I caught a fish THIS big!

At least that is what I feel about the experiences I have had in 10 days!

Okay, here we go!

We were able to fly out to CA on the 4th of July to visit my best friend Tina. She had no idea we were coming. Her husband told her that he had to run to the store for something but actually he was meeting us up the road so we could follow him back. She was standing outside with her neighbors getting the grill ready! Her mouth dropped open when she saw us drive up behind Joe. I just about jumped out of our moving vehicle! It was wonderful. I ran across the road and held on so tight! I kept telling her "All week! We are staying all week!" It was amazing.

We had so much fun in California. We hung out, played in the pool, went to Sea World, played games, talked, talked and talked! It was so wonderful and very much needed. Tina has been away from Virginia since October of 99. I have only seen her 3 times in almost 8 years and each time it was her coming back here. So this was so neat. Sunday we were able to go out, just the two of us. Joe and Bo kept the kids and we headed to Starbucks. There is a lake that sits behind this particular one. We took our coffees, sat on a bench and talked. I think we covered everything under the sun.

Now, during this time ...

On Saturday we were at Sea World. My phone died and we ended up getting separated from Tina and her family. So we did our thing until we were soaking wet and very cold. CA has no humidity ... at least not VA humidity. We decided to head back to the hotel and catch up with them later.

On Sunday we got up and went to church. Tina's church. The anointing of the Lord is upon them. There were two words spoken that day and both applied to me! I knew instantly in my spirit that God was talking to me. It was so wonderful.

After the service the pastor said that there were free books out on the table in the lobby. I couldn't believe my ears. God is always giving me books! Books that I have just in casual conversation with Him have mentioned that I wanted. He is so cool! So I was able to pick up Stormie Omartian's books, Power of a Praying Wife and Power of a Praying Parent! How cool is that?!

That afternoon Bo and Joe went out to lunch together. They went to a popular biker joint. While they were out I took the boys back to the hotel so that we all could rest a bit. I decided to check my voicemail just to see if there were any messages. There were two. Both from my mom. She was crying and very upset. I instantly prayed that she would be covered by God's grace and love. I called her back and couldn't reach her. So a few minutes later she called me back.

She told me that on Saturday evening ... My house caught on fire! Yes, you read that right. Here she had put a bag of paper out on the back porch. She smoked her cigarette and went back in the house. About an hour and a half later my neighbor was pounding on the door. The back of our house was on fire. God was so good. Only external damage was done. She was able to put it out. The fire department checked the house and put a tarp over the damaged part.

I just couldn't believe it. I never once got upset. I prayed and prayed but I never said a harsh thing to her or anyone. God has seen to it that it will only be around 500 bucks to fix. He is amazing.

Now on Monday morning we decided to go to Laguna Beach. Hang out in the Pacific Ocean for awhile. On the way there I received a phone call from my sister Mickie. She said that our dad only had about 24-48 hours to live. Really, the 48 hours was pushing it. I couldn't believe it. I knew he was dying but I honestly thought there was more time. I started to kick myself for being in CA.

I immediately handed it all over to our Lord. I told Him that I had no opinion about being there or not. I recognized just how in control God is in all of our lives. We made some phone calls and were able to get a flight out early Tuesday morning. We were going to have to fly to VA and drive down because no flights were going to Florida until Thursday.

Monday evening we checked our bank to see what money we had in our personal account. Well, come to find out the IRS levied our account! They took out a little over 300 dollars. It just kept coming. Praise the Lord Bo has talked with them since. All is well. They refunded the money. It was total error on their part!

I called Annabelle about 5:30 Tuesday morning (west coast time) before our flight left. She said that Dad passed at 3:20 (east coast time) Tuesday morning. I was so sorry for her. Of course she was so sorry for me. I told her that I would get down there as soon as I could.

Well, the flight from CA to GA was good. When we got to GA however we, because of weather, had to wait 4 hours! By the time we were about to take off I did start crying. I just couldn't believe it all. We weren't just stuck at the airport ... we were stuck on the plane! I said to Bo "What could possibly happen next? Am I going to just spontaneously com bust?!" After that little outburst I was able to calm down. Shortly after that our plane took off. Glory!

We got home late Tuesday night. So we took Wednesday getting things together. Bo had to take care of some things for our business. We knew that the funeral would be Friday. Wednesday night we headed out to Florida.

The time with my family was wonderful. We really celebrated my dad's life. I saw people I hadn't seen in years. We just hung out, talked and laughed. It was really nice to share memories. All of my sisters came but my brother, Billy, did not. He felt that we should wait a few weeks before we had the funeral. Please pray for him. Keep him covered. My oldest sister's son was in a car accident the day Dad died. She was so upset because she's mama and wasn't there. He is okay. His name is Tommy, well, Tom now that he is 18. :) He suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his arms but other then that, he was good. Glory! Needless to say her family were not able to come.

So Saturday morning we left Florida. We arrived late that night. It feels soooo good to be home. There truly is no place like home while on this side of glory!

As far as my dad's salvation ... Annabelle told me that before my dad passed he talked privately with the Hospice minister. She said that after that conversation he was a different person. She said that you could see it in his eyes. She said that his face was so bright. My two sisters that were there agreed. He hadn't been talking much because he was so weak. A few years back he had an laryngectomy. Now though, he was smiling and telling her that he was going to be alright. He "now sees the type of man I was but that now things were different." He told her that she would be okay and us kids would be fine. She told him she was proud of his fighting the various cancers and proud to be his wife. He told her that he was tired and needed to go. She said that three times he opened his eyes and held out his hand towards the ceiling. On the 3rd time he opened his eyes, held up his hand and shook his head yes. With that he closed his eyes and simply stopped breathing.

Needless to say I have had one crazy July. Hopefully the rest of July will be nice and quiet.

I hope that this post made sense. :) Have a great week everyone! Much love and thanks for all the prayers!

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