Monday, March 31, 2014

December Snow

We were only here a few days when we received our first snowfall! It was glorious to see all the christmas trees covered with glistening diamond dust as Spencer calls it.

I watched the snow fall softly during the night and took pictures as soon as it was daylight! 

The snow here is so powdery and sparkly! 

The air is so cold it's hard to breathe it in.

And I have to mention the smell... so crisp

These are just our views from the apartment balcony.

I could look at snow all day! 

and I did! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Romans 12

I remember years ago studying this chapter in a Tuesday Morning Ladies Bible Class. I was most likely half listening at the beginning of the class. I'm so glad I went all those many years ago. These are some of the most practical verses I have been able to apply to my life. Sometimes in the moment of putting out a fire, one cannot just stop time and run to the bible for a reference verse. I memorized this chapter and these have been some of my "go to" verses. I finally learned that God doesn't need me to to do his dirty work. God requires me to do his good work. He promises to take care of the nasty situations so I don't have to do it alone. He is in charge of giving people what they truly deserve. What a relief... this frees up a lot of my time. With 6 kids and lots of activities, I could have wasted so much energy giving people what I thought they deserved. Instead, I am called to do the fun speak God's word in truth, to teach, encourage, contribute generously, show mercy, honor and devote myself to others, be joyful, be patient, be faithful, share with those in need, practice hospitality, be a blessing, rejoice and mourn with people, associate with all people, and feed God's people. This is how we overcome doing good. Wow, this is so powerful being on the giving end. This practicing Romans 12 is fun. Then I hit a rough spot, I'm the one who needed mercy. I needed God's people to be all these things for me. Sadly, I was disappointed over and over again. Very few christians practiced their Romans 12 on me. I was sad, no really sad. I was more like devastated. The years passed by quickly and I somehow trudged along but never alone. God was by my side and he whispered powerful words of strength and wisdom to me. It was Romans 12 that gave me my peace when my heart was angry at others. On my spiritual journey, those verses from Romans have sustained me. Today on my physical journey, I live by these verses everyday. After all these years, life has become a complete joy.
Since leaving Deer Park on Sept 1,2013 already we see so much Romans 12 opportunity...I never dreamed God would place so many needs in front of us almost daily.  Now I can be much more proactive as we are constantly moving and living around the USA. No need to hold back now. I can bless anyone I want, anywhere I want, and I do. Steve has literally pulled me away from situations (he says for safety reasons...why? I'm not scared) Due to his ER work, he is more cautious than I. He deals with the homeless every day. I just encounter random needy people in strange places... like starbucks, mcdonalds, KFC, arby's, walmart, pike place market, etc... here's a few examples I want to remember forever about my journey ... can't make this up!

 "No, I can't be your girlfriend. I'm not hitting on you homeless man, it was just a cup of coffee and you only had 52 cents."
 "Then it was severe autistic boy with his dirt poor fam in a 25 year old subaru, and their KFC coupon expired. Really God? you chose me again?"
"in the dollar tree and a man barely speaking english wants me to call him a taxi? why me God? I'm not even from here."
"at Arby's and a girl upset her debit card declined." I only had a $100 bill, they wouldn't take it  and Steve stopped me from going back in when I went out to the car, against my better judgement.

Romans 12, I thought. But Steve reminded me how we cannot save everyone, we can just love them and pray for them. I said a pray for that girl. I'm afraid she has bigger problems that a $40 debit card decline.

and Steve... he's sneaky about giving. He likes to look for people that need a blessing. In a restaurant, we will watch people and decide who gets blessed...the busboy, waitress, hostess, needy family at next table, service men, or just any random person, etc...He's the "big tipper". I love that guy so much.

We've also been blessed ten fold by the goodness of strangers, too. Like the kid in Oregon who had his jimmy johns worker friends deliver dinner to us in the snow storm, and the snow chain removal couple at the rest stop...So much goodness these last 6 months and its all starting to run together.

So, this lesson over the years I've learned...I'm going to do what scripture calls me to do, no matter what. So, as we travel, I am constantly reminded of my duty to not repay others what I think they deserve, but to do for others what christians never did for me. Even the smallest random act of kindness can mean the world to some people.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Seattle Premonition

I've never told anyone about this story until recently, but I want to blog about it so I can remember it forever. First of all, I don't believe in luck, coincidences, karma or preminitions. I believe God has a plan for my life and he holds me in the palm of his hand. Period. So with that said, Back in Sept 2013, on our first trip to Disneyland of the year, I met a lovely lady at California Adventure. This whole thing is weird because basically I'm anti social and I don't just meet people. So, what I'm saying is that looking back on all this it appears to be no accident. We started our morning running to the California Screamin Rollercoaster ride as soon as the park opened. Most everyone headed to the new Cars Land exhibit, not us! My son wanted to ride a real roller coaster and first thing in the morning the lines are short. I mean really short like no one was there.You can see the empty seats in this picture! Lines so short in fact that Steve and Spencer rode it 17 times! Sometimes never even leaving their seats!

I don't ride roller coasters in the morning since it makes me dizzy all day, so I find a nice place to sit. A few minutes another "mom" joined me. Her hubby and children were riding as well. We had a nice conversation about the park, weather, how many times we've been to Disney, where we were staying, and how long we are vacationing, and where we were both from. She's from Seattle. I remembering telling her I was from Texas and I had been cold since I got off the plane. I had on my pink hoodie and she said she was warm and loving the Ca sunshine. She's homeschooling her kids and they always vacation in early September due to crowds. We chatted about an hour or so. Then said our goodbyes and headed off to more adventures with our families. The next morning we decided to hit up Disneyland and ride some rides first off that don't have fast passes. Anyone who has ever been knows the long entry lines at the gate and how they funnel you into main street for the rope drop! Well, we are waiting to get in, literally shoulder to shoulder with 50,000 other guests and wouldn't ya know that my new friend from yesterday was standing next me with her family. She says, remember me? And I was could I forget you? we spent yesterday morning together. What are the odds finding anyone let alone a stranger in these crowds. lol but, What's really crazy about the whole thing is what she said next about Seattle. She told me yesterday all about Seattle and invited us up to visit someday. I blew her off because I knew there was no way we would ever go up there in all the rain and gloomy weather. Finally, the rope drops and the crowds move and she says maybe your husband will take a job in Seattle. I shake my head no, and Steve leans in and says that it's not on his bucket list. hahaha! We continue to move with the crowd and end up in line together on the matterhorn. we all rode together and when the ride ended. we went our separate ways and I never saw her again. Our trip ended a few days later and we flew back to Texas. We met others on this trip, in fact a very interesting family from australia dined with us at Goofy's Kitchen, but for some reason, that conversation with the Seattle mom stuck in my head.  A few months later when Steve was on the phone with his recruiter about the Tacoma job, I was floored that he would even consider it, but he did and look where we are today. Our wonderful Disney vacation is but a memory now but I can't help but look back on that Seattle conversation and wonder...was this a clue to prepare for an unexpected adventure? Who knows, but one things for sure, I've learned to never say never on this travel nursing roller coaster! No telling where we end up next.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Seattle's Pike Place Market

So, on one of our first outings, 12/18/13, Steve headed straight for Seattle
and the historic Pike Place Market!
It did not disappoint! Lots of action down there. We had been warned about the crime and the homeless, but they didn't know we were from Htown and no stranger to all that, plus we just came from Roswell, NM. Downtown Seattle doesn't scare us, but there's always and element of fear in a new city! Seattle is everything they say it is.
Hip, trendy, music, food, shopping, gaming, and COFFEE!!!!
 My first glimpse of Seattle looked like this ...

It was a dreary day and the space needle to the left is so small...initially disappointing...however the day was successful as soon as I got to my fav place, Starbucks! and Pike Place Market is where it all started!

 My fav pike place grande coffee with splenda and halfnhalf!

It was a heavenly visit! Then onto the market to visit the stands!

So much to see and do!

Fresh Seafood everywhere!

and I mean lots of Seafood!

 Spencer enjoying a real coke, he said it was too sweet, Sonic is better!

 This is where they throw the fish around and sing!

Lots of street performers... you can hear music from anywhere in the market.
Then we left and headed to a really cool place called GAMEWORKS, in downtown near the mall. So fun, we hope to bring Spencer back to celebrate his 12th birthday in May.


 It is a massive gameroom with 3 levels and has many old retro games! 

 Steve and Spencer got their game on!

 I even found a game or two for me!

Ms. Pacman !

 It was dark when we left Seattle, but it was beautiful, all lit up for Christmas!

We have made many more trips since and loved it more every time we visit! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Pacifica Tacoma

Well, here we are at our new home for the next 13 weeks!

The Pacifica

4275 S. Pine Street
Tacoma, WA 

We checked into our apt on 12/7/13 and headed straight to Walmart to load up! We needed some bedding and household furnishings and of course food!

Brand spanking new, just opened this year! 

Wonderful lobby and elevators. This is the hallway leading to our 3rd floor flat! 

Apt #A303

 entry hall with a desk nook on the right!

 hallway bathroom with shower stall!

 gorgeous granite countertops, love them!

 complete with a new fitness room and flat screen tv's!

 very nice stove, oven, microwave!

New front loading washer and dryer!

 All stainless steel appliances!

 our master with new bedding and on suite bathroom!

 Little Bit loves it too! 

This place is a dream come true!

but, we are still missing one important thing...internet!
Steve took care of that right away.
We headed next door to the mall and he ordered cable and internet!

aaah...Home Sweet Home!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Some of the most glorious days

Some of the most glorious days have occurred these past few months. I just want to bottle them up and hold onto them forever. I'm concerned that if  I don't blog a little about it all that I will forget. So much happening in such a short amount of time. I think travel is like that....moments always spinning. We go from one adventurous day to the next. seriously, our life right now is that good. we love it. Here is a little about the adventure of just travelling from Roswell, NM to Tacoma, WA..

When we left Roswell,NM in Nov.2013, we knew we were headed to Tacoma, Wa with a start date of Dec 9. We made a short visit to Springtown, Tx, and then traveled on to see my precious Emilie in OKC.

 Got stuck there for 2 days in the snow/ice storm. 
We needed a good visit, Steve cooked lasagna and we watched Pacific Rim!

Then headed to Htown to see the rest of the family and drop off "stuff" at the storage.

 The traffic was a nightmare, but once we got there, we enjoyed a few meals with family! 
Steve is feeding Maddie ice cream at Gringo's! lol, it's late and she is half asleep.

We also ate lunch at Cheddars with Kelley, Kevin, and Gommie!

We also had a good visit with my dear neighbor, Gaylene!

Spencer loves neighbor Sharla's therapy dogs!

We nearly died twice, no joking. The rain and traffic were so bad in Houston.
We were ready to get back on the road and since there was about a 3 week gap in between assignments, we had lots of time to see everyone! 
Then we loaded up once more in Springtown,Texas and headed out west on nov 30. 
Bye Mom and Dad!

So thankful to have had a good visit with them and their terrorizing cat, Snowball!

We decided to travel via I20/I10 to LA. All packed up in our Jeep and ready for a new adventure!

New Mexico truly is the Land of Enchantment! 
love that big blue sky! the sun never stops shining there!

And Arizona was just down the highway!

LOVE the saguaro cactus!

 It was Spencer's first time to *see* Old Mexico in the distance and go through Ca border checkpoint.

and of course, once we arrived in California, Disney was in our path,again! lol

It was a wonderful visit again and to see the park decorated for Christmas... this was a lifelong dream come true for me! 
I'm planning to blog about our visit to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm very soon!
Until then, here's a glimpse of the castle decorated for christmas! Wow!

We also added a day at Knotts Berry Farm and the guys enjoyed the thrill rides! 

So... leaving LA on Dec 5 gave us 2 days to travel and arrive in Tacoma to check into our apt on December 7. no problem, right? WRONG! 
The drove was wonderful up I5 through Cali, the orange groves and avocado trees were so refreshing.

but as soon as we crossed into Oregon...all hell broke loose. 
It was crazy for these Texans. The wind, the snow, the mountain passes, the ice...

So, we just got behind a snow plow and prayed for dear life. 
Seriously and at 30 miles an hour too.
It took us what seemed forever to get to Ashland Oregon.

We stayed over night and the next day headed to Eugene OR, took all day to get there. 

We found a charming pet friendly LaQuinta and spent the night!

Mittens seemed to love it too! 
Little Bit was hiding under the bed, but she soon came out to see the snow!

So, we bought snow chains the next day and traveled through the remainder of Oregon, needing to remove them shortly as we drove out of most of the snowy passes.

A kind passerby helped Steve remove them then asked Steve to take their picture as they were newlyweds and wanted a snow pic for their xmas cards!
The roads became clearer and finally we are crossing into Washington State, so many trees, bridges, rivers, mountains...

We arrived in Tacoma on Sat, 12/7 in the afternoon to a beautiful brand spanking new 2 bedroom luxury apt, The Pacifica! ahhh Life is Good!