“Land-Home, Sweet Land-Home”

FEBRUARY 14, 2015

AN UPDATE IN PHOTOS:

My last blog post was spring of 2014. That’s when we finished our last cruising season. That season was a long one. It started in winter, 2013 with a sail from Brunswick, GA to Florida and on to the Bahamas. Then in the spring of 2013 after leaving Nancy Lu in Brunswick, GA for a short visit home, we took Claire for the summer sailing from Brunswick up the east coast and on to Maine. In August, after a plane trip home from Maine and about a week spent getting Claire started in her sophomore year in college, we were back in Maine until late fall. We sailed Nancy Lu down to Brunswick, GA with a great time in NY and other places along the way down the east coast that fall. We left Nancy Lu there in Brunswick again for just 2 months while we went home for the holidays. We were out again in January 2014 for another winter and spring in the Bahamas! All in all that was 17 months with over 15 of those months spent on Nancy Lu! If you want to get a more detailed account of those 17 months, I invite you to read through the blog posts from that time—click here!

Now, we’re back in the Bahamas after 9 months spent on land—roughly, May 2014 to early January 2015!! Claire’s now in her junior year at Baylor University.   We did a lot of land- living in those 9 months! More for my sake than anything else, I wanted to record the highlights of it all; most was great… Some was bittersweet.

Instead of putting it all into narrative, I’m going to put a collection of photos below with captions underneath.  I hope you’ll take a look!  Many of you will find your pictures and some shared memories!

On our drive back home from Nancy Lu in Spring 2014, in keeping with our tradition, we stopped in Arkansas to see my parents.  The first thing I did when we got there was go with Mama to pick up, from the framing shop, the watercolor paintings that she did for me for my birthday!   They depict  “The Hermitage” on Cat Island, one of my favorite places in the Bahamas.  She painted them from photos that I had given her.  I love them!!!  They now hang in my dining room at home.

I cooked fish tacos for Mama and Daddy and a couple of other guests, including my Aunt Joanna, using some of the Mahi Mahi that we had caught and frozen!

        

A stop in Arkansas would not be complete without a visit with my grandmothers!  First, we went to see 98 year old  Grandmother.  I got to see her again during a summertime visit to El Dorado.  Sadly, for me and the rest of our family, she died the Saturday before Thanksgiving, 2014  at the age of 99.  I’m happy to still have my Grandmama on this earth with me, and we visited her this spring and summer, as well!

I was treated to an impromptu get together with these friends of my mother’s.   Just a few calls were made and I was enjoying tea and pie with these southern ladies!

We found all was well at home in Texas when we got there!  Our neighborhood is filled with wild flowers in the spring before the common areas get mowed.

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I got to see the sunrise on Cedar Creek Lake from our window almost every morning while we were at our land-home because that’s when Timmy was ready for me to get up and take him out for his morning business.

                                                                                                                                  During Claire’s short visit home last summer, she went with Mark to pick out and purchase her EARLY graduation present, a Honda CR-V, that she named Lola!  She needed a car for her summer internship at Mission Waco!

                                                                                                                                         She also enjoyed a few pleasant dinners with us out on the deck before she went back to Waco.

                                                                                                                                                                     She went with us to visit Grandpa and Grandma Lu.  Grandma Lu, who deals with Alzheimers, really enjoys Claire’s company.

                                                                                                                                    Mark and I were so happy to get to see my nieces, Byron and Stella Rae, close the spring talent show performing with their all-girl band at their elementary school.  Byron is on lead guitar and Stella Rae rocks the drums!

We also enjoyed lunch with our friends from Cedar Creek Bible Church, Dana and Bruce Ellis!

                                                                                                                                         One of the highlights of the summer was VBS (Vacation Bible School) in June!!  As the leader of the opening assembly, I was blessed to have this view every  morning!

                                                                                                                                        On the last day of VBS we (good friends and Claire supporters:  Kenny, Kay,Karen Olivia and I) took a road-trip down to Waco to visit Claire and get a tour of Mission Waco.  Mark was in Brunswick on one of 3 trips that he took to check on Nancy Lu while we were home.

                                                 Another summer highlight was serving as a counselor at Teen Camp.  My son, Ethan, also served there as camp nurse.  On one of his additional duties as bicycle patrolman during free time, he helped this scared teen safely to the other side of the fence from the camel!  I truly loved my cabin of teen girls and keep them in my prayers.

                                                                                                                                   I enjoyed trying new Pinterest recipes during our time home!  I’ve incorporated some of them into our menus on Nancy Lu!

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Mark and I spent July 4th with my sister, Jenny, and her family in Washington.   My niece, Grace, and I did a lot of crafting including  t-shirts that we wore to a very competitive and sports-activities-filled celebration!  Mark and I discovered Pickle Ball, which we played for hours!  We were also able to watch my athletic nephew, Jackson, play in an all-star baseball game among other fun things!

    

Another summertime trip to Arkansas soon followed our trip to Washington where we were joined by my brother, Tim and his girls (We missed Erin!).  Jenny got to come too, but had to leave the kids at home; we missed them, too!   We always eat at Mark’s favorite restaurant, The Flying Burger!

                                                                                                                    Another big highlight of the summer was going on the annual Youth Mission Trip to the Rio Grande Valley!  It is totally teen led, but I helped out with a huddle group at a huge Boys and Girls Club which is one of the three places the teens lead a program every day for 4 days.

                                                                                                                             We hosted a party after the mission trip for those teens who went on the trip including these two special seniors—twins, Joe and Andy—who I taught for many years in Children’s Church and directed in Christmas Musicals when they were little!  They just happen to be our pastor’s youngest boys.

                                                                                                                           Those two boys have a sister, Kay, who is one of Claire’s best friends!  Kay’s sitting on the loveseat with one of Claire’s other besties, Olivia!  We hosted a couple of “girls nights” for these three at our house before heading back to Nancy Lu!

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I enjoyed lots of time on our deck this summer including my morning bible reading time, meals, nature watching, showing off silly, Pinterest- inspired creations, and just hanging out.

P1130290                                                                                                                                     My favorite new Pinterest recipe:  Grilled Teriyaki Pork Chops and Bananas!!

                                                                                                                                  Here are those handsome Children’s Church graduates again, now graduating from high school!

We were so happy to have all 3 kids at home for a few days in August!!!

           This fall, we took a trip to Austin to celebrate Claire’s September birthday with a concert of one of Claire’s favorite bands, Nickel Creek.  She invited her friend, Olivia, who joined Claire at Baylor this fall as a graduate student!  We were able to stay with my brother and his family again!!

P1130375P1130409P1130357  We visited Waco quite a lot this fall including 4 Tuesdays as I helped get Claire started with her Garden Fantasy Ballet Class that she teaches at Mission Waco each week!  BTW, we’re so proud that she was honored as one of 4 volunteers- of-the-year at a banquet in January.  Her little ballet dancers performed at the event!  We were sorry we couldn’t be there on her special night, but we were already back on Nancy Lu.

P1130496                                                                                                                                                           Another Fall activity brought us back to Waco for Baylor Homecoming!!  I loved spending the day with my old Baylor roomies, Jane and Paige!

P1130529                                                                                                                                              It was a real treat to have Bob and Anita from sv Discovery come visit us at our land-home this fall!!

P1130558                                                                                                                                          Mark got to see Dena and Myron from sv Hold Fast in Brunswick on a fall trip to check on Nancy Lu.

P1130762P1130695P1130610P1130742                                           P1130765                    P1130766                                                                                                                                        A fun time was had by all on Thanksgiving day at Aunt Joanna’s house even though we missed Grandmother and Grandmama!  I think we had 30 people counting some family members who stopped by after dinner and our gracious hostess!

P1130802                                                                                                                            Ethan and Mark are visiting with  Grandmama after Grandmother’s special funeral service where Claire sang “In The Garden” and Tim accompanied her on guitar.

P1130625                                                                                                                                  Claire often gives Byron and Stella lots to laugh about!  This Thanksgiving was no exception; Byron laughed so hard she was in tears….”Holla!”…Inside joke, sorry.

P1130821                                                                                                                                                                                             While we were all still at Grandmom Nancy Rae’s and Granddad Larry’s house, after Thanksgiving Day, the nieces and I helped Claire make tutus for her ballet students’ Christmas performance.  They had to give them a  test dance!  Mark and I enjoyed attending the performance in early December.  They were a real hit at Mission Waco’s Jubilee Theater!

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Even during our Thanksgiving visit to Arkansas, Mark got to eat at “The Flying Burger”.  He’s walking in there with Uncle Charlie like a BOSS!!

P1130939                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Before we knew it, the Christmas season was upon us!  We attended, along with friends, the GLORIOUS Baylor Choir’s Christmas Concert, in which Claire sang with the Concert Choir.

P1130890                                                                                                                                    I enjoyed directing the Children’s Christmas musical at our church.  We rehearsed every Sunday beginning in September—what a blessing!!!  They did a GREAT job sharing the program twice during the Christmas season.  Claire,  Amy and her boyfriend, Alex, got to be there for one of the performances!

P1140224                                                                                                                                             We celebrated Christmas with all of our children and one granddog!  Amy got us all matching PJs!  One of life’s joys is having all three kids under the same roof!

P1140100                                                                                                                                    Mama and Daddy left their home after hosting the annual relation’s Christmas morning brunch at their house.   They made it to our house in time to share our Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, which was actually December 25 and December 26 because we waited for Ethan who had to work all day the 25th.  What did we do on the morning of December 25th?  We trekked to Dallas to the Movie Grill for lunch and the movie-musical, “Into The Woods”!!

P1140115                                                                                                                                   Amy and Claire got matching PJs.

P1140163                                                                                                                              Amy’s boyfriend, Alex, joined us for Christmas this year!

P1140164                                                                                                                                Gift-giving time!

P1140175                                                                                                                                   My brother, Tim, and his wife, Erin, also joined the celebration going on at our house  on the 26th (along with their 3 girls)!!

P1140183                                                                                                                                  More gift-giving!

P1140219                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Tacky Christmas sweaters from Uncle Tim and Aunt Erin!!!

P1140241                                                                                                                                            Why should Christmas day activities be any different than any other day’s activities for Timmy?

P1140294P1140308                                                            These are the “Hundred Penny Boxes” that I helped Magnolia, Stella, and Byron decorate.  They were a Christmas present last year from Mama and Daddy.  Everyone in the family got one, undecorated, but containing the number of pennies that correspond  with the number of years each box recipient has been alive—with each penny’s date representing one of those years of life.  The earliest date that Mama had to find was Mark’s first year of life—1961!  We’re now responsible for adding a new penny to the box on each of our birthdays.  Mama had the boxes handmade specially!  The inspiration for this gift was a Caldecott award winning children’s picture book, The Hundred Penny Box.  We each got a copy with our boxes.  I decorated my box with beach treasures I found in the Bahamas, and I helped my other niece, Grace, decorate hers in July.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

P1140353P1140244           The family dogs had no trouble finding someone willing to snuggle with them.  Timmy spent a little time with Daddy, and Penelope found a nice spot with Tim for a short while.

P1140366P1140370       A few days after Christmas and before we left to resume our life on Nancy Lu, we had a farewell/Christmas get together with friends and a game of Scattergories!

……OK, just a few more random photos:

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OK, that’s all!!!!

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