Thursday, August 4, 2016

Louisiana Mission Trip - Blessed Beyond Measure

Eleven of us from Lakewood United Methodist Church were blessed to go on a mission trip last month to Baldwin, Louisiana, UMCOR Sager Brown.

UMCOR stands for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.  The facility we went to had a depot (large warehouse) where emergency disaster kits are put together and sent wherever they are needed.  Flood buckets for the United States, birthing kits (ours were sent to Angola), health kits, layette kits, school kits and more.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that we would have many different opportunities to serve at Sager Brown, the Depot and the local community. 

The following are some pictures and descriptions of what we were able to do. 

Some members of our team have been on mission trips before but for some of us this was brand new.  All I can say is that we were truly blessed beyond measure.  We made new friends (we served on a youth week with three other youth groups - who were absolutely amazing and gave us hope and joy), their counselors and we formed closer bonds with each other.

Lakewood Mission Team

Working in the Depot


Peggy mowed their very large property

Sue worked in the sewing room

Jeff worked with a team building a ramp for a the home of a member of the community

David, Jimmy and another youth did electrical work
Amanda, Victoria, Erica and others working in the depot

We all took turns with kitchen duty - Food was not scarce here

Every evening we had the opportunity to have a devotion and a discussion on our day.
Puzzles and games  - Every night

Prayer before dinner

Erica, Victoria and Amanda visited a retirement center on Tuesday.  They cleaned a gentleman's room and played bingo with the residents.

Sue and I were able to go with a group of youth and their counselors to a local domestic violence shelter and organize school clothes, class/homework rooms and stuff bags for an upcoming domestic violence awareness event.

Would we go back - YES 

God is so great and just knowing that we were able to do something to bless His people in whatever way we can - no matter how small, gave us joy and we pray that they come to know Him.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jacksonville's Southbank

We love heading for a walk on the Boardwalk in Downtown Jacksonville.  The St. Johns River is a majestic site to behold along with our very unique bridges, the Jacksonville Landing, Friendship Fountain and now a beautiful mural of the river under the walkway at the Main Street Bridge.

Victoria has been capturing amazing eye-catching photos for quite a while now.

Friendship fountain is lovely during the day and when it lights the night.

Stolling over the Main Street Bridge at sunset is relaxing, lovely and beautiful.

David and Victoria on the bridge.  

The Jacksonville Landing is in the background.  I really hope that they can figure out what to do to  revitalize the Landing and bring stores, restaurants and people back.  We went there yesterday and half the storefronts are empty, many restaurants are boarded up and the upstairs food court only has four food options open (at least 15 are closed).  Hooters is still going strong after 25 years but nothing else has lasted (except the healthy food shop inside and the ice cream shop).

Such a wonderful resource for the city and our state.  This river is one of only a few in the US that flows north.

The new mural under the Main Street bridge is made of broken glass and tiles.  It is a beautiful rendition of the St. Johns River.

 "A good river is nature's life work in song"

This is what we call, "The stairs to nowhere" they are on both sides of the bridge and literally go nowhere ???  I don't get the concept.

Beautiful at night.

Love these two.

Downtown skyline.

There are great articles about Jacksonville and upcoming projects in the Metro section of News4jax.  These are fascinating as many give history also.  Some current information on great upcoming projects can he found here.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Word From a Mom

What kind of blogger doesn't blog for over one month?  Apparently, someone who just doesn't know what to talk about.  Originally this blog was for me to work on my writing skills but over time it was more posting pictures and descriptions of events, gardens and crafts. 

Today I have no pictures and no crafts what I have is a little bit of myself and maybe a little advice (I know you didn't ask for it but here it is anyways).

Mothers, when your children are young it is a good thing. A physically exhausting thing but a good thing.  The best advice I can give you is to work with your spouse making decisions together about raising your children and most importantly not comparing any milestones  with other families.

Don't compare when they sit, crawl, walk, talk or read.  Trust that it will happen in their time.  Love them, love them, love them!

When your children get older - love them, love them, love them!  When their hormones are raging and they are trying to figure out who they are and what they want; when they are happy one moment and frustrated the next; offer them chocolate with a smile and if it is safe to do so, give them a hug. 

Once again, do not compare reading and writing skills, physical prowess, personalities, achievements, where they go to school, where they play sports or what colleges they will be attending or not attending.     Enjoy where your children are and appreciate your time with them.  Very soon they will be on their own. 

Teach Character!  It is a lasting trait that goes far in this world.  The book learning i.e. math, English, history, etc. is  important but character is what makes a man or a woman. 

When your children grow into young women (and men - but I have young women) love them, love them, love them!  Call and text them.  Have dinner and a movie with them and enjoy their company.

Above all else, pray for your children, your husbands and your home daily.  Pray for their safety and their faith. Pray that God sends them good friends and they seek His word to make good and wise choices.  I pray that your homes and your families are focused on God and Him alone.  That when your eyes are turned to Him your hearts and minds will be filled with all things that are good, noble, righteous, good and kind.  For with Him there is Love and Peace and I pray that love and peace for you.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Movies for Families and Date Nights

Looking for something to watch tonight?  Here are some great family and adult options.  Some are classics and some are newer gems.  Have a fun movie night!

Over a year ago we started a family dinner night with my parents and our older daughter coming over to eat, fellowship and watch a good movie.  These are some of our favorites that everyone enjoyed.

 Before watching movies I use to give me age recommendations from parents and kids.  

Family Movies

My Big, Fat Greek Wedding - Hilarious romance that we all loved!

Julie and Julia - PG -13 A wonderful movie about Julia Childs and a young woman who decides to cook a Julia Child recipe every day for a year and blog about it.  This is a true story.

Moonstruck - Nicolas Cage and Cher as you have never seen them before.  When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's Amore!

Leapyear - A lovely, funny romance that takes place in Ireland.  Beautiful views of the country and a love story that makes one smile.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - This follows the first movie which is about a group of retirees who decide to take a risk and move to India (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) for their later years instead of a retirement home in England.  They find that new beginnings can take place at any age.  

The Hundred Food Journey - An Indian family must leave their home and they open an Indian restaurant across the street from an elegant and refined french restaurant.  Beautiful sights, sounds, scenery and I love watching all food movies.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - I loved this movie and could easily watch it again and again.  Great story, adventurous and picturesque  fun from beginning to end. Beautifully done.

Still Mine - When his wife develops alzheimer a husband works harder to make life easier and safer for her while having to fight the government for the right to build on his own property.  This is a true story and a very special one.

Baby Boom - Diane Keaton stars in this film from the 80's of a businesswoman who has been willed a baby by her distant relatives after their death.  Funny and heartwarming.

Jumanji - Robin Williams stars in this fun adventure of a game that has real consequences that bring all kinds of animals from the jungle of Jumangi.

Twins - Arnold Schwarzannegar and Danny Devito are twins looking to fit in.

The Penguins of Madagascar - I don't care that this is a cartoon it is hilarious!

Night at the Museum: The Secret Tomb - Another witty adventure with our museum characters.

How to Marry a Millionaire - Marilyn Monroe and her friends want to marry a millionaire, or do they?  Is love enough?

Regarding Henry - Harrison Fords starts as a distant father and husband more intent on work that his family until a horrible accident then his personality changes as he has to relearn everything about life, including who he is and what he stood for and what he wants now.  

Sabrina - Harrison Ford plays the older brother to a playboy and falls for Sabrina.

Adult Movies you may like:

Chef - A great story of family.  R for language.

Windtalkers - A story of two marines and their regiment who were assigned to guard two Navajo code talkers (actually assigned to guard the code) during WWII.  R for extreme violence.

The Butler - An epic movie that follows a young man from a southern plantation to a butler at the White House. His relationship with his family and his story over the years from Nixon to Kennedy to the Civil Rights Movement and to the present.  

Take Me Home - A woman needs a cab ride home, from New York to California.  An unexpectedly enjoyable movie.

Chocolat - A mysterious and lovely woman and her child  arrive in a  french town and open a chocolate shop.  Their arrival and their hearts change others for the better.

American Sniper - The true story of U.S. Nave Seal Chris Kyle.

Jaws - this is the 40th anniversary of Jaws and the movie doesn't get old.  We did watch this with our 12 year old after we read the book over the summer.  I have to say - I read the book to David and Victoria on our trip and edited language and a very detailed affair.  Glad I didn't just give her the book to read.

These movies come from a variety of places - Netflix, Redbox, movie theatre and the library.

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