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Recently I stayed with one of the grands while his family camped for the weekend and he was involved in a school related competition (WHOOPEE--he received regional band recognition as a 7th grader! Proud Lulu moment).  While staying at his home, I also had his dog in my care.  Let's just say Rocket is aptly named.  My housemates were also gone for the weekend and I was in charge of their canine also.  I walked LOTS of miles that weekend between the three of them.

One morning I had the brilliant idea to walk the youngest dog in my pack (Rocket) with the oldest dog (Hero).  My good ideas regularly blow up in my face!  Especially this morning.  Our walk strongly resembled this

Rocket is off to the races as soon as we leave the house at day break.  Hero---being the stubborn old man he is--wants to smell the calling cards left by the neighborhood canine friends and is in no hurry.  I am pretty sure one arm might now be longer than the other.  It was a comedy of struggling wills.  I have witnessed many of my neighbors walking more than one dog.  Their walks look like this-


Two dogs----out for a common mission, but with two distinct ideas about the manner in which it should be accomplished.  Instead of settling into the flow and working together it was a struggle from the get go.  We made it back--some of what we needed to happen was accomplished--but there was a startling awareness of a lack of co-operation between the two.  OH THE THINGS WE COULD HAVE DONE IF THEY HAD ONLY COMPROMISED AND WORKED TOGETHER!  Instead we ended up having to take separate walks a short time later to reach our complete goal.

A good lesson in life for any of us when working with others to accomplish like goals.  We have had some frustration with multi-generational living since our move and our expectations of how we accomplish settling in.  I have been alone for a long time and have gotten used to quickly accomplishing my goal of being settled.  My son's family has a two year old to think about.  He requires lots of attention and careful watching which consumes a great deal of their energy.   They also both work.   They have stuff for three people and I only have my things which have been drastically pared down with each move.  We are still not settled, but we are getting closer.  I have learned to lower my expectations, look past my frustrations, and remember it will get accomplished--just not on my timetable.   I have been reminded how God is teaching us the need for patience in the sanctification process.  Our ultimate sanctification will be accomplished on His timetable for His good reasons.  Patience is a virtue.  Patience comes with practice.  God's patience with each of us is abundantly evident in our lives.  A post for another day-  the striking evidence I have seen of His purpose in my move--even when I am extremely frustrated.  ALL IN HIS GOOD TIME!

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4


Well it has been a month since my last post, and I had to make myself stop to let you know I am still alive.  We ALL know Texans are proud of their state, but once again I have run into the buzz saw of trying to become a 100% resident.  It bears no weight that I am a prestigious "Daughter of the Texas Revolution" by the Gillespie/Phillips linage.  If you dared ever cross the state line and betray your roots, they are slow about letting you back into the fold.

Today I have been "Adulting".  I have put off these nagging  "to do's" to the point of driving me crazy.  SO TODAY--I hit them full speed ahead.  First one out of the block and I hit a brick wall.  ANNOYING!  To get my homestead exemption I have to have a TX Driver's License.  As I have discussed before I cannot get an "appointment" until January to get said license.  For now I am driving a car licensed in the state of TX with a Louisiana Driver's License.  Pity the poor policeman who dares to stop me--He will get an earful about the lack of efficiency in their state government.  You do remember my complaint that you had to produce every piece of official looking proof that you REALLY live in Texas, have insurance, have a TX registered vehicle, were born, and do have a social security number among other unrelated documentation .  Your passport will not do---OBVIOUSLY the state of TX knows more than our federal government about who should get their official forms.  (Maybe there is some truth in that statement)

This month has NOT been easy!  I have been homesick and stressed with trying to get settled.  It has not all been a bed or roses, BUT the daily contact with my grands has made it all worth while.  I have no intention of telling you we are all sitting over here singing "We are Family" 24/7.  I believe in shooting straight arrows and talking without a forked tongue.  The stress runs both ways---we are having to become accustomed to each other and we have not lived together in a long time.  We have differing priorities and things which set off our crazy buttons.  I did get a good laugh when my son told me he was giving his wife an earful of something I had done which did not sit right with him. She told him it sounded a great deal like something he would do.  Those apples and where they fall!

SO--we are surviving.  It is a good thing to be together.  We all still miss our former "homes".  We also think being physically close is important enough to learn to deal with that which might make us a little more crazy.  Multi generational households were once common.  Our American culture has drifted away from this idea.  We have become "Me" focused.  Could there be a lot to learn from living within common walls with more than one generation?  One of the certainties is our patience, flexibility, and tolerance (and I am certain more)  is being stretched.  Family connection is well worth the sacrifice of personal preferences.    Does God use "ALL THINGS"?  I think YES!


 I am still alive, but busier than a squirrel in a nut factory (with me being the biggest nut).  Falling into the bed every night from exhaustion and stress has become my norm.  In the grand scheme of things, my woes barely tip the scale of  the woes of mankind.  In my personal world, it is over the top. It is relative!

Today I took my car to have the windshield replaced and recalibrated.  (Miss the good old days of a windshield being only a piece of glass.)  LONG frustrating story of dealing with service representatives of two different companies.  Thankful I have a go to #2 Son to call for a ride when I find out it could take ALL DAY!  There are times I REALLY miss someone to help me with these kind of issues.  He and I decompressed as we drove home over the anxiety of dealing with our "out of the ordinaries".

I am still trying to put a house together.  My roomies brought their last load of "stuff" when they moved and I am not sure where we are going to put all this, but IT WILL GET PUT AWAY!  Trying the age old method of clearing one room at a time.  The garage is a DEFINITE BIG PROJECT!

The older grands have been sick lately---strep throat and a upper respiratory virus.  Lulu to the rescue--babysitting.  I am also helping #1 Granddaughter with her math.  Add to that helping the 6th Grader who is taking 7-8 math this year.  He is currently working on geometry--problems I did in the 10th grade.  The question I ask myself is what are they learning in high school if we are already doing this?  Has math changed that much?

SO--I am surviving and enjoying being with family day in day out.  We have not even threatened each other yet--so they are surviving also.  Someday I will get back on a schedule and write more frequently.  Bear with me.  

Things like this keep me smiling--(you may need to zoom in).

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
James 1:17


 The beginning of any road trip is always a prayer for traveling grace.  Any of us who have driven the interstates, in fact, any of our nation's road systems have seen terrible wrecks.  More than once I have seen a helicopter in the middle of the highway airlifting some poor passenger or driver to the nearest hospital.  That also always brings a prayer.  I am not so foolish as to think I cannot make mistakes while driving.  It only takes a second to make an error in judgement and be on the wrong end of a collision.  SO I always pray.

I was only an hour away from home, in the process of moving, and about another mile or so down the interstate from this photo  when in a flash this happened~

Anyone who has driven through Shreveport knows what terrible shape the interstate is in.  A truck in front of me threw a chunk of concrete up which bounced off my hood and hit my windshield.  It happened so fast, I had no time to respond.  At first I thought I had gotten away with no harm.  I could not imagine how for when the concrete rock hit my windshield it sounded like a gun.  Thank goodness for safety glass.  It could have been a disaster!  I was visibly shaken, but none the worse--physically--for wear.  So many things could have happened--I could have lost control from the sudden shock in a tight part of the road--the rock could have hit higher and caused loss of visibility and on and on.  I must admit to being slightly shaken for quite a few miles.

THEN I REMEMBERED---God had protected me from all the "what if's"---it could have been so much worse.  It can be fixed (though that is not a fast and easy process due to all the safety features in the windshield which have to be recalibrated).  I have insurance.  No one was injured and the car made it to Fort Worth with no further incident.

We tend to look at the bad side of happenings if we are not careful, ignoring the blessings in them.  I may be slightly inconvenienced, but that is the down side.  Clearly--I was protected from so much more that could have happened.  Instead of recognizing an answered prayer---I conveniently forget how God did protect me by dwelling on the down side.  I had rather not spend a day getting my windshield repaired, BUT I sure did not want to spend time in a hospital bed recovering from an accident.  Once again--God is all over my daylies--


"Fear not, for I am with you,

be not dismayed,

for I am your God,

I will strengthen you,

I will help you,

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:10


 You would think by moving to a new location---an entire state away--literally in the middle of the city--you could avoid some of the nuisances found in small town Louisiana.  NO SUCH LUCK!

My very first night in our new home, I woke up to find my very small front yard and flower bed had been visited the night before by this varmint~

Those of you who have read my blogs for a long time KNOW I have a long and sordid history with the armadillo.  I know some of you think they are "cute", but anything that digs up the grass and tears up the flower beds is my sworn enemy.  Let's just say I am known for my late night varmint hunting back in the good old days.  I lived in the country--you could shoot guns---I might have unloaded a pistol on one armored destruction machine and another night I might have been knocked on my rear when switching to a borrowed shot gun.  The tales are endless and I love to repeat them.  I DID NOT THINK I WOULD BE PLAGUED BY THESE GRUB EATERS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY.

Perhaps I was naive - I have seen two of the biggest raccoons I have ever spotted a block away from #1 Daughter's home.  There is a river with protected land and trees not far from my house.  I live on a dead end street which has trees, a railroad bed down a ravine, and an open field by it.  Obviously like the deer in North Louisiana these varmints have figured out they are protected by the no shooting in the City limits laws in the Big City.  In Louisiana, I had neighbors in the hood who "took care" of these varmints while we all turned a deaf ear.  We were surrounded by woods and the varmints were plentiful.  Guns going off in the Big City tend to create quite a stir.  We are packed in to a small area tightly and a stray bullet could do great harm.  SO--no shooting in the City Limits.

There is the trapping option.  Not to brag, BUT I am quite talented at trapping the varmints--you just herd them in to the trap with plywood chutes.  There is only two problems with this plan.  Where in the world am I going to find a live trap in the middle of the Big City.  We had them in several stores in small town Louisiana--they were a proven seller since we all dealt with varmints at one time or another.  Perhaps Amazon--which sells anything and everything- will have one.  The BIG PROBLEM---WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO DO WITH THE VARMINT?    I might look a little suspicious if I carry him across town and release him.  You know they have doorbell cameras everywhere now.  I can just see me going viral releasing an armadillo in the hood across the interstate.  I would have the SPCA breathing down my back and protestors lined up in front of my tiny yard.  I could just bring him back across the state line.  No one would blink an eye in Louisiana to see someone releasing a varmint.  YES--that might just be my answer.  BE WARNED LOUISIANAIANS--MORE ARMADILLOS HEADED YOUR WAY!

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, 

and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”

Genesis 21:6


 Moving is stressful enough without combining two households!  Leave it to me to take the most difficult path.  Think it over--we have to discuss each and every common thing to decide who brings what.  THEN if you are off the hook for packing the item--you have to find it a new home.  It has been daunting to say the least! 


Also, I am going from lots of storage over a nice sized house to sharing a house with a family of three.  My ability to spread out has been seriously diminished.  To start the process, I decided to try on every piece of clothing I planned to bring.  HUGE EYE OPENER!

It seems the pandemic and old age have had an impact on the way my clothing fits.  I knew I had gained a few pounds, but couple that with not going to the gym and OH MY!  Let's just say I transferred quite a few garments that I am certain I will never get in to again.  I do not believe in keeping things I cannot wear, and do not kid myself about getting down to that same size at this stage of the game.

AND THEN THERE WAS THE STUFF!  My favorite line from the old movie, "The Jerk" is


Having cleaned out my mother's belongings, after we lost her, and helped with the same after losing my in-laws, I have learned a very important truth.  Listen carefully--OUR TREASURES PROBABLY HAVE NO EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO ANYONE OTHER THAN US!  When we are gone they will sell, give away, or throw away what we so tightly clung to.  It is JUST STUFF!  You cannot take it with you and more than likely no one else treasures your treasures.  (Well except for those who love to collect (horde by another name).  Sooner or later most of it will fly out the door.  

I was able to clean out LOTS with each of my moves and think I have gotten it down to a very minimum now.  The trick will be to NOT start collecting again.  When my sweet therapist friend told me I was doing my children a big favor by going through all of this now---I was able to breath a sigh of relief.  All you have to do is remember cleaning out someone else's home to understand what she is saying.

We all tend to place far too much importance on "things".  Things are certainly nice, BUT they are not what makes the world go round.  Relationships are the true gold in our lives.  Their value is unlimited and they need our constant care and attention.  More on that another day, but for today, I encourage you to think about your material possessions and the importance you place on them.  What is taking up space in your life--stuff or people?  Where is you time, energy, and resources spent?  What does that say about your priorities?  Thinking over here after putting away two truck loads of "stuff".  DO WE NEED ALL OF THIS?

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
 where moth and rust destroy 
and where thieves break in and steal,
 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
 where neither moth nor rust destroy,
 and where thieves do not break in and steal. 
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21"


 I have been in my new zip code an entire week.  Finally I am beginning to think I may survive the move, although there have been a few times I have wondered what in the world I was thinking when I thought it was a grand idea to pack up and head west.   My head is spinning with stories, but exhaustion is playing a number on me.  One thing is for certain this has been the most physically demanding move of the five in the last decade plus.  My head still thinks it is able to do so much more than I can get done in a day.  Since I am still working on putting up and organizing, I will tell you one story of God's abiding presence and tender care.

The first morning I was alone after moving (son & family will permanently move at the end of the month) I followed by normal routine.  Starting my day in The Word, after dressing I came down to take my faithful sidekick for a walk.  Normally I would walk out the front door immediately.  For some reason- I still do not remember- I walked into the kitchen without turning on the lights.  I noticed a reflection in front of the refrigerator and discovered a growing pool of water.  Somehow I was able to roll the fridge out to discover a tube which had blown off its end and was pouring water into the room.  I grabbed towels, I grabbed a mop bucket, I grabbed a garbage can-----while frantically looking for the cutoff valve.  It seems the kitchen sink had a plethora of equipment under it.  One of these-

AND one of these-

In my world of ignorance I had no idea I needed a hot water booster or a filtration system.  There were tubes and shut off valves galore.  I am frantically turning off anything  with a valve, while keeping buckets emptied & calling #1 Daughter for help.  She sent the cavalry in the form of her FIL who lives 4 blocks away.  He locates the right valve while I control the water.  All  left to do is mop up the water and find a plumber.  The water had traveled toward the mudroom not the great room where there were rugs and hardwood floors.  I was able to dry things out fairly quickly. AND THE BIG MIRACLE--a plumber showed up before the end of the day.

NOW, you wonder how God was in this?  Why did I end up straying from my routine and discovering the leak?  The leak could have started in the middle of the night and the tube was on the floor so there was no sound.  I could have come downstairs to a swimming pool.  The water initially flowed in a direction which confined the damage.  It would have eventually filled  up the entire downstairs--wood floors, wool rug, & siskin rug---NOT a pretty thought.  Instead I made the discovery very early in the flooding process and with good assistance able to stop the flow.  YES--the disaster happened, but God's gentle nudge allowed me to discover what was happening.  I LOVE how God shows Himself--even in very physical ways.  Another day I was standing on the kitchen counter while packing and felt myself falling---somehow (a shove from God?) I ended up upright instead.  I was already thinking this could be very bad with granite counters all around me--but instead disaster was adverted.  God is present--day in and day out---we only have to "mind the checks".