The kids and I are back from quick trip to Texas.
We begin our trips by praying; thanking God for the financial means to travel, the time to visit loved ones, the delicious food we get to eat, and then we ask Him to protect us, the car and the cars around us. Prayer makes a difference and we are living proof—again.
A highlight of the trip happened while opening Christmas presents with my family.
Several years ago while attending my cousin Audrey’s wedding in Iowa I visited the property of my deceased great grandpa Schleuger. I knocked on the door of the home and explained who I was and asked if I could pick up a piece of wood from one of the barns that had come down over the years. There was a huge stack of old barn wood and they were very gracious in allowing me to take a piece. It took seven years but I finally remembered to make a barn wood gift for my mom. I could not have possibly anticipated my mom’s emotional reaction to her beloved grandpa’s barn remnant. It was priceless and I now truly understand the depth of her love for him.
What does one do with a single piece of barn wood? I thought of a picture frame but that would have meant cutting the wood and I wanted it to remain in tact. Stenciling or writing was iffy because one mistake would ruin the project. I decided on a wall hanging and went with burlap and antique looking hardware along with beads and copper wire to complete the vintage distressed wood.
The kids and I stayed half of the time with my sister, brother-in-law and three precious nieces. Love them! While there I managed to lock my keys in my car trunk while retrieving Christmas presents and when the Pop-a-Lock man came to my rescue the next morning; a stray cat heard me talking and came out from under building supplies at the house currently being built next door. It was a beautiful cat with unusual markings and ice blue eyes. It was friendly and affectionate so it must have come from a good home. My nieces named him, Kristoff. The cat wanted in the back door of the house so it knew the purpose of a door.
My sister, her daughters, myself and my children are all cat lovers but we have all come to terms with the fact we will never own a cat because of A.J.’s severe allergy to them. Finding a stray is our little bit of happiness and gives us a small fix for our feline longings. Because it was obvious the cat belonged or used to belong to someone. My sister watered, fed and kept the cat in her garage until Monday morning when she could take it to the vet to see if the cat was micro chipped.
Since Texas is having unusually cold weather, and since the kids and I were transferring to my parent’s home for the remainder of the visit, the cat managed to sleep in a pet crate, inside the back door of the house for the night. The next morning when the veterinarian’s receptions saw the cat she recognized it as possibly belonging to a woman who had been searching several weeks for her cat in the vicinity of where we found it. It was a butterfly tabby cat. The possibility of reuniting a woman with her beloved cat made locking my keys in the trunk worth it.
Once my keys were retrieved we made our way to my parent’s home and enjoyed visiting them and their new Cockapoo puppy. The kids and I are officially bonkers over their sweet little girl pup from the Ritter family at Cornerstone Farms. Chocolate fur, chocolate eyes and a chocolate nose. Cuteness!
You know how grandparents are notorious for spoiling their grandchildren then sending them home in their spoiled condition to the parents? Well, turnabout is fair play! My parents wonderfully spoil my children so we wonderfully spoiled their doggy who is a very quick learner. I suspected she would like the taste of strawberries so I taught her a new trick using sweet juicy strawberries. In less than five minutes the dog knew, “Down,” as in lie down on the floor. The morning after teaching her the new trick she saw me enter the kitchen and without prompting looked at me, looked at the kitchen counter, looked back at me and did her trick; three separate times so of course I fed her more strawberries. Now she is begging my parents for food. You are so welcome, Mom and Dad!
While in Texas we eat, eat some more, and eat again. My sister and brother-in-law are some of the best cooks ever; so is my mom. We ate Chuy’s Tex-Mex for lunch on Saturday, and as usual, Chuy’s delivered with tender pulled pork tacos, fresh salsa, creamy jalapeño ranch dip and fresh chips. My mouth is still watering. I think I gained weight—again, but I’m not stepping on the scale to confirm my suspicions.
It has been a few years since I wrote Chuy’s, On-the-Border, Taco Bueno, Abuelos, and Cantina Laredo concerning building their superior Tex-Mexican establishments in the St. Louis metro area. All of them replied with regrets that they had no plans for building in St. Louis. I am going to write them again and ask if they have reconsidered building in St. Louis. I NEED Chuy’s.
Since my last visit to Texas my brother-in-law purchased himself a new car. Not just any car. One of my favorites! A six speed stick shift, black Dodge Challenger with a 6.1 hemi. I’m in love with that car! It is gorgeous, powerful, and fast and I adore the sound of hearing it drive down the street before it arrives home. (I hope the neighbors adore it too.) Best of all, my bro-in-law took me for a drive while cranking the stereo to AC/DC’s Back in Black. (As in a black Dodge Challenger.) I was happy; beyond happy, to be sitting in that rumbling piece of muscle. And if that wasn’t enough—he offered to let me drive it! I love fast cars. I’m crazy about hot looking muscle cars; I am. Speed is exhilarating; so much so that while growing up I dreamed of being a race car driver. I should have stuck with the dream.
I thought I handled the car well. I won’t say how fast I drove because it wasn’t fast enough for my blood; I’ll just say; it, Christine, accelerates rapidly and I was giddy with excitement. My sister named the car, Christine, after Stephen King’s book because the car did not take an immediate liking to my sister and acted like a jealous other woman. They, my sister and the car, have come to an understanding and Christine now behaves nicely.
When I arrived back at Mom and Dad’s house after the spin in the car my sister smiled, handed me a dish towel and told me to wipe my drool. She’s always been sassy!
The kids had their turn to experience some Challenger muscle. Emm, emm, I mean a nice leisurely drive with their responsible uncle.
For the official count; the kids and I saw nine beautiful and majestic Bald Eagles while traveling through Oklahoma and Missouri. What a treat!
As the kids and I were on our way back home we decided we wanted to have one last Braum’s meal since we don’t have Braum’s in St. Louis. We saw a sign on the highway advertising a Braums in the next town. We were discussing which scrumptious flavor of shake we would order; Mint Chocolate Chip, Cappuccino Chunky Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cup—the possibilities were numerous.
I caught a glimpse of a Braum’s sign which said we would need to turn left at the next town for Braums; so I decided to change lanes and be in the left lane for when we arrived at the town. I changed lanes and had a semi behind me. Just as I did we came down a slight hill and around a curve to find the town was right there and with a stop light changing from green to yellow. I came close, awful close, to killing us and possibly the semi-driver by quickly stopping for the red light.
There had been police officers in several of the little towns waiting to ticket an unsuspecting out-of-towner and I did not want a ticket for running a red light.
I quickly applied my brakes and was almost stopped when I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the semi behind me couldn’t stop for the light—his back tires were smoking and his trailer was skidding sideways so I accelerated and proceeded through the light. The semi driver was able to regain control by running the red light. Whew! I felt terrible! I could not imagine how frightened, frustrated and furious he must have been. All because we wanted Braum’s burgers and shakes for lunch. I thanked God then, and numerous times throughout the remainder of the day, for protecting all of us. It could have been our home going; and I’m not talking about going home to St. Louis.
Prayer made a difference.
Now for the New Year:
I am celebrating the third anniversary of A.J. surviving his severe traumatic brain injury. I wonder if I will ever have a day I don’t think about it. I am so thankful to God for healing A.J. We are blessed! Prayer made a difference. A.J. wanted to know if all anniversary celebrations come with gifts. He found out; no, just lots of hugs and kisses.
He still looks forward to his first airport security check because he wants to know if the titanium screws in his skull will set off the metal detectors. He is hopeful. He is such a boy!
My prayer for 2014 is to:
- Grow closer to God.
- Obey His leading.
- Accept His decisions.
- Teach my children to seek the Lord, know Him and love Him; and to love others.
- Receive an answer to prayer I have waited on for 15 years. When I do I will share the request and the answer.
- Teach hurting people in difficult circumstances to thrive by having a personal relationship with Christ through Bible study and prayer.
- For God and His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to be proclaimed and His word made accessible to all people in our generation.
- Come, Lord Jesus, come!