Chesapeake Bay RV, Gloucester, Virginia

The small community of Gloucester, near the York River and the Chesapeake Bay, is saturated with U.S. history and deep heritage. The settlement was established just after Jamestown in 1607. Thomas Jefferson spent time there and George Washington’s father owned land in the county.

Walter Reed, of the famed Walter Reed Hospital, was born in Gloucester in 1851. He became an Army doctor and found the cure for Yellow Fever. We stopped by the Walter Reed Hospital to get an x-ray of my wrist to send the doctor for confirmation that my arm is fine again.

Jamestown is part of the Williamsburg, Yorktown triangle. A replica of the original fort used by settlers who came from England has been created. The village has costumed people who demonstrate the trades and skills of the time period for visitors. Three ships that brought 120 English people to settle Jamestown has also been recreated and they are impressive and pretty.

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As a mid-westerner, who has pulled up roots and moved many times, it’s hard to relate to how deep the bloodline roots run here. Land and houses have remained in the same family for generations.

We drove across the twenty-three mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel to Cape Charles on the Virginia Peninsula. Chatting with a local lady she shared her family had lived on the peninsula for generations. No doubt some of our founding fathers hang on her family tree.

Following her directions we found a lovely restaurant for lunch that overlooked the bay. The seafood was fresh and delicious. As we enjoyed the view I was once again reminded how tiny we are in comparison to God’s great creations. Just considering the size of the oceans is humbling.

The peninsula area is flat farm land and a fisherman’s delight. Potatoes were being harvested. Long rows of summer flowers were blooming in one field in multitudes of colors. The owner must take them to florists or markets.

On the Virginia portion of the peninsula the volunteer fire department manages a herd of wild mustangs said to be decedents of horses brought from Spain during the revolution. The ship was lost at sea but the horses were able to swim ashore. On the last week of July they round-up all of the ponies that roam Assateague Island and drive them a short way across the water to the mainland and auction off the colts. To protect their food source they only leave 150 of the free range herd to roam the island. Maryland does the same thing on the north shores with another herd. On the same weekend they have a festival called Clam Slam. The quiet island fills with thousands of people for the events.

We also drove onto charming Gwenn’s Island. There was no doubt the beach homes have hosted years of family vacation and beach fun history. Virginia Beach was impressive with its wide sandy beach that makes room for everyone’s fun. It is obviously a tourist destination.

Needing the Apple Store meant a trip to Norfolk’s downtown Mall. The trip was also evidence of how much water is around the area. Bridges and tunnels are required to get into town. The downtown mall was impressive and had beautiful shops I enjoyed exploring.

At the Farmers Market there was no doubt we were in the south. Women were bundling up bags of okra, butterbeans, black-eyed peas, and green tomatoes. A huge ice chest was full of jumbo shrimp. Oysters were another hot item.

They have a unique way to use left-over shells. Some roads were paved with shells. We saw them scattered as a trail to decorate flowerbeds, and at a home there was a huge pile waiting to resurface the driveway.

Our campground was on the backroads, through the cornfields, by a sandy beach. Jim enjoyed playing Pickle ball with a great group of people. I delighted in long walks along the water and through the woods. Rarely have we taken time to just lounge on the beach to read and enjoy the view so it was nice to have some down time. The pool was only for adults two hours a day so we even got our laps in a few times.

Anywhere we drove was through the country. While we were out one day we passed a large church in Cobbs Creek, Virginia. Population 1,146. We were intrigued to know what was happening in a building big enough to seat the whole town, so we visited on Sunday. Cornerstone Fellowship Church was wonderful. All the people were loving and friendly. The worship was heavenly. The Word was declared with power. We felt so blessed and refreshed to have been with all those precious people two Sundays. Thank you, Cornerstone.

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Williamsburg, Virginia

The community of Williamsburg takes pride in their Revolutionary War history. Most of the old homes are beautifully restored. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both spent time here debating the merits of forming an independent country.

Colonial Williamsburg is a tourist attraction that is said to be the country’s largest and most popular living-history museum and one of the world’s finest. This is a great place for school age children and history buffs. History unfolds all day as actors in period costumes take on the life of their character and draw the town’s guests into their time period. They even rent costumes if anyone wants to join in.

We chatted with a lady sitting outdoors spinning wool into thread by hand. The baker was making cookies in a wood burning oven. The ceiling was chard with black smoke and the oven required a very high temperature and undivided attention. That was just the baking process. A lady in the street was teaching children a game.

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In the old hospital, now a museum and theater, we found an amazing display of colonial furniture, dishes, doll houses, and piano’s from the period.

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There were non-stop events and we chose to see what was at the theater. A large African American woman came onto the stage. She sat down and began to tell us all about herself as a free woman who owned land her father left her. He had received it for serving in the war. She could not marry or the land would belong to her husband. Her story was just one of the many performed with excellence by actors depicting the people who lived in the area during the colonial era.

Actor, Thomas Jefferson, as a political leader, gave a speech that was so profound it brought me to tears. I hope Jefferson was really like that. If those words weren’t really his, whoever is writing their material is very good.

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Out on the streets, where the event really took place, General Cornwall stood on the steps and asked the people of Williamsburg to sign up to fight at Yorktown. His speech was impressive. If it was actually the words used the General was an inspired man. Actors cheered and joined the army. Children joined in line ready to be solders as well.

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We moved to the Courthouse to see the fife and drum core on parade. The newly enlisted men and children followed onto the field behind them. George Washington came out on his mighty steed and gave a challenging speech that is as relevant today as ever, if it was the original. As he spoke he rode in front of us and looked each of us in the eye. I thought, “That is exactly how George Washington would have spoken to his men who were willing to give their lives to follow him into battle. He would want to know and remember their faces.

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A child helped light the fuse. Cannons blasted. Guns shot. The Revolutionary War was about to come to an end.

This place could be visited many times. Each day there are different parts of Williamsburg history portrayed.

As we were waiting Jim watched a little four year old girl go over to admire a cute little blue eyed, curly headed blond two year old girl. She chatted with her and then leaned over and gave her a kiss. Then she ran excitedly back to her mother saying, “Mommy, I just kissed an angel.

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Washington, DC

Going to Washington DC can feel more like a project then a neat experience. However, we stayed at Cherry Hill RV Park and I would recommend it if you’re looking for a good base for seeing the city. On our first afternoon they gave an orientation on how to travel the city by bus, train, and metro. We non-city Americans aren’t always savvy on these thing but really the process is a much less stressful solution when you figure it out and leave the car behind.

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In the city we found a good way to get around was the red Circular bus’s red line that only travels in the mall area. It starts running at 8:00a.m before the museums open at 10:00am. We learned it had just been active one week. The buses were new, had wifi plugs, and very few people knew about it yet. We felt like we had private transportation, and were familiar with the drivers by the end of our trip.

We purchased tickets and met the bus right at the park. The first day we left early hoping to see all the monuments while it was still cool. As it turned out, that was a perfect time because so few people were out yet. The only activity was bicyclers zooming around getting their morning workout before going to work. How neat for them to be able to exercise among all the parks and buildings of the capital. I was mesmerized by the names of the buildings. FDA, CIA, Teamsters Union, Social Security Administration, IRS, Pentagon … We were at the seat, the bottom line, of the government of our great nation. The number of employees in the city each day must be staggering.

The monuments have been placed around the tidal basin making a lovely scene and easy access.

Washington Monument

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Jefferson Memorial

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FDR Memorial (I especially liked this monument.)

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Martin Luther King Memorial

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Lincoln Memorial

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Korean War Memorial (Very cool)

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Vietnam Memorial

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WWII Memorial

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Next day we went early to tour the Capital Building. They have free tours, and if you contact your Senator they will take you into the Senate.

As we entered, tour guides in red coats greeted us. Moving on to connect with our tour an older man in his red jacket stepped forward to visit. He asked us what state we were from. When we responded he told us which number our state was in entering the union and the date. Jim began to quiz him about other states and he knew them all. We took the interesting tour, and stood where great Americans have laid in state.

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When finished we came out and sat down on a bench. The same man came by as he finished his tour and was on his way to his break. We began to talk again and learned he speaks over sixty languages. Continuing the conversation he shared he is a Christian. I told him I was happy to know he is in the building praying for the congress. His face light up as he said, “There is a bunch of us here.”

Next stop was the National Gallery of Art. I’ve seen the beautiful art in other countries galleries so I had to see our nation’s collection too. By the time we checked out the Smithsonian Castle we had used another day.

The last day we chose to see the Space and Air Museum. The impressive collection of outer space displays was our favorite. We were also able to see the American History Museum. I smiled as we passed a section depicting life in the sixties. A woman was explaining to a teenage girl how a rotary dial telephone worked. The girl responded, “Wow. That would be a lot of work.” Suddenly, I had a revelation. You know you’re getting old when you have lived so much of the history of this young county of America.

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Of course, we are people watchers and I was impressed seeing all the families in the city, many with babies. The children seemed so interested in the things around them. The young boys especially impressed me with their excitement to learn. You know how exhausting traveling like that can be but all the families we saw appeared to be managing beautifully.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As we followed our GPS through the narrow streets of Philadelphia and the early built row houses we could feel history surrounding us. Philadelphia is “Under Construction.” All along the main streets of downtown new high-rise apartment buildings and stores are going up. This city is thriving.

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To get our bearings we took a bus tour around town. I found it hard to concentrate on historical Philadelphia with the busy life of the current city. However, I have finally stood before the Liberty Bell and in Independence Hall. We saw the Assembly Room of the State house, and the rooms where the Supreme Court and US Congress once met.

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We even saw the steps at the Museum of Art where Sylvester Stallone ran in the movie Rocky. We traveled on the same street the Pope will be using while in Philadelphia in September this year. Oh, and trivia. Did you know the game Monopoly was created by someone in Philadelphia? Many of the buildings, the railroads, and waterworks are named after places in this city.

As we waited to enter the rooms at Independence Hall we chatted with a young couple who were holding their darling little boy. They had not seen the historical sights of the city before either. They said they had been in Philadelphia a year ago because the best children’s hospital in the nation is there. The baby was going to be born with complications so the specialists were together with everything ready to do surgery on him the minute he was born. No one would have guessed that chubby little beauty had a thing wrong. They had come back because the next day he was going to have his one year check-up.

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Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey is called the sweetest place on earth. Our local phone calls ended with someone saying, “Have a sweet day.”

The history of the community is a great American story. Melton Hershey was trained as a candy maker. In 1893 he became fascinated with a German chocolate-making machine. He bought it with the idea of creating chocolate for everyone, not just the wealthy. He chose the Pennsylvania area where he grew up because the farms had his best source of milk, and the hard working people would provide the employees he needed.

Raised by the wisdom of a Mennonite mother he knew his success came with the responsibility of helping others. He built a town for his employees with homes, public transportation, schools, recreation, and hospitals. Many of the structures, including Hotel Hershey, were built during the depression to keep his employees working. When the post office was built they asked the Postmaster the name of the town, he named it Hershey. The chocolate maker provided candy bars for rations during WWII. They have been said to have been the secret weapon that won the war.

There is a free Disney type ride through a building at the amusement park explaining how the chocolate candies are made. It was nothing special. We were more entertained by the street names being Chocolate, Cocoa, etc., and the cute street lights.

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While there we toured the civil war battlefield at Gettysburg. Monuments scatter across the fields and hills in honor of every event that took place, the states and battalions involved, and the important people. To me the most interest part was that the tiny town of Gettysburg had to hunker down in their basements, or homes, as gun shells and cannon balls flew all around. Some of the old buildings still bear the scars. Bottom line, I’ve finally been to the very sad place where so many Americans died fighting each other.

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I did like the statue in town of Lincoln where he stood to give his Gettysburg address.

Lancaster, PA area has a large population of Amish and Mennonite people. The fields of corn are the largest and the darkest green I’ve ever seen. They were cutting the gold wheat and one bale of the straw bound after the grain was removed was as big as a pick-up bed.

This picture of the horse and buggy was taken in the parking lot at Costco. Five Amish ladies were leaving Costco as we entered with their baskets overflowing. I hope they weren’t all going to get in that transportation.

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Some of my favorite pictures I didn’t get to take were of the banks along the road that were covered with orange lilies. The two Amish dressed ladies standing in a cherry picker in the middle of a tree laughing and picking cherries. And the several farms where laundry was strung on clothes lines from the corner of the house across the yard and driveway, all the way to the top of the barn where a large circle pulley took the wash out and brought it back. Not only was the process unique, I was curious how many people lived in those homes to create so much laundry.

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Niagara Falls

When Jim and I discussed where we wanted to go on our travels across the country, Niagara Falls was at the top of my list. We have been many places around the world but I had never seen one of America’s most beautiful natural wonders. Looking at the map I realized why. You don’t just stop by and see the falls on your way to somewhere else. The area had to be our destination.

We stayed on Grand Island just outside the city of Niagara Falls, then drove across the toll bridge into town. On the bridge we could see the mist of the falls pluming into the sky long before we heard the falls mighty rumbling.

The waters of the five Great Lakes rush over three falls, Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Falls, and American Falls. The river’s crystal clear waters shot forth crashing down the rock walls leaving turquoise water rushing in the rivers current.

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We stood above the falls, took the Maid of the Mist into the spray, climbed stairs up the side of Bridal Falls and stood under the cold splashes. We viewed the falls through dinner, walked in the rain (in our left-over rain covers) on the Canadian side of the falls, and watched the colored lights transform the beautiful waters after dark.

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We were pleased to see new roads and parks on the US side being created to make this wonderful place an even better experience.

The Erie Canal runs through the old town of Lockport, New York. I found it hard to image that one time the narrow ribbon of water was once the main source for moving product from the Great Lakes to New York City. Today many locks are still active but the waters are only used for leisure boating.

We can tell we’ve moved farther east by the age of the homes. Some are two hundred years old. Seeing them, I’m often reminded that our country is such a baby within the nations.

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Medina, Ohio

Medina was a good halfway stop on our way to Niagara Falls. The green rolling hills of Ohio created different scenery than the Indiana farms. High humidity and warm temperatures declared summer had arrived, and that we were close to the atmospheric conditions of Lake Erie’s waters.

Our campground was a nice Christian Family Camp with Sunday church right outside our door.

We hadn’t planned to spend much time in Ohio but we had one day to see a little bit. We chose Ohio’s number one attraction. the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. I wondered why that town was chosen for the honor of housing America’s football history. We learned Canton was the birthplace of pro-football. They have done a fine job displaying the years of football history. All the hall of fame members have a bronze sculpture displayed. The Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy, and replicas of all the super bowl rings, are on display too. Now, when I see someone being inducted into the football hall of fame, I’ll know right where they are.

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Some trivia: Did you know that the Wilson NFL footballs have   all been made by hand in Ada, Ohio since 1955?

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Middlebury, Indiana

Middlebury is home of all things “Recreational Vehicles.” They have been building trailers and motor homes since the end of WWII. Our purpose for the stop was to get a checkup on our home on wheels at the Entegra Motor Coach factory. Parking places with hook-ups are provided right outside the service doors so people are able to stay in their coach if they want. However, they start work at 6:00a.m. so we chose a hotel.

We arrived around 3:00 p.m. The street was busy as men with full beards were leaving work on bicycles. We were told this is Amish and Mennonite country so the workers arrive early, work hard all day, and then go home to work their farms and have time with their families.

Seeing the unique scenery of each area in this wonderful country, and experience all the different cultures is my favorite part of our traveling. The Indiana Amish area was no exception. Whenever I looked out the hotel window cars, horses and buggies, and recreational vehicles were sharing the highway. The whole scene seemed such a contradiction.

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As we drove around the green rolling hills everything was so clean and well cared for. Huge farm homes and barns nestled among abundant crops. Fine horses grazed as they waited to be hooked up to a plow, or the buggy sitting outside the house where most Americans would park the car. Laundry hung on clotheslines all along our path. Gardens were so perfectly cared for they seemed to defy any weeds to consider entering. Large pictures of quilts were displayed on the side of sturdy barns. There were no rickety barns like we’ve seen other places. Bright flowers were abundantly on display.

To our surprise, the week we scheduled in Middlebury was also Entegra’s celebration of the opening of their new facility. We were invited to join in the festivities and attended the gala banquet. We took a tour of the new factory, attended the ribbon cutting where a drone circled our heads recording the event. We enjoyed the impressive unveiling of the 2016 models. My, they have come a long way from the first one we saw at the travel trailer museum in Elkhart.

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One hundred and fifty other motor coaches also came in for the event. When that many traveling people are together, everyone is excited to share their don’t miss favorite places. We were told not to miss the donuts at Rise’N Roll on Highway 20.

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Oh, my goodness. As we savored each bit I tried to grasp how I would describe what we were eating. They were no ordinary donut. I couldn’t find words. It was large and felt heavy like a cake donut, but when we bit down … Finally, I decided the only word was indescribable. We were told the locals call them Amish Crack. We highly recommend the stop.

The delicious cheeses and meats were worth the trip. We enjoyed a soft swiss with rye seeds, one called Butter Cheese (how could that be bad) and Jim liked a cheddar chili cheese. Everything was so fresh.

The locals call the many trotting buggies along the roads buggy races. I fell in love with the sound of the clip clop of hooves. They move much faster along the skirt of the highways than I would have guessed. One day as we were pulling out of a parking lot I was saying how dangerous driving horses in all the traffic seemed. Horses have minds of their own or they sometimes get spooked. While I was still speaking Jim was stopped behind a buggy. Suddenly, the orange triangle sign on the back started getting closer. Jim tried to back up but other cars were behind us so the buggy backed into our bumper. The driver got control and pulled forward but the horse balked again and backed up. That time the buggy turned sideways. A young man in a knit cap got out and pulled the horse back in alignment with the buggy, jumped in, and was off to the race. He never looked up, probably very embarrassed, and there was no damage. I was worried the horse might have gotten hurt but as we passed them the trotting beauty looked as regal as ever. Hopefully there aren’t too many people that can say they’ve been hit by an Amish buggy.

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We talked with our friends Marg and Roger while we were in Rockford. They were going to be in Shipshewana while we were there so we were able to get together for dinner. The tiny community puts on all kinds of wholesome entertainment. I look forward to returning next time we stop by Entegra.

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Rockford, Illinois

Rockford was our home for twenty years. Our three daughters still live there, and the two oldest grandchildren graduated from high school this year. We couldn’t miss those events.

These are our two miracle grandchildren. Nineteen years ago our daughter and son-in-law were told they would never have children. Our daughter-in-law was able to get pregnant but miscarried. She said later she thought maybe God didn’t want her to have children.

A little book called Supernatural Childbirth came on the scene. The book revealed all the scriptures that declare that it is God’s will for his handmaidens to have children. The next year our two graduates were born. Some of the girl’s friend’s also had babies after their mothers claimed the truth of the Word, too. This book is still in print if you know anyone wanting children.

So, as I watched these beautiful young people graduate with honors, and announce where they will be going to college, I was overcome with God’s faithfulness to bless us with the desires of our hearts.

We planned to be in Rockford a month to make sure we had time to spend with everyone. They have a great Park District with enjoyable golf courses. Jim was missing Pickle Ball and we found the Park District had that for us too. One problem, my second time there I backed up to hit a serve and stumbled on a little ledge I had been warned about the last time I was there. I thought about those words as I fell. I put out my left hand to catch myself as I came down. Something was wrong. I was faint but there was no pain.It felt as if I just needed someone to pull my hand out of my arm. We decided I should have it checked so we went to an Immediate Care. They x-rayed and showed us it was broken. I was really surprised. Doesn’t a person have pain if they break a bone? After some discussion we chose to see an orthopedic surgeon and were able to get in the next morning. After explaining to the doctor we were traveling, he said he had a cancelation the next morning. So I had surgery and went home. Two weeks later, after all our family events, he took the stitches out and said I was good to go. How efficient. The most pain I had was when one of the stitches stuck to my skin and burned when pulled out.

No therapy was needed. My fingers work fine. However, the first time I tried to type the blog my hand swelled too much. That is my last excuse for the blog being so delayed. Hopefully, it is our last bad report too.

Rockford is working hard to make the town a great place to live and visit. I’m so impressed with the activities they have for the community. We girls had a girl’s-day-out at the Starlight Theater matinee to see a great production of Mary Poppins, while the guys went to the airshow at the Rockford Airport.

An almost instant gathering of some of the great women of God I’ve known for many years was a delightful blessing.

Rockford is a beautiful place in the spring with colorful blooms and the green textures of what is called The City of Trees.

Here’s a picture of my favorite food in Rockford. Beef-A- Roo’s Veggie Club Sandwich. My grandson calls it salad in a bun. Tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, etc. Yum.

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Alma, Arkansas

Alma was a nice stop to enjoy spring on our way to Rockford, Illinois. Arkansas’ rolling hills and scenic drives make the area great motorcycle country. In fact, we were told the largest motorcycle rally in the country meets in the area. As soon as we arrived we heard the rumble of bikes on the highway. In the past we also leaned through the Arkansas curves on a motorcycle with the scents of the woods in the air so we appreciated their enthusiasm.

We were able to connect with our longtime friends Jim and Jean in Fayetteville. God’s grace and hope have carried them though some serious struggles but they continue to reflect supernatural peace and strength.

They have two beautiful, brilliant daughters. Jenise has been an executive or spokesperson for Tyson Foods. She started an organization called One Egg, has spoken in the United Nations, the European Union, and to the African president, among others. She has persevered beyond belief

Amazingly, she survived a car wreck where her body “imploded.” She remembered being dead at the accident, and with a group of angels. She knew their names. They told her not to look back but she did and then returned to her body. We didn’t discuss the details of all that took place during her recovery. Only that her back was broken. In time she was able to go back to work. Then bad headaches started. She was traveling for her job and was on an American Airline flight when an older man with a very worn, marked Bible asked to sit by her. He said he had a word from God for her. He accurately told her what had happened to her and said, “God is going to heal you, but you will go through many more trials before that happens. The trials have proven to be true. Hope remains for her complete healing.

Her sister, Jen’e, shared that Janice went to Africa several times to help the people and came up with an idea. If each child had one egg a day they could live healthier lives. She created the Organization called One Egg. Companies, including Tyson, got on board and donate to create chicken farms in Africa so the children have eggs. You can google it if you’re interested.

Jen’e gave up a job as a bank vice president to become a financial officer for an egg co-op. Her boss asked her if she knew who came up with the One Egg concept. She was in the right place at the right time to say, “My sister.” The co-op want to start a campaign where they will donate a dozen eggs for every dozen sold to establish egg farms all over the world.

Jen’e’s husband has invented an ice cream scoop cleaner that will save thousands of gallons of water and money for the companies that use it. I had no idea there is so much water used to wash an ice cream scoops. Imagine how grateful California will be for the help.

Jim and Jean and their three granddaughters are just as awesome. What a privilege to have them for our friends. In fact, we call each other family.

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