Thursday, November 21, 2013

Settling In.....and birdies from above...

We are moved in. ahhhh. And internet is up and running again and our broken computer(s) are fixed. As I type, Jack is napping in his little bed at Gigi and Papa's...I rocked him in my favorite rocking chair.... t.h.a.n.k.f.u.l. Last week was full with BOXES and MESS and PILES and cleaning out Maxine (sniff). There were moments of tears and craziness and laughter and headaches and backaches and ...feeling overwhelmed and feeling blessed. Everything all mixed into one. Moments I said, "why in the world did I pack THIS?" Moments I said, "oh, I remember this." sigh

One morning last week I woke up to feeling tired. Overwhelmed at the PiLeS EvErYwHeRe. I looked up to the window above my head. I saw bare branches against the grey sky. "Would you send me a bird?" I asked Him. I got up----went through the day, and got a ton of things accomplished and plopped into bed late that night. The next morning when I woke .... I opened my eyes. I remembered what I had asked. You know those moments when you want to peek -- at the same time you don't want to look -- because you don't want to be disappointed. That's how I felt.

I peeked. And there she was. One little bird, perched on the branch. NO WAY!!! Yes way. HE   Something so tiny.  So HUGE.

 He is here in this land of new beginnings, with all, in all, of my feelings that come with change and starting afresh. And I am thankful for His presence here. ... and the journey continues!

His eye is on the sparrow...and I know He watches me.

Time To Move To Paso Robles.....

God gave us a beautiful present tonight ♡ dazzling sunset at Morro Bay. Well... Tomorrow is moving day~after 1 year.2months.7days in our sweet Maxine, we are turning yet another page in this
incredible journey and moving into a little home in Paso Robles. Feeling thankful as I look ahead and thankful tears as I reflect on all He has provided along our journey.This sunset seemed the perfect way to turn the page. ♡♡♡

Photo: God gave us a beautiful present tonight ♡ dazzling sunset at Morro Bay. Well... Tomorrow is moving day~after 1 year.2months.7days in our sweet Maxine, we are turning yet another page in this 
incredible journey and moving into a little home in Paso Robles.  Feeling thankful as I look ahead and thankful tears as I reflect on all He has provided along our journey.This sunset seemed the perfect way to turn the page. ♡♡♡

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sandy Feet Welcome

Judi, how we loved having you in our tent.....

It has been far too long since we have shared time together like this. We met when our children were babies, and now our babies have babies. ohmy
We've talked for years, dreaming about the day we would at last be able to put our toes in the sand and sit by the seashore together. And this week was our time ... to enjoy our friendship, and all the sea had to offer two friends. Thank you for the warm conversation, the crazy spontaneous run 'n jump into the waves in our shorts & t'shirts, brown sugar cookies, sidewalk art, seashore strolls,
sand dollars, wine, The Rock, campfires, love. All so good.



Here's to the view~and the scallops ;-)

Friends ~ Thankful 
(if you look closely...Morro Rock is right behind us... Isn't God so kind?!)

Blessings to you dear friend as you travel north on Hwy 1
along the dazzling coastline!
Enjoy the journey!
a hui ho
PS..Judi, you will laugh at this.  I WILL post the pics of our wet-ocean-heads, and sandy toes.  However, as I type, I am remembering that those pics are on my phone and I THINK my phone is in the car with Keith in Morro Bay. I think.

Be our Guest....Barb

When I type "be our guest" heart starts humming Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Barb, thanks for joining us. So much fun to have you. Though we all met when we were kids at CampSugarPine, with all the craziness of being on staff at a summer camp, it wasn't hard to pick up in conversation, or in our hearts, wherever we left off last. Love is like that. Friendship is like that. Thanks for sitting with us around the campfire for a few days ~~ for the love and laughter and real conversation.  Through all the years, I am so thankful we each discovered... we like real & messy most of all (oh and brown sugar cookies ;-)   Love, wags, big hugs to you!  Already looking forward to the next time!

Buddies.  Beach.  Barb.  Beautiful.

Thinking we are right next to the SRIMP TACO sign....they were srimply delicious.
"This is just wrong.  What if someone needs me?"

A seriously slammin' s'more


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The GrandTreasures Sleep Over.

Having Kai and Jack for sleepovers is ....well, it's the best. Sometimes they come when mommy and daddy have date night. Sometimes just because Gigi and Papa would like to have a sleepover night!(and their mommy and daddy are gracious enough to say "yes")  This week has been sorta extra special.   Kai had a sleepover by herself.  Then Jack, a sleepover by himself.  It has been fun to have the one on one time. To remember and notice and celebrate how each is so different. Each so uniquely Handmade by God.  

These past few nights, I find myself wanting to freeze-frame each moment. I don't want to forget the pictures in my mind, the memories in my heart. And so....I write...

Kai 5 yrs old ~~ She comes with her pink otter, her doll, and a pink bag with treasures.The first thing she does ....she pulls out her pens and markers. She sits at our table, and writes me notes, on pink, heart shaped paper. She cuts more heart shapes with her pink scissors. She writes squiggly lines that fill the page.  Then she reads to me, "Gigi, you are the best Gigi in the whole wide world. I love you more than there is sand in the car :-), more than there is hair on Chester, more than there are stars in the sky.....and on and on."  She puts heart sticky notes all over Maxine, and reads me each one.  We read the 6 library books we just picked at the library ~~ straight through in one sitting ~~.   Still sitting at the table, together we work through 8 whole pages of a kindergarten workbook (with a puppy on the front) and she deee-lights to show me all she is learning at school. Sight words.  Sounds. I teach her how to make a 5, with a straight line, a big tummy, and a hat on top. (she is VERY SMART!).  Time for dinner, she colors and draws and reads to Chester while I cook. She chooses to eat outside at the picnic table.  She helps Papa carry silverware and cups and napkins...and sets the table. We eat and talk. After dinner she and Papa look at books.   Then....we take a walk and she gets to decide where...we walk all the way to the very end of the park...a long ways. Sometimes we hold hands. We talk about birds and trees and notice pine cones and feathers. There is a wedding reception at the gardens, music playing.  We dance and boogie and twirl and she giggles at Papa's silly moves.  It is getting dark, so we head back to Maxine. Kai puts on her pink pj's, and dresses Charlotte (her American Girl doll) in matching jammies. I braid Kai's hair. And Charlotte's. A fancy french braid. With a pink bow. Campfire. Smores. She likes Papa to cook her marshmallow. After campfire, it is snuggle time/movie time in Papa 'n Gigi's bed. We giggle that Papa falls asleep.  She says her daddy does too on movie nights.  After the movie...I tuck her into her bed with her best buddy Chester. Prayers. Snuggles. Kisses. Sleep.  And I check on her over and over throughout the night. Just to watch.
Jack 2 yrs old ~~ He arrives with his blue puppy backpack that has his Elmo puppet book and blue blankie. The first thing he does....have a yogurt snack.   He picked mango yogurt for him and blueberry for me.  After snack, toy box. He finds a truck.  He can make amazing truck noises.  I cannot make truck noises.  I cannot. We play with a fishing magnet puzzle. He fishes all the fishies out of the puzzle 4 times. He is good at it. Really good. We build with legos. We look at a book for about 20 seconds, his favorite book, the Elmo Puppet Book. Then we perch the Elmo book in the window so Elmo can look outside and watch Jack...after resttime. He takes a nap with Papa and Chester.  After nap he rides his tricycle to the park, down the campground road, to the path, over the bridge, and across the the park. He steers, peddles, negotiates bumps, and figures out how to get unstuck and how not go tooo fast down the hills. He slides down curly slides and climbs ladders. Over and over again. Papa climbs and slides too. Jack holds out his hand to help Papa off the slide...everytime.   On the trike-ride home, Jack discovers a green plastic disc/lid in the field, one that covers a sprinkler water pipe thingy. He pulls off the cover. We look inside. Papa, Jack, me, ...we all bend down and look inside. I say wow. Jack says wow. Papa says oooh.  Jack says oooh. We found 4 green cover-thingies in the field. Jack stopped at each one. Took the cover off....we all bent down, we all said wow, and oooh. And paused.  Dinnertime. He sits next to Papa while he eats. He holds a spoon in one hand, and the other hand rests on a napkin...that he uses often. (smile)  He helps clear the table, every spoon and fork and plate. AND THEN, another walk. He pulls a red wagon around the campground, with his sunnies on because it is bright out. "Bright" he says. "Sunnies On" he says.   He helps Papa carry wood to the campfire. He wears his sunnies when he roasts his marshmallow because the fire is "bright".  Bathtime. When did he start wanting to wash his own hair? Striped PJ's with a fire truck.  And shoes.  He points to his sleeper's feet and says "shoes".  A little more campfire time in pjs w/blankie and sunnies and Papa. He waves to Elmo who still watches through the window.  Rock with Gigi. Then bed. Snuggles goodnight kisses hugs prayers a blue blankie & Elmo Book. Gigi lays down until Jack's eyes get heavy.  Sweet dreams.   And as I type this....I have gone to watch him sleep...just one more time or two.

Kai and Jack, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Unique. Special. Amazing. So different, yet so much the same... kind, tenderhearted, loving life, funtobewith.  Thank you for having sleepovers with your Papa and Gigi.  We love love love you. More than there is sand in the car, more than there is hair on Chester.

PS Derek and Abby, you are wonderful kids and wonderful parents.Thank you for letting us be Papa and Gigi. We are blessed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Be Our Guest.....

Friends... Suki and MaryJane from Tennessee
Our first outta-towners to stay in our GuestTent.

We met Suki and MaryJane in Kailua-Kona during our YWAM days.  Someone once said (I think it was me ;-)  )  ...that knowing someone in YWAM is like dog years....meaning: you may be together for a few days/months/years but multiply it by 7+ or more, because your hearts just get knit together so deeply.  

So good to sit around the camp table and share a meal. Walk through the campground and enjoy the scenery.  Sit by the campfire, talk story & sip wine til late late late.  And laugh. A lot.
And get to see them in the morning.
Cinnamon Rolls at Pismo Beach.
Running through the sand to dip our toes in the chilly Pacific.
Hugs g'bye.
Til we meet again.
Thanks for coming our way!
We love you!

PS....I just read a post on your fb said that when you were with us "it felt like home."  There could be no greater compliment.  Mahalo with all our hearts.
                                                And we feel the same about you. ;-)


Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Life of the CampHost

It is August.
The last time I wrote was March.
How can it be?  oye. Pondering that thought....maybe....maybe because it is easier to write about life when I am movin' ahead on the journey, than life sitten' in one place.  But really, that IS a journey too. I guess parked in one place can be a trip as well.  True that.

So, here we are, still in El Chorro Campground -- CampHosts.  We are planted  1/2 way between San Luis Obispo Small Town Life and Morro Bay by the Sea.  It is cooler than I remember it being.  As in temp's. Maybe just cooler than PA summers.  And Hawaii days.  Here it is usually foggy summer mornings, and blue sky afternoons with a cool sea breeze ruffling our campground trees.

I sort of thought we would be here , Campground Host El Chorro here, through September.  That was my Plan A. Looks like it will be more like through the fall months and beyond. At first I was rather wah-wah about that unfolding-plan, however, after a minor nervous breakdown, God massaged my heart and emotions a bit, and I then felt like I could lean-into this season of CampHosting for a bit longer, and rather enjoy the simplicity and the ride.

We've created a "home" in Maxine, and a GuestHome on the back of our property  :-) ...    A fancy-shmancy, comfy-cozy, tent experience for our friends who love to camp.  And amazingly, our guest-tent is getting pretty-well booked from now through October ~~ so far, friends from Tennessee, Colorado, Idaho, & California are on the reservation calendar.  woohoo.  Bring on the s'mores and wine, warm conversation and laughter, around the campfire.  (still taking reservations  :-)  )
Maxine and the GuestTent.  Oh, and Chester. Such a handsome boy. 
my favorite kind...still taking reservations....

walks by the sea with one of my favorite buddies, my most fav buddy is taking the pic.
In addition to the CampHost part of life. We are making friends. Slowly. Pet Therapy appt's are beginning  (check out .   Slowly.  Life in a new land is beginning again.  Slowly. It takes awhile. It does. To discover friends, to find favorite spots for hiking, relaxing, eating, exploring. Find the dentist, preferred grocery stores, and where the peanut butter is IN that grocery store.  To meet a church family that is a fit,  find a vet for the pup, and the best spot for fish tacos and guacamole.    Just takes time. But life is unfolding.  We are enjoying farmers markets, evening summertime concerts in the park, vineyards and wine tasting, the county fair, walks on the beach, long drives up/down the coast & through the vineyards, visits from family , time with kids and grand kids who are close by, the sounds of the sea. And often, I am jaw-droppingly amazed at how God orchestrates a meeting with a new friend, or a pet therapy appt., or a camper that just needs something more than a campsite.

Still reading to Chester.... a favorite.

exploring....Keith and I worked here in the late 70's...still standing, (it and us)

Fair Fun.

Time with our grand-treasures.

About CampHosting .....We are learning much .... and life is NOT dull at the ole campground.
Each day is different. Summer weekends are packed and overflowing with tents and motor homes and people and parties and campfires and laughter and some craziness and family reunions and beer fests  and bikes and dogs and selling endless bundles of firewood and answering countless questions oh...and bathrooms to clean and trashcans to empty :-/ . 

Here are some stand-out-memories  & of course they are wrapped around the people we meet....

*Our friend Chris, who found himself homeless after college days. Living out of his car, daily, he would come to El Chorro to begin his day with a run in the canyon & a hot shower. Keith invited him for dinner ~~ twice he joined us at our table. You know, we all have stories to tell.  God Bless You on your journey, Chris.

*There are the children who shout...."HI CHESTER" as they zoom past on their bikes and skateboards. Somehow they all know his name & he thumps his tail and grins at each one. 

best campdog ever. totally.

*And dear Kelsey. Her "boyfriend" drug her behind her car. He was raging. She tried to get her bag out of the car as he sped away. We found her scraped and bruised hiding in the woods, brought her home to bandage her wounds. And hug her tears. When the police arrived, she would not press charges.  sigh.  If, when, she is ready to get out of the cycle of abuse and violence, we asked her to please call.  She has our number. Please Lord.

*Gabe & Ethan, the little boys who wanted to take Chester home with them. Thankful for this dear family. Dad has served 2 tours of duty in Iraq. Loved watching and listening to them p.l.a.y. together for a weekend. How thankful we are for your service and sacrifice.  Blessings to all xxoo

Gabe & Ethan, boys and dogs...match made in heaven
*Each time Danny the butcher visits our campground,  he brings us the best cut rib-eye steaks, always delivered with a firm-warm handshake, and a "good to see you!"   deeeelicious.

*The guys who camped across from us, Bill-Miguel-Angel.  They shared their beer & schnapps with us & toasted to new friends. All because we delivered some free firewood to them.... just because.

*OH, and then, the family whose teenage kids were doing drugs and these kids took off hitch-hiking up Hwy1. The parents asked us for help. A call to the ranger and the police ~~ and the kids were back. We took the family some fresh-fruit, reassuring hugs, and words of encouragement ~~ though they didn't speak English very well, and we didn't speak Spanish too well, we had no trouble communicating kindness.  As Keith and I sat around the campfire that evening, they brought us THE MOST delicious plate of freshly baked corn tortillas, Cornish hen, and yummy broccoli salad.  Expressions of a thankful heart.........

*Gabriel  & his family, they've  camped next door to us twice.  One hot afternoon, when Keith got off work, Gabriel came by with an ice-cold Corona  laced w/ hot sauce & lime.   A Hispanic favorite. bueno.

*Let's see...There was the night we called the police because NO ONE in the whole flippen' campground could sleep --- too much partyn'  and &%$#^ going on from a large group in a certain campsite in the "c loop", and bummer for them they were camped too close to the sleepless in El Chorro CampHosts  ...  And let's just say these partiers were not too welcoming to a Ranger Rima's midnight  request, thus, the police were happy to come on board and lend a hand. ooof-tah

*Angela a returning camper who waved Keith down saying "Hey, Keith, I'm back! " She told her friend, that Keith was "the one who saved her".  Earlier in the summer, Angela & group arrived to find El Chorro FULL.  It was late & Keith squeezed her in, even though it was a tight fit in the overflow camp area.  Then...he loaned her tent pegs. ...of course he did.

Add caption
*Oh and the couple we shared the Hawaiian Lilikoi Drink with.  We were taking Chester for a walk & said Hi! as we walked past. Noticing this giant bottle of vodka on their camp table, I said that a splash of Lilikoi would go great in their vodka. After our walk, we brought them a splash.  They asked us to toast with them. :-)  They got hooked on Lilikoi and are now ordering their very own from our Kona friends who market this yummy treat. .aloha friends are everywhere.

*And then there was Chuck and Louise.  They stopped by one morning to talk story a bit. Chuck was the last one to sit in "that" camp chair.  It ripped....and he fell through.  To the ground. ooopsie daisy.  Chuck was a good sport, and didn't spill a drop of coffee in the process.  Amazing.

I smile at the memories, the people,  the kindness of so many campers to share their personal favorites with us.    As long as it's legal (haha), we graciously taste test. And enjoy. 
                                                         Of course we do :-) .


So, that is a bit of the life and times of Rima's in August.  CampHosts and beyond. 

Thanks for continuing to share the journey with us. And for those of you who enjoy reading, thank you, still blesses me to know you are "here" ....and who knows, maybe, I just might write again before 6 months flies by.

                                       Love to all ~~~ and Here's to Friends! clink.






Saturday, March 30, 2013

overcast and gray with a chance of showers

Today, Saturday, I woke up thinking about Easter, on this gray and overcast,  no sunrise kind of day.

More than two thousand years ago today, on the in-between-day, had I been there, I would have felt far MORE than cloudy and gray with a chance of showers.  But,  gray would have been the color of my soul:  heartbroken. afraid.  lonely.  depressed.  grieving.  confused.   hopeless.  directionless.  angry. questioning.  lost. stuck.  gray.

Way back then. I would not have known, not really, that Sunday was coming. I would have already forgotten.  Already forgotten to watch and hope for it.   Even though He told me, and went over this with me ahead of time, and said "in 3 days...".  On Saturday.... my memory of the cross, the grave, the sorrow, the pain would have seemed endlessly permanent. On Saturday, I would have thought this is it.  Gray forever.   (sigh....I am so not-good at Saturdays... )

But today, I know that Sunday is just around the corner.  

Whether Yesterday, or whether in my todays, Sunday is just around the corner.   In a wink and a promise, New LIFE will be everywhere.  The Promise will rise from the gray dark grave.

And that is GOOD NEWS. 

"You have turned my mourning into dancing, my sorrow into joy. "
Thank you, hardly seems enough.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Giggles and Gifts

  Giggles.... Don't you just love belly-giggles from little ones?
I was looking perty darn closely at these pictures. 
And I can't help but smile when I look at Jack's face & hear his deep belly laugh. 
Do you wanna know something else?
 This is a secret. 
But I will tell you. 
When you are older, like say Gigi age....God might give you a gift.
It is a huge gift. 
 Bet you wanna know what it is.
He will give you PERMANENT giggle lines on your cheeks and around your eyes and pretty much everywhere on your face.  He will. 
He whispered in my ear..... "It's a gift....a treasure to behold."
PS...and so...on the mornings when I wake up, look in the mirror and squint, "ohmygosh, when did THIS happen?"
I will pull up this post and remind myself of God's wink & whisper in my ear :-)

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Today I was talking with a friend .... a friend who has never been to California.  
She asked for pictures.

And so today I grabbed my camera, hopped on my bike, and took a familiar ride up the canyon.  



Because of my friend...who wanted some pictures,
 I took some time,
just to listen and see in my own backyard...
Poppies.... How I love the Bright California Poppies
Crisp Blue skies
Fluffy White Clouds
Green Velvety Hillsides
A Red-Tailed Hawk circling above me
The Sound of  Springtime Song
Belly Flowers
My mom calls them belly flowers,
the teeny-tiny bursts of color that grow so close to the ground that you need to get on your tummy to see them.
A reminder for me, that even on "those" days when we feel
lower-than-a-snakes-belly-in-a-wagon-rut ....
even there, so close to the ground, God places beauty.

Thank you, Sandy.

What a gorgeous day He painted.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Coming Full Circle

Chester's new job.......  And we get to join him.

A few years in about 38 yrs ago, (oh my is that really true???),   I was a young (as in VERY young) college student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  My just graduated-from-college-husband was a Seasonal Park Ranger at Morro Bay State Park (12 miles from San Luis Obispo).  We had our lives all figured out, and we had this plan that Keith would get hired full time with the Parks & we just knew we would live in the California State Parks forever. But, life took a different path. At the time we were disappointed.  But now, looking back --- ohmy, what an incredible adventure it has been, from the the the oceans....white with foam.   (with still more to come!)

And now, here we are, back in the land where we began.  

Well, as Derek and Abby have been settling into their home in wine-country-Paso-Robles-with-the-velvet-green-springtime-hills ---  Keith, Chester, and I have been  living in our beloved Maxine, park- hopping around the central coast, praying, pondering, dreaming, about where to live and what is next for us.  Lots of questions, not so many answers.

And....If you have been reading our JourneyTails, you are fully aware of the fact that I like to know details, and waiting 'n wondering is not so much my strong suit. And sometimes I can get a weee bit stressed and crazy  that I do not have all the answers and pieces to the puzzle neatly in place for the next few chapters AT LEAST.   
Long story shorter, as we've been hopping around between here and there, we noticed these Camphost people in each campground....and we thought.  Hmm.  That looks like fun for a season of time. We could do that during this season of in-between.  Campground Hosting~~we would have a beautiful place to park & call home for several months or more  in one of the Parks in the San Luis Obispo area~~ plus get to meet and greet people from all over the world (Chester's expertise) and volunteer 20 hours a week doing park-work, in exchange for a place to park Maxine & call home.

Great idea.  We thought.

But, after talking with parks-people, we heard that the pile of applications was a mile high and wide and deep & it wasn't too often that these sought-after positions became available.     (wah-wah)

Well, you cannot let the WAH-WAH deter you.  So, we applied at 3 different Parks.  One State Park, and two County Parks. All 3 beautiful.  And all 3 had springtime openings (imagine that).  In fact one of the parks that we really liked.... while camped there, we thought,  hmmm, well wouldn't THIS be the perfect spot ;-).  But, no openings.  However, when we were leaving, there was a sign on the ranger kiosk window..."CAMPHOST WANTED".   (imagine that)

As I said, we picked 3 different Parks.....we interviewed.....and we were hired at more than one ;-)    We liked all the spots... We got to choose.  And we picked this one.    The one we found last and liked best.  The one that had no openings...then it did.  It is called El Chorro. Translated, means ~~ something like a gushing stream.  I like that.  

El Chorro is just off of Hwy 1, sitting 1/2 way between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Lots of  year round sunshine. And green green grass this time of year. A creek.  Trails to hike. Central to the beaches, places, 'n people we love.  (Chester is beyond hopeful that there are squirrels to chase)

It's workin' out.........  It is.  IT IS.  (Keith was so right)

You can stop reading here if you want.  BUT, I'm gonna keep writing.  There are a few things I don't want to forget, so I need to write them down. For me.  Things I want to remember about my journey when I've been overwhelmed with questions/doubt in the midst of "not yet" , when my faith has been fuzzy.  

Ya know, I remember when we were traveling cross country, and we were in Arizona, I was sort of in a melt-down cRaZy moment saying to Keith,  "WHAT in the world are we doing?  WHERE will we live?  HOW will it all work out in California?"   aughhhhhhhhhhhh

Keith would listen (averypatientman) ....remind me to enjoy Arizona (or wherever we were) .... and.... assure me that WHEN we got to California (not before), we would know the answers to the questions.  God would certainly take care of all the details & his kids.  More than we could imagine.   Really I would ask???  REALLY, he would say.

And there was the time a few weeks ago.  After Derek and Abby got moved into their home,  and I was longing with a capial L for a home of our own (other than Maxine....shhhh do not tell her I said that), or at least a SPOT to call home for more than two weeks at a time.  I was having a meltdown moment at Morro Bay.  I was. I emailed a friend of mine who understood our journey well --- A number of years ago she and her family sold their Southern California home, loaded into a motorhome with kids and dogs, to travel cross country, explore the land, and reconnect as a family.  A year later, with a boatload of memories, they landed in a new state to call home. She understood my ups and downs.  She wrote me back, with a huge heart of encouragement, reminding me I would live,  one day have a stuff.......and one day, one day,  .... I would miss the simplicity of this season of life.   I knew she was right. I did.  And I knew she understood. And my heart opened to new possibilities and new contentment in the "not yet"....   (This friend of mine---talk about the circle of life --- we met right here in San Luis Obispo...she and I were college roommates.  Though we now live thousands of miles apart, God continues to weave our roommate-hearts together, as only He can do. Thanks, Jo...)

And then.......there was another day.  We were still in the "not yet".  I was walking on the beach.  It was a foggy day.  I could not see more than a few yards ahead of me. To see further...I needed to take a few more steps.  And then a few more. With each step, I could see one step further. I totally whined to God....  This is how I feel right now., I can only see "this far".... and don't You know I really like to see the whole enchilada???   I think He said "I know....the WHOLE enchilada ,plus a taco or two..." and smiled.

And then I read this a bit later in Jesus Calling, "I will show you the next step forward and the one after that, and the one after that.  Relax and enjoy the journey in My Presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go."  

Look at all those reminders.....look at all the ways HE speaks.  And this isn't even the whole enchilada....just a few bites.  Look how He tells me the same thing in different ways.  Just so I will hear, HEAR.    Like a good Daddy.

You know, in the not yet.... In the waiting. "It" feels HUGE.  Looking back. It doesn't seem as HUGE. But in the moment, HUGE!   And looking back, I can see so clearly how God is so very kind and personal with me.  To speak to me through my husband, or a friend, or His creation, or His Word, or a book, or my children & grandkiddos, or my dog, or a movie....   He is so persistent and patient and keep whispering to His girl along the journey.  And I'm way glad He does not throw His hands in the air and say "for heaven's sake WHEN are you gonna get this????????"    Rather, He throws His arms around me and says,"I'll remind you again.....and again.....and then one more again, it's okay."

If only, in the 'not yets' I could remember what I am learning. (partly why I wrote this down --- how quickly I forget)

His Presence and His personal touches are so, dazzling. So tender. And make me wanna dance and cry all at the same time. It's like a gushing stream, more than I can take in............  HEY, A GUSHING STREAM.  hello ;-)



Friday, February 1, 2013

Chester Pawnderings

February 1st, 2013
Avila Beach, California
Perched on a hill,  on top of my favorite picnic table, overlooking the bay,
 and my favorite doggie beach.
Woke up to sunshine coming in my window, birds singing, seals barking,
 the sound of the sea.
Sometimes it's good just to close your eyes and
feel the morning sunshine on your furry head. 
Take time to be still. 
Dream of chasing pelicans and seagulls and rolling in the warm sand.

And then spend some time watching the seals and dolphins and boats in the bay,
and the crazy pelicans dive bomb for breakfast.
And Thank God Above.
And then share it with your best friend. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Friends help with constipation.....

Friends help with Constipation. They really do.....

Abby has challenged me to be more creative with my blog titles....capturing attention.   So I am trying.

So, you might ask, what do friends and constipation have in common?

Well....let me try to explain.

For the past few days, more than that actually,  months to be exact, I've been especially missin' my girl-friends.  When I move, the absolute hardest part, without a doubt, is saying g'bye to a friend(s).  As Anne of Green Gables puts it so well........a kindred spirit.  sigh.  It cause me to cry buckets.

Each place we've been blessed to live, God has given me the absolute best ~~ a girl-friend kindred-spirit. Sometimes more than one.  They are a treasure to behold and never to be taken for granted.

They are the kind of friend you eventually have history with.  You don't have to explain background or why or who.    The kind of friend who knows how to listen well, with compassion, and doesn't try to fix. The kind of friend who will share a 3 hour coffee, or a long glass of wine, or walk with you until you are all talked out, cried out, or "done".  The kind of friend you can laugh with until you pee your pants. The kind of friend who doesn't drop her jaw when  you tell her how you are REALLY doing. The kind of friend who helps to lighten your load and deepen your joy. She is a true treasure indeed.  Irreplaceable.  ....And so hard to hug g'bye. Because you know, she will never ever be replaced.   This kind of a "friend" is one of a kind in your heart.

I am so much a verbal processor. And when I walk through LIFE and face STUFF, I long to talk and process and put feelings into words with a much.  This is HOW I figure out what is really going on inside of me. This is how life flows more freely for me...  It is. (I must make an addendum here, Keith is the best non-girlfriend-friend a wife could ask for, BUT he will be the first to admit that he is NOT a girl.) 

Well, today, as I was all backed-up and confused in my feelings and trying to explain to Keith what was going on.......I thought about how hard it is to get things OUT, when they have been inside  ... emotionally speaking  .... for quite some time.  And there are obviously a few layers of feelings to process through.  Sometimes, it's hard to figure out how to get the layers and piles of emotionally-backed-up-stuff out.  Do you know what I mean?  I walk around with this pained look on my face because I am all jammed up.............  needing a friend.

Are you getting it?  The title?

And so's to my girl-friends.  My kindred spirit girl-friends.  From sea to shining sea, you are a rainbow of precious gems in my heart.  I love you.  Deeply.  And I miss you.  Like crazy.  I do.  And I thank each one of you with all my heart, for being you.    For being a true reflection of God's kindness and compassion and listening ear --- with skin on. 

And I'm just sayin', I'm getting a little backed-up without you. 

Thank you.
For those of you that have been asking about our WAITING, and WAITING with us. Thank you.
The very fact that you are WITH with us, brings such encouragement, let me tell you....
To update you.............
*Keith returned from Kansas City safe and sound. Nick is settled into his home & routine, he is feeling well and strong and back to "his" normal. 
*Our furniture and things arrived from PA --- Kai prayed that whoever moved our things would do it with lots of TLC.  Her prayers were answered in such a HUGE way.  Scott and Jeremy (father and son) with United Moving were the best of the best (LOTS of TLC).  And Rudy and Gabriel in Paso Robles, who helped unload ---- well, they were equally amazing.  TLC to da max.
*And ~~ Derek and Abby and Kai and Jack and Bailey are all tucked into their home.  Home.  HOME. 
*Keith and I are settling into Maxine and spreading out a bit (Maxine miraculously grew). We are hanging out in Morro Bay for now, and taking a bit of time to regroup & refresh ....before turning the page.
*Thank you for traveling with us --- your company gives us TLC on this journey.  Thank you !

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tulips in January

So…… yeah, it feels like the finish line has moved a few times.  (Mom put it so well in the latest blog)  But can I just SHOUT it from the mountain tops?!.....I see the finish line! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!!  First of all…..Thank you everyone for your support and encouraging words since my last blog entry.  You have no idea how much your love, prayers, and uplifting words blessed my heart and gave me hope.  You have hugged me across the miles with your support.  

The other day we went to Trader Joe’s for some groceries.  Love that store!  Well, we walked in and right there in the center of the store was a huge display of fresh cut flowers.  I LOVE fresh cut flowers!  But my favorite flower in all the earth doesn’t come around until spring time.  I don’t know if spring flowers are more dazzling than summer one’s because they are the first to come out after a long winter or if they truly are the most beautiful.  Walking towards the flowers, Kai tugs at my arm gasping, ‘Mommy, look at ALL the flowers! Oh, we have to get Gigi some flowers!’  Her enthusiasm totally makes the sunshine brighter.  And she pulled out a bunch of yellow tulips.  Tulips are my FAVORITE!  God gave me tulips in January.  TULIPS in JANUARY!!!  Helloooooo!  And it was that day, the rest of spring started to show up…….that was just a little over a week ago.

This morning I woke up like it was the first day of school.  Earlier than usual, and feeling not as tired as I should, because….today is the day we get the keys to our new home!  And sooooooo……drum roll please……..the VINEYARDS have it!  Ding ding ding!  The rolling hills and vineyards will be our next resting place in central California.  Of all the dozens of houses we drove by, inquired about, and the few we looked at, 2 homes caught our eyes and both of them wanted our family to live in them!  It was a miracle by far….Paso Robles, in the northern part of San Luis Obispo County was a place we hadn’t considered until now.  But when we looked at homes here it seemed that all arrows were pointing this direction.  Looking back I am baffled.  We seriously drove by SO many houses that we saw were for rent in Paso.  Of those 2 dozen or so, we got into 3. And of those 3, 2 we LOVED and could see ourselves totally living in.  Knowing the difficult process we had to go through to even be considered, I have to say I wasn’t very optimistic!  I mean really, no jobs and a dog are pretty good strikes against ya when you’re looking to rent. And it seems in these parts, its first come first serve.  So if you aren’t the first qualified person to look at something, it’s pretty much gone by the time you inquire about it….AUGH! But as God would have it, He not only provided one house for us, but actually gave us two to choose from.  They both wanted us!!! 

So this little house in the vineyards is a 2-story 3 bedroom, 2 ½ bathroom in a nice neighborhood.  Everything is clean and fresh and recently renovated.  It’s located central to shopping, the highway, town down fun….AND wineries! It has a great river walk around the community and a playground taboot!  I feel like it’s more than I knew I needed.  It has lots of running space for the kids, a huge back yard for Bailey, a master bedroom with a walk in closet that is bigger than the bathroom in our PA home!  I feel totally spoiled!  Isn’t it just like God to give us more than enough, and a little extra, just because!  So this will be our home for the next few months or year or so as we explore and discover our new area.  This is my temporary ‘pot’…’s a nice pot!  

Looking into 2013, I feel that this year for us is about exploring, discovering and having lots of fun doing it!  There are so many places in the area I’m looking forward to discovering.  And to start with, Paso Robles is home to over 300 vineyards and wineries!  Its home to California’s mid-state fair.  The beach is a half hour away. And…there are avocado farms 15 minutes from here – YUM!!!!  Farmers markets and community events….and so much more to learn about.  I don’t have to get hung up on having everything perfect or planting roots now.  It’s just a season of fun and freedom to explore! I’m excited!  WE are excited! 
Derek & I watched The Hobbit the other night and what Gandalf told Bilbo before they left for their adventure was so right on. He said, “I can’t promise you’ll return. But if you do come back, I guarantee you won’t ever be the same.” We can totally relate!

It’s been an amazing journey!  Thank you God for dreams come true, adventures and tulips in January. 

   Here’s to the next season and to filling the next pages of our story with NEW adventures.