BOOGALOO CAMP 2018

We wait all year for this one week, my family and I.  Well, at least the girls and the little boys!  All year, I plan for new and exciting projects I will share with the boys.  John Thomas and Levi both love art and creating, so that fits right in with my plan.  We usually have a theme and go somewhere exciting and fun…just a little day trip from PCB.  This year, the plans were discussed.  The plans were confirmed.  The dates were set.  But, alas…the best laid plans often sail off into never never land and the best you can do is just wing it.  And, that’s what we did at Boogaloo Camp 2018.

Fortunately the boys got in a little swimming time on Friday, before the clouds decided to turn a permanent shade of gray!

The day was beautiful and Lori, Tara and Suzanne soaked up as much sun as they could on our beautiful Laguna Beach.

 

We decided we needed an excellent meal to start the camp off right, so off we went to Uncle Ernie’s!  Ate out on the covered deck and watched the sun set.  The food was delicious, and we all enjoyed a walk around the marina before the darkness settled in.

Back to the Sandcastle to rest and relax and have some fun together…or alone…

After a good night’s sleep, the girls and the boys headed out for some shopping.  They were planning to go and return before the rain.  Again…that’s what ya get for making plans…

A little bit of wetness didn’t slow them down…it just added to the fun!  The boys thought it great fun to go schlepping around in the rain!

They did manage to do some minor damage to their wallets before they headed back!

This pic below is not very clear, but I add it for posterity’s sake.  Here’s a little of the ‘boogying’ we do at Boogaloo Camp!

Because our big plans were to take a boat out to Shell Island for a picnic…we tried to salvage at least part of the plan…the picnic part.  I put the boys in total charge of the planning, making, gathering and packing of the picnic.  Here is the list…by their minds and hands.

Since they decided on cookies, they had to prepare them.  And, make the sandwiches, with a little supervision.

They gathered all the things on their list…and packed the cooler…and then this happened…

Joy and I were to meet them and go to the park for our picnic.  But the minute we got on the road…the rain started falling so hard we literally could not see the cars in front of us!  So, I turned the car around, and we went back to the house.  We took our picnic blankets and spread them across the floor.   Then, set out pillows…lit candles…spread some shells and sea creatures around…and called it a picnic!  The boys served us and cleaned up.  Not exactly the fun we had hoped for…but a memory made, nonetheless!

Because of this…

…we decided the smartest thing to do was to head to Dothan on Sunday.  As everyone was washing sheets and towels…the boys and I got in a little crafting time.

Our little boys are growing up…going into second and third grade next year…silly boys!

And, so by noon, we were all loaded, floors swept, doors locked, and ready to get to higher ground.  The boys were a little sad, so much of our big plans were cancelled.  But, we prayed together before we left and thanked God for the rain.  We decided that if He wanted us to be back in Dothan, that’s where we should be.  After all, His plans are always perfect.

The storm, Alberto, actually made landfall on our little stretch of beach, Laguna Beach.  Our houses are about 2 blocks away.  We made the right decision to vacate the area.

However, the boys did make us promise that before the summer was out and school started back…we would have Boogaloo Camp 2018…Part 2!  And, Lord willing…we will!

SPRING BREAK 2018

Just a few quick days down at the beach…but enough for us all to have some great time together!  We were just missing Joy.  But, she had obligations at home to take care of .  Not the same without her, though!  Adam was with us for the first day and night, then he had to return to work…sure enjoyed him being here!

Lots of pics ahead…

Got to try out of new little car Don got us for the beach!  Her name is Betty!  She seats 4 (or in our case 5)…has heater, lights, fans, street legal, is electric and a ton of fun!

 

 

Went to Pier Park to try out a new, fabulous Milk Shake Bar!  OH! MY! GOODNESS!  It was divine!  Of course there was a wait of 1 hour and 35 minutes!!! Cause everybody and their brother wanted to try it!  Just look at these…

And these were the small ones!  We shared…a little.  And, we left there feeling too full but very satisfied!  Actually the reason we went was to celebrate Levi’s birthday which is on the 29th.  I just happened to find this cute Dr. Seuss Birthday Book…Happy #7, Little Man!

We had to kill some time while waiting…

Obviously, my hair is enjoying the windy weather!!!

Could you eat that ice cream after doing this?  Levi was the brave one!

Back to the house to get in a little art work with the boys…their choice!

We did a little shopping, a little playing, a little getting wet…and just chilling!  All that great beachy stuff!

Next night we went out to eat at Sisters of the Sea (formerly Runaway Bay).  Excellent food.  It is by a marina and we watched the boats being docked and afterwards took a slow walk down the pier soaking up some glorious sunshine.  The sunshine was warm and wonderful…but made for squinty eyes in pics and big shadows.  Tried to edit a little…

Pirates and mermaids for the kids…and a swimming pool to cool off as you wait for your meal…we skipped the cooling off part.

 

Can you balance a french fry on your nose?

And, all good things have to come to an end…Lori had to return to work…Levi to school…Suzanne enjoying the rest of her spring break…Tara to work…and me back home to prepare for a big project coming up in the next 2 months!

So good to spend time with our family.  So blessed we are all close and enjoy being together.  So fortunate to have two precious little boys of the next generation.  God is so good to us.  We praise Him for blessing us and loving us.

We spent our last night all together in the den watching The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Suzanne’s suggestion.  I hope you are familiar with this set of books by C.S. Lewis…such a prolific, Christian writer.  The series for children are told in fairy tale fashion with a direct correlation to the Bible.  Such a glorious opportunity to draw a parallel between what happened in the movie and what happens in the Bible.  Please, please read these stories to your child…or get the movies and watch them.  They are so well done!  And, actually, you will enjoy it as much as they.  It is not a cartoon.  Can not recommend it highly enough!  The one we watched was the first one and it centered on the resurrection!

…Art by Levi age 4…

 

 

THE BIG (FROZEN) APPLE

A few months ago, it came up at a Sunday School meeting that we needed to take a fun trip.  Someone suggested New York City, and Monty was put in charge.  She soon had info out to us all detailing price, and possible itinerary, along with other details.  We mulled it over and when it came down to it…6 ladies decided to take the trip.  (Everyone I know told me not to go.  My health just does not allow me to walk for long distances.  But, since there could be…maybe…possibly…the tiniest of stubborn streaks in myself…I signed up and pledged to be among the group.)

I was elected to describe our trip and post pictures detailing our big adventure.  Could it be that’s because I’m the only one who writes a blog?  Probably.  But, I shall attempt to document our 7 days in NYC to the best of my ability.

At Dothan Airport…excited about our adventure ahead!

Monty insisted she was going to be ‘the Chief’ on this trip…I had to remind her that I was ‘the Queen’!  All in fun…Monty was definitely in charge!!!

After a short layover in ATL, we arrived to the bitter, frigid, biting winter weather!

Boarding our shuttle (after a 2 hour wait), we soon arrived at our hotel.  Checked in to lovely rooms at the Westin Times Square.  We poor starving girls then struck out to find something to eat close by.  Found a little hole in the wall pizza place…full of folks.  Figuring they must know something..we joined the line and soon were eating the most delicious pizza rolls!  Then back to the room and rest for our first full day!

 

We did have the fortunate luck of having 2 little deli/grill places right next to our hotel!  One was old and quaint…one new and modern.

Both delicious.  We visited them every morning! We found wonderful madeto order breakfasts, and delicious bagels and croissants, and hot chocolate here…

Our first play was a matinee on Sunday afternoon.

I had seen this before in Birmingham and knew it was a great play!  It tells the story of what happened before the Wizard of Oz story…how the Wicked Witches, Glenda, the Good Witch, the Tin Man, Scare Crow, and Cowardly Lion…and the flying monkeys came to be!  Such a funny play…great music…great costumes and sets!

When it was over, Terry, Joy and I took a taxi back to the motel…while Monty, Betty and Beverly chose to walk and go eat cheesecake!  World famous Junior’s Cheesecake!!!  Wouldn’t you think they would certainly bring us some?  That’s what I would do.  But no…Just no.

Next day, we began a 3 day bus tour that would drop you in several places around the area to sightsee.  We saw quite a bit!  Now, may I be perfectly honest with you here?  Well, of course I can…it’s my blog!  I cannot remember exactly what we did on which day.  I am fairly clear on everywhere we went…just maybe not in order.  But, that’s what ya get when you ask someone like me to tell a story!

*****The Empire State Building*****

This was such an amazing building so full of lovely architecture.  I had never been inside before.  There were 2 observatories closer to the top.

Monty and Joy…

 

 

Can you spot MACY”S in the above picture.  Yes, we went there, too.  But this was from the Empire State Building.

*****Battery Park*****

This is a place to catch the boats or ferry to Ellis Island to tour the Statue of Liberty.  The statue was closed and you couldn’t go in it due to repairs being made… and us Southern ladies…much as we love a good boat ride on Lake Eufaula…just didn’t cotton to the idea of getting on a ferry to go way over there in weather with a windchill of 21.  No, Ma’am, we did not.

From one of the higher buildings a nice shot of the Statue of Liberty!

 

We were all admiring these beautiful sycamore trees…Joy, Monty, Terry.

On several trees we found these lovely hearts growing into the tree.  Don’t know how or why.

A glorious statue depicting men and women and children coming to the shores of America.  So massive and so well done.

*****9-11 Memorial*****

This was a quiet, reverent place.  So hard to imagine the horror that happened here.  Lovely memorial with much to make you think.

It was by far the coldest day we were there.  We could not even speak as we waited in line!

Beverly was freezing….but so were we all!

This flag is made up of photos of all those who died on 9/11…


Where one of the pillars stood…

The huge waterfall at the entrance…notice the beautiful rainbow…

Tonja and Beverly…

The new One World Trade Center…the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere…the sixth tallest in the world…

*****Grand Central Station*****

This was so lovely.  I was amazed at the architectural features inside of a building that people only pass through going somewhere else.

Sweet Joy…

Betty and Beverly down on the floor…

Terry, Tonja, Beverly, Betty…  notice arches and moldings behind us…

Monty, Tonja, Joy, Terry…

*****Little Italy*****

We walked through Chinatown and Little Italy.  We had gotten a great recommendation of a place to eat and when we got there, it had burned down.  A young man came over and invited us to his Italian place.  He asked us where we were from and we said “Dothan”…he said he grew up in Mariana, Fla…about 25 miles away!  Small world, huh?  The food was amazing!  Great atmosphere, too!

*****St. Patrick’s Cathedral*****

We got a tip before we left that we should try to get tickets to see the play, BEAUTIFUL.  So we did and it was fabulous!  It is the life story of Carole King.  She is such a prolific songwriter!  It was just joyful from start to finish!  Perhaps we enjoyed it so much because it is the music we grew up with!  Highly recommended!

Afterwards, due to all the walking we had done all day, Terry, Joy and I were too tired to take another step!  But,we started out anyway.  Don’t know whose fault it was but we finally realized we were nowhere near our hotel …we had gone quite a ways beyond.  We stopped and I’m sure we were looking quite forlorn…when a little pedi cab drove up and asked us if he could take us to our hotel.  Thank you, Lord.  We got in and he started pedaling.  Then he asked if we would like a little longer tour.  We said sure…as long as we don’t have to walk!  So he drove us all through Times Square before depositing us at the Westin!  It was so fun!

After our bus rides were over and when the busses were too late getting to a stop…Monty decided we were old enough and smart enough to tackle the NYC Subway.  And so we did.  We did quite well.  Most folks are so willing to help if you ask…and we asked a lot!  At one time, we all got through the turnstiles to the other side…except Terry.  She got hung up trying to get a ticket.  I mean really hung up!  Finally someone helped her.  Then she couldn’t get the swipe at the entrance to say GO..She swiped so many times, the machine rejected her card.  Then she had to go and get another one…and the whole dance started over!  Monty decided she would help.  Not the best idea.  Cause she got stuck betwixt and between!  Oh, we laughed.  I don’t think you are supposed to do that, Monty!

Terry made it!!!!!

***Macy’s***

Original wooden escalator…

Too tired to shop!  Can you imagine?

*****Central Park****

After playing on the turnstiles for a good 30 minutes, we were finally on our way.  We all wanted to take a horse buggy ride…but it was way expensive…so we settled for another pedicab.

Our last night, we went out to dinner…and then on to see THE LION KING.

Monty and I split this!!! Chicken pot pie!

While not everyone in our group was as excited as I was to see The Lion King….I was enthralled the whole time!  I have always wanted to see the costuming and the animal puppets.  It was amazing!  Such talented craftspeople!

*****A few street scenes*****

We all searched for ‘pennies from heaven’…Monty will treasure these!

And the day came to head home…barely got my suitcase closed…

 

Even as we left the frigid temps of NYC, we saw a promise of spring…lovely flowers breaking through at Battery Park…searching for some sunshine and warmth to grow into their glory…

We watched the skyline of NYC disappear…saw the Atlanta skyscrapers…but nothing was as beautiful as the sight of open fields and farms and green!  Look at that lovely green as we fly nearer and nearer to Dothan!

Oh what a glorious time we had!  Some of us tired a little quicker than others, but that’s OK.  We saw NYC…our friendships became stronger…and we laughed and laughed and laughed!

At Dothan Airport…home again!

As the Dothan sun sets on our grand adventure in NYC…

…we give thanks to God for safety, health, and protection.  We saw how His hands guided us along the way!  We know that the chance to enjoy this trip was a great big gift from Him.  And we are grateful!

“Every good and perfect gift comes from God.”   James 1:17

Photo Credit:  Terry Walker, Betty Cain, Beverly Haynes, David Clark, Tonja Owens

I AM RELAXING!!!

I have recently been dealing with a malady that is slowly driving me bonkers!  I don’t know if it does that to everybody who deals with this…or if it is just my own personality and quirks that is making it worse.  Anyway, let me tell you my dilemma and perhaps you can tell me if I am slowly losing the few marbles still in my possession!

I have developed a pretty severe problem of TMJD.  This is short for “Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.  It means “you hurt in front of your ear and sometimes causes headaches” according to Ms Google and Medicine Net.

I beg to differ.  When you wake up and your jaw is locked into position and you can not even open it to talk…that’s a strange feeling.  And, if you try to force it to open…you should remember there are quite a few pounds of pressure pushing against you.  They are angry and they are mean.  And, they will wait in the closed  and locked position for you to learn that if you ever wish to open your mouth in a normal way again…you are just going to have to lay back and wait till they are good and ready to move.

When they finally do choose to move again in to the motion we generally use for such things as talking and chewing…you will quickly learn that even though they are allowing you entrance to your throat again…they are not over being difficult.  You will learn you, now and forever, are at the mercy of this little joint in front of your ear.

Tiny little thing.  Think you could certainly yank that little piece into submission., huh?  Well, friends…don’t even try.  And, I tell you this becauseI did try.  I got some steroids at the doctor’s office…and by day 4, it was better.  It was sore for a few days and then it got slowly better and I thought to myself, “Tonja, you have just bypassed a big mess.  Luckily this went away.  You must be living right.”  And, I did not have much trouble…just an occasional twinge for the next 7 or 8 months.  However toward the beginning of fall last year, it began to tell me it was having anger issues again and I had best get ready because it was on its way back!  And, it was.  I went through Thanksgiving and Christmas eating a little soft food on one side of my mouth…almost breaking into tears when I would have to yawn.  My whole side of my face hurt…even up into the temples.  I was even having full blown migraines.  I finally called my dentist and they sent me to an orthodontist who works a dedicated program of help for this condition and the pain it truly causes.

I immediately set up an appointment and quickly made my first visit.  Super nice…everyone.  Extremely knowledgeable and interested in making my pain go away.  It so pays to go to a specialist when you have varying health issues…they know things about specific issues that other doctors may not know just because that is their area of expertise.

Well, they tested me…hooked me up to computers, x rayed me, gave me a thorough explanation of what was happening to me.  I thought it was all in my jaw…but it was involving my face, neck, shoulders and upper back as well.  I signed up for all they were selling.  I was in pain and I wanted out.  And, so they began.  I wear a splint over my teeth at all times…have extensive physical therapy, ultrasound therapy and laser therapy.  Whew!  A lot to throw at ya all at once, huh?  They also explained to me that it could go away for a while, but each time it came back it would be a little worse.

First thing of all was the worst thing of all.  Now you all know I don’t exaggerate!!!!!, but they had to make impressions of my bite.  Top and bottom.  You ever had that?  I have…and I hate it every time!  They get this tray designed to fit a horses mouth…

…and fill this hollowed out tray with the most gosh awful chalky smelling, thicker than toothpaste, goop.  They they expect you to open your little human mouth wide enough to fit that trough in there and bite down. I don’t know if they even think about the fact that you could ingest some of this devil goop down your throat, but rather play soothing music so you can relax and smile inside.   I didn’t…smile inside.  They took out the bottom one.  I survived.

And, here they come with the top one.  But, they didn’t have it smoothed down and neat like this…so right there where the curve is in the round of the tray…there was a little glob of goop sticking straight up.  And when it went into my mouth and suctioned around my teeth…that little blob was just touching that place in your mouth where the gag reflex is!  Oh. I Thought. I Was.GoingTo. Die….right there is that lovely little reclining bed in the little room with the dimmed lights.  I clinched my hands, I clenched my arms to my body. I clenched my butt cheeks.  I was trying to get through this because I knew it was the end.  They started wiggling and wrestling with that thing trying to remove the suction and pull it out of my mouth.  YES!!! they did it.  They inspected it.  And, then came the most dreaded words I had heard up till then…, “We’ve got to do that top one again.”  One of the f assistants caught me as I tried to ease out the door and make a run for it.  And, they did it again.  This time no little glob on top…I told em to make it smooth.  And, I willingly went back into the lion’s den and did it again!

They finished.  I left.  Stopped and bought the biggest glass of sweet tea McD’s offered and washed that experience out of my head…and mouth!  I made it!    I talked to myself all the way home.  “This is going to be fine, Tonja.  They know what to do to get you better.  No more impressions!  The worst part is over.”  They could now make me a splint for my mouth that would fix my bite and strongly urge those teeth into cooperation and make those muscles behave and let me live my life and eat steak again.

So, I’ve been to therapy sessions for 5 weeks.    A good majority of the pain is better.  But there are still issues with the ear and the headaches.  The girls there are so kind and caring and they go out of their way to make things pleasant…except for the impressions.  I kid…maybe I don’t.   On the fourth week, the doctor seemed to think perhaps I needed some different kind of splint that coerced more of my teeth to get involved with this program and make me well.  “Cool!” I thought.  “I’ve already had impressions, so there’s not that to do again.  Thank you, sweet Jesus!”.  They kept my splint and I figured they would just fix it and give it back.  And, I started on my merry way to the therapy room.  It is about an hour massage and though it is painful at times, I can tell it is working what needs to be working and it is very relaxing.  Three girls have worked with me and they are the tops.

But, one of them …and I won’t call any names here….they are all just so lovely.   But she really did try to pull a fast one.  I was headed to the therapy room and she slyly said, “Mrs Tonja, come right over here first, we need to…” and then I faded away, because it looked as if her mouth was making the words ***do more impressions***.  And, I knew that was not in the plans I had made for me that day. I stopped and looked at this sweet dear young lady and thought…surely she is mixed up bad.  I already have done impressions.  She beckoned me closer.  And, I caught a whiff of devils goop mixed with chalk.  She was actually holding it in her hands and smiling at me all sweetly like.  “Just sit right here and we’ll get his taken care of and get on with your therapy.”  I sat…I reclined and we did the bottom one.  OK…done.  Then the top.  I told her about smoothing it down. ( Cause even though she does this every single day, I had a better way she should know of!)  She put in the top one and I clenched and shook and shivered and through all that, I heard her voice coming through saying,” Relax your lower jaw, Mrs. Tonja.”  I thought I was.  “Mrs. Tonja RELAX your jaw. “ For the life of me, I could not get my lower jaw to do anything but what it darn well pleased.  I pulled on it…she was trying to get the goop out and I pulled my jaw and moved it and she said “RELAX it.” Well, You could have hit me with a hammer, but my jaw was not in an obedient mood…and I could not help it.  The TMJD devil got in there and just would not turn loose.  She laughed and said “come on and relax.” UH UH!  was not happening!   All I could think of was that this tray was going to be cemented to my teeth and I would have to have it chiseled  off and who knows what else and HOW COULD I RELAX?  I still don’t know how she got that horse trough out of my mouth , but she did.  I was really trying to relax my jaw as best as I could, but it was just one strong force after another!  Ask her…she’ll tell you she was ready to slap me!  Not really! 

So, I am this far in treatment and don’t know what the next step will be.  I can hear the bones moving against each other…which is an unnerving sound at best.  At least it’s not crackling like crumbling up paper anymore.  Don’t know where the next steps will lead me…possibly even surgery.  But, I’m committed to this program.  It makes so much sense and is quite logical from my  limited medical knowledge.  I will follow it through!

As long as there are no more impressions!!!!  Thanks sweet girls for serving me with your kindness and mercy!

I added some information here, because I am at heart a teacher.  I love to convey knowledge.  I never knew TMJD was this involved.  This is just a short synopsis, but I urge you that if you are having trouble in any of these areas to perhaps consider this help.  I am not a doctor, so I can make no claims except what it is doing for me.  And, the caring and consideration of the staff involved is tops.  If you should perhaps want to know the name of this doctor, I would be happy to share it with you privately.  He is local, but I did not ask permission to use his name.

                                     INFO ON TMJD

The temporomandibular joint is more commonly referred to as the TMJ joint, but what is TMJ? This joint is actually located at the base of the skull in front of the ear structure and connects the lower jaw (mandible) with the upper jaw (maxilla). Unlike most joints located in the body, the TMJ is unique in its structure, composed of a rounded protrusion of the mandible that sits against an indentation in the skull, and a disc-like structure made of a soft bone called cartilage found in between the two bones (articular disc).

These three parts of the TMJ are held together by ligaments originating from different parts of the head and neck to support the jaw and guide its movements. Several muscles are connected to those ligaments, and many aid in the motion of the lower jaw.

How Does it Work?

The TMJ works in two ways to open your mouth: The first way is like a hinge to simply open and close the mouth, just like a hinge on a door. The second way is a sliding motion called translation, wherein your lower jaw moves down and forward. This motion helps the TMJ to move backward and forward and from side to side for actions such as eating, yawning and singing – some of the most common.

What Can Happen to the TMJ?

Like any other joint in the body, the TMJ can be fractured, swell and become sore, causing limited movement of the lower jaw and pain radiating to the head and neck area. A fracture to the actual articular disc is rare, but it can be displaced, causing severe pain and swelling. Unlike other joints such as knees and hips, arthritis of the TMJ is very rare, and hard to treat with anti-inflammatory drugs alone.

You can find loads more info on google to familiarize your self with this condition.

 

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BLESSINGS

 

I had a doctors appointment early one morning last week and I left before I ate breakfast…not a wise decision.  So after spending an hour and a half at the doctor’s office, I was hurting, sore and hungry.  I had one errand to run before heading home to make good use of the heating pad.  I glanced toward Loyless Doughnuts, as I passed by that way and saw that the sign said OPEN!  It took a few seconds to register that I had finally driven by when they were not closed.  “I’m going back,” I said out loud.  One of those doughnuts would surely help my feelings!  I wove my way around the streets and ended up back at Loyless.  As I pulled up to the window…my heart sank.  Right there on a sign in the window…it said NO CREDIT OR DEBIT CARDS…CASH ONLY.

I immediately knew I was in trouble.  Because I didn’t want to lug my big purse around this morning, I grabbed a small bag and threw in my cards, and my phone and a lipstick.  I have my cash in a different pace than where I keep my cards.  And, I didn’t have it with me.  My luck.  I finally see them open and no money!

I remembered I had some change in a cup and grabbed it and thought I may have enough for one doughnut.  I was sifting through my change, when a man opened the window.  He asked how he could help me.  I smiled at him and said…”Well, I’m trying to see if I have enough for a doughnut!  I don’t have any other cash with me but this change!”  He laughed and said, “Not to worry.  I can give you a sample!”  He came back with one heavenly glazed doughnut and one double heavenly glazed with chocolate!  I said, “I have 75 cents here.  Let me give you that.”  “No ma’am,” he said, “this is on me today!”  I said, “You are very kind.  I hope you have a blessed day today.”  He said, “Well, I can certainly use some blessings!”  “Well, you have blessed me today and I thank you so much,” I said.

And, as I drove off, I saw him put the closed sign in the window.

I devoured those two doughnuts.  I had the plain one for my breakfast and the chocolate one for dessert!  There are none that compare!   “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”  Psalm 34:8.  Those are some mighty fine doughnuts…but if you live in Dothan…you already know that!

My spirits were lifted.  I don’t know if the blessing was for me to get the doughnuts…or for him to  have the opportunity to bless me with the doughnuts...as a sample…free of charge!!!    Because, we can not do something to bless others without the blessing rubbing off on us, too.

 

Perhaps God was thinking that when He said that we are toserve one another in love and action’.   He knew all along that if we strive to do that for others…we are going to share in the blessing ourselves!  It just rubs off on the doer as much as the receiver.

And when we read this verse…

…we see that God has already set out all these opportunities in front of us.  He prepared a place and time for us to share His love.  Oh, I fear that I have missed some of my opportunities when I was too busy or too distracted or too self involved!  I now try to look for ways to be available to do  something in His name.  And, I still fail.  How it must grieve Him that I don’t notice what He puts right in front of me.

I remember a sermon long ago where the preacher posed this question …’What are you put on this earth for?’  At the time, I was young and still had many lessons left to learn.  But, the speaker went on to answer his own question.  He said, “Your sole purpose on this earth is to serve God by serving others.”  I wrote that in big letters in my Bible and have never forgotten it.  I’ve heard it preached on many times since then, but that statement truly hit the mark that day!

I still think that is such a profound statement.  We have all been gifted with talents.   And, all He asks in return is that we use those gifts to serve one another…to be His hands on this earth.  But, serving others doesn’t even require one of those special gifts…it involves looking and seeing other people and putting ourselves in their place.

 


A few weeks ago, I was in the line at the grocery store.  Even though I went in for a few items, my cart was filled to overflowing.  The lines were long at every checkout.  So I chose one and waited.  I noticed that someone came up behind me, and I turned to see a man who had two items in his hands.  I smiled at him and said, “Please go ahead of me…I’ll take a lot longer than you.”  “Oh, no, ma’am”, he said, “I don’t mind waiting my turn.”  “Of course you don’t, but I would want someone to let me go first, if things were reversed.”  “Well, thank you, ma’am.  I am in a big hurry.”  He went on ahead, and finished and started walking away.  He stopped and came back to me and said, “It’s been a long time since someone did something kind for me.  You have made my day”  “Great,” I said, “Just pass it along to someone else.”  “I surely will, ” he said. and he walked away with a smile on his face.

Now what I did was no big deal.  I do that any time I can. He felt blessed and I felt like God was pleased.  And, I don’t know about you, but anytime I feel like God is pleased with me, I’m a happy girl!  I don’t believe we meet people by accident.  I believe that people are placed in our path for a reason…either a lesson to be learned or a blessing to be shared!

 

 

 

 

THE OWENS FAMILY CHRISTMAS…2017

This year’s mantel…

 

Levi’s tree…all vehicles carrying trees on top.  We started this collection the year he was born and love adding to it every year!

 

 

A few days before Christmas, John Thomas and Levi and I had a craft day.  We decorated cookies, painted trees, made ornaments, and ate lots of decorated cookies!

 

 

 

 

As soon as the tree went up, Levi put his nativity scene in place…

 

Christmas Eve, lunch after church.

 

At Church, Christmas Eve

 

 

Making that important visit…

 

5 teeth gone…

 

Christmas Day started with a gourmet breakfast by none other than Chef Ian.  OH! MY!  So yummy!

The Owens Family…

Don and Pop…

My sweet sister…and her sweet sister…

My children and my Pop…

 

Alex and Ian…

My sweet daughter in love…

Joy and her boys…

Lori and I…

Adam, Suzanne, Levi…

 

 

My eldest, Adam…

 

A gift to all, Alex celebrated the day with us…

Pop telling Alex something important….

Alex and Pop…

Someone’s getting a little tired…

Don’t know what they are looking at, but it sure has their attention…

Lori and Joy…

Joy and Tommy…

Tommy and Don…

Lulu and Levi…

Love comes in many forms…

Taking it all in…

Lori and Ian…eating buddies!

Though unable to be with us (John Thomas had the flu)…Will and Tara celebrated, too…Sure missed them!

 

Pop, Joy and Tonja…

Don and his boys…

Closing up the Nativity…He said it was time for them to rest…

Beautiful Nativity from Europe gifted by Joy and Tommy…

Our sweet Levi…

The sweet memories we make linger in our hearts long after December 25 is past.  We are blessed in so many ways.  Even though we could not all be together on Christmas Day…we were together in heart.  I thank God for his mercy and grace and for every good gift he sends our way!

To my dear Mom, who celebrates Christmas in Heaven now, I missed you today as much as on the first Christmas without you.  Your touch resonates in our hearts and souls.  You are forever in our hearts.

A LITTLE EYE CANDY FOR CHRISTMAS

Oh, how I love beautiful ornaments at Christmas time!  Even though my taste runs to a more rustic, old fashioned style…I can certainly appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of other types.  I love all those fancy mercury glass ones, and the really old Shiny Bright.  I adore the ones made by my children, and grandson…and I love the rustic ones that depict the beauty of outdoors.  Glitter is usually not my thing…but on a Christmas ornament…it feels right.

And, even though we see most ornaments adorning the famous Christmas tree…there are a myriad of other ways to display those treasured jewels.  Today, I thought I’d share with you some pictures I’ve amassed of lovely ornaments displayed in unusual or different ways.  You will see some of the pics are just of the ornament itself.  But, to my eye, I think it deserves special recognition!  Hope you enjoy this little feast for the eyes!  Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

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Here’s hoping you and yours have the best holiday celebration ever!