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last few months…are a blur

Thank you for all the prayers and support… The last few months have gone by in a blur… we blinked, and now it’s Spring… So we had a lovely time in our winter spot of sunny FL…while there we finished our stay with a Full-Time Family Rally (70 families the Rv full time gather to share fellowship and information about this lifestyle)…it was a fast-paced week with lots of information, fun activities and lots and lots of kids…

Then we bee-line to Nashville, TN where we met up with JMI for a great face to face meeting about our work with their ministry, and possible things to come soon… We also got to explore the contemporary city, eat lots of great food and saw some beautiful sunrises while staying by the water…

We zigzag through the mountains, may I say through some might tight roads for our mighty big “bus” to get to see family in our Georgia stop…

We made it back to Maryland for our medical must… and will be heading west next.. so stay tuned. We are so excited for what is to come…

Remember is just not the destination but the enjoy the journey!!!

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faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust!!!(yeah we went there…)

If you didn’t guess it by the title…we took the plunge and while in our whirl wind stay in FL this winter we stopped in that magical place…and yes as many of you my friends know… I had promised never to set foot in Disney ever again… my kiddos when young had screamed their way through almost every ride (not one, twice, but three times…) I was quite happy never to experience that again…

My loving and patient hubby said, just wait when they get older this too shall pass… (insert eye roll from me)… but yet again I get to notify the press that he came up right…(oh I will never live it down…insert another eye roll)… so after much wearing me down, we contacted family friend and Disney expert Michaela Nuckels at Simply Magical Vacations.

She smoothly and expertly handled all the reservations for us, from our stay at Fort Wilderness Camping Lodge RV Campground and to our Park passes (set up fast passes to ride) and all that entails… she could have done so much more but I was overwhelmed enough… (but seriously) if Disney is in your sites contact Michaela (she truly will make it so easy… its like “magic”)…

So we settled into the Fort Wilderness with some minor mechanical issues which the Disney Courtesy welcome patrol immediately took care off. Still “Magical” people…then we got ourselves all ready for the adventure…

Our first day at the parks was Epcot:(and everyone was rearing to go!!)

We took a mid afternoon break… (and long nap…yeah not going to lie we slept like babies) then headed back for the evening lights and fun…(Frozen by far was my favorite ride, though the consensus for the rest of the family was “Test Track”… lammo “petrol-heads”…

We rested up well… drank a quadruple espressos in the morning and off we went to Magical Kingdom the next day… while we waited for the boat ride to arrive, Duncan entertained us with his amazing “sock puppet” expertise and by this I mean (he found a lost and forgotten sock in his coat pocket and proceeded to preform)…never a dull moment in our house…

But really we did have a lovely day and the best highlights from this entire trips are as follow… Keith’s aunt and uncle graciously came along and kept us company at the parks, listened to our kids, regaled them with Keith’s childhood stories and Keith’s uncle “fun” cop stories … other highlights…Keith and I were able to reminisce about our beginnings … a long, long time ago we went to something called “GradNite” where Senior High Graduates got to spend a late night in Disney…in what was that faithful night our relationship began to flourish from friendship to courtship…(let’s just say the “Haunted House” especially holds dear memories…)

yes… it was a great few days… I am glad we did it… we probably had our fill and are set until grand babies come around… but are grateful for the great family memories we did make…as Mr. Walt Disney said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”… and for me that was to go and enjoy Disney again!!!

Remember enjoy not just your destination but the Journey there…

too much fun…in the sun!!!

our time with family and friends has kept us going and I have neglected to keep our humble journal of our journey up to date…

we zoomed back and forth between Vero and Miami for the holidays… and “mooch” docking at a family front yard…(gave Keith’s old neighborhood something to talk about for weeks)

Hanging out in front of Keith’s mom’s house…

our kids (and us) have been blessed to have made sweet memories… here a but a few samples of those…

after moving a little further up the coast… we made a short stop in St. Augustine (the Oldest continuous lived in city in the US)… though there were lots to see and definitely lots of “historical sites”…though I am not going to lie we were a bit surprised at how “tourist and commercial” the city was…(maybe we have been spoiled by those historical areas that have been so pristinely preserved…) but I will let each person make up their own mind….

Keith and I even managed to sneaked out for a date night…

our South Florida travels gave us great weather for the holidays… and great memories with family… not often you get to spend Christmas Day basking in the sun and sand…our pups so far are getting used to the road and at times think they “own the bus”…

so family and friends stay tuned… we did take a little detour to a “magical place”… but for those details, stay tune for our next blog…

see y’all along the way…

a little stop along the journey…

thank you for coming along the journey with us thus far…I know I have neglected to keep y’all updated these past few weeks… since we landed in our “winter spot” it has been a whirlwind” of action…

We first got to “South Florida” and began mad preparations for our much awaited Anniversary celebration with Family and Friends, which we have shared already about… after a beautiful weekend

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we went headlong in a flurry of preparations to make another significant transition to move into our new motorhome.. for those of y’all that had seen our home on wheels or were aware of what we had,   its known as a fifth wheel (we had one for close to 5.5 years)… but after much prayer and hours..hours of research and YouTube watching and dragging the kids to see many floor plans – we felt compelled that for our family and our new FullTime life that a motorhome (the one you drive and tow a small vehicle) made more sense… we took the plunge and went to Tampa… and in a crazy two-day transition moved all our belongings (which still amaze us how much stuff you can still have in 420 sq. ft. and settled in…

of course, it would not be the beginning of fall/winter without the lovely cold season which hit us pretty severely…so we empathize with all y’all out there that are not feeling so well this season…. then, of course, all prep for all the holidays hit the fan… Thanksgiving went by (I think I ate turkey…) and now we are solar ready (in my hubby’s dream that we can be independent for more extended road travel as we head west next year)…

but amidst all this… we have had amazing times to spent with family… not just get-togethers but just hangout day-in and day-out time with family… or doing little traditions like our yearly gingerbread house decorating… even getting in some local sites…

though it feels like time has flown by we feel blessed by the quality time we have spent with our loved ones…so we will keep you posted as we start to travel again after the New Year and more crazy adventures begin…

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please remember if you want to love on those that most need it this holiday season check out Justice and Mercy International Gift page (JMI Christmas Store)they have wonderful ideas on how to bless others!!!

May the Lord’s Blessing be with You All!!

 

…#i still do…25 years later…

If you would indulge us… for this story we’ll be taking a little detour on our adventures… as we feel honored and blessed to have reached the milestone of our 25th wedding anniversary this past month (October 2018)…

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October 29th, 1993

We took the opportunity to set time aside and celebrate with as many family and friends as we could… though we wished we could have gather with all of our loved ones to celebrate the blessing that Lord has given us in our lives…

The setting was beautiful…the food was amazing and the company were a wonderful blessing…

 

So here is wonderful collection of pictures… and if you can stand it a little sappiness… a few words that I share with our family and friends…

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“Thank you all for coming to celebrate with us on this special day…As I look back to what has led to us here… I think back as a little girl to the many hours I poured over books of fairy princesses and their wonderful loves… I dreamed and made castles in the sky about what I would wish for one day… I was also blessed with a wonderful example of what a loving, kind and generous “husband figure” in my father and what a great marriage looks like in both of my parents…with all of this I had made a great “recipe” to what I thought I would have in a husband and marriage, but God always knows best and He has a way in putting His touch in what is best for us… and that first came when my life took a sudden and what I thought of at the time  –  a life changing event that I wasn’t sure I could ever get over…my parents in their infinite wisdom and sacrifice wanted to better both my and my brother’s life (since my sister’s were already gone from home) and choose to “move us” to Florida. And through that life-changing event my life and Keith’s came to a crossroads… 

many of you know this long story… So I won’t bore you with ALL the details… But way before we ever thought it was possible that we could ever “like” each other, we met in the halls of Junior High (yes kids …my kids,  cringe, I said Junior High)… I certainly had no intention of liking a “lanky ,freckle boy”, but as my wise mother always told me, “never say never, cause you will inadvertently get more of it than you would like (this is of course a loose translation from Spanish – I will spare you)… of course she was right…cause I have gotten plenty of that boy 

As we progress through school so did our “friendship” by the time we had reached the 11th grade we had become close friends and well by the 12th-grade our “feelings” had  blossom into something more… Though we were both hesitant to share with each other… I do however love to share how (since we did have classes together) specifically History, I found unique that our chairs were always aligned by the time I made it to class in order that we could sit right next to each other… I was honored and thrilled when Keith asked me to the Senior Prom… I truly did feel like Cinderella going to the ball… 

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Senior Prom ’91

I wish I could say we have lived a “fairytale-like” life just like they write in books, but in reality, our story has had bumps and bend all along the road… some would even say even quite “an adventure”…yet, I like our story much, much better.  Because we started our lives together so young, we have seen the best of each other and maybe the not so best..2018_10_18 12-57-44

We have gotten the privilege of growing up and maturing along the way, of not only falling in love with each over and over again but discovering and falling in love with our Lord and Savior together… which has made us into a better reflection of the people we ever hoped to be…

We have been given the privilege to parent three wonderfully unique children. Whom each has a special path and purpose in life and ours, each one has brought us joy and purpose beyond what we could have ever imaged.  

We live each day to bring glory to our Lord and to serve and love each other and our family and those He sets in our path… I never imagined as a little girl who dreamed of  fairy tale princes that in the end, I would also get my very best friend and love of my life in the deal too… I am so proud of the man I get to call my husband.  I love you more than words can say… Here to the rest of what our adventure will bring”

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…

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..

 

eating…RV style…

So often when we share about our adventures, people love to hear about the places and things we see…yet they also find it amazing at how we live our daily lives in less than 420 square feet…

Women in particular wonder at the daily activities, such as cooking and laundry… I know probably not the most interesting to many but I thought I would take stab at least at one of those today… FOOD… since in my house it is almost as important as God

Food is a form of LOVE in our family… so eating well and “maybe” fancy it’s part of our regular routine… with a family of five… we try not to eat out too much cause well (with two teenagers and one upcoming preteen) well our bank account would be bankrupt … so we attempt to eat at home most days…

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You would be surprised in a “small” kitchen we make almost everything that a “gourmet” kitchen would do, with a little creativity maybe you too would think how to do some fun stuff in your kitchen…

Here is the breakdown of equipment that I utilize: currently I have a gas oven (27 in.) 3 burner stove (that would be more realistic 2 useable burners at a time), 1 convection microwave (that truth be told – have used once as an oven – but I am getting more comfortable using as we speak!!) and a countertop convection toaster oven (Breville – yes total product placement- Love it!!- it’s my second one!!)

So a little trick that I do all the time for baking in the oven – its layers- yes I have “cookie cooling rack” that I add on top of my baking sheet in order to have a dual rack in the oven and get two things to bake at the same time ( I also added a baking stone in the oven in order to make sure I have even baking)…Having tools that serve multi-purpose also come very handy…I am not an outdoor grilling person… But my family still enjoys the burger and other grilled food… So I invested in a 5-in-1 griddle… I can grill, and use it to also make our favorite breakfast food like pancake and waffle with a quick switch of the insert plates… and if we want to grill a sandwich or panini’s we can have does too ( have you ever had a grilled guava and cheese sandwich if you haven’t let me tell you don’t know what you are missing yet…in our family that is a favorite.. 🙂

So as you can see with a little bit of thought and (some help from Pinterest) to keep your recipes interesting you are able to eat healthy, fun and exciting meals even in a “small” kitchen space… so the sky is the limit for your palate and your bellies… Von Appetite from the McFarland 5…

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:

 

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…