Today I opened a dresser draw full of memories; on the right side, I pulled out our wedding album, 50 years. The photos included family members and friends with many deceased.

Beside the album, I found snapshots of my husband’s family. In our first years of marriage, my husband’s grandfather reminded us that families are important. Since he didn’t realize it until he was older, he wanted us to know while we were still young. He confirmed this every year. On their wedding anniversary, they held a family dinner and took a group photo, which we have today.

Then I pulled out 2 baby milestone books and a shoe box. The shoe box contained 2 pair of baby shoes, a lock of golden hair, and a plastic treasure chest filled with primary teeth. Both sons are living.

On the right side, I found 2 pair of pajamas and a baby blanket.  Our oldest grandchildren wore them when they spent the night. Both grandchildren are engaged.

As grandparents, we plan dinners and family portraits because our family is important.

Churches are Closed?

While standing in line, I overheard a woman tell her friend, six-feet away, her mother died last week and yesterday her aunt died. She said the churches are closed; only ten people can attend the funeral. She wasn’t sure what to do.

I regret not reaching out to this woman, six-feet away, to encourage her. She was correct the church buildings are closed, but the church isn’t. The church, the believer’s in Christ Jesus, is serving others.

This week a church member called to see if we need groceries or medicine. She reminded me we’re high risk for Coronavirus, over 65. She offered to run errands so we could stay home.

Later, I noticed a homeschool mother posted lesson plans on Facebook. Since schools are closed, she encouraged mothers in teaching their children at home.

Until the church doors open, we worship together on live-stream. Throughout the week, groups meet through various social medias to support one another. We pray for our community and our world to overcome the Coronavirus Pandemic. Soon the doors will open, and the church will praise Him.

Remembering the Hymns

I’m grateful: as a child I learned the hymns, and as an adult I love their meaning. Many times before or during prayer, I Surrender All, comes to mind (Romans 16:26). Once I’ve cast all my cares on Jesus, for He cares for me, I have His peace which surpasses all understanding (I Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:7).

 When I’m finished, I remember Trust and Obey, which is the only way to be happy in Jesus based on Romans 16:26. As I trust Him and lean not in my understanding, but acknowledge Him, He will direct my way (Proverbs 3: 5-6).

Then throughout my chaotic day, I sing, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice” (Philippians 3:1).

We Go On

It’s a gorgeous day in the Tehachapi Mountains; yesterday we had several inches of snow.  I experienced such a peaceful morning; the sun shining through the snow-covered treetops and birds’ chirping in the air reminded me of God’s wondrous creation. By noon, the snow will have melted; relieving our drought problem here in California.

But Californians’ concern this moment is the Corona virus or COVID-19 not the drought. The many restrictions set in place to prevent the spread of the virus have changed our lives. For a few of us, it’s minimal, but for others it’s made an enormous impact in their lifestyles.

In the meantime, we go on with our lives. Last week, we received the inspection results for our escrow. Although the problems appeared insignificant, we canceled our contract.  We discussed our apprehensions a few days before our decision. I prayed for wisdom; we had thought we chose God’s choice. Friday night, my husband woke several times with his concerns. He asked if this house was my dream house, if it was something I had to have. I answered, “No.” I don’t have a dream house; I need to be where God wants us. Saturday, we canceled.

I regret the extra work we caused for the realtors and the seller. But now the seller knows what needs repaired, and we as buyers know what we prefer. So we’re searching on-line for a fresh group of prospecting homes and preparing for our next trip.

Restrictions may increase or decrease in the days ahead, but we will find our home. Whether I walk in fear or faith, it’s my decision, I choose faith.

Change is Coming

Yesterday, Bekah, our youngest granddaughter, celebrated her 7th birthday. The day before, we continued our traditional shopping spree. I took her sisters, Jean and Kristin, to the Dollar Store to purchase gifts.  A few weeks earlier, Bekah asked Grandpa to take her to Henry’s Café for breakfast. When we arrived, she showed us her tiara, Kristin’s gift, her mom had secured to the top of her long, curly hair. We were taking a princess to breakfast.

At Henry’s Café, she ordered her favorite, biscuits and gravy. She chattered throughout the morning how she planned to spend her day. After breakfast, we went to our house to play games. When we played Uno, I noticed her math skills excelled. Next, we played Pick-Up Sticks; she read the directions without a flaw. She knew how to play the game, but she enjoyed reading.

When we drove her home, she was excited. For lunch, she was going to McDonalds where a surprise party was waiting.

Then we headed to the title company where we completed forms. The event was a relief; we’re almost finished with both escrows. Yet stressful change is coming.

Later, we drove with our family to Olive Garden for dinner. Chatter filled the evening. Then we returned to our home to open presents at Bekah’s wish.

Once everyone settled, the kids, full of excitement, handed their gifts to Bekah. She read each card and tore open her generously scotch-taped packages. Two months earlier, we celebrated Jean’s birthday, but J.J., her 3-year-old brother, didn’t have a gift to share.  Since he was napping when we made our recent shopping spree, I chose a couple presents for him to wrap for Bekah. This time he eagerly waited for her to unwrap his gifts.

The shopping sprees will continue without me. Now I must discover new traditions.

Memories Overflow

Early this morning, I observed my husband taking pictures of the moon. “Why are you taking pictures?”
“It’s a full moon known as the Full Worm Supermoon. It’s the last full moon we’ll see while living here.”

Throughout the day, my mind overflowed with memories of God’s creation while living here in California.

In July 1985, my family moved from Indiana to California and settled in the Mojave Desert. At first, I didn’t appreciate the desert. The breathtaking sunrises and sunsets were easily noticed. Then spring appeared, flowers popped up from nowhere. It amazed me. How could such fragile plants survive in the dry, windy desert?

Later we moved to the coast where the sun didn’t shine until midafternoon. Many times I walked the beach, searching for God’s precious seashells washed up by the roaring waves. Other times, I chose a quiet spot to pray. Once after praying, I remembered Psalm 103:12, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” With the vastness of the ocean before me, I realized God’s love never ends.

Then we lived at the base of Mount Whitney. One evening while driving, I looked back at the snow top mountain glistening with the full moon glowing. How majestic is my God the Creator and Sustainer of life?

Escrow Continues

Escrow continues. We’re waiting for the inspection results. My husband had one stressful day until he verified our home escrow will close before our new home escrow. He assured, “All is well.”

Today, our 13-year-old granddaughter, Bell, visited us. Although our family gathers for holidays several times a year, we seldom visit each grandchild. So today was special.

At 6:00 a.m., we picked up Bell up at her dad’s work site. At home, we made her favorite breakfast, biscuits and gravy.

I wasn’t sure how we’d spend our day, until Grandpa said, “Make some cookies.” So after breakfast, we made 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies, one for her to take home and one to share with Grandpa. While we baked the cookies, we talked about Jesus. Why He died? Why He was resurrected? Why we need Him? When we finished the cookies, we went for a walk.

With the sun shining and a gentle breeze in the air, we walked along the roadside. We continued up the hill, around a bend, up another hill, to the top where we viewed the city.

Since Bell’s endured bulling for 2 years,  I taught her how to be alert of her surroundings. Then we discussed how to develop friendships, build trust and forgive others.

When we returned to the house, we had lunch and shared cookies with Grandpa.

Then, I asked Bell to choose something from the kids’ room, where I keep toys, books, and puzzles. She returned with the Pound Puppy, her father’s childhood toy, and the Pound Newborn. We gathered her belongings, drove her to meet her dad and hugged her goodbye.

On the way home, I realized we discussed sensitive topics today. But I may never have another opportunity.

Getting Things in Order

We’ve only been in escrow a week, but it feels so much longer. Meanwhile, it’s time to get things in order. In 2016, my mother died. I’ve avoided her 3 boxes of pictures until now. I spent 3 days organizing her photos to prepare for packing. At the end of the first day, I realized I didn’t cry. But the next 2 days, I cried throughout the days. Since my mother’s death, I’ve learned several important facts about the journey of grief.

Months before Mom’s death, her Chaplin told me tears are a gift from God. He explained when I cry, healing begins and the procedure repeats until I’m healed.

A few months after Mom’s death, I attended a Grief Share group. Talking was helpful, but I felt guilty grieving while others’ were in more difficult circumstances.  Our leader helped me understand, I must confront my grief. I can’t ignore it; I must embrace it, but how? Then I realized I ignore my grief when I hold the tears back. To heal, I must let the tears flow.

Then I attended a Bible study where I received wisdom, comfort and strength. First, my Pastor taught the greater the love, the greater the pain.  Then I understood my grief was because of my love for my mother. As I spent the next twelve weeks studying and praying the book of Psalms, I found comfort and strength to endure the healing journey.


Today, while waiting until escrow closes, I began organizing family documents when I found my father’s U.S. Army discharge papers. I knew he received an honorable discharge, but I was proud when I found his character noted as “Excellent.” As a child, I was ashamed of my father, a binge alcoholic. Then as an adult, I discovered the hardships of life myself and became guilt stricken while making excuses for him. But when Jesus came into my life, He set me free.

Below is a short memoir not to dishonor my father, but to honor my heavenly Father.

Daddy Where Are You?

Standing beside my father’s coffin in tears, I placed a red rose beneath his arm and felt his cold hand. Where is he? From that day on, I cried on every Father’s Day, his birthday and the anniversary of his death because I didn’t know where he was. Until God drew me to Himself.

As a young woman, I rejected God, and now I’m burdened with sin, which I considered unforgivable. After reading several women’s testimonies, I realized if God forgave them, He would forgive me. So, “God, You are the Creator. You sent Jesus your Son to die for my sins on the cross and raised him three days later.  Please forgive me, and I promise to do what you say and go anywhere you ask.”

Several years later, while speaking to my Bible study leader, I burst out in tears. “What’s wrong? When I read the Scriptures, tears flow. It’s my dad.”

“Do you need to forgive him?”

“No, I’ve always wondered where he was. He was a binge alcoholic. As a child, I never knew when he was leaving or returning. It may be a week or months.”

“Is he alive?”

“No, he died from cancer ten-years-ago, but I still dream of him. I’m running through the hospital corridor, opening every door on the left and the right, until, I find him in the last room. He’s frail, but alive. What is God telling me? I’m visiting my mom next week, I’ll talk to her.”         

  “Relax, enjoy your visit. Let’s pray, Lord Jesus, give Paula wisdom to understand your will and courage to obey?”

 “Mom, do you remember Dad at peace?”

“No, he was restless, but the night before he died, he told me two men from church visited him and he was sorry for the trouble he caused.  The visitor, a former alcoholic, talked to your dad, but he was alone.”

Later, I remembered Dad was at peace when he died, and I concluded the second visitor was Jesus.

When I returned home, I heard Dr. Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministry, describe how to make amends with those who have passed on. I pulled up a chair beside me, “Daddy, I love you. As a child, I was ashamed of you. Please forgive me. I didn’t realize the hardships of life.” I had peace. But where was he?

Then, I listened to Dr. John McArthur, Grace to You, preach on heaven. When he finished, I knew my dad was in heaven, and I will see him again. That day, the dreams and tears ceased. For Jesus came to set the captives free and heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:17).

Learning to E-sign Documents

We are in 2 escrows: one as the seller and one as the buyer.  Yesterday and today, we’ve provided and e-signed forms. Tomorrow inspections begin. In the meantime, we had a wonderful day with our three-year-old grandson J.J.

Every Tuesday, J.J. comes to visit. Today he brought his lunch, a box of mac and cheese, a tube of applesauce, a blueberry muffin and a bag of cheerios. First, he started on his muffin. Then he selected the games: Trouble, Match Game, Pick-Up Sticks and Uno. We began with Trouble, he won. Before we started, Pick-Up Sticks, he held the directions in front of him, mimicking his sisters, “Take out the sticks, put them together, drop them and pick up one.” He moved his small fingers across the table to secure each stick. Then we played the Match Game, which he’s mastered. Last, we played Uno, a new game for him.  I threw a yellow skip and a yellow number, he did the same, “Grandma, I did what you did!”  

Then it was lunch time. Eager to help, he placed the forks and the napkins on the table. He filled Grandpa’s water glass, walked cautiously to the table, and placed the glass on Grandpa’s placemat. Then he filled his own cup. I made his mac and cheese and cooked his hot dogs. After I cut up the onions and grated the cheese for Grandpa, J.J. placed them on the table.  When we finished lunch,  I cleaned the dishes while he watched television.

Later, I left him and Grandpa while I ran a few errands. When I returned, we started his favorite I Spy book. Then my husband said we needed to e-sign the loan documents, which took 20 minutes. In the meantime, J.J. played with his toys. When we finished, I remembered he asked for ice cream.  So, we walked to the freezer, and he pulled out an ice cream sandwich. Soon his face and fingers were covered with chocolate, but he was clean when his mother and 3 sisters arrived.

Before they left, he said, “Grandma, can I have a sandwich to take home?”

Puzzled, I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “That sandwich with the whipped cream.”

We laughed.

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