six month…and four score….(ok maybe not the four score…lol)

So we made it to the six-month mark of officially living in the RV…though we didn’t start our full-time travel until the summer…we began our “tiny full-time living” life back in March… and well we made it to the six-month mark… I am happy to announce … still have a husband, 3 kids, and 2 dogs… everyone still has all body parts… and on most days everyone still “mostlyhappily enjoys each others company…

For us that is a big accomplishment … when we lived in the brick and mortar home… I don’t think we laugh as much as we have in the past 6 months (or maybe cry too)… we definitely get into each others business A LOT MORE… and we definitely do get annoyed at each other… we experience every day highs and lows with each other…we are also learning slowly but surely, to make ways to give each other more GRACE… and to step outside of our own comfort zones in order to find what is “normal” for others in our family…

Routines still get work and reworked in order to bring comfort and growth to each of us…I look at each of the kids and see new areas in which strengths and also weakness have been brought out by this new life experience… and continue to pray how the Lord will mold and stretch them into the adults that He foreseen… cause I definitely don’t have a clue I am just going along for the ride… but I am glad I get to see it up close and personal … (well at least most days…Coffee and a whole lot of Jesus help too!!!)

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Here is to see what the next six months will bring…

Galveston… in one word…resilient

The family has had the privilege of settling our feet and relaxing for little over a month in the warm breezy of Galveston Island, TX… though we had heard many things about this beach town… we were both pleasantly surprised by not only by the beauty of it but the richness in its history …

However, has been most surprising is how resilient this town truly is. Though not the only area that is hard hit with storms in current history… Galveston has had its share of disasters (starting with a monumental devastating Hurricane of 1900 – which if you are not familiar with, almost wiped out the town – in one night over 6,000 people died and a majority of the buildings were destroyed or damaged and more recently Hurricane Ike)… but out of those tragedies just like a phoenix rising out of its ashes so did Galveston… and rally and build a seawall which now surrounds the beachfront and has become an attraction in itself, as well as protection…so many places can be seen which rebuild time and time again… while others, well I guess there are so many times you can rebuild… yet you can sense the essence of the town and their resilience

While we played at “tourist” we got to explore sites as the: Moody Mansion, Rosenberg Library (which is the oldest public library in Texas…sigh it is so beautiful and the historical section a dream for any bookworm!!!)…but we also looked into more “local history” such as Bryan Museum (which originally was a children’s orphanage and its history in the island) now host one of the largest collection of South West history in the U.S. … we also took a look into a more “trade history”  such as Ocean Star Offshore Rig Museum and  Galveston Railroad Museum… you can’t be in Galveston without taking in the beauty of its waterways …and a lazy Sunday afternoon on a Dolphin sightseeing tour was definitely a treat to see all the beauty and got treated to lovely frolicking dolphins playing along the boat… (BTW – if you are wondering how we manage all these outings, check out “Galveston Island Pass” where you are able to get these great local sites for 40% off their entry fee) yes I do LOVE a bargain!!!

But being tourist is not our only purpose as we travel. We were able to connect with a great local church (Galveston Bible Church) and met some great fellow believers and share about Justice and Mercy International , it was a win-win situation…

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Family @ Galveston Bible Church

During this trip we “kill-two-birds-with one stone”… our oldest son got his license permit (a dream come true for him) not so much for his mama… (sigh why do they grow up so fast) … and he also visited his #1 choice for university (coming up in the near future) Texas A&M!!

And now we off to our next destination…adventure awaits just around the next bend…

some like it hot…but oh Dallas…

Dallas in the summer…how do you describe it… yes some told it would be hot…but when you happen experience a record high heat summer(in its record) …well it’s like trying to walk outside yet it feels  like your face is baking in the sun… (ok maybe not that bad) but pretty close… we stop in the Dallas area to see family and to start our “official” domicile legalities to be Texan!! And we are proud to say that after a dramatic day at DMV …we now are legally Texas residents… Yes y’all we “be legit”!!! All joking aside, it was great to reconnect with family, to see the kids rekindled their relationship with grandparents, aunt and uncle, and sweet cousins…

In between the melting heat, we got to squeeze in sites…At the Dallas World Aquarium, taste the local treats in  places like Frisco and Historic McKinney.. seems like donuts are their own type of “cult” in this area of the state since they are in every corner… and some are quite tasty… but we are still working on that so we’ll let you know when we finish eating all the samples… :)!!!

Between all the road constructions and everything being “Texas size” only took us a few weeks to get use all the crazy road patterns… just in time get out of town… but not quite out of Texas… (but that is another chapter…)

We are still visiting local churches and excited to share about JMI to whom ever is willing to listen… if you have not had a chance to check their latest blog… please do so.. and if you feel led to lend a helping hand in that ministry..please listen to that prompt!!!

Here are highlights from our Dallas reel:

 

the lighted pathway…our mission…His passion…

When we started on this journey… one of our heart desires was to be a vessel of service for the Lord… James 1:27 says “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”… we are thrilled and so humble to share that we’ll be partnering with Justice & Mercy International. To share their ministries as we travel and hope to spread the word about their work.

Justice & Mercy International (JMI) is a faith-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that exists to make justice personal for the poor, the orphaned and the forgotten of the world.

The children and families JMI serves are incredibly vulnerable. Impoverished and powerless, they contend daily with the threats of human traffickers, substandard education, hunger, and treacherous living conditions. JMI staff, sponsors, and volunteers work together to offer hope and help to the most vulnerable.

As we travel we hope that churches and those we meet along the way will open to hearing about this great ministry and would come along and partner with them.  We encourage you our family and friends to click the link and read more about them and if you feel lead join us in sponsoring this great ministry… And pray for us that God would open many ways in order for us to serve His great commission…

If you have any questions.. feel free to ask..

 

it started small… but oh my!!!

Have you ever heard the saying it takes the “faith of a mustard seed to move mountains”… sometimes something that started seemingly small can evolve into a world on its own… If you have never experience Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, I would recommend it at least a one in a lifetime trip…The Mountains are breathtaking and rivers and waterfalls… Though what draws people (probably the most) is one attraction. Dollywood. I was sort of dragged, kicking and screaming to this attraction (which I will admit) I thought would be corny, and over the top…which it was at times, but I also have to admit I have never been to a theme park that was as clean and the worker as friendly as they were there… So here is a bit about Dollywood… it started as a one ride wonder in the 60’s (a coal train “Klondike Katie” –  through the Smokies), which by the way you can still catch today (if you are willing to do the 30-40 minute wait)…after several owners and name changes and a “few additions” Ms. Dolly Parton was asked to join the “show” and partner up with the park, which lend its current name and southern charm of Dollywood… since then it has become one of the top 50 most visited theme parks in the world…you got to admit that a little bit of “southern charm” goes long way…This entire area was built around something that seemed so small, yet after being there for over a week the bustling and the busyness of the town shows the faith that it took to get that little town in the middle of the Smokies to grow and thrive can move mountains…

 

along the way…

In between breath-taking, majestic views and architecture marvels come along those “little moments” which really make up every day…along the way so far we have been able to stop and talk with so many of our “neighbors” in the long lost art of the impromptu conversations of just “saying hi“…visited the local churches and enjoyed fellowship with others that we’ll enjoy eternity with…Heard others heart’s desires in their life-mission and how they are taking their families on similar journeys…We’re blessed in potluck get together that were put together “on the fly“, instead of  penciled in a too busy of a schedule.

A joy has been the life moments that I get to witness in my very own family… when father and son grow closer together for mutual interests, for one it’s lifelong passion and the other a new found “obsession”…

Other “little” things along the way are just the everyday things that make life interesting…dealing with sweltering heat.. puppy getting into stuff he ought not and having emergency vet visit “sigh”… getting the bumps out of the road and redrawing our ideas of what things look like…

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Like this becoming your new “home office”…

Yet our kids spend more time doing things like this…

Rather than …well you get the idea…you fill in the blank…So we’ll take “all” the things that come along the way…the good with well sometimes not so fun… It’s okay as our good Lord reminds us:

“His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness;

his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lam. 3:22b-23

There is always tomorrow …See you along the way

Summer Cottages!!!

Oh, the lives of the rich and famous of the turn of the century sure make me laugh… they spend their summer cooling themselves briefly in places such as Newport, RI. Where they built for themselves “Cottages by the Sea”. This Gilded Age Era was more than we can ever imagine, and will never be again… but I can assure you than the beauties that they left behind make for certain an entertaining and if anything a lesson on what extravagance and ostentatious living was like.. I love the quote from Oscar Wilde which says:

“Have nothing in your house that has not given pleasure to the man who made it and is not a pleasure to those who use it. Have nothing in your hoses that useful or beautiful.”

So many of this houses tell a story of sadness, for many of their owners after spending so much didn’t enjoy them as many passed away, had broken marriages, or suffered family tragedies…But I am not going to lie I did enjoy their beauty and sharing with the kids…

journey begins…

We officially hit the road, and our first stop was to see the majestic Niagara Falls…Their vastness and beauty inspired us to see the hand of the master craftsman…we were in awe at the sheer beauty of hundreds of thousands of gallons of rushing water carving the landscape… while you feel so insignificant and yet know that the same Creator took such great care to craft us and still cares for all of our needs.. Such beauty deserves to be preserved for generations to come and I for one am glad that movement in the mid-1800’s led by Frederick Law Olmsted(best known for his work of Central Park) gave way to the preservation and bringing back the beauty that we see now…

So if you get a chance make your way to this “wonder of God’s creation” and feel the cool mist… you will never feel quite the same after you do…

a lot sweet and a little sorrow…

Adventure Awaits

The time has come that we “officially” hit the road. We have prayed and planned for this day for a year. As we reach this pivotal moment in our journey, we look back at our time here in Maryland and feel blessed at the friends that we have been privileged in making. The time spent in service. The many ups and downs we have had. Each moment has led us here.

Most of all we are grateful for the people that have touched our lives. As we look forward to those, we to meet on our journey…We are thankful for you each one of you that have shared in our time here…

We’ll Miss Y’all!!

Merari

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6. As Proverbs 22:6 says, I am testimony that my parents prayed and began to train at a young age.  My first step in a church was at the age of seven days old…I learn about the Lord, the stories, and facts. I participated, I followed all that was asked of me and I knew who God was. Yet, deep down inside I also knew that I was not truly right with the God… that connection came later as a young adult when God gripped my heart and showed me that knowing Him in my head and loving Him with all my heart had to come together. At twenty-one, those two aspects came together in the sweet redemption that Christ had for me. And so, began my journey into redemption.

Each season has brought me a different perspective and different way that the God has taught me to serve and grow… the beginning of my journey was through serving behind the scenes “sort of speak”, I love to cook. So, making meals for others seem like a natural extension of service for me. Organization, decoration and, gardening are things that I enjoy, so those too became natural extensions of service in the church.  It was not until I joined my first women’s group that I saw a glimpse of where the God may be calling me to serve Him and give me a heart for. As I grew deeper in my walk and in His word, I longed for other women to see His Word in the same light and same passion as I did.  So, I began to help in the women’s ministry.  Our move to California was a deep growing season which I will be forever thankful for.  The deep valleys we endured and the stretching and leading the God used to bust my “comfort box” and show me that if I was only a willing vessel, He truly would do the rest of the work. Wonderful teachers and mentors poured themselves into me.

Once again, we moved. God asked if I would be willing to walked “blindly” in faith and accept the calling of not helping but leading a women’s ministry.  Humbly and stretched to my limits I put together slowly a ministry that both encouraged and served the women of the church and community.  For six years, organizing, leading studies, fellowships, retreats, outreach to the community. As Solomon says for everything there is a season. Another season has come pass.  The Lord has now called me to refocus on the schooling of my children and the new season of life as will be on the Road. Serving Him will always be at the forefront of who I am.  My heart to see other women grow and love God more deeply will always be there, and I will always be able to encourage and share when those “God nudges” occur. I know where ever He lead I will follow…

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psa 84:10