Monday, August 4, 2014


Now as I reflect on my trip these past 12 days I thank all of you that followed me during the course of my trip.There were some great photos I captured during my travels to and from Oregon. It was a lot of fun to share with you special moments or just share my photos and have you comment on them. It’s one thing to travel with one or more persons but when you feel like you have so many others enjoying the trip along with you has made it all the more fun!
This photo sums up my travels:

I mainly took this photo for the “Story Road” sign but as I look at it and the various roads that go off in different directions I thought of how this represents our lives. I thought it was kind of humorous to see that billboard to the right side saying, “Fortune is Calling.” Are you waiting on Fortune? What direction is your life going? Are you allowing life to happen to you or are you making life happen? I choose to make life happen. I do realize sometimes there are things that happen in life that are beyond our control but instead of allowing it to debilitate you. Some people get stuck where they are and sometimes you have to call the Tow Truck to come help and either get you off the road, fix a flat tire or just give you a jump because your battery died. Either way you look at it you need to make the best of your circumstances or whatever you drive through. You can take the high road or you can take the low road. You can continue straight or you can turn left or right. The idea is to keep on moving as best you can.

I hope I have been of encouragement to you as I travel along my road. I know one of you are already inspired to go visit “Trees of Mystery.” Many of you may not have the means to travel so I welcome you along as I travel to each place that I share on Facebook. I also hope that if you are able you can join one of our Young at Heart tours we do around Southern California. I try to choose interesting and sometimes obscure places. I do thank many of you for giving your suggestions of places for me to visit during my trip to Oregon.

I wanted to share with you a couple of stories that were the highlights in my trip. One you can see in the photo here and the other was an incident that happened. 

While driving through the Redwoods and seeing the fog I thought what a bummer. Then the higher we drove you could see the Sun’s rays shining through the trees and fog. I imagined in my mind taking a photo like this, standing under the rays with my arms outstretched. I am so glad God made it happen! This was an amazing God moment!

The incident that happened is where I felt God giving me His blessing. We had just had dinner at Hunan Home’s Restaurant where we finally had our Chinese food. This is the same restaurant I took our YAH people to last summer on our YAH Tour to San Francisco. The hostess remembered my mom when we had celebrated her birthday when we were last there. On the left is the photo of my mom and the hostess.

To continue my story, I had parked the car down the street 3 blocks away. (I happened to parallel park perfectly too!) While on our walk back to the car there was a black guy sitting on the sidewalk near the street corner with a cup held out asking for change. Too often I walk past such people and may leave some change or a dollar bill but this time I thought I’d go ahead and leave him a something more than a dollar since I didn’t have any loose change. I dropped a $5 bill in his cup and continued on my way as the guy gave his cordial “thank you” then about 5 seconds later I hear him give a yell, “Whoa! GOD BLESS YOU!” and I returned with, “God bless you too!” Sometimes the Holy Spirit prompts me to do things spontaneously and this was one of those times. I felt I was hearing the words from God “I” Bless You, from this black man. This is an image etched in my mind and will hold in my heart that I can only share in words.

This whole trip was a blessing. Everything went well. God’s beauty is all around us and I want to experience as much of it as I can! I wish I could take you all with me but thank God for Facebook where I can connect with so many of you and share portions of my life with each of you that choose to follow my Excellent Adventures!

Look back at that top photo and decide how you plan to live your life. I have always said everyone has a story and I’d love to hear yours. Which Road are you taking? Are you living your "Story Road?"

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Oh What Joy...That Floods My Soul..."

"Something happened and now I know..."

When I awoke this morning I had a flood of memories going through my mind. Today is my 2nd oldest son Bobby's 30th Birthday. I was looking through a little box of photos I have near my bedside looking for a photo for my next thought and I came across this one of him...

30 years ago. That is a long time.

Bobby did you get into the chocolate cake batter? That's bad!
Bobby replies, "No, it's goooood!"

Then I recalled 20 years ago my brother-in-law, Dan, passed away. Yes, my Bobby says he will never forget this day. This was the photo I was looking for when I came across Bobby's photo.
Jenny with her Daddy & Family.

Today I will attend the funeral of the Mother of a friend of mine. Her Mother, Barbara, had been a part of the Young at Heart Ministry years back but due to some health issues she's been home bound for some time.

Barbara Jane Hughes
12-14-32 to 07-01-14

Yesterday the daughter of my brother-in-law Dan had come to California from Mississippi to visit and we were able to meet up for lunch. Dan would be so proud to know that dear sweet Jenny is having her 9th baby. I'm sure he knows. A flood of tears just started in my eyes right now.

Life goes on...and these words had come to my mind, "that floods my soul." I couldn't exactly remember the song it was from so I googled the words. "Oh what joy" begins that sentence. I didn't think I was really feeling joy but with sorrow and sadness comes the joy. Life goes on. It truly does.

We talked more after lunch with Jenny. Grandma Vasquez was with us and said she's been feeling she is literally "shredding" her life away, she's been shredding years and years and boxes upon boxes of files, bills and what-have-you. She reminded us that when "she" is gone, "We're NEXT!" Yes, when Mom is gone we move up to her position in Life. Our children take our place in this world...and we're next.

Oh What Joy That Floods My Soul.
Something happened and now I know,
"He Touched Me" and made me whole.

Who can sing it better than Elvis?
He Touched Me

No matter what happens in Life I will find joy.
I will celebrate the 30 years My Bobby has had in this world so far.
I will remember the Life of My Brother-in-law Dan.
I will stand by my friend's side as she lays her Mother to rest.

Life is hard at times but Joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5New King James Version (NKJV)

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

TRUST & OBEY for there's no other way...

Trust & Obey

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

I have always loved this hymn and when I was on my way to Bible Study I caught the tail end of Dr. David Jeremiah’s message, “Obeying the Father” and this song, “Trust & Obey” popped in my mind. I had already written an email to my family and friends to give them the good news report from seeing the Cardiologist earlier that morning. It has been a long journey just from that initial Dr. visit on November 27, 2013 when I was given the news that I had what appeared to be LVH, Left Ventricular Hydrotrophy to January 21, 2014 and being told I have a small reversible defect passageway and suffer from PVC’s, Premature Ventricular Contractions, among a few others things. The Cardiologist was very methodical going down the list of the symptoms I had been experiencing and explaining what I’m feeling and possible ways to alleviate the problems. So I will do what I am able and hopefully have a healthier body in the long run.

I have known for a long time that I have needed to take better care of my body and there was always an excuse to wait for tomorrow. Sometimes the Lord has to intervene in order for us to wake up and pay attention to what we are doing to our bodies. When I saw my Dr. back in November of last year I had set in my mind that I wanted to know everything that was going on within my body so from blood tests to nuclear tests I have a very good idea of what my body is doing and saying to me. My body says, “Let Me Live!” My Dr. says, “This is what you need to do.” God says, “Trust & Obey Me.” I do have to say that when you are faced with the possibility that your life may end soon you are faced with two options. One you can run away and by running away I mean you can run from God and pretend that everything is okay and not live in reality. Option two is to face your situation and know that God will equip you with what you need to help you face your fears. I chose the second option and felt I was growing closer to God even though I had no idea what the outcome would be. I had to Trust & Obey God.

While I have been on My Greatest Adventure a friend of mine has a 16 year old daughter that is on her own journey and she is truly fighting for her life. In watching how she was dealing with her health issues she gave me the strength “I” needed to continue on my own journey. In her own words Ashlyn's says ... "Would I rather this not be happening? Um, yeah ... but my focus will remain on God. I know He's got this & He will take care of me."  I wrote on her Facebook page; “I am amazed at the great faith God gives to his children.” I knew what I was dealing with had to happen in order to hear what God wanted me to hear. God does what he has to in order to get our attention. I also knew I had to “Trust” God in this. In watching how Ashlyn has been handling her situation I was amazed in seeing how God gives us the strength we need to go through various times of our lives. The confidence, the courage, He is Our Everything! It’s just so sad that sometimes we have to go through the difficult times in life in order for us to lean on God to help us through the rough times. I would hope that those that have followed along on my journey have learned something that otherwise they may not have experienced themselves. Don’t wait for God to allow something to happen in your life in order for him to get your attention. God wants relationship with us. That’s why he created us. “We” are the lonely creatures of this world and when we don’t have God in our lives we feel like the world is against us. When we HAVE God in our lives he gives us the strength we need when we the world IS against us. I still have a lot to learn and I look forward to what God is teaching me each and every day. It’s an amazing world God has placed us in. I am taking life a little slower these days. Not just cause it’s good for my health but it’s good to be able to stop and enjoy every aspect in life that God has created.

I am looking forward to taking my hike up Garcia Trail. We recently had the Colby Fires and the fires swept across the hillside where the Cross stands at the top of Garcia Trail. When I saw the photos of the cross still standing uncharred that gave me the Hope from God that I would continue on and that I would make that hike! I’m looking forward to losing my goal weight and make that hike on Saturday, March 1st at 10am.

What has God been telling you to do? Don’t wait until something drastic has to happen to you before you do anything about it. God wants us in close relationship with Him. I’m currently in a Women’s Study with Beth Moore, “Stepping Up a journey through the Psalms of Ascent.” I am ready for the next level in my journey towards God. As I continue on my journey I am excited to see what God has in store for me in 2014. I may make my plans but God will guide my steps. I hope my life has been of encouragement to you. It is the wise person that learns from others experience and/or mistakes.

My daughter, Duana, shared with me a blog that she had read earlier that day I sent out my email to my family & friends regarding my health results. I am so encouraged when people share with me stories they have read that relate so well to what we go through in life. This blog begins with the quote, “We cannot give our hearts to God and keep our bodies for ourselves.” ~Elisabeth Elliot. It’s a good blog and I encourage you to read it for yourself: Intentionally Focused Health

I am also encouraged by my friend, Lorrie, that posts her devotional on Facebook every morning. Today’s devotional was exactly on what I have talked about here. “Strive to trust me more and more…” Lorrie posts an abbreviated version of her devotional and you can read the extended version here for Weds. Jan. 22nd: Trust

I also encourage you to keep up on Ashlyn’s Journey:

God bless you as you continue on your journey. I would love to hear what God is teaching you in your life.