Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thankful Thursday 5/14/15

*For a sub when the PE teacher could not be there *For an awesome teacher's helper *For a fun experience for the youngest princess *For food and laughter with a group of good friends *For washing machines and dryers *For sunshine, sunshine, sunshine *For a good night's rest that helped take care of a horrible headache *For awesome coworkers *For safety on our outing *For new friends *For a good end to our school year *For healing *For hope *For shared prayer requests, and answered prayers *For surprise chocolate pie *For beautiful mornings and evenings *For much needed encouragement *For the privilege of prayer *For all of these things, and many, many more, I am thankful to the Lord.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thankful Thursday

It has been a while. I stopped doing them, for several reasons, but I miss them, and really, I do them for me, and as a weekly reminder that God is actively at work in my life. So, they begin again... *For a friend who cared

*For an answer to a specific prayer

*For encouragement from an unlikely place

*For glimpses of sunshine

*For a fun afternoon ride that made me feel like a kid again

*For more children that now have sponsors, and hope for a better life

*For a sweet letter from our own sponsored child

*For three mission trips completely paid for

*For all of these things and many, many, more, I am thankful to the Lord!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Crawfish, snakes, and strawberries. Oh, my!

It was finally here!  Spring Break!  And after two long months of cold and rain, we were ever so glad to see it arrive.

The Prince had a conference in Chattanooga, so he left a day ahead of us and that left me to realize how much he helps out when it is time to pack us all up and get us going.

I took a day off, so we would only have to stay one night at home without him, and we jumped in the car Friday morning and headed to the country.

We had a great eight hour trip.  The sky was overcast, and it only sprinkled on us a couple of times. The oldest princess was a wonderful navigator.  She came up with a brilliant plan of an alternate universe, where eighteen wheeled trucks have their own lane, and fires only break out where they place street signs with firetrucks on them.  She even drove and gave me a break for about 45 minutes. In which I got totally hooked on a new Karen Kingsbury book.  The Young Prince entertained us the last few minutes of the trip with his impersonation of a very famous American.  You will have to ask him about it, if you know him that is.

We made it to our destination about mid-afternoon.  And despite my still parking the car, the kids were bailing out of every available door in the car trying to get to Unca and Aunt T as quickly as possible.  We ate, and talked and talked and ate...and that pretty much sums up the whole trip.  Talking and eating.  Eating and talking.  At least that's the way it felt to me.  But seriously, we did do a few other things among the talking and eating.

We were sitting on the back porch catching up, when the UPS truck came down the road.  Unca went to get the package and Aunt T mentioned that she bet he had ordered chocolate covered strawberries.  YUM!  So we anxiously awaited his return with the delicacies we all (except for the young prince) love.  Unca came back and told us that their dog jumped up in the truck and went to the back with the delivery man.  He said he apologized for the dog's intrusion, and the delivery man said it was no big deal, that he had recently had a goat do the same thing...just another day in the country.  Anyway, we all waited with watering mouths, trying not to look to anxious, while Unca opened the package.  It was....a....heater.  Oh, okay. A heater. No problem. Glad Unca got his heater.  Okay, seriously, I was a little disappointed.  But it was not the end of the world.  Later Aunt T confessed that we were hoping the delivery would be chocolate covered strawberries.

We actually got Unca to play a game of Pictionary with us.  It was a pretty friendly game.  Unca enjoyed himself, even if he wanted us to think he was miserable.  Plus, it helped that he was on my team, and we won.  I was helping one of my children who had to draw a dachshund.  The said child asked if that was the dog on the big bus.  Um, no, that would be a greyhound...  Then the other child who was guessing, guessed "weenie pig" instead of weenie dog...but that was about as rowdy as it got.

Then we had to humor the youngest princess and let her ride Unca's fancy new "tricycle" as she called it.  It was actually a cool little three wheeled scooter that could be ridden standing or sitting.  Unca dared the youngest princess to ride it to the end of the road and back by herself, in the dark.  She did it without a second thought.  The older two tried their best to get us to let them scare her, but we would not do it.  Next it was the Oldest Princess' turn.  She did not want to, but could not be outdone by her little sister.  So she rode it wide open and got down there and back as quickly as possible.  The Young Prince went next.  Unca tried to get someone to prove they were REALLY brave by getting them to go by themselves to the cemetery and take a picture of their hand on a tombstone, but he had no takers.  We all worked together and got Unca's new recliner in the house, which was no small accomplishment.  And then we decided to call it a night.

I had a room and a bed all to myself for all of about... half the night, until the Youngest Princess got up and came and got in bed with me.  The Young Prince slept on the bottom bunk and only hit his head once (at least the first night).  And some of you (those who have also slept on that bottom bunk and conked your head) can sympathize with him (right J and J?)

We went and saw a couple of movies on the rainy days..."Be kind and You no say to me no!"  And we all tried crawfish for the first time.  And before you ask...No.  We only ate the tails.  We all liked the most of all.  I was really surprised, because I did not think I would.

We went to church, where we thought we had lost the Oldest Princess, but thankfully we found her before we had to call the police.  We then went on to celebrate the Youngest Princess' 9th Birthday with lunch at Applebee's and a movie.  Then home to some designer, one of a kind cupcakes.  And more games.  We played Gestures, and some of us spent too much time looking for props (cow bell), while some of us did better guessing than we did acting things out.  And yes, since you asked, my team did win.  Aunt T measured the kids against the door frame in the pantry, and it looks like one of them (the Oldest Princess) has grown as much as she is going to grow.  The other two are shooting up like weeds.

We spent a day working, to earn money for our upcoming mission trip.  The older two kids washed a couple of cars, and then did their favorite chore of out the gutters.   Unca and the Youngest Princess picked up limbs.  I never thought that the Youngest Princess was like Unca, until this go round.  Turns out she is MUCH more like him than I ever thought.  He helped her pick up limbs for a few minutes, and then he moved on to something else, so she recruited me to help her.  She wanted to drive the golf cart, find the limbs and direct me to pick them up.  I told her that was not how it was going to be, and that she was to help in the picking up process.  She then wanted to tell me how to load the limbs and where to put them etc.  I was picking up some limbs when she announced, "This bus is leaving in 5 seconds!"  I told her that she was NOT her uncle, and she could not talk to me that way.  To which she laughed and said, "I know, but we are blood-kin."  Yes, indeed.  And that has never been more apparent to me than now.  The Youngest Princess and I did a little crawfish "fishing" with a hot dog as bait.  We found one that would play tug of war with me, until he could steal the bait, but we never actually caught one.  That night we amused ourselves and several others making silly Helium Booth videos.  I definitely think Aunt T had more fun than any of us.  Unca even got in on the fun...Oh, the memories!

We took a trip to Avery Island, LA, home of the Tabasco factory.  We paid our $1.00 fee to get on the island, by pulling up to the little gatehouse, where the man promptly held out a stick with a rectangle piece of wood attached to the end of it.  A clothespin was nailed to the wood. Clipped to the clothespin was our pass.  We took the pass and replaced it with our $1.00 bill.  I've never paid a fee that way before...doubt I ever will again.

Much to our consternation...I mean, er, um, delight...there were two school bus loads of children at already there.  Exactly what a teacher on spring break wants to see (or maybe not).  And even more to our delight, two more busses rolled in.  There were kids everywhere!  And while in the gift shop, Aunt T happened to get in line behind one of those children.  He had picked up one of almost everything in the shop.  And of course he did not have enough money to pay for it the very sweet, patient girl behind the counter worked with him, taking things off, putting things back on...until he was satisfied with the items/money spent ratio.  The teacher in me wanted to come unglued!  Where was the adult with this child!!!!  Obviously not supervising his little shopping spree.
Then it was time for us to take the "factory tour"...a fancy way of saying we got to watch a video (with about 50 of our new 3rd grade friends) about the making of Tabasco and take a short walk by a glass window that gave us a peek into the capping and labeling of the bottles.  What we saw was really neat, but it left us wanting more.  We wanted to see more of the behind the scenes factory stuff, but alas, it was not to be.

We left there and headed over to the Jungle Garden side of the island to experience some Lousianna bayou flowers and wildlife.  And boy, did we experience some wildlife...Starting with two more school busses and about 25 parents in their personal cars clogging the one way trail (Unca only honked about 15 times to let them know how he felt about them being in the way and then called to tell the office that we were stuck behind the unmoving masses), and in the middle there were alligators, turtles and snakes, Oh, my!  And ending with tons of birds at Bird City.  We got some pretty good pictures of the kids as well.  We stopped and ate some more crawfish, only fried this time.  I can also say that I tried a crawfish enchilada, and crawfish etouffĂ©e...and now being a fine connoisseur of crawfish...I can say that boiled is my favorite.  While we were eating, my Prince was able to log on to the restaurant web cam and see us.  He didn't watch long though, he said it made him feel like a creeper.  But we felt like he got to be a little part of our day.

When we got home, there were not one, not two, but three boxes of chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us on the front porch.  Unca is THE man!  We promptly and happily indulged.  Then we played some more games.  We were having fun, until the Oldest Princess announced that she was not feeling well.  I will spare you all the details, but the rest of the evening was more clorox wipes, trash cans and yuck than fun and games.  And again, I missed my Prince and realized just what a wonderful help he is to me.  Especially when I am cleaning up yuck.  But things finally settled down, and we all got some sleep.  And the Oldest Princess felt much better the next morning.  But for some reason, she turned down the offer of a chocolate covered strawberry.  My guess is it will be a while before she wants one again.

Cuz came over and brought Little Miss P.  We built Pinterest worthy (well, maybe one of those "Nailed It" Pinterest pins) Easter gingerbread houses.  We also played hide and seek, and even hid some Easter eggs.  After they had to leave, we hung out by the pool, before cleaning up lots and lots and lots of pollen (AHHH-CHOO!).  Unca cooked ribs on the big green egg.  B came over to clean the pool, and see us of course.  We asked her to join us for dinner.  Aunt T used some concentrate shrimp boil that had us all choked up, literally, but at least it did not set off the fire alarm.  It was some strong stuff!  But the shrimp turned out delicious, and I know that B would wholeheartedly agree with me on that.

We then went to visit one of my aunts, because we had not seen her and we had to head home the next morning.  We enjoyed our visit with her as always.

We played a couple more games when we got home and then headed to bed.  The next morning was full of packing up, and getting ready to head home.  I hate this part of the trip!  I was the official photographer for the  1st Annual Gummy Octopus Eating Tradition.  I had already eaten Crawfish about every way possible.  Gummy Octopuses are where I draw the line.

Aunt Y and Uncle H came down to see us off, and after a few minutes of teasing the Young Prince about chickens and mailboxes, we hugged and kissed everyone goodbye and headed back home.  The only disappointing thing about the trip was that Unca barely squeaked by without having to eat his words and a $500 plant...that would have been interesting to see...

Thankfully we had an event free trip back home (with the exception of some pretty heavy rain the last hour and a half).    Aunt T's PB&J sandwiches hit the spot, and it was a good thing, because the bag of 7 plus crumbs of Munchos would never have been enough to tide us over.  We made it home to my Prince, and we were all glad to be reunited and back home again.

I just talked to Aunt T and Unca, and it looks like they may be making a trip our direction in just a few weeks to see the kids in the school play, so hopefully that will work out, and we will get to see them again very soon.  It was a great time as always.  We love our time with our family, it is more precious to us than anything in the world.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Tiny Tarantula

Once upon a time, in a far away ocean, on a small island, a baby tarantula hatched.  He yawned, and stretched out his little soon to be hairy legs.  He blinked his 8 eyes and adjusted them to the light.  He climbed over 73 of his brothers and sisters.  As he started to leave the protection of the group, his mom and dad noticed.  They called out to him and tried to get him to come back.  They knew their tiny tarantula was not ready for the big wide world, as interesting and inviting as it may have seemed. But the tiny tarantula ignored their pleas, and continued to crawl away as he surveyed his surroundings.  He decided to check out something shiny in the corner.  It took him about 10 minutes to get all the way there.  He, being just a newly hatched baby spider was tired after that, and decided to hide in the shadow of the shiny thing for a while.  He got comfortable and took a little nap.  This wasn't so bad...

Shortly, a noise woke him.  It was two people who apparently wanted to share his space with him.  They came in and were talking and walking around.  One almost stepped on him, but thankfully he was able to scurry out of the way before they did.  He saw the lady pull a soft jacket out of the shiny thing.  So he thought that he would climb the side of the shiny thing, and check out what else might be inside.

He very carefully climbed until he was able to peek over the edge.  Everything inside looked soft, comfy and very inviting.  His little spider brain was pondering what to do, when he leaned too far over the edge and fell inside.  The next thing he knew, all the lights went out, and his world was upended.  Then it began to move and swing.  It seemed to him like his world didn't stop moving for several days.  Little did he know, but he was leaving his small island and taking a long trip.  Little did he know, but he would never see his family again.

When his world did finally stop moving, and the lights were turned back on, the tiny tarantula decided to slowly, carefully crawl out from his warm comfortable surroundings.  When he did, he heard a loud shriek and then heavy footsteps coming his way...

And let's just say that things did not end so well for our tiny tarantula who was so many, many, miles from home.  And I guess we could also say that curiosity doesn't just kill the cat.

Our little tarantula was away from the protection of his parents.  He took a trip he had no business taking.  He should have stayed on his small island living off of insects, lizards and such.  Instead, his curiosity got the best of him, and his little life ended way too soon.

The moral of the story: We know what is right, and we know what is wrong.  The world tries to tell us that there is no right or wrong.  That we should stretch our little legs and blink our eyes and try things out.  That we should do whatever we want, and whatever makes us feel good.  That we shouldn't listen to our parents or stay close to home, because our parents are nerdy, and home is boring...but the world...Well, now...the world is exciting, and we definitely should try it out.  But unfortunately, that philosophy often only ends in sadness and heartache. God has given us a plan book for the best life that we can possibly live. Doing it our own way only muddies up the water and messes up God's perfect plan for us.

It is so much better to follow God's plan.  As we yield to His will, and do things His way, we see that it gets easier and easier to continue to do so.  It may be hard in the beginning, but as we begin to experience life as God has planned for it to be, then all we want is more of life as God has planned for it to be.

It is so much better to listen to those who have been there and are wiser than us.  It is so much better to stick close to those who love us and have our best interests at heart; to listen to those who want to see us succeed and live long healthy lives.  The Bible even promises that if we will honor and obey our parents, that we will live long, and that things will be well with us.

I don't know about you all, but I want to live a long, full life.  I don't want to be like the tiny tarantula, who never experienced life as it was meant to be for him.  But the choice is ours...I have made my choice.  Which way will you choose?

*Inspired by a true tiny tarantula adventure as told to me by my wonderful mother-in-love*

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Small Part of a Big Story

It all started with a young boy and a fifth grade research paper.

Well, actually it started way before that...with a young girl who learned about five missionaries who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel.  She then began to read about their story, very inspired by men who would choose to lay down their lives in order to keep from sending unsaved men to eternity without a chance to have a personal relationship with God.

And really if you want to get technical, it all started way before that, with the five missionaries themselves.  Five men who had a burden to take the Gospel to an unreached tribe in the jungles of Ecuador.  It is a story that took place in the 1950's, of five men who loved God and loved others more than they loved themselves, and it is beautifully recorded in the book Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the five massacred missionaries.

I remember first hearing the story as a young lady in high school, and then reading everything I could about these men who were willing to give all for other men to come to know Christ, and about the wife and sister who returned to the very people who murdered their loved ones.  I was fascinated that the men would put themselves in such danger in the first place, and then challenged and amazed that the wife of one and the sister of another would go back to the very people who killed their husband and brother to try to reach them for Christ.  The great news, is that the women actually were able to finish what the men had started, and many of the people of the Auca tribe actually accepted Christ as their personal Savior.

One of the first known Christian converts of the Auca tribe was Dayuma.  She escaped from her jungle tribe when she was in her mid-teens, after a family dispute.  She helped the missionaries learn much about the Aucas, their language and their way of life.

After the men were killed, Dayuma joined Rachel Saint and Elizabeth Elliot in returning to the Auca tribe to tell them about Christ.  One of the Aucas who received Christ was Mincayane (not completely positive about the spelling of his name), one of the men who actually, participated in the massacre of the missionaries.

Fast forward quite a few years.  I was grown and married and teaching fifth grade.  I had a boy in my class who had a tender heart and a hunger to do something great for the Lord.  That boy happened to be my son (the Young Prince).  So when it came time to do our research paper, I encouraged him to do his paper on Jim Elliot, one of the five missionaries.  He did.  And like me many years before, he became fascinated by the story.  Not too long after that, one of the martyred missionary's sons, Steve Saint came out with a movie about the story, titled, The End of the Spear.  We, of course went to see the movie.  It helped us to learn more about the story and Dayuma and the man named Mincayane.

Recently, my father in law, was able to visit and work with some missionaries in Ecuador.  He was talking of a return trip, and said how neat it would be if the Young Prince could go with him.  God totally worked it out for the Young Prince to be able to go last month.  As part of his 16th birthday present, his Poppy arranged for them to charter a small plane and fly over the area where the missionaries were trying to minister.  They actually landed and were able to have two young men act as guides and take them to "Palm Beach" the very spot where there missionaries were killed.

 Palm Beach

While on the beach, their talk naturally turned to the five missionaries, and in talking to the two young men who were their guides, they realized that one was a Christian, and one was not.  William, the one who was not a Christian explained that Dayuma, the first Christian convert from the Auca tribe, the one who helped the missionaries learn about the Aucas, was his grandmother.  Sadly, she had passed away a few months earlier.  The men all took turns praying (except for William), and then they left the beach.

Left to right: Tepenia, one of the guides, the Young Prince, William, and Miguel, a Dominican Christian
Oh, and Flat Stanley in the center.  
The Young Prince was being a great big brother and helped his little sister out with a coming forth grade project by taking Flat Stanley on his trip to Ecuador.

As they were walking back to the village and Poppy asked William what was keeping him from being a Christian.  He explained that he was worried about what his friends would think, and afraid of ridicule or persecution by his friends.  Poppy then asked William if he wanted to be a Christian.  He said yes, that he did want to be a Christian.  Poppy called over Miguel, a Dominican Christian on the trip with them, and Miguel explained in Spanish to William how to become a Christian.  There on the trail, William bowed his head and prayed in his native Auca tongue and asked Christ to be his personal Savior.  Praise the Lord!

The group then continued on to the village.  One of the men asked if they could see the grave of Rachel Saint (the sister who spent the rest of her life with the Auca tribe teaching them of Jesus). William said yes, and took them to her grave.  And just a few feet from her grave, was another grave. William explained that it was his grandmother's (Dayuma's) grave.

It was then time for them to go.  The Young Prince said he hugged William and told him, "Adios." Then they got back on the plane and headed back to Shell Mera.  When they got to a place where they had internet service the Young Prince messaged us to tell us what had happened.  After explaining it, he said, "I'm a part of the story now!"  As a high school girl reading the story, I never would have dreamed that one day, my father-in-law, and my son would visit the very place where the story happened, and actually get to continue the story by having a part in leading Dayuma's grandson to the Lord!

I have no doubt that it was all orchestrated by God.  The trip probably never would have happened if the Young Prince had not been so interested in the story and seeing where it all took place.  They were supposed to take the flight the day before, but arrived at Shell Mera too late to get a flight out, so they had to wait until the next day.  I truly believe that it was all orchestrated by God, so that William would be with their group, so that he would be able to hear the Gospel one more time and have another chance to accept Christ.  I also believe it is just like God, to allow the Young Prince to be a small part of a big story that he has admired for years.  And it is just like God to let the Young Prince's mother  get the exciting news all the way from Ecuador, that a story she loves continues still, and God continues to move and work through the sacrifice of five men.  Five men who loved God and loved others more than they loved themselves.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thankful Thursday

*For God's hand of protection on an accident that could have been much worse

*For God's leading to not only one great book, but two great books

*For an impromptu dinner with my man

*For a beautiful sunset that brought back to mind the beautiful sunsets I loved from my college dorm room window

*For getting everything done on time in the middle of a very busy schedule

*For roasted peanuts shared with friends

*For getting to hold a precious little one

*For a win for some of my favorite young men

*For home and a soft bed when I don't feel well

*For a lazy Saturday morning with my kids

*For time to make a dent in my mountain of laundry

*For a fun time with both of my princesses at a friend's birthday party

*For a delicious dinner grilled by my man

*For snuggling with the youngest princess until she falls asleep

*For a good night's rest

*For a church family to encourage, share struggles, and just do life with

*For prayers of friends

*For kids who want to do right, in a world where most kids want to do wrong

*For ladies who are faithful to see something through to the end

*For a verse that made me realize just how many people have loved, cared and poured their life into mine over the years.  How blessed am I!

*For beautiful weather

*For health that we often take for granted

*For a home that is a sanctuary from the storms of life

*For students who really grasp what I am teaching

*For children with discernment, who are strong enough to stand firm, and be in this world, but not of it

*For a great guitar teacher for the young prince, and for a chance for the young prince to learn and develop his talents to use in serving and worshipping God.

*For answered prayers for several friends

*For  the best husband that a girl could ever ask for

For all these things, and many, many more I am thankful to the Lord, because ALL good things some from Him alone.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mr. R.G. is Back in Town!

It has been almost nine months since the cold night that he came into our lives.  If you missed that story, you can read about it here: Praying He Has a Warm Place to Sleep   We have wondered about him and prayed for him many times over those nine months.  So we were excited when we found out he was back in town.  My Prince and the Young Prince were out and saw him traveling down the road.  They stopped and told him he was welcomed to stay at our church again.  He took us up on the offer.  We were able to spend a little more time with him and get to know him a little better.  He is definitely unique.  And I have no doubt that he crossed paths with us a second time for a reason.  I think we all learned many things from our encounter, and I pray that he went away as blessed by us, as we were blessed by him.  We had some food cards that we wanted to give him, and we looked for him for two days after he left, but we were never able to find him.It was as if he left and just disappeared.  We are praying that maybe someone picked him up and gave him a ride and helped him get closer to his destination at a faster pace.  At any rate, here are some things we learned from our second encounter with Mr. R. G.

He told us a story about when he was young, and working at a gas station in the Nashville, TN area.  He said that from time to time, Elvis Presley would come in, and go to the back room.  While in the back, Elvis would change into a gas station attendant uniform, and then go out front and pump gas.  He said that people would ask Elvis if anyone ever told him that he looked like Elvis Presley.  Elvis would reply, "Yes, I get that from time to time." and continue working.  So, if you ever stopped at a gas station near Nashville back when Elvis was alive, and someone who looked like Elvis pumped your gas...

I don't know if that story is true or not, but here are a few things I do know about my friend Mr. R. G.

* He made it to Florida, and could not get in to stay at (or was not accepted by?) the Veteran's home where he wanted to stay.

* He is now traveling back to Nashville, where he has at least one brother.

* He is kind to cats, because even though some people don't like them, everything has its purpose.  I agree Mr. R. G.,  I agree.

* He prefers to wear dark pants (they show less dirt) with lots of pockets.  Pockets are good.

He is from the Nashville area.

He is a Titans fan.

He does not like to leave his stuff.  It is a bicycle (that he pushes), with a train of three wagons behind it.  Probably absolutely nothing of any value. But to him, it is everything, because it is everything he owns.

He is self admittedly addicted to caffeine, and nicotine. 

He wishes that he had never stopped taking guitar lessons, so that he would know how to play the guitar.

* He will not ask for anything, but if he needs something that is offered to him, he won't turn it down.

* He is self conscious.  He was worried about his appearance and if it was okay for him to come in and worship with us.  He cleaned up the best he could so that he was presentable.

 * His observation to my husband after worshipping with us: "People in your church are afraid to go forward.  They are afraid of what other people will say about them.  All it takes is one person to go forward.  You could even pay someone to be that first person."  then he laughed.  Lord, help us to get to the point where we are so concerned and broken over our own sin, that being right with You is the most important thing.  Nothing else matters.  Especially not the opinions of other equally sinful people.

* He has nothing good to say about people who steal, and people who lie.  He also thinks that if someone will do one, they will do both.

* He is Stubborn - with a capital S!

* He likes to make people laugh

* While we sleep in our comfortable beds, in our comfortable homes, he refuses our offer of an air conditioned room, and and air mattress, and chooses instead to sleep outside in a folding chair.

* He would not accept our offer for a place to get out of the rain.

*  Did I mention he is stubborn?

* His presence, and his friendship make us ask and answer questions that we don't necessarily want to face, but we grow from the asking and answering.

* He has nothing, and yet he is generous.  Someone had just given him a Gatorade and a bag of ice when my Prince, and the Young Prince saw him and pulled over.  He insisted they take the bag of ice, because he could not use it.

* He told me about a lady who gave him a handful of change.  He said he realized that in among the coins was a ring.  He told her thank you for the change, but he doubted that she had meant to give him the ring, and he gave it back to her.  He said she thanked him, and cried.

* He has worn out 7 pairs of shoes.

* His last advice to my children was to be kind, curious, and cautious.

* He reminds us to be thankful, and humble.

* He has made a huge impact on our family - making us examine ourselves, stretching our comfort zones, and helping us to know that it is impossible to judge the true character of someone by only looking at their physical appearance.

* We hope and pray for him to find a place to settle down and be safe, but we also hope that one day we will have the privilege of crossing paths with him again.

* May we be observant enough to learn from all who cross our paths, because everyone has something of  value to teach us.  Just as we have something of value to share with others.