04.06.20 Rosie’s Flowers of Spring

God gives us this beautiful time called Spring. He allows us to be blessed by seeing the tiny blooms of flowers that were hiding all Winter.

Those vivid bursts of color will bring me joy all summer, especially when hummingbirds and butterflies zoom in for a taste of nectar.

When we moved to Amite our property was like an empty slate waiting for us to dig, plant and pretty up! We wanted to make the front of our property where people pull into our driveway as welcoming as possible. The guy wires already there presented a bit of a challenge but we’ve tried to fancy it up with our metal art, a big rock from Arkansas and pretty daffodil bulbs.

This was taken a month ago when the daffodils were blooming for the first time in a couple of years. Since then there are no more flowers and the metal flower has been repainted. I am so happy I got this picture when I did. This and the next two photos are what you see when you come to visit us and we really hope you will come visit at some time in the future!

A lily near the top on the right, small ground cover sneaking out and a new spider plant greet our visitors we do not have lately!Both mailboxes are surrounded by some of the lilies that were planted last year. I hope our mail lady likes them!

The following photos are not grouped by location like they probably should be. They are from the front and the back and each side and the middle of our property in no certain order!

Looking up from our hammock at the sprouting oak tree leaves. Two of my favorite things to do. One is swinging in the hammock and the second is watching the big oak trees every day from the time they start sprouting new leaves until they are filled and everything is beautiful!The little groundcovers were hidden under the pine needles to protect them from freezes. They been uncovered and are growing really nicely!The azalea bushes we planted last year are happily sprouting new leaves and flowers!These lilies were the original ones that I separated and planted all around our property last year. They are all starting to bloom now! These are some of the creeping daisy groundcovers that were protected over the winter by pine needles.  A couple of weeks ago all you would see here was pine needles, now the green vines of creeping daisies are bursting with growth! In about a month there will be little yellow flowers all over there.Lantanas get cut down to the ground at our house so it takes a while for them to make it back to a nice busy plant. Plus we divided them this year. There was nothing here but short branches not too long ago and now the bushes are back!  A much smaller version of their soon to be giant bush selves but they are already starting to bloom a bit!One of the new lantana bushes with its first bloom!

Our cacti sit there all year looking prickly and strange for this area of the country. Every now and then a beautiful flower will bloom and I happened to catch it on the day it bloomed!The white daisy gift from our friend Ellen last Easter was planted and is coming back nicely this year!  Anyone coming to visit that brings me a daisy plant will be a friend for life!Three years ago we bought two mums in the fall. They have rebloomed every spring and fall since then! One is purple and the other is yellow. The purple is full of tiny blooms getting ready to burst open but not quite yet!Our grass plants that Roy cut all the way down a few months ago are now sending new shoots out all over the place.  They will get much larger but they are starting to grow real nice! Our refurbished Billy the Cow now lives next to them greeting everyone who comes to visit, well when people actually visited!

These red knockout roses just burst out with buds and flowers this past week. The spider looking plants were tiny when we planted them last year after dividing a few into many!

Last fall we planted small pieces of plants around one big oak tree and other places around what we call our picnic area. Most survived the winter and are sprouting out now. This picture doesn’t pick up a lot of them but they are there!  As are our new Happy Spring Ya’ll rocks!

.Look at all the lilies around the other big oak tree in our picnic area. From the time they were planted in the fall they multiplied a lot and there are a couple starting to bloom!

This azalea bush was the only one that we transplanted from our son Chip’s home to our home last fall when they planted all new bushes. It was just a bunch of branches until a couple of weeks ago but now it’s got leaves coming out all over it!

More of the tiny plants coming back to life and the pansies that regrew after the ducks or other creatures enjoyed eating them last fall!

We name each of our garden areas and for a while, this one was our Jesus Circle because our wooden cross was in that garden. The cross was moved elsewhere but the garden still keeps that name! This is one of my favorite gardens. It holds two of the small bay leaf plants that were originally Roy’s mama’s plant. It also contains different flowers that we love.  It also covers the concrete covers to our septic tank!!!

More of the transplanted lilies. This group was planted there to help hide the utilities pole that we used for Dora and our renter uses for his RV.

The water in our much-loved pond has begun to go down some which is always something that begins in the spring. I know that blueberries are not flower plants but I am so overly excited that they are producing I just had to share again here!  They won’t be edible for a while but this sure looks promising!

I hope your Tuesday is a blessed one!

 

04.07.20 A quiet thought, by Bro. Bob Adams

Today is the anniversary of the day I became a mama! My oldest son is now 41! Wasn’t he the cutest little boy!!! Happy Birthday!

A quiet thought, by Bro. Bob Adams

In the throes of this world-wide pandemic I see God everywhere!

Surely He is visible in the scriptures, prayers, and music of worship that come easily and richly to faithful believers.

However, He is also present beyond the words and music of our beautiful faith.
The crisis has birthed magnificent displays of the creative spirit: Stories. Jokes. Memes. Poems. Music. Pictures. These sometimes shake us with laughter and sometimes melt us in sorrow, but it is all a fresh-born expression of sacred peoples’ minds and hearts.

The source of such human creativity must be God Himself, the Eternal Creator! God is also glimpsed in every gloved hand and masked face.

He is found in the six feet between people standing in lines to get supplies. All these shout, “I will protect my loved ones, and myself, and even you – the stranger.”

Surely this protective spirit has its roots in God who hovers over us as a mother hen covers her chicks. Look out and see all the selfless acts of service on display around us.

The truckers driving long, lonely miles.

The policeman risking his life to guard our streets and cities.

The checkout clerk spending the day close to endless faces with panting breaths.

Government leaders carry the suffocating burden of making wide-ranging life and death decisions.

Every health care worker that rises day after day and night after night to wade into the middle of a vast cauldron of suffering people is an expression of God’s own unselfish sacrifice for us.

On and on and on . . . Hallelujah!

Thank you Bro. Bob! We miss you and Ms. Janice.

04.12.20 Let us join together in Worshiping our Lord – Week 4 – Welcome to Trinity Baptist Church

Sunday morning at 10:45 am, and every future Sunday until we can all gather together again in person, Trinity Baptist Church will broadcast our worship services on Facebook and on the church’s website.

The newly updated online Worship Service at Trinity now includes so much that a lot of what I was sharing here is no longer needed. The words of the songs we will be singing will be easily readable on the screen of wherever medium you are watching the worship service. The names of those leading the various parts of the Worship Service are also now on the screen.

The feeling of togetherness joining with others during our Sunday online Worship Service is deeply comforting. I love that the same people we sit in a physical church with are all in their homes worshiping God at the same time!

Please join us!

Trinity’s website’s broadcast address is. http://https://trinitybaptistla.com/live

The picture below is from the page on the church’s website that you will be taken to. The actual sermon will not start until 10:45.  The live stream will begin 10 minutes before that to bring you information about our church and some wonderful music! To see the scripture and sermon outline click on the blue SERMON OUTLINE link at the bottom of that page on the church’s website.

I will keep this abbreviated form of this Sunday blog post coming so ya’ll can easily get to the Worship Service online! We look forward to Worshiping together again with you all next Sunday! May God Bless all of you!

04.05.20 Let us join together in Worshiping our Lord – Week 3 – Welcome to Trinity Baptist Church

Sunday morning at 10:45 am, and every future Sunday until we can all gather together again in person, Trinity Baptist Church will broadcast our worship services on Facebook and on the church’s website. This blog post will be published Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

The feeling of togetherness joining with others during our Sunday online Worship Service was deeply comforting. I loved that the same people we sit in a physical church with are all in their homes worshiping God at the same time! Please join us!

Trinity’s website’s broadcast address is. http://https://trinitybaptistla.com/live

The Facebook address for the church is https://www.facebook.com/Trinity-Baptist-Church-Hammond-La-241862645845904/

The picture below is from the page on the church’s website that you will be taken to. The actual sermon will not start until 10:45.  To see the scripture and sermon outline click on the blue SERMON OUTLINE link at the bottom of that page on the church’s website.

Those who will be leading our Worship Service are:

Youth Minister, Jonah Kyle Traylor will be welcoming everyone

Music Minister, Teddy Forrest will be leading the singing

Pianist, Deanna Cummings will be accompanying on the piano

Lead Pastor, Avery Dixon will be bringing today’s message from God’s Holy Word

The songs we will be singing are in the list below. If not, the words to the songs will be up on the church’s television screen and I’ve included them below.

17           I Sing Praises

18           Glorify Thy Name

93           His Eye Is On The Sparrow

His Mercy Is More

Music Message    Jonah Kyle Traylor

413         Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

I SING PRAISES

I sing praises to Your name O Lord
Praises to Your name O Lord
For Your name is great and greatly to be praised

I sing praises to Your name O Lord
Praises to Your name O Lord
For Your name is great and greatly to be praised

GLORIFY THY NAME

Father, we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Thy name in all the earth
Glorify Thy name
Glorify Thy name
Glorify Thy name in all the earth

Jesus, we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Thy name in all the earth
Glorify Thy name
Glorify Thy name
Glorify Thy name in all the earth

Spirit, we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth
Glorify Thy name
Glorify Thy name
Glorify Thy name in all the earth

Glorify Thy name
Glorify Thy name
Glorify Thy name in all the earth

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW

Why should I feel discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely
and long for heaven and home,
when Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is he:
his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me;
his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, (I’m happy)
I sing because I’m free, (I’m free)
for his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,”
his tender word I hear,
and resting on his goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
though by the path he leadeth
but one step I may see:
his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me;
his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
for his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted,
whenever clouds arise,
when song gives place to sighing,
when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to him;
from care he sets me free:
his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me;
his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
for his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

HIS MERCY IS MORE

Praise the Lord
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness
New every morn’
Our sins they are many
His mercy is more

What love could remember
No wrongs we have done
Omniscient all-knowing
He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea
Without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many
His mercy is more

Praise the Lord
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness
New every morn’
Our sins they are many
His mercy is more

What patience would wait
As we constantly roam
What Father so tender
Is calling us home
He welcomes the weakest
The vilest the poor
Our sins they are many
His mercy is more

Praise the Lord
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness
New every morn’
Our sins they are many
His mercy is more

What riches of kindness
He lavished on us
His blood was the payment
His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt
We could never afford
Our sins they are many
His mercy is more

Praise the Lord
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness
New every morn’
Our sins they are many
His mercy is more

Our sins they are many
His mercy is more

INVITATION HYMN

TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

2 Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion-
For more than conq’rors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

3 His word shall not fail you – He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

We look forward to Worshiping together again with you all next Sunday! May God Bless all of you!

04.04.20 God’s fingerprints are on all His amazing creations

God’s fingerprints are on all His amazing creation and flowers are no exception…

These pictures of beautiful flowers are pictures my friends let me use in this blog post. Pictures of their beautiful early spring blooms! Thanks, ladies for letting me include these today! My friends’ names are below their pictures

In a couple of days, I’ll be sharing the flowers at our home that are starting to bloom and make us very happy!!

Caren Cox
Nancy Duvic
Gay Sterken
Nancy Duvic
Nancy Duvic – Love this metal art flower!
Nancy Duvic
Nancy Duvic
Jeri Bankston
Jeri Bankston
Jeri Bankston
Jeri Bankston This is bottlebrush
Johnnie Whisenhunt
Johnnie Whisenhunt
Johnnie Whisenhunt
Johnnie Whisenhunt
Johnnie Whisenhunt
Lynn Anderson
Rebecca Willoughby
RebeccaWilloughby

Well that left me with a smile on my face! I hope it did that for you as well!

04.03.20 Something invisible came and put everything in its place

I’ve wanted to write something like what I am sharing below since early on in this time with life-changing coronavirus.  We’ve had our lives thrown up in the air and are having to figure out what is coming back down. I wanted to write because even in this time of uncertainty I could see so much happiness in people’s lives getting to spend much-needed family time with their loved ones.

Yesterday, Thursday, was a really hard brain day for me. One of those days that I don’t understand things, don’t remember how to do things (big and little things), can’t do things I normally could and just cry and curse from frustration.  I’ve loved writing these daily blog posts lately and by the large number of views, ya’ll are enjoying reading them.

It seemed to be really helping my brain writing these blog posts daily again. Today, however, my brain wouldn’t cooperate so I could write something for Friday. This afternoon I came across what I am sharing below.  I wasn’t even looking for anything to share.  I thanked God for putting this before me as it relieved my mind of “what will I write for tomorrow?”  If something new doesn’t come into your mailbox each day I want you to know that I’d like your prayers that day for the brainpower I need to keep creating!

 

I don’t know if you agree, but something invisible came and put everything in its place.

Suddenly the gasoline went down, pollution went down, people started to have more time.

So much time that they do not know what to do with it – parents are spending time with their kids as a family, work is no longer a priority or traveling or social life either.

Suddenly we silently see within ourselves and understand the value of the words “solidarity”, “love”, “strength”, “empathy” and “faith”.

In an instant, we realized that we are all in the same boat; rich and poor. That the supermarket shelves are empty and the hospitals are full.

New cars and old cars also stand in the garages, simply because nobody can get out.

Empty streets, less pollution, clean air, the land also breathes.

The human returns to his origins, realizing that with or without money, the important thing is to survive.

Today, health is the main thing, even in spite of wanting to have or possessing.

It took 6 days for the universe to establish the social equality that was said to be impossible.

Fear invaded everyone.

At least this happened to realize the vulnerability of the human being.

Nature is forcing us to clean up the mess made by ourselves.

Our overthrown gods:
– Money
– Sports
– Fame
– Politics

What the coronavirus is teaching us:
– Our best protection: GOD
– Our best refuge: HOME
– Our best company: FAMILY
– Our real-time: TODAY
– Nature’s call: STOP US
– Its message: WAIT, RESPECT

We are not gods, we are not kings, we do not have the power of controlling everything.

We are part of a whole, fragile, brittle and vulnerable something.

Part of a whole something that we wanted to dominate & today is telling us:

Stop, breathe, respect.

Go back to the basics, to the essentials, that the peace of your soul guide you towards what you are: a CREATION.

I hope this finds everyone well and comfortably tucked in at home with your loved ones!

 

04.02.20 Let’s Gather at Yellowstone and take a Virtual Vacation with the Chauvins

If you ask Roy where his favorite place is in our country and he will say immediately “Yellowstone!”  We visited Yellowstone in July 2015 in our first trip out west.

Last week ya’ll came on your Virtual Vacation with the Chauvins to Niagara Falls. This week I am sharing some of  the photos and some of the information about Yellowstone that we shared in the longer original posts.  The links to those oroginal posts are at the bottom of this one!

This is a great map showing all of Yellowstone. Driving through what is a figure eight you see everything – it’s amazing!

Yellowstone is 2.2 million acres in size. Shaped like a figure eight (see picture to the left), the upper loop and lower loop combined are approximately 142 miles long with the average speed limit of 45 mph.

 

As we drove up to Yellowstone we saw one lonely bison and we got good pictures of him. You can see how large they are. To take the photo of the bison by himself we pulled up alongside him in the RV and I opened the door and snapped the photo.

20150721_132348 (Small)The wildlife we were able to see and some we got up close with was unbelievable!

20150722_121611 (Small)

These pictures and others are of fumaroles. A fumarole (ultimately from the Latin fumus,” smoke”) is an opening in a planet’s crust, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen sulfide.

If you haven’t been to Yellowstone you really can’t grasp what these fumarole’s actually look like. Being from Louisiana this all looked like what a different planet might look like.

2019We were given a very helpful paper map when entering the park. Get one and use it, it was a wonderful way to know what we were looking at was really all about!

It seemed like every curve we’d take while driving through Yellowstone we’d see a beautiful babbling creek, a beautiful waterfall or forested countryside.

728

3034The lower loop is a world of heat and gasses, where microorganisms live in such numbers they change the color of the landscape.

b19b14b20b28After seeing these wild places in the earth we came across again beautiful forests and rivers.  God painted this place beautifully!

b31We finished off the second day by experiencing the phenomena which is Old Faithful

b37b46The sounds of awed people when the eruption was in full force was goose bump material!

b47bYellowstone information states there are over 10,000 geysers in the area.  We were constantly reminded that we were traveling atop a volcano which is difficult to get our mind wrapped around. God’s creations always amaze and humble us.  He is so great and we are mere mortals living in His world.

b54b52And around the next corner is another magnificent waterfall and river!

b68We took over 500 photos in our two days at Yellowstone. There are not 500 pictures in our original blog posts but there are many more pictures of this beautiful National Park than those I’ve shared above. Check them out and enjoy your virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park! It is absolutely worth the time to travel there and your “America is Beautiful” meter will be reaching SUPER AWESOME!

Day One in Yellowstone

Day Two in Yellowstone

Next week I’ll be sharing another one of our favorite places to visit in the United States! There so many to choose from!

Ya’ll have a Blessed Week!

11693893_866222153453368_3809922794124017471_n

 

03.29.20 Let us join together in Worshiping our Lord – Week 2 – Welcome to Trinity Baptist Church

Sunday morning at 10:45 am, and every future Sunday until we can all gather together again in person, Trinity Baptist Church will broadcast our worship services on Facebook and on the church’s website. This blog post will be published Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Roy and I are old hats at experiencing worship online since it is what we did in our travels and still do in our lives at home in Amite. However, this totally online form of worship is new for our church and the majority of our members and visitors. Please be patient as any issues in the broadcast are worked out.

The feeling of togetherness joining with others during last Sunday’s online Worship Service was deeply comforting. I loved that the same people we sit in a physical church with are all in their homes worshiping God at the same time!

Trinity’s website’s broadcast address is. http://https://trinitybaptistla.com/live

The Facebook address for the church is https://www.facebook.com/Trinity-Baptist-Church-Hammond-La-241862645845904/

The picture below is from the page on the church’s website that you will be taken to. The actual sermon will not start until 10:45.  To see the scripture and sermon outline click on the blue SERMON OUTLINE link at the bottom of that page on the church’s website.

Those who will be leading our Worship Service are:

Youth Minister, Jonah Kyle Traylor will be welcoming everyone

Music Minister, Teddy Forrest will be leading the singing with some of our choir members joining him

Pianist, Deanna Cummings will be accompanying on the piano

Lead Pastor, Avery Dixon will be bringing today’s message from God’s Holy Word

The songs we will be singing are in the list below. If you have a Baptist Hymnal at home like this one in the picture below the page numbers are provided.

If not, the words to the songs will be up on the church’s television screen.  For those of us that don’t know the tunes by heart, a little further down this page, the songs with the musical notes are included:

Standing on the Promises, page 339

My Worth Is Not In What I Own, words are below this list

Great and Mighty is the Lord our God, page 20

O Praise the Name, words are below this list

Precious Lord, Take My Hand, page 450

Here are the lyrics only

“O Praise The Name (Anástasis)”

I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me
I see His wounds, His hands, His feet
My Saviour on that cursed treeHis body bound and drenched in tears
They laid Him down in Joseph’s tomb
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all aloneO praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our GodAnd then on the third at break of dawn
The Son of heaven rose again
O trampled death where is your sting?
The angels roar for Christ the KingO praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our GodHe shall return in robes of white
The blazing sun shall pierce the night
And I will rise among the saints
My gaze transfixed on Jesus’ faceO praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forever more
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God

Invitation Hymn

The song “O Praise the Name” is by Hillsong Worship.  I’ve fallen in love with the words describing what God did for us when his son Jesus Christ. I am including a video containing the music and the words so that you can listen to it yourself. You might find yourself singing along loudly with the words as you listen and learn the song! God is so good!

We look forward to Worshiping together again with you all next Sunday! May God Bless all of you!

03.27.20 The wildest RV purchasing experience EVER – 10.13.12 Conroe, TX here we come

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED October 13, 2012 – WARNING: THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY VERY LONG BLOG. HOWEVER, IT IS WORTH READING AS YOU WILL SEE WHEN YOU READ IT. SORRY, I CAN’T SAY AT THIS POINT IN THE BLOG WHY IT IS IMPORTANT FOR OTHERS TO READ IT.

During all this fun we were having, I had two eye surgeries to have the floaters in my eyes removed. Both surgeries left me with bloody looking eyes for about a week after each one so we tried to limit my public exposure during those times. I can’t even describe how creepy I looked with my blue eyes surrounded totally by blood red where the whites use to be.

I tell you this because it was after the second eye surgery, right after the garage sale, when my eye was at its most bloody looking that we found “the perfect RV for us”. We had only been doing “research” on RVs up to this point when the day after the last eye surgery I found on Craigslist a 1997 40 foot Holiday Rambler diesel that had been updated to a 2009 interior. The floors were granite, sofas were leather and was a diesel pusher for only $40,000. It was near Houston, Texas and I thought we should make a road trip to see this one. Even if we weren’t ready to purchase we realized this might be too good to pass up. I was on sick leave from eye surgery so I was off work already for a few days. I called my husband, sent him the information about this RV and said: “Let’s take a trip to see this one.”

This was around 10 am one day and by noon that same day we were on the road to check it out. This spur of the moment road trip is not how we normally operate. I like to plan and Roy likes plenty of notice so this was very unusual for us.

During our 5 long hours of driving, we discussed many things including making sure we took precautions like checking the seller’s driver’s license to make sure it matches the title. We brought cash with us for a deposit since the pictures and all we learned were so enticing. We pulled up at this million-dollar mansion behind a huge brick fence with a remote-controlled gate. We instantly felt better when we saw this beautiful home because surely it was all legitimate. We pushed the button and told them we were there. They opened the gate for us to enter. We noticed a shabby appearance to the landscaping which made their story of falling on hard times more believable. But then we saw the RV and forgot everything else!

Mansion in Conroe, TX. The RV we were trying to buy is in front.
Mansion in Conroe, TX. The RV we were trying to buy is in front.

When we originally spoke on the phone they told us that they were financially strapped and selling the RV was a good way to raise some quick capital. That all made sense to us and when we saw the house we felt better. Upon seeing the RV we were almost immediately sold. When we went in it was even nicer than the pictures. Granite floors, new leather sofas, 1 slide and they were only asking $40,000.00. It was, of course, a 1997 but you wouldn’t know that from the renovated interior. After hearing it run fine and really looking it over well Roy said we’ll think about it and we prepared to leave. After we got in the car and drove around to the front of the mansion Paula was still outside but by the front door of the mansion. Roy told her the most we could do was $20,000 and she said the lowest they could was $35,000. About 5 minutes down the road we got a call from the man, Rick Gonzales. He said he’d take $30,000 for it. Roy said you’re at $30,000 and I’m at $20,000, how about we meet in the middle. Roy and Rick agreed on $25,000. Roy watches all those shows where they go back and forth over the price and it seemed to be paying off! We were ecstatic, we were getting a great RV for $25,000.

We drove back to the mansion where the RV was located. Knowing we needed to take some precautions I asked to see the lady’s driver’s license and the RV title. They looked fine to me, though she did look a little young in the driver’s license. Once we were satisfied with everything we gave them a large cash deposit and they gave us a bill of sale showing the deposit and that we’d pay the remainder within 15 days. Since we had started the financial process with our banker of the phone on our way to Conroe we decided to stay overnight (totally unprepared) hoping we could finish it up the next day.

We had not planned to stay overnight and didn’t bring a change of clothes, toothbrushes or ANYTHING. We found a very cheap hotel nearby that didn’t provide complimentary shampoos or even have a hairdryer like we’re used to having at hotels. The hot water must have been used up by others at this cheap hotel before we got to it in the morning so all I could do was stick my head in the shower, wash it with a bar of soap and dry my hair over the air conditioning vent. I put on my well-used clothes from the day before and between my lovely looking hair and my bloody blue eyes, I looked like a crazed possibly homeless woman. I’m sure my husband was so proud to be seen with me when we went to breakfast before heading to the bank!

Our bank had a branch in a nearby city in Texas. Our bank officer Barbara, in Louisiana, worked with the Texas branch after breakfast that day to get our loan transaction completed so we could take the RV home the following day. I asked our banker to please let the Texas branch know in advance I don’t normally look like I did that day! The people at the branch were very nice to us during the long visit we had with them. Our loan processing went well and we got approval in the early afternoon. While we were waiting we arranged insurance for the RV with our State Farm Agent back home. I called Rick Gonzales several times during the day to get information the Bank needed. He was generally cooperative but as we neared lunchtime he got kind of pushy about when we’d be bringing him the money. He needed us to give him the entire amount in cash as his bank would put a 10-day hold on the check and he needed the funds now. We arranged for that and tried to meet every requirement he put out.

In the late afternoon, Paula brought the RV title and Paula’s driver’s license to us at the bank. She owned the RV and Rick Gonzales was her boyfriend. Our banker questioned the appearance of the title since it looked different than the ones we are used to seeing in Louisiana. The branch there confirmed that is how a Texas title looks like. When our banker compared the two documents she noticed that there was a misspelling on the title compared to the driver license by one character. What was an l on one was an i on the other. Because of this, she said we’d need a one in the same affidavit. She also noticed that the title showed the RV was one year older than our Bill of Sale. We asked Paula to draw up a new bill of sale and go get a notary to provide her with a one in the same affidavit saying that Paula Baltadano was the same person aS Paula Baitadano. This is a very common occurrence and didn’t think she should mind doing it. She said she would and left the bank.

We waited two hours for her to come back and finally Rick called us. He said Paula would not be coming back and they shouldn’t have to help us get our loan, we just needed to come up with the money. I explained to him that we had our loan already and that they would have this same problem with anyone they sold it to because the problem was with their title. He started getting ugly with me on the phone and I started sensing something was really wrong. Roy and I were sitting in the middle of the bank (which had closed the lobby doors by this time) with the Texas banker and their security officer within hearing distance. I told him that we’d just come and get our cash deposit bank and call the deal off. He got really ugly and said no we won’t be giving your deposit back. He said, “You’ll bring us the rest of the money to pay for the RV” and hung up on me. I was shaking horribly and Roy listening was white as a sheet.

We quickly told the banker that we wouldn’t be making the loan and asked their security guard where the police department was. During the time Rick hung up on me and the time we left I contacted Barbara, our banker in Louisiana and told her what happened. I asked her to fax to me a letter from her saying our loan was approved and the only hold up was the seller’s documentation. She also faxed a copy of Paula’s driver’s license and the problematic RV title.

We knew we had to go back to their house to get our money. We also knew our only hope to do that was to get a police escort. We headed over to the Conroe, TX police department. Since it was after hours we explained through a speaker in the wall what we needed and in about 10 minutes an officer pulled up in front. We explained to him what we needed, showed him our documentation and he said for us to follow him to the house. We didn’t know it until we got there but the police department already sent another car over to the house as soon as we gave the person behind the speaker in the wall the address.

When we pulled up to the iron gate in front of the home we saw the other officer’s car. We called the house from the entry station out front and got no answer. Roy called them on the phone and after several rings, Paula answered. I gave the phone to the officer that was with us and he spoke to her for a while. He told her they needed to give the money back and gave her various scenarios if they didn’t. He could have the district attorney seize the RV and give it to us for the money we already gave them, he could have her arrested and other things. She hung up on him!!!!!!!! We knew for sure this was going south for sure at this point.

The officer went to the mailbox and checked the name on the mail inside. It did not match. He called for back up. Shortly after he placed the call several police cars pulled up and out came what looked like SWAT officers. They had bulletproof vests over their uniforms and big machine gun type guns. They surrounded the wall and after one found a way in through the golf course in the back they all went in and hid for a while. An officer arrived with a search warrant – man I thought it only happened that fast on TV. The original officer went up to the door, Paula answered and she came outside to talk to him. We were still outside the gate and couldn’t hear anything but saw the heavily armed policemen enter the house. My biggest concern through this waiting time was her five children inside seeing it all happening. I wanted to get them out of there but had no control over all that.

It was a huge house and one of the officers came out to tell us they were searching for it and that would take a while. After about another hour the officer came out to tell us that they found Rick hiding under his desk holding a bunch of money. Quite a picture, since he was a stocky short man I had difficulty imagining him fitting under a desk. They said they were sure we’d eventually get our money back but it would probably have to go through the judicial system because it would be held as evidence. That was our first glimmer of a little hope!

The heroic Conroe, TX police department!
The heroic Conroe, TX police department!

They searched for a while longer, spoke to Paula outside for a while longer, meanwhile, we were sitting in our car texting everyone we knew and posting all about it on Facebook. We were hungry, tired, stressed out, dirty from not bathing and wearing old clothes and just wanted it all to be over. About three hours after it all started two officers came out from the gate holding some money!! He said they made a deal with them. In exchange for them giving us our money back, the police wouldn’t charge Rick and Paul with the crime they committed against us. They said that the documents our banker provided us, and what they saw when they arrived, gave them reasonable cause to enter the grounds around the house. Gosh, we were feeling very NCIS worthy around that time! The original officer told us that what started out as a routine escort turned into a major bust and thanked us for coming to them.

They brought Paula out in handcuffs at one point and she was just screaming in Spanish at the officers.

It turns out the officers found in the search that multiple crimes were going on in the house. As one officer put it “Whatever you can imagine is going on in that house is probably going on.” All he could say was that there were drugs involved, falsifying documents and a lot of online crime. Guess who got wrapped up in that last one with them – The Chauvin’s! The police didn’t need our little crime since they had so much against them so we signed for the money and got our money back!!!!!!!!!!! Roy and I were absolutely stunned but ecstatic at this turn of events. God was certainly looking out for this couple that night, as He always does.

When the officers told me we could leave, we were out of there! We drove the five hours back home, stopping about halfway to pick up a part for the toad that Roy had previously purchased on eBay. After calling the elderly man who sold it when we were on our way out of Conroe, the man said to come no matter what time of night it was. Before we got there the man put on a fresh pot of coffee for Roy. What wonderful people they were. I stayed in the car and the wife came out in her robe and asked me to come in. I was so exhausted I couldn’t move so she gave me a hug and went back inside. They were so caring and concerned and it meant so much to us after the experience we had just endured. By the way, the part Roy bought from them didn’t fit his truck when we got home!! He has since then sold the part on eBay to someone whose vehicle it will fit.

When we got home I think we slept for 24 hours we were so drained and still in a state of shock from our experience. How could two intelligent adults be so bamboozled as to not see what was happening from the first? We realized that we wanted it a little bit too much and got swept up in the whole thing, putting caution outback instead of upfront. Had our banker not been so conscience and looking out for the bank and our best interest we would have lost our money and had a real set back in our RV dream.

The Conroe, Texas police department and our Whitney Bank officer, Barbara Davis were phenomenal in the care they gave to us and in handling their responsibilities. We wrote letters to the Conroe Police Chief and Mayor telling of their speedy response and how caring they were of us, two scared strangers from Louisiana. We let Whitney Bank know about Barbara’s actions and they honored her for protecting both our interest and that of the bank. People like these folks need to be recognized for their exceptional service and I’m glad we did that.

We learned later that the couple was both arrested and bailed out. When they did they went back to the house. Turns out they were renting the house paying cash to an elderly couple who lived nearby. After bailing out they took everything in the house, even the appliances and left town in the RV! The FBI is now involved because their crimes were internet crimes covering several states. They’ve been arrested for this before and left town each time.

I said originally it was important for others to read this because they are on the loose again and will most definitely try to pull this or some other internet crime on someone else. The phone number it seems they use in most of their dealings, and ours, was 832-696-3741 so if you see anything being sold on the internet associated with that phone number, call the Conroe, TX police department – or better yet, let us know – we’d love to help put them behind bars so they don’t hurt anyone else!

ONE DAY CLOSER TO OUR DREAMS!!!!!!!!!! – NOW TO FIND A LEGAL RV TO PURCHASE!

 

Sign up to get an email each time I publish a new post. The link to do that is on the right-hand side of this post! Let me provide a little fun and happiness to your day! While my brain still allows me to do this I’ll keep going!

Our faith in God is getting us through this.  We know that He is in control and whatever comes our way He will be beside us all the way. Do you have this assurance that comes through salvation making God your Lord and Savior of your life?  I hope so, if not ask me.  I’d love to share what God has done in our lives and how he’s walked with us through the valleys and the mountain top experiences.

Have a Blessed week!