 1980's into the mid 1990's my family had a rescue Basset that I named Elmer. I never told anyone at the time, but I gave him that name after a childhood boyfriend of mine. According to the vet, Elmer was probably 3 or 4 years old when I brought him home to be a companion to our female Beagle, Patches. 

She was quite a character and to be honest, not the favorite of all the dogs underfoot in my homes over the years. The two of them turned out to be partners in crime, but she was easier to tolerate once we brought Elmer in. 

Red and Missy Lou
Gary's Redbone Coonhounds

"If you want a friend, get a dog." This is one of Gary's frequent quotes. I love watching him with dogs. When we are outside in our yard or on our bikes, the neighbor dogs always gravitate toward him first. He carries no treats but they just know he's a "good guy" and seek his attention.

Missy Lou's paw print and dog tags

I love to hear him tell the story of how these dogs came into his home. He and Edith had moved out to the country and he wanted a dog. He did his research. They went to a breeder to select a male Redbone Coonhound. He did not want to deal with issues that come with a female dog. However, as they stood with the selection of puppies at their feet, this one little female planted her foot on top of Gary's shoe, like staking her claim on him! 

Gary ignored her but Edith pointed out to him this dog wanted him and he should pick her up. It sounds to me like this pup melted his heart, so when they left, they had TWO dogs, this female and one male. 

Red, the male, is described to me as "all male," who likened himself to the main character in the old TV show, Life of Riley. Gary tells me Red would drag Missy Lou's padded mattress to pile it on top of his so he could nap in the best of comfort.

Missy Lou, however, loved affection. Gary says he could pet her until she was bald and still want more attention. He dearly loved both dogs, but Missy Lou has that really special place in his heart.

Buddy and Pal with my mother
~ 1998
Over the years as both a child and an adult, I've had many dogs: 

~ three "Heinz 57" terrier-types: Susie, Button, and Chipper

~ one Boxer named Oliver

~ one Great Dane (actually belonged to my parents when I was in college) named Duke (for the comic strip character Marmaduke)

~ one Beagle named Patches who had hip dysplasia and walked so slow she almost went backwards!

~ one Basset Hound named Elmer

~ two buff-colored Cocker Spaniels named Buddy and Pal. They were litter-mates and never cried at night until Buddy died at the age of 14 years. Pal was, for the first time in his life, left by himself. 

Some things I've learned in relating to dogs:

~ approach a new dog down on his level as best you can so to not appear to be a threat

~ avoid showing your teeth in a wide grin

~ extend your hand, palm down slowly and gently to stroke the dog under their chin

~ most dogs like to have their ears rubbed and even folded over and rolled around in a massaging motion

~ they can sense your personality, so be gentle and speak kindly

~ if the dog growls or gives you a negative indication, back off

As I close out this post, I'm including a piece by the late evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham, who responded to a question regarding our pets in heaven. It's not a long article and very comforting:

Billy Graham: You very well could see your pets in Heaven

DEAR DR. GRAHAM: You probably get asked this question a lot, but do you think we will be reunited with our pets in Heaven? Our dog died recently after almost 15 years, and I just can't imagine being happy in Heaven unless he is with us. -- Mrs. S.J.

DEAR MRS. S.J.: God will provide us with everything we need to be happy in Heaven -- and if animals are necessary to make us completely happy there, you can be confident He will arrange for them to be with us.

Some Bible scholars have pointed out that the Bible suggests there may be animals in Heaven -- but without the aggressiveness and dangers that are part of their lives now. 

The prophet Isaiah saw God's coming Kingdom as a place of absolute peace, where even animals that had once been enemies will be friends. He wrote, "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them" (Isaiah 11:6).

Over the years, my wife and I have had many pets, and I understand your grief; we are always sad when they die. I sometimes wonder, however, if God isn't using them to remind us of a far greater reality -- and that is the reality of our own deaths. Life is brief, and it can end in an instant. The Bible says there is "a time to be born, and a time to die" (Ecclesiastes 3:2).

That is why we must never take life for granted, but see every minute as a gift from God to be used for His glory. And if we aren't sure of our eternal destiny, now is the time to be sure by making our commitment to Christ.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Until next time, grace and peace.

Shimmy, one of my granddogs

Monday, August 21, 2023

A Hot Report From The Retirement Home

our front patio

While the school kids resume their classroom education, we at the Retirement Home are sitting around not doing much, just waiting for summer's heat to morph into something cooler. (You understand, I hope, that the "Retirement Home" is the same house I've been reporting from since Gary and I got married... 😉)

Sue, a friend, sent the following graphic last week. I hope it does not offend anyone. Hardships are usually easier to bear if we have a sense of humor.

The first picture posted at the top of this post is the view from my patio chair after we have completed our bike ride. With our wheels returned to the garage, we get something to drink and sit on the front porch to gradually cool off. Often I get a wet cloth to swab down my face to hasten the process and to wash off the sticky feeling caused by the combo of perspiration and humidity. 

After my one year of residency in Orlando in 1995-1996, I never would have thought that one day I'd call Florida "home" again. The climate was doing me in.

It was around that time I discovered my body was experiencing the hot flashes of menopause, which surely did not help. Blessedly, we were sent back to Colorado where my hot flashes seemed to decline in frequency. Forgive me; I may be bordering on TMI (too much information). 🙄

the guest room and my desk

Due to summer's heat, this has been a fairly quiet week for us. While we usually enjoy our afternoons out on the lanai at the back of the house with the windows wide open and two fans on high speed, sometimes that is too much warmth for me and I migrate to the kitchen table where I can still see Gary. He tolerates heat better than I do (and I handle cold better than him); but even he has called it quits a couple of times and joined me inside with the air conditioning. 

another view of my desk

Our guest room is used less for company and more for me to sit at my desk reading, managing finances on-line, and composing emails and blog posts on my laptop computer. 

By the way, I love the portability of my laptop, enabling me to be on the computer in any room of the house. I can send and receive text messages on my phone, but I don't write blog posts that way.

St. Augustine, Florida
just about 30 minutes south of Jacksonville

The summer of 2017, the year we moved from Colorado's Front Range to Jacksonville, local TV urged people to visit St. Augustine after the children returned to school, promoting the idea that the crowds would be smaller. Beloved and I fell for that and drove the 30 minutes from our house to the historic city on the water. 

photo with cannon at the Spanish fort
overlooking Matanzas River, St. Augustine

Oh yes, the crowds were not bad. It was mostly just us dumb newcomers (like us) and out-of-state tourists who were sweltering in the heat and humidity. When I told my blogging friend, Terri D, about it, she pointed out that Florida residents don't generally get caught up in that,  choosing instead to wait until October when the temperatures are much more comfortable. 

Mary Ann and me

Moving on to a cooler topic, we had guests this week! While they did not need to stay at our house (some of them live in the next metro area just north of us), we met for dinner in the cool comfort of the grille associated with our golf course.

Mary Ann is the sister-in-law of my late husband and like a sister to me. She's ahead of me in this earthly walk and has proven herself over the years to not only have valuable experience but also calming wisdom. 

Since Gary and I had what could be described as a "whirlwind courtship" and a private commitment ceremony when we exchanged rings, it's only over time that Gary and I are gradually meeting people in each other's families. As I've indicated in the past, re-marriages can (and often do) bring in some baggage of varying shapes and sizes. So although I expected a good meeting with Mary Ann and two of her adult children, one cannot help but hope it will go well.

It did. Very well. The next day after I sent her snapshots taken the night before, she said the most wonderful things. Her sentiments illustrated to me, once again, the power of words and how they affect us.

"...I wish [our visit] could have been longer. I would have liked to spend more time with you and Gary. It was so obvious that you both care very much about each other. It makes me happy that you have been able to move on with your life and doesn't mean that you have forgotten your love for Tom only that you can accept another love. Gary is a fine man and I knew he would be or he couldn't have won your heart. Enjoy your life together..."

Us in our living room

In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, chapter 18 verse 23 it says:

Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

And in Proverbs 31:26, regarding the virtuous woman, it says:

... the law of kindness is on her tongue.

For some of us who count "words of affirmation" as our primary love language (see the book by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages), words are really important to us, carrying more weight than gifts or time. Words lift us up to the heavens or cast us down to the absolute depths. 

I have been convicted of how my careless (and sometimes very intentional) use of words has landed on the psyche of others. I try to be much more careful than I have been in times past. When others speak (or write, text, etc) words to me, I take them seriously. According to Scripture, that's the way we are created to respond to words.

antique family table; 
"And together they built
a life they loved"

As I bring this report to a close, I want to share this graphic from a pastor friend of mine (from my church youth group days) regarding how we can pray for students in the beginning of a new school year (and every day, for that matter!). Again, our words make a huge difference as we speak to each other, and to God about anything. I'm using this to help my prayers. Will you do the same?

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, grace and peace.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Correcting a Mistake and A Fearless Hodgepodge


Roxborough State Park near Denver, Colorado

Those of you who are on FaceBook know how photos from our past can pop up with no warning. Then we have the choice to share them or not. Usually I do not, but today's snapshot taken with whatever cell phone I had some ten years ago, is worth posting. 

We hiked this park in the Denver foothills several times over the years when we lived nearby. All creation praises our Creator God, even these giant rocks that point upward. 

*   *   *   *   *
Usually 6-8 days lapse between my posts but another bothersome issue arose with regard to starting up this new blog, so I felt the need to address that problem today. 

After my last post, seven of you left comments but for reasons known only to the Internet, I was not notified and therefore not given the opportunity to approve them and have them published here. I thought I had all the bells and whistles turned on to their necessary settings (my first post on this new blog had no problems) but apparently not.

Anywhooo, as best I can tell that snafu has been repaired and we move on. I hope I've got things set up and arranged correctly now, but if any of you see something that's not working right, please let me know.

Since I'm here on the blog mid-week, I will participate in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, a very popular meme many of you have read (and participated in) over the years. I did for a long time several years ago, but have since been doing my own thing, so to speak. This week I'll make an exception. Here below are the questions and my replies.

1. What motivates you to work hard? .While I'd like to say my love of order, beauty, and practicality, what most especially motivates me to work hard is to avoid embarrassment for a job done poorly. 

2. It's been said, "Ignorance is bliss" ... is it?  .I can attest from personal experience that it was blissful until I realized how much I did not know and how vital it was that I educate myself on certain things or suffer some serious problems.

3. Would you rather be stuck on a broken elevator or a broken ski lift? Explain. Have you ever actually been stuck on either? Of the common fears listed here what's your #1? heights, enclosed spaces, snakes, public speaking, the dark flying .I guess I'd rather be stuck on a ski lift because at least then I could see what efforts were being made to help me. Thankfully, I have not been stuck on either a ski lift or an elevator. Of the common fears listed here, I'm not sure what "dark flying is" but my biggest apprehension is snakes.

4. What's something you like about the town or city where you live?.While we do have an occasional tornado warning in my town, hurricanes with a serious storm surge of water is not a threat in my location of Florida. There are other good things about this town, but if a person is going to live in Florida, my town is one of the better locations with regard to hurricanes.

5. Life is too short to _____ .Uh..... to be really honest here, life is too short to sit at home by myself and be lonely. I'd best leave it at that. 

6. Insert your own random thought here: .For those of us who believe in God and how He responds to prayer, we need to be diligent to ask Him to give our country good leadership.

I thank you for stopping by to read my blog; leave comments if you are able (some readers find that to be a mystifying action, and I understand that).

Until next time, grace and peace.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Journaling This Week and a Book Report

a peaceful scene
from our hotel lobby in Charleston, South Carolina
Summer 2023

Rest. Refresh. Redeem. Recover. Restore. These words describe a work the Lord has been doing inside of me this summer. This post will address some of that at the end but first here is a written and photo summary of the past week's activities. 

The extreme climate many of us have experienced this summer, along with distressing national and world news headlines have not been at all calming. 

On a very personal note for me, losing my well-received blog, Sweet Tea and Sandals last week, was unsettling. Many of you, after hearing the news of my blog's demise, sent comments via email, text messages, and Facebook. Thank you for that. 

Yes, "Sweet Tea and Sandals" was a very sweet, homey title that helped me as I transitioned from the title of "The Brown Bungalow" when relocating in 2017 from Colorado to Florida. I love sweet tea (the distinct way southerners prepare it), and I have more sandals in my closet than closed-toe shoes. 

When I knew I could not get back what was lost, I tried to create a new one with a similar title, but with so very many blogs out there, I had to submit many url addresses before I hit on one not already taken. To reduce confusion, I prefer for my url and the blog title to be the same, although that is not a requirement.

Also involved with the loss of that blog is the absence of a graphic arts program I used for some 20 years to create my own blog headers. In the creation of this new blog I have felt like one arm was tied behind my back in efforts to put my own creative stamp on its design. I am figuring out things as time goes by.

a header I designed for when
I lived much closer to the ocean

And to respond to several of you who strongly feel the former blog is still retrievable, perhaps, but not without more computer expertise than I have, and probably money invested, not to mention time I'd rather devote to just writing. 

In my opinion, Blogger is extremely generous to provide this publishing platform absolutely free, so when I mess up (and it was clearly my mistake) or have other complaints, I need to be thankful for what I've got and just move on.

As I said in my first post on this blog, letting go of those things we can't change, and accepting reality can lead to peace. I was reminded of that again, just today, when folding this dish towel:

God speaks through folding laundry!

Our week has not been terribly busy as we kept with usual routines. In spite of daily heat indexes (how it feels on the skin) of 100 to 114 degrees (wheweeee!!!), we have been able to ride our bicycles shortly after doing the breakfast dishes. The heat and sticky humidity hit us as soon as we enter the garage to roll our bikes onto the driveway. But as soon as we begin pedaling down the street, the early morning air moving over our skin feels pretty good!

decor atop a chest of drawers
in our master bedroom

We wear shorts, sturdy shoes, and bright shirts and/or reflective vests in addition to bike helmets and sunglasses. Although crime is extremely low in our +55 community, a lot of old folks seem to have forgot what a stop sign means, so we are very careful at all intersections, counting on our clothing choices to help with our defensive pedaling. 
Internet photo

I also believe that riding our bicycles together increases our visibility. We are usually within just a few feet of each other with me in front, or side-by-side to increase our presence in the eyes of others. Gary often teases me that he's in my rear view mirror, and indeed, he is! (Is he my guardian angel???)
We had a power outage a few days ago, blessedly only for about 35 minutes. That was probably heat related. We attended a large political rally in our community ballroom. We are glad we went but I marvel at the liberties some people take when given a microphone... (sigh)

kitchen transformed to sewing room

I set up my sewing machine and the ironing board to create a fabric cover for the Bible I am taking to church these days. For a pattern I referenced a cover I sewed about twenty years ago, which has served me very well.

old cover on the left;
new cover on the right

If you are of my generation, you may have used brown paper grocery sacks to cover your school text books. I lay my Bible out on double-thick fabric, much as when using a paper sack, and go from there to make a sturdy cover. Using pins to hold it together, my sewing machine stitches it all in place. I like to add a pocket on the front for my pens and a strap snapped in place to hold it all closed when the Bible is in my tote bag with my purse. The  button is just for decoration.

front porch "reading room"

When the outside heat has been bearable, I have taken one of the books I'm reading outside, along with my collection of colored pencils and a big jug of water for necessary hydration.

A couple of weeks ago I completed reading an extremely helpful book. I've not tucked it into the shelves yet because I keep referring to its most helpful pages to reaffirm the most significant points. Over the course of twelve chapters, this book has validated things I already knew but more than that, it threw light on some scripture I have, until now, been applying incorrectly. 

Per my usual habit, helpful sentences and phrases have been hi-lited and underlined. Scribbled notes have been added to the margins sometimes with stars and arrows and other indications to draw the eye quickly to messages most applicable to me.

The most helpful thing this book has done for me is to make alterations to some beliefs that have held me captive in a harsh mindset with no hope of relief. My misunderstandings have been addressed -- and what a relief to realize I'm not the only one who has suffered similar opinions.

Put another way, in this life not all problems, circumstances, and arguments get solved. As Jesus Christ said, "In this world you will have trouble." (John 16:33) This book gave examples of godly people in both the Old and New Testaments who could not reach a place of agreement and how they dealt with it.

Sometimes we have to just accept there will be no resolution and then determine what we need to do to cope with peace and civility. 

The book is about boundaries. I'll let its pages explain what that is about. But one thing I realized is that while I must have boundaries for my own sanity and self-preservation, I must also respect the boundaries others have set up, even if I disagree. 

This sums it all up. I close with a prayer for your grace and peace.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Did I Do That???

Mary Engelbreit illustration

Yes. Apparently I did. I obliterated my long-standing blog titled Sweet Tea and Sandals.  Some of you, doubting and in denial of this truth, may try to access it for yourself. Go ahead.  Yeah. She's gone. 

As I was housecleaning all manner of things on my computer,  I had the option of "delete" or "delete permanently." Unaware that I was dealing with my dearly loved blog, I sent it away permanently, thinking I was just being thorough in disposing of what was old, unnecessary and best removed from everybody forever. 

That was on Wednesday afternoon. Then after wiping my hands, tucking my hair neatly behind my ears and leaving my desk to get something to eat, I carried on as normal for several hours before it was brought to my attention that something horrible was amiss. 

I was preparing for bed when for one last time I checked my email before turning off my electronics. An email from one of my blogging pals in Washington State was waiting for me with the news she could not access my blog. It was a kindness on her part, distressing as the news was, and I immediately checked it out for myself.

Although some things can be called back home when they desert us (or are unintionally sent away, as in this case), Sweet Tea and Sandals was gone for good. "Permanently delete" meant exactly what it said. 

I spent the next several hours working feverishly to correct this disaster but finally realized that even if repair was possible, my weary state of mind in the wee hours of the morning might make matters worse. As I headed to bed I suspected I was going to have to let go of yet another thing in my life.

Letting go. 

Those who have followed my blog for the past nearly three years know I have let go of a lot. First it was the unanticipated death of my husband of 50 years from COVID. Then there was the realization my life was forever changed as I seriously considered my options for home, possessions, and finances. Some relationships took unexpected turns as well. One of the best things I "let go" of was 20 pounds as my appetite took a nose dive and eventually I was forced to buy smaller clothing.

Blessed with good.

As time kept moving the losses gradually led to unexpected blessings. I reached a point where I knew what I should not do and then had to face the future with trust that things would work out for me when I didn't know how or what. Thankfully it was not long after letting go of some things and just trusting God that joy came back to me with a new love, the ability to release much of the familiar and to grasp onto replacements for what had been "deleted," so to speak.

me at The Barn
Castle Rock, Colorado

While I was deleting stuff earlier this week, I came across this snapshot a girlfriend took of me about ten years ago. In studying it now, I see that it was kinda "prophetic" of where I am now. 

When the picture was taken, I was shopping for home decor, had shorter hair, lived in Colorado, and hardly gave a thought to dollars and cents because my husband loved being in charge of such things. I was quite sedentary except for the mountain hikes I enjoyed with my BFF. I had not been on a bicycle for many years. Many.

Since then I've been transplanted to Florida, became a widow due to the pandemic, sold three houses, disposed of the majority of my furniture, gave away two cars, learned how to deal with finances on my own, revived the skill of riding a bicycle, and most notable of all, met a wonderful man who married me and put a smile back on my face. I've also become a step-great-grandmother!

With all that said, I'll conclude with this thought: we should realize not much is forever. That includes possessions, health, and some relationships. Things wear out or go out of style. People become disabled, some die (actually we all do that eventually). Circumstances and relationships take turns for a thousand reasons, not all of them negative. We hold onto people and things, but when it's time to let go, it is often out of our control and profoundly real.

Two things stand out to me:

1) Acceptance of what has happened is often the best solution for peace.

2) God never leaves us.

On that last point, I state firmly it is true. A relationship with God absolutely does not shield us from the hard things of life, but He is always here. Admittedly, He seldom allows us to avoid the tough stuff, but He gets us through it and when we are trusting Him, we are the better for having gone through it.

As for this new blog, I'm still setting up it's bells and whistles, so it may look different every time you visit. Just keep the link handy and I'll be here: My Journal Memories

I'll also continue to share on my FaceBook page the link to new posts as they are published.

I hope whatever is written here is a help in some way in your journey, puts a smile on your face, and provides you with a "safe place" as you visit social media. Or if my blog doesn't do any of that for you, remember what my late husband used to say, "Nothing is so bad that it can't at least serve as a bad example." 🙄😆

Per my usual habit, I close with a Bible verse that has encouraged me:

... I am with you always,
even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20

Until next time, grace and peace.

Anniversary Celebration on Jekyll Island

Our two-year anniversary celebration took us to Jekyll Island this week. Here is my album of memories. cover of free visitor guide If you do...