JOY --- Jesus On the JourneY

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Easter Cuties

How they have grown!!!  Dressed in their Sunday best!

Hands up! Three Goodletts ready for Church!

A look of determination by a determined little guy!

This little gal knows exactly what to do!

Clara loves "reading."  She give a sentence for each and every page and has to take four books to bed every night.
Charlie is her best pupil!

Sydney pulls her own tooth -- TWICE!
A Sunny Sunday in Denver!  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Extreme Surprise -- Extreme Makeover -- and BIG BATH PROJECT!

March 11 Joel and Mitzi invited us to lunch and presented us with a BLESSING IN A BOX!  This box contained the plans for the next few weeks as to what was to take place at our house during Spring Break -- They were coming in and as a family -- giving us a new bathroom floor --
Joel and Mitzi had approached Bethany and Mat last Fall and said they knew we wanted and needed a new bathroom floor (our's was beyond gross and we kept scrubbing and covering it with floor rugs.)
The plan they created was Bethany and Mat would buy the tile and the Rays would cover the labor.

The box contained step by step instructions as to how we were to prepare for the blessing --

I got busy -- my mind went into teacher / g'ma mode when I thought about their 7 young ones having to stay cooped up at our house while their mommy and daddy worked.  I wanted treats and fun stuff for them.

We picked out the tile -- with Bethany's help- cleared the bathroom and headed for Spring Break in Denver.

On Monday morning -- demolition began -- we got video texts from Joel twice a day.

The tile job turned into extreme makeover of our bath as Joel would text and ask "what about the cabinets?"  "what about that ugly tile on the second countertop?"  "Do you need a new toilet?"  Joel would shop online find items and we'd make selections.

THEN we put the squeeze on and dropped the bomb shell -- not only were we coming in a day earlier than they expected -- we had company coming in the next night who needed the shower.  (never mind the toilet and sinks weren't in).  It just so happened it was our best buddy, Dallas who is an expert painter and house remodeler.  In the short time he was with us, he painted both bathrooms -- giving careful eye to the gray -- to make certain that it was not too blue, too green or too dark.  His keen eye paid off and I couldn't be happier with the colors!

In all of this special blessing experience, I have some favorite memories ---

Coming home to the kids having a water battle with the super soakers I left for them --- dripping wet.

Seeing them play so quietly and being respectful.

Ryan's statement as he heads out the door --after four cutie oranges and a banana -- "I'd like you a whole lot better if I could have a take away".

Alayiah enjoying looking at our photo albums every time she was there and telling me what all she like about those pictures.

Doing puzzles with Riley --
Seeing Tiarah take care of all the littles while reading a book at the same time --

Atalie -- being the sweet sister so intent on her reading -- serious about it all.

Caedman and his swords -- using our door prop as his favorite

All 6 big Rays carrying Dad's tools to the car the last night -- like a little line of soldiers and then while he and mom finished up -- dropping all over the den falling asleep.

I just finished up the doors and trim this week and soon we'll be moving downstairs -- using the master again -- this project's timing was an answer to prayers literally!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Retreat and Renewal

We had hit the ground running from Denver -- a busy week at school -- huge shopping for lab and family support boxes -- company and then to head out to a staff retreat -- on Easter weekend!

I will be honest -- it wasn't high on my bucket list as I am pretty guarded about my Friday night / Saturdays -- I was exhausted and didn't feel up to lots of people -- just being honest here.  I tend to think I have to be OFF schedule on a weekend and wasn't looking forward to one -- BUT THEN --

We arrived at Deanna and Jeff Ohara's cabin and the tension and fatigue began to drain from me --

Sitting around the fire -- RELAXING -- singing -- just being -- I began to revive in a way I hadn't in some time.

I looked at these young families -- our kids in a sense of the spiritual -- looking at their children and reflecting on how these four families are instilling Jesus into every part of their teaching and training.

I thought about the young Christian authors and bloggers I read and thought these are every bit the spiritual leaders that those people I learn from are. . . thinking and reflecting on how blessed we are to be serving under their young leadership now.

What I thought would be a regimented schedule turned out to be a really relaxing time --  playing with the children -- there were 14 little ones-- We have g'kids -- I know how little sleep you get with little ones --  I figured somebody's little one would fuss through the night -- not a peep!  We were just off the kitchen next to the bathroom -- no NOISE -- we even slept in.

 Kids Fished --

Men cooked breakfast --

Kids played --

and sailed

Mommas nursed babies -- supervised kids and we all circled up before lunch and shared -- our two leader couples sharing and passing a blessing on to the rest of the staff couples from what God put in their hearts and minds about us.

On this Easter weekend, I couldn't help but remember how Jesus connected again with Peter in the front of a fire.  I left renewed, restored and recreated -- ready for Easter celebration!!!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Celebrating Charlie!

 Whether we call you Charles Arthelde Bell II or  "Charlie Barley" or  "Charles" as Clara calls you when she is mothering you or "Little Man" as your daddy refers to you -- You always answer with a sweet grin.  We all love and adore your quiet, cute little ways.

Just since last month, when you were with us in Tulsa, we see so many changes -- you are walking around EVERYTHING --

Your little personality is developing so much. 

 This year we have watched your little personhood appear and take on so much that is YOU, sweet Charley!Y

I just love 

          > your walking with such force when I walk you --

          > your cute little grin when you know you got Clara's attention

           > the way you watch Clara for all your cues the way your Daddy used to watch your Aunt Bethany.   Right now you will do what she tells you to ---- most times.

            > I love the way you cuddle when you have an "owie" or a hurt.

            > Your laid-back personality draws everyone to you --


Pawpaw and I can't believe it's been a whole year since we welcomed you into the family -- you are such a part of us -- 

Clara loved that it was your birthday and celebrated you wholeheartedly like it was her own special day!!!

There were FOUR of us all taking pictures at once --

Happy 1st Birthday, Charlie!!!!
We got to have Camp Nana Pawpaw Denver Style on Tuesday

Charle was afraid of the balloon attack
It was over all too soon and time to hit the road for home!

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)  

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