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Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day Greetings 
from the Lake...

Remembering the Fallen this day,
May your sacrifice never be forgotten...

It is a gift of ultimate sacrifice
that gives us the ultimate freedoms we live in each day.

For All gave Some,
But Some gave All...

In Grateful Memory,

Sunday, May 14, 2017

You make saying Goodbye so hard...

Winnie the Pooh had it right.

Some people make it so hard to say Goodbye...

If you're celebrating this Mother's Day with a hole in your heart, perhaps missing a mom gone too soon or missing the child you never got to hold in your arms, then know that you are not alone.

For the child in us missing our moms,
For the moms in us missing our babies...

Might we lift up hands of gratitude
even as tears fall,

How lucky we are to have had someone
in our lives that made
saying Goodbye so hard!

Missing and Loving 
go hand in hand...

Wishing all the Moms out there
the Happiest of Mother's Days.

May the Laughter be sweet
and the Smiles be tucked forever in our hearts!

My Love, Always,

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

When the Winds of Life Blow...

Life has a way of throwing curves.

Just as we were unwinding from our trip, the phone rang with news that had us packing our bags again and heading north...

Leroy's mom had been admitted to the hospital in serious respiratory distress.  Her bout with lung cancer several years ago and the mega-doses of radiation had severely compromised her lungs and while the cancer is now in remission, the lungs have been left scarred and weak.

And so, the winds of life blow...

While we were walking the beaches in St. Lucia, we came across this beach at Anse Cannelles... a wild, craggy coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean.

The waves crashed and beat against the cliffs, {it was definitely not a swimming beach!}... still, it had a majestic charm that reeled us in...

We hiked down to the slim sandy shore and poked around amongst the driftwood and coconuts...

And on that far off cliff we noticed the tree line...

...beaten down by the relentless wind, but holding on despite all odds.

And it reminded me of the Biosphere 2 project.  You might remember it?

The Biosphere 2 project was created to be a miniature version of our planet.  It is owned by the University of Arizona and was constructed in order for scientists to study how the planet's ecosystems work together.

In this artificial environment, they created 7 unique ecosystem models, like a small ocean, a rain forest, a desert and a savanna grassland.  Then they produced all kinds of weather patterns and studied plant growth.

And in this tightly controlled experimental model they made a surprising discovery.

They learned of the major importance of wind in a plant's growth and maturing.

In the Biosphere, trees grew much faster than they would grow in the wild.  They also began to collapse before they completely matured.  As it turns out, the lack of wind played a huge role.

Scientists discovered that the pressure of the wind is what strengthens the tree trunk and allows them to hold up their own weight.

When plants and trees grow in the wild, constantly exposed to the wind and wind movement, the plant compensates by growing "reaction wood" or stress wood.  This stress is what makes a tree strong enough to sustain the wear and tear it will face later in life.

And this is where I say Ahhhh.... I see it now.  God opens shuttered eyes... Weathering the storms of life builds our strength.

It's true.  The winds of life will blow.  And if we allow, they will strengthen both our faith and our character.

But it hurts.

And that's the truth.  Our hearts ache as we tuck sheets up and hold the frail hand...

Dr. and Nurses hover.  Family rallies around.  Decisions are made.  There is nothing else to do for failing lungs.  The paramount goal is now keeping her comfortable.  Hospice is called.

Tears refuse to fall as she closes her eyes in relieved sleep.  Fighting is hard work.  This warrior is ready to relax and rest as others manage her care.

Determined to give God Thanks for the gifts we are receiving
even in the midst of this howling storm.

Right now our lives are as bent as the trees on that oceanside cliff
but we are choosing to trust His Hand,
for He alone knows what lies ahead on this wind-swept road.

Resting in Grace tonight,
Knowing the Lover of Our Souls holds the Night-Watch,

My Love, Always,

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Adventure on the High Seas!

The S/V Mandalay...

She has been our home for the past week...

We have sailed through seas of Caribbean blue straight into picture-perfect sunsets!  There's nothing like tropical beaches and swaying palm trees to put a smile on your face...

We have thrilled to the sails being raised as strains of Amazing Grace filled the air...

And because this is a modern 21st Century High Sea Adventure Sailing Vessel, we toured the engine room too!

But mostly we spent every day ooohing and aaahhing over the simply breathtaking views and vistas of this tropical paradise... God's most amazing handiwork...

We snorkeled, and swam, and soaked in the sun... We laughed and napped and walked barefoot on decks of teak...

The Captain even let me take a turn at the helm!

You'd never guess we were at anchor... you guessed?!

And then there were sunsets.

And in the midst of all this splendor, we made new friends...

Great friendships... laughing and sharing our stories together all week... and finding that Cancer had stowed away even on this tropical paradise...

One of our new best friends... Sam... the cute blond with the curliest of hair, a halo around her smiling face...

Cancer has called her name... and she has stood up and said 'You don't know who you're messing with'  She is cancer free today and celebrating.

Cancer has a way of bonding even strangers.  It wasn't long before we were sharing stories and smiles and hugs.  Fighting hard against a common enemy... we're in this together.  Rejoicing over a battle won!

And that cute halo of curly hair... she shared her secret.  After chemo had ravaged her body and she lost her hair, she tried ORS Hair Fertilizer.  It has worked well for her and is a tip for the journey.

Cancer may have stowed away, but it did not destroy...

God is good.

We have experienced His masterpiece, His fellowship and His sweet gifts of Grace.  

It has been an Adventure we won't soon forget...