It’s Just Geography

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Have you ever been to or lived in Colorado?  Have you ever driven through Glenwood Canyon and gazed in awe at the stunning mountains towering high above you?  Have you ever hiked to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs where a breathtaking lake with crystal clear blue/green water sits high up on the side of a mountain?  What about a stroll or bike ride in Waterton Canyon, complete with wildlife and waterfalls?  Have you ever slid down the Great Sand Dunes in the San Luis Valley on a sled and buried your toes in the warm sand?  What about enjoy one of the hundreds of amazing camping spots throughout the state?  Have you ever taken a chair lift to the top of Copper Mountain and skillfully maneuvered down a diamond black trail on skis in 3 feet of fresh powder or taken that same trail in the summer but this time your mode of transportation is a mountain bike?  Or spent the day enjoying refreshing water rides at Water World in north Denver, complete with just over 70 acres of thrilling rides, relaxing lazy rivers and yummy food?

Those are just a few of the hundreds of things that can be enjoyed in the beautiful state of Colorado.  Up until about 3 months ago I had lived there my entire life.  I was born in the heart of Denver and lived in various metro area suburbs throughout my 48 years.  Never, ever did I think I would live anywhere else… until Proverbs 16:9 repeatedly entered my mind and heart.  The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

After watching Phil work 2 jobs, sometimes 3 jobs to take care of his family for several years, I realized something needed to change.  At the time, I didn’t know what needed to change I just knew I didn’t see much light at the end of the tunnel.  Yes, the Lord is our light but I was starting to strongly feel like I was the one holding us back from getting in a better financial position.

You see, I was pretty attached to Colorado and the people who lived there.  I’ve never been one to enjoy change and I certainly avoided initiating the change!  However, several verses kept coming up in devotionals, prayers, bible reading and discussions with dear friends and I started to wonder if I was obeying God by being so determined to stay in Colorado.  Was my fear of change and the fear of leaving the only state I ever lived in trusting in the Lord?  Was I so stubborn to stick to the plans in my mind and not let the Lord direct my steps?  After some time I felt very convicted that I was not trusting the Lord with my future and the future of my family.  Why was I so scared to leave Colorado, when most of my favorite people would be leaving with me?  By January 2019, I realized we needed to make a drastic change and so my prayers shifted from Lord help us to find ways to meet our needs easier so Phil doesn’t have to work so many hours, to Lord, where is it that you want our family to live and serve you?  Well, the Lord answered those prayers with the selling of our house and the buying of the house where we now live.

Here we are…. in beautiful Fort Smith, Arkansas.  I have no regrets and I do not miss the big city AT ALL ya’ll!!!  While we haven’t yet explored Arkansas much I’m confident we will find just as wonderful adventures here that we had in Colorado.  Seriously, I don’t miss Denver or the 4 million people that live there.  Sometimes I miss the mountains… Colorado does have STUNNING mountains people! I miss my dad and step mom but it turns out they are leaving Colorado as well and moving to South Carolina.

We miss Phil’s brother Andy and his girlfriend Renee.  We spent most of our birthdays and holidays with each other so we definitely feel that loss.

Us visiting with Andy and Renee in June when we went back to CO for the CHEC conference.

What I miss the most is the people that were the closest to me like family but also my friends.  I’m an introvert so I didn’t have a dozen close friends, only a few but I miss them terribly.   My dear friend June has walked this journey of faith, marriage, parenting and homeschooling with me since the day I became a Christian back in 2000.  As a side note it’s her fault we homeschool… along with Kevin Swanson… I read his book The Second Mayflower.  She has been a mentor, a trusting friend to share my dreams, fears and joys with, and a prayer warrior for me and my family.  Not to mention she taught my oldest two kids writing and transported my kids to Spanish classes in our early years of homeschooling.  Her family has been such a huge blessing to my family over these 19 years.  For me she embodies Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

In addition to June is my dear friend Laura.  Laura and I have been very close, sometimes inseparable for about 3 years. I remember first meeting Laura and I remember thinking ‘I don’t have time for another friend!’ so I kind of put her off for awhile.  But our faithful Lord had other plans.  After a few play dates getting our kids together we clearly hit it off.  Over these 3 years we have grown very close; we have laughed and cried together.  She was a huge help in getting my family packed and moved and even though I’m 820 miles away from her she still encourages me daily… thank you Lord for texting!  Laura is the strongest woman I know and has endured things that most of us can only try to imagine but she has stayed firm in her faith and has leaned on the Lord.  She is such an inspiration to me.

It’s these two friends I miss the most.  I do miss our church in Colorado but honestly, the church we have joined here has had me in awe with the love and service they show to one another.  I miss the Button family who was kind enough to let us stay there for 10 days before the kids and I moved here and also hosted us when we went back in June.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  I wrote this verse on many of our moving boxes as a reminder to me not to fear but to Trust the Lord.

God is faithful my friends!  2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.  Moving here was a step of faith for me and I feel strengthened.  I feel like my tight grip on Colorado has been released and it’s quite freeing! The Lord I love is here along with my steadfast husband and 5 amazing children.

Really, it’s just geography.

A Colorado sunrise, June 2019

An Arkansas sunrise, June 2019

A walk around Belmar lake with my friend June 2019. These pictures were taken with my phone and are completely unaltered.

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Much to Share!

Wow, so much has happened in the last several months… where to begin!

Some of you may know that for well over a year Phil and I considered buying a bed and breakfast for our family to run as a family business.  We spent many hours searching the internet for properties for sale that were not only profitable but also large enough to fit our entire family of 8.  It was nearly impossible to find a bed and breakfast for sale that would indeed fit our family and be affordable so we decided to put that dream on a back burner for now.  We still want to own a bed and breakfast some day but it will need to wait until a different season of life.

From that point we changed our focus from purchasing a profitable business to where could we move that would allow us to get out of debt (or at least a strong start), have a set up that would allow my mother (who has lived with us since 2005) to be on the ground level and allow me to be a full time stay at home, homeschooling mom.  Those of you that know the Denver Metro Area housing market will know that finding this type of property in the city or her suburbs is virtually impossible.

In August of 2018, Mikayla, Alex and I took a road trip down through Texas, then east through Arkansas.  We stayed a couple of nights with friends in Charleston who showed us around Fort Smith a bit.  We then headed home through Oklahoma and New Mexico.  We really enjoyed our time in Fort Smith so Phil and I started praying for God’s direction and will for our family.  Staying in Denver was becoming increasingly impossible and we knew we needed to make some changes.  On the internet we explored San Antonio, Texas, some areas in Arizona, New Mexico and finally Arkansas.  We felt God was pointing us to the Fort Smith area.

At the time I worked with a real estate agent in Golden who had a ton of contacts.  I told her we wanted to sell our house and after giving her a description our home in Lakewood (apartment on the 2nd floor, etc.) she got on her cell phone and 5 minutes later told me she had someone who wanted to come look at it.  After a couple of showings with the same family, they made an offer and we accepted.  On March 23rd we were under contract with a closing date of April 30th!

At the end of March this year Natasha, Jonathan and I piled into our Suburban and headed southeast towards Fort Smith.  We spent 3 full days in the area and I looked at 14 properties, 2 of them I looked at a second time.  We looked at properties all the way from Rudy on down to Greenwood.  Once we were back in Denver, Phil and I put an offer down on a property in Greenwood.  It had 2 acres, a full size home and a little cottage for my mom.  Due to some legal issues with the sellers our contract fell through so we set our sights on a home in the city of Fort Smith.

We made an offer on the home we now own that was $10,000 less then asking price fulling expecting a counter offer.  Praise God, they accepted our offer because our agent explained to them we were looking for a home with a second living area for an older relative.  Our home in Colorado sold on April 30th and we did a remote closing on May 1st for our new home in Fort Smith.  There was so much excitement going in our family!

Phil, my mom and 2 dogs headed to Fort Smith the morning of May 1st and arrived about 9pm.  The kids and I stayed back in Colorado with friends to fulfill a few commitments we had.  Phil, with a little help here and there managed to replace the flooring in my mom’s area, manage 2 dogs, unload 2 moving trailers (with the amazing help of 3 Taggart young men!) and fix some plumbing issues all while being quite sick.  He was ready for the rest of the family to join him but it would be a few more days.

After finishing our 3 Spanish classes (2 of them for high school credit), a piano recital (both as students and Natasha as teacher), a violin recital and saying goodbye to some very special friends, the kids and I got in our Suburban early on the morning of May 10th with a truck full of stuff and headed to Fort Smith.  It was a long drive but we were all so excited to see Phil, my mom and the dogs.

So, here we are in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Friends, until now, I have lived in Colorado all my life… 48 years!  Change is hard for me… always has been.  BUT, I do not regret our decision to leave the only state I’ve called home.  We love living here.  Of course, there are always things to get used to when change occurs but I love that I’m home full time, we have a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood (our house and neighborhood in CO were not the greatest but served our purposes) and we are meeting some pretty amazing families.  We’ve even already found a church home!  The Highway 71 Alma Church of Christ has been so welcoming to us and have made us feel at home.

Next post I’ll share how we are doing… what has been the most challenging for me.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.

From the outside.

Beautiful kitchen.

One of two fireplaces.

An aerial view of our property.

The cover to our Spring Piano Recital.

Civil War Ball

Hi Friends!  The last time I posted was six months ago!  Wow, so much has happened in the last six month but this post will tell the story of the Civil War Ball that Natasha and Mikayla got to attend with some dear friends of ours.  It was such a fun evening and such a wonderful expereince.

This Civil War Ball was started many years ago by a homeschool dad to give his teenagers an evening something like prom.  However, he didn’t really want to mimic a public school prom as they aren’t really a wholesome event… more like a cesspool of temptation to throw our teenagers.  So, he came up with the idea of Civil War Ball.  He rents out the Douglas County Fairgrounds for the entire day.  Those that register can come in the morning for dance lessons to learn period dances from that era.  Then the kids have several hours to have fun before the dance begins in the evening.  He has arranged for a handful of costume providers to be on site to rent period dresses and soldier/gentleman attire.  Many families make their own dresses and we were blessed to borrow a dress for Natasha from friends who go every year and had several extra dresses to choose from.  Mikayla’s dress was a former Elvish dress (think Lord of the Rings) that she altered a bit to fit the era.

Unfortunately, there are typically more young ladies that attend then young men so sometimes they have to dance a step or two with another gal but it’s all so much fun!  My girls had a wonderful time and are already planning for next year!  The parents can even join in on the fun with costumes and dancing!

The young men line up and the girls are announced as they enter the ball.

This beautiful dress was made by family friends.

The blue beauty was also made by family friends – the dress that is!

Hopefully, later this week I can fill you in on all the changes for the Wilson family!

Links I Love

Hello – I know it’s been awhile….

This is just a short post to share 2 links with you.

The first is a blog post by Michelle Lesley.  While it’s a little long it is well worth the 5 minutes it took to read it.  Unfortunately, our society is filled with shallow Christians that truly take away from the gospel.  I know this is an area that I need to improve on… I’m so concerned of what they will think of me or of making them angry but truly, it is God that I anger when I shy away from confronting (of course in love) sin.  Take a moment and read this post!

Secondly, this podcast by Kevin Swanson is spot on!  I pray for my children’s spouses regularly.  I pray that they love God and honor marriage the way God intended.  God didn’t put marriage in place to force us into a bunch of boring rules.  After being married for 18 years now (and looking forward to 100 more years) I can honestly say that marriage is the most rewarding experience.  Yes, there are challenges but Phil and I honor God and each other and make our family a priority, truly we are blessed!  Listen to the podcast… it’s only about 20 minutes long.

Stay tuned for pictures from the Civil War Ball that Natasha and Mikayla attended a couple of weeks ago!

Gaylene

August 19, 2018

We woke up Sunday morning in Paris… Paris, Texas! After filling our tummies with Texas shaped waffles we loaded up our rental car and got on the road to find a gas station.

A slight side story… as I was filling the car that morning I noticed dozens of huge brown crickets all over the gas station lot. Even crawling up the dispensers! They were everywhere and at least 5 times the size of the little black ones we have around here.

Anyway, we put in the next Narnia audiobook in the player and hit the road towards Mena, Arkansas. It took about 2.5 hours or so to get to the small community of Mena. The main point of stopping in Mena was to take a look at a potential commercial property. We have friends who own this land and would like to fix up this old inn and get it running again. However, after seeing it I’m not sure it’s worth the money it would take to ‘fix it’ and it might be a better investment to scrape the property and start over.

After spending about 45 minutes looking at the property we headed north to visit friends in Ft. Smith. On the way we had something interesting happen. The road to Ft. Smith is a little two lane road surrounded by beautiful forest. The amount of trees was stunning! Back to the story, as we came around a curve I noticed an older lady standing in the middle of the street waving her arms at us to stop. As I stopped and rolled down my window she came up and pointed to a piece of paper. I could tell immediately that she was hearing impaired. I kind of nodded ok, not really understanding what she was asking. She then went over to the passenger side and showed Belle the paper. Again, I nodded and then she opened the back passenger door and hopped in the car next to Alex. She moaned a few sounds and pointed ahead so I just started driving and she would point here and there to show me which way to go. After about 15 minutes of driving she had me pull into a church parking lot. Using sign language she said thank you, got out and went to church! I wondered out loud if she gets to church that way every Sunday!

Ok, so we make it to Ft. Smith and head to Charleston to stay with friends. Charleston is about 35 minutes out of Ft. Smith and is an absolutely charming town! My dear friend, Sandy, took some time to show me around this cute little town and I think I could see my family living there.

We were so blessed to meet the Taggart family. Sandy and I have been friends over email for several years but we finally got to meet in person and it was so much fun! They spoiled us with comfy beds to sleep in, yummy food, and fun fellowship. They even talked us into staying a second night. They have 11 amazing kids and have quite a unique family story! Our kids became fast friends and we so enjoyed our time with them.

Property is much less expensive in Charleston… hmmm… maybe in our future?

The Sonlight Inn, Mena, Texas

We got to ride a trolley in Ft. Smith

August 17, 2018

Hello again! I’m going to try to finish telling you about our great summer adventure.

So, on Friday morning, Alfredo and Amy Sue closed on their new house and we all started unloading the moving truck. It took most of the day and we were all pretty exhausted. Once we got them a bit settled we caught a ride to get our rental car and headed a bit north to spend the night in Comfort.

We got checked into the Meyer’s Bed and Breakfast around 7pm. I had hoped to get there earlier so we could spend more time exploring Comfort and the bed and breakfasts 34 acres. We walked the beautiful acres and along the creek for about an hour and enjoyed the amazing sunset. Then we headed to our very comfortable room and settled in for the night.

After a good nights sleep we headed to the breakfast room and had a very filling and delicious breakfast. We sat at a table close to the windows and watched the deer grazing across the creek.

I wanted to get on the road and head towards Arkansas but the girls really wanted to swim so I let them play in the lovely pool for about an hour. Even at 9 in the morning it was about 80 degrees but the humidity wasn’t too bad. We packed up our car, stopped to buy some road trip snacks and jumped on the highway at 10:30 am.

I was a bit nervous getting on the road being the only adult and driver and driving 2 of my kids across a few states without my rock (Phil is my rock!) but I did a lot of praying and God gave me confidence. Mena, Arkansas, is about 9 hours away from Comfort and since we didn’t leave until mid morning I didn’t think we could make it there by that evening so I figured we’d have to find a place to stay somewhere along the way.

Have you ever stayed the night in Paris? I decided we would stop in Paris, Texas. It is a fairly small town but I was able to find a room in a little hotel to stay the night. It was a decent room but not nearly as lavish as the Meyer’s Bed and Breakfast!

Friday Finds

I know, I know… I need to finish telling you about my trip… soon!  But today is just a short post to share a few of my favorite finds during this week.

This post by Michelle Lesley is spot on!  While her blog is geared towards women this post is necessary for all Christians to read.  Let’s be weird together… read the post and you’ll understand!

This podcast by Kevin Swanson was fascinating. This podcast was not what I expected it to be… you should take a listen!  I know, for those of you that think Kevin is a little… um… out there, I find his podcasts a breath of fresh air.  Someone bold enough to speak the truth. The world has enough wish washy Christians… we need more believers to stand up for Gods Word!

I was at a birthday party not too long ago and they served a white chocolate raspberry bundt cake that was truly awe inspiring!  Phil found this copy cat recipe. I haven’t tried it yet but perhaps this weekend. Then I’ll have to figure out how to make one gluten free for him!  Enjoy!

That’s it for this week. I’ll try to finish sharing about my trip over the weekend.

Gaylene

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.