JOY --- Jesus On the JourneY

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Anchor People

   In every family there are what might be known as “anchor people”.  The family is nurtured by them and their sense of family is so strong that you connect with them in the bigger extended family of your lives.

               Such was the case with my cousin Debbie.

   I remember Debbie as a little girl – quiet – stable -fun- the typical middle child – flexible.  They stayed with us when I was about 11 or 12 for a month.  Both being the "middle child" we connected.

   As we grew to our teen years – I was older (about 7 years) – we didn’t see as much of her but in our later adult years we became close again.  Our mothers were sisters.  When my parents moved near my Aunt Mildred to help with my Dad’s care – both Debbie and her mom stepped up to help.  She was one my mom knew would come in a moment’s notice and she always was the calm reassurance and support Mom and Dad needed.  Terry and I, 10 hours away,  knew we could always rely on Debbie and Steve. 

   Debbie had a laugh as she told her stories – life had dealt a harsh hand early on and she learned to work very hard to provide for her two girls.  She met Steve and life became sweet  as two boys were born into their family making them a household of six.
Debbie was never one to boast about herself but was aware of those around her.

   God gave me a sweet memory Thursday morning, just minutes after I got the news – I immediately shared this with Janet her younger sister.   My classes were launching a foods unit on meal planning and this sweet remembrance came to mind:

   In 2003 Debbie brought her parents to Tulsa (a 10 hr drive) to see my mom whose health was declining with ALS.  Debbie had created a noodle business and so that day she taught my students how to make them.  I shared with my students that when you are in a hard time financially – creating a business with food is one of the ways that you can take care of your financial losses.  Janet told me that Debbie always wanted to be a Home Ec. Teacher.

   We haven’t talked in a few years – to my regret—we have been keeping up with our tribes of g’kids now.  Only an occasional something on FB -- About 3-4 summers ago Debbie, Janet and I had a cousin reunion in St. Louis – what a fun night!  

   Janet is a great one to keep us connected to our larger family of grandparents – keeping those stories alive that she learned from her mom.  .  . she's our family connector - and keeps up with all of us.

   I am sitting here this morning unable to be in Indiana for Debbie’s service at 2 -- I am grieving for Steve, Lori, Carey, Bryce and Spencer – I hurt for Janet and Donnie, their brother – our lives were entertwined so closely for those years when we were young.  

   Debbie leaves a gaping hole!  

   Her Father Aaron, step-mom Earlene, and Brad, Marcie, Kim, Julie, Matt, Mark and Greg and their families all feel this profound loss.

   Debbie stayed close to home – grew up in Vincennes Indiana – married and raised a family there – it will be a huge service.  Her larger family included other siblings and their families – she was their older sister --The people she touched knew she was the real deal. 

   I know that I have been blessed - Janet reminded me that Ida and Verner Brian (Mom’s parents) were strong people who raised good kids. Lucille, Willis and Mildred.   My Indiana family are all the hardest working people I know. . . and have the strongest sense of integrity.  I want to see all of them in Heaven.

  The Bible says from Job "The LORD gives and the LORD takes away- Blessed be the NAME of the LORD"  That's a harder verse for me today -- but 2 Corinthians names Him the "God of ALL COMFORT and Father of Compassion " I am leaning on Him today for Debbie and her great big family.  My Cousins Janet, Donnie, Melody and her husband Terry who are all there asking Him to guide them through the coming days.  

Monday, February 19, 2018


I've always wanted shirts for Camp Nana Pawpaw.  When we found out that we'd have both sets of Grands within the same week and they'd all be together for a long weekend -- I contacted Gator Thompson @GatorTees and asked him to design us shirts.  We were blown away with what he created:

We used a phrase from Campbell when she was 3:  "Nana and Pawpaw's - where the answer is always YES"

They were wired for this picture and right afterward had our snowball fight with our indoor snow balls.  It was wild and crazy!!!

We did our usual family sharing of passing around stomach virus when we get together -- T & I had the bug Monday / Tuesday to launch it. 
Session 1 of Camp N / P started at noon on Tuesday as  Marshall and Katie got a chance to get away on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (the first time to leave their kiddos overnight EVER). They missed the kids so much they hurried back on Thursday morning.

Clara and Charlie seemed to feel right at home like they had always been here and we had ourselves a ball!  Reading books, watching Clara's favorite videos, snuggling with Charlie and singing with Clara.

The sweetest  part of the whole week was hearing the four older ones pray at mealtime - Clara starting with the Lords Prayer - placing her elbows on the table and doing a big hand clasp- Jack singing "God our Father"  Sydney filling in the Lords Prayer and Campbell praying for her heart.

Session 2 of Camp Nana Pawpaw started on Saturday at noon and lasted until late Monday afternoon.
With plenty of time outdoors on Saturday -- cold and rainy weather kept us inside Sunday and Monday.  We had to create things to do

Opening their Mommy Daddy gifts each day -- this one was a messy one -- digging for a "fossil"
We had lots of rain and cold so we fought cabin fever with:  

Creating a costume for the queen
Craft time

Taco Bell for the lunch bunch 
A Field Trip to TCC to see where Pawpaw teaches

wrapping it up on Monday afternoon --
Jack Tucker Good - all tuckered-out!!!
Pawpaw is by far -- his favorite buddy!

                                                      and After!!!! 

 (Our kids had us do this pose! - though I will admit -- tonight we're tired! -- but feeling so blessed by one GREAT week with our five Grands)  

Friday, February 16, 2018

Saying Goodbye

Today, we said goodbye to our dog, Hyder.   This has been especially painful for Terry and for Marshall as well.  Marshall named her after his favorite city in Canada.  He and Terry consulted yesterday and assessing her condition of pain knew it was time . . . 

I remember the little things,
Hyder was the dog who looked after the other dogs.  
She was unpretentious and never one to push her way -- EXCEPT if another dog was trying to eat her dinner
She guarded our house as HER territory and would charge the front window when anyone dared to walk down our street.  She was especially vicious when a dog DARED step on our property.
She loved to ride in the pick-up with the windows down.
She would often sit in the front seat and fall asleep - leaning on Terry.
She hated storms and would have get in our bed trembling every time it thundered, scratching on T's side of the bed unil he would hoist her up..
She was so very well house-trained that even in her last days as it was very difficult to walk from the breast tumors and arthritis -- she would get herself down the stairs and outside.
Hyder would wake up with me in the morning - come into my office where I was having my quiet time -- when she would smell my breakfast she was always there for a hand-out.
Yesterday, she got herself up and came in -- just like always.

Hyder had a place on her side that if you touched it she would wince and cry. . . there was something about people getting to close to her face that would get a reaction from her like this.

When she heard the garage door go up - Hyder would be at the back door waiting. . . that's the hardest part right now -- coming through the back door.

Marshall wrote this story . . .
This isn’t a sad story, but, many happy stories start from sad beginnings. Many years ago during a sweltering Oklahoma summer, a small brown dog laid alone off a country road in a shallow ditch. It was hot and it was dry. The little brown dog had been alone for many days. See, in this part of the country, there’s a cruel practice of abandoning unwanted pets in the country. I’m sure many like to think the dog will meet others, join a  gang and perhaps learn to fend for themselves; for many if not most, this isn’t the reality. It certainly wouldn’t have been for the little brown dog. 
Luckily, for the little brown dog, when things seemed at their worst, a car door opened. There stood a middle-aged man in front of a middle-aged truck. He opened the door the and the little brown dog jumped in and the two were off down the road like ole-time buddies. At that moment the two didn’t know about all the adventures ahead and the good times they’d share.
The little brown dog ate and slept and slept and ate. Soon the little brown dog wasn’t so little anymore. The man and the little brown dog had adventure after adventure. The two made many new friends. Some old, some young; some short, some tall; some black and some brown. The little brown dog and the man went on many adventures, traveled the country, ate fine foods and one of them even went to med school for a very short period of time. Most importantly though there was hour after hour in those old trucks with the windows down.   

The man’s kindness was repaid in full. The brown dog was a constant companion and friend. She watched over the house day and night from squirreled invaders and the like. She provided comfort during many difficult times. The two lost many friends together, but they got through it as they always did: together. Then, after 91 years, full of adventures and friendship, the man and the little brown dog had to say goodbye. We all know however the two will be riding in an old beat up truck soon, windows down and smiling one warm afternoon. 

Friday, February 2, 2018


A trip to the salon and two little Bells lookin' cute!!!

$10??? for a cup of water??? These 3 know how to make a $
Finally - Ballerina started after the holidays - this little gal has
been "in training" for weeks for this day!

This little gal finally got her slime!  (with the promise
that it would stay at Nana and Pawpaw's) #Campbell day

of course, we had to make more at the next sleepover

This little guy had tubes in and adenoids out on Tuesday
and gets to have a "brother night" sleepover, tonight.

From the Heart

I have two lunch bunches at Youth Alive -- my 11:00 people are sophomores, some juniors and a senior or two - about 30 in all meet on Thursdays in my room, have lunch and we share a Jesus moment.  My noon people are fewer in number and a core group of seniors mostly.  Last week my 12:00 friends asked if they could share their testimonies -- I said "awesome" that's what I've been asking students to do all year.  So we arranged to have a Pizza day and get this core group dismissed from their classes to come and speak to my younger group.


        I've always had students speakers -- but this group openly shared struggles with various addictions, being truthful with parents, and other issues.   They spoke core verses that had guided them.  Their message was over and over --

"I started praying --- I read my Bible again -- I found someone accountable to open up to."

I saw from them that early on they had accepted Jesus at camp or VBS --


One young woman shared what she lived on as she was moving away from her addiction and closer to Jesus:

"I came to realize that GOD has been forgiving sins for thousands of years and HE is not going to ruin his reputation by not forgiving me.  HE WILL NOT GO BACK ON HIS WORD"

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Happy 45 Years to My Man

I commissioned this picture from one of my students, artist-Joey Wright, depicting the walks our Grands take with their Pawpaw when they need his one-on-one time.  They discuss all sorts of life stuff, explore bugs, learn new and exciting info about all sorts of wonders.  I have pictures of each of them with him and Joey was able to create this picture from 3 different photographs.
I like to think that this picture represents the best part of our journey and life walk together!  It's been a progressive gift -- the frame came for T's birthday -- it was Christmas Eve that Joey sent the picture he had completed-- and for our anniversary I gave Terry the picture on canvas.

We've traveled the world, served in ministry together all these years, raised two beautiful children and each day together still holds such treasures.  God is the anchor in our relationship - the strength in our days -- the peace in our chaos and Our Wisdom to teach and guide those he gives us to serve and protect.

I'm still learning from this man - it amazes me what he knows.  He treats me like a queen and I know that he always has my best in his heart!

We had the nicest waiter at the Melting Pot, Nhaid, who chatted us up found out we were teachers, told us he was going to OU, and when he brought our dessert, as you can see in the picture below, made T's plate look like this:

Friday, January 19, 2018

Passing it On

Seeing Faith in God take root in the lives of our grands brings joy down in the deep places of our hearts.  This past Sunday night, when we enjoyed an MLK day sleepover and were putting the Goodletts in bed, they wanted first for me to tell them a story from my past or that I made up.  I always revert to something from when I was their age—you know – YEARS ago.  Then as we followed up – I reached  for my trusty Bible story book and they begged “TELL us a story”.  Pawpaw came into the room and I turned to him and asked him to tell the story of Joseph who was slave.  The girls chimed in with –
“Oh – that’s the guy who had the coat with lots of colors”
“I know that story”
Jack: (who loves to watch his g’paw shave)  “He shaved?”
T: No, he was a slave
J: What’s a slave?
T: Someone who is in jail.
J: Jail- what’s jail – have you been in jail – Is God in jail?  We played forty questions about slaves and jail for awhile before we could return to the story. 
Our story time tends to take on different meaning and new direction—often helping us see the Scriptures in new light and definitely from the eyes of a little one.
Campbell and Pawpaw are covering NT books and talking about those four writers – when we mentioned Luke was a doctor like her dad, granddad and Uncle Marshall she followed up with, “But, Jesus was the great physician, and then mentioned a verse she’s learned in Trojans for Christ at her school.
Little Clara folds her hands and prays at dinner being strong on the “Amen”.   It is our desire to pass a strong legacy of faith on to our g’children.  It doesn’t happen by accident – it has to be a goal we return to daily.
I love the verse Psalm 78

  and (HE) established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Focus - My Word for Now

I love it when a lesson comes together!  This morning I was sort of numb and foggy -- As I was thinking through the day's activities, I felt clueless as to what we would do in Youth Alive.  I needed a word -- a seed thought to trigger a discussion among this lunch bunch.

I prayed a hurried request and then went about getting ready for school.

As I was drying my hair -- a question came to pose to this group of young believers:

"If you were hanging out with Jesus, where would you go? 

"If you were on HIS turf - where would HIS favorite spot be to take you?"

Lastly, thinking about how preoccupied they are on their phones,
"What does he have to do to get your attention?"  

At first they gave me "preachy" answers --- like "CHURCH" or  "The Mountains" --  then  one guy said "the water -- either walking on it or sailing it."

I explained that when we were in Israel several years ago, walking where Jesus walked, in all the touristy spots I just couldn't feel him close.   I looked for a special place that would seem as it was in Jesus day.  Every holy site had a church erected over it -- or stalls selling souvenirs positioned where Jesus taught and lived.  It was only when we got onto a boat and sailed off from shore on the Sea of Galilee that I actually felt that the view from the boat was possibly the same view Jesus would have had of the shoreline.  It was there on that trip that I felt I was seeing things as HE did.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tis the Season!

Jim and Jan hosted Thanksgiving weekend for the entire Bell/Good clan.  There were littles everywhere and huggin and laughing all around!

The big cousins looked after the little ones in the sweetest ways!

ustomer reviews

My Christmas gift wish was for pictures of our five grands!  I asked Bethany to make it happen and I headed to Carter's to find matching outfits for the kiddos.

Pawpaw and his boys!
This is my favorite pic of the two of us!  

I decorated the mantle with the stockings my mom had made years ago and a Christmas tree created by Dot Edwards.

Our annual trip to the Nutcracker

We spent Christmas Eve at Bethany and Mat's and enjoyed watching 3 little Goodletts open what Santa left.  (the few things they hadn't discovered Christmas Eve morning in Daddy's office).

Tuesday we got up and decided this Nana and Pawpaw needed to head to CO to see those sweet babies.  Being Charlie's first Christmas, We didn't want to miss it.    We loaded up the dogs, got lots of warm clothes and blankets as the forecast was for COOOOLD temperatures.  

It was the best Christmas ever!

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