Florida Life, Praises, The House, The Husband

BIG, EXCITING NEWS x 2!

After 33 years and 15 jobs, mostly in the professional sports field, my husband is GOING TO RETIRE from full-time, professional employment at the end of this month! After taking the job with SMG, he has not been loving it. And thanks to the opportunity to continue with the NFL medical insurance plan until 65, as long as he is not employed full-time, he has decided to resign while we are still eligible for the NFL insurance plan. YAY for Carl!

His plan is to go back to working for SMG part-time as an independent contractor, at least for a while. One of the main reasons for doing this is that no one else knows how to do the project that he has been working on since being hired by SMG. So he is willing to help them out with it until someone else can get trained or for as long as they want him. Other than that, he plans on doing some other contracting work, finding a part-time job at a Scuba shop, finding a part-time job at the YMCA (for a free membership) or whatever else he decides to do JUST FOR FUN and some spending money!

This decision has been made possible thanks to our other BIG, EXCITING NEWS, which is that we have (almost) PAID OFF OUR MORTGAGE! Thanks to all of my husband’s hard work over the past 33 years and our diligent investing, we were able to pull money from our portfolio to pay off the the majority of the mortgage. The rest will be paid off next month and I’ll tell you more about that soon. Once it’s paid off, our expenses will be significantly reduced, thereby lowering the income that we need on a monthly basis, giving Carl the freedom to retire. YAY, again!

We are very excited about these major life changes and look forward to the freedom of setting our own schedules and living completely debt-free. We feel very blessed and grateful to God for His provision to us over all these years, making these events possible.

We are planning a big backyard celebration soon to celebrate!

 

Florida Life, The Family, The Relatives

Mom’s Visit 2019

Last week, after bringing mom back to Jacksonville, our friends, Cathy and Bruce, invited us all over for appetizers and cocktails while watching the sunset from their beautiful home on the St. John’s River.

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Cathy didn’t want to be in any photos 😦

Cathy and Bruce are amazing hosts who open their home twice a month for our church home group of up to 25 people each time, since they are the only ones with space to accommodate that sized crowd! And Cathy is always so considerate to prepare special keto (low-carb) snacks for us….how sweet to have friends like that!

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It was a beautiful, relaxing evening with good friends and God’s glory on display.

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We are grateful for such great friends!

We also were able to take mom down to Flagler Beach on Saturday to visit our former next-door neighbors at their beach house.

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Susan and Bill Dailey

After meeting them at their home, along with our current across-the-street neighbors, Bill and Dedie, we all walked up to the bar on the pier for Happy Hour.

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While enjoying our cocktails, we were visited by dolphins swimming by, so that was very exciting for mom.

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After walking to a local restaurant for dinner outside with live music playing, we returned to Bill and Susan’s house for some karaoke fun! The Bills and Carl did most of the singing but Susan and I had fun being back-up dancers for many songs. It was another great time with fun friends, although we sure wore Bill and Dedie out.

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Some other things during mom’s visit, included a few games nights with Zack,

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…a rainy afternoon spent watching an Iron Man marathon with Margaritas for Cinco De Mayo,

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…an afternoon matinee to watch Avengers: End Game,

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….and lots of floating around the pool!

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Mom is a low-key, easy guest who is grateful to just enjoy the Miklas Resort! We are happy to have her with us and wish that she would move down to Jacksonville. For somebody that enjoys the sun as much as mom, it seems like the perfect fit. If it wasn’t for those sweet little grandbabies back in Illinois, it would be a sure thing! Oh well. Until next time…thanks for coming, mom!

Florida Life, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Bradenton Trip

A few months ago, my mom asked me if I would be willing to pick her up in the Tampa area and bring her back to our house for a week’s visit. She was thinking of helping my brother’s wife, Lisa, fly to Tampa with her three young children, who was going to visit her parents, who have a home in Bradenton, FL, for a few weeks. Since I don’t get to see Lisa and the kids often and I haven’t even met my youngest niece (last time we visited them was July, 2018 when Lisa was pregnant with the youngest), who is now 9 months old, Carl and I decided we’d make a night of it and spend some time with them while they were generally in the area before bringing mom back to our house.

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Lisa’s parent’s house

After arriving at Lisa’s parent’s house and visiting for a while, we decided to head over to the pool to try and wear the kids out.

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Then Lisa’s parents made us all a great dinner and we were able to visit some more.

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Carl got to sharpen those grand-parenting skills by playing play-doh with the boys.

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After retreating to a hotel with mom for some peace and quiet and resting up for the night, we met up with Lisa, the kids, Lisa’s parents and Lisa’s aunt and uncle at the beach the next morning.

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We were able to get more time with the kids while we played in the sand and water.

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4-3/4 year old Robby
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2-year old, Max
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9-month old, Charlie (Charlotte)

All three of the kids were so cute, lovable and social. It was so nice to have some aunt and uncle time since visits are few and far between. We are grateful for the hospitality of Lisa’s family, who provided chairs, beach towels and a picnic lunch for us. It was a great visit!

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After lunch, Carl, mom and I headed out for the 4-hour drive back to Jacksonville. Thanks to traffic in the Orlando area, we actually got home about 5-1/2 hours later. Not fun! But it was worth it to see Lisa and the kids. We love them all and miss spending more time with them. Thank goodness for Facebook!

*This little road trip was how Carl spent his first two days of unemployment! He is officially unemployed now and waiting for just the right position. He did receive his first job offer this week (after three interviews with the same company) but declined it since it wasn’t what he really wanted to do. With three months of severance from the Jaguars, he is going to take his time and wait for just the right thing. It was a little nerve-raking for him to pass on an offer but we are trusting in the Lord and excited to see what He is going to provide!

 

Florida Life, The Family

Christmas Day 2018

Christmas with grown kids is so much more relaxing! We all leisurely woke up around 10am and wandered in to the kitchen for Christmas morning Omelets in a Bag.

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We did this two years ago (last Christmas we were on a cruise so skipped the new tradition that year), where you add raw eggs with whatever ingredients you want to a baggie labeled with your name, mix it around, seal tightly with the air removed and then drop the baggies in boiling water for 13 minutes. Everyone gets a personalized omelet that is ready at the same time!

Afterwards, we gathered around the tree for a reading of the Christmas story.

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Then it was time for presents.

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Our family does a Secret Santa exchange where we draw names so you only have to buy for one person, so the gift giving is not crazy (not counting goodie bags from me and Grandma Sue for each of the kids).

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We spent the afternoon outside playing Christmas Bingo.

12.25.18 Christmas Day (25)When it got too chilly, we moved inside and watched family videos from when the kids were younger.  We haven’t watched those movies in so long and it was really fun. It was a sweet time of precious memories and I’m so grateful to have those DVDs.

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Then it was time to make our annual Chicken Fricassee dinner.

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I taught Kameko and Avram how to make the homemade noodles.

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Kelly took a turn too and Grandma Sue showed us all how the expert does it! It was a definite team effort.

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Carl contributed by washing all the dishes for us.

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After dinner, we played some 4-Up and 4-Down around the dining room table.

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It was a beautiful, sweet family day spent with those we love.

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I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Florida Life, The Family, The Friends

Christmas Eve 2018

Last Sunday, Kelly and Avram joined us for Christmas week. With Carl and Zack on their way back from Miami, the older kids and I all went down to St. Augustine to see the Night of Lights.

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It was a beautiful night for walking around the Ancient City.

On Monday, Christmas Eve, Sue and Karl arrived.

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Everyone got dressed in their Christmas finest.

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Then we walked next door to the neighbor’s house for their annual Christmas Eve Open House.

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Even though they had to get up at 3am to leave for a family trip to New York City, they were gracious enough to still host the party since this will be their last Christmas in their house (it is currently for sale…boo hoo!).

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Who wants to be our neighbors so they can join in on our regular Taco Tuesday nights and Christmas Eve celebration?! We are going to miss the Dailey family.

 

Florida Life, Praises, The Family

Kameko

After Anthony’s graduation weekend, Anthony and Kameko flew back to Jacksonville with us to spend the holidays before they move to Hawaii forever and ever, rarely to be seen in person again (sniff, sniff…and just joking…sort of).  But first we had to make it to Jacksonville! In Phoenix, when Anthony brought all his stuff over to the Airbnb from his dorm room and we saw the amount of luggage that we had returning, we knew that we were in trouble. There was no way that all that luggage and the four of us were going to fit into Carl’s car for the drive back home. And the major issue was that we were flying into Orlando, not Jacksonville, since flights were significantly less money out of Orlando. After throwing around some options (one of which was having Zack drive down to meet us with our other car), we decided just to rent another car so that we had two cars to transport us and all the luggage. Problem solved! We finally made it and enjoyed spending a week with Anthony and Kameko doing some fun activities before our other guests arrived for Christmas.

On Monday, we did a secret dining assignment at Main Event, which included dinner, an hour of bowling, laser tag, billiards and $10 of video games. All for free (after I wrote up my report on our evening), which is the best kind of night out!

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On Tuesday, we introduced Kameko to our fun neighbors at our regular Taco Tuesday gathering.

On Wednesday, we went to see the Jacksonville Icemen Hockey game, after I purchased certificate for a set of 4 tickets, 4 free items from the concession stand and a parking pass for $50 from one of the recent Charity Galas that we attended. Who knew that Jacksonville had a hockey team? It brought back fun memories of watching Anthony play for 6-7 years!

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Of course, we played games one night, since any visit isn’t complete without game nights.

Game Night

It was lovely getting to spend time with Anthony and Kameko and getting to know our future daughter-in-law. We were so grateful to have that special time together and think that she is a wonderful addition to our family. We can’t wait to officially welcome her at their wedding in March!

Florida Life, Odds and Ends, The Family

Summer Fun

Hello? Are you there?  I thought that I’d take a break from floating around my swimming pool with my Kindle and a cool cocktail to share some random summer tidbits.

We have been enjoying a lot of time in the pool this season. We have been trying to invite various friends over each weekend, including hosting about 20 friends from our church home group this past weekend. I failed to get any photos then but this was our home group after we won our church’s “Summer Spiritual Olympics” by completing various tasks to earn points during the month of June (such as listening to sermons, reading the Bible, volunteering as a home group, sharing the gospel, etc). IMG_8992

Those two girls in the red and black shirts were carrying our team, earning about 500 points each week, determined to win the Gold Medal. I’m glad for their sake that we did because they definitely earned it!

I love my husband’s servant heart. Carl spent one whole Saturday helping friends move into their new house and he even dragged Zack along.

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Carl even took another day off of work to help at Youth Camp one day. Part of youth camp including hosting a Vacation Bible School for inner city kids for three afternoons.

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Don’t worry, he has found time to enjoy himself when he’s not serving others. He enjoyed a day excursion to Pompano Beach for some scuba diving and saw some ship wrecks and lots of sea life.

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For Independence Day, we drove down to our neighbor’s beach house for the day for lots of relaxing by the pool and catching up. We even made Zack come and hang out with us all day and rewarded him with a cocktail or two.

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Afterwards, we were able to watch some fireworks on our friend’s, John and Michelle, dock on the river.

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After having Zack drive around without a door handle for the past 6 months, Carl finally went to a junk yard and found a replacement and taught Zack how to install it. Way to go guys!

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I hope that you all are enjoying your summer. Back to the pool now!