Sunday, August 24, 2014

Take Me Deeper Than My Feet Could Ever Wander

This has been such an exciting year for CJ and I. We prayed with open hearts for God to lead us to where he wants us to be, and lead us He has. So many times this year I have just sat back in awe at God's timing and that no matter how much I plan, or research ,or look ahead God's timing will ALWAYS be better than mine. Not only is His timing better than mine but while His plan unfolds at just the right time I see that in that plan CJ and I are safer and more cared for than we could have ever planned to be.

One of the things that I love most about having an extended time or worship during church is that as I lose myself  in the music and the worship my mind becomes so clear. God reveals Himself and clears out all of the junk to show me who I can be in Him and the potential that He has created in me.

Our first Sunday in church here in Texas we sang this song. God used it to get me to see that even though being away from family and friends, community and climate is hard and can make you wary it is for reasons bigger than those things that God has brought us here. So as my heart is sometimes wary and I greatly miss our community of friends and the loving company of family I am resting here in God's embrace. He has never failed me and he won't stop now.


You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

 Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

So as many of you may not have understood why CJ and I would choose to leave you, to leave Michigan, and to leave what we know it is because the greatest joy in life is following God's plan. To bask in the fulfillment of obedience to the call of our great savior Jesus. When I get frustrated with the heat, or with the unfamiliarity of this city, or the paperwork and culture of the military, these lyrics keep popping back into my head. 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Learning Photography

The Spring before last I decided I wanted to but a nice camera to take pictures of all the beauty at the ranch. Since then I have been enjoying photography as a hobby and even received Photoshop Elements as a Christmas present last year. Now that I don't have daily homework for school I have been able to take a few more photos and even edit a few.  So far still life shots are my favorite but I would really like to get better at taking photos of people.

Anyways here are a few shots I took in Tulsa and at the Gregory's farm that I edited in Photoshop.

 Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, baby buffalo.
 This portrait of CJ actually turned out nice. Just look at those baby blues.
 This is a cow at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve.
Annie's garden, not edited just beautiful.

 A bell in Annie's garden that looks pretty cool with the low key black and white setting.
 Part of an old bench that Jim saved from an old train depot in Tulsa.
 Everyone loves Texas. =)
 The old barn at the Gregory's.
 This pile of tires looks cool with the evening light.
 Project bike in the Gregory's barn.
 I'm a sucker for good color. This is an old tank of some sort but it looked so cool against the background of the barn wood.
The beauty of Fall! 
 This photo is color adjusted to the nines to get a vibrant red and green.
 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

 These adorable children would like to remain anonymous but they are quite photogenic.
This world has so much beauty, it is a privilege to be able to capture it!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Faraway Florida




Well we have settled into life here on Florida's Emerald Coast. CJ was able to find a job working for the county doing landscaping and I am loving my time at the optometry clinic on base(I will ask about taking pictures on base but for now you will just have to use your imagination).

CJ has also been able to pick up some side work with a man from church who does tile work. He is very proud if this beautiful mural that they were working on in a large summer home is Destin.

There is not as much to do here as there was in Tulsa but we have been able to find a few good things. One of our favorite activities is Goofy Golf right around the corner from our apartment.
It's an old school putt putt course that has been a community staple since the 1950s.

In our 2nd week here my sister Erica came to visit and she loved it too!

Hello Erica! This girl got a hole in one on number 18 and won us a free round of golf!
By now we have played this course so many times we are starting to develop a strategy for each hole.

We have also been to the beach quite a few times. The beautiful white beaches that this area is known for are about 5 minutes away from our apartment. 

After a few trips to the beach however the sand gets kind of annoying and simply laying around basking in the sun gets a little on the boring side, especially for CJ who does not understand the allure of a good book. So he has been finding lots of other beach activities to keep him busy. I know what a tough life we lead.
You've got boogie boarding.
Kite flying.
And fishing which is by far his favorite.
Here he is on free fishing weekend getting a feel for surf fishing. He didn't catch anything but he did get stung by a jellyfish so that was exciting.

Sometimes the water is dirty with seaweed but usually within a few days is clears up again.
His second time out fishing was at the local pier where he spotted this big guy, and my fear of going above waist deep in the ocean was confirmed.

About a week later he was able to get a fishing license and go out fishing with a guy from church, he caught his first Florida fish(did you know there are catfish in the ocean?) and a shark! 

Here we are on a gloomy stormy day. CJ has modified his fishing gear for heavier fish and can man two poles at once. The waves were big and strong on this day so it was fun to stand in the surf and get beat up a little.
Double trouble with two poles to watch.
Salt water catfish, who knew?
What could be waiting in those waters? On this day something big was on CJs line and snapped it. In his fisherman imagination it was one monster fish but we'll never know.
This is a sand flea, a lot of fishermen use them as bait. They literally look like ginormous white fleas and they burrow in the sand so it's a catch as you go kind of bait. Sometimes CJ gets a whole bunch in his pocket and I think that must feel weird but he says they aren't too squirmy.
I enjoy just sitting and watching CJ fish and seeing the waves crash. Oh and being official photographer.

There aren't very many places to ride your bike around here that don't involve traffic and angry motorists so that has been a bummer. The only place to ride safely and carefree is on base on a seldom traveled road that leads to the ranger camp. CJ has been riding there after work a lot of days as well as riding on the mountain bike trails also on base to prep for his big race in Traverse City this November. 

One of the first things we did when we got here was to explore a bit of the base here( Eglin AFB). We went to the base exchange and shopped around a bit. We are now the proud owners of a Keurig!We have also started buying our groceries at the Commissary since the prices are really good especially for meat and produce. Plus they have a huge variety of items to cater the varied tastes aquired by our men and women in uniform while traveling around the world.

Another cool spot on base is the outdoor recreation home base. It sits on a nice private beach and you can rent paddle boards, kayaks, and other motorized boats for a fraction of the cost it would be off base. The group that runs this area also plans a lot of family activities like family camping and movie nights as well as glamping for the ladies and moonlight paddling in the bay. We took CJ's parents out for a moonlight paddle when they came to visit and it was so beautiful!
We have been pleasantly surprised by all the base has to offer to families. There is a riding stable, a craft and pottery room, a wood shop, a do it your self garage with a helpful mechanic on duty, a boating and sailing club as well as a bowling alley and lots of planned events for families to attend. Everyone on base is really nice and willing to answer questions and point you in the right direction.

Well that's our life here in a nut shell. Off to clean the house so I can feature out humble abode in the next post.

Time Rewind---Our last month in Tulsa

Hello All this blog is back in action!( by popular demand of atleast one person, thank you Lawrence for your compliments and encouragement to get motivated to write again :)

We have safely arrived in Florida for our second leg of this fine journey, we actually arrived here a month and a half ago, but who's counting? I know, you guys are...sorry for the delay.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read these little snippets, it's pretty cool to see the page views counter go up after I write a new post and know that you are thinking of us and wishing us well.

With this post I want to write about the rest of our time in Tulsa where we were so blessed. Please remember that these events took place in the months of July and August and we are now in Florida where the wind sweeps across the sand and surf and not the plains.

So here are some highlights!

We went to the drive in! I had never been to one and it was so much fun. We ended up going on a whim when the other movie theater we went to was sold out. At the drive-in we actually got to see a double feature which happened to be the two movies we were trying to decide between.  We took a quick trip to QuickTrip(these are the best gas stations ever) for provisions, hey a girl needs some sour patch kids and some m&ms for a double feature. It was such a cool family atmosphere with people sitting out on lawn chairs or snuggled up in the back of pick up trucks.

One of the major highlights of our whole time in Tulsa was the bike trails along the river. We would go in the evenings to have serious exercise on our road bikes or go just in the afternoons on weekends and  grab a rental bike just to tool around Even at night if we put off exercising till late we could enjoy the trail lit in the dark.

This is a rental bike that CJ is riding, they were all pink! The rental system was pretty cool you just swiped your credit card at the kiosk and as long as you brought the bike back by the end of the day they didn't charge anything.

In July we celebrated out 2nd anniversary. We went downtown to see The Lion King. It is truly an awesome show. This was CJ's 1st time seeing a big stage production so it was really cool to see his reactions. He loved it! The Lion King is his favorite movie fro childhood so that may have helped a little. It pretty cool to go and see a big show but only have a 15 minute drive with light traffic and easy parking. Tulsa is definitely a cool sized town and definitely hasn't overwhelmed CJ's country road soul.

What a handsome guy, but that beard was getting a little unruly. CJ was growing his beard out for his hiking trip with Eric and Micah.

On a particularly hot Saturday afternoon we went to the next town over to an all you could eat Blue Bell ice cream festival. What a treat, CJ was in heaven.
CJ probably had 8 of these ice cream novelties.
There was also unlimited scoops of regular ice cream in all different flavors.
They also had some treats for those of us who are only half friendly with lactose.

Another great thing about Tulsa was all of the public parks, we enjoyed exploring a bunch of them and swimming in the public pools on hot weekend days. This was taken in a park just outside of town, CJ was practicing for his hike on the Appalachian Trail.

We also went swimming at this place. It is called the Blue Hole Swimming Hole and it was about an hour away from Tulsa. The water was beautifully blue. That is truly a rarity with all of the red dirt in Oklahoma.

We ended up finding a cool church called Crossover that we attended  the whole time we were there. We helped with vacation Bible school that they hosted at a local low income apartment complex. CJ and I were in charge of games and what is VBS without hundreds of water balloons?

We had a great time getting to know some of the members of our church while working with them and also had a great time with the kids. I wont lie to you though, by the end of the week we were exhausted! but hey we got to meet Miss Oklahoma!
The last evening was a family fun carnival and the kids absolutely loved it!
CJ got to man the grill, 400 hot dogs went pretty fast with that bunch. This was after CJ's trip so his beard is trimmed.

Our time in Tulsa was such a great experience. We were blessed with an immediate community with our neighbors and great friends in CJ's boss and his wife. Our last week we made some sad goodbyes once again having to leave a place that felt homey. Neither of us went there thinking we would ever go back but now I could definitely see us living there again if that's where God sends us. It was a great city, well organized with tons of things to do. Everything was so close by and yet  less than 10 miles away CJ was able to spend his days on a beautiful property with these cute fellas.

Farwell Tulsa, until we meet again!