Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Life is Good!

Life is Good!

Someone recently asked why I had not blogged about our much anticipated Route 66 trip.  I replied that I had been too busy.  Perhaps a more accurate answer would be that the older I get the more my ADD kicks in.  I sit down at the computer to blog and get distracted with other things.  Go figure?
We made it!  Hold on to that tree for dear life.  Long drop!
We did have a wonderful trip.  It was over and above anything we ever expected. The beauty of God’s world is truly miraculous.  How anyone can view nature’s works of art and deny God is incomprehensible to us.

Bird's eye view of Colorado River

We traveled across the blustery plains of Oklahoma and Texas. As we approached New Mexico and Arizona the views changed to majestic mountains and gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. We were so excited when we finally entered the gates of the Grand Canyon. We finally made it!  We marveled at the way the landscape changed with the sun. The unplanned discoveries and stops were among the best.  Case in point, the nineteen story cross and the bronze statues of Jesus’ walk to His cross at “Our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries” in Groom, Texas. Check it out.  It will touch you in a very personal way
Groom Texas

We were scheduled to leave the Grand Canyon to stay over in Las Vegas.  We were having such a great time, we debated on whether to go or stay over.  I don’t know what we missed in Vegas. The decision to stay over for a still water float down the Colorado River was the proverbial cherry on top of our Grand Canyon experience.  Words cannot describe the beauty and the peace of that day.  It was a good decision.
How biggggg was the petrified log Dan????

Logger gal?

After the Grand Canyon we headed through the desert toward the San Diego area.  As excited as we were to arrive at the Grand Canyon, we so looked forward to visiting with our Cali Fam! The entire family was present for our niece and nephew's wedding. What a treat. Love, love these folks! The wedding venue could not have been improved upon. It too was designed by God.

Outside of "my castle"
Inside "my castle"

Wedding venue!

Dan and I with Sis at wedding.

Andrea and Daniel's wedding!

Sadly we departed for the trip back home.  We stopped over in Las Cruces, NM to visit with more family.  Another smile from God….we witnessed the most glorious sunset of our trip here.  The sky looked on fire with the Glory of God!

Our trip ended with a stop in the Dallas area.  We do break for grandkids!  Another memory of a life time came our way.  The older ones, as all teens are always on the move. We spent a day with the smaller ones at Bass Pro Shop. It is a museum within itself.  We went fishing at Grapevine Lake
Our six year old girly girl Lily caught her first “fishy”!  She was sooooo excited she almost capsized the floating dock we were on.  All she could do was jump up and down shouting, “I caught a fishy!” All she wanted to do was touch it and let it go.  Her brothers kindly and gently obliged her.
Yep!  Life IS good!

Thanks are to God for the creator of all things good. From the plains, the desert, the mountains to the oceans--who can decide! Exquisite nature, the best husband ever, family, friends and the joy of grandkids and their first fishy!  Life is Good!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Good Race

It is another cool rainy dreary day here in Arkansas-- weather-wise any way! On the political front we are encouraged by the election returns. Not all our candidates claimed their seats. For those who fought the good fight and ran the good race but did not finish first, we are sure God has greater plans for you! Keep up the good fight!

We are particularly pleased one young man we have prayed and campaigned for did win his congressional seat.  This family has been for generations, honorable, faithful in their church and community. What they say, they do.  What you see is what you get!  We are thankful for God to have the entire Westerman family as a part of our community!
One of the MANY supporting our favorite candidate in the rain!

As we watched the colors of red and blue stretch across the United States map, it was our hope and prayer this nation was returning to Christian values.  We are painfully aware of division. The great divide within our places of worship and politics is a stark reality.

The question was asked of one young man exiting after casting his vote. "What brought you out to vote?"  His reply, "I just wanted to vote against a politician I do not like."  "But what about the issues that brought you out to vote?" The voter stared blankly. "Issues?"  

We have dear friends of all races and denominations. They are precious loving folks who are there for us always. I am happy we agree to disagree while maintaining the integrity of our friendship. It also pains me we are segregated in so many ways.

The last landslide election was blue, this one was red. Is it not apparent that we must work together to reclaim the values our founding fathers sacrificed so dearly for our America?
The beautiful Westerman Family!

Our hope and freedom is not in a particular political party.  It is in each of us to stand firmly in our personal faith and conviction. Jesus taught us to never waiver from what is right but still walk in love.  There is only one color that insures our futures.  That is the red blood of Jesus Christ!

 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as sperpents, and harmless as doves.  Matthew 10:16

Friday, September 12, 2014

Trips of a Lifetime

Lake Ouachita

As much as we are enjoying the cooler temperatures, we are not ready for other signs of fall.  The changing colors and falling leaves are a bit sad to me.
Route 66
We celebrated our wedding anniversary last week.  What I asked for was a simple day of just the two of us together.  Dan surprised me with roses. He got a cheeseburger! After a late breakfast we walked the shores of Lake Ouachita. Dan tried to humor me as I discovered rocks of all shapes and sizes. One was a perfect double heart.  He didn’t start rolling his eyes at me until I pointed out a bunny rabbit rock.  I should have quit while I was ahead. At the day’s end we stopped for frozen yogurt. While it doesn’t sound very exciting to some, to those who know us well, it was a perfect day.
Three Sisters Spring
Heart rock

Dan and I are preparing for a much anticipated trip across Route 66, or a portion there of.  We are packing our bags, making no reservations except for the Grand Canyon stay.  We are driving and stopping when and wherever we please, the Lord willing.

We do have places in mind we hope to visit. I cannot wait to visit with my sister’s family in San Diego.  I love her so much.  We have had a lot of fun times—just the two of us hanging out on the beach chasing sunsets.  However, we are excited about the unexpected adventures we are sure to find along the way.  Those are often the best.
Anniversary Roses
Actually we had this trip planned for last year.  Unfortunately, we made a not so pleasant detour.  Dan ended up having open heart surgery.  It was one of the most terrifying times of our lives. It was also one of the most blessed times. 
Dan in ICU after surgery

Neither of us is happy to have gone through this trial.  We are thankful for an awesome medical staff that saved his life! There were countless friends and family who surrounded us with constant support of love, prayers and comfort. 

So here we are today, washing and packing granny panties and hitting the road!  It is not so much a trip of a life time as we originally planned.  It is much better.  This is a trip to celebrate a lifetime!

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Labor Day 2014

We had the privilege of hanging out with some really terrific folks over the Labor Day weekend.  Elton and Dottie are dear friends here in the Village.  We were thrilled when they asked us to take their extended family and friends on a boat tour. Any opportunity to visit with these two is a huge treat.

When we arrived at their dock they began loading a three course meal, table, cloths, silverware and such. These two do everything with style! We visted as the grandsons and friends swam. Friend Stephanie and her parents had driven in from their home in New Orleans.  Within minutes we felt like life long friends with the Screen family as well.

Stephanie said she would be playing the piano for us at church Sunday night. She in her modesty grossly understated her gifts.  It ended up being a full concert of piano and violin.  Beautifully done! 
The beautiful and talented Stephanie with grandson Gray.
The Gray family definitely has the flair and gift of hospitality.  They have a beautiful Asian garden sprawled down the side of their lake side home.  Beautiful plants are surrounded by gazebos and waterfalls.

The afternoon before our boat tour, they had served their guests high tea at the gazebo.  Of course, all was served in their finest china and tea.

Their family crest includes the anchor.  While gray doesn’t seem line up with this colorful duo, the anchor is appropriate.  There are solid folks.  They are fully anchored in their faith. They are fun, energetic and loving in all their endeavors.

We had several thunder storms during the boating day.  I looked like we would be rained out. It turned out to be a perfect evening.  The cloudy skies and rains left us in peace.  Other than an invasion of spiders at sunset, it was perfect.  Dottie with her usual style said they must have been sunning all day and were coming in for the night.  That may be so Dottie, but next time we will make sure to exclude them from the guest list!

 We have the hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure, it enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.  Hebrews 6:10

Friday, August 29, 2014

Small Town Living

For the most part, you just can’t beat living in a small town. Yesterday I had two dreaded tasks. I had to drive “into the city” to speak to our cell phone provider. Secondly, there was a stop to fill the gas tank in my vehicle. Neither chore is pleasant. As for driving into the city; well that is only Hot Springs which is 30 minutes or so away.  Being from a large city, it was common place to take that long to go just about anywhere.  Now, it seems a real hassle. 

I can’t remember the real name of the gas station we use.  It has the type of gas Dan wants to purchase. I am only interested in a tank that makes the vehicles go. I noticed a bullet hole in the front door.  The manager/owner explained someone had shot at the propane tanks stored outside. The bullet ricocheted off the tanks went through the glass windows on either side and exited through the front glass door. Unfortunately the culprits managed to elude the security cameras. I now refer to the business as “Rednecks Are Us” for obvious reasons. Now, none of us are happy about the price of fuel but really?? Now that is really shooting the messenger.

I stopped off at my bank for some business.  While there I visited with our friend and bank manager.  I jokingly lamented over these chores and was ready for a chocolate break.  She immediately whipped out a homemade chocolate chip cookie.  Only in a small town community!
Now this is a novel idea!

Last night I battled the humidity for my evening jaunt.  I happened upon a neighbor dressed only in shorts, riding a lawn tractor holding a water hose over his head.  I chuckled as I tried my best to sneak by unnoticed. When he saw me he was both startled and embarrassed. I do what I do best. I acted like I knew not what was going on. It’s a gift.

Keep in mind our yards are really small to non-existent. By the time you take a turn, you are done.  I thought of friends Sam and Peg.  They are hilarious.  Sam was telling us about his latest pride and joy—his lawn tractor.  I wondered if Sam had thought of this heat quenching idea.  As hot as it was yesterday who would not consider it brilliant?

Ready for a mail drop!

One of the young ladies that shared at last week's conference spoke of her move to the Village.  She said she didn't mind the move....until she realized it was a retirement community. She said her mind was suddenly flooded with images of rows of mobile homes and pink flamingos.  Well, we don't have either but we do have another trade mark of sorts. A popular and ingenious Village idea is the golf ball on the mailboxes.  It sits connected to a chain on the lid of the mailbox.  When the postman delivers the mail, the ball falls from its perch signaling the mail has been dropped.  No wasted trips to the mailbox in this place. Brilliant!

We don’t get a lot of small babies at our church. When we learned a family with four infants would be visiting, we were thrilled.  Volunteers were not hard to find this day. There were a set of 6 month old brother and sister twins, their two female cousins ages 5 and 7 months.  We were having so much fun we were sad when the parents returned to claim them. The time passed too quickly.

Oh baby, baby, baby, baby!

Speaking of time passing; I cannot believe this summer has come and gone.  I just blinked and fall is approaching.  When did this happen????  It annoys me when people tell me how short the time is until Christmas.  Please!  It still feels like summer. Again, please, please, let me live in my state of denial; at least until the first snow.

 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God endures forever~ Isaiah40:8

Thursday, August 28, 2014



Last weekend I attended one of the best Women’s conferences ever.  To say this is quite the compliment.  I have been to conferences all around the country, large, small, local and well known speakers.

This recent one was hosted by one of the smallest church congregations in the Village.  It was chaired by a young woman who felt impressed to offer this type of healing conference.  There were a variety of local women who bravely shared their deepest wounds and struggles.

The fact these were younger women was an additional blessing.  Too many of us carry deep wounds with us to the grave. That is too tragic.  We all have them.  Perhaps it is that nagging doubt or those huge wounds into our souls. Each of us has something that the evil one tries to use against us to keep us from the full life God has ordained us to live.

It is so important to share and shoulder each others burdens.  We can’t shoulder if we don’t share.  A very dear friend spoke of the shame and guilt she felt over her child’s struggle with drug addiction.  She felt she could not tell anyone.  When she came to the realization others were just like her, she became a healing source. She is now a powerful and dedicated intercessory prayer warrior for those all around the world.  As she comforts others, she finds her heart healing.

My precious friend relayed a beautiful and encouraging word to me this week.  She shared an excerpt from a story “Hobbit the Healer” in Guidepost..

Sometimes it is those who have been wounded most deeply, both humans and animals, which become blessed with the gift of being healers.”

A local couple runs a healing ranch for children of all ages. Their home has become a rescue center for animals as well. These animals are so loving and accepting.  It is amazing how even the most detached soul finds their hearts responding,

If animals show such pure and unconditional love, surely we human animals can do as much.

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Last week our church hosted a Vacation Bible School week.  For the most part, the snacks were kept to the old fashioned cookies and lemonade. I say for the most part. One day they were served popsicles.  Two out of three days were actually held outside.  Rain drove them the other days. 

Of course, the congregation went a bit overboard with the cookies; particularly the home made ones. Last year we lost our minds and participated in outdoor physical activities.  We did survive but just by the hair of Dan’s chinny chin chin!

It was loads of fun though.  This year I decided I would serve snacks.  That worked out for me. (Well, except for the sampling of those cookies that were “accidentally” broken.)  I took particular delight when the teen aged workers stumbled in for their breaks. As they bemoaned their exhaustion we managed to offer polite sympathy. That’s why we are on this side of the cookie this year!

Seriously, I am so proud of the youth. They worked so hard and faithfully.  Vacation Bible School has eternal benefits. Have you ever met anyone who has not attended at least one VBS in their lifetime?  They are few and far between.

I have fond memories of Kool-Aide and tea cakes. There were macaroni shells, cigar boxes and silver spray paint for craft projects. The crafts have changed a bit over the years.  I was particularly happy when the kids favored the old fashioned tea cakes. After explaining what they were. Sigh. 

Each participant’s contribution was of great value to a child. There was teaching, missions, music, crafts, evangelism, cookies and servers.  Yes, even serving cookies has eternal value.  Especially served with heaping helpings of smiles and hugs!

…..Let the children come to me; do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Nana Boat

When we first started having grandbabies we purchased a van fully equipped with factory installed baby seats.  I loved that van.  Dan had to pry it away from me.  It had become so not so gently worn, he was embarrassed for me to drive it.  One of our fondest memories was when our first grandchild named the van.  It was not a van she insisted.  It was a bus. Her mom explained since she saw the kindergarten bus/van everyday, all vans were buses to her. She then dubbed it Nana’s Bus.  The name has stuck.

I spent a great part of last week cleaning the boat.  She has had a rough time this winter.  It was hard on all of us. But she had to weather the storms without shelter in the cold icy waters of the lake.  We had not christened her with a name.  Since she has been through so much we decided to give her a special one.  She is now officially, “The Nana Boat”.

The covers we have for her did take a large brunt of the cruelty she sustained.  Some were torn to shreds.  Some I was able to repair.  Others the more I mended the more rips I found.  They were eventually discarded. One new seat cover has been ordered.  It is not exactly made to order but as Dan pointed out, “It matches the rest of her seat covers.”  Well, a girl does need to look well put together.
Of course the largest and the most expensive cover is the one that needs to be replaced.  I said to myself, “Self, you could beg help from your sisters.” They are super gifted in any kind of design and sewing; particularly upholstery. They could whip together anything The Nana Boat needs in no time at all. But, I certainly wouldn’t want to impose. I am a grown up.  I am not a baby. I can deal with this.

Oh who am I kidding?  “WAAH” I want my sisters!!!!!

That day when evening came, He said to His disciples, "Let us go over to the other side."  Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat.  There were also other boats with Him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!"The wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to His disciples, "Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have not faith?:They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey Him!"
Mark 4:35-41

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Unwavering Faith

Several weeks ago our friend Millie requested prayer for wisdom in a satellite office/home. Little did she know intercession on the behalf of her family would take such a critical turn. Shortly after her first request for prayer I starting having a reoccurring dream.

In the dream Millie was standing inside small window looking out.  Everything was in shades of gray as far as the eye could see.  Millie opened the window with a big smile, humming seemingly oblivious to all the doom and gloom surrounding her.  She began to water her three dead plants inside her window flower box. As soon as the water began to pour out, everything turned to bright colors. The house, the landscape, the skies, even the pitiful looking plants burst into large beautiful blooms. 

That is so much like her.  She has the faith to hold on to all the promises of God.  Regardless of what things look like in the natural, she has that special measure of the gift of faith. 

The Lace family has gone through some serious trials lately.  With friends around the world standing with them in faith; I have no doubt the miracle prayed for is on its way!

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1