Wednesday, December 11, 2019


When it rains at Niagara Falls, enjoy it with an umbrella!
Well, we all have them and a JOB LAYOFF hit us this year.

The Hubs had worked 22 years for this company and you hear about this kind of thing, but you never think it will happen to you - a consistent, hard-working, loyal employee.  But if there's anything I've learned over my 50+ years, it's that NOTHING'S SIMPLE.  In fact we have a little saying at our house, NOTHING'S EVER SIMPLE, usually referring to home and car repair - LOL.

The Hubs will tell you that after getting the hint the week before it happened, he shifted into overdrive a couple of days.  He spent a few hours with his twin brother.  He talked to co-workers. By the time he got the call from the boss, he had an amazing response, "Lay it on me!"  His boss laughed and apologized that he had to make this call.  It happened to 153 others too.  It was purely a reorganization and was nothing personal.

For several weeks after that he had a lot of "conversations" with people in and out of the tech industry. He updated and submitted a lot of resumes.  Had a few interviews.  We considered moving to Tennessee for a job.  Even with the thought we could come back and retire here in a few years, we decided with our kids that live here, our aging mothers nearby, our church that we love so much - it was just too much to give up, although the adventure sounded fun and refreshing.  We talked a lot about our goals, our lifestyle, downsizing our home, making our home into a bed and breakfast (LOL - not for very long) and early retirement.

I tried as best I could to not say everything I was thinking.  He is the one who has supported our family financially for so many years.  He needed to do what was best in that regard.  A friend has told me more than once in conversation that you go where the job is, and I remembered that each time he considered a job somewhere besides here.  Thank goodness I had a big project going on - the women's retreat at church.  My mind was occupied with all the meetings, details, and specifics of that! But after that, I was pretty weepy, considering giving up the ministry and activities I love so much if we were to move away.

God provided a new friend to The Hubs during this time!  An acquaintance at church became a confidante and calming presence to him.  This man was the husband of a friend of mine, and had been laid off from his job earlier in the year.  He has a new position out of state now, but is able to maintain their home here and visit family often.  They met a few times and his advice to The Hubs was this:

Now, I knew he needed a project, something to do in all the hours he was waiting around for the phone to call.  But I didn't want to cause any more stress with my suggestions.  He respected the advice given and guess what?  He immediately went to work on one of our upstairs bathrooms!  It hadn't been touched since our daughter painted the wallpaper around 2006.  He challenged himself to get it retiled and painted for under $300 or something like that. It was worth every penny.  He tore out tile, scraped wallpaper, retextured, replaced moldy sheetrock, re-tiled, grouted, and painted. We finished it up with new towels and shower curtain.  
Before and after
Working out nervous energy

Other benefits of being "off work" were being able to participate in some things at church he ordinarily didn't have time for, and helping me with retreat things, even coming down to the camp to help set up.  Together we helped a family from church on their moving day, and the biggie - we went on a two week road trip to Maine!  All the while, trusting that


One thing that hit me a few weeks into this turn of events was that had this happened in July 2018, we would have been much more stressed.  At that time, we were headed to Portland Oregon for our son's wedding in August, and still had a semester of his college left to pay for.  This year we had no big financial obligations like that!  God's timing is right.   

As I wrote this post, I realized HOW IMPORTANT FRIENDS AND FAMILY are and were to us during this time of uncertainty.  The Hub's new friend I mentioned already, but we also were supported by others.  We went to eat dinner at Panera one evening, and coming in the door with some church acquaintances turned into sitting together and getting caught up.  Our friend prayed for The Hub's job search at dinner and that meant a lot to us.  Our kids were upbeat and supportive - our DIL's parents own a lake house and she invited us to join them for a weekend there.  We went on a previously planned trip to Georgia with our long-time Bible study group friends and that was such great time to know that we are loved whatever our circumstances.  We were encouraged by a former work friend that encouraged us to come up and stay at their home in Maine, which prompted an amazing 2 week road trip.  Several people at church encouraged us through conversation and texts. You just never know what simple acts of kindness will impact another's life.
A weekend with our kids at Lake Tenkiller in August

Our sweet Christian brothers and sisters - trip to Senoia, Georgia

Former work friend we stayed with in Maine

There was a lot of talking, praying and thought during this time.  It was a strange time of feeling "less than"  (for me, at least), clarification of our goals, a sweet time of togetherness for The Hubs and myself, and rest.  But, it's nice to be past it, to have health insurance paid for once again, and to not have to answer the questions anymore.  A lot of lessons learned.

I pray 2020 is smooth, but we all know LIFE HAPPENS.  And it's not all good.  Remembering our lives are in God's hands and trusting that he has a plan means I don't have to worry or fret about it.  Romans 8:28 "We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan." NCV

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Highlights:  Portland, Maine -  Freeport Maine - Rockingham, Vermont - Brattleboro,Vermont - Pennsylvania - Wheeling, West Virginia - Williamstown, Kentucky

 The famous Portland Head Lighthouse in Portland, Maine - gorgeous!

We walked out onto the rocks to see the Spring Point Lighthouse - it's a short one!  This is our wonderful host with The Hubs.  I posted earlier about their wonderful hospitality.  

Boots, anyone? L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine.  We felt like the whole town was kind of an outlet mall, but we did eat a delicious lunch at an Inn and the drive up there was pretty (we took a scenic route) with the fall leaves and lovely homes.
One of only a few pics of New Hampshire - I wasn't feeling well so slept through most of that state!  We drove several hours through some rural towns and The Hubs got pretty worried at one point because we were getting low on gas and hadn't seen a gas station for a long time!  We were saved with only 20 miles left in the gas tank.

The Vermont Country Store in Rockingham, Vermont (one of three locations in Vermont)was something I definitely wanted to see.  I had gotten their catalog some 30 years ago and had ordered things from them occasionally. They have a lot of old-fashioned things other stores don't sell.  It was a fun stop and we did end up making a few purchases.   

Photo-op by the Vermont Country store

We loved spending two nights in Brattleboro, Vermont!  We hiked nature trails and up a steep incline to this ski jump!  It was kind of scary being on the structure.  I can't imagine being on snow skis and going down that.  They are having a competition there in February!

In the middle of the woods of Brattleboro there is this lookout tower they call the Retreat tower.  It was built in the 1800's by patients of the Insane Asylum nearby.  The history of the hospital is interesting - back then they were known for their new treatment which included treating patients as productive people who could work and enjoy nature.  Unfortunately the tower is locked up due to several unknown people/patients that jumped to their death.  There are no roads up to the tower, you have to hike to it, and it's hard to see until you are right upon it.  Also, there is a small cemetery on the grounds near the trails.

So many covered bridges up here and this one has been turned into a picnic spot!  We got our lunch from a delicious local deli - Vermont Country Deli - then came over here to eat one day.

So the Vermont Country Deli was amazing - we got lunch there 2 days in a row!  Look at these cookies the size of my hand!

We learned about making maple sugar at the Robb Family Farm and bought lots of maple goodies too!  We had been wondering what "those ropes" around the trees were...

The maple syrup cooker and purifier

Downtown Brattleboro has lots of shops and restaurants and is a good afternoon stroll! This mural says something about Carter's Little Liver Pills, which is something my mother used to say!

Before we left we stopped by an Apple farm and also a cheese making factory!  So much good stuff to eat around here!  Right by the apple farm was the Rudyard Kipling house.  The author lived there for a few years after he got married.  The house is now part of the Landmark Trust and you can actually stay in it!  
Heading home, we are really burning up the road!  On this turnpike in Pennsylvania we drove through 4 of these tunnels.  Each one had the name of the mountain on it that we were driving through.  The turnpike charge was something like $28!  Guess those tunnels are expensive!
 Wheeling, West Virginia!  We were only in WV a short time, but we made time for a lunch stop at the Soup Shack in an historic old market place.  Definitely needed some TLC but had some great history there.  

The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky was an interesting thing to see!  It is the largest timber structure in the world and they used information from the Bible and shipbuilding practices of that day to make this amazing boat.  They had many ideas inside of the ark to show how food and water could have been stored, where animals and waste could have been managed, etc.  Of course, I believe even without all these devices God was going to take care of them in a supernatural way.  Overall, I felt it was expensive to only spend 2 hours there.  They had speakers and singing groups scheduled throughout the day but we couldn't stay that long.  We tried to watch a short film called "Interview with Noah," but it was just too cheesy.  We left.  Some of the the exhibits were closed for the season as well.  My review would be that it is great for those who know nothing about the biblical story, but it was also very preachy.  Just kind of strange to me in some ways.

Our daughter was working in Kentucky at the time we drove through, so we stopped by to see her!

So after that we had a night in Tennessee, but it was nothing but a stay.  We were anxious to be home after driving so much and so many one night stays. It was great though, we only paid for two nights of the entire trip because we used hotel points, plus we stayed with friends in Maine.  This trip was a unique time for The Hubs in between jobs and a time to be away from responsibilities of church and home.  It was a time for us to have fun together and worry less.  It was a great road trip and way to see so much of the country.  My only regret is not getting to see more of Maine and Vermont!  Next time...

Thursday, November 14, 2019


A stop at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut on our road trip deserves it's own post.  Like the song (Sentimental Journey) says, I was like a child in wild anticipation!  I hadn't been there since I was 16, and I was excited to share my memories with The Hubs.  

Backstory:  When I was 16 years old, my Dad, a professor of Mathematics at Oklahoma Christian University, was honored to get to study Babylonian Mathematics at Yale for the summer of 1980.  It was a wonderful experience for him academically and a great surprise for our family, as we had taken "our last big road trip as a family" the summer before to California.  Dad arranged for my mother, sister and me to fly up to Connecticut and join him the last month.  We had an apartment, with no air conditioning (which was common there) but the summer of 1980 is known historically as one of the hottest!  I thought the people up there must be crazy to not have air conditioning.  

For a month, my sister and I walked all over New Haven, stopping often in the Peabody Museum to see the dinosaurs, eating pizza at a local diner, going to the mall, even taking sewing lessons at a fabric store.  We were extras in a commercial filmed at the mall.  We went to several events on the Yale campus with our parents- a tour and film nights; a picnic with the other professors.  We went to church and doubled the size of the youth group, enjoying time in one of the member's homes.  On the weekends we went to other states - saw Boston, New York City, and Princeton, New Jersey, even staying with another professor and his wife in their home.  We enjoyed Hamonasset Beach and Mystic Seaport.  We grew to love Italian bakeries.  I realized on the way home I had not seen a Mexican restaurant in a month!  On the drive home we stopped to take in more history and culture in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Nashville.  I actually kept a journal of the trip, so it's fun to read and see what my 16 year old mind thought about all these new experiences.  

 Our first stop in New Haven was at an Italian bakery for some goodies!

 Peabody Museum of Natural History, on the campus of Yale University.

They had a special exhibit on Babylonian Antiquities, which is what my Dad studied there!

The Peabody also has an excellent dinosaur room!  This was my first time ever as a kid to see actual dinosaur bones!

 In the Children's Area, they have Hissing Cockroaches and Leafcutter Ants!

What they believe the Dodo bird may have looked like, based on the skeleton.

So, I mentioned in my teenage trip journal that Clark's pizza was the best.  And they are still there!!!! 

This beautiful bell tower on campus was chiming as we walked by!

Entrance to the Sterling Memorial library, which has interesting architecture and history.  

This is something I've always been in awe of on the campus since I first saw it - the Beinecke Rare Book Museum.  They have one of five Gutenberg Bibles in the US displayed here.  But what I really loved are the walls.  They are made of marble.  On the outside of the building it looks like a plain white building.  But when you get inside, if it's a sunny day, you can see the sun shining through the marble and all the striations of the stone.  It's always been so amazing to me!  I was tickled to just walk around inside and show this to The Hubs as well.

The few hours we spent here were really special to me.  I loved seeing the sights and eating the foods I remembered.  I never really had memories of living anywhere else except Oklahoma, so New Haven, Connecticut was a real eye-opener for me in so many ways: historically, an ivy league university, small churches, and the culture.  It was such a wonderful experience and I'm so glad I got to share a little bit of it with The Hubs.