11.08.14 November Thanksgivings!

Two years ago I wrote each day during the month of November on Facebook about something or someone I was thankful for.  Very little of those things have changed.  I wanted to get them all in one place so I copy and pasted each days post into this blog post.  Many of ya’ll are mentioned in here and I want to tell you I am still thankful to have you in my life. I updated the thanksgivings that needed updated and added a couple of new thanksgivings in places I skipped the first time.  This was such a heart and life changing thing for me when I first did it that I encourage each of you to take a few minutes each day to write down the various things and people you are thankful for in your life.  We get in ruts, get depressed, and sometimes get downright unthankful.  This type of exercise shakes off all those things and surrounds you with all the mighty good things and people you have to be thankful for.

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NOVEMBER 2012

It is November, the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, I plan to post something I am thankful for everyday. Day #1 – I am most thankful to God for all the blessings he has bestowed on me, and his mercy and am terribly thankful for His Grace that I don’t deserve.

Day #2 of things I’m thankful for– I am thankful that God loves me even though I am a sinner, a dumb blonde, don’t deserve it and make it extremely difficult for him to love me. But he consistently and overwhelmingly loves me. I’m very thankful for the secure feeling of knowing he’s walking with me every day as a child of His and that my eternal life will be in Heaven with others who have given their lives to Him. UPDATE: More thankful than ever for God’s unconditional love.

Day 3 – Today I am thankful for my husband of almost 40 years (November 25, 1972). He looks past my fat old self and treats me like the young chick he fell in love with. He puts up with my mind slipping away with love and kindness. The saying that some things get better with age was meant for my honey Roy! Looking forward to hitting the road with you and enjoying our beautiful country side by side! I’m also real glad right now that you insisted on buying so much “stuff” during our marriage cause now that we’re selling them all I get to share in the profits!!!

Day 4 – I am thankful for the two Baptist churches I’ve had the privileged to be a member of. Lakeview Baptist in New Orleans and Trinity Baptist in Pumpkin Center. The people at Lakeview grew me up in the Christian faith and showed by their example what I needed to aim for in adulthood as my beliefs matured. I came to know Christ as my Savior at Lakeview and cherish the guidance my Sunday School, etc. teachers gave me there. My church family at Trinity have been an amazing support for my family the past 25 years since moving to Hammond. So many of them have been my rock through really horrible times and been there to rejoice with me through the wonderful times. When we hit the road they will always be our “home church”.

Day 5 – I am so thankful for my pastor Randy Davis at Trinity Baptist Church in Pumpkin Center. He’s always been there for me and doesn’t make me feel stupid for all the dumb things I’ve said and done! I’ve poured my heart out to him more times than I can count. He’s always there to support me and provide tremendous wisdom in his guidance. His preaching is something I can always count on to be truly Biblical and most of the time I think he’s preaching to me and knows just what bad things I’ve done that I need preaching to! Between Rev. J. Richard Randels at Lakeview and Dr. Randy Davis at Trinity I’ve been blessed to have such strong men of God as my pastors.

Day 6 – I can’t show thanks for one of these ladies without the other. Barbara Davis is my pastor’s wife who is also truly a dear friend. She’s also our banker at Whitney who saved us from the bad guys in Texas last month! She gives so much of herself for our church. Every little child in our church comes through Ms. Barbara’s 4&5 year old Sunday School class and the little girls are taught about missions in her GA class. I first came to be thankful her for her messages in song. Her voice is my favorite Christian singing voice and the heart she has for Jesus is very apparent every time she opens her mouth to sing. I can still remember the first time I saw she and her then little daughter Jessica sang together at church. Jessica had to stand on a chair to be as tall as her mama. Since that time I’ve had the extreme privilege to witness Jessica Davis Bryan grow into a beautiful Christian young woman with a voice that touches everyone’s heart. She’s been the music director at our church for several years and sings for us on occasion songs she’s written herself. What a blessing to see so many of Jessica’s truly God given talents used for His Glory! UPDATE: Jessica has moved on to doing her Christian work in another state but Mama Barbara is still sharing her love for the Lord through music at Trinity.

Day 7 – I’m thankful for my oldest son. His intelligence growing up blew me away at times and I couldn’t believe that he was really my son. His independent nature allowed him to travel to France with a group from school without shedding a tear like most of the other 10 year olds did. His love for America lead to him join the Army and serve in Iraq. He became a Captain in the Army before resigning his commission. He has a beautiful family of our oldest son’s wife who he requested that we do not use their names and three children. I’m very thankful for all the memories we have of getting to watch our oldest son grow from an adorable little boy to a gawky young boy to a handsome man. I’m also very thankful that he’s always known what he wanted in life and went for it without asking for much from anyone. UPDATE: He now has four children.

Day 8 – And then there was Chip!!! That’s how we use to put it when we tell how our oldest son was such a perfect baby that we thought we’d have another – and then there was Chip! He’s given us multitudes of reasons to be proud of him while growing up. I’m not sure he’s finished growing up(!) but God is definitely at work in his life right now and I see a bright future for him. He has been a huge support to me during difficult times, the first to show love for me and do anything I ask him to. I have so many memories of him as a little boy needing his mom and always being so appreciative. I never felt taken for granted by Chip (until this year). He needed so much help getting through school with his ADHD and a learning disability but I’ve always been thankful for that because it made us very, very close while I helped him learn and deal with life’s challenges. This past year has been a challenge for all of us where Chip’s concerned but I know God has great plans for Chip and he’ll always be my little one! UPDATE: So thankful for the direction Chip’s life is now going in. Also, he has wonderful Kimberly, Braxton and Bentley in his life.

Day 9 – We have four grandchildren now (three girls and one boy) and are so thankful for each of them. The one we get to see is Chip’s little girl Madisyn and she is truly the light of our life. Her little girl love puts a smile on my face during even the worst of times. She’s always so thankful for anything you do for her or give her just like her daddy was. Her pure innocent little heart took ours in from the first time we met her. We get to see her one weekend of the month and that is truly the brightest spot in our old lives! UPDATE: Our grandchildren total is now five (four girls and one boy). We still only see Madisyn and miss her terribly when we’re on the road. While we’re back home we see her as often as we can and are very thankful to get to watch her grow up.

Day 10: My thankfulness for my mama Josie Blum Traylor should have been nearer the top but she always put her husband, children and grandchildren above herself so I did too! She was the single biggest influence in my life during her lifetime. She taught me how to be a wife and mother and from her example I knew the kind of grandmother I wanted to be – just like she was. Having the privilege of her living with us at the end of her life was a gift from God. We created memories, crazy as they sometimes were, during that time that I can hang onto for a life time. I’m thankful for her deep love and pride in her family, the family traditions she passed on, the caregiving she provided my children when I couldn’t be there, her love for God and living a devoted Christian life, how she stopped the kids from running in church and wouldn’t let anyone bring drinks in the sanctuary or scolded folks for wearing shorts to church. She was one of a kind!

Day 11: I’m thankful I have a mama that deserves two days of thankfulness! I was able to visit with her often and have wonderful memories of her sitting in the living room and just letting me vent, cry, or rejoice. She’d stop whatever she was doing to pray for me when I’d call telling her I needed prayer. Her advice on marriage and parenthood were always spot on even though sometimes I didn’t want to listen at the time. I see now how very wise she was. My sons respected her so much that when they would do something bad they didn’t mind so much us finding out but please don’t let Grannie know cause she’d be disappointed in them. God gave me the mother that I needed and I miss her presence and support in my life each and every day.

Day 12: I am especially thankful for my sister Harriett. Even though she is several years older than me we are very close. She has always been a second mama to me and in recent years I’ve come to appreciate all she did for me and our family in my younger years. We are very different types of people being raised in two different generations but we were both raised by our mama and that makes us very similar in many ways. She is a giving, compassionate person who is always doing for others and I admire her a lot.

Day 13 – I’m very thankful for my father Leroy Blum. Daddy died when I was pregnant with Chip 31 years ago. All of my memories are childhood memories and they are wonderful ones. He taught me to fish and crab off the seawall in New Orleans and how to clean the fish. He was a Deacon at our church and I was very proud of that. I don’t think I was the best behaved Deacon’s child however. He taught me how to type on a manual typewriter, how to budget on paper – not on a computer. He was a wonderful gardener who grew peanuts, watermelons that he’s make baskets filled with straw for so they wouldn’t bruise as they grew and lots of other vegetables. He taught me about growing plants which I’m much better at than the vegetables. Mine all die! He taught me a love for collecting stamps which we’d work on for hours on end, helping out at church doing whatever was needed, and enjoying the simplest things in life to their fullest. I hang on to these memories, and many more as the time passes since he left us.

Day 14 – I am thankful for the pain and suffering I’ve experienced in life. It’s done many positive things for me. Once I pulled up my big girl panties and stopped whining about whatever it was, it has always drawn me closer to God. He is the one that I know I absolutely can always count on being there. Having a relationship with God has given me grounding and a strong rock to always be able to turn to. The pain and suffering has worn me down but when I come out on the other end I find I am stronger, wiser, better able to empathize with others and have a keener ability to sense when others are struggling and just need a friendly ear to listen to them. It also brought me closer to my dear husband Roy. He’s seen me at my weakest, at my most sinful and stood by me through it all with his steadfast support. We always think it would be great for life to be nothing but roses and sweet songs but I’m very thankful for what the pain and suffering has brought into my life.

Day 14 – My niece Dana and my nephew Greg are two semi young people I am tremendously thankful for and very proud of. Not only do they live their lives in a manner that makes me very proud, they have raised amazing children who are also my nieces and nephews.

Day 16 – I am thankful for holidays like Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving because we get to spend the day with sister’s family and our family. It’s the two times of the year when we all make sure we’ll be together. Everyone cooks something wonderful and we spend the day visiting, playing games and taking pictures to capture the moments! When mama was alive she was always Queen for a Day and thoroughly enjoyed seeing her whole clan together, loving each other.

Day 17 – I am thankful for weekends! They are what keep me motivated to make it through Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Getting up on a Friday morning I can start to feel the freedom that the weekend brings. I know I must work to eat and pay the bills so M-F have its purpose, but weekends are the bomb. Time to take things slow and do things throughly, put everything in order, create things, catch up on TV, go to church and rest. I know I’ll fit well into the slower lifestyle we are planning for.

Day 18 – I am deeply thankful that I’ve been blessed with dear friends who genuinely care about me and are there to support me through good times and bad. Some of these are ladies I rarely see now but have been close to in the past. Yesterday I was blessed with a visit from one of them. I haven’t seen her in forever, but I knew I could share our family difficulties of this past year. We hugged, I didn’t feel judged but felt understood and my heart was full with thankfulness for her friendship. I’m a fairly open person as you can tell on facebook but there are but a few people that I trust with the true hardships we’ve faced. I think God has sent me these dear friends at just the right moments along the way. I thank them all, they know who they are.

Day 19 – I am thankful for the New Orleans Saints and especially thankful that they are now 5-5 this year. I grew up in New Orleans and believe firmly that how the Saint’s play on a Sunday affects the mood of the city for days afterwards. They are the heart of the city of New Orleans. My devotion to the team is deep. I’ve lived through the losing seasons, bags on our heads, the Aints, and experienced the exhilaration of the Super Bowl win and the season preceding it. I have specific clothes I wear on game day (the ones I wore when they won the Super Bowl) and a necklace with Sproles, Colston and Brees on it that I wear to work the Monday after a win. Earlier this season I didn’t get to wear it at all! They are my guys and if they win we’re happy and if not “There’s always next year!” Through thick and thin I love the Black and Gold and can’t wait to spread Saints Spirit around the USA as we travel. UPDATE: We certainly have spread Saints Spirit everywhere we’ve gone. We have banners, signs and other spirited decorations for our RV. Being in Minnesota during 2012 preseason was torture since they don’t seem to understand the importance of showing the Saints games on TV up there and we had to really improvise to catch the games. Very thankful to be back in the New Orleans area for this 2014 season.

Day 20 – I am thankful that I have such clear eye sight now.   It only took four surgeries and almost 20 doctor visits this year to get here, but I see perfectly now without contacts and without reading glasses. I’ve found almost 10 pair of reading glasses that I hid all around so I could always read. No more buying contacts all the time or glasses once a year. Two wonderful doctors made this happen. Dr. Eric Greiner and Dr. Sean Allison. Dr. Greiner did the 2 cataract surgeries and Dr. Allison did the two surgeries to remove the huge numerous floaters I had in both eyes. I am thankful for their training and caring nature that helped me through all this. One last follow up visit with Dr. Allison and I’m finished with this eye adventure that began back in January. UPDATE: I now have macular degeneration (a little) so my eye sight is no longer perfect but I am still so thankful for modern technology and these same doctors for their brilliance and continued care. Dr. Allison is now replaced by Dr. Noguchi whose care I feel quite comfortable in.

Day 21 – I am thankful for the years I’ve been employed at Southeastern. Working on a college campus like Southeastern is unique. I enjoy the beautiful oaks, seeing the students change over the years, seeing the campus change and grow, seeing football come back and one odd thing I loved was hearing the crack of the baseball bat during baseball season for 10 years when my office window was open in McGehee Hall. The friends I’ve made I will treasure forever. My boss Donna is the best. Not only is she one of my very best friends she is someone I admire tremendously and have learned a lot from.   The ladies I work with know me inside and out and still like me. I am thankful for that.

Day 22 – I am thankful I have a husband who can do anything! He can build, repair, create, figure out and fix anything! He’s tired of doing all that now and doesn’t let his brilliance in these areas be seen too often lately but when he does I can say he’s still got it! Madisyn learned to say “Paw Paw can do anything” early on and man he will do anything for her!!!!! UPDATE: Roy’s still real tired of being able to do anything but I’m even more thankful for these abilities of his.

Day 23 – I am thankful that I am an American. I have become disheartened in recent years with the direction in which our country is going and the lack of Christian values becoming more prevalent. Despite that, I respect the flag, the principles our country was founded on, our military men and women who give so much of themselves for our freedom, our ability to freely vote (even if the wrong person wins) and being able to freely worship without the fear of harm. I am thankful to be a woman in a free country where I have considerably more liberties than other countries give to their women.

Day 24 – I am Thankful this Thanksgiving Day for the Word of God, his Holy Bible. I read it, learn from it, try to live my life by it and as the years go by I realize how very much it is the only instruction manual a Christian needs. I was blessed to have the privilege of teaching the Books of the Bible to 3rd and 4th graders for many years and teaching them to cherish the Word of God. They knew this was just the first step to learning the wonders and mysteries of God’s Word. There is nothing like hearing a sermon from The Word. It helps me understand how to look in His Word for the answer to my life questions and to draw me closer to Him. UPDATE: So thankful we’ve had the opportunity to hear the Word of God preached by many pastors throughout the United States.

Day 25 – Today is Roy and my 40th wedding anniversary. We were married on November 25, 1972. Me a blushing bride of 18 and he the handsome older man at 21. We’re saying we gave each other the RV for our anniversary gift and he’s promised we’ll eat dinner at Olive Garden. I guess that’s about as exciting as two old goats get after 40 years. We’ve changed so much over the years and I’m thankful we’ve changed together and are still together. UPDATE: #42 anniversary will be this Nov. 25th

Day 26 – I am thankful that I can proudly say I am a Class of 1972 John F. Kennedy Cougar. The school buildings are being torn down now having fallen victim to Hurricane Katrina and that is very sad for all us Cougars. It was a beautiful, modern school sitting on Bayou St. John in New Orleans next to City Park. I was the Captain of the Dance Team as a Junior and on the flag team as a Senior. Our skirts were worn 2 finger widths below our butts and this was normal. How did we sit down??? Wow times have changed! I’ve been able to reconnect with many of my Cougar classmates on FB and to all of them I want to say “Thanks for the Memories!”

Day 27 – Skipped this day in the original Thanksgiving month. Though this seems very low in the month what I am thankful for now is the addition of Kimberly, Braxton and Bentley in our lives. Kim has been Chip’s girlfriend for over a year and a half now and has brought so much love and joy into our lives! When they get married the addition of the boys will give us 7 grandchildren. Kim has shown a genuine love to me and even though she now knows the crazy side of me still loves me and I’m so thankful for that. The boys grin like little monkeys when they see us now and it is so warming to my heart to feel their hugs and see their smiles.

Day 28 – Another day that was left off the original list. I am so thankful that God has allowed us to change our lifestyle and enjoy our time on the road. The travels we’ve enjoyed and our discovery of the beautiful elements of nature around this country is indescribable (though you know I try to describe it whenever I can). The lack of stress, responsibility and freedom experienced living in an RV on the road is something everyone who is retired should get to do. I’m so thankful we chose to do those and can’t wait until we’re back on the road again.

Day 29 – I’d like to be able to say I am thankful that we have a buyer for our house but it seems we’ll have to wait a little longer to be thankful for that. Our adventure to discover America is just waiting for that right person to say “This is the one we want!” It will happen one day and on that day I will be very, very, very thankful to that person! UPDATE: We now, two years later, do have a buyer for the house and hopefully before early December that buyer will be residing here!

Day 30 – I am Thankful for this month of Thanksgivings. It has opened my eyes to the abundance of blessings God has given me, the special people in my life, my dear family members, true friends and most of all God. There really should be more days in November because I have much more to be thankful for than 30 days can cover!

11.06.14 Last family shindig at our sticks and bricks house!

family 1Sunday afternoon we had a banana split party with my sister’s family and our family. I’m so glad we got to do this one last time before we finalize the house sale. We’ve had Easter or Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving at our house for several years so this is one last family shindig at this location. The once little bitty children are growing up fast. Madisyn got to introduce Braxton and Bentley to her Roussel and Doyle cousins! The little boys fit right in following the bigger ones all over the place.

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Annie (Dana’s daughter), Sally (Greg’s daughter) and Madisyn (Chip’s daughter)
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One of the twins and Sally

We got to introduce Chip’s girlfriend Kimberly to my sister’s children and grandchildren and they got to know her some while we all chatted outside. We went inside to put our banana splits together but spent most of the day outside. It seemed a lot of us had blue on Sunday so one of the last pictures I took was of Chip, Greg and Roy all together.

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Chip, Greg and Roy

Of all the days for it to be very cool in the afternoon it was on Sunday with a high of 62 and in the shade on the back porch it was cool. Fortunately for the children it was nice and sunny out in the yard where they ran and played all afternoon.

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We’re looking forward to another beautiful weekend here in Louisiana and hope that ya’lls weekend is a great one as well.

Chip picked me up earlier today and I went with him to pick up Madisyn from school. She was very surprised and happy to see me (and her daddy too of course). We went by Paw Paw Roy’s office and surprised him with a visit. She loves going there and they’ve gotten to see her grow up from a toddler to now a school girl!

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Roy with Madisyn sitting in his chair. She loves to be spun around in it!

I’m home now and am enjoying the beautiful sound of rain on the RV roof.thankful thursday

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

10.30.14 More on the next step! Big announcement!!

friday 10The home inspection was done on our sticks and bricks house and we are awaiting the report! We met the buyers and they are very excited about buying the house.  They said she’s wanted an Acadian style home and he wanted a big garage.  That’s what they are getting!

We put an offer in on the land we loved in Amite, that I told you about last time.  We found out that evening, that someone else put in an offer the night before and it was accepted.  It was on the market for 5 years and then the evening before we put in an offer it’s swooped up and purchased.  As suspicious as it all seemed, we can do nothing but move on.

There is another piece of property to the left of that one, so we went back to check that one out yesterday.  Chip and Madisyn accompanied us.  Madisyn made friends with the little girl down the street and they played while we checked out the property.  The property rolls down hill to the pond so they enjoyed running up and down the hill. She’s sold on the property and Chip loved it also.  Here’s some pictures but they don’t do it justice!

 

from the back of the land
Looking across the road from the back of the property.
from front side of land
Looking back at the pond from the front side of the property
pond behind property
The pond from near the left end.

It was late when we got home, but our wonderful agent wrote up the offer late yesterday and we signed it at 6 am this morning!  They use this wonderful technology that allows us to just click on the document they produce in the place where we need to sign or initial and they have access to it immediately.

That offer was rejected so we reached deep in our pockets to up the offer which was submitted Friday morning. and we can now share with ya’ll god is good all the time 2that we are officially under contract!  We are both tickled and Roy is taking our contractor, Ronnie Glover, with him in he morning to show him the land.  We ordered the floor plans and have them now ready to start as soon as it’s ours!!  Amite, here we come!!!  Moving out of Hammond and up I-55 to Amite!!

 

I had a little vision scare this week but now that I’ve seen the retina doctor I can share about it.  I have the beginning of macular degeneration but it’s very slight and there is nothing needed at this time.  It may never get any worse, I just need to go back to the doctor if it gets worse since it may be becoming a macular hole.    To describe what this beginning looks like is that when I look at a letter on the eye chart I can’t see it, but if I look at the letter next to it I can see the first one.  Sometimes the center letters get all bunched up and sometime the very center one lays on its side.  When looking at the world my right eye compensates a lot so my vision is only a slight bit warped.

We are having our family over Sunday afternoon for a banana split party.  Yes they are all coming over again to our empty house.  The weather is suppose to be perfect that day. We’ll all stay outside under the covered porch playing and visiting one last time before the house is sold.  Kim and the twins are joining us for their first Chauvin/Rousell family gathering and I can’t wait to introduce our family to them!

Ya’ll have a wonderful weekend

 

10.25.14 William Carey University Chorale, playtime with the twins, looking at houses and land!

I’m so happy that Fall has actually arrived in Louisiana that when I found this, I knew I had to share it! come little leaves

Monday evening the William Carey University Chorale sang at our home church, Trinity Baptist Church.   How amazing it was to see several dozen young people walk in singing and fill up the choir loft.   When the orchestra started playing and the young people opened their mouths to sing all I could think was Wow!  Praise God for Christian young people with so much talent singing for the Lord.  One of the songs was “O Happy Day” and a lot of clapping and swaying was going on in the choir and in the congregation.  Dave and Jessica Bryant were members of our church before moving to Hattiesburg, MS where William Carey is located.  They work at William Carey now in the Music department, and have made their home there.  They are teachers so they are not in the student Chorale, but it was wonderful seeing both of them Monday.

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Our sweet wonderful hopefully soon to be daughter-in-law, Kim, asked me to go with her to take the twins to the doctor in Covington.  I was thrilled to get to spend time with Kim and the boys and really appreciate her asking me to do this.  The twins read (looked at) their books all the way there and preciously scampered around the waiting room playing before being called back.  It wasn’t a terribly pleasant visit for Braxton so when he was done I took him back to the waiting room so mama Kim could have a quiet room for Bentley to be check out.

Now that a contract has been signed we can move on to the next step in our housing adventure.  We want either a piece of land on which we can build a small house to rent, and park our RV on it when we come in town.  Or an already build house with enough land for us to park our RV on when we come in town.  Our real estate agent, whom you know we adore, took me around to several nearby16728_787907554599743_5997883008315077696_n cities looking at land and houses.   I looked at several on line before finding around 8 to look at.  Most in the price range I’m looking at are either not in good repair or not in a good neighborhood but one of the pieces of land was an immediate YES!!

I selected one of the houses and one piece of land for Roy to see on Friday.   He said no to the first house in Hammond so we went to Amite to see the land. The city of Amite is about 17 miles away from Hammond up the interstate.  Once you get off the interstate it’s probably another 13 miles to the land.  The rolling hills and pastureland we passed were breathtaking!  I fell in love with it when first seeing it and just knew Roy would love it also.  A few feet on the back of the property are part of a pond that goes behind several lots.  Across the street is a huge open piece of land with beautiful trees. The land we are looking at is completely cleared (one large pine) and filled and the water well is already installed and the price is right.  It’s perfect for a small house and RV parking space.

I think from the minute we pulled up Roy was sold.  We met the man who lives next door and he gave us lots of helpful information about the property. He also helped us measure the property. We are meeting with a contractor tomorrow to look at floor plans and get a clearer picture of costs to build the house.  Once we knowi will neither grown up or age gracefully a little more, we’ll be better prepared to see if this is the direction we want to go in.

To some it may seem odd  for us to be buying a house right after selling one.  The extra income will be much welcomed, but the main reason is that we want to have a home to come to if we have to, or want to stop traveling.   And one that is not as big as our current house is with all the gardens.   Downsizing makes sense to us as we get older and now is the time!

I cut the grass at our house, for possibly the last time yesterday.  Unless it grows a lot before the final house walk through, it will be the last cutting.  The home inspection is schedule for next Tuesday.  Fun times!!  It’s such a wonderful feeling to finally be moving forward instead of being stagnant.  I Praise God for getting us this far and all He will guide us through to the end of this housing adventure.

romans 12 2 Hope you have a great weekend!  Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!