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On the Road Again

Articles are sorted with the most recently posted at the top.

Care Group to the Rescue
Posted June 7, 2018

by Marcie Burris

Ron and Ursula Stone had planned for a full year to visit their daughter Jenny, son-in-law and their grandchildren in Spain where Jenny's husband is stationed. They had made arrangements with their regular dog sitter to watch their dogs while they were gone for a month. But two weeks before their scheduled departure, their friend notified them that she could not look after their dogs.

Ursula sent out an SOS on Next Door to see if anyone knew someone who could care for their dogs during the month of May. If you are a dog lover, you know how hard it would be to kennel your dog for a week or two, let alone a full month.

Fortunately for Ron and Ursula, three members of the "Over the Hill Care Group" stepped up and offered to pitch in to feed and care for the dogs for the month they were gone. One neighbor offered to feed and let the dogs out and give them play time and hugs for the first two weeks, while a second neighbor offered to be on call if needed.

A third couple and neighbor offered to take the dogs into their home for the final two weeks so the dogs would have companionship 24/7. What could have been a worrisome trip for the Stones or worse yet, a cancelled trip, turned out to be sincere gratitude to friends and neighbors. All's well that ends well and Ron and Ursula got to experience the beauty of Spain and the enjoyment of their grandchildren while their dogs never had to experience being left on their own.

WBC Members Travel to the Holy Land
Posted April 12, 2018

by name

Kay German, formerly of White Bluff, now lives in Midlothian. At her new church there, Kay signed up to go on their Holy Land Tour. As luck would have it, several members of White Bluff Chapel took advantage of the opportunity to join Kay's group, including Becky Watkins Jacobus and Tom and Lois Partridge. Our Ann McAlpin, former Associate Pastor at White Bluff Chapel who now lives near Seattle, also travelled with the group.

Below is an excerpt from Ann McAlpin's journal in which she describes a particularly moving experience she had at the Sea of Galilee.

A Special Moment for Me in the Holy Land

by Ann McAlpin


"First stop of this morning was at the Sea of Galilee where Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. Our guide said that in this area many fish are always easily caught. She suggested that the miracle was not that many fish were caught there that day but that they were caught after no fish had been caught there all the previous night by experienced fishermen. She compared the charcoal fire where Peter denied Jesus with the charcoal fire by which Jesus stood as he called out to the disciples to cast their nets on the other side of the boat.

Our guide also reminded us that all Jews repeated the Shema each morning and night – 'Love the Lord your God with all your mind, all your heart and all your strength.' (Note the 3 ways.) Peter surely made the connection between his denial of Jesus and this prayer when Jesus asked him 3 times – 'Do you love me?'

This site was very special for me as I looked out over the sea and felt the power of Jesus' love. It was almost as if Jesus asked me, 'Do you love me with all your mind, with all your heart and all your strength?' And as I answered each time, the question to me was – 'Do I feed his sheep with all my mind, all my heart and all my strength?'"

Learning to Show God's Light to Those around Me
Posted March 14, 2018

by Bill Burris

The community of White Bluff is filled with many people similar to the one in Max Lucado's message below. They go about their daily life shining God's light to those around them. Some may not even know that they emit that light. But I am certainly aware of His light shining through them.

Our daily devotionals and the various Bible studies I attend lead me to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me down the right road so that God's light can be seen through me as I go about each day. As Max mentions, you never know who might be watching. Our actions confirm the type of Christian we are to others.

One of our daily devotionals this year is Max Lucado's "Grace for the Moment." That reading inspired the idea for sharing it in this column.

Only One Thing Counts

You should be a light for other people. Live so they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Think about the day Christ comes. There you are in the great circle of the redeemed. Though you are one of the throng, it's as if you and Jesus are all alone... I'm speculating now, but I wonder if Christ might say these words to you. "I'm so proud that you let me use you. Because of you, others are here today. Would you like to meet them?"...

At that point Jesus might turn to the crowd and invite them.... One by one, they begin to step out and walk forward. The first is your neighbor, a crusty old sort who lived next door. To be frank, you didn't expect to see him. "You never knew I was watching" he explains "but I was. And because of you I am here"...

It's not long before you and your Savior are encircled by the delightful collection of souls you've touched. Some you know, most you don't, but for each you feel the same... You feel what Paul felt..."I'm so proud of your faith." See 1 Tess. 2:19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you?

Faith is a lot like WI-FI. You can't see it, but it connects you to everything you need. ANON

WBC Holy Land Travelers
Posted March 1, 2018

Kay German, formerly of White Bluff, sent an email on Wednesday, February 28, announcing that the White Bluff Chapel Holy Land Travelers were en route home after a wonderful trip. Her traveling companions consist of Ann McAlpin, Becky Watkins Jacobus, and Tom and Lois Partridge.

Concise was Kay's message, saying only, "Having a great time. Coming home tonight." But be not discouraged with such a terse communiqué. We'll not let them get away with only that! Look forward to reading this On the Road Again column in our next issue for a lot of details from the different perspectives of our adventurous travelers.

Month One of the Golden Years: So this is Retirement
Posted February 15, 2018

by Sherry Miller

Bill and Marcie Burris' daughter, Sherry Miller, has just joined the retirement community. She has started her own journal and shares her 1st-month thoughts here. Since most of White Bluff is in or near retirement, the Burrises thought it would be worth sharing. Sherry has excelled in the workforce and for the past 15 years was Vice-President of Human Resources for Park Place Motors in the Metroplex. One of her many achievements was to guide Park Place Lexus to achieve the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality award. The award was the first ever for an Auto Dealership. Yes, Bill and Marcie are most proud of Sherry's accomplishments and look forward to spending more time with her in her "Golden Years".

Month One

I woke up that first day. Okay, good start…I woke up. I am still alive…hooray for that!

My cell phone text message indicator that is normally filled with multiple requests from staff members who need the day off (to care for sick kids, or for themselves, or just to vent)…was eerily blank. My email indicator that would accumulate about 144 emails in an hour showed zero. My calendar was wiped clean of scheduled meetings for the year, and that lovely little reel-to-reel voice mail indicator, it too showed nothing, nada, zero.

Oh, so this is what it's like to be disconnected from my job, from the people I worked with, from the vendors I saw regularly, for all intents and purposes my life for the past forty-five years? This is what it is like. It sucked the air right out of me. A punch in the gut, a hardball to the face. Slamming on the breaks while going 85. It was sudden jolt. It was unfamiliar and odd. It was empty.

That was my first day of retirement. The Golden Years? It sure didn't feel like I had won the race, hit the jackpot, or won an Oscar. Okay, there may have been a time or two in my career where my performance was worthy of an Oscar, however this day did not feel so darn golden to me.

A month into it, I smile at that day. Not because I have found this first month of my new normal to be fulfilling, exhilarating, liberating, freeing, Oscar-worthy or any combination of those things. What I have found is myself, and that I am pretty okay with me...and this will be a continuing journey for me as I adjust to my new normal. Once I find it, that is.

Reality of life and age is a funny thing. I woke up that day wondering how in the world did I get to be this age? I called on my faith more times in that month than I have in my whole life and I could almost see GOD smile and hear GOD saying to me, "Where have you been child? I have never left you. I gave you strength for every battle, wisdom for every decision, peace that surpasses understanding." That is when it really kicked in for me. Or let's just say I kicked myself and began mentally chanting a quote that I read recently, "Don't cry that it's over, be happy that it happened!" And in GOD I trust.

As a 63-year-old woman, former V-P of Human Resources for a great company, triple-type A-personality, this is not an easy transition. For most of my career, my days were filled with responsibilities to the Company, my staff, the employees and to Leadership, all which easily filled up an eight-plus hour day every day and every sleepless night. The successes in my life were many, and measured by what I did for a living, who I worked for, what other people thought, and the bar was always high (self-imposed). Failure for me was never an option, although I did learn and experience that through failure (and there were a few of those defining moments), you will grow.

What I have discovered as the days turned into weeks is that this kid from farm rural western Pennsylvania, who without a college education, took the "nothing in life comes easy" lessons learned working on our farm and earned my way up the corporate ladder into management. This kid started working full-time the day after graduating from high school, entered college at age 40, went on to graduate Cum Laude and then carried a 4.0 through my Master's Program. This kid went on to help transform a Company into a top workplace and helped create an extraordinary culture in an industry where many said it could never be done. This kid has traveled all over the Caribbean, certified as a diver, dives with sharks, paddleboards, water skis and flies scared to death over oceans to experiences afar.

This kid walked out of my office on that January 2nd, tears streaming down my face, catching glimpses of what would never be again, full of uncertainty about what lay ahead on the other side of that office door. And I woke up that day.

I realized I was still that kid, that nothing-comes-easy person, that former VP of Human Resources; nobody could take that away. Nobody was trying. It is regrettably sobering as I realize that I have more years behind me than in front of me. Many of my high school classmates are no longer with us. I vowed to not be another obituary for the Class of 73 any time soon.

Reality of life and age is a funny thing. I woke up that day wondering how in the world did I get to be this age? I called on my faith more times in that month than I have in my whole life and I could almost see GOD smile and hear GOD saying to me, "Where have you been child? I have never left you. I gave you strength for every battle, wisdom for every decision, peace that surpasses understanding." That is when it really kicked in for me. Or let's just say I kicked myself and began mentally chanting a quote that I read recently, "Don't cry that it's over, be happy that it happened!" And in GOD I trust.

Month Two

To be continued...

"Welcome to Holland," a Secret to Life's Challenges
A Follow-Up to My Earlier Article "God and His Special-Needs Children" posted 7/9/15

Posted February 1, 2018

by Bill Burris

A while back, our daughter-in-law Amy shared with us the secret to her journey through life since she had begun raising her special-needs daughter, Lauren.  The key to her secret is provided in the engaging article below, “Welcome to Holland.” It has served her remarkably well. The interesting perspective revealed in this article provided Amy a way of facing the “new normal” in her life, once she realized that her baby would become a special-needs daughter.

In the last 28 years, Amy has done a wonderful job of raising and caring for our granddaughter Lauren.  As I recently returned to reading and rereading that article, it occurred to me that many of the abrupt changes God sends us in our life might actually be approached from a new and different perspective, one that can provide us find balance. All we have to do is consider reframing our newfound challenge, much in the way the author shows us below.

Welcome to Holland
(by Emily Perl Kingsley)

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this…

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may even learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met otherwise.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, and Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

An Artist's Journey
Posted January 18, 2018

by Toni Wengler

At a recent art show in which I was selected to show my work, the participating artists were asked to share their personal Artist Statement. This statement was intended to reveal the inspiration gained from painting with different art media.

Here is how I revealed my own artistic inspiration. Perhaps you can find some inspiration in it, as well!

Ten years ago I began my journey as a neophyte artist. Passionate about my newly discovered craft, I began to use many different media, experimenting and creating with great joy and curiosity and with a playful attitude. I loved them all! I began to realize art is about searching, creating, and evolving as an artist through self-discovery.

[Editor's note: What is the meaning of "media" in art terms? "Media" is just the plural of "medium." A medium is simply a substance that an artist uses to make art. website reference]

I found that each medium offers distinct advantages. Here are some examples:

Painting with colored pencils takes a lot of patience. Many hours of concentrated effort are spent building layer upon layer of color to obtain a translucent effect. It is so worth the effort, for it often ends up looking like an oil painting.

Pastel is all about pure color and it teaches one to see and select the right values for each painting.

Collage teaches good design.

Use of water media offers much diversity and, for me, is well suited for creating abstract art. It opens the mind to new, creative possibilities. It challenges one's fears, such as self-doubt about not being in control of the creative process. It brings out the inner self for unique experiences and opens one's vision wide to develop and embrace one's full expression as an artist.

Thus, through the working process, experimentation, and God's added inspiration, I am happily discovering my own individual, unique style.

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