Don’t just hide God’s Word in your heart….Speak it!

In the beginning was the Word

I’ve begun a new discipline in my life inspired by the book written by Joyce Meyer: “The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word“.

This little book packs a powerful punch!

THE WHY

The author describes the circumstances in her life that lead her to the discovery that it isn’t enough to simply read God’s Word or even memorize it. We need to speak His Word out loud in order for it to work its supernatural power in our lives and in the earth. She learned that “it is good to stop doing the wrong things, but the real harvest comes in our lives when we plant seed by doing the right thing.”

Romans 4:17 states that God speaks life to the dead and calls nonexistent things as if they already existed. I began doing the same thing. I was calling those things that did not yet exist in my life into being by confessing God’s Word….Confessing God’s Word isn’t a way to get our own will accomplished but, rather, the will of God. As we believe and confess God’s Word we are setting ourselves in agreement with Him for His plan to come to pass in our lives.

THE WHAT

The author presented some Biblical examples of speaking God’s Word out loud. One was the example of the young shepherd boy, David:

First Samuel 17:42-48 tells us that when David was preparing to do battle with the giant Goliath, he ran toward him confessing out loud what he believed the end result of the battle would be….He prophesied the end result from the beginning of the event. God does the same thing according to His Word. (ISAIAH 46:9-10, ISAIAH 48:6-7.)

She also emphasized the fact that angels “hearken to the voice of God’s Word” and that when we speak God’s Word “they hear it and to go work for us.” That’s exciting!

Are not the angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service [of God for the assistance] of those who are to inherit salvation? HEBREWS 1:14

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word. PSALM 103:20

The author says “They want to work on our behalf, that is their assignment from God, but we need to release them by speaking or praying God’s Word.”

THE HOW

She goes on to explain how we are to use this supernatural tool in our daily lives.

Each time a thought comes to your mind that does not agree with God’s Word, confess the truth of God’s Word out loud, and you will find the wrong thought disappearing…

…Casting down imaginations, thoughts, reasonings, and theories that don’t agree with God’s Word requires us to use our offensive weapon – the Word of God coming out of our mouth. When we speak, it becomes a two-edged sword that defeats the enemy with one edge and opens the blessings of heaven with the other.

We can release God’s Word through prayer, confessing His Word out loud, and taking God-inspired action. We are blessed in the “doing” not just the “knowing.” James 2:17 says, “Faith without works is dead.”

THE RESULT

God’s word teaches us that our tongues are as the pen of a ready writer (PSALM 45:1) and our hearts are as a tablet (PROVERBS 3:1, 3). When we speak God’s Word we are writing it onto our hearts. I never realized that! I thought reading it or memorizing it was enough. No wonder it sometimes felt like even though I KNOW God’s word it is hard to actually LIVE it.

Joyce Meyer wrote:

God’s Word does not return void.

Isaiah teaches us that the Word coming out of God’s mouth (which I believe can also be our mouths dedicated to Him) will not return void. It accomplishes what it was sent to do.

As His representatives, we should speak His Word just the same as He would. We should speak it boldly, with authority, believing it has power to change our lives and circumstances.

And He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, You know! Again He said to me, Prophesy to these bones and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.….So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a [thundering] noise and behold, a shaking and trembling and a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone…So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath and spirit came into [the bones], and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceedingly great host. EZEKIAL 37:3-4, 7, 10

I am excited to embark on this adventure of proclaiming God’s Word from my mouth. If you happen to hear me muttering to myself don’t assume I’m losing my marbles…I may be confessing God’s Word and writing it on my heart and releasing heaven’s angels to do their work here on earth!

 

 

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Merry Christmas 2017!

 

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Denver City and County Building at Christmas

Today is Monday, December 11, 2017 and it is actually early for me to begin writing my annual Christmas letter! This season seems so quiet and relaxed compared to Christmases past. The reason must be because our children are all grown and living on their own and so I don’t have all of the usual planning, cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping etc, etc, etc, that I used to do when they were growing up at home. I miss those days of having children at home because that is when the “magic” of Christmas seemed so near.

When I reflect back on this past year it seems as if we were away from home more than we were at home. Our year looked like this:

January 2017 collage

JANUARY: I went to Dallas right after the New Year to spend 2 weeks with my sister Vickie to help her after she had a hip-replacement surgery. Her surgery went very well and she recuperated well but I was glad I planned on staying 2 weeks instead of one.

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My sister Vickie is on the bottom left of this photo

Towards the end of the month Redgie & I went to Lynchburg VA (the home of our alma mater Liberty University) to purchase a new 3 BR/2.5 BA home (seen in the collage photo above). We spent 6 weeks furnishing & stocking the home to get it ready to put on the vacation rental market. While I was there my mother came from GA to help me with the shopping, decorating and furnishing of the property. She was only supposed to stay one week but ended up staying two. Thanks, Mom!

FEBRUARY: While I continued working on the house in Lynchburg Redgie took a short break and went to Myrtle Beach for his annual golf trip with his buddies from Altoona. As usual, they played a huge number of rounds of golf and enjoyed the fellowship of long friendships.

Myrtle Beach Golf trip

Ken, Reg, Steve & Dale

 MARCH: Two days after returning home from Lynchburg we received a letter from the HOA of the community informing us that we could not rent the house on the short term market. What??

Long story short, the HOA prohibits rentals for less than 6 months so we were not in compliance with the HOA bylaws. Ultimately it was our fault that we missed this little clause in the poorly organized 144 page HOA document. However, before we even made the offer to buy the house we called the HOA management company office and specifically asked the question and were told that Cornerstone “follows the same rules as the City of Lynchburg.” That sounded like good news, since we had already researched and did not find any rental restrictions in Lynchburg for short term rentals. To back that up we saw listings in Cornerstone on VRBO and Airbnb so we knew that other owners in our community were renting on the short term market.

We appealed to the HOA board for an exception but were denied.

In the meantime, we learned that while the City of Lynchburg did not have any restrictions against short term rentals, neither did they have a provision to provide a business license to operators of short term rentals. In a phone conversation with the City Planner I learned that we could apply for a Special Use Permit (the process that hotels and Bed-and-Breakfasts went through to obtain a business license.) But the City Planner basically told me it was a crap-shoot if we would be approved since the City Council did not have a plan in place for short term rentals.

All of this felt like a door being shut on our dream of owning a second home in Lynchburg and sharing that home with others on a short term basis. So after owning the home exactly 2 months we decided to list the home for sale. The good news is that we got a contract on the house just 17 days later. (Stay tuned for the rest of the story!)

The last weekend of March saw us traveling to Monterey, CA to attend Brooks’ MBA Graduation ceremony. He received a Masters degree in Business Administration from The U.S. Navy Post Graduate School. We enjoyed spending the weekend with Brooks & Christina and visiting with Christina’s parents Irene & Harry and family in Palo Alto. We are very proud of both Brooks & Christina for working so hard to obtain their Masters degrees!

APRIL: We spent 2 weeks at our condos in Florida in April. For one of those weeks we had the company of our good friends Jan & Lanny. It was so much fun having them stay with us! We enjoyed beautiful beach weather, lots of good seafood and lots of laughter and fellowship. I hope they’ll consider making this an annual event! During those two weeks Redgie & I (as usual when we make the trip to one of our properties) spent time fixing, upgrading, replacing, stocking and generally making sure the condos were all ready for the busy summer season.

Apr 21 Jan & Lanny at the Back Porch

Lanny & Jan

When we got home to CO at the end of the month we were just in time for a spring blizzard which dumped several inches of heavy, wet snow everywhere. What a shock to my system! But, we need the moisture so I didn’t complain (too much!)

Apr - Beach and Snow view

 MAY: We went back to Lynchburg on May 14 to pack up the rental house and put everything in storage. Since the time we started advertising the house as a vacation rental till the time we had to stop advertising we had taken 5 bookings and were able to honor all of the bookings, for which we were grateful. The good news was that it supported our hunch that Lynchburg is a good location for vacation rentals. But it was still very bittersweet to un-do everything that we had just spent 6 weeks doing. We were scheduled to sell the house to the new owner on May 19 but the closing was delayed for a couple of weeks. While we were in Lynchburg we spent some time with our local realtor and looked at lots of new properties. Eventually we found one located only 4 minutes from the Liberty campus and made an offer, which was accepted. And so for the 2nd time in 6 months we started the process of buying another home.

On May 30 Redgie and I boarded an overseas flight for a 2-week Baltic Cruise that we were sharing with 8 other couples – 18 of us in all! We were cruising on the Princess Cruise line, which was very enjoyable. We had a day and a half in Copenhagen and then on Friday we boarded our ship, the Regal Princess to begin a 12-night Baltic cruise!

Our itinerary included stops at the following ports of call:

Oslo, Norway 6/3/17
Berlin, Germany 6/5/17
Tallinn, Estonia 6/7/17
St. Petersburg, Russia 6/8/17 – 6/9/17
Helsinki, Finland 6/10/17
Stockholm, Sweden 6/11/17
Copenhagen, Denmark 6/13/17

We had such a great time visiting a part of the world we had never been to and sharing those experiences with so many of our good friends.

(Click on a photo in the collage to view its caption)

 JUNE & JULY: We didn’t get home from the cruise until June 13. On June 26 we were back in Lynchburg to attend the 1st of two County Zoning Commission public meetings to address our application to operate a short-term rental in Campbell County. As soon as we got home we headed up to Dillon to spend our annual 4th of July holiday week at our condo there. We love spending this time up in Dillon! There is so much to see and do during the summer time. It is our favorite time of year in Dillon. Every time we go up to Dillon I hear Redgie say at least once “I love it here!”

It was during July that we received word that our dear friend Don Robnett passed away after a long battle with cancer. He & his wife Jan had been housemates at the BBH with us and Dave & Lynn for a while and it was during that time that we grew to love them both. Our hearts broke for Jan’s loss and we still think of and miss Don’s sweet smile all these months later. 

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Our good friend Don Robnett passed away on July 2, 2017. We miss him…

AUGUST & SEPTEMBER: On August 1 we were back in Lynchburg to attend the final public hearing to approve our application for a special use permit. Good news, it was approved!

Aug 1 Celebrating at Monkee Joes

We celebrated the approval of our Special Use Permit with a visit to Monkee Joe’s Ice Cream…yum!

We went back home for a couple of weeks and then came back to close on the purchase of the new house on August 16. What a process! But FINALLY we could get the house put together and start taking bookings.

The new house (called “Candlers Mountain Retreat”) is located just 4 minutes from the Liberty University campus, which will be a great benefit to the families who rent our home while visiting their student at LU, or alumni coming for a game, or online students coming to attend some Intensive classes.

Right behind the house is a horse farm. Our favorite “neigh-bor” is William the Donkey. He’s a real friendly cutie!

(Click on a photo in the collage to view its caption)

Little did we know that it would take 7 weeks before we were finished and back home again. The rest of the month of August and all of September saw big changes at the new house: new wood floors, new paint, new appliances for the kitchen, new washer/dryer, plantation shutters for all of the windows and some new furniture & bedding since this house had one more bedroom and one more living space than the first one. My favorite project was the very large accent wall in the main living/dining/kitchen area that we covered with whitewashed shiplap. It was a true DIY projects and looks awesome (if I may say so myself!

To view all of the “after” renovation photos of the property please visit our website here.

It wasn’t all work and no play, though. Redgie & I enjoyed going to Convocation at Liberty, attending services at Thomas Road Baptist Church and a couple of football games at Liberty too! Go Flames!

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Reg and Dane at Convocation at Liberty

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The “71” flag is in honor of Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.

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The “Spirit of the Mountain” marching band performs during a football game

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A Sunday service at Thomas Road Baptist Church

Reg took a side trip to Altoona in September to participate in the annual Precious Life Golf Tournament. He enjoys playing golf in this tournament with the same buddies from Altoona that go to Myrtle Beach together every year. He got to see his sister Tammy & her husband Mark for one evening before they headed up to Clarion to celebrate their granddaughter’s 3rd birthday.

OCTOBER & NOVEMBER: We enjoyed a couple of beautiful autumn weeks at home at the beginning of October. Reg & I (and Bebe) took as many e-bike rides as we could fit in during this peaceful interlude.

Bebe turned 9 years old on Oct 8.

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Happy 9th Birthday Bebe!

By Oct 21 we were on our way to FL for our annual fall trip to the beach condos. My sister Vickie and two of her best friends from high school (Ellen and Patty) joined us for the first week. They stayed in one condo and we stayed in the other. Vickie, Ellen & Patty had a wonderful week reminiscing, laughing and talking. I had fun with them whenever I joined them (which was often since Redgie had to travel a good bit that week.)

We left FL and traveled straight to Lynchburg on November 8 to spend the long weekend at the new house with a group of our friends from Altoona. Steve & Sue, Mark & Cathy and Ken joined us for a Liberty-filled weekend. (All are alumni except for Sue, who graduated from Penn State but we don’t hold that against her!)  🙂

We went to convocation on Friday, ate lunch at the student cafeteria, attended a basketball game Friday night, went to the football game on Saturday and attended church at Thomas Road Sunday morning before everyone hit the road to go home. We had SO much fun! I hope we’ll be able to plan many more weekend getaways like that in the future.

Val, Cathy & Sue

Val, Cathy & Sue

The gang at the Snowflex

The gang at the Snowflex at the top of the LU campus

Thanksgiving dinner was at our house and we were happy to share it with Shannon & Robert and Brady & his girlfriend Colbie. After dinner Redgie and the kids played a fun game of “Ticket to Ride”. Everyone had fun!

Thanksgiving fun

The next day (on Redgie’s 59th birthday) we headed up to Dillon to spend two nights. We swapped all of the summer decorations & bedding for the winter decorations & bedding and decorated the condo for Christmas. That is always fun! We went to Pugs for dinner and Redgie enjoyed seeing his “local friends” there as always. (He says he feels like Norm on the TV series “Cheers” because whenever he shows up the local guys yell “Regggg!”)

DECEMBER: Since being home from Dillon I’ve been spending time decorating the house for Christmas and shopping for & wrapping all of the gifts that needed to be mailed. Now that that’s done, it’s time to get our Christmas cards ready to mail. I may be the only dinosaur left who writes long Christmas letters and sends actual mailed Christmas cards! But since I’m a terrible correspondent all of the rest of the year I’m willing to do it if you are willing to read it!

We are looking forward to a real family Christmas this year since Brooks & Christina will be here in CO with us during the holiday. They are wrapping up their time in Pensacola because Brooks has received his new assignment and will be stationed back in San Diego! They are very happy about that! Brooks’ new assignment will be as the “Mini Boss” of a new ship: the USS Portland, which will be commissioned next April. They are looking forward to the move to San Diego next February. We’ll miss being able to see them (and our granddog Rhino) when we go down to Florida; it’s been great having them so close by in Pensacola.

Brooks, Christina, Rhino in Pensacola

Shannon & Robert will be with us at Christmas, also. Shannon keeps busy working for Sugar Palm Rentals (the same property management company that also employs me part-time) as well as helping me with VRAssist. She also drives for Uber & Lyft whenever she wants to earn some quick extra money. Robert continues to work as an air-frame mechanic on a mobile response team. It means he is traveling a good bit of the time which has been an adjustment for both of them, but I think he enjoys the challenge and enjoys traveling to new places. Our granddogs Bruno & Roxie & grandcat Ruby/Ruben (long story!) are all well and happy that their mommy does not have to leave them alone every day when she goes to work.

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Also joining us for Christmas is our youngest, Brady. Even though he does not live far from us we don’t get to see him very much because of his demanding work schedule at Enterprise. Brady lives in the Wash Park area of Denver, sharing a house with 3 roommates and a dog named Benji (a real cutie!) He and Colbie have been dating for more than a year and he seems very happy. I’m glad for any time we are able to spend with Brady so I am really looking forward to Christmas this year with all of our kids and their “significant others”.

If you are still reading this letter then I thank you for your dedication! We love each and every one of you and think of you often throughout the year, though you wouldn’t know it since I don’t write much. That’s why I’m telling you now!

We wish you all the very merriest of Christmases, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Blessings to you,

Redgie, Valerie & Bebe

Reg & Val Christmas 2016

Immeasurably More than We Can Imagine

This past Sunday we had a guest speaker at our church since our Pastor and his family were out of town. It was not the first time that Pastor David Ralph has stepped up to the pulpit of our church when invited and just as before I found inspiration and a message worthy of meditation in his words on Sunday morning.

The scripture for his message was:

Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

The gist of the sermon was an exhortation for us to remember not to put limits on God’s influence in our lives but to allow Him to exceed our expectations and imaginations as He works in our hearts and lives.

I’d venture to guess that most of us get so caught up in our daily lives with all of its details, deadlines, and demands that if we happen think of God at all it is usually with a quick prayer thanking Him for something or asking for help with something else. We pray with an expectation of what we think He might be willing to do on our behalf.

Paul says that God is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than we can ask or imagine. If we could think of the biggest, most dramatic answer to prayer, God can do so much more than that. SO much more, we can’t even imagine it.

So why limit God with our own expectation or lack of imagination?

I thought of a story told by Steve Vinton to a group of us who had traveled to Tanzania, Africa last summer to visit Village Schools International. Steve and his wife Susan are a remarkable couple and meeting them and spending time with them in their home and village of Madisi was an experience I’ll remember always.

Steve told us the story about how the AIDS Clinic in the village came to pass. I’ll recount the story here, but let me add my disclaimer that all of the details may not be exactly accurate….however this is the way I remember the story:

After settling in this village in Tanzania it soon became clear that AIDS was a prevalent issue in the area. Susan began dreaming about building an AIDS clinic in the village to serve those affected by the terrible disease. There was a small corner of land not being used by the school so Susan claimed it for the location of the dreamed-for clinic until such time when there were funds to proceed. In true Vinton/Village School fashion, they did not launch a big fund-raising campaign, but just began to pray that God would please supply whatever was needed.

In the meantime there was a woman who had come as a short-term volunteer to teach an intensive English course to the students. At the end of her time in Tanzania she confessed that volunteering in this way may not be her calling. However she asked if she could help by raising funds for the AIDS clinic after she arrived back home. Of course, the Vintons agreed.

I don’t remember how much time it took for the funds to be raised. (I wish I did, because it would probably strongly emphasize the point of God working beyond our wildest imaginations!) But it turned out that the amount of money raised for the clinic was many times more than what Susan & Steve had estimated they needed to build the clinic on the small piece of land designated for that purpose!

Steve simply said: “Well, I guess God wants a much larger clinic that we planned!”

The village donated more land so a larger clinic could be built. It is now a beautiful, working clinic in the middle of this village that before had no resources to battle this terrible epidemic. Imagine!

To top it all off, the “Doctor” who treats the patients that come to the clinic is M’Safari, a young man who, growing up in a poor village, had no future beyond the government primary school. But because Village Schools International built a school in his area he was able to go through secondary school and then went on to earn his Nursing degree.

Now he serves the people of his community, caring and healing and loving them one by one.

Who could have imagined such an outcome???

God!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

The AIDS clinic in Madisi 4

The AIDS clinic in Madisi

The AIDS clinic in Madisi

Patients await the attention of the “Doctor” and Susan

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M’Safari describes the protocol of the AIDS treatment given at the Clinic (with Susan and Lynn)

 

Read Steve’s blog

Read Susan’s blog

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2016!

(When I first published this post on December 15, 2016 I mistakenly published it as a “page” instead of as a blog “post” so it never showed up in my blog post feed. I didn’t discover it until today. So I’m re-publishing it as a blog post!)

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Ok, so this is a New Year’s Photo (2015) but I love it!

Two weeks till Christmas! The clock is counting down and before we know it we’ll be celebrating the “most wonderful time of the year”….the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

2016 has been a great year for our family, praise the Lord! We’ve had some milestones, celebrated birthdays & anniversaries, done some traveling & some moving and fellowshipped with friends. We have been so blessed….

Here’s a quick run-down of the highlights:

  • We bought our 3rd vacation rental property on Feb 1. This one is located on Okaloosa Island, FL in the same building as our first FL condo…in fact, it is the one directly below it. Both FL condos did very well this year and we’ve enjoyed being able to stay in them periodically (Feb 1 – March 12, in April and again Oct 15 – Nov 14.)
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“Beach Escape” (our 2nd FL condo)best-lr-view“Beachy Keen” (our 1st FL condo)

  • Redgie enjoyed his annual golf outing in Myrtle Beach with his buddies from Altoona in February. It is a highlight of his year and he looks forward to it.
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Ken, Redgie, Steve & Dale in Myrtle Beach

  • In March Shannon & Robert and Brooks & Christina celebrated their 5th anniversaries! I can’t believe it has been 5 years since their double wedding on the beach in La Jolla, CA.
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Downtown Denver at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

  • In April Shannon began working part-time as my assistant at VRAssist. It’s been lots of fun working with her and having her help managing the bookings for our clients’ vacation rental properties. Besides working with me, Shannon continues to cook as a personal chef to her regular weekly client, which she really enjoys. Her husband Robert got a new job this year as an air-frame mechanic on a mobile response team, which means he travels around the country to work on and repair corporate aircraft. He is really enjoying the new job and traveling to different locations.
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Robert & Shannon hosted Thanksgiving dinner at their house this year

  • In May we went with my parents on an Alaskan cruise. This cruise was something they’ve wanted to do for many years, and we were so happy we got to share the experience with them. The timing could have been better though…..May is early in the season so we didn’t get to see as much wildlife as we would have if we had been there during the salmon season. Oh well, it is an incentive for my parents to take another Alaskan cruise sometime in the future but later in the summer!
  • In June Redgie and I made a very large decision that would change our lives: we moved out of the Big Big House after 5 years of sharing it with our good friends Dave & Lynn. This decision was motivated by a couple of things; the tenants in our Weaver house were moving out in July and Brady was going to be graduating from college and probably coming home to live for a little while till he could get himself situated in a full-time job and a place to live. We very much enjoyed the “intentional community” experiment and sharing our lives and Dave & Lynn’s home and are happy we had the opportunity to experience it.
  • Related to moving out of the BBH, Redgie & I ended up purchasing a new home in May after deciding to put the Weaver house on the market. We moved into the new home in June. We decided not to move back to the Weaver house because it is so large; the time seemed right to consider down-sizing to a smaller home in a “lock & leave” community, meaning we would not have any responsibility for maintenance or landscaping (or shoveling snow!) outside of the home. It is a town home and I really love it! It has been a bit of a challenge to learn how to live in a “normal sized” home with a “normal sized” closet and a “normal sized” garage (after living in the BBH) but we are pretty much settled now and comfortable in our “little little house”.
  • In July we spent a week up at our condo in Dillon. All of our kids and their spouses joined us for the 4th, which was a lot of fun! We love spending time in the summer there, enjoying the free concerts in the amphitheater and the Farmers Market and the beautiful view of the lake. I think it is Redgie’s favorite place…he always says “I love it up here!” when we go.
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A bunch of goofballs at the concert in Dillon

  • On August 5 Brady officially graduated from Colorado State University! He actually participated in the CSU graduation ceremony in May but he had to complete his last two classes during the summer session before he could officially graduate. We are SO proud of Brady and this milestone accomplishment! (And all of us are relieved to have his college years behind us!)

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  • Also in August I was thrilled to be able to accompany Dave & Lynn and Dave’s sister Patty and her husband Monty on a trip to Africa! Their “Find Us Faithful” Foundation was using this trip to visit several of the ministries that it supports in Tanzania and Kenya. They invited me to go along because they knew I was interested in one of the ministries: Village Schools International. It was an amazing opportunity! We visited London for a few days, traveled to Tanzania and visited with Steve & Sue Vinton (the founders of Village Schools) for almost a week. We then topped off the trip with a 3-day stay at a safari resort in Kenya (so much fun!) If you haven’t heard about it yet, you’ll have to ask me to tell you about a close encounter during the night with a bush baby! I journeyed back home after the safari but the rest of the gang stayed on for several more days and visited some other ministries that the foundation supports. It was an amazing trip and I’m so happy I was able to go.
  • In September Brady was offered & accepted a position in the Management Training Program at Enterprise (Rental Car). We have discovered that this is a first-rate company that invests heavily in their employees, offers a good salary and excellent benefits. Brady is working hard, puts in long hours but is learning a LOT!
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Brady’s first day at Enterprise

  • In September Redgie visited Altoona twice: once without me when he played golf with his buddies at the Precious Life Fundraiser tournament, and then again with me a week later when we attended his 40th high school reunion. It is always fun to stay with Redgie’s sister Tammy & her husband Mark when we visit, and Reg particularly enjoyed connecting with some high school friends he hasn’t seen or communicated with in years.
  • Also in September I traveled to Dallas to celebrate my older sister Vickie’s 60th birthday with her & her husband Jim. <smile> It was a great weekend because our parents also joined us for the weekend and we got to spend some fun time visiting with them.
  • Bebe turned 8 years old on October 8!
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Happy 8th Birthday Bebe!

  • As previously mentioned, Reg, Bebe & I got to spend a whole month in FL from mid-October to mid-November. We enjoyed gorgeous weather, delicious seafood, and lots of relaxing time at the beach or on the balcony spotting dolphins swimming by almost every day. Each time we go to FL we are lucky to be able to spend time with Brooks & Christina (who live in Pensacola, only about 50 minutes away) so that is the icing on the cake for us! They are doing well. Brooks continues his present assignment as a flight instructor for the Navy but they are looking forward to learning about their next assignment sometime next year.
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Redgie, Christina & Brooks at the Blue Angels show in Pensacola

  • On November 24 Redgie celebrated his 58th birthday! I got to gloat a little bit because for most of the year we are the same age, but now for three months he is “older” than me!

 

And that brings me to the present, looking forward to the holidays and spending time with our friends & family. We are sending blessings from the Rogers’ family to yours & bright wishes for a wonderful 2017!

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Love,

Redgie, Valerie, Brady & Bebe

 

Merry Christmas 2015

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It seems it takes a snowstorm to motivate me to get busy and write our annual Christmas letter! Today we hit a new record for snowfall on December 15: 6.5 inches (and still falling!) The old record was 2.8 inches in 1897. (Thanks to Dave Clouse for those interesting stats!)

As I look back on 2015 I find myself wondering what happened to the idea I had of what “retirement” and an empty nest would be like. I thought when I wasn’t working 40+ hours per week and taking care of a family I would have all of the time in the world to get done everything I had been putting off till retirement.  “When I retire, I’ll have more time to…..(finish my scrapbooks), (organize our photos), (go through all of that stuff in the storage room and get rid of whatever we don’t need or use), (write letters to everyone that I miss and think of so often)”……you get the picture! I haven’t done one bit of any of that since I retired two years ago!

It seems we are too busy traveling and generally enjoying life to worry about “getting things done”….at least I am! Poor Redgie is still working many more than 40 hours/week and traveling almost every week for Perdue Farms, and I won’t let him retire for at least 9 more years! 😉  But he still manages to have some fun along the way too, and he isn’t complaining.

Jan 2015

On Jan 2 of this year we packed up the old Expedition and drove down to Ft. Walton Beach to spend a couple of months in our FL condo. Redgie traveled back & forth from FL for work while I stayed in Ft. Walton Beach. I discovered that winter in the Panhandle is not as warm as I’d like! Some days it was warmer in Denver than it was in Destin and that just didn’t seem right! All of the “locals” were saying it was a colder than usual winter, so I suppose I ought to give it another chance…but not this winter!

While we were there we did some work on the condo, including having the entire interior painted with bright, beach-y colors. I was definitely going out of my comfort zone in picking such bright colors for the condo, but it seems our guests really like it; more than one guest has mentioned in their reviews how much they enjoyed the “beach-y” colors and furnishings. You can view photos here.

During my time in FL I enjoyed going to the office of Sugar Palm Rentals to work (as a reservationist) with the local staff. Since I am usually working from CO it was fun to be able to spend time with our FL staff and work with them on a daily basis.  Since January & February are the “busy” season in the vacation rental industry I worked a full-time schedule during those weeks. The rest of the year I usually work on a part-time basis for Sugar Palm Rentals.

Feb 2015

One of Redgie’s trips in February was to Myrtle Beach for his annual golf outing with his Altoona buddies. As always, he had a great time with those guys.  I’m glad he still has those connections, they are very important to Reg.

Mar 2015

In March, almost as soon as we got home from FL we turned around and flew to Lynchburg, VA to enjoy a weekend of Liberty Flames Baseball. There we met Steve Dunn (Redgie’s buddy from Altoona) and his fiancé Sue and enjoyed spending the weekend with them. We went to several baseball games and enjoyed exploring the campus of Liberty University, our alma mater. I couldn’t believe how much the campus has changed since we left in the late 70’s!

While we were in that “neck of the woods” we took a little side trip to the little white country church and cemetery where my Grandmother Louise Earl is buried. It was a bit of a hunt to find the location, but as soon as we approached the Old Alberene Church I recognized it from a long-ago trip we had taken with our grandmother to her hometown of Charlottesville, VA. I miss Grandma….she was such a large presence in our lives growing up. One of my favorite memories of her is on Christmas morning.  She almost always spent Christmas Eve night with our family and was always the first person awake on Christmas morning. By the time the rest of us got up and gathered in the living room Grandma had already opened her Christmas stocking (and usually had already sampled some of the goodies that “Santa” had left inside!)

1975 4 - Version 2

Grandma Louise and little baby Holly (1975)

Apr 2015

May 2015

In May we took a quick trip to the FL condo since the week of the 16th – 23rd was not booked. Brady was able to join us on that trip….it was his first time seeing the beach condo. We had a nice, relaxing week enjoying the beautiful weather, the beach and lots of delicious seafood.  We also drove over to Pensacola to visit Brooks & Christina and visited the National Naval Aviation Museum while we were there.

Jun 2015

June saw us on our way to Altoona, PA to attend Steve & Sue’s wedding. It was held at Lake Raystown Resort which was a beautiful location for the happy event. It was so much fun to see many of our “old” friends from our years in Altoona. We enjoyed getting caught up with many of them and had a great time celebrating Steve & Sue’s marriage.

Jul 2015

We stayed home in July, if you don’t count a trip up to Summit County to celebrate the 4th of July holiday at our condo in Dillon. We always save that holiday week in the condo for ourselves since that is when the annual HOA meeting is held. We absolutely love going up there and enjoying the beautiful scenery and fun activities during the summer.

We also attended a Rockies baseball game in July, as well as enjoyed a quick visit with my college roommate Gwendy, who was visiting her daughter who lives here in Denver. Gwendy hasn’t changed a bit….I wish I could say the same for me!  (I haven’t really changed that much…there is just a little bit more of me to love!)  😉

Aug 2015

Not much to write about in August, except that Redgie flew to Pensacola to help Brooks build a garage in the back yard of their new house.  They didn’t get it completely finished, but they accomplished a lot! I’m really proud of Brooks and how he takes on these new projects and figures out how to get them done even though he’s never done it before. (The deck he build in the back yard of their CA home was gorgeous! He did a great job!)

Sep 2015

In September we were really happy to have the newlyweds (Steve & Sue) come to visit us in Parker, CO.  They got to stay with us in the BBH for a couple of days. They took a day trip down to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and then we went up to Dillon and spent a couple of nights at the condo.  Steve rented a boat one day and we enjoyed exploring Lake Dillon for a couple of hours before Redgie & Steve went to play golf. (Sue and I went shopping in Breckenridge!) We really enjoyed getting to know Sue and can’t deny that Steve seems to be the happiest he’s ever been!

Redgie went back to Altoona the next weekend to participate in the Precious Life Golf tournament.  This is a fundraising event for a local crisis pregnancy center and Redgie has participated in the tournament for years. Besides getting to play golf (again) with is Altoona buddies, he especially enjoys the time he gets to spend with his sister Tammy and her husband Mark.  Tammy spoils Reg every time he comes to stay with them by cooking all of his favorite meals from their childhood years growing up: ham pot-pie, homemade meatballs, and of course, raisin-filled cookies!

Redgie left Altoona and went directly to Pittsburgh, where he met Brady, Brooks & Christina.  Earlier in the year Brooks happened to meet the Pittsburgh Steeler’s quarterback Ben Roethlisberger while Brooks was in Monterey, CA. Ben gave Brooks 4 tickets to the game on September 20 so he & Christina shared them with Redgie & Brady. They had great seats on the 50 yard line and enjoyed watching the Steelers defeat the San Francisco 49ers 43-18.

I took a quick trip to Destin in September to help train some new employees at Sugar Palm Rentals. The company is growing, currently managing 38 properties in the Destin/Miramar Beach/Sandestin area of Florida. SPRs owns most of the properties in our portfolio but also manage a select number of properties for other owners. Because of our collective experience in the vacation rental industry (as participants in the formation and growth of the industry during careers at VRBO and Homeaway) our principals and staff have a unique perspective both as owners and managers of vacation rental properties. (One of the managing parters at SPRs, Christine Karpinski, actually wrote the handbook in 2004 to help other owners learn how to manage and market their vacation rental properties themselves. The other managing partner, Jeff Marken, actually help build the website VRBO.com as the first developer hired by the founders of the site.) I love working with this group of people…..it reminds me of how it was in the “good old days” when I was employed at VRBO.com while the original founders still owned the company. I guess I can call these the “new good old days!”

Oct 2015

October was a busy month! On Oct 3 Shannon & I went downtown to attend a “game show” performance of The Price is Right. It was so much fun! I especially enjoyed Shannon’s excitement every time they announced random names of audience members and invited them to “Come on down!” Too bad they didn’t pick her, that would have been a hoot to see her participate in the live version of the game show.

October was also the month that we went on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise. This much-anticipated trip was unique in that we went with a group of 16 of friends and family. The original purpose of the trip was an anniversary celebration of our friends Vini & Jan, but they invited anyone else who wanted to go along and so we ended up with this large group. Besides Redgie and I, my parents and also my sister Vickie and brother-in-law Jim went as well, so it was a great experience to share with them as well as our friends.

Redgie & I have never visited any countries in the Mediterranean so this was a “bucket list” trip for me.  We visited France (Cannes, Eze, Nice, Monaco), Italy (Florence, Pisa, Rome, Ravello, Amalfi, Sorrento, Pompeii), Greece (Athens, Santorini), Turkey (Kusadasi, Ephesus) and Barcelona, Spain (where the cruise originated and ended.) It was a great trip and we had good weather except for our day in Rome when it rained cats & dogs! Now that I’ve visited these places I want to go back to some of them and spend more time exploring the area.  (Another item on my bucket list!)

After returning home from the cruise Bebe & I went to the condo in FL and spent 3 weeks there while Redgie came & went for his business trips. The weather in late Oct-early Nov was beautiful! I got to spend a day in Pensacola with Brooks where we went to see the last demonstration of the season by the Blue Angels.

Brooks &amp; me at Blue Angels

During this visit to FL I decided to replace the living room furniture that we inherited from the previous owners with new furniture and by the time I left it looked like a whole new condo!

Living room view close up

Nov 2015

November found Redgie flying back east to attend a football game at Liberty University. He was joined by some of his Altoona buddies and also was able to visit with his high school youth group leader, Dane Emerick.

We also took a quick trip up to Dillon to decorate the Timberline condo for Christmas.

At Thanksgiving, Redgie, Brady, Bebe & I flew to San Francisco in order to share the Thanksgiving holiday with Brooks’ in-laws, the Partridges. Of course, Brooks & Christina were there as well. Christina’s parents have invited us for Thanksgiving for a few years now and we’ve never been able to make the trip, so this year we were really happy it worked out and we were able to go. The Partridges had quite a large and varied group of friends, family and guests and the menu was just as varied and enjoyable as the company! It was a quick but fun trip.

And that brings me to December!  On December 5 Redgie & I attended the “1940’s White Christmas Ball” with our friends Jan & Lanny.  The ball is an annual fundraising event that benefits the Wounded Warriors project as well as the Spirit of Flight Center Colorado and this was the first time we attended. It was enchanted evening of swing dancing and big band music amidst WWII planes, vehicles and artifacts, movie set lights & props, re-enactors, sleighs, Christmas trees, all under a canopy of lights. Part of the fun of the evening was seeing all of the guests dressed up in 1940’s fashion, including make up and hairdos! (To see a video of the venue and all of the fun, decorations, costumes and swing dancing click here.)

1940s hair and makeup

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Now we are looking forward to Christmas! This year Brooks & Christina are flying up from Pensacola and we will spend a few days (including Christmas Eve & Christmas day) up in Dillon. Shannon & Robert as well as Brady will join us there so for the first time in a while the family will be all together on Christmas. (That is the fulfillment of MY Christmas wish!) The kids will go snowboarding at least once while we are in Summit County and we’ll enjoy each other’s company, traditional Christmas foods (sticky buns on Christmas morning and Grandma Rogers’ double fudge) and of course the obligatory viewing of the movie “Christmas Vacation” (sorry, Christina!)  🙂

As I’ve mentioned a few times already, Brooks & Christina moved from San Diego, CA to Pensacola, FL this year. Brooks was transferred to the Naval Air Station Pensacola as a flight instructor. He is training new pilots who have recently graduated from the Naval Academy to fly helicopters. Christina could not transfer to Pensacola in her role as a Captain in the Marines, so she became a Reservist and found a job in the private sector. They sold their home in San Diego and purchased a new one in Pensacola and are enjoying turning it into a “home”. They are fortunate that some of their friends from the Academy are also stationed in Pensacola so they have an instant support group there. Our grand-dog Rhino has a large yard at the new house and seems to be adjusting to the move well.

Shannon and Robert live in Parker not far from the BBH. Shannon continues to invest in her career as a Personal Chef and owner of “A Healthy Appetite” and enjoys helping her clients improve their quality of life through lean and healthy menus and food. Robert expanded his career this year by taking a position at Straight Flight as an air frame mechanic. (He was actually recruited from his former company by Straight Flight for this position.) He is getting a lot of experience working on many different kinds of planes which is great for his résumé. Our grand-dogs Bruno and Roxie and our grand-cat Ruben are helping our other grand-dog Rhino hold places in our hearts not currently filled with grandchildren.

Brady is in his last year at Colorado State University. He will graduate in May with a Economics major and a Business Administration minor. We’re not sure what his plans are after that….he’s just uber-focused on finishing classes and finally graduating from college and beginning his “real” life afterwards. We are proud of the young man that he is becoming and I’m excited for him as he continues to take steps into adulthood.

Redgie and I still live in the “BBH” (Big Big House) with our friends Dave and Lynn and enjoy their company and fellowship. We’re not sure what the future holds, but we are excited about it and look forward to 2016 and new adventures!

As I close this (long!) holiday letter, I stop and say a prayer of gratitude and thankfulness for all of the many blessings we’ve received: our family, our friends, good health, good jobs, nice homes, and the blessing of living in a country that values our freedoms. But our greatest blessing is also our wish for you all this Christmas season: the love and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life with Him in Heaven. May you all be as blessed as we are, and may we never fail to honor the One from whom all blessings flow!

With much love & wishes for a very Merry Christmas!

Valerie & Redgie

 

Merry Christmas 2014!

December 14, 2014

Merry Christmas!

As I write this I am sitting in the airport in Savannah GA waiting for my flight home to Denver after a short (but sweet!) visit with my parents & family in GA. The occasion of this visit was to celebrate the accomplishment of my younger sister Holly in her graduation from nursing school last week! She will be taking her state board exam to qualify as an R.N. on December 23, 2014. Holly has worked so hard during the years of classes and all the while raising 4 children with the help of her husband, Trey. I am so proud of her & so happy to be able to be there to congratulate Holly and spend some time with her & her family!

My other sister Vickie joined me on this trip and she & I both stayed with our parents who live in Sylvania, GA. How wonderful it was to visit with our parents and also our brother Jeffrey and his wife Karla and their sons! The older I get the more I pine for time with family whom we don’t get to see very often.

Writing this annual letter has been on my “to do” list since Thanksgiving, so I thought I would take advantage of this time in the airport & my layover in Houston to at least get it started!

2014 was jam-packed with activity, changes, trips & fun times with friends! We are so blessed!

We started off the year as we always do with our “Annual New Year’s Eve” party, which was attended by many good friends and even some new ones! It is always a fun time of fellowship & good friends (and good food!)

In January our youngest son Brady celebrated his 21st birthday. I can hardly believe that he is now 21 years old! Brady lives in Ft. Collins, CO and is attending Colorado State University studying Economics with a Business minor. He is working hard & is relieved to see some light at the end of his academic tunnel!

In February I created my new business VRAssist – a marketing and booking service for owners of vacation rental properties. I had been enjoying my “life of leisure” since retiring from Homeaway the summer before but was ready for something productive to occupy my time. I decided to leverage my experience and expertise in the vacation rental industry to help owners of vacation rental properties by handling all of the communications with travelers, managing their advertisement listings & handling the bookings for their properties. Since then I have taken on three clients for VRAssist and thoroughly enjoy helping them maximize their investments in their vacation rental properties.

Also in February Redgie took his annual golf trip to Myrtle Beach with his buddies from Altoona. He looks forward to this trip all year long and even though it means he is usually gone on my birthday I know how much he enjoys this time with his friends and am glad that he has this opportunity to connect with them each year.

March marked the 3rd wedding anniversaries of our oldest children, Shannon & Brooks, who married their sweethearts in a double wedding on the beach in La Jolla CA in March of 2011. Shannon & Robert live not far from us in Parker with their dogs Bruno & Roxy and Ruben the cat. Shannon is still developing her Personal Chef business & has several regular customers each week/month and is happy with the growth of the business. Brooks & Christina are still living in San Diego and stationed at North Island in Coronado, but not for long! Brooks has received new orders and will be a flight instructor at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL beginning in January 2015. They have a dog also, whose name is Rhino. (Yes, Redgie & I are the loving grandparents of three grand-dogs and one grand-cat!)  🙂

Redgie & I took a trip to south FL (from Tampa to Marco Island) in March to research the area for another investment property and while there I was able to visit with my childhood best friend Cindy and her parents! I was so happy to be able to see them and spend a lovely afternoon with them!

We went back to FL in April & investigated the Destin/Ft. Walton Beach area and ended up making an offer on a 2-bedroom condo on Okaloosa Island in Ft. Walton Beach. Despite some ups & downs during the whole closing process we finally did close on the purchase of that condo at the end of June! After the closing we spent 4 days preparing & stocking it for use as a vacation rental property. We love it and are looking forward to spending time there in the future when we are not renting it to vacationers. (You can view our listing for that property on VRBO.)

Also in April we took a trip to Bowling Green, KY for the sad purpose of attending the memorial service of our dear college friend, Ed Norman. Ed had battled cancer for a year and a half but finally went to be with the Lord on April 6, 2014. His funeral service was a wonderful time of worship and praise, carefully planned by Ed before he left. We still miss him but are comforted by the knowledge that he is whole and healthy in Heaven doing what he has always loved best….praising his Lord!

In May I began my part-time career working as a “Receptionist” for a property management company located in Destin, FL: Sugar Palm Vacation Rentals. I worked with the partners who own SPRs during my tenure at VRBO/Homeaway so it is fun to work with them again….it reminds me of the “old days” of working at VRBO when it was owned by our friends Dave & Lynn!

Redgie & I were fortunate enough to be able to take another trip to the Calistoga Ranch resort in Napa Valley, CA in June as a result of a promotion sponsored by Perdue. What a gorgeous part of the country! We loved the scenery, the wine tasting tours and spending time with the others on the trip in the beautiful setting of Calistoga Ranch!

In August I went to PA to attend our niece Amanda’s baby shower. What fun it was to learn they were having a baby girl during the shower when they did a “Baby Reveal”! (Even Amanda & her husband Corey didn’t know they were having a girl until that moment!) Little Anistyn Faye was born in September & Redgie’s sister Tammy is “over the moon!” to be a Grandma!

Redgie climbed a “14-er” mountain in August (Mt. Quandry.) It was a “bucket list” item for him & since CO has so many “14-ers” he was happy to have a chance to experience it.

At the end of the month I went back to the FL condo with my sister and our cousin Becky and spent a week enjoying our “first” (annual?) “Cousin Retreat”! Besides some “condo improvement” projects, we enjoyed the beach, the delicious seafood and each other’s company and were sad when we all had to go home!

Redgie went back to Altoona in September and participated in the annual “Precious Life” golf tournament with the same buddies from Altoona as go to the Myrtle Beach golf trip in February. I love to hear his stories when he comes home from these trips!

In October we attended a CSU football game in Ft. Collins with Brady…..it was fun!

November was the month that we celebrated Redgie’s 56th birthday! During the month he was able to arrange his schedule to allow him to attend a football game at our Alma Mater: Liberty University in Lynchburg VA. Joining him for the trip were his friends Steve, Ken & Alan (buddies from Altoona.) In November we also hosted Thanksgiving dinner at the BBH with Shannon & Robert, Brady, Don & Jan and Tim & Jodi. (Dave & Lynn were celebrating Thanksgiving in Oklahoma City with their son Mat & his wife Kenzie and their new darling baby boy Koven!)

Whew! That brings me to the present, traveling back home from my trip to GA and looking forward to the next week and a half until Christmas!

We send wishes to you all for a blessed & joyful Christmas season as well as a happy and healthy New Year!

Love,

Valerie, Redgie & Brady (and of course Bebe!)
Calistoga Ranch Shannon & Robert

Brady

 

 

 

Brooks & Christina's 3rd anniversary  Bebe

Brooks & ChristinaReg kayaking Aug 9Ed's funeralEd Norman
Dillon sunrise Oct 29
Football game at CSU Oct 19Gaudy hat tea Oct 11 cousin reunioncondo closing

 

 

 

 

Easter

 

 

 

 

 

 

photobooth Feb 16Bebe at the beach in March

nos·tal·gia

soda fountain

noun \nä-ˈstal-jə, nə-also nȯ-, nō-; nə-ˈstäl-\

: pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again

(Definition taken from Merriam-Webster dictionary.)

Don’t you just love this word? I do, and I love the deja-vu sensation it brings when I experience nostalgia.

I don’t know if it is because I’m getting old(er) or what, but it seems I have experienced several instances of nostalgia in the past days/months.

Most recently was yesterday, when I went to the dentist for my semi-annual checkup/cleaning.  The visit ended with a clean “bill of health” for my teeth….no cavities!  When I got home, I posted this on Facebook:

FB post

(Names were obscured to protect the innocent…..)

My sister Vickie and my mother Carol will understand what this means.  And I have to admit: a little bit of gloating motivated the post.

It all goes back to a tradition that we had in our family when we were growing up.  Whenever my mother took my sister, brother and me to the dentist if any of us got a clean bill-of-health (no cavities) we were rewarded with an ice-cream sundae at the local dime-store soda fountain! This was a great treat because my parents were very frugal and so this was the only occasion when we got to enjoy this store-bought treat.  The best part was we didn’t have to wait…we went directly to the dime-store from the dentist’s office!

The admitted “gloating” comes in because at every dentist appointment during my childhood years, I never had a cavity! I don’t know if it was because I loved hot fudge sundaes so much that I did an amazing job brushing my teeth or if I was just blessed with good, strong teeth.  Whatever the reason it was always my good fortune to get to enjoy the sundae.  The sad thing was if my brother or sister happened to have a cavity, they had to sit there and watch me while I enjoyed my sundae.  (I don’t know this for a fact, but knowing me I probably teased them by flying a spoonful of luscious, gooey hot fudge and ice cream past their mouths before swooping it back into my own!)  Good times…..

Another instance of nostalgia happened a few days ago when I was digging around in our storage room looking for the scrapbook that holds the red paper cupids that I wrote about in this post. (I was writing about them as part of a writing challenge.)  While searching through some boxes I found these items:

Childhood LPs

Childhood LP Albums

Bible

Bible given to me from my Grandmother on my 5th birthday

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Puppets to go with the homemade puppet theater one Christmas

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Brownie doll

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My “Cry-baby” doll

Safety Patrol Certificate & Badge

Safety Patrol Certificate & Badge

Various pins (Scouts, Safety Patrol, Roller Skating and Choir)

Various pins (Scouts, Safety Patrol, Roller Skating and Choir)

Thank goodness my mother carefully saved these things for me so that I still have them! (Especially my Cry-Baby doll!) Each item brings sweet memories of my childhood….

The last instance of nostalgia that I’ll write about occurred last fall.  I was helping my mother by working on a surprise Christmas gift for my siblings. She had gone through a lot of their photo albums and pulled out photos of our early childhood Christmases and mailed them to me.  I then scanned each one of the 129 photos, edited them as best as I could, and used them to create a book and an online slideshow as a gift for my sisters & brother.  It was so much fun to see all of those photos again! It brought back wonderful memories of Christmases at our Grandparents’ house, or visiting with cousins during the holidays.  Here is a sampling of some of those photos:

1967 Mom - Version 2

My grandmother, who spent just about every Christmas Eve & morning with our family (1967)

1971 4 - Version 2

My dad wearing a Santa hat (1971)

1966 3 - Version 2

Cousins playing Twister at Grandma’s house (1966)

1965 6 - Version 2

Dad, Jeff, Vickie & myself (1965)

My silly little brother playing in the puppet theater we got for Christmas 1965

My silly little brother playing in the puppet theater we got for Christmas 1965

1961 - Version 2My older sister Vickie & me with Santa (1961)

My mom (1967)

My mom (1967)

I’m thankful that every now and then a little nostalgia happens to remind us of our past & our memories.  It is a good thing…..

Soda Fountain photo credit: http://whereseldo.blogspot.com