Friday, November 14, 2014

Five Minute Friday: STILL






I have only written a couple times in this group but have many times appreciated reading the thoughts of the heart that are shared here.  I knew when I saw the word of the week I needed to join in.

Five Minute Friday: STILL

GO

The moment I saw the word of the week, the scripture from Psalms 46:10 ran through my mind...'BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD'

It has been a year since we sold our home and became true Vagabonds. After a couple months of living in a friends home allowing Jim a time of recovery from surgery. Then after five weeks in a condominium in the Florida sunshine we moved into our new home ...a 32 foot home on wheels (no slide out for extra room.) For 9 months we traveled, visited friends and family and made new friends.  3 months ago we returned to Montana to begin searching for a home base.  A search we thought would be quick has turned into the adventure of a lifetime. Frustration has been a frequent visitor and my challenge is to be STILL...
Be STILL
Listen for that quiet voice.
 Be STILL
Wait for His peace. Peace for that moment, that hour and that day.
Learning the balance of action and being Still.
Searching the ads...being STILL
Making appointments...Being STILL 
Scoping out homes...Being STILL
Awaiting decisions...being STILL 
Seeking patience....being STILL

After nearly 48 years of marriage I never anticipated this time of being unsettled. It is in those moments of stopping to be STILL that I know that He is God.



Five Minute Friday....STILL

Monday, September 1, 2014

Counting my Blessings

To make this year of training even more interesting and put a little more challenge into my commitment to walk the 3Day 60 Mile for breast cancer I have injured my right knee. When entering the motor home I slipped on some wet grass and twisted it, causing intense pain and a soreness that will not go away. I've tried rest, then exercise and nothing seemed to bring relief and a sense of healing.
Finally, out of frustration and a certain need to get back on the trail I went to see a doctor. She ordered the x-rays which seemed clear and then in for an MRI. With November and the 3Day quickly approaching it was not with great patience that I awaited the results.
As I was in prep for the test the technician ask me if I would like to listen to Pandora. I responded "sure" and requested the Praise and Worship station, which is one of my favorite walking stations. 
As she slid me into position and the machine began to grind I found myself asking God to not let this be something that would stop my walking. The music began and the first  song to filter through the ear phones was "10,000 Reasons to Praise The Lord ". Now, any walker knows that 10,000 is a special number. It is a number that becomes your goal as you begin the challenge of becoming a healthier you.
It is a number that proves you are no longer a couch potato but have entered the world of activity and are headed for better health. This chorus has had a special place in my heart as I hit the trails...Twice now it has come at a time that many would call a 'coincidence, but I see as a "Wink from God" letting me know He is aware of just where I am! I have concluded that if 10,000 steps will start me on the road to better health physically, then listing 10,000 reasons to bless The Lord will surely give me a healthier happier spirit! 
It is amazing the power of the written word, even our own! How often we are blessed and thankful in the moment. Then we go on to new challenges and that blessing is lost or forgotten in the busyness of life.  
Reminding myself of the daily blessings is like the pieces of a patchwork quilt put together with remnants of memorable materials. Alone that memory will  bring a smile to the heart, but when stitched together they bring warmth and comfort to our entire being.
So, I would invite you to join me in my endeavor to list my 'Reasons to Bless The Lord' and remind myself daily it is the little things in life that prove His faithfulness to walk the path before me.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Parents Heart is a Wondrous Thing

It is a funny thing...the heart of a Mom. When your children live on separate coasts your heart is never settled. 
The joy of being with one only enhances the distance of the others. You know the old saying " A woman is never satisfied..she is Always changing her mind." Nothing could ring more true than when your children are involved! 
Add to that mix a husband and oh, my, now confusion of the heart runs rampant!!
After our home sold in Montana and we were SO tired of the cold and snow and ice we set out to find a new home. Warmer weather, smaller home and SUNSHINE!!
We spent several weeks in Forida, back to the frost of Montana and then on to Arizona for a couple months. Arizona we loved! Sunshine,activities
galore,we even met up with new friends,but the road stretched a far distance to reach our family!
The past couple months we have been parked beside the home of our daughter, son in love and 5 grandchildren. What a joy!! Their home has an open door and hugs and love has been gathered, collected and stored every day. The voices and laughter of children and teens has warmed our souls. 


Jim working side by side with Hal..sharing stories, dreams and disappointments only serves to prove that this 'in-law' thing is something to be treasured.
Sharing a Mom and Daughter trip, duties in the kitchen, time with the girls, along with any moment we can capture is priceless. 
The search for a home has been a top of the list while here. Finding acreage and country living has been on the agenda. A couple properties have entered onto the horizon and the possibility of "home" being in Pennsylvania has been very real. 
Because farming is still in Jim's' blood I began that process of preparing my heart for the change. After all, dreams are what keep the heart pumping and and the body moving so if it works a farm it is! Still knowing I would be delighted to be close to the East Coast family I was struggling to count the miles from the West. Again knowing that if the destination were reversed the process will be the same. 
Twice we have set a departure date only to make a change as situations changed and opportunities to be of help arose. 
A new date is set for pulling up stakes. July 28th eight days away....



We are blessed!
There is no doubt that our hearts are eager to see the Montana crew...there are now a total of 20 kids, loves, and grandkids waiting for us there. The stories to be caught up on, the hugs to be gathered, meals to be shared and laughter that will ring through the homes, fills the heart with anticipation and longing.
So how can it be that when the love of family and friends in Montana is so strong and the pull so hard, that even yet, our hearts ache at the thought of leaving Pennsylvania? 
It can only be answered by the fact that the heart being pulled is that of a parent, because both Mom and Dad...Grandma and Grandpa feel the pull and tearing of the heart strings as the days slip by.
Just call us BLESSED!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Buy A Mile for the Cure!



I never cease to be amazed at the people I meet and the stories they share. Those (‘God Winks’) I  call them.  This morning Jim and I went on a ‘breakfast date.’ As we got up to leave a lady stopped me to visit. She was with another lady and I left the restaurant thankful for an opportunity to have chatted with them.
When arriving at the car Jim had taken the dogs for a walk and as I waited the ladies came out. I decided to give them one of my 3Day letters...turns out they both had names for my shirt, incredible stories,and were so appreciative. I left feeling motivated and blessed and thankful for another chance to encourage others.

As of today there are 125 days till the gate opens and hundreds of women and men begin the journey of 60 Miles in 3Days walking the streets and hills of San Diego.  I will be among the mix and am getting excited to know that things are Set and Ready! To date family, friends and strangers have joined to donate $690.00 (30%) of the required funds ($2300) under my name.. I have been hitting the gym and the trails in honor of the funds and the cancer victims to be prepared and ready to rock. But I need your help to assure my spot.












After doing some calculating it would take 60 people ‘buying’ one mile at $38.33 to make my total goal. So with the moneys already in if 60 people would donate $22.50 each (a person per mile) we would exceed the goal!!
It is not MY goal that is important but the opportunity to be a small part of bringing assistance and HOPE to others.
Join me???      www.the3day.org/goto/lauramoody




Komen Impact Fact: Since its inception in 1982, Susan G. Komen® has invested more than $2 billion on its mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE !!  
















Friday, July 18, 2014

WHEN LIFE HAS IT'S UPS AND DOWNS


 I just pulled up the blog to see that it has been 6 weeks since I have set down to share a little bit of life. So many things have happened in those weeks that I won't begin to take you through it all.

The past week has been one of those emotional roller coasters times that we all experience at some point in our lives...some of us more often than others :)

As I have shared before our home sold in September of last year and so for the last 10 months we have been vagabonds. For this wife and Momma the challenge has been to keep my 'homemaker' gene happy. Downsizing from a 3400 sq ft home to a 250 sq ft motorhome, sharing that space and making it 'homey' has been a little crazy at times but all in all the weeks that have spread to months have gone well and we have enjoyed this time of 'togetherness'.

After our home sold we had a few goals in mind for our next place. We have made a list of 'things to look for' and we felt they made a lot of sense as we have become Senior Citizens.
We felt our new home should have the following...
1) Single story...Small home so as to make it easy to clean making any preparation to make a spur of the moment trip quick and easy. Also stairs can become a hazard as the years pass...or so we have been told.
2) Elbow room. No more homeowners rules, a shop for Jim to 'tinker' without the need of approval of others. (We are pretty independent we have found) although family and friends are an important part of the plan.
3) A milder climate...below 0 weather, ice and snow have lost their appeal.
4) Someplace where we can be self sufficient
5) Within the reach of good medical care

We discussed these and felt we were being very Practical and Wise.

Before I share the ups and downs of the past week I have to share Jim's dream for the 48 years of our marriage has always been to farm and live that lifestyle. We have been blessed to make that a reality as we raised our children.

So now we fast forward to the past week keeping in mind the 'guidelines' for our next home.
Throwing all our 'sensible' priorities to the wind ..We found and made an offer on a 30 acre farm. It included a 3 story, 5 bedroom home. 2 kitchens and 21/2 bath. The property also had 2 large barns and a 2 car garage/shop, beautiful fields, garden area and fruit trees.

The farm was located about an hour away from town on winding country, although paved, roads.




Three days were spent with that 'maybe' feeling. Trying hard not to become attached but going over the 'what ifs' and the 'Are we Crazy' feelings.
When all was said and done we are still vagabonds and the motorhome is still our current dwelling.

Add to that, my oldest sister moved into an assisted living facility for those dealing with Alzheimer Disease a few days ago. Now, don't misunderstand. The move was a blessing for she and the family. As Safety became an issue the change was a necessity. This home will provide, that safety factor, along with fellowship and new friendships in a beautiful setting.
It is a mix of emotions and feeling of loss that can only be understood by those who share the devastation of this disease to someone you love.

Hence the emotional rollercoaster...those days when tears are just behind the surface,sometimes spilling over and silently making tails down the cheeks. It is something that is shared by women everywhere, while our husbands sigh, shake their heads trying hard to understand, but if we are fortunate love us anyway.

So in a week we will unplug all the cords and hoses and once again head down the road in search of that new home that surely awaits us.

5 Minute Friday Bloom

Five Minute Friday
So I haven't done this but a couple times. Marcy Hanson invited me to join the discussion several months ago. I noticed the word for this week and thought I would comment.
The way it works...check on 5 minute Friday@lisajobaker for the word and then write for 5 minutes....
this week the word is
Bloom !! 


As I read that word and voiced it I heard it as a command. Be productive!!!

BLOOM...the vision was that of a beautiful blossom, the result of a seed that had fallen to the ground..sent its roots into the soil and and grown into a plant that produced a blossom. All because it heard that command from from the Master of nature...BLOOM! 
The process is never easy, you may not have the privilege of choosing our 'soil' (where you are planted).
 You may find rocks (obstacles) in your soil or have to fight through the weeds (those that would say "it can't be done"). BLOOM!
 Even with the best soil..full of nutrients (encouragement and support) there are always obstacles..(those things you cannot control). The sun may not shine or all you get is rain. 
But the struggle and fight is worth it. BLOOM!

Whether you see yourself as a dandelion (how often did you pick a cheery yellow bouquet for Mom?) a beautiful rose or even a delicate orchid...the command from the Master is still the same BLOOM.
The purpose of the command is to not only bring satisfaction of a job well done and completed to YOU but to bring JOY, DELIGHT, and HOPE to those around you.
BLOOM!!!
5 minute Friday@lisajobaker5 minute Friday..Bloom

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Yesterday I went on my first REAL kickoff walk for 2014 3Day. Now don't get me wrong I have been doing some walking squeezed in between travels but this past week I have declared myself "IN TRAINING" so that means my walks need to be more consistent and planned a bit better :) I started today by walking beside a water canal. Peaceful, quiet and beautiful as the water flowed, bikers rolled by, and walkers strolled. (You won't find me strolling with my sticks...LOL  :)


As we have traveled to different areas and different states I have begun my collection of "names for the shirt" and shared my goal. Mesa has become my 'kick off' point and I can't put into words the excitement I feel as my countdown for success begins. With the miles there are always opportunities to meet someone new, hear a new story and hopefully to spread a little encouragement as I go. Encouragement has become the main goal and motivation of my walk.
Knowing that the end result will provide HOPE and HElP to someone fighting their battle with cancer puts fuel in my tank and determination in my heart. I have found, though, that it is not necessary to wait for the finish line to share a hug and a word of joy with someone along the path.
So it is that time again, and I am back on the trails,
Walking Strong   Because Everyone Deserves a Lifetime

Laura

Sent from my iPad

Monday, April 7, 2014

Checking out Arizona


                                                                                                                                  

We traveled from Vegas down to Earp, CA almost 4 weeks ago, where we met up with a high school friend.  
Meeting up with old friends in new places is such fun. Friendships made in high school seem to have matured as life has taken us each on our own journeys and we have gained new perspective and priorities.          
Earp is a little community close to Lake Havasu a more familiar destination for the snow birds.
We pulled our motor home in beside George, facing the water, and set up camp for a couple days. There is something about water that calms the spirit and the renewing of old friendship brings joy to soul.




                                                               Several hours of refreshing memories and draining a couple pots of coffee we toured the area, and discovered a couple local eateries. Nothing demonstrates the personality of a community like a meal among the locals.
The wild burros roaming the countryside were a novelty to all the visitors young and old.
After a couple days in Earp, we secured the inside an hit the road again and headed toward Mesa, Az.
Ya know the old saying, "Home is where the heart is" we are proving again that that is indeed a fact.  In our years together we have lived in many different styles of homes, including very small and large houses, a camp size trailer, a tent (with 4 children) and now a motorhome. Through each adventure we have found that all it takes to make a dwelling a home is love and a willingness to share it.
A pot of coffee, a seat and an open door proves to be a key. When the kids were home it was often an offer of playtime to another Mom and her kids, a dinner shared with friends, or a s-more made over an open campfire.
In Mesa we have found neighbors from "home" are enjoying the sunshine and break away from normal life as we are and new adventures are shared. Our first week in Mesa was spent sharing time and fellowship with neighbors from our home site in Montana and from a small community close by.
While shopping at a nearby grocery and choosing a melon a woman close by commented on how her father used to grow them in Oregon. Of course I asked "Where in Oregon" well, that led to us learning that we had both lived in the same communities in both Oregon and Montana. A small world we live in indeed!!
The RV Park we ended up in, has proven to be a "home away from home. " We have connected with old friends and collected a bunch of new ones to add season and joy to our lives..
Swimming, a workout room, hikes around the neighborhood and a gospel music jam have been among the many activities we have shared. I have begun my training for the 3Day in San Diego so a walk along the water canal has provided a quiet peaceful and beautiful trek.
Cactus and roses blooming in March have added a bit of splendor to the view, while walking the dogs under a sky filled with stars and lighted by a full moon never cease to bring a feeling of awe and wonder.

                                                                                                      
So the search for a home base has begun...will it be in a place surrounded by desert, but offering the beauty of sunshine and roses in the winter...or a home surrounded by the mountains (offering snow covered peaks) and lakes with clear blue water calling me to sit,rest and soak in the peace of it all, or someplace yet unexplored??
My peace comes when I choose to remember that God has promised, that He has a plan for my life and "He will be with me WHEREVER I GO"! The greatest joy is knowing that He has control of the GPS and has my destination set!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Laundry on the road....

Laundry day on the road.

One of those 'blasts from the past' that comes with travel is the weekly trips to the Laundromat. There have been times on and off when we were vacationing that I have visited the local laundry facility and it is always an adventure. Now that my home is on wheels it has become a weekly occurrence and the experience never ceases to amaze me. You are guaranteed of a little adventure each time..the amount of said adventure is dependent on the facility and those patrons using the facility.

The first order of business is always to secure enough quarters to begin the task. This may change drastically from place to place depending on the number of quarters required to run the machines and dryers and the amount of dirty laundry accumulated. (Do you remember when a wash was 50 cents and the dryer ran for 10 -15 minutes on a DIME?) Well,sweetheart, those days are gone forever! I have found in the past few months that a washer can cost upwards to 1.50 and the dryers vary according to the number of minutes for a quarter....and beware of the temp!! This morning we paid .75 per wash and .25 for at least 30 minutes of dry time. We consider this one a bargain as they all worked and did a good job :) (Sometimes it is the little things in life!)

Now, I have found it pays to be friendly to the 'locals' because they just might save you from melting down your favorite sweater, or spending several dollars to dry those towels.
Those same locals can provide you with enough entertainment to last a week. The best bet is to just be quiet and watch and listen. Sometimes that is all you CAN do as a disgruntled citizen attempts to solve the worlds woes as he waits for his wash.

Or it may be an opportunity of a lifetime to learn some of the best household tips ever. Someone is sure to know the best route of travel for your next destination or where to  get the best meal in town!
Best of all is the opportunity to share a moment of encouragement with someone desperately needing it.

One thing for sure, I never leave without being thankful for the clean laundry and a warm and comfy place to put it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Finding Happiness in Whatever STATE I'm In

The past 6 months have taken us across the country and back,
with many adventures and family time added to our memory book. We have resided for a time in Montana, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Utah and now Nevada. Some for months, some for weeks and some for just a day or two. This vagabond thing isn't so bad!! New friends and 'favorite places' every day.

Life in the motor home as HOME has truly begun. These Vagabonds have gathered their belongings {a portion anyway) tucked them in to their new spaces and are ON THE ROAD but taking HOME along.
We returned to Montana from Florida...took note of the snow, ice and cold and headed West leaving our the motor home in the throes of winter. We spent a couple weeks visiting family, soaking up love and hugs. Playing on the beach and waiting for dry roads and a little warmer weather to make its' way north. Our wish was finally  made reality. We hooked the car behind the motor home and pulled away from Tim's home in Stevensville. We drove to Butte and  after spending the night with Tom's family we headed South looking for sunshine.
Several hours of travel later we found ourselves in Utah having found the sunshine and warmth. We shed the sweatshirts and long pants for t shirts and shorts found some fresh water for the tanks and we could now begin to make this place home!
After another day on the road we pulled in to Kings Row RV in Las Vegas for the night. Not before a bit of adventure though. I had programed Vegas into the GPS so it had every intention of helping us get a true tour of the town. I quickly changed the city of desired destination but not before getting a taste of the traffic that comes with the city.  Upon waking the next morning that one night turned into a decision to set roots for a WEEK! There was cleaning and organizing to be done!!
So the past couple days have found me inside sorting winter and summer clothes, combining all the doubles into one,doing a bit of shopping and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.
Jim had outside repairs and chores to do. He quickly met all the neighbors and got the lay of the land.  Men with tools made themselves and their tools quickly available.
The repairs are done the tools returned {with a jar of homemade jam as a THANKS } and today he hung the family pictures, It is taking on the feel and appearance of home.
With the clutter gone and peace restored we are hoping to take the car on a few side trips and explore the state of Nevada then maybe doing a little jaunt into AZ with Pennsylvania on the horizan!!


Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

From East to West and Ocean to Ocean

It has been a while since I set with some time available to put a few words on the page. Life is so different at this time in my life that sometimes I just have to pause and contemplate the happenings.
Right now we are in Oregon...the last few days I have awoke in the mornings and honestly had to take inventory of my surroundings and remember what STATE I am in. :0)  HONEST!!  (I keep assuring myself that it has nothing to do with age!)

The last time I wrote we were still in Florida and on countdown for returning to the land of frost, snow and ice. Otherwise known as Montana.
The last week before boarding the plane, we made a list of the things left to do and places to go. The highlight was a cruise on the Inter coastal Waterway. We were mesmerized at the sight of all the multi-million dollar homes,  incredible landscaping and the peace of the river. Upon returning to the dock the captain did a drawing from the passengers and guess whose name was called. Yep, Laura Moody, tickets for another cruise with no expiration date.  Florida 2015??
A walk on the beach, collecting shells, wading in the water was another bonus day. A beach which just five weeks earlier was hardly worthy to be called a beach. After five weeks of dredging and pumping sand a new beach was created and we could hardly believe we were in the same spot.
Our time in Florida was such a blessing and more fun than I could put into words. Memories created, new friends made and a vast supply of Vitamin D...compliments of the sun. The last few days we spent walking in the sunshine, laying in the sun by the pool with soaking up as much warmth as possible the desired goal.
Emotions were mixed as we pulled out the suitcases and packed to leave our little spot in paradise. The freedom from all the responsibilities that pull us in normal life had been a chance of rest and healing that God surely knew we needed. The generosity of a friend had been a gift beyond measure.
We flew from Fort Lauderdale with a temperature of 85 degrees only to land in Missoula, MT with a temp of 17. The drop of temperature was held at bay as we were met by the smiles, hugs and love of our son and grandchildren. Nothing warms the soul of a Mom or Dad like the hug of a child or grandchild! We reconnected quickly and then headed to bed...our bodies were still on East Coast time.
The following day we spent organizing the motor home for travel and getting a full fledge welcome home from the dogs.
With another winter storm on the horizon we decided to leave our home on wheels, roll the car off the dolly and take the car back to Kalispell to reconnect with additional family and friends.
Hope to rescue the motor home from the winter wonderland and head to warmer climate was dashed with more snow and ice in the forecast as our time in Kalispell came to a close.
Flexibility being our word of the day we re-packed our bags and headed to Oregon. A short visit with my sister and then on to the Oregon Coast.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              From the Atlantic to the Pacific. We love our oceans and the diversity between the two.  The warmth and white sands of the Atlantic to the cold and storminess of the Pacific. Winter is so different on the beaches of the two coasts and yet what a joy to walk in the sand of each and to observe the power that lies behind those waves.                                                                                
 Today as we walked, our attention was drawn to the destruction of a barrier built to protect the foundation of a motel sitting high on a hill, much like the beach destroyed in Florida. Cold or warm the results of the power of the waves are the same. Man made barriers will bow and bend to the to the power of nature and the hand of the Creator.
As if given a smile from heaven on our last day by the sea we walked in sunshine! Morning will find us once again packing our bags with plans to meet up with our daughter and family. Then head north to hook up with our home on wheels, unpack the suitcases, and settle in to life on the road surrounded all we call our own!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Saw The Wink

I saw the Wink!!

When I started this blog and was training so hard for my first 3Day walk for breast cancer I  shared several times about the "Winks of God" along the way.
Life has been a little crazy since that first blog. So many things have happened to cause twists and turns and some pretty steep hills and quick descents in the road in this 'almost' year since that first post.
I completed that walk with the love and support of so many of you, old friends and new in September of 2013. It was an incredible journey that changed my life in so many ways. I was able to take two very dark times in my life and use them as fuel to create an experience that will forever shine light into those dark areas.
It taught me that through strength in training and determination I could do things I would have only dreamed of before. But most importantly, I found a true meaning of commitment to others. On days when it would have been easy to find an excuse for trimming a couple miles from my walk...it was my commitment to so many, and the trust you had shown in me that would remind me "my excuses were invalid."
Those 'Winks of God" (coincidences you may call them) always seemed to come at precisely the right moment....
  My favorite was the time I was checking my pedometer..sure I must be close to my 10,000 steps..and Pandora chose at that exact moment to play "10,000 Reasons to Bless The Lord"
The morning I had decided to take a walk up a mountain trail and met a gentleman whose wife was battling breast cancer. I left the encounter with her name for my shirt.
The morning I slowed to walk with an older lady...her daughter I would learn,had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was thrilled to tell her she would be carried on my shirt for 60 miles...
  The time I was on a LONG walk and feeling a bit tired and Chuck called to tell me his plant manager was making me PINK grips for my walking sticks...
 The moment shortly after starting when my phone 'pinged..you have a message' I stopped to find "a donation of $120 has been made to your acct"
The morning of a 17 mile when a little boy stuck his head out the window to say "I like your pink shirt lady" and I smiled all the way home...
I could go on and on..(I trained for 7 months ) But each of these experiences were opportunities of a reminder that He knew exactly where I was and what I needed to spur me on.
Following the walk our house sold and 2 weeks later Jim had a total knee replacement. Our neighbors left the day we signed papers and offered their home as a place of recuperation. Wait...did you see that wink?
Shortly after his surgery another friend offered 5 weeks in his condo in Florida.
SOOO..here we are in sunny Florida while Montana has been covered with snow and the cold has been record setting. Two months of additional recuperation time for Jim and a welcome respite from the busyness and stress of the past few months.
Periodically the thought will cross my mind that I am without a home to call my own. When someone asks "where do you live" I am in a quandary. A curious place to be at my age to be sure.
A few days ago a friend of another time in life informed me that she was going to, at sometime during this year surprise me with a blessing. She had made a decision to start the new year on a positive note, and was choosing the first five people to recognize her offer. She then ask for a favorite scripture or saying. Several went through my mind and I was at a standstill as which to choose. Then it happened..I remembered another time of decisions to be made..(when we lived in the same little town as my friend)...Jim's job was gone. Where would we live and where would we go....only this time we were living on a farm with cattle, and 5 children."What do we do???"
We were impressed to read the first chapter of Joshua in the Bible. There was much in that chapter that spoke to our hearts (go ahead...read it!) As I re-read it now and got to verse 9 I am pretty sure God smiled and gave me a wink.  The message to "Be Strong and Courageous and not to fear because He will be with me WHEREVER I go" was received loud and clear. I stopped to join Him in a smile and a time of peace.
For this moment I may be a Vagabond, traveling from place to place, but I am not lost and without a compass. He knows where I am and has my route and destination chosen. I just need to follow closely to the path and watch for His footsteps!! (Please Lord, no detours!!)
So thank you Gwen for being a part of this wink!!
I think there were two!
 First, my "chance"of seeing your decision to be a blessing.
Second my remembrance of Lakeview and another time of challenge and promise.
 I'm sure I feel Him smiling just knowing I caught the wink, and His gift of peace has been delivered, received and opened!!
How about YOU....have you shared a Wink with God lately?? Have ya taken time to look??   
Message me an share your wink!

Monday, February 10, 2014


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The Florida Keys truly are a little portion of Paradise. Beautiful weather, friendly people and lots to do....or not dependent on you energy level :)
We left Boynton Beach on Tuesday and traversed some of the most incredible roadways you will ever see. 7 miles of bridge over the most beautiful waters imaginable.  Running along side the bridge is the "old Bridge" which was built in the early 1900's as an "overseas" Railroad to the keys. It has not been used for years for travel, but is now used by thousands of walker, bikers and runners each year.
So amazing to realize the talent and mathematical genius it took to engineer such a feat...no computers or calculators just the human brain working its magic.
Once across the bridge there were 8 foot cyclone fences along the sides of the road. Along the swampy area to keep gators etc off the road..farther down to protect the deer. The Keys' deer on the endangered list. I was privileged to see one beside the fence. They look like a Montana fawn minus the spots. Amazed once more at the many species of wildlife we have to admire and appreciate from coast to coast.
The arrival at the motel, beautiful room, the blue water in an enticing pool was a welcome sight after a fun but exhausting day of travel. The speed limit and traffic makes for a long day. but alas it was dinner time and our stomachs were calling for food.
Let the adventure begin! We chose to take a  bus rather that try to navigate through the city the first evening. It was a "Sit down, Hang on and Shut UP" kind of experience.The driver sped through the narrow streets with a honk and nary a brake. But the passengers on board kept the chance of being stressed at bay. When they learned we were new in the area and looking for dinner they took it upon themselves to make sure these two Vagabonds did not go hungry! Suggestions began  coming from all over the bus...with the emphasis on where the best bar and cheapest beer was!!! We just kinda smiled and nodded until one fella turned to Jim and said "JUST FOLLOW ME." Now tell me, how do you argue with that??
So we did. We followed him off the bus and as we began to walk he turns and informs us "I can't walk very fast because I"m waiting for a heart transplant." At this point Jim and I look at each other, my giving him, complete control if CPR becomes a part of this journey! He took us down to the pier and the miles of bars and eateries.
We finally settled into a table at the "Turtle Kraals" It was happy hour so we bought a couple 'buckets' of ribs for dinner and they were YUMMY.
Walked the pier and did some "people watching" and then successfully found the bus stop. Rode "home" with a super young gal..living in the keys alone..and several older ladies down from the north soaking up some sunshine.
The king size bed just seemed to suck us in for a night of rest you only get on vacation. (Now shouldn't retirement be a CONSTANT vacation.) The next morning we awoke refreshed and a little more adventurous. We drove into town..found a parking spot [ a coveted find] on a side street and did some sightseeing on foot. Made our way through the crowd to get a  picture of the Southern most spot in  the US.  Cuba 90 miles across the water
On up town checking out the shops, Lunch at 5 Guys, where we were the only ones to have our lunch delivered to the table. Made us wonder "did we look that old" or as I prefer "he was just a very nice young man".  Then back to the hotel and pool full of blue wonder, where we relaxed and watched the local wildlife wander out to enjoy the fun. Iguanas and 'cow birds' were a reminder of how far we are from what we have known as home.
Evening found us at the bus stop making new friends from Sweden! They live in a tiny village of about 600 people where she teaches and he works in concrete. As we visited she shared that both of her parents had passed from Cancer. Their names will be on my 2014 walking shirt!!
Sunset in Mallory Square was our destination of choice, to view an incredible sunset. We followed the roar and became a part of the crowd gathering to watch the sun disappear into the ocean as the sailboats and ships seemed to float right through the golden glow. Another of those AWE moments. We have shared those 
moments on both coasts now!
The afterglow followed us as we watched the performers and checked out the vendors on the square. A classic coastal dinner, more window shopping, a stop outside a bar to lean across the open wall to enjoy the incredible voice of the young entertainer and the an older couple sharing a dance. We left the music and fun to meet up with our Swedish friends for the bus ride "home", Mark it down as a wonderful day spent together! 
Time seemed to fly and we were sad to once again pack the bags into  the car. After a couple hours at the pool making another friend,adding another name to the shirt, one last walk on the beach we headed north.
We decided we could not pass up the opportunity of a lifetime. We made a stop at the 7  mile bridge to do a walk on the OLD 7. With more memories and stories to add to our retirement journal we headed back to our current "home" in Boynton Beach.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

So these vagabonds have been in Florida for 2 1/2 weeks and have experienced the hospitality of those in Boynton Breach, Orlando and now The Keys and Key West.
What a joy it has been and I must say we have enjoyed the time!!
Our first week was pretty much spent vegging by the pool and catching up on some sanity time. We did visit Del Ray and walked to the beach a couple times but didn't branch out much.
The second week found us a little more rested and determined to turn on the 'tourist' button.
We traveled to Orlando first. It was on our trip north that we saw some, farming country, Florida style. So much different than the VAST ranches of Montana. We DID see a few round hay bales, a tractor driving course, a few cows and horses but not what this farm girl is used to! The cows seemed to be feeding on 'clumps' of brownish grass in the fields.


Displaying 20140128_113452.jpgThe following day we met up with friends and spent a day at the Epcot Center in the World of Disney. This Grandpa and Grandma missed our kids and grandkids but had an "AWESOME" day. The Florida Jim works for Disney so we learned some interesting behind the scene facts. Everywhere you look as you are walking through the park are BEAUTIFUL flower gardens. He told us that ALL those flowers are changed out every night!! No drupey heads for your Disney experience. Also,Walt Disney bought up hundreds of acres when he went to Florida so as to be able to expand at will. There is much more fun to come! (Does that mean another trip in my future??)
The next day we listened to a Condo presentation...isn't that a Florida requirement of visiting this beautiful state??
That night we experienced a Murder Mystery dinner which we found relaxing and refreshing. Laughs shared with new friends from Ontario,Texas and Japan.
Displaying 20140128_130702.jpgNASA became our next destination, where once again we found ourselves in awe. This time, of the courage, determination and adventurous spirits of the Men and Women of our space program. Constantly dreaming of a new and safer way to make space travel a reality.
The national program is becoming a private industry and is being pursued by private companies and individuals. Many of the launching pads are leased out to these adventurous souls. Who knows,our grandchildren may have a space trip in their future!!
Another awesome day!
Back to Boynton Beach for a few days..laundry to be done and new plans to be made.
On our way "home" (that word has such a different meaning for me right now. More on that in another blog!) We saw a sign welcoming people to the "South Florida Fair". A fair in February..now THAT was a new concept.
Our curiosity got the better of us and we traveled back to West Palm Beach for the fair on Friday. The day was rain with more rain. Wet but warm ..so we proceeded. Jim's description really did seem to explain it best.."It was like a GIANT" (upscale, I might add) Flea Market. Now for all the ladies out there, "How exciting is that?" We saw things we had never heard of before, some pretty interesting.
The agriculture side of things left a little to be desired from a couple Montana natives. But all in all it was a good day.

Another couple days of to regroup and off to the Keys.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Friendship knows no bounds!


Photo: Spent a amazing day with Jim and Judy Jones West at Mickey s World! !

Friendship is an incredible thing. Distance and time do not form barriers..but instead the most amazing thing happens when the distance is covered and time allows memories to rekindle that warmth that comes from anticipation of new memories in the making.
This last week we met up with friends made about 9 years ago during a hard time for their family. We were blessed to live next door to Judy"s Mom who had suffered and died of lung cancer. Both Jim and I had lost our parents years before and having Pat next door was a privilege and blessing. We enjoyed some special times before she had gotten sick with she and her family. Then, because long distances separated she and her children we kind of co-adopted each other. She trusted us to be there when she needed assistance and we felt honored to act on that trust. On the other hand she was there to share stories and hugs with, which we all found refreshing and a blessing.
Several times Judy and her Jim, had invited us to visit with them in Florida and we had agreed it would be a fun time,'someday.' Well, last week our 'someday' arrived and we met up at Epcot in Orlando for an amazing day.  Sharing stories of days past and creating new stories to be told.
That's the thing about friendship...God gives you an opportunity to rekindle those from your past and you are reminded of the influence each made on your life. Then new people enter your life and bring with them a whole plethora of new stories to tell and memories to be made and influences to be had.
With that in mind it is with a sense of wonder of who we will call 'friend' when we board the plane for Montana. How their lives will add to the landscape of our life and how our presence will effect theirs.  The knowledge that the boarders of our world have expanded in our travels, makes the promise of re-visits believable and offers a new dimension to our future because of those who will be called friend.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let the Adventure Begin

We are almost two weeks into our time in Florida and the adventure is set to begin. We have spent the last 10 days exploring close to "home " and lying in the sun. What a refreshing time it has been.

THE STICKS HAVE RETURNED!
Our walking sticks arrived yesterday.  After putting them together, walking shoes on..it was time to kick the training into gear. I can't think of a more beautiful place to begin than down the trails, across the waterways and down the beaches of Florida!! The sunshine and sand definitely provide a safety factor lacking in the snow and ice of Montana.
A year of new friends, new stories, new motivation has begun. An opportunity to join thousands of other women and men walking hundreds of miles with the dream of seeing  an end to breast cancer. I will keep you posted on how to be a part of my team :)

We packed our bags and headed north. It was interesting to see the landscape change as we traveled the miles to Orlando..THE LAND OF DISNEY!!
Miles of swamp or Everglade, orange groves and finally pasture land with cows and horses. Huge transport trucks loaded to the top with oranges sped along the freeway. On the West Coast those same trucks would be loaded with potatoes, onions, corn, apples,or melons.
Made us realize how diverse or country is. How blessed we are to live in a country that 'grows it all' and ships from coast to coast!!

Walking thru the stores there is good chance of hearing a smorgasbord of languages to be mixed with the fashion choices of those you meet.

We have arrived in Orlando and will spend the next few days exploring the streets of Disney, greeting Mickey ,Goofy and all of Disney characters gathering memories and stories to be shared with family and friends.

So it is with hearts full of thanks for our many blessings we will ride some rides, see the sights and find a  younger us for the next few days.


Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vagabond: A person who travels from place to place....

Vagabond...a person who wanders around from place to place without a home or a job.

Well, that describes us to a "T" as my Mom would have said.  BUT it is important to note that we did once have a job AND a home!! We have spent the majority of our years with a job of some sort and all of our lives, until the past few months,with a home. So I must make it clear it is by choice that we can be described as "true vagabonds."

It seems that even though we may not have a house to call our own, God seems to be moving us from place to place with a shelter included. At the present Jim and I have taken up residence in a friend's condo in sunny Florida. We are surrounded by senior citizens who seem anxious to welcome us into their community and share their favorite fun spots with us. So instead of being "strangers in the land" we are feeling like adopted wanderers.

The past few days have been spent 'settling in,' making things familiar and creating our gifted shelter into our home. Now it is time to get the maps out and put together an itinerary for the next month. Due to the fact that we have never visited Florida before there are sights to see, adventures to be had, and new friends to meet.

It is interesting that wherever we travel it is the familiar that we look for and savor a few minutes over a cup of coffee with a doughnut in hand :) Dunkin Donuts fits the bill just fine!!
 But now it is beaches, everglades, museums and amusement parks that are among the many destinations to be explored.
Anyone having a favorite Florida fun spot feel free to share!  I will endeavor to share our travels to keep you posted and would love to have you join us in the fun.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

True Vagabonds

We are true vagabonds and our adventure has taken wings! After 3 1/2 months of beginning this new phase of life we have left our temporary housing behind and begun the 'travel phase'.
Home is where the Heart Is
Jim's recovery has gone well, the motorhome is fueled and loaded but Mother Nature has proven that she has the power to change the best laid plans. Snow, ice, wind and Cold she has stirred the pot and concocted the most amazing winter weather seen in years.
Although the show has been spectacular we have been anxious to get on with life and patience has struggled to reign over frustration and impatience. So we filled our time of waiting with family, friends, dinners and fellowship. (not a bad way to improvise I must say!)
With the roads still 'iffy' and the promise of more storms..we have 'taken to the air' and are winging our way to Florida.. the land of sunshine, sand and RAIN?? Yep, the day after booking our flight the very destination of our trip had 20 INCHES of rain. But, that was last week we say and we will arrive in a couple hours to new begin a new chapter in this adventure.
I have had a window seat on both flights and it is incredible to watch the rain in Montana change to snow in Minneapolis and now the snow is melted and the hope of  sunshine and warmth seems real.
The past weeks and months have been filled with a so many different emotions. The sadness mixed with anticipation when our house sold. Concern and prayers for the best results of Jim's surgery. A mixture of thankfulness and unsettledness living in our 'temp' home surrounded by the treasures of others while striving to create that special feeling that speaks "HOME" to those that enter.
It is amazing what the promise of sunshine and warmth can do for the soul! To me right now it speaks a thawing of the stress and tension that has been my companion for these past weeks. A time of setting aside the need to make decisions choose routes and methods and just BE. 
 Although I am anxious to begin my training for my 3Day of 2014 I feel a need to sit, be quiet and regroup.So for the next few days I hope to be a stranger in the land. I'll take a deep breath and gear up for all the new friends, places and adventures that lay ahead. The walking sticks will be waiting by the door and this year Jim will be my companion on the trail as he has been in life for the past 47 years.
2014 looks to be a year of new beginnings for some 'senior' souls!!! I'll keep ya posted :)