We left Nancy Lu in Fajardo, Puerto Rico for hurricane season in June 2015. In order to get back to our home in Texas, we flew to Florida, rented a car, drove to Brunswick Georgia, picked up our Suburban, which had been waiting for us at Brunswick Landing Marina since January 2015, and detoured through Arkansas to see my parents and other family, as has been our custom, on our way home. I’m so glad we stopped for our customary visit because this would be the last time to visit with my grandmother, Grandmama, before she went home to be with the Lord in August.
There were a lot of goings-on in the 6 months between June 2015 and January 6 when we returned to Fajardo to set out on Nancy Lu again, and we caught some of those goings-on on camera. The following picture collection captures some (sadly, not all) of the highlights of our last 6 months on land:
July 4th party at our house
We travelled to visit Mark’s mom and dad a little later in July. While there, I made a little flannel board in hopes that it would be something Mark’s mom, who suffers with Alzheimer’s, might enjoy.
On our way back home from visiting Mark’s parents, we detoured a bit to visit Alan and Judy, Mark’s brother and sister-in-law. It was just the right timing for a little Friday night country dancing at “The Barn” with Alan and Judy’s sons and their girlfriends.
Timmy had to share Annie’s couch while at Uncle Alan’s house —two old dog-cousins.
A baby shower given by Kristin’s friends in mid-July was a great opportunity for a fun, summertime, family get-together at our house with Amy, Jenny (my sister) and her kids, Alan and Judy, and Mama and Daddy.
Picture-time in Baby Ava’s beautiful nursery at our pre-baby shower get-together hosted by Kristin and Ethan at their house. Our family came from far and wide to celebrate, and we love them for it (well, we just love them, but are GRATEFUL to them for coming for the shower)!
The beautiful baby shower that Kristin’s friends gave for her was held at Kristin’s parent’s house. We had one more of our family join us there, Gina, Mark’s sister.
My brother,Tim, and his girls came to visit the day after the shower on their way home from picking the girls up from sleep-away camp.
Granddad Larry loves his first grandson, Ethan, and Ethan loves Granddad Larry!
In early August, Kristin, Ethan, and Kristin’s mom, Nancy, came to our house for a book-themed baby shower given by my friends, Karen and Katrina!
All throughout our six months on land, we enjoyed serving and being served at our beloved church home where you just might see a bunny when you’re walking to your car in the parking lot. We live in the country, y’all. We were out of town so much that we didn’t get to plug in to church as much as we would have liked, but we did have some wonderful opportunities…
One opportunity to serve came at the end of July, I was able to go on a mission trip with some of our church’s awesome teens to the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. Mark had to stay home with our geriatric dog.
All three of our kids were able to come for my grandmother’s funeral in August. I am thankful that Grandmama’s funeral could truly be a celebration because of how she lived her life here on earth with grace and love and because we know that she is now with her savior in heaven! I was happy to be able to share at the service along with her other grandchildren and even some greats including Amy and Claire. Ethan was honored to be a pallbearer along with Mark. It was great to see so many loved ones and celebrate Grandmama’s life!
Kristin was gracious enough to travel all the way to Arkansas “in her condition” less than a month before Ava was born to be there with us for Grandmama’s funeral and to let us touch her Ava-belly!
THE BIG DAY CAME!!! Baby Ava joined our family!!
We visited Ethan, Kristin and Ava A LOT after the big day! We had to soak up as much Ava-time as we could before heading back to Nancy Lu. It was never enough, but we were thankful for every minute that we spent with them! One of our last visits was on Ethan’s birthday. Kristin’s b’day is 5 days before Ethan’s so our little party was called “The 6 Days of Birthday”. Both Kristin and Ethan had 6 presents to open to represent all the days from Kristin’s b’day to his! I hope this can be a tradition!
Sometimes we had other visitors with us, including Amy’s October visit to see her niece for the first time and one of our last visits before Amy went home from her extra long Christmas-stay with us!
Sometimes we took detours on the way home to visit other family members in towns where they live. This is Mark’s sister, Gina, and her youngest.
Another service opportunity through our church: In September, Mark hand delivered care packages put together by church members to these appreciative college students in Dallas.
We were so happy to have had some special friends from our sea-home to come visit us at our land-home. Dena and Myron from S/V Holdfast came to stay a couple of nights in September!
They were the first to stay in the guest bedroom after the addition of the old crib that all three of my babies slept in. I gave it along with the bedroom a little facelift. That old crib hopes to have Ava sleep in it before she gets too big!
Another sentimental project that I did during the summer was refinishing this steamer trunk that Mama gave me and we brought home after Grandmama’s funeral. Grandmama had it in her house, but it had first belonged to her mother, my Great Grandmother, Mammaw. I decorated the inside of the trunk with the painted words of a bible verse (1 John 4:7 & 8) that Grandmama taught my sister and me in the form of a song (which she sang at Grandmama’s funeral), but for the most part, the inside of the trunk is decorated with painted words from letters that Mammaw and Pappaw wrote to each other before they were married. The first letter in the collection of copies of the letters that I am so grateful to have was written in 1911. Refinishing the trunk was a labor of love!
We always enjoy going down to Waco to hear the Baylor choir in which Claire sings as we did in September during Parent’s Weekend. This year was a treat to have another of our church kids, Danny, in the choir, as well.
We celebrated the birth of our youngest daughter by visiting her in Waco, taking her out to dinner, and presenting her with her birthday present (a new iPhone) back at her apartment.
Another of our sea-home friends, Anita and Bob from S/V Discovery came to see us in October!
Also in October, Mark and I were able to attend my 35th High School reunion in Arkansas. It was good to reconnect with some special people!
Claire was home on October 31st to help carve our pumpkin, Twofer, he was supposed to have three teeth, but his carver accidently carved off one of them.
In early November, we travelled to southeast Texas for the special occasion of Mark’s grandmother, Nanaw’s, 99th birthday! Mark’s brother and sister-in-law (and 2015 Nancy Lu guests) hosted a big shebang at their house! Nanaw loved it, and I’m so glad we were able to go! Nanaw went home to be with the Lord a little over a month later, right before Christmas.
Ethan and Kristin got married in a special, intimate ceremony in Kristin’s childhood home in November!
We hosted a pre-Thanksgiving get-together on November 15! Great-Grandmom Nancy Rae, Great-Granddad Larry, and our dear friend, Kenny got to hold Baby Ava for the first time!
Actual Thanksgiving was spent with Mark’s parents at their home along with his sister, Gina, and her family. Mark’s Dad’s prayer of thanksgiving before our meal focused on the fact that our hope of heaven is truly what we have to be most grateful for! After Thanksgiving dinner, we went to a nearby campsite where Judy and Alan were with their whole family. It was a great day! Claire stayed at the campsite over night and went home with Alan and Judy. Mark and I joined her there the next day and we spent the night before traveling home.
It’s quite a stretch to call putting up your own Christmas tree a service to your church, but I worked hard to get it up right after Thanksgiving so that the CCBC youth could have their Christmas party at our house in early December. It’s a two person job, and Mark was leaving for Puerto Rico to check on Nancy Lu.
We kicked the Christmas season off by attending the Baylor Choir’s Christmas concert. It is always GLORIOUS! As usual, some of our friends and some kids from home were able to attend, as well. This year one of those kids, Danny, and his parents were now a Baylor choir member and Baylor parents themselves…cool! After the concert we had custard at Freddie’s and then headed to Dallas so Mark could catch an early flight to Puerto Rico to supervise getting a bottom-paint job on Nancy Lu and other projects.
Mark had to get Nancy Lu towed to the boat yard where the bottom-paint job was done because the propeller was covered with growth and wouldn’t move. They had to treat it with acid to clean all that off.
Another opportunity I had for service a little later in December while Mark was still in Puerto Rico, was giving the lesson at one of the “CBCC Holiday Hoopla” events (Christmas season Friday night skating). I made these 75 hearts to give to the kids to remind them how Jesus loves them and cares about the condition of their hearts.
I had fun with Claire one afternoon in Waco while Mark was still in Puerto Rico. We had coffee together, talked, did a little Christmas shopping at Magnolia Market, dinner at Torchy’s Taco’s, and I attended her ballet class’s performance at the Jubilee Theater.
Christmas came to our house on December 26th so that Ethan and Kristin and our littlest family member, Baby Ava, could be with us. Mark, Amy, Claire, and I attended CCBCs Christmas Eve Communion, and on the 25th, we had lunch at the Movie Grill in Dallas and saw the new Star Wars movie—FUN! That night, Grandmom Nancy Rae and Granddad Larry got to our house in time for dinner. My brother and sister-in-law, Erin and their girls came on the 26th, as usual, and after much holding-Ava-time, brunch, opening-presents-time, and going-down-in-the-basement-because-of-tornado-warnings-time, we had our traditional Christmas dinner that night. Mama, Daddy, and Tim and the girls all stayed at our house until the 28th to avoid travel in the tornado weather, but we headed out on the 27th to attend Mark’s grandmother’s funeral on the 28th.
Nanaw’s funeral was such a special gathering because she was such a special lady. At the service, Mark had the honor of saying some words on behalf of all of the grandchildren. It was difficult for him, but his words captured perfectly what a loving grandmother she was and what a privilege it was to be her grandchild. Family is so important, and we are truly blessed with an extraordinary one on both sides!
After Nanaw’s funeral, we travelled to go see Mark’s parents, David and Lunell. Nanaw was Lunell’s beloved mother, but because of her Alzheimer’s, she and David were unable to attend the funeral. At their house, we celebrated a late Christmas and early birthday for David. Each time we visit them, I try to come up with some activity for Lunell that David can do with her. David had gotten this little Christmas tree for them and strung it with lights, but it had no ornaments. I found these pompoms, which I had bought another time, in the laundry room. I tried out placing them in the tree to see how hard that would be….easy peasy, so I put some in a basket near the tree and told David about it. He and Lunell worked together to decorate the tree. It was a precious sight to see them sharing this moment together “…In sickness and in health”. They are a shining example to the rest of their family!!
After a couple more days in January with Amy and Claire…
…and one last visit with Ava, we boarded a plane and headed to Puerto Rico to sail the Caribbean on Nancy Lu…until May!
Living life from two different homes offers two distinct worlds of experiences, friends, sights, and lifestyles. It is sometimes hard to go back and forth between the two, but I am grateful for both.