Praises, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Wedding Plans!

We are in the midst of planning Anthony and Kameko’s wedding and two major milestones have been checked off the list – the DATE and LOCATION!

The date is March 3, 2019!

The location is a beautiful 7-bedroom house in Hauula, O’ahu, Hawaii just 1/2 mile from the beach that Carl and I have secured for all of Anthony’s immediate family to share for the week.


It has a big, open backyard where we will hold the wedding and party afterwards.

The red building is where the property manager lives with his family.

If it’s rainy, the inside is large and open and can accommodate the party inside.


We are very excited as plans and guests are starting to fall into place. We know that my mom; Carl’s parents; my brother John and wife, Laurie; Carl’s brother, Jim and wife, Linda; my aunt Gale; and Zack will be attending and staying in the house with us. We are really, truly hoping that Kelly and Avram will be able to get off of her internship/his school teaching job for the week to come also but they won’t know until both of those start in the fall. We are hoping that our nieces, Kate and Abby will join us but they will have to see what their work schedules allow. We believe Anthony’s birth-parents are coming and we are excited about that and it will be fun to share in such a joyous occasion with them.

We are hoping that a few more family members (I’m talking to YOU, Aunt Sandra and Leslie!) can come. I wish that somebody could win the lottery and treat all those family members that can’t afford to come (like my dad, other two brothers and their families) but know that they will be missed.

We are now working on all of the other details. It’s all very exciting and we are very happy for them and grateful that they are allowing us to assist in preparations and asking for our input (of course, as the financiers of the wedding, that makes it more of a necessity, ha!). Carl and I are actually planning a two-week vacation to Hawaii for the wedding. We will fly into O’ahu a few days earlier than everyone else for some wedding preparations. Then after our week together, Carl and I are going to fly to Maui to stay with a friend that moved there last year. We are so excited!


It's About Me, Praises, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling

Wait For It….

The other MAJOR reason for stopping in Chicago after Minneapolis was to fulfill my obsession over the past year by seeing Hamilton!

Well over a year ago, I was working on my computer and selected “Showtunes” on Amazon Prime Music (my favorite music venue since it’s already free with my membership and there are NO commercials) to listen to while I worked. A song that I was unfamiliar with popped up and I was instantly hooked. After seeing that it was from Hamilton, I then searched and discovered the whole soundtrack was available for free with my membership. And thus began an absolute obsession with Hamilton music!

I would go on to listen to the soundtrack once or twice a week for months and months, eventually tapering down to just the occasional listening. I also watched many YouTube videos and documentaries on Hamilton: The Musical and Alexander Hamilton in general. Could not get enough!

So last year when we came to Chicago, I looked into tickets but since it was still new, tickets were selling for a minimum of $350 each. Seeing as we could take an entire cruise for that amount, we just couldn’t do it. Hamilton has a lottery each day for two tickets for $20. I tried everyday but it wasn’t meant to be.

So this year, knowing we were going to Minneapolis, I again checked out ticket prices for Hamilton in Chicago and was thrilled to find out that they were much more reasonable (still $140 each but way better than $350 each). So after convincing my husband to make a detour before returning home and asking my mother if she wanted to come too, our tickets were purchased!

We did some research and found some reasonable parking at the Palmer House so we drove down early.

We walked over to Millennium Park and then to Buckingham Fountain for some photos. Then we stopped at Miller’s Pub for dinner and drinks.

Finally, it was showtime!

It was amazing! I loved every minute of it. Obsession fulfilled! Although I knew the soundtrack well, it was even better to see the actors and choreography and to catch some things I missed.

Although I had tried to have Carl listen to the soundtrack before, he never really got into it. So he found himself a little confused at times. After reading a synopsis at intermission, he found the second half much more enjoyable. So my advice to everyone thinking of seeing Hamilton is to familiarize yourself before seeing it. Listen to the soundtrack several times. Read through the song lyrics (some of the songs are so fast paced that it’s difficult to understand if you are unfamiliar). Or at least read the synopsis.

Hamilton is coming to Jacksonville during the 2019-2020 theater season. You can be sure that we will be going again!

It's About Me, Praises, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling

World’s Okayest Brother

One of our main reasons for detouring to Chicago was to meet our newest nephew, Max. Last year when we came to Chicago, he was on vacation with his mom so we didn’t get to see Lisa or the boys.

So this year I was thrilled to squeeze those chubby cheeks!

My brother, Rob, even took the day off of work to visit with us and wore the shirt I sent all three of my brothers a few years ago for Christmas.

Ok, I take it back….he’s more than okay!

Rob and Lisa made a great lunch for us with burgers and shrimp and salad.

We spent the rest of the time chasing the boys around the back yard.

I spent time in jail, playing super heroes with Robby.

It was a great day spent with Rob and his family. Now we have to plan another trip next year to meet baby Charlotte, who is arriving in July!

Later that day, we visited with Rob’s eldest daughter, Bryanna, at the restaurant she works at.


It was a great meal and we enjoyed the chance to chat with Bryanna. In an unexpected surprise, Bryanna’s mother, Alex, even stopped by and we got to chat with her for a bit. It was a great family day. Stay tuned for the other MAJOR reason that we went to Chicago in the next post.

Praises, The Kids

They’re Engaged!

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved all sorts of adventure, like rock climbing and slack-lining over canyons and surfing in 20-foot waves, that made his mother’s heart stop.


After his freshman year of college, he spent his summer in Hawaii working at the Salvation Army summer camp, Camp Homelani. It was such an amazing experience that he went back the following summer. It was at camp that he met a beautiful young woman, Kameko, who worked at camp with him. Kameko is half Japanese, a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Native American.


And that’s when Anthony’s heart stopped!


When he first returned from camp after his second summer there we asked if he had met any special girl. He shyly said “there’s one, but we are just going to be friends, since she’s in Hawaii and I’m in Arizona.”


A few weeks later, he said that she was his girlfriend (thanks to modern technology and the ability to Facetime, text, and talk, their relationship developed over the miles).


A few weeks later, he said “I’m going to marry that girl.”

So when he came to Jacksonville for spring break, we spent some time discussing their relationship and looking at engagement rings. After figuring out exactly what he wanted, he ended up ordering it online through James Allen.


When he returned to Hawaii for his third summer, he officially proposed last week.


They are planning a spring, 2019 wedding in O’ahu, Hawaii. We are very happy for them!


We know many of our family and friends have concerns with them getting married so young. But we feel that Anthony and Kameko have prayerfully considered their decision and have sought the Lord’s guidance in their relationship. Carl and I were young when we met and fell in love…I was only 17 years old and Carl was 19. Carl says that he KNEW within a very short time that he wanted to marry me. And that seems to have worked out well for us! I believe in and have experienced the benefits to marrying young and learning and growing together. Couples that are older when they marry can be more set in their ways and may not have learned how to compromise as well. So we are comfortable with his decision and fully support him. God has richly blessed Anthony and we know that since they both love the Lord and put Him first, that good things are in store for them both.

We are looking forward to a few weeks in Hawaii next spring as we celebrate the nuptials of these two lovebirds!

Some bonus Anthony updates:

  • Anthony is back in Hawaii for his third summer. This year he and Kameko will be working for the Salvation Army day camp. This means that they will work during the day but be free and return home each evening and weekend.
  • Anthony is living with Kameko and her grandma for the summer. In separate bedrooms :).
  • Anthony will be graduating college early, in December, 2018. He took an extra class last semester and will have an extra class this coming semester in order to do that. He worked incredibly hard this past semester and still managed to make the Dean’s list and have an overall 3.76 GPA. So proud of that boy!
  • After graduation in December, he will be moving to O’ahu permanently. I’m happy for him but sad for us that he will be so far away. But at least we have an awesome place to go visit!
  • No, we have no idea what he will do for a living after he graduates! Having a free place to live with Kameko and her grandma will give him time to figure that out. He has talked about working in the tourism industry for a few years. Time will tell…we’ll keep you posted on that.
Daily Coupon Deals, Florida Life, Praises, The Family, The Husband, The Relatives, Uncategorized

Carl’s 55th Birthday

Yesterday was Carl’s 55th Birthday so he celebrated by taking the day off of work and spending the day with the rest of us in St. Augustine. A while back, I saw a Living Social Deal for a Dolphin Safari and Scenic Boat Tour which I purchased for Carl, mom and I to use to celebrate her birthday and mother’s day while she was here. When I found out John and Laurie were visiting too, we invited them but John gets sea-sick so they decided to do site-seeing instead.

Dolphin Tour (11)

We loaded a little Vietnam-era boat with about 20 people to tour the intercoastal waters searching for dolphins.

Dolphin Tour (10)

We were not disappointed and saw many pods cruising the waterways. There is just something so exciting about seeing dolphins bopping out of the water, especially in pairs.

Dolphin Tour (9)

We also got a unique view of St. Augustine from the water, including the Bridge of Lions in it’s up position,  and learned some interesting facts along the way.Dolphin Tour (6) It was a great experience and we all loved it.

Dolphin Tour (13)

After our boat tour, we met up with John and Laurie for lunch at a little cafe.

Lunch in St. Auggie

We had a brief period of rain while we walked over to the fort but luckily it stopped for the rest of our exploring.

Fort (2)

Carl had never been inside the fort as an adult so he loved getting to learn more of the history of Castillo de San Marcos.

Then began the drinking part of our afternoon :). First we stopped for a drink at the Martini Bar.

Martini Bar (2)

Then it was onto a tour of the St. Augustine Distillery, where we sampled 4 different cocktails.

Distillery (3)

We ended our visit with dinner at our favorite St. Augustine Restaurant, Aunt Kate’s, thanks to John and Laurie. After returning home and playing some dominoes, I made Carl his birthday dessert of chocolate whip. The elusive son even made a guest appearance for his father’s birthday!

Bday Dinner (3)

It was a great day in St. Augustine together and celebrating Carl’s birthday.

We love you Carl and think 55 looks great on you! Happy Birthday!


It's About Me, Praises, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Our Friend’s 50th Wedding Anniversary Cruise!

Our friends, Dee and Eddy, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary earlier this year. God has been faithful to them through the years! What an example they have been to those around them.

50th Shirts (19)

They decided to organize a cruise to celebrate this momentous occasion. Their son and his family came along.

50th Shirts (16)
Craig, Sharlyn and their two sons. They also have two daughters who were not able to come.

Sharlyn’s best friend and family came along.

50th Shirts (17)
Jamie, Tom and their two boys

Sharlyn’s son’s best friend, Ben and Ben’s grandma came along.

50th Shirts (18)
Diane and Ben, whose cruise shirts got mistakenly left behind

Dee and Eddy’s unofficially adopted daughter, Allyson, and her family, including her in-laws, came along.

50th Shirts (15)
Allyson, Russ, their 4 kids and Russ’s parents, Mic and Lynn

And of course Carl and I came along because we won’t pass up an opportunity to cruise, especially with friends!

50th Shirts (22)

Altogether, we had 22 people…12 adults and 10 children! Sharlyn made those adorable shirts for us all. We all picked out our own shirts and gave them to her but then she designed and attached the vinyl logo.

50th Shirts (20)

We took a 6-night cruise on the Carnival Vista out of Miami.

Miami (1)

Carl and I drove down a day early and spent the night with Steve, Alysia and kids (the family that evacuated to our house for 5 nights during the last hurricane).


It was a wonderful week away with good friends and I’ll share more about it all week.

Happy Anniversary Dee and Eddy!

Praises, The Relatives

Happy 50th Birthday, Leslie!

Today is Carl’s sister’s 50th birthday!

Leslie, Jim and Carl as youngsters
I’m told this is one of Leslie’s favorite photos.

Luckily Sue stopped cutting Leslie’s hair by the time she was a pre-teen.

1979 – 11 years old

The first photo that I could find of me and Leslie was my first trip to Memphis to meet his family for Easter…I don’t recall if that was the first time that we met in person but I tend to think so.

1983 (11)
1983 – 15 years old

We became pen pals after that and I remember writing to her regularly from college. A few years later, she would be a bridesmaid in my wedding to Carl.

1986 (2)
1986 – 18 years old

We were both so young and pretty!

1986 (1)

A few years later, I would be a bridesmaid in her wedding to Tom Dufus.

1991 – 23 years old

What a beautiful bride!


With many miles between us and busy lives as young, married, working people, we didn’t get together often enough in those early years. However, her ex-husband was a pilot and they owned their own plane for a while, which they flew to our family reunion in Chicago to visit with us.

1994 – 26 years old

They visited us at our new home in Minnesota when we asked Leslie to be Zack’s godmother a few years later.

1999 – 31 years old

Single and living in the Memphis-area near her parents, we were so happy to reconnect with Leslie and draw closer to her after this time with more regular visits and conversations. Yay! Leslie celebrated her 40th birthday with her good friend, Lori.

2008 – 40 years old

We were happy to spend some time with her and the rest of the Miklas clan on vacation in Marco Island, Florida that summer.

2008 – still 40

Carl began to make yearly visits to see his parents and sister and enjoyed this special time with just his family.

2013 – 45 years old

We had a fun time hanging out at the beach and playing games each night at my boss’ beach house a few years ago in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

2016 – 48 years old

I am so happy to have Leslie in our lives. Although we don’t talk as often as I like and I would love to live closer together so we could visit regularly, I cherish the times that we do have together. Conversation is always easy and fun and we have a good time.

2017 – 49 years old

Leslie is sweet, funny, caring and usually so patient with her parents. We are glad that they have each other nearby to help each other out. I am happy to have her as my sister-in-law and friend. I wish her a fantastic 50th birthday and a peaceful and joyful year. Here’s hoping to finding your sugar daddy this year, Leslie! Happy Birthday to you!