Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bike Hike -November 16

One of the first "fun" things I remember doing with our church when we moved here, was going on the Annual Bike Hike!! No one quite remembers, but it seems this annual event has been going on for over 20 years!!
 The Bike Hike takes place on St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail. The part we used to bike is a 16 mile trail. This year, we started at a nice park about midway, rode down to the fort and then back up to the park, which was probably somewhere between 14-15 miles total!

Thankful for those who "bring the kitchen sink"!! :) It is really nice to have some air pumps for those bike tires who got filled using a faulty gauge and were really not filled at all! :P (Yeh, we got a new gauge now!!) :)

The Miller family ready to go!! 
Yolie & I rode together the whole was a slow pace, because Collin was with us! That is a LONG way for a 4 year old to bike!! He did great and it gave us time to chat! :)

Loved this church along the trail....the tree (there were actually 2 of them) was very unique!!

Once everyone gets to the fort by the water, at the end of the trail, the kids love to run and "explore"!!

And climb the walls!!

Down by the water, Toby was sitting on a rock. He knew I was carrying my camera, so he gave me a sweet smile! :) Then Collin wanted a turn too! :) Two handsome little guys!!

This is at the end of the trail, ready to head back to the park.

Caroline leading the pack....her nephews and the young girls!

The trail is so beautiful and nicely paved!

When we got back to the park, a lunch of chili and taco soup was waiting!! 

You never know what kind of weather it will be on bike hike day! November weather can vary so much from year to year! We have gone when it was so cold that people were wearing gloves and coats, and we have gone when it was really hot!! This year was almost as perfect as you could wish for. It was warm and partly cloudy.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Alaska Bound

No, not us! :) Might be fun, though! 

Last night we met our friends, A.T. & Traci Peyton in Marianna for coffee before they move to Alaska on Saturday! A.T. works at Lowes and they are transferring him to AK! Things fell in place so fast for them, that we didn't think we were going to be able to see them again before they left.
So it was special to be able to say goodbye in person!

Last night was cold and windy for Florida, but before long, that won't feel so cold to them! :)

Girlfriends~ Trulie Sweet, Izzy, Tamara and Laney Claire

The boys~
Lincoln, Danny & Jacob

A.T. & Traci and Dan

Many good memories of time spent with this family! How fun would it be to go see them in Alaska? :)
We'll miss you guys, but I am so thankful for Facebook and email!! Can't wait to see where they will live! Sounds like a beautiful mountainous area! 

You just never know what friends you are going to make along the path of life....some come and some go!
Blessings Peyton's as you go!! Best wishes in this new adventure!! Enjoy some snow for me!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wherein Lies Fall, Confessions and Honesty

Almost 2 weeks ago, two of the GEMS board member's returned from a trip to Ohio to finish gathering items for the ministry auction this coming Saturday, Nov. 9th. They brought back some delicious northern apples for us!! :)

One day my friend Yolie came over, and her and I made lots of applesauce. Sadly I didn't take any pictures!! *gasp* But here are the big bags of fragrant apples!

This is an Ohio apple (left) compared to a FL apple (right) Big difference in appearance and taste!!BIG difference!!


A chapter of our lives has closed, in a sense. Dan has worked at Gulf Correctional Institute for the last 8 years, and a little over a week ago he worked his last day there. I am so thankful to God for placing Dan in that role. His life has changed for the better in many ways, and I get to reap some of those benefits :)....and he has helped me to grow through the things he learned! So, so very thankful. While they were a hard 8 years in more ways than one, I wouldn't do things differently! God used those years to change us in so many ways. He brought new friends into our lives in these past 8 years that have also showed us the face of Jesus in many ways!! He has faithfully blessed us in taking care of our needs, big and small.

Dan left an impact on many men, some he may not know till eternity. The inmates say they will miss him and I truly think they will!
One inmate drew this for him as his thank you! Other's sent cards home with him. I know he came away with fond memories!

Last week, he started a new position at Apalachee CI. He is the senior chaplain in the East unit. It's a lot of work to start fresh in a new (for him) facility and set up programs among many other responsibilities. 
Getting hired as a state chaplain was one of the motivations for him to get a 4 year degree.

There are some things about this new job that we don't understand. You would think since it's a position that requires a degree and beings he moved up to a Sr. chaplain position, that he would get a raise in pay. That is not the case. In fact, he is getting a pay cut, which came as a shock to us and was news that we were not prepared to hear. He will be getting benefits, but benefits don't pay the bills!
When we first found out, I panicked. I was trying to figure out what kind of a job I could get to help out. I was upset that this dream was turning out to be more of a "nightmare", because we also found out that the ministry is considering charging us rent for living in the ministry house since we are technically no longer "missionaries". I was so upset and was actually quite angry. We have a huge school tuition looming over our heads that we were struggling to pay monthly....and now this?? (We were relying heavily on this "promotion" to make things a little easier financially) It just felt so unfair!

 In the meantime, our small group was going through the chapter "The god of Money" in the book, "gods at War". I never thought money was a "god" to me, because me have never been wealthy. But through reading that chapter, I realized it WAS a god, because the lack of it consumed my thoughts almost every day in the form of worry!!

It is hard to get rid of a "god" that you worshiped for so long! It's not going to go away overnight. Instead, I have vowed to try my hardest to replace it with more time with the real God, my Saviour and Friend. Just yesterday, Tamara and I were listening to a devotional and the speaker, Lisa Chan said that we will find the time to do what is important. If we say we are too busy to spend an hour in communion with our Father, what is taking up all that time? Can I spend an hour scrapbooking, sewing, on Pinterest or Facebook OR listing stuff on Ebay or figuring out some way to make some more $$ (ie, depending on my own self, rather than God, to meet our needs)? Not that those things are wrong! But if we can easily waste an hour here and there doing things that please us, and we want to be serious about our relationship with Christ, we better change our priorities! I'm sure there are blessings I have missed because I tried to be in control of my own life and our family's needs.

I know God is in control and has a reason for this. While we can't see the big picture, He can! I'm so thankful for that and have to be reminded over and over again to rest in the knowledge that He knows!

So please pray for me as I learn to trust more and quit the worrying!
And, pray for Dan as he adjusts to a new facility, new staff, and new inmates! 


Dan participated in a 12 week "Run for God" program at a local Baptist Church. Last Saturday was the 5K to celebrate the end of the program! He and Danny ran.
Many in the program had never run before, so this was a low key, yet celebratory day!!

Dan came in 5th.....and close behind him was our neighbor Greg. Dan set a new PR and this was Greg's first 5K. He did very well!!

Danny came in 7th. I know he has potential to do so much better, but he lacks the motivation to train at this point! ;)

The "Parrish Lake Rd." runners! :) They came in 5th, 6th and 7th!! :)


We re-purposed some items around the house and made ourselves a little "patio". Half of these concrete pavers were  under the dog kennel. We got rid of the kennel a few weeks ago, since we don't keep the dogs penned up in it anymore. The rest came from the front flower bed, where our grill was parked. This area is where our pool was set up over the summer, so when we took it down this was created! :) I'm really, really liking it! We had fire in the pit 3 nights this weekend! One night we burned brush from the bushes Dan had trimmed around the house. The next night a big log was still smoking so we had another fire and then Friday night we made hobo's for supper.

Dan putting the hobo's in the fire.


And this was the finished product. I also learned that with venison burgers you have to spray the foil first so it doesn't stick! :P But it was yummy!! :)

We have been dealing with sinus/fever/congestion crud in the house for over a week. Tamara had a little cold first, then Dan suffered a few days with it (no fever). After he was about over it Danny got it and he had a fever with it! Then it was Tamara's turn again. This time she got a fever, too. But she isn't as sick as Danny was, thankfully. Her cough is nasty today, so her and I stayed home from church this morning. We all are staying home tonight. Danny still has a little bit of a cough too, yet. We just all want to get better!!

 This coming weekend is the annual GEMS Benefit Auction in Tallahassee, so I am thankful we are on the tail end of this stuff and hope everyone is feeling better by Friday! :)


 I close with the song "Let us Pray for Each Other" going through my head! I KNOW I am not alone in my struggles. I will keep praying....God knows!!

In a sense I am excited to see where God will lead us in the next year. He knows our dreams and our needs! I am going to trust Him to provide, even if things get worse before they get better!!

**I really wish my words would come out better on paper. I don't like writing my thoughts much because they always seem so jumbled, so thank you for reading through!  :) 

Have a lovely, new week!!