Wednesday, December 31, 2014

First year as Expats

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Customize a digital slideshow
FELIZ ANO NUEVO = HAPPY NEW YEAR

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Our 1st Christmas in Chapala

Our casa was filled with the laughter of new friends on December 5, 2014. What a joy to be entertained by our neighbors with jovial music, authentically prepared foods and intriguing conversations, at home. Our calendar bulges with invitations to Guadalajara, Ajijic, LaMision, Hope House, Love in Action and up in San Juan Cosala.  Lake Chapala Baptist Church hosted their traditional Christmas Choir and Soup Buffet on December 14th.  What a marvelous gathering of talent!
The LCBC choir also featured solos by three elementary aged saints and a compelling performance by Patrick! Four of our neighbors attended and they each remarked how blessed and touched they were by the opportunity to sing old fashioned Christmas carols and fellowship with refreshing, lit up people of God. Halleluiah and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Turkey at the RIU in PV

WOW we took a luxury ETN bus from Ajijic to Puerto Vallarta for Thanksgiving! Talk about comfort, it was like sitting in first class on a plane.  Travel time about 3.5 hours with two stops along the toll road.  There were five giant bus loads departing at the same time, each bus destined to a different hotel in PV.  This
year we stayed at the RIU Vallarta, just down the beach from the RIU Palace.  We purchased the all inclusive package.  The cost for the hotel, food and round trip bus for two people for 4 nites was only $800 USA. The unlimited food buffets and drinks at 4 different restaurants on the property included burgers at
the beach, Texas sized filet steaks, Japanese sushi, Designer Omelets, Fresh fruits, a dazzling array of yummy Deserts after each meal, Italian pasta,  German goulash, American meatloaf and a tantalizing turkey dinner shared with a festive group of 12 friends from Lakeside. On our first day we took a half
hour walk up the beach to get a one hour pampering massage for only $20 USA. The second day Barb rented a power packed jet ski for a half hour for $35 USA and jettisoned up and down the bay of Puerto...and for a time she was gleefully LOST at SEA with tales to tell.  On the third day Barb got her hair braided to keep her bangs under control while powering the Harley across the pillowy soft blue waters.
Senor Miguel enjoyed the buoyancy of the salt water, gently lifting him above the waves destined to crash on shore. What a delight to be drenched in the blazing glory of the most awesome sunsets we have ever witnessed! All in all we felt God's omnipresence as we tread joyfully about the hotel bumping into our church group and our gaggle of dog walking friends from the Chapala malecon.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

VALUE at Villa Santa Paula

VIVA Chapala ~ What a gift! To be led by God to move to a new country and have all your needs met. Mike and Barb moved from gorgeous Galt to Lake Chapala in June 2014! We we delighted to give family and friends dishes, Christmas decorations, tools, linens, clothing, shoes, and garage items that are not needed in Mexico. We were able to be a blessing to others in our process of sizing down.  By not being attached to things, we were able to pass on our faith and our trust in God, by letting go of things that He may enrich us with the most valued possession of all....RELATIONSHIPS!
Wonderful neighbors surround us inside the security gates of Villa Santa Paula.  Albert, Jack, Virginia, Sergio and Cindy, Gary and Mila, Amy, Dan and Lynette, Maria, and Ricardo.  A grand shopping experience is just up Zaragoza off Pepe Guizar at the new Soriano Market.  The bus station that
takes us to Guadalaraja with friends is only 5 blocks at the corner of Calle Miguel Martinez and Francisco Ignacio.  We are also blessed with a bevy of friends at Lake Chapala Baptist Church in Riberas. A link to this church is found to the right on this blog, listen to Pastor Bob's sermons and feel renewed!  A short walk down ZARAGOZA and you arrive at the Malecon, the boardwalk that surrounds Lake Chapala. Retired from working for income, we now enjoy working full time for the Lord.  Living without financial concerns, we are living the abundant life, enabled to
be generous towards the needs of  others.  Our desire is to be a blessing, to be a difference maker, to shine a light where it is dark. Our souls have been conquered in Christ, chained to His chariot and He drives us safely over the cobblestones. We thank God for His plan and purpose for our lives. The airport in Guadalajara is only a 45 minute drive down a lovely road that swirls about the low ridge of mountains that surround the lake.
The city of Chapala is within 5 miles of Riberas, San Antonio, Chula Vista, La Floresta, Ajijic, and San Juan Cosala, in the State of Jalisco. Each town was built along the shores of Mexico's second largest lake. Mike and I are thrilled to learn more about the culture and be of service. What a blessing it is to live here as
a dual citizen of Mexico and the USA. God answered my hearts desire to where I could live and serve on a minimal retirement income.  In 1998, my brother's friends in Loreto directed me to check out Lake Chapala. Relying on the strength and courage of God going before me, I landed in Chapala on Christmas morning 1998.  I spent Christmas day with a family I had never met and it was
fantastically insightful and FUN! Trusting that God opened the door for me in Chapala, I arrived as a permanent resident in June 2014.  God is faithful and His provision of more than I need is marvelous!  He immediately arranged a ministry for me, in my home with women who live in my neighborhood.  He gave me new relationships at a new church, at Hope House, at Love in Action, and on the malecon. Mike and I lived at the RACQUET CLUB in January and February 2014 because our casa was rented out. We got to learn the city by taking the bus.  Hmmm, how does one say I am very happy? Mui Feliz! or to say I am very emotionally joyful. Estoy mui emotionada! 
God is full of surprises and as guests for two months, we joined Lake Chapala Baptist Church, and explored the entire lakeside area by foot and bus. Soul filling vistas all around, dotted with colorful people and tasty food. Our home is in the center of town and very near the old train station which has been restored to be used as a museum of fine art.
We celebrate and pray for our friends Eddie and Betty, Charles and Ruthie, Greg, Albert, Ron and Bobbi, Donna, Bernie, Gary and Mila, Dan and Joy, Lucy, Gary and Mila, Virginia, Amy, Dan and Lynette. Chapala is the place where God continues to stretch us, amaze us, bless us, grow us and use us. Casa De La Luz is a place where family and friends may rest safely in a happy environment of beauty. God went before me and opened doors and hearts to buy a casa with a surprise inheritance. God's plan to bless, not harm us...is entirely true! CLICK this: BELIEVE, PRAY, RECEIVE

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

POWER WORDS in Spanish

In November we enrolled in a beginner Spanish class through the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic. Necesito estudiar mi Espanol = I need to study my Spanish. Necesito deposito. I need to make deposit. Mi gusta! I like. Quiero ( kee air o ) I want. Porque = Why. Quiero comida sin picante = I want lunch without hot/spicy. Aqui = Here. Que = What. Donde = Where is. Como = How do you say. Con = With. Pero = But. Mas = More. Menos = Less. Todo = All. Nada = Nothing. Mi = My. Tus = Yours. Hoy = Today. Mas tardes = Later. Quanto Questa? How much is it? Donde es basura? Where is the trash? Donde es bano? Where is the bathroom? Peligro = Danger. Llenar tanque con Magna, por favor. Fill my tank with unleaded please. Como say yama? What is your name? Mucho Gusto = My pleasure. Necesito comprar regalo. I need to purchase gift. Si Senor = Yes sir. Vamanos = Lets go. Necesito pensar = I need to think. Quien = who. Y = and. Quiero pedir = I want to order. Un regalo para mi espouso = a gift for my spouse. Quiero invitarios a la iglesia = I want to invite you to church. Tengo que limpiar mi casa = I have to clean my house. Necesito ayuda con el neumatico desiflado = I need help with flat tire. Arriba = Up. Adios = good-bye. TORTE DE CUMPLEANOS = BIRTHDAY CAKE. Feliz ano nuevo = Happy new year. Egualamente = same to you. Gracias = thanks.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pastorale 2015 in Chapala

A funny public play that captures all who watch off guard. The intent is to use humor to speak the truth about the on going battle for the souls of ALL people. God conquers evil's attempt to get us to
ignore the birth, death and how Jesus defeated Satan and death to rise again. The play will take place in Ajijic, in the plaza next to the Casino and Movie Theatre. The date is Sat Dec 19 at 5:00pm. Bring your family, order a Trip Burger and be
blessed by this evangelical tradition. Pastorelas are plays that recreate the biblical passage wherein the shepherds follow the
Star of Bethlehem to find the Christ Child. In order to reach the birth place of our Redeemer, they must also experience a series of changes in fortune and confront the Devil. The devil is ever busy trying to prevent the Shepherds from completing their mission. It is at that moment that the Archangel Michael intervenes to
defend the shepherds on their journey. Well, that’s the general idea of the pastorelas. The fun part of the play is to watch those who are in attendance who have no idea what is going on. The pastorale is very different  from when  they were first presented hundreds of years ago.  It is one of  Mexico’s oldest traditions. Imagine that you are back when the Spaniards reached the New World and began to colonize its inhabitants, instructing them by using the common language of theatrics to deliver the message of Christ, our Savior. Jesus was born,
and died to take away all past, present and future sins. The play is not just a form of great family entertainment, but a way to communicate the ongoing battle of the Church against evil for the souls of God's people. The Franciscan monks arrived in the New World in 1524 and the Monks quickly became aware of the Mexican Indians artistic sensitivity and took advantage of it.  In order to evangelize the indigenous peoples en masse,  while explaining the message of Christ, they captured those who could not read or write by using dramatic acting and music.  We can respect and enjoy the culture of God's people in Mexico, by attending a Pastorale. God used Monks to bring His people in Mexico to believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior, born to deliver us that we may love others as He loves us.  You gotta just love these colorful people! AMEN

RESIDENTE PERMANTE

PART A begins at the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento, or in the town that issues passports near you in the States.  You must bring BANK stamped copies of 3 months bank statements. Marriage License. Passport. Drivers License, Copy of deed, Copies of any IRA's or other investments. Mexican Consulate takes your photo, takes fingerprints and electronically dispatches to Mexico. They also issue you a 6 month visa, which is a special stamp inside your passport. Once you enter Mexico, you have 90 days to begin the application process.  CALL immigration attorney Spencer in Chapala 376-765-7553. His office is on Hidlago on the lakeside of the street, NEXT DOOR to the Lake Chapala Inn sign on Hidalgo. A fee of 5,500 pesos ($400 USA) will ensure a quick turn around. Give your passport and airline Visa to Spencer and he will complete all ever changing required forms.
IF you are NOT a pensioner with automatic monthly deposits of at least $1,500 per month, you can only file for temporary status.  IF you already own a home in Mexico, the application process for a Residente Permanente, or a Residente Temporal is faster. Applicants will now need two appointments at INM offices to finish the immigration process. Using a local attorney HELPS because they have established relationships at the INM office. One appointment is required to have your fingerprints taken, to sign papers and to deliver your (6) photos. You will need to return for a second appointment to receive your wallet GREEN colored (PR) immigration card. The day you pick up your GREEN Residente Permanente (RP) card, drop off a photocopy of your PASSPORT and a copy of FRONT and BACK of GREEN (RP) card at INM office and request a CURP card.  A curp card is necessary to obtain State of Jalisco Health Insurance at Seguro Popular.  The INM is responsible for accepting and/or rejecting visa applications from foreigners who wish to live in Mexico. Another agency, the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (Secretary of Exterior Relations or SRE, sometimes also called the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is responsible for monitoring immigrants within its borders. Specific information about the laws can be obtained by individuals who hire attorneys to expedite the process and avoid long delays. BELOW a picture of GREEN (RP) Residente Permanente wallet sized card.  MAKE a color copy and get it laminated to carry with you.  The laminated copy is sufficient at banks etc. Keep the original at home in a safe place.  IF it gets lost or stolen, it is a huge process to get replacement.  Spencer makes this process a breeze.  Expect it to take 2 months to get GREEN card, and TWO weeks to get CURP card.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Puerto Vallarta Drive

Driving to PV with the help of a GARMIN was a breeze. Depart Chapala at 5:00 AM and bypass heavy truck and bus traffic. Drive on HWY 15 through Guadalaraja, staying in the left lane until you see the RIU hotel on the right.
EXIT RIGHT: Stay on frontage road, pass the RIU hotel, then turn RIGHT at the light. Drive to the dead end of that street, then TURN LEFT and follow signs to JALA, NAYARIT. EXIT on 15D and continue to CHAPALLIA (Little Chapala) this sweet little town greets you with an OXXO, best coffee and clean bathroom for 3 pesos. It is a 5 hour drive on good road conditions. When you get off the toll road, the winding road begins. You have been driving 110
kilometers per hour on the toll road, but once you exit, slow down and drive KNOWING that oncoming Mexican drivers do PASS on BLIND curves. Departing early from Chapala, on a mid-week day, we bypassed tired and hurried truck and bus drivers on this curvy and dangerous 40 mile stretch of 70 kilometer road. Simply follow signs to Puerto Vallarta and EXIT towards COMPOSTELA onto HWY 200. There is only one road into and out of PV and that is HWY 200. Once you enter PV you will pass the
AEROPUERTO and the VALLARTA MARINA. Walmart is directly across the street from the marina. HELPFUL TIP: Park your car safely in the Walmart parking lot and walk to Marina for any water adventures you may sign up for. We stayed at the GARZA which is over the bridge, and up the hill at the end of Old Puerto Vallarta. If you walk the MALECON (boardwalk) in Old PV, drive to the end of the malecon frontage road and drive into the PARKING GARAGE.
There is NO parking on the street even at 7:30 AM. The best breakfast is at the VITEA CAFE on the malecon. You face the Pacific Ocean with the familiar landmark statue of a PADRE right in front of this cafe. VITEA's egg white omlete will dazzle your tastebuds. Clean bathrooms, and air conditioning inside. WELCOME TO PARADISE! Have a BLAST and consider leaving a comment of your favorite cafe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ER SPANISH

We are enrolling in a Spanish class at Lake Chapala Society to learn the basics. For now we depend on the grace and mercy of the Mexican culture. Se habla um poco Espanol! Buenas Dias! Mucho Gracias. Mi amiga mui bueno. Por favor, Bano? No intiendo Espanol. Mucho Feliz!

Words and phrases you need to use and recognize:
Please - Por favor
Thank You - Gracias
Hello - Hola
Goodbye - Adios ( God be with you )
What is your name? - Como se llama? pronounced YAMA
How much does this cost? - Cuanto cuesta?
No Parking - No Estacionarse or No E 
God bless you - Dios le bendiga

SAY "Necissito" which means "I need...:
  • groceries, look for ABARROTE
  • hardware, look for FERRETERIA
  • tires, look for LLANTAS
  • a newspaper, look for DIARIAS
  • furniture, look for MUEBLES
  • a haircut, look for PELUQUERIA or ESTETICA
  • a pharmacy, look for FARMACIA
Some important things to remember:
  • Slow down.  Things happen at a different pace here.  
  • Mexican people are very polite, and they issue lots of grace to us.
  • "C" on the water faucet stands for "Caliente," which means HOT!
  • Speed limits are posted in Kilometers per Hour.
  • In most places, you must pull off the road to the RIGHT and wait for traffic to clear before you turn LEFT.
  • Your left turn signal can also mean "Pass Me" to the driver behind you, so be very careful.
  • Watch for TOPES, speed bumps. 
IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY some Spanish you can COUNT ON:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
ENGLISH--------------------------------------SPANISH

My Name is-----------------------------------Mi nombre es
My address is--------------------------------Mi domicilio es
My phone number is---------------------------Mi telefono es
Send an Ambulance----------------------Mande una Ambulancia

Robbery, Iam in house #----Robo, ahora!!! Yo estoy en Casa #

heart attack ------Por attaque cardiaco
Asthma attack------Por ataque asmatico
Bring Oxygen -------Traiga oxigeno
I fell and I am hurt---------------Me cai y estoy herido
An Auto accident at-------Hay un accidente de autos en:
I am very sick---------------------Estoy muy enfermo
Blood Type is----------------------Tipo de sangre es
I am diabetic----------------------Soy diabetico
Allergies--------------------------Alergias

MEDICAL CLINICS - WITH AMBULANCE IN CHAPALA
CALL THIS # FIRST 765-2308----RED CROSS
AJIJIC CLINIC - Open 24 hrs daily, 7 days a week
Dr. Alfredo R Quintana - Speaks perfect English
Carretera Ote # 33 – Ajijic
Telephone: 766 0500 or 766 0662
Cell Phone for Dr. Rodriguez: 01 333 106 1770

CRUZ ROJA - Telephones: 765 2308 or 765 2553

MASKARAS CLINC - Open 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week
Dr. Carlos Garcia - Speaks perfect English
Hidalgo 79 G – Riberas del Pillar
Telephone: 765 4805 or 765 4838

FOR SOME GRINGOS THIS INFORMATION SHOULD REMAIN EVER HANDY THIS INCLUDES BENITO!

PHRASES THAT WILL HONOR THY CULTURE:
Phonetically spelled: "Bwen Prevecho" Enjoy to the fullest!
Say this when passing a cafe table and you will bless them.
"Dios Te Bendiga" God bless you!
Por favor, escribe in COMMENTS any phrases that help!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

La Nueva Posada

La Nueva Posada is the newest "old" place in the quaint village of Ajijic. It is reminiscent of a Mexican Colonial Inn with all the old world charm. La Posada is romantic and sophisticated and well maintained by the Eager family. Excellent view of Lake Chapala that keep guests returning annually since 1975. The Inn has 19 Suites on three levels. Tastefully decorated with original watercolors created by local artists. La Posada is a grand hotel that is embraced on one side by a large tropical garden planted with the exotic flowers for which lakeside is famous. On the other side there is an intimate garden and swimming pool. A 22 minute drive from the International Airport on a modern 4 lane highway. The taxi ride from the airport to Ajijic costs approximately $37 US. Buses run every hour to Guadalajara and car rentals are available locally. The Restaurant serves a continental cuisine along with many traditional Mexican dishes. Enjoy the sunset in the intimate Lounge, where live romantic music can be heard each Saturday. Choose to relax or dine under a gigantic rubber tree located in the middle of the lush garden. The helpful agents at Eager & Asociados are right across the street. Horseback ride, golf, play tennis, go to the theatre, shop, or enjoy natural hot spring baths. The Staff is happy to organize any exploration. A villa with daily maid service for one person is only $80.00 or a monthly rate of $1350 for two people. Laundry facilities are no charge for guests. 50% deposit for first month's rent made payable to Michael Eager.
Address: Donato Guerra #9P.O. Box #30
Ajijic, Jalisco, 45920 Mexico
Telephone: 52(376)766-1344
Fax: 52(376)766-1444
Email: nuevaposada@gprodigy.net.mx
$68 to $92 USD - includes a full breakfast

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Columbus Day in Mexico

A cultural festival wrapped around the traditions of ancient Mexico occurs on Columbus Day weekend each year around Lake Chapala.  It is called "La Fiesta del Tambor which is tied to the October 12th commemoration of "Dia de la Raza".  We enjoyed the toe tapping performances of native percussion dancing.  As a new permanent residents of Chapala, Mike and I were immersed into our new culture by invitation of Bill and Bonnie.  Bill is a well known baseball sports writer Experience Mexican Baseball and his lovely wife Bonnie blogs her reviews on local eateries FOODIES DELIGHT.  As well fed ex-patriots, we were thrilled to
become familiar with the pre-Hispanic era of Lakeside. This annual tradition is Mexico's way of combining their indigenous past with the current flood of expats. The initial expats were from Spain. We continue to celebrate the year 1492 when the La Nina, La Pinta and La Santa Maria ships landed and marked the discovery of the New World. October 12 is also my son's birthday and this year we are separated by a few miles, but our hearts remain connected. It was a lovely way to celebrate the NEW BIRTH of my son, and of my first year as a permanent resident of Chapala.  Using SKYPE I called my son and wished him the best on this very special Columbus Day!

RAPTURED by the LAKE

Katie Gurl was unleashed at Silver Lake Family Camp! Like a puppy set loose at Barkley park, she spun about with inexplicable, uncontainable energy! On her first Nicorette day she raced a mile downhill and then jumped in a spring of water, to cool off, laughing as she tongued a tale in an Irish brogue! Hungry for more, with her tail wagging, Katie delighted in commandeering a kayak for three hours! This annual July treat had a life changing impact on the Katie Gurl! We older odd folks attend family camp to just "BE" campy and who we are. Once we are STILLED by a night in the chill, we become new creatures that lust for buck wild adventure. Like beware wolves in disguise, with un protected eyes, we look up and allow the full moon to cast its glow, and we howl as the star light pierces the deep blue canopy. IMAGINE the lake smooth and shimmering a reflection of moon. Wisps of dusty smoke curl slowly and hang lazily above campfires that surround its lapping shores. Family hands naturally rub together, backs hunched in a lean forward toward dancing flames. AH YES! You wish you were there! A silence engulfs the scene as fire echoes a snap, crackle pop! Thy soul a glad witness of a fire contained in a ring of living river rock. Stones aged by the wind, with ears of tales spun through years past. Sparks whistle thru sizzling branches, and languid flames strecth and furl. A rainbow of color competes with the eve's sunset and a symphony of twigs like trombones rise in pitch, then sizzle willingly to become a glowing ember to remember! A wall of healthy timber stands tall around, their sacrifice remembered in a distinct whiff of fresh pine burning to ash. Without clocks ticking, light is soon licked up by darkness. All senses peaked, the scent of pine and smoke, the taste of moist air, the sound of bugs blissing, the feel of cozy socks, and the touch of Spirit in every creation. Diana the "mom", the friend who is bent on tradition---never ever would she allow a soul to sit alone, to feel left out! NOT, NO, NOT ever alone --- under His twinkling gaze, in the midst of a summers night, face cool, with a warmed heart did I retreat into an Eddie Bauer chair to rejoice in the silliness, to witness the foolishness of Apples to Apples. My soul winking in the twixt of seen and unseen ---with re-ignited JOY sparking, my soul twas in surrendered agreement for REST! Surrounded by Diana's happy brood in a mood for a swoon of laughter --- AWARE and completely undone by a sensationally bright full moon, RECEIVING was what was left to do. How grand indeed is the thought that God made all this to welcome a PAUSE! Come, come as you are all tattered and flung by a week of pressures. Meetup in a cathedral of trees with the Cloos Clan and share a time of generous grace! After three shots of tequila with a gaggle of co-workers on a Friday night, it was my way to end a fascinating week filled with surprise. Hooking up with Katie in Stockton she took the wheel of Earl, the pearl, the Subaru tucked with all the baggage of two women headed for a Sierra adventure! Wild as flowers we filled up at a drive-thru in Lodi for a destined reunion with Chris, Kristie and mom! Ahhhh Highway 88 East winding up, tall trees lined up, the climb up to 7,000 feet took us out of the valley with time to unfold the emergencies of our week. We darted past Jackson's alluring casino knowing we were bound to have mucho FUN! These California Gurls sang Katy Perry's lyrics as we flew by the town of Pioneer and Cooks Station! Sister Diana arrived earlier to nest up the V2 cabin with gurlish sunflowers, wool blankets and throw rugs for our painted toes! The squeaky screen door opened and we automatically plopped our bags and claimed our very own army bunk. Adorned with a layer of flannel, the glee of tree filled our nostrils as we dashed up to the lodge. Greeted by a posse of geese, those wild Canadian honkers, we discovered that Plasse's country store was closed. With confidence that our appetite would be fully satisfied at camp, we drove at a quicker pace. The mountains were peaking, and the streams were gently speaking...when we landed at our reunion of soul. Barb gushed into the annual shangrila of Gary and Wendy Frush and shared all her zeal for Lake Chapala. Outside, sitting in the midst of Silver Lake's friendly forest was a table of Diana's peeps playing with apples! After one round of applause for Gary's win, we each hurried to the dormitory of bath to scrub our teeth before the lights went out. Such a homecoming, to this place outdoors with no walls. We sit under the same blanket of stars that draw eyes up in Africa, Israel, Canada, Mexico, London, or Hawaii. WOW is the word to consider of how He gathers us together, as a family, as a community, all made equally, with transparent truth as our bond. His light is our way, and how great He is to lead us to this awesome meeting place. Not one stranger among us, Kristie inside the Gurls cabin, applies the required Silver Lake makeup! Sun
screen and mosquito repellant! NO masks, NO pretense, NO status, NO cars, NO wardrobes, NO needs unmet --- we enjoyed ample NONSENSE all around! Nothing separated us as we sat with like levi's and same Silver Lake sweatshirts under a FULL MOON! Knowing God lives outside of time, and eternity is mine, the years gone by have been 9 since I met Diana. The earth shaking year of 911 was the year that Diana was shattered by the extent of her fractured family. To marvel in the restoration, to witness His healing of hearts that were once ripped apart, what HOPE this gives! I saw Katie adoringly crack up --- with and over her brother Chris. Later, I heard Katie whisper in the dark, "I love you mom!" Diana was swollen with a huge measure of love and respect for each cub. My blessing is to have witnessed the Cloos Clan emerge from a rough and raw cluster to an evolving cub clan of intentional grace. Each cub seeking to create happy new memories at Silver Lake Family Camp 2010! Truth is --- that outrageous JOY belongs to imperfect people as they come together to love one another as they have been loved! The Winnamucka trail was sprinkled with delicate blossoms of every shape and color. Mystified by the TRADITION of coming to Silver Lake, over the years the impact of this one diverse and individually dynamic family; Diana, Chris, Katie and Kristie, is AWE! PERFECT love doth cast out fear. With time to bleed out sorrows and weed out that which is NOT true, JOY emerged once again! In the midst of unmowed, unkempt wild grasses we find the greatest gift, the blooming of wild flowers in His time! Just look at the ever amazing Kristie, the bride of Christopher, as she enlarges the family tent with her whimsical charm and beauty! With widened eyes, I saw that we are blessed to be chosen, to be included, to be given a fresh perspective of where we are and WHY! Amazed at His creativity, there is pure magic when one walks the path to WIN A MUCCA! Ushering up a PRAISE ..."Oh God, how good it IS to see You in action and hear the energetic tales of love that endures all. How different each life is, yet You love each as if it were Your only. My hope for a love filled family FUN reunion with my one and only Jason was re-ignited! Loosened up, I thrilled for the days ahead. We hiked the trail each silenced by the surrounding majesty. The brillance of the sun offset the puffy white clouds. The firm granite mounds accentuated the speckled field of sturdy blooms. Aged trees stretched up and thoughts of Pocahontas echoed through my soul. On this path we do not walk alone. Picking up another memory stone, thinking "even the rocks cried out" in the glory of God. Standing on the muddy bank of the silvery lake, with renewed HOPE, I watched Katie, Kristie and Chris wobble into the waiting kayaks. Mom soon joined the paddle to Treasure Island, a place a plump with goose piles. Katie roared with laughter as she got stuck in shit creek without a paddle! What a family of friends! ALL IN ALL, God showed me His love, His provision with a family of campers, rich with TRADITION!