Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Part One: A Road Trip Vacation Full of God's Blessings Along the Way

Hello out there! I have the neatest story to share with y'all! Jim and I took a road
trip - We left the Monday after Thanksgiving (11/27/17) and arrived home at
1:00 a.m. Sunday (12/3/2017) morning. We packed and loaded everything up in
my truck. We took snacks and waters and headed out with a destination in mind.
We really haven't traveled very much and we wanted to see some different territory.
My truck had 182,000 miles on it when we left. It's been a good truck and we
haven't had any problems with it so we weren't worried about the mileage.
We left San Angelo at about 10:00 a.m. and our goal was to make it to Little Rock,
Arkansas the first night. I had checked out some places we could stay and they
had some reasonable bed and breakfast places. We didn't make the reservation for
the night until we were only a few hours away just in case something came up.
We enjoyed the drive. We stopped here and there for this and that and listened to
some old country songs. We prayed the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary and at
3:00 p.m. we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I think it was about 9:00 p.m.
when we made it to the B & B in Little Rock. We were both tired. We shared
a sandwich and read for a little while before we settled in for the night. It wasn't
long until we were both out like lights! The next morning we found a Catholic
Church (I can't remember the name) and parked. We walked around the church
and all the doors were locked. The office was next to the church and I rang the
bell. A nice lady answered the door and I told her that we were from out of town
and that we were hoping we could go inside the church and pray for a little bit.
She smiled and said that praying was always good and that she would unlock the
door for us. Jim and I went inside the sanctuary and knelt down and prayed. Then
we walked up and down the aisles and looked at the stained glass windows. I love
how each window tells a story. Depending on the Catholic Church you visit you
will see different stories from the bible in the exquisite stained glass.
In this particular church there was a vibrant stained glass window of
St. Michael the Archangel. Isn't is awesome?

I always take pictures when we visit a church and this is the first picture I've taken of
St. Michael. We lit twelve candles before we left; ten for our grandchildren and two
more for a family that have asked for our prayers.
Jim and I went and ate a late breakfast, more like a brunch, and then went back to our
room. We decided to walk a couple of blocks to an old cemetery we had passed.
You can learn a lot of history from cemeteries and this was a really old cemetery.
Some of the people buried in this cemetery were born in the late 1700s. There were
tombstones of young men, one only twelve years old, when he joined the Army
during the War of 1812. Other tombstones told of teenage boys ranging in age from
fifteen through seventeen that served in the Civil War. The tombstones told stories
of lives lost and those who made it back home. There were family plots and many
of them had several headstones of precious babies that only lived for a day, a month,
six months. The monuments were so beautifully and skillfully crafted. The wrought
iron fences had stories of their own. It was so peaceful walking up and down the
rows. I prayed as I walked along and I shed a few tears too. Jim was amazed at the
craftsmanship and his heart hurt for the families that lost their young sons. There
were vines and climbing rose bushes all over the fence surrounding the cemetery.
There were a couple of roses still alive on the vines. Almost like a gift for us to see.

The following is one of the historical markers:
And this is just a couple more pictures I took while we were there:

This all happened on Tuesday, the second day of our journey. I will tell you about the
middle of our trip (hopefully) tomorrow. I want to tell about the last day of our trip,
the day we traveled home.
Our final destination was Branson, Missouri. We had arrived in Branson on Thursday
morning. Now for the last day - We left on Saturday morning (closer to noon) to head
home. We decided that we would drive as far as we could and if we got too tired we
would stop and spend the night somewhere. We had about a ten and a half hour drive
ahead and that would not include all the stops. Our route would take us through
Joplin, MO, into Oklahoma and then Texas. We had only driven about an hour when
we stopped in a little town and ate lunch. I told Jim that I would like to stop at another
Catholic Church before we left Missouri. I looked on my phone and found, St. Peter
The Apostle Catholic Church in Joplin, MO. We missed the turn off and had to drive
quite a ways before we were able to turn around. I looked at Jim and said, "I know it
will be a blessing!" He looked at me and shook his head kind of like, okay but we
still have a long way to go. He might have been thinking something else but that was
my interpretation. We finally made it to the church and it was beautiful! The church was
built in 1905. Here is a picture of the outside and of the doors! I love the symbolism
of the doors!

I took a bunch of pictures of the inside of this church! I will share some more of them
with you tomorrow. I have to tell you about the "neatest story" now. I held my breath
as I pulled on the handle of the door and it opened! Jim and I were walking around
and looking at everything. Jim was at the back of the sanctuary and I was up by the
statue of Mother Mary when an older gentleman walked in. He sat down in the back
for awhile and then I saw him out of the corner of  my eye when he moved to the first
pew right in front of the altar. He took a hymnal and opened it and began to sing
"Amazing Grace" - took my breath away! He had a beautiful voice and he sang from
his heart and the words echoed throughout the sanctuary. I quietly joined in and then
he sang the second verse. By that time, I was choked up and just listened to this
faithful man singing his heart out to the Lord! I walked to the back to be with Jim.
In a little while the gentleman walked to the back so that he could leave. I said to him,
"You have a beautiful voice." He replied, "I like to come in here and thank God
for another day." We said goodbye and he left. Jim and I left soon after. We both
felt like we had been given this amazing gift.
That's all for now. I have to fix dinner! Hopefully I will be able to finish tomorrow!
                                                                Blessings to you and yours!
                                                                                 Bye for now, Sharla

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Life, Pray for Us!

Good  morning out there! It is cold outside - 28 degrees! The sun is shining and I know
it will be a beautiful, cool, almost winter, Happy Advent kind of day!
Yesterday was a very special day - Tuesday, December 12, 2017:
The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe!
I want to share this prayer with you -
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Life, Cast your maternal gaze on your
children, born and unborn. We are in such need of your protection.
The enemies of Life are strong, but you are infinitely stronger,
since God chose you to "crush the head of the serpent," the devil.
As we strive to overcome evil we remember your words of comfort
to St. Juan Diego, "Am I not here, who am your mother?! Therefore,
we approach you with great confidence.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Life, Pray for Us!
I have to run some errands this morning but I plan on coming back home and
writing all kinds of posts to catch up on everything that has been going on
in our busy lives!
I will close with some beautiful pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

A very special couple, Marcus and Sandra, gave me this beautiful plaque during
the 2015 Spring 40 Days for Life Campaign.

I took a picture of this magnificent statue at one of the Catholic Churches that Jim
and I visited while we were on vacation in June of 2015.

This picture was also taken while we were traveling in June of 2015.

Blessings to you and yours!
Bye for now, Sharla

Friday, December 8, 2017

Just a Singing Kind of Day!

Hello out there! The sun is shining and it is beautiful outside - cold, but an awesome
day! Today is a special day -
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Patronal Feastday of the USA (Solemnity) - A joyful day!
Jim and I went to the Vigil Mass last night. What a blessing! It really warms my heart
when I see families together at Mass! Moms and Dads and their children were seated
all throughout the Sanctuary! Large families, small families, and the older siblings
were helping out. I was also blessed to be at the Noon Mass today. My heart was
warmed once more - the sanctuary was full of prayerful, faithful people!

I want to share the Responsorial Psalm with you:
Responsorial -
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm.
Responsorial -
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The Lord has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has
revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
Responsorial -
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song; sing praise.
Responsorial -
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

I've carried that responsorial in my heart all day. And, I've been singing to the
Lord and thanking Him for my many blessings all day too!
I hope you all have a wonderfully, blessed weekend.
Hug your kids and hug your spouse! Be a light to others! Stop by and visit
someone who lives alone! Smile at everyone you see! Remember to tell
moms and dads how happy you are to see them and their children at Mass!
Thank your priests, preachers, deacons, etc. for all that they do!
AND - Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds!
                                                                         Bye for now, Sharla

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Quick and Yummy Recipe for This Special and Busy Time of Year!

Hello again! I'm already back and ready to write another post! Jim and I were out of
town for a week. I have so many really neat stories to share with y'all but that will have
to have wait until tomorrow! We had an awesome time but there really is,
"No Place Like Home!" I have been cooking all week (and doing laundry)!
I want to share a yummy and easy recipe! This time of year is so busy and this is
a quick way to make homemade cookies for your children's Christmas parties at
school and or to box up and give away as gifts! I made these cookies yesterday and
they are going fast! Jim loves them. This is the first time I've used this recipe.
Betty Crocker cake mixes have been on sale for $1.00 each. I bought a yellow cake
mix and a chocolate fudge cake mix. Yesterday I made a batch of cookies using
the chocolate fudge cake mix.

1 cake mix
1/3 cup of oil (I used Crisco)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
About 1/4 - 1/3 cup of sugar for sprinkling on top
(I added 3/4 cup of chopped pecans because if it's chocolate it has to have pecans in it!)
Mix all the ingredients except the sugar and put in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Take dough out of fridge and use a tablespoon to drop onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Sprinkle sugar all over the top of the cookies and then bake in a preheated 350 degree
oven for 12 minutes. Take pan out of oven and wait about 5 minutes and then put the
cookies on a cooling rack or on a platter.
They are moist and delicious! I'm going to make cookies with the yellow cake mix this
weekend. I'm not sure what I want to add (maybe M & M's or Bits of Brickle) I will
let y'all know how they turn out!

Don't get stressed out during this beautiful Season of Advent - Enjoy the season and
remember, "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" - Blessings to you all!

And here is a picture of these yummy cookies!

A Season of Hope and Preparation!

Hello out there! It is cold and wet outside! I have so many things to share with y'all
that I think I'm going to write several different stories. I'm going to start with this one
because it won't take very long!
I was honored to be interviewed by Texas Right To Life during the month of November.
Since November is National Adoption Month, they contacted me about sharing my
adoption story and also letting people know about our pro-life mission! I was beyond
excited and I know that I talked a mile a minute! The young lady who interviewed me
was very patient and really did a great job on the article.
If you would like to read the article - the following is the link:

This is the First Week of Advent! Can you believe it? Christmas morning will be here
before we know it! Last night I was reading the daily scriptures from my daily
meditations, "the Word among us" and I want to share the reading from The Old
Testament. This scripture fills me with hope and always touches my heart.

Isaiah 11:1-10
On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots
a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord,
and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.
Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide,
Be he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath
of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra's den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

I will be closing now and begin another post soon!
May you all be blessed during this very special season - The Advent Season -
a time of preparation, of hope, of growing in faith, and of love.

                                                            Bye for now, Sharla

Monday, December 4, 2017

Advent Stories from Years' Past!

Good morning and hello out there! I haven't written a post in two weeks! I have so
much to tell y'all. But first, I have to go to the grocery store because we were out of
town all last week and we cleaned out the fridge and gave all the food to our kids
before we left town! I'm going to run all my errands and then I will sit down and tell
you all about our journey and a lot more! I'm going to post some links to my advent
stories from years past - before I head out the door! (I love these stories - I hope you
will too!)

A few of my favorite memories from this time of year! Grab a cup of coffee or hot
cocoa and settle in a comfortable spot - I hope these stories from the past will make
you smile, touch your hearts, and help you to remember some of your treasured
memories as well!

December 2016

December 2015
December 2014

Monday, November 20, 2017

I Love This Time of Year!

Hello out there! It's a beautiful morning and it's going to be a great day! I'm a typing
and a singing with joyful praise! I think Jim was really glad that he had a job to go
and do today. He told me as he was leaving - you are getting delirious! You need to
take a nap! I just laughed - we went to Adoration this morning and we woke up about
4:00 a.m. Spending an hour at the Adoration Chapel is the best way to start your day,
and for us, our whole week! I prayed my little heart out! I prayed for everybody and
Jim always enjoys the quiet time we spend in prayer.
Now for the rest of the story..............At home - In our kitchen - 6:30 a.m.
I was singing some crazy old country songs in the kitchen while Jim was reading the
newspaper. He looked over the newspaper at me and shook his head. He knows how
I am and since this is Thanksgiving week and all our children and grandchildren are
going to be with us - I have a really long to do list! I start the morning out like the
Energizer Bunny and go, go, go and by the end of the day I am wiped out!
But when I started singing, "I like makes me a jolly good fellow - I like beer..
it makes me feel mellow....." and I told Jim that I didn't know why that song popped
into my head and he said something like, "it is way too early for this" and I laughed
and sang some more!
I hope you all have a wonderful week! I hope that your home is full of laughter and
song! I pray that you have family surrounding you and that your pantry is stocked
full! If you are in need of help this time of year and really anytime at all - please
contact your parish or church - and if you aren't a member somewhere - that is
okay - you don't have to be a member to receive help - please reach out - let people
know what you need - we need to take of each other!
I am going to close with part of a post I wrote last year. God bless you all, near and
far, blessings to you, wherever you are!

Today is a new day and I give thanks to the  Lord!
Please pray for the homeless, the unborn, the children who are in foster homes, and
those who are waiting for someone to adopt them. Please pray for couples who are
praying to be blessed with a child of their own.  Please pray for couples who are on a
long waiting list trying to adopt a baby boy or a baby girl, a son or a daughter.
Hug your kids and hug your spouse. Call your mom and dad if you are still blessed
to have them. Call an aunt or uncle you haven't spoken to in a while. Reach out
to someone today! Little things mean so much! Write a note and put it in your
child's lunch box and if possible, go up to the school and eat with them, they grow
up so fast! Treat your spouse with respect and let them know that you love them!
Be a light that shines for all to see! Spread happiness and cheer to all you meet!
                                             God bless you all!