Tag Archives: Texas

Evil winds ?

I didn’t Google it but I’m pretty sure at one time there was a saying about evil winds . It felt like there was an evil wind blowing this week. A wind of hate and division and ungodliness. I noticed a lot of people seemed off-kilter . We had crazy weather, too. It was in the upper 70s. On Wednesday and today it’s in the 30s. Also President Trump gave an important State of the Union Address that was strongly opposed by the Democrats.

I don’t delve into the study of spirits and demons because the Bible says not to , but I do know that there are spiritual forces in high places that are battling , because the Bible says that, too. We are to resist the Devil, think about good things, and pray , using God’s own words to protect us .

Philippians 4:8, NIV: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I hope you made it through this week with no problems . Remember to pray because evil is real.

Ephesians 6:12, ESV: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

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We Homeschool

Most of you know that I am a homeschooling mom. I haven’t posted much about it, I guess because I’ve been doing it so long, since 1996, that it seems like old news. Rather than start a blog series on homeschooling, I would like to share this great one that I just found. I’m near the end of my career as a homeschool mom, but many are just considering it and need help. Check them out!

How to Homeschool  from Homeschool Superfreak. Looks like a good one!

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My completely homeschooled sons are all unique , amazing individuals! I can’t wait to see what impact they leave on this world. 

Please also feel free to ask me questions about homeschooling.  The thought of giving up the public school system even when it has extreme problems can be daunting. I’ll be glad to tell you what has worked for us. Homeschooling is especially good for boys, kids with learning differences, ADHD, those with strong religious convictions, those in low performing school districts, those who want an advanced curriculum for their gifted child, children who are very busy with activities besides school and need more time for those activities, families who want to travel as part of their child’s education, anyone who does not like the public school method of large group instruction and prefers the traditional tutor style education, those who have a child that is already reading before Kindergarten and will most likely be stifled by public school, children who are being bullied and not getting any help from the school authorities,  etc !

Just a brief look at our homeschool family. My oldest son is a rap music producer, didn’t see that one coming! He currently works as a front end manager at a famous Texas grocery store. My next oldest  son works at a trucking company as a mechanic’s helper and mechanic in his own right who travels around the state helping stranded truckers. He is also teaching himself how to weld, all types, and built his own Harley chopper with his dad’s help. My third son is a grocery stocker who is still figuring out his career interests. He is very much like me and his dad all jumbled together. Grace is my 4th child and she is the family jewel and princess. My 5th son is 15 and can drive any vehicle, rides motorcycles, and works hard at all things mechanical. My baby is 13 and does well in school and enjoys reading Tom Clancy and playing video games with his brothers. My philosophy of schooling has always been to nurture and support the natural bent of the child, help them discover new interests and try them out, be a facilitator and guide more than a teacher. We enjoy using YouTube videos, a shelf full of textbooks that I’ve  collected over the years, the library, and the internet to discover our world and the world of knowledge.

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Princess Grace presiding over her kingdom.

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Father and son ❤

Exodus: People moving to states with lower taxes and cost of living

I live in Texas, the destination of millions of people leaving states where they can no longer afford the costs of housing, child care, property taxes, and business costs. According to this article, sixty-six people per day moved into San Antonio from July 2016 to July 2017.  And somewhere around 100-150 a day are moving into Austin according to this article. Other states with low taxes and housing costs and plentiful jobs are seeing the same influx.

People seeking Economic Freedom

Just wondering how long until my birthplace  is ruined or if those other state’s voters will wake up and make necessary changes. Social programs are not meant to be the foundation of a state’s economy. People need jobs. They need power over their own lives and finances. When too many people are dependent on the government for basic necessities, the foundation begins to crack. Signs of problems include long waiting lists for subsidized housing, schools without funding, poor road conditions, idle able-bodied men and teens, overcrowded free clinics and public hospitals, closed down stores and factories, and companies moving business to other states.

Houston traffic congestion bumper to bumper

In Texas we are straining under the burden of the constant flow of new residents. The city and highway traffic is bad and the schools are crowded. There is not enough low-cost housing available in many cities and middle class job availability is shrinking. I have been searching the job listings and I am shocked at how little some of the jobs pay that require a college degree, not enough to pay rent or live on.

I have sympathy for these people, but I also worry about my state. It’s time for Democrat leaders to stop the destruction of their own state’s economies.  Stop catering to the rich and making promises they can’t afford to the poor. Rebuild their manufacturing and industry and create a technology infrastructure. Attract businesses by making it profitable to do business in their state. Conservative policies create jobs!

UPDATE: This popped up in my Facebook feed after I wrote this blog. https://fee.org/articles/new-census-data-show-americans-are-migrating-from-tax-punishing-states/

Wonderful, awful, fun, painful, and every other adjective. Snowdrop Ultra 55 hour 2018-19

Note: I wrote this blog while I was still recovering mentally and physically . Now six weeks later I can look back on this experience with even more amazement as my brain has cleared. I am just now finally recovered enough to run at close to my normal pace after weeks of extremely slow runs. This race , plus the two week hospital stay with my daughter took a major toll on my body.  But today the sun is shining and I’m feeling hopeful about the new year ! 

Day 1 at Snowdrop ultra 55 hour race started off and stayed cold with bouts of rain all day and night . Round and round we ran and walked at every pace, through the increasingly slippery mud along the 0.69 mile loop around the lake and across a small bridge. Half the trail is dirt and half is concrete. I was stopping to eat a little snack regularly and drinking frequently as I passed the aid station every loop, but I still managed to get behind on my sodium intake and had bouts of nausea. I reached 45 miles by the time the evening meal was served so I stopped to eat . Then I got back at it for another 19 or so miles until I started getting very sleepy . I took a few hours off to sleep in my tent that I shared with two other runners. Around 4:30 I debated with myself over whether I should just quit and forego the buckle because my legs hurt so much. I couldn’t quit knowing that others suffered through much more , so clumsily with great slowness I changed my clothes. Then I groggily stumbled out into the misting darkness with the other determined souls , hoping to find coffee waiting. After a couple hours I stopped and ate bacon , eggs and hash browns for breakfast. Volunteers kept us fed and provided encouragement and medical attention for blisters and tight muscles round the clock. The food is a highlight of the event! Restaurant sponsors provide catered meals and there’s also a tent with hot and cold snacks always available, as well as the aid station along the course with typical offerings like pretzels and pickle juice, candy, chips, and every runner fuel you could want .

Starting line

Aid station

Last lap!

The warming tent has heat and hot food and drinks .

I loved seeing the water birds every lap.

My award buckle is a beauty and heavy !

The super cool bag we received full of race essentials.

Day 2 it was also cold and rained off and on. I developed very painful tendinitis in the side of my leg known is IT band syndrome and I could no longer perform a running motion, so from about mile 64 I was reduced to walking. It got so painful that I could barely walk up and down the very slight inclines. So I had to stop to stretch every loop after awhile . As I was stretching one time, Doc Lovy came along walking his loop and offered his assistance. Doc is a Vietnam vet who serves the race every year as chief of the medical staff. He also puts in at least a 50k . He did some things to my leg and told me to go straight to the medical tent to get more help, which I did. When I left the tent I was amazed that I could move much better! For a few minutes I actually ran again but it started to tighten up so I decided to just walk fast. I finally got 100 miles , 145 loops or laps, at 37.5 hours . This was over 6 hours slower than last year due to the knee pain but I was just happy to get there. I stopped to celebrate a bit with friends and drank a small Michelob ultra and a coffee and ate some food . Then I went back out for a few laps until I got sleepy.

Vietnam vet Doc Lovy

Team RWB dancing and cheering

The race director Patty Godfrey and founder Kevin Kline

That night was New Year’s Eve. I was freezing cold and had to make a decision to quit the race or continue . I decided to stay but I went to sleep in my tent . First I changed into warm dry clothes , as I had done several times already, because of the rain. Then I got in my sleeping bag wearing my clothes , beanie, and gloves with two Hot Hands hand warmer gel packs and tried to warm up . Laying there shivering suddenly I heard what sounded like a war starting up and it got louder and louder. Fireworks were going off all around the town for the next couple of hours . I’ve never heard anything like it! Between that and the generator next to my tent, it was very noisy . But eventually I stopped shivering and tuned out the noise and slept off and on until almost sunrise . I really wish I’d gotten up sooner but it’s not a huge deal . I would’ve maybe been able to add another 10 miles if I had started at 4:30am.

Day 3 , New Year’s Day brought us beautiful weather and was the most fun day. The beautiful but chilly sunrise brought a fresh energy and relief that it was no longer raining. Lots of “Happy New Year!”s were exchanged. My husband informed me of my standing in the race which he was following live online from home and said that I was moving up because many people had stopped at 100 miles which motivated me to push a little faster to get as many miles as possible by 2pm. Lots of people were ringing the 100 mile lap bell and there was an air of excitement all day with lots of cheering and high fives and dancing spectators! The eating and drinking continued with Papa John’s pizza served for lunch. I skipped the gluten as usual and had eggs and bacon again for breakfast and lunch.

That day many of the runners had stopped and either gone home or were spectating so there was a lot less traffic on the course. Grimacing, slow moving runners and walkers were being lapped by the faster relay teams. Today was the day for lots of chatting with fellow pilgrims . Also I continued my prayers, listening to music , and interacting with the crowd. The time passed quickly! My strategy wasn’t very carefully planned but I was doing a few laps then taking a water break, with the goal of a minimum of two miles per hour but in reality I was closer to 2.5 mph. I had no firm goal past 100 at first but then I tentatively chose 115 miles. I calculated , with much effort , that my pace was good enough so I decided to try to hit 120,then I figured I should continue until the clock ran out so I did and ended up with 121.5 miles, 8th female of 73 females, 21st overall of 146. If I hadn’t decided to do one more lap , I would have been 9th female.

There were 7 minutes left on the clock , not enough for a lap so I stayed to watch the exciting finishes of the last runners. Unlike many trail ultras, this race had a lot of cheering, an excellent announcer, and many people watching their friends and family victoriously cross the finish line. After the awards ceremony, I helped break down our camp then loaded my van and drove home. I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes just processing the whole experience, feeling very grateful and happy. Leaving an event like this is always kinda sad , after being so focused and so supported and encouraged, now it’s time to face the real world again where my husband and kids need me to do things.

Well I got home and barely had one day of rest during which I did laundry and cooked and took care of my daughter who was now sick . I didn’t get much sleep Wednesday night , got up early and realized she was so sick that I had to get her to the hospital . I was still too sleep deprived to drive her alone so I called for an ambulance . Then I drove myself to the hospital . As of this writing we are still in the hospital and will probably be here a week or more as she has RSV and pneumonia and we are in the pediatric intensive care unit . She’s getting great care and I’m finally getting to rest . My legs are still swollen from the race. I just watched the movie Bird Box , which I’d heard mentioned but knew nothing about the plot or even the topic. I liked it. But why does Sandra Bullock never smile in her movies?!

If you are interested in trying a fixed time race, I highly encourage it. They are growing in popularity. This race sold out in less than an hour this year ,so be ready! I believe registration is in March.

If you can , please donate to the cause. Race donations are still being accepted. https://thedriven.net/nfundraising.donate_individual_new/indviId/9763/eid/9833023589

Counting My Blessings

Rather than tell you all the things that have gone wrong this month, big things that leave me wondering, but also trusting and waiting to see how God is going to intervene this time, I’ve decided I need to share some good things.

1)Running this race gave me a much needed mental boost. I guess I never blogged about it! Brazos Bend 100 was an almost 28 mile long trail marathon complete with people in costumes and distances from a half marathon to 100 miles.  Lots of mud, some sprinkles, huge puddles , and puddles is not really strong enough of a word to describe the mini-lakes on the trail,  a major bonk , and I had to leave early, but I enjoyed my time with other runners/friends in the park. I am still having some leg issues from the mud, but I’d say it was worth it.

2)I posted an anxious post about not having money for Christmas.  You can read it here. Having Joyful Holidays on a tight Budget Well, that is still kinda true, but there are plenty of gifts under the tree! Yes, I did resort to charging some of them on a credit card, but not all of them. The unexpected blessing was that my kids got in the Christmas spirit and bought each other gifts! They came up with this idea on their own. I really underestimated them. I think I mentioned that God provided my 15 year old with a job, well he decided to let his 13 year old brother go to work with him so he could buy gifts. He was willing to split the loot! But thankfully, the very generous man that they are working for paid them both. AND gave them a Christmas bonus to boot! This man is a Christian pastor and I am so thankful God brought them together. My 20 year old also bought some gifts. And my oldest called me from the store where he was shopping, not sure what he is up to. Last year my next-to-oldest son really came through with the big surprise, Playstation 4s for both my youngest sons! So I don’t know if he plans to shell out big bucks this year or take the year off, no word from him. He is the silent type! Each and all of my children are a huge blessing to me .

3)Another good thing, kinda , is that even though my daughter got pretty sick this month, we did not have to spend any time in the hospital. That made a huge difference in how much stress her illness caused since I was able to stay home and take care of her instead of being gone and leaving the rest of the family to take care of themselves while they were all sick with the same thing.  I am very thankful to have the equipment here that she needed, namely oxygen and suctioning.  And I’m thankful that I know how to  use and that I was not sick when she was! I got the virus but I got over pretty quickly.

4)Another somewhat sideways blessing is that even though we ended up having to spend it on plumbing repairs, we were blessed that my husband found some money he had forgotten he had put aside.  He just suddenly one day decided to clean his side of the closet and found it up there. Of course it was a little, or a big, letdown to have to give it all to the plumber, but I am thankful it popped up at the right time. God provides in unusual ways sometimes!

5)Lastly, I’m excited because I had no gift ideas and then they started coming to me in waves of inspiration! I can’t wait to see if they like them. A couple of things have already been given because they were needed, like rubber boots for my son. He loves them. And a robe for my husband because he accidentally saw it. He loves it.  One gift that I hope is well received is matching t-shirts for the whole family. If they will wear them, I’ll share a photo. If not, I may be reselling them! And I’m really excited to give my mom her Bluetooth speaker. She loves gadgets like that, and music.

So , there, you see, it only seems like this month has been terrible. Broken plumbing, illnesses and broken down vehicles , etc, happen to everyone. I can’t let myself be overcome with discouragement at life’s trials.  I will take the bad with the good.  My cozy country home is decorated with a lovely tree and plenty of lights.  I ordered 6 dozen tamales  and we will feast on Christmas Day and celebrate the birth of Christ and the joy and salvation that  only He could bring into the world. The stockings will be full of candy and the gifts will be given with love . My mom and sister and her daughter will be coming over and it will be a good day. I will be thankful for my blessings!

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Oh , how I love my parents!

It’s been a rough week.  What to write about? Running is always on my mind, but so is my as of late not so happy life. Looking at my $8 lamp on my donated dinner table that I currently  use as a desk,  I think I will write about my life.

How about a little background to who I am? Well, my dad was almost given away as a baby. His mom was so poor that she considered giving him away to I’m not sure who, but decided to keep him. My dad adored his mother! Maybe because he knew he was loved. My grandma was married to a drunk, which seems to be a strong gene in our family. They were poor and my dad was born in 1939 after several other children.  He picked cotton as a kid in East Texas. Later his family moved to Houston, which was a smaller city at that time.

My dad’s grandpa was  a preacher. My family is a mix of alcoholics, drug addicts, Christians, and food addicts. We like to overdo things.

My dad was awesome. Everyone loved him. He was very good at social skills, unlike me, but he worked at it. He took courses from Dale Carnegie. He was the #1 salesman.  But before that he was  a ‘kid’, working in a grocery store,  who caught my mom’s eye. She was just a girl, 15, whose mom had died unfairly from blood poisoning, when she was just a wee girl. Raised by a Black housekeeper and her dad, along with 5 brothers,  that shaped who she became, an amazing woman. She determined she would marry my dad and she did, God bless her. They had three kids in 4 years. Then a few more for good measure.

Deep breath. My dad had a knack for bullshitting so he was good at customer service and sales. He spent his life selling various things including cars. He started having some health issues in the year 2000. Who knows what caused it but he had cancer and he died mercifully at a very young age.   I miss him so much! If ONLY I could speak to him now! I hope you are proud of me dad. I love you so much!

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Dad in red shirt with his  youngest brother and  his older sister. They were very close. My Uncle Paul and Aunt Mae are still alive.

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Dad in the tie . Father in law with camera. At my second son’s birth, the nursery. 

 

Sorry, I got a bit emotional there. My dad loved gardening, dominos, dogs, fishing, being outside, his mother,my mom,  food, and people. Oh how I wish we could spend more time together! I am so thankful for the good times. My dad and mom had six children. My sister Susan Kay died, and I was born after her, so they named me Paula Kay. Now you know.  My dad and mom were very traditional. She did all the housework and never complained. Then later she started working to help pay bills. She was and IS the best mom ever! My mom is amazing.  She is 77 years old and still working. She works for American Express Travel. They should give her a  raise. She is the QUEEN  of corporate travel. I love hearing her stories of how she has rescued various clients from impossible situations. I am so proud of you, mom!  I am so blessed by my parents. Another deep breath.

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My mom is the tiny lady behind my daughter in the wheelchair. Then we have my nieces, my sons and my son’s girlfriend.

 

Okay enough. I could brag on my parents all day and night. Sure, they made mistakes, but as a middle-aged parent myself, I am very sympathetic to how hard parenting can be. The patience and forgiveness and love they gave is really extraordinary. I can only hope to do the same with my brood.

If we, I mean, We will make it through December! Race week !

I started this post on Wednesday night. It was going to be about how crazy the past two weeks have been. Then I woke up Thursday morning feeling renewed. Hmm, I thought. Looked at the calendar, yep, it’s a New Moon! Still a crazy couple of days, but I feel a new sense of hope that it will get better. I don’t think everyone is as aware of moon cycles and spiritual things as some of us, so they just think it’s all random or caused by this or that and they try to fix those things and when they feel better they think they fixed it , not realizing the changing moon cycles were at least partly responsible.

Wait!, you say. I thought this was a Christian blog! It is ! But God made the moon and the moon has strong effects on the earth, so why would it not affect the people God also made? Do I worship the moon or think that I should be very concerned about it, no. I trust that God is more powerful than anything He created. I pray constantly for His help and I feel his presence in my life , especially during crises. God is in charge!  He can even blacken the sun when he wants to make a big point.

The road has been rocky for the past two weeks. Everyone has been passing around a virus which meant that eventually my daughter would catch it and she did. I had to put her on oxygen to help her breathe on Wednesday, but Thursday she was looking much better! All this sickness meant we got very little school work accomplished, but we did work on math and reading. Today my husband feels terrible so I will be taking care of him as well as her.

The other things that have happened have been mentioned I think, unexpected plumbing expenses, car troubles and expenses, no money for Christmas, stress and worry over a depressed husband and son, my own sickness, not being able to get out and run this week, and trying to be ready for a race this weekend with all this on my mind. We also missed Bible Study class yesterday due to the virus. But God is good and I just keep praying and asking my friends to pray. Oh, yeah, after a few nice sunny days, it’s now raining and will be raining during the race unless God answers my prayers to change the weather. I have a pretty good record with God giving me good weather for races, so I try not to complain. My best friend lives in upstate New York and it seems to rain every time she races! I don’t want to live there.

The race will be exciting! Rain or not. There will be some famous elite runners there as well as many sub-elites. Ian Sharman, (UPDATE :Sharman won the 50 miler in around 6 hours in mud!) who until recently held the 100 mile Trail record, Gordon Ainsleigh ( I didn’t see him), the father of the famous Western States 100, some of the Tarahumara runners from Mexico might be there , and many other fast runners  are coming in from around the country to this lil’ ol’ state park in Texas that is mostly known for its’ large alligator population, many small lakes and bird-watching. Many of my friends will be there, some attempting their first 100 mile distance, others running other distances or volunteering or pacing.  This event was recently chosen for the 100 mile Trail Championship race for 2019 which is a big deal for the race director, who is a friend of mine, so congratulations to Robert Goyen of Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT)! https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/usatf-mountain-ultra-trail-council-announces-2019-national-championship-races/ 

 

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Brazos Bend State Park 

I did my packet pickup, errands and weekly grocery shopping yesterday, so today I will be trying to ‘rest’ for my race while I take care of everyone and do my usual cooking and chores. I know most runners do not get to rest much before a marathon and I usually don’t,  so this is not a big deal. But I’m glad I don’t have to go into Houston like I did yesterday! The traffic!  I am just not fond of the city anymore after 15 years of country living. But I have to be thankful that  I did get in and out fairly quickly and with no trouble, not counting the time I had to circle around  for awhile to get in the lane I needed to get on the freeway. I felt a slight urge to hit some of the millions of stores in Houston, but instead, I headed west on I-10, away, away! I stopped at Buc-ees for a soda and ended up doing some Christmas shopping there.

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Every good road trip includes a stop at Buc-ees

 

What is Buc-ees? It’s a gigantic gas station with over 60 gas pumps at this location and a huge carwash, a restaurant (BBQ and sandwiches) and bakery, clean restrooms, a huge convenience store with every imaginable snack and drink item and coffee, AND a huge gift shop! In other words, a Texas-sized gas station. Take a look here . It’s quite impressive! However when I got home I looked at my receipt and found that I had been charged for a sandwich I didn’t buy, which made me a bit upset since that store is not known for it’s bargain prices. I sent them an email which is the only way to contact them. I’ll update if I get a refund. ( Update: I got a refund !)

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Mmm, Beaver Nuggets! (Sugar coated corn snacks)

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Some fun gifts I bought for my sister in Utah who is always positive 🙂

Well, my time is up. Sick husband is trying to cook himself food and it’s not going well. Have a good day my friends!

Deuteronomy 4:15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.