Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I'm Still Here!

I realize I have not blogged in several months.  I have been caught up in posting on Face Book and communicating in Messenger...and my desire to blog went on vacation.  I think I'm about to come back home and go back to blogging during the winter ahead, to help fill my hours.  Not sure what I'll be blogging about, but I sense a desire to come back to this hobby (I have so few!). 

Thank you to those of you who have faithfully checked on my blog now and then.  I'm surprised you are still around!  Would love to know with whom I am having one sided communication, but that's just my curiosity. 

I blog because I want to escape the four walls of my mind at times, and I know I can expose myself to the whole world this way.  I guess, however, I am more of a private person than I used to be, and I trust that helps me be more selective about what I blog.  Family pictures are now off limits, as I know my family doesn't care for the exposure.  So, maybe I'll turn to preaching in my blogs.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll be back soon!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Break 2017 - Myrtle Beach

We had a wonderful week with our son and two granddaughters during their spring break.  We drove to St. Louis to spend the weekend, got a rental vehicle for the trip, loaded up and headed out to Myrtle Beach on Sunday, March 19th.  Kevin was the main driver, and since he had not had a vacation in a few years, we also made him the one who decided when to stop, where to eat, what activities we would partake in.  All we had to do was sit back and relax and enjoy the trip!  Paul sat up front with him, and was the relief driver.  Leia and I took the middle seat, and Aria was glad to have the back cubby hole to herself!  All the luggage was packed in around her...she's the only one who would have fit back there!

This is the first time Kevin has gone with us to Myrtle Beach, but it was the second trip for Leia and Aria.  It's always a scenic drive down through the Smokies as we head down I-40 from Knoxville to Ashville.

We checked into our resort, and were given a villa on the top floor - 16th floor - with some great views!!

Thus began five days of fun, food, and relaxation!

Sometimes we just had fun in the villa playing games.  We went outside to play shuffleboard and bocce ball.

We spent one day out at the ocean trying to fly helicopters.  Leia and Aria collected shells.  Aria and Kevin splashed around in the waves...and it never did get warm!  They were glad to go back to the heated pool where the water was 85 degrees!

Another day was a designated shopping day.  We went to Tanger Outlets and Barefoot Landing.  Lots of shopping bags went back to the villa with us, and most of the souvenir shopping was done.

Kevin offerd to make us a taco meal back at the villa, so we stopped by Walmart to get all the goodies we needed.  So nice to have someone else cook!!  And there always has to be a smart face or two in the group...your guess as to who!

Another day Kevin wanted to take the girls to the race track...so he and Aria got in one go-cart and Leia took her own...looks right at home, doesn't she!!  From there we went to play some miniature golf...Kevin, Aria, and I.

On our last full day in Myrtle Beach we opted to go to Broadway at the Beach...the largest outdoor shopping, eating, entertainment mecca in Myrtle Beach.  The two men were so good to wait on the girls while we shopped.  But they did their share of shopping also!

 Broadway at the Beach is situated around a lake, with bridges crossing from one side to the other.  In the picture above the gang is feeding the fish.  In the picture below, the fish are waiting for their handouts!!

Our last morning there.  The sun rises...view from our villa.  Kevin and the girls stepped out on the balcony one last time to say good-bye.  It's been a great week!!  The picture of the pool is from our 16th floor villa..and. the two dots in the pool are Kevin and Aria on our last night there...after we got back from Broadway at the Beach.  While they were at the pool, Leia was walking the beach one last time.

We left on Saturday morning and drove back to Knoxville.  Introduced Kevin to Blaze Pizza.  He had introduced us to Firehouse Subs while in Myrtle Beach, as well as McAlister's Deli.  We had a couple of Chick-Fil-A stops on our trip, of course. 

The Arch, of course, meant we were back in St. Louis, and the picture below shows our safe arrival back at Kevin's house.  The good guy in the white hat and the girls with their traveling buddies.  Grandma had to have one last splurge!

Myrtle Beach, we hope to return...you have been our favorite spring break get away!

Paul and I were so blessed to be able to have family with us this year.  Those times are rare and precious.  We thank our Heavenly Father for the safe trip and good family times!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016!

The 2016 train is leaving the station...chugging its way on out of here.  I'm waving goodbye, thankful for all the memories of 2016, but even more eager for the 2017 train approaching the station!  What's ahead?  What will the new year bring?  For sure...new opportunities. new blessings, new mercies, new experiences...and above all, The Sovereign God to reign supreme, and cover us in His grace as we journey on through the new year!  Are you ready for what's ahead?  We can't know what that is, but since God does, I'm just going to take His hand and anticipate what He has in store for me!  

I haven't blogged much this year.  Back in the spring, while we were living in Crossville, TN, I was so lonely that I ended up signing up for FaceBook.  I had avoided it for so long, but finally caved in just to see what my friends were up to.  Then I discovered messenger.  Between the two, my days are filled with "friends".  So if you have been following my blog and aren't seeing much posted, please feel free to request me as a friend on FaceBook.  I don't post a lot there, but I do try to keep up with my friends, and make comments.  And on occasion, I post.  You will need to request Carol Martz Casarez as a friend, but if I don't know you, I won't accept you.  Sorry.  Just trying to keep my list limited.

We came back to Michigan the first of May and focused on our house.  We had friends from Florida and granddaughters that helped us revamp the layout of the kitchen, giving us more room in the living room.  They also helped paint our cabinets white, and our walls teal.  What a difference that made!!  Dave and Wanda Randolph and Fred and Bonnie Evans...friends who have made such a difference in our lives!  We are so grateful to them for their assistance on this project!

We also decided it was time to increase our family again, and we added two party mix shih tzus, born April 10, both females.  Named Carli and Balie, here are pictures when we first brought them home, and then a little older:

They are so playful, and we totally enjoy them.  Turned out that little Balie only grew to 5#, but sister Carli is now at 10#....looking twice the size of her sister!  Both are healthy, and the big girl knows how to rip and tear with her little sister, who usually instigates the activity.  They are still quite small in the picture above.  I haven't downloaded my camera pictures lately.  

The other summer highlight was that our two granddaughters were once again able to visit us for a couple of weeks.  This time Leia brought her pet rats:

Both girls helped with the kitchen project.  Dave and Wanda Randolph were on the front end of our projects, and Wanda helped both girls with painting the cabinets white.

While Leia was helping Grandpa with various projects, Aria became my sidekick in the kitchen.  Here's a cajun recipe with shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn.  Pretty as the girl holding the bowl!

We had a beautiful fall in Michigan...very mild temperatures.  Campfires until late in the season.  A good time to hang out with friends!  We got together with Paul's family for various events:

Paul has had work projects that has taken him out of the state and out of the country.  When he went to Dubai in October, I decided to take a vacation also.  I went to Bronson Hospital for five days.  God's timing was impeccable, as the night before Paul left, he had to call the ambulance to come get me...I was losing it fast.  Turns out I had sepsis...had no idea.  If he had left before this was caught, I probably would be a greeter at the Golden Gates.  Turns out Paul was able to get me registered at the hospital and make his flight....going on 36 hours with no sleep.  Sons Kevin (and Aria) and Corbin came to my rescue.  They came to take care of the dogs and be with me.  I was touched to know they would both step to the plate for me in my time of need!  

We just returned from a Christmas trip to St. Louis where we spent almost a week with family.  Corbin flew in from California (Susan had to stay behind to work).  We had a great time with Kevin and his family and Corbin.  We went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens and the St. Louis Art Museum...trying to be cultural!  Ate at various new restaurants.  Met Leia's boyfriend...and really like him!  He fits well in the family!  

And so here we are...a couple of hours from 2017.  I'm ready!  What I don't know, God does.  And I can trust God, for sure!  He has never failed me, never let me down, never let me drown, never left me alone.  FaceBook assigned this verse to me:  I cling to you and you hold me with your strong hand.  (Psalm 63:8)  That pretty much tells my story from 2016, and going into 2017.  May your new year be full of God's Love and Blessings!