Category Archives: Family and Friends

Pictures and stories of our dear family and friends

Mondays are for Memories – A String of Pearls

Since we’re still in November – the Thankful Month – I was reminded of a blog post I did many years ago about the blessings of dear friends from our “previous lifetime” blending with some of the precious friends we’ve made since we’ve been on the road. So I tracked it down, and here you go – from August 15, 2013

A String of Pearls –
We’ve returned from our weekend (+) excursion to see friends and family in Lancaster and Doylestown and I don’t think we could have had a better weekend. Each day seemed to represent a perfect slice of the different stages in our lives. Friday we were hanging out with some of our most precious SOWER friends. We did “Lancaster things” – a farmers’ market, a quilt shop, an Amish hardware store, and the like, and then a traditional potluck rounded out the day. A good day with good friends – what a great start to the weekend!
weston and the train

But then –
Saturday we spent with our sweet grandson, Weston (age 2), and his mom and dad (also some of our favorite people!). Abigail and I did some girl things while the guys ran some errands, we ate out and took naps and delighted in watching Weston watching the trains at the Choo-Choo Barn.
A beautiful day with our beautiful family – who could ask for anything more?
But then –
Sunday we drove to Willow Grove to worship at our old church. The church we were married in and the church where we found Jesus (or rather, He found us!). We expected that many faces would be different (we left that church when we moved to Jamison in 1981, so aside from some occasional visits over the years, it HAD been a while), and they were. But many were the same too. Oh, the sweet hugs from that morning! To worship with folks who had come to our daughter’s 1st birthday party and then to enjoy an impromptu lunch with those dear friends.

Oh, does it get any better than this?
But then –
Sunday afternoon we dropped in on some other friends and before we knew it we were enjoying another unexpected gathering. Sweet corn and sweet conversation and a bottle of red wine shared among friends.
Oh, the delight of it all.
But then –
on Monday I started the day with a coffee date with a dear friend, followed by lunch with my work buddies, and an afternoon hanging around with my BFF from our Doylestown days. BLTs made with thick slices of fresh from the garden tomatoes – Oh, now that was a great day.
But then –
catching up with my quilting buddies Monday night. Oh, my. Our days of quilting for the kids’ school are long over, but still, we start up right where we left off those many years ago. Oh, these days we might talk a bit more about our grandchildren than our children (to their great relief)and we might not spend quite so much time solving the problems of the world, but those precious friends will always be a safe place for me. Being the last ones out of Panera (almost an hour after they officially closed) and then still talking in the parking lot for another 30 minutes (honest, it wasn’t really that late! Panera closed at 9 PM – who knew?)came as no surprise. Regardless of our different places in life, we are truly kindred spirits. It was crazy wonderful!
But then –
just to add a bit of icing on the wonderful weekend cake, before we headed back to Montrose on Tuesday, we managed to squeeze in a quick visit with friends we don’t usually get to see. As we sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee (and were thankful for the rain that freed up her morning schedule) it was so wonderful to hear about their lives over the last two years. Sweet times, indeed.

So as I was trying to somehow quantify this weekend I was having trouble finding just the right metaphor. Was it worlds colliding? Not really. Though we saw folks from many different stages in our lives, there certainly wasn’t any colliding going on.  Was it picture-perfect? Actually, yes. Though I failed to take many pictures (you know I must have been distracted, right?). A medley of friends? A potpourri of relationships?  As I thought about how those five days strung together just perfectly, I remembered the lovely string of pearls I have in my cupboard. And I thought, yes. This weekend was like a string of pearls – each one smooth and delightful, strung together to make a thing of beauty.  And that’s how our weekend was – beautiful days strung together and filled with people we love and who love us back.
Just sorting through some pretties!

Dark and Dreary, but still a bright spot

For once, the weatherman was right. It rained all day, just as he promised. But still, we needed to make that short drive to our next project. So we donned our raincoats and got on our way! The biggest challenge was the first two miles of dirt/gravel road
but once we got to the paved road, we were good to go. (And I stopped taking pictures since I was driving the truck, right?).
We arrived, parked, plugged in, greeted our fellow SOWERs, and hibernated in the rig for the rest of the day.
It definitely was a three-nap day. But there was a great bright spot! This little bundle of energy
turned 18 today!
How can that be? She’s smart and funny and kind and still full of energy (see that first picture!). And pretty darn beautiful to boot!
We got the whole family in the picture for her birthday call to help with the birthday song – and it was so fun to see everyone!
It certainly added a beautiful bright spot to an otherwise dark and dreary day!

Happy Birthday, Hayley! We love you so!!

Mondays are for Memories – Thanksgiving on the Road

I wrote this post in 2014, so there are eight more Thanksgivings to be accounted for, but it seemed like a good place to start! So here you have it – a brief recap of our first 10 Thanksgiving “On the Road” –
November 27. 2014 –
So here we are, in a city park RV spot in Opelousas, Louisiana celebrating our 10th Thanksgiving “on the road”.
Thanksgiving 2014
We have no plans for turkey (here or at Cracker Barrel) and the closest family member (Gary excepted) is over a thousand of miles away. It might be easy to fall into a bit of a holiday-funk, feeling sorry for ourselves with no kids to hug or leftovers to eat. Instead I thought I’d just take a refresher course on how blessed we’ve been on other Thanksgivings since we’ve started this great adventure!
The first three years (2004, 2005, 2006) we were over-the-top blessed to be able to spend them with our good friends the Sensings on Amelia Island in Florida.
Oh how those precious times got us over the hump of being far from family!
In 2007 we DID make it to Ohio for a big ol’ traditional Thanksgiving.
Conrads 2007
New baby and new bride – all Conrads present and accounted for! So much to be thankful for that year!
2008 found us far away in Arizona and enjoying our Thanksgiving day with SOWER friends. We were having such a special time that I never got around to taking any pictures! When I checked back to find the post from that Thanksgiving, I did find this, though –
Rainbow 1
Promises abound!
We spent Thanksgiving 2009 on the road. Tires turning, heading south.
Coachella to San Diego-8
We were driving from the Coachella Valley area of California south to the San Diego area, preparing to pull into our December project on Friday. We enjoyed dinner at Perkins (it was in the parking lot where we spent the night), and while we missed being with the family I knew we would be seeing them at Christmas-time, so my heart was content.
2010 we were in Waco, just getting started on Lara’s big kitchen remodel!
Floor progress-1
Needless to say, we weren’t cooking in THAT kitchen for the holidays, but we did spend the day with good friends of Lara’s (and now ours!), the Swansons. Family, kiddos, and great food – it was a very special holiday!
In 2011 we were parked in Texas (Lindale, actually), but we piled into the truck (including Lara and Denali) and we drove to Ohio for a big ol’ family gathering.
Now that was one wild and crazy and Oh-So-Wonderful Thanksgiving!
Family Picture-7
The family just keeps growing – blessing upon blessing!
We celebrated Thanksgiving back at our favorite Waco campground in 2012 and actually had a sweet little pre-Thanksgiving dinner right at our campsite!
(OK, so the guests hadn’t arrived yet – but you get the idea! =)) We also had another great meal with the Swansons – Yummm!!! It was another lovely holiday filled with much thankfulness!
Just last year we were still in Texas, but all the way down in the Rio Grande Valley. Our day was spent in sweet fellowship with about 20 friends from the church we were attending.
It wasn't family, but it was pretty close! And it did include some small people hugs. Thank you, RGV friends, for a lovely Thanksgiving! ❤️
“We had a lovely day, enjoying the Big Meal with about 20 friends here in the Valley. Enough delicious food to feed an extra 20 folks, just the right amount of little kids to add some sparkle to the day, and sweet fellowship. Add to that a nice little package of leftovers so we could enjoy some turkey later in the weekend – and we would definitely call the day a Win!”
And that brings us up to today! While it’s true that holidays on the road can present certain challenges, it can also present wonderful opportunities for experiencing blessings in unexpected places. Whether we’re sitting in a parking lot campsite or surrounded by friends and family,  we have so much to be thankful for. Today, and everyday!

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:2

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I have a couple of pumpkin muffins I’d be happy to share if you’d like to stop by!
Pumpkin muffins

On this eleventh day


of the eleventh month, we celebrate the end of World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, it was renamed Veterans Day to honor the veterans of ALL wars. I’m thankful for those veterans, those who have fought in the past, and those who are currently working to protect the freedoms we hold dear.

Prayer for Veterans Day

God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation,
who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom…

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war
and whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day…

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm’s way:
shield them from danger
and bring them home,

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace…

Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!

(Poem from A Concord Pastor Comments blog)