Tag Archives: good friends

Road Trip

After four days with my brothers in California, getting some important legal stuff done, I hit the road with a great friend to drive my Dad’s old Cadillac back to Georgia. (No, not in the Mustang. Sadly, I had to return it to the rental company. 😦 BooHoo.) My brothers agreed that my three youngest boys could use Papa’s car until they save up enough money to get their own vehicles. Figuring that this big’ole Cadillac is a lot safer than a small compact car for these boys in their early years of driving. (Especially Gerrit. If you haven’t read his story yet, you can find it here.)

It’s a comfortable car, but not something the youngsters are going to want to show off to their friends with! Like I said, they can use it until they can purchase their own cars… and driving this big’ole car may be an incentive for them to get jobs and save up. Eh? 😉

Maurene and I took Interstate 40 across the country, stopping when we felt like it, but wishing we would have spent more time planning what we could have seen along the way. We’d see a sign for some monument or historical site, and before we could decide if we felt like going to it… we’d pass the exit, then just shrug! LOL!



New Mexico Sunset

New Mexico Sunset

Windy New Mexico

Windy New Mexico



So, we decided that we will do this trip again next year, plan it better, and rent a Mustang! (We’ll just have to budget in for tickets.)

New Mexico Sunset

New Mexico Sunset


Best lunch ever!

Best lunch ever!

Maurene is one of those friends that is easy to be with. We chatted, listened to music, listened to an Audible book, got into deep discussions, or just looked on in silence. Anything we do together is always comfortable and easy-going. I like that. It’s what I needed at this sad time in my life. She was a salve on my broken heart.


Some of the devastation we saw from the road in Oklahoma.

Some of the devastation we saw from the road in Oklahoma.

We got home in four days. However, we did contemplate shooting past our exit and driving a few more hours to the coast!



It was good to get home and see my family and all the pets. There was lots to do, but I was able to enjoy having Maurene out here with us for a little over a week after that.

Wish we lived closer to each other…

My problem after living here for so long is, no matter which end of the continent I live on, I will be missing good friends. But that’s a good problem to have!

Thank you Maurene, for a great road trip.






Filed under Our Friends Around the World, Things I like


As I come “down” from a very busy day, I am thinking of some of my friends.

Friends are such a vital part of our lives. Back when we were in high school it seemed that the amount of friends was the most important thing. You were “popular” if you had lots of friends. And if you were popular, you had value. There MUST be something good about you… look at all the people who “like” you! At least that’s what I always thought… and never quite achieved.

Well, as time goes on and you “mature”, you begin to realize that it’s not at all in the amount. It is in the depth of those friendships that really matters.

A few “good friends” outweigh the “many”… easily. I just wish I could have known that back then.

Now… as I sit and reflect on the friends in my life, I am so grateful for those that have stuck with me, and accepted me just the way I am, through thick and thin. I am grateful for you.

There are those that uplift me and inspire me. Those that are always ready with a hug, a laugh, a smile. Some that are able to point out my “errors” without condemnation, and some that are great listeners. Those that can agree to disagree, and those that are just for hanging out and having fun with. Some, and this number is very small, that I can pour my heart and soul out to, and I know that they aren’t going anywhere. They love me in spite of myself.

Yes, I am grateful for friends. Thank you friends.

I have made some friends through this blog too, and feel as though I know you personally. What I wouldn’t give to be able to spend an afternoon with you!

But my best and most trusted friend is Jesus. No matter how bad I mess up, no matter how awful I’ve been, no matter how far I’ve strayed, no matter what my messed up self is going through… He is there waiting for me to talk to, to lean on.

I am grateful for that Friend the most.

What kind of life I would be living without knowing that I am going to be okay – no matter what comes my way – I just can’t imagine.

I used to think that talking about “Jesus” was corny. But when you get to a certain age, you just don’t seem to be bothered about what others think as much. I like this age for that reason.

I KNOW what He has done in my life, and I am glad that He didn’t give up on me.

He still has His work cut out for Him, but I live in the peace that I am not in the driver’s seat! That is oddly refreshing to me (since I love to drive so much!). As long as I let him LEAD me through this life, I will be okay. I CAN’T DO IT BY MYSLEF! And I am so happy that I don’t have to.

As much as my husband might think that I am “superwoman”… I am NOT.

Everyday starts with the words, “guide me today”. Because I feel like I’m hanging onto the back of a giant rollercoaster most days. Flying around and just hanging on for dear life. Somehow, He gets me through each day. And my goal for this year is that I not just “survive” each day, but “thrive”.

He promises PEACE now. Here. In THIS life.

That is what I want. That is what I want to share with others.

So, as I close this day (of utter chaos)… I pray for peace. Peace through the broken dishes, spilled milk, quarrels, sick pets, piano lessons, attitudes, deadlines, and late nights of studying things I don’t understand. Peace through the pressures of homeschooling, housekeeping, feeding ever-hungry-boys, and piles of laundry.

I found a quote the other day that said “Do less, get more done.”

Sounds good.

But how?

Well, I am going to make a conscious effort to not take on as many extra activities this year. And focus on what I already have on my plate. Maybe I’ll get done some of what I’ve already started.

The most important thing in life lays before me – to parent and teach my boys.

With the encouragement of my friends, the peace from God, and while holding the hand of my best friend Jesus, I head into this year with HOPE.

Hope to thrive, to love, to dream, to create, to mold, to encourage and to have PEACE in the process.

I wish for you the same.





Filed under Thoughtful Reflection

Special Guests

Every summer now for the past several years we have had the pleasure of having some very dear friends come and visit us all the way from Japan!

Watkasuki's 041(2002)

We met around 1998 when we were next door neighbors! They had a little boy who became friends with my boys and they played together for quite awhile before we got to know his parents. I believe he was three years old at the time… and mine were 13, 2 1/2, and not quite one. Harrison wasn’t even thought of yet!

Watkasuki's 039Kaoru (I think about 5 or 6 years old)

Their little guy Kaoru, was at our house almost every day after his preschool! He just gradually became one of “our boys”!

Watkasuki's 033(Summer of 2002 – I think)

And our friendship with his parents began to grow over time and has been such a blessing to us all these years.

We love all three of them and were very sad when they had to move back to Japan.

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(One last farewell hug! 2001 – I think.)

But we look forward to seeing them every summer when they come for a visit to America! And this summer is no exception. Although it will be the shortest visit to date.

Watkasuki's 034(2004 – maybe)

Nagisa has taught me many things. Things about Japanese cooking, about being open minded to other ideas and cultures, and about reaching out to others even when you are told information that may discourage you from doing so. Because that information may be WRONG! She is truly one of my most precious friends.

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We don’t get to see Yuji as much anymore since he is unable to come out in the summers, but he does come to America for work now and then and we are lucky enough to have him spend some time with us when he does. He is a very special person and so kind to our kids!

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And Kaoru (who is now 14) is just one of the most wonderful kids I know! He has a spot in my heart that will always remain just for him. When he used to come over as a very small boy he soon learned that if he was going to be at my house he was going to have to play by my rules… and he did! He began to just be part of our lives and a part of our family. I loved it… and so do all four of his “brothers”!

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So many different photographs are coming to my mind right now… of when they were all very little young (Darren was never very little!) and although I would love to put them up on here for you… they are in a box. One of these days I am going to get that out again and rescan them. I lost a lot of my old photos when my computer died.

But here are a few of Kaoru these past few years on his visits.

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For Darren’s high school graduation a few years ago, Nagisa and Yuji’s gift to him was a trip to Japan! Needless to say they think a lot of him! Then the next year a friend of ours paid his way to go and accompany her son on his trip to Japan. How does one get so lucky? This is a picture from his last trip. He plans on saving up his money and going again in the future. And yes, a six foot three and half inch blond guy does attract some attention over there! As shy as he is… I think he loves it.

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Oh, there is so much I want to say here… so much to tell about these special friends… but I must cut this short and just say that we are very blessed to know them and are getting very excited about their visit. The boys are especially anxious to show Nagisa all the things that they’ve made over the last two weeks, and to see how tall Kaoru has gotten!

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Here’s to good friends… wonderful memories… and many more years fo sharing our lives with each other.




Filed under In The News, Our Friends Around the World, Something Special