Jaxty's Place

My place to ramble about my family, my crafts, my travels and life.

Dallas, TX

As soon as we returned from vacation, Carl had to empty his suitcase, reload his overnight bag and head to Dallas for a quick overnight visit for work.

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He went to the Dallas football game on Sunday to observe their procedures for the 50-50 raffle and to hopefully glean some new ideas.

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I’m not sure that he did but hey, free trip!

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This was interesting…he learned that Dallas sells 10,000 “standing room only” tickets for $29 each. People actually pile in and stand for the 3-4 hours during each game. Wow!

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But even more interesting, was a quick side trip during his down time. This is the infamous “grassy knoll” in Dealey Plaza where bystanders stood as John F Kennedy’s motorcade passed by during his assassination.

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Dealey Plaza is bordered by the Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from the sixth floor window (on far right).

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The location of the President’s vehicle at the time of the shooting is marked with a green X in the road.

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Carl then went and saw the theater where Oswald hid out and was eventually arrested in.

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Although the theater still “hosts a mix of repertory cinema and special events,” it shows the name of the movie playing at the time of Oswald’s arrest on one side.

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In light of the news that the country awoke to yesterday morning (as I wrote this) about the horrific and senseless tragedy of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV, it feels icky even writing this post about another horrific murder in our country’s past. But evil has existed in our country for all of history and evil will continue to reign until Jesus returns. I read a good article titled “How we should respond to the Las Vegas shooting.”

This is just a small exerpt from the article:

Mercifully, the Word of God can help in bringing theological precision to our thoughts by giving us a way to think about the problem of evil in our world.

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:26-28

Though I don’t know the particulars, I do know He is making all things come together for His good purposes. Big tragedies need a big God to walk us through them. Without Him, there is no way to endure the works of evil satisfactorily.

I pray that God would help us all to make sense of such senseless tragedies and to lean into Him with the hope and peace that only He can provide. 

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Santa Rosa Beach with Friends

After five nights, our friends, John and Michelle left yesterday. But not before creating fun memories and having lots of laughs together. On Monday, we spent the day at the beach, soaking in the sun.

By the way, Carl and I celebrated our 35th anniversary of meeting this week.

Four years of college, 31 years of marriage, 3 children, 3 dogs, 6 interstate moves and we still like each other! God has certainly blessed us. I’m so grateful for these past 35 years!

On Tuesday, the husbands played golf and fished.

Meanwhile, Michelle and I enjoyed a spa day with massages, manicures and pedicures while enjoying cheese and wine. Such a fun day, thanks to a Groupon deal.

Since the ladies were in no mood for cooking after our day of pampering, we went out to eat, thanks to John and Michelle’s treat.

The next day, we started with a nice 4 mile walk. Since a donut and coffee break was included in the middle, I had to tag along that time.

Afterwards, we shared the cost of a Stand-up Paddleboard rental for our second beach day.

Since it was a little choppy and I apparently have really bad balance skills, I opted to have Carl paddle me around.

The next morning we returned to the beach and since it was smooth as glass, I was able to ride around on my own, which was so fun. Carl even got within 15 feet of dolphins! Very exciting!

We also enjoyed sunsets, cocktails, games and meals together.

I am so happy to have friends to share a special time away together.

And I’m grateful I’ve got this guy by my side for the past 35 years. Happy anniversary of meeting, Carl! What a great vacation together with friends.

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Santa Rosa Beach 2017

I’m so grateful for my Tuesday boss and the great working relationship that we have. And I’m especially grateful that he has a lovely beach vacation home that he shares with family and favored employees for free. This year, Carl and I invited our good friends, John and Michelle to join us for a week of fun and sun at the beach. We drove over one day prior to our friends to get settled in, get some groceries and enjoy our first walk on the beach at sunset.

The next afternoon, John and Michelle joined us.

While waiting for the sunset, Carl and John played bocce ball at the beach.

Our first full day together began with Carl, John and Michelle taking a long walk. Yes, I was the only lazy one. What of it? I’m on vacation. When they got back, Michelle made us her amazing quinoa power breakfast.

Yum! Carl and John watched the Jaguar game on the IPad since it wasn’t playing on local tv while Michelle and I went out for more groceries.

After the game was over, with a Jaguar victory, we drove down Highway 30a to explore some of the cute coastal cities. Our first stop was Seaside.

After wandering around the residential area, we came upon a field with a badminton court so we had to stop and play.

John and Michelle won, which did not make me happy. Plus I broke out in a sweat. Again, not happy. Oh well. At least we had fun! We finally made our way to the town square where they had a series of cute Airstream trailer food trucks so we stopped for some delicious BBQ pork for lunch.

And then to top it off, we all split a giant Sea Salt Chocolate 100 layer cronut (fried croissant) stuffed with chocolate filling.

What an incredible way to blow our carb count for the day! We then made our way further down Hwy 30a, ending at Rosemary Beach.

After taking a coffee/tea break, and sending the above photo to our pastor, who vacations there each year with his family, we walked around this area too for a while.

We finally made our way back home where John and Michelle prepared our awesome dinner of rib eye steaks, veggies and cucumber/tomato salad.

Then it was time for some games. Our first choice was Sequence.

By the end of the night, the women beat the men three games to two.

Losers.

It was a super fun day spent with friends. We are so happy to be spending our vacation with them. More fun to come!

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Hurricane IRMA

On Sunday, with the weather worsening and the rain beginning to fall, we were finally stuck inside which led me to open our game cabinet and introduce the kids to Trouble, Sorry and Whoonu. I don’t know how many games of each we played, but it was A LOT! After the two little girls went to bed Sunday night, we even played a round of Say Anything with Logan, who came up with classic answers, such as “Beer” for “Favorite toy that adults might like” and actually won the game.

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Just as we were headed for bed, the rain and winds picked up and the electricity started to flicker. Carl and I preemptively prepared the fridge, by moving all the refrigerated items to the freezer compartments and loading it up with frozen water bottles and ice to keep everything cool in the event of the inevitable loss of power. Sure enough, around 1 am, the power went out for good. Between the wind and pounding rain and IPhone weather alert blaring at 2:30am warning of flash flooding in Jacksonville (not actually near us), it was a restless night of sleep. But we awoke in the morning with the majority of the storm past us and just light rain and some lingering wind gusts.

With no electricity (and even more annoying, extremely spotty cell service which made giving updates to family difficult) throughout the day, Zack emerged from his room and resorted to playing games with the kids.

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It eventually cleared enough for us all to head outside for a walk to assess the damage.

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The main road out of area looked like this:

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And closer to our house, that same little creek that flooded in the above picture, was flooding our street as well.

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This shows you a perspective of how far the flooding was from actually reaching our house as I stand in front of our house and look down the street at the flooding.

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So we’d have to have a massive amount of additional rain for it to reach up to our driveway and then even more for it to even reach the actual house. That is why we don’t ever feel in actual danger from flooding, although that creek puts us in Evacuation Zone A (the first for Mandatory Evacuations).

This is what our pool looked like after the storm:

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The plastic chairs are actually thrown into the pool on purpose to prevent them from blowing around the backyard and into a window.

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Gradually the weather continued to improve, the sun came out and the water began to drain from the streets, clearing the roads to travel. After successfully sending Zack out to find an open gas station, our Miami guests decided to head back home since they heard that their neighborhood was fine and they actually had electricity.

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The other two children and dog were already secured in the car when we took these photos.

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We are grateful that we were spared from flooding or other damage from this powerful storm. Others that we know were not so lucky. Our friends that live directly on the St. John’s river lost their pier and boat house (luckily they had moved their boat to land). Even more devastating, our next-door neighbors and good friends, Bill and Susan, got  3-4 feet of water in their recently renovated beach home. All the drywall, trim, doors, flooring, cabinets and furniture will have to be replaced. We are so sad for them but grateful that they have flood insurance to help cover the costs. There are other families in our church that still are without electricity during these 80-90 degree days. (Our electricity actually came back on Monday night, shortly after our guests left).

With each hurricane, we learn more and more about how to better prepare. Hopefully it will be a great long while before we have to use the lessons learned!

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The Refugees

We survived our second major hurricane in Jacksonville….Hurricane Irma. With the relentless news forecasts warning of the impending catastrophic hurricane coming to wipe out the entire state of Florida, we were a little nervous but knew that we wouldn’t know for sure the impact on Jacksonville until the storm moved closer. What seemed for sure is that southern Florida, and especially Miami, was going to get nailed. So about a week prior Irma hitting our state, I received a phone call from our dear, former neighbors from Minnesota’s son, Steve, who lives in the Miami area with his wife, Alysia, three children under the age of 5 and Husky dog, Diego.

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As soon as I saw his name on my cell phone, I knew that he was looking for a place to escape so I invited them to come up to JAX to wait for the arrival of IRMA.

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In a desire to not get caught up in the evacuations of millions of people in southern Florida trying to escape and to avoid and sitting on stalled highways for hours with a carload of young children, they drove up on Wednesday, well ahead of the storm expected to hit on Sunday and Monday. We were blessed with warm, sunny days leading up so that the kids could spend their days swimming in the pool (and boy did they spend hours and hours swimming!). At night, we cuddled on the couches for movie nights.

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We played Old Maid and Crazy Eights with the kids.

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We did Tequila shots with the adults because we are cool that way :).

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We shared meals together.

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From Wednesday through Sunday afternoon, it was almost like a mini-vacation together! Lots of fun, laughs and food and cocktails together with little responsibilities from work and/or school.

We are grateful that we had this special time together with a fun and energetic young family. It was definitely a taste of grand-parenthood and I really enjoyed it! We are glad that we could be a blessing to this young family and await the massive hurricane together. More tomorrow….

 

 

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Zack, Plan C

About a month ago, I told you how Zack had decided to switch from the Electrician Training Certificate to Aviation Mechanic Certificate. Wwwwweeeellllllllll, that program lasted less than one day. When I awoke in Arizona last Monday morning, I had already received a text from Zack in the midst of his first day in the program saying, “I think I’m dropping out of the program.” I’m guessing that they started the day with a “Pep Talk” about how challenging it would be and how hard they would have to work and other realities of life. All Zack focused on was the fact that he had until that Friday to drop out without any financial consequences. So within the first two hours, that is what he had already decided to do.

We gave Zack three options:

  • Find another program to switch to by the weekend.
  • Enlist in the service.
  • Work full-time and pay us rent, car insurance and cell phone.

At first he said he was switching to the Welding Certificate program. Then he said he was switching to the Drafting Certificate program. In the end, unsure of what the heck he wants to do, he has decided to work full-time for at least one semester while he explores his options.

We really wish that he would enlist in the service but he seems to have no interest in that option. So for the time-being anyway, Zack will be working at home and paying bills like a real adult!

Good luck Zack! We hope you figure out what you want to do in life.

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Arizona

After dropping me off in Tucson at my Aunt Sandy’s house, I spent the week doing the following (in the order of occurrence):

  • Seeing a local production of The Producers with Aunt Sandy, her half-brother (and my half-uncle) Larry and wife Judy and a few of their friends. It was very entertaining and well done.
  • Attending the local Sovereign Grace church for my weekly fill-up!
  • Having a day of pampering with a pedicure and massage

  • Attending the neighborhood water aerobics class three times that week. It was actually way more fun than I thought it would be.
  • Playing Scrabble at the IHOP, officially making me feel like an old lady between the water aerobics and this!

  • Formulating a plan with Aunt Sandy on our next genealogy project together on her father’s side of the family. We sorted through photos and began figuring out our plan of attack and we are excited about our direction.
  • Having dinner with my niece, Abby, in Phoenix (after spending the day with Anthony). Anthony was originally supposed to join us for dinner but ended up having too much homework that night.

  • Attending Aunt Sandy’s weekly watercolor art class which has really inspired me to start spending time in my craft room more.

I painted the parrot on the left…

And these flowers…

  • Visiting Judy and Larry at their ranch in the country and meeting their horses.

  • Having lunch with Judy and Larry and Sandra’s friend, Joy.

  • Playing several games of scrabble during the week, ending with my victory on the last night!


It was a great week away and I’m blessed to have such a beautiful and relaxing place to escape to at my Aunt Sandy’s mountain resort. It was the perfect place to recuperate after the long drive across the country and always such a special treat to spend time with my aunt. Thanks for everything, Aunt Sandy. Until next time!

And a very happy 80th birthday to my Aunt Sandy later this week!! I’m sorry that you missed your surprise party!

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College Bound

For the second time in two years, I made the 28-hour drive from Jacksonville to Tucson in Anthony’s pick up truck.

We drove 10 hours to Lafayette, LA the first day, 10 hours to Ft. Stockton, TX the second day and 8 hours to Tucson on the third day, where Anthony dropped me off at my Aunt Sandy’s house.

We were so blessed to be one day ahead of the devastating hurricane Harvey, as we drove through Houston the day prior. Other than some brief rain and numerous highway signs warning drivers to avoid the Texas coast, we traveled without any difficulties.

I did borrow Aunt Sandra’s car to drive up to Phoenix on Wednesday to visit Anthony at Grand Canyon University and see his apartment.

I took him to Costco to stock up on groceries and household supplies.

We also went to a few Goodwill stores to find a tv stand and two kitchen chairs for a total of $12!

It was good to spend time with the college boy and help him get set up in his apartment.

I wish him a great third year of college!

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Kick Off

Can it be football season already? It’s hard to imagine when it’s still 90 degrees out with 85% humidity in Florida. But yes, it really is that time. Since it was only preseason and since it was the JAX Jaguars, Carl was able to get an unlimited number of tickets to the season opener game at Everbank Field last Thursday night. He offered tickets to our entire church and over 135 tickets were claimed (this is only some of the crew)!

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One of the diehard Jaguar fans, Nathan, who has his own season tickets, organized tailgating in one of the parking lots beforehand. He did a terrific job with a tent, two propane grills, music and games set up for the kids.

I had really debated going myself since:

  1. It’s football.
  2. It’s soooo hot.

But I couldn’t pass up the fun social occasion with our church family. And when Anthony (who is home from Hawaii for one week) said that he would come too, that clinched the deal.

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I can honestly say that I don’t think I watched the game at all. I spent most of my time socializing with friends or looking for my photos to appear on the Giant Screens.

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If you post photos to Instagram using the hashtag #jagsgamedaylive, you can eventually see your photo appear on the screens, rotating through a few times. These are some of the other photos I posted to Instagram…

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Our friends, Michelle and John, who we rode with to the game and Ben, another young friend.

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Our friends, Dee and Eddy, with Carl stopping by to say hi.

From what I hear, the Jaguars really looked bad and it’s going to be a long and painful season. This pretty much sums up what I feel about watching football…

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It was a fun evening hanging out with friends. I am grateful to Carl and Nathan for helping to put together a great evening of fellowship! Next time, let’s do it somewhere inside with air conditioning!!

 

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Zack’s New Plans

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Remember when I told you that Zack would be going to FSCJ in the Electronic Certification program? He has decided to instead enter the 20-month Aviation Mechanics program, which is another career that we previously tried to talk him into but he resisted. When Zack first started talking about automotive mechanic as a potential career, he had several adults (Carl’s cousin’s husband and Carl’s brother) try to steer him in the direction of Aviation mechanic instead due to the high demand and higher pay of that field. After hearing of a friend in Minnesota that is entering the US Air Force in that field, I think Zack was finally swayed. He decided to change paths to obtain his Aviation Airframe Mechanics and Aviation Powerplant Mechanics Certification. So he is now enrolled, starting on August 28th. Zack will attend classes at the FSCJ Cecil Airport Center every Monday through Thursday from 7am until 3pm for the next 20 months. It will be hard work but we know that with Zack’s determination and good work ethic, he can be successful. We are really proud of him!

Even better news is the fact that Zack has received a significant scholarship from the Jacksonville Jaguar Foundation which will pay for half of his yearly tuition/fees. Thank you to the Jaguars!

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