It’s The Clouds That Make It Magnificent

I marveled at the beautiful sunrises during our week in Bali.  Rising early and walking down to the water became my morning ritual and gave me time to sit and bask in God’s creation and glory.  Sun rays peered through the clouds, deepening the colors and changing the masterpiece moment by moment.  Then it hit me – it’s the clouds that make it magnificent.  If the clouds were not there, the appearance of the sun would be similar day after day and may not draw special attention.  It may then be taken for granted and never really appreciated for what it is.

Similarly, isn’t it so that the trials (clouds) in our lives keep us seeking?  Wanting something more…longing for clear skies.  Much as we don’t like disruptions, unexpected changes, illness, opposition, fear and pain, we are assured this is a condition of our life here on earth.

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”   -John 16:33

Life will never be cloudless here on earth.  We live in a sinful and painful world.  But there is incredible joy to be had in the journey.  Our hope is in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Please don’t fail to recognize those cloudy skies as an opportunity to draw close to Him.  The Son will always be there for you…clear skies or otherwise.

In the beauty and calm of the island, God allowed us to really relax and enjoy some much needed rest.   I am beyond thankful for an amazing time away.

Prior to our September vacation, I must admit I had a wonderful summer.  Naomi and I did a road trip from Jonae’s to Ohio and visited with several friends.

We returned to celebrate Juliet’s birthday – which marks a historical time for Brian & I – we’ve been living on this adventure for a full two years now!   Juliet is an absolute joy  and her presence overwhelms my heart with such love.  Just something about being a grandma, I guess.  What an honor.

Quick stop in Arizona and California allowed me to hug more friends & family before returning to the Philippines.  I am so grateful for the doors God continues to open (and close) during this season of my life.

May you live encouraged today.   Be aware of the clouds in your life and don’t miss the opportunity to draw closer to Him.  He loves you unconditionally now and forevermore.

Thanks for sharing in my life.   May God bless you abundantly as we head into the last quarter of 2017!

A Lot Can Change In Six Months

I’m sure you’re not too surprised…but with me and my family, that’s an understatement.  When I wrote my last blog over six months ago, we were enjoying the sights and sounds of Hollywood.  It’s the middle of the night here in Metro Manila and we’re watching old movies on HBO.  Brian accepted a job that is based here in the Philippines and we’ve started our next adventure!  We’re in a nice (but small) two bedroom, furnished condo near the Mall of Asia.  People here are very friendly and we’re growing accustomed to working overnight (US east coast hours.)

September and October included fun Hollywood themes and lazy days.  Mitch and I made a quick trip to Mom & Dad’s in Tucson before he moved back to Ohio.  I had the opportunity to watch Kathy Bates get her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Jonae, Justice & Juliet returned to California for DeeDee’s wedding and we took a day to enjoy Universal Studios together.  Kennen started college in Riverside.  The middle of October we had a family trip to Laughlin to celebrate my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday.  A great time was had by all!

In November, heaven welcomed my sweet mother-in-law Mary, when she lost her fight to cancer.  Brian was able to spend a few weeks with the family in Ohio.  She loved Jesus and shared His love and compassion with everyone lucky enough to spend time with her.  I was able to travel to Honduras for our annual Revive conference.  I go with the intention of blessing others, but God expresses His ultimate love for me every time I’m in the presence of these ladies.  Words can’t express how much I needed this trip and it didn’t disappoint.  Thanksgiving was one of my favorite yet – we did pot luck at my friend Katie’s.  She invited her friends and people from her apartment building and we dined with a bunch of “kids” looking to get into the motion picture industry.   Very non-traditional Hollywood Thanksgiving; loved it.

By December we knew we were getting ready for the big move (Brian’s first trip to the Philippines was scheduled for January 2), and our weekends were full.  I met Pam and Michelle the beginning of the month in Irvine and introduced them to Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  They are now hooked and I suspect it will become a tradition for us moving forward!  We all traveled to Cleveland the second weekend in December to celebrate Whitney & Elliott’s wedding.  It was an amazing, whirlwind couple of days and it was wonderful to have the family together.  (The honeymooners have since relocated to Virginia Beach and are enjoying the winter away from Cleveland!)  Brian and I attended a Christmas show at the Pantages Theater and saw an A cappella group at the Dolby Theater.  We also took a Christmas light boat tour in Newport Beach and attended Christmas Eve services at Saddleback Church.  Christmas Day was at my sister’s and New Year’s Eve was quiet at home.

While Brian was away in January, I spent the month sorting, packing, shipping and selling the apartment full of possessions we gathered during our time in California.  I had several visitors during the month and got to go see the Dr Phil show, Griffith Observatory and Santa Monica Pier.   I used my season pass at Universal Studios a few more times and watched Amy Adams get her star on the Walk of Fame.  A few days before I left, I received a call from the Pantages Theater asking if I was still interested in a part-time usher job.  Good to know I had options!

The first week of February, Jonae, Juliet, Naomi and I drove from California to Jonae’s home in Southaven, Mississippi.  God protected us the entire trip!  The only car trouble was before I had anyone else with me (needed a new battery) and the only rain on the very last day (no ice or snow at all!)  We spent two nights with my parents in Tucson and two nights traveling across Texas.  We enjoyed a fun Saturday morning at Magnolia Market in Waco, TX (HGTV’s Fixer Upper town.)   I was blessed to spend almost two weeks in Southaven before traveling to Myrtle Beach to meet up with Erica and the girls for our annual beach trip.  Spent a few days in Ohio (saw Erica’s beautiful new house!) before Brian arrived and we flew to Manila together.  (Naomi my pup is adjusting well to her new home with Jonae and her family!)

Now you’re all caught up.  First two weeks here in the Philippines have been good to me.  I’m falling into a routine and found new workout videos I like.  We attended a church service here today and I was overwhelmed with God’s grace and goodness.  It’s so beautiful that you can find people like us that love Jesus across the world.  I will be in the US for the month of April.  Thanks for reading – Lord willing, next update will be shorter & sooner!  Happy Spring!!!  God Bless You!




It Turns Out a Little Distance Isn’t All Bad

Talking about the snow – of course!  The view of the snow covered mountains from the end of our street is just beautiful.  We don’t mind at all that the evenings are in the 30’s and the days approach 60 degrees – and it’s January!  Now we did have a very chilly December (the top of the swimming pool froze), but thus far, 2016 is a weather winner.  Let’s hope I don’t jinx it.

To start off the year, we have embraced a “healthier” lifestyle.  (Yes, trying to take off not only those pesky holiday pounds, but all the friends they gathered during the year.)  Goal of 10k steps a day and I’m back to drinking 2 ViSalus shakes during the week.  The scale is starting to move (the right direction) and I’m looking forward to my clothes actually fitting again.

My sister and I have been walking several times and my nephew has selected a Drum Corp to participate in for the season.  Pam and I were able to meet up with my elementary school friend Robin and we saw the movie “Sisters” – quite appropriate and quite hilarious!  I’ve also been able to go to Dana Point with my friend Michelle to visit her family…so nice to drive down the streets where I lived from 6-12th grade.  Most days I wake up and still can’t believe I’m living in California!

My sweet granddaughter Juliet turned 5 months on the 2nd and is coming to visit us (with her mommy & daddy) next weekend!  I’ve stocked up on diapers and am anxious to see them.  We will make a quick trip to Vegas to celebrate Jonae’s 30th birthday – where has all that time gone?  Excited to welcome in a new decade for my firstborn…so proud of her and the beautiful woman she has become.

One of the Northpoint sermons this year talks about how all “resolutions” in one way or another relate to the attributes of the fruit of the spirit….love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  I just love that – makes it so simple.  The pastor then encourages us to focus on just one for the entire year.  I decided to focus on self-control….my diet, my finances, all aspects of my life.  Fortunately I won’t have to go it alone – Jesus has promised to walk with me and lead me down the best path.  He’s always there for you, too.

Enjoy the rest of January – make every day memorable.  Check back soon for baby visit and birthday celebration update!

Thank you 2015!

This is it:  the last day of 2015!  This has truly been an amazing year filled with so many blessings.  Thank you for joining me on this adventure – you are a blessing to me and keep me motivated to write.  I’m optimistic for what God has planned for all of us in 2016!

December couldn’t have been any better.  I spent 5 nights in Atlanta with Jonae and her family and had lots of baby snuggles!  Juliet is such a good baby!  (I’ve already warned her to watch out with her next one!)  Lots of babysitting time, Breakfast with Santa, Buckhead Church and yummy food.  Very nice pre-Christmas celebration!

Returning to California, I volunteered a few evenings with my all-time favorite ministry, Operation Christmas Child.  I helped inspect and sort gift shoeboxes that will be sent to children in Peru and Malaysia.  The Southern California processing center (there are 9 across the US) was on target to sort through 925,000 boxes that had been donated!  It was a wonderful experience and I’m blessed to have taken part.  (

I was able to take Brian to one of my Happiest Places on Earth – Disneyland of course (his first time to see their Christmas decorations!) We had a wonderful day and he really did enjoy all the lights!

After a few days at home, Brian and I drove to Las Vegas to spend a few days with Whitney and her fiancee Elliott.  We were there at midnight to ring in his 30th birthday!   My sister Pam and her husband Dave surprised them for the 2nd night…more fun, food and laughs!  Adam arrived from Ohio and we all returned to California to spend an evening with my nieces, nephews & parents.

Christmas Eve we went to an afternoon church service.  Pam’s family & my parents joined us for a late dinner and we had fun exchanging gifts.  I awoke early on Christmas Day to watch Pam’s family open their gifts (at my house I had to wake my boys up at 11!)  We enjoyed unwrapping presents and returned to Pam’s for mom’s famous lasagna.  A very “happy” Christmas as Mitch told me later that evening.

We ventured to the movies on Saturday and I drove Whitney & Elliott back to Vegas on Sunday for their flight home to Ohio.  Brian and I worked this week and are looking forward to a nice long New Year’s Eve weekend.  Heading to Pam’s shortly to ring in 2016 with her family and friends.   Beyond blessed.

I am mindful that my life is not necessarily “normal” and that many of my friends have experienced pain and sorrow in 2015 that they do not want to repeat.  My prayer for all is that Jesus will reveal Himself to you in a new and passionate way in 2016.  Draw close and allow Him to love & bless you as only He can.  Smell the flowers.  Stop and gaze at the clouds and sunsets.  Smile at a stranger.  Breathe deep and don’t take any moment for granted.  Choose joy.  Life is precious.  God loves you and so do I.  Happy New Year!  Welcome 2016!

Nonstop Family Fun

Hello!  I wanted to give you a quick update with some pictures from the last few weeks.   I’m headed to Atlanta in the morning to see the kids and baby Juliet (she’s 4 months old already!)  Time is passing so quickly – I’m being mindful to enjoy every moment.

Thanksgiving was a very fun gathering and the food was delicious (my sister is an excellent cook!)  The weekend that followed included a little black Friday shopping and a Turkey Shoot soccer tournament for Zander.  The weather was cool but it was so nice being outside.  Mom & Dad made it safely back to Tucson and Adam returned to Ohio to finish up his first semester.

Brian has an incredible knack for finding really good deals – whether it is through facebook groups, craigslist or yard sales.  He found us a 9 foot artificial Christmas tree for just $40 – exactly what we needed for our California living room.  It was a treat to have Zander help us decorate…he really enjoys all my musical Hallmark ornaments.  Brian also started his world-famous Christmas light display – although on a much smaller scale this year (didn’t make sense to ship all that stuff across country.)   He definitely misses the larger production, but was pleasantly surprised that it only took him 6 hours to decorate.

My brother and his family were able to visit this past Saturday.  Pam and I grabbed lunch with Tiffany and Michelle before shopping at the church Global Fair.  We also found ourselves spending several hours in Kohl’s on Sunday (after church, of course!) before we enjoyed a yummy Italian food lunch.   So nice to have extra girl-time…and now I’m ready for some baby snuggles!!!

Have a blessed week!  Remember…Jesus is the reason for the season.  Love to you and yours!

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So much to be Thankful for

I am thankful for you….readers of my blog that have blessed my life in an abundance of ways.  Thank you for staying in touch and truly sharing in this adventure we call life.  I praise God for you!

For those of you that know me, you won’t be surprised for me to say that I’m most grateful for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  He has made it possible for me to live on this earth with an unexplainable joy and for a hope for my eternal future.  I’m thankful for the sacrifice made on my behalf and the Spirit of the Living God alive in me.   My prayer is that every day I will have the opportunity to shine His light through my life.

The month of November has been nothing short of amazing.  At the last minute, God paved the way for me to join the Women of Purpose team in Honduras for the Revive weekend.   I can’t tell you how much fun I had loving on these special servants of Christ ~ beautiful women that have given up the comforts of living in the United States to minister to people in all walks of life.  A long weekend full of worship, Biblical teaching, prayer, laughter, tears, and hugs.  I’ll attach a few photos so you can catch a glimpse of what God did!

Life here in California continues to exceed expectations.  It is so fun when my sister stops by to pick me up…whether it’s for soccer practice, orthodontist appointments or to go shopping.  Adam arrived last week for the holiday break.  On Saturday, the boys and I took the opportunity to visit their favorite clothing stores in LA and a quick visit to the Huntington Beach pier (in time for sunset!)  It was 80 degrees on the beach in November…can’t get tired of that!

I hope that you have (or had) a wonderful Thanksgiving Day & weekend.  We’re headed to my sister’s where we will join my parents in a fun-filled Thanksgiving feast.  Keep your eyes focused on the most important reason for the season (Jesus!) and don’t let stress or full calendars steal your joy.  You are loved by an awesome God and by me!

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Blogging 101: Who I am and why I’m here

Hello & welcome to my blog!

I love to write and this has been a dream of mine for years.  The encouragement of a few friends and the perfect timing of this Blogging 101 course has inspired me to make the time to share what God is doing in and through my life.

I turned 50 in 2014 and it was a fantastic year.  This year my husband and I are embarking on a new adventure.  Our youngest of four children (his, hers & ours) will graduate high school in May.  Since our primary jobs allow us to work from home, we will no longer be tied to a physical location for either work or school.  We live in Ohio now and are tired of the cold winters.  First stop on our journey:  California (to be closer to my family)

I want to stay close to all my dear friends and this blog will be just one way I can take them along with me!  I hope others will join as well.  I will be honest, sincere, and share deep from within as I strive to be truly intentional with my time, talents and thoughts.

Buckle your seat belt – we’re in for an amazing ride!