As the end of another year approaches, it’s time for the sending out of our annual Christmas newsletter. If you don’t receive it the old fashioned way, you may dowload and read it here. We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Archive for the ‘memories’ Category
Our granddaughter arrived on December 5th to end our year on a high note. She is adorable and will be thoroughly spoiled whenever we have the chance. Our year end Christmas letter is available for your reading here. Once again, if you want more current information on us, friend us on Facebook as it is updated more frequently than this blog which has now been relegated to once a year posts.
I don’t think the blog world has missed my infrequent posts on this website. Facebook saps any desire to write posts on this blog so I recommend anyone reading this that is not already a friend there, add me now to keep track of the Zeliff family exploits. Time as expected has continued to march on in our lives. Another year has ended and another is set to begin. If you desire to read a recap of the events that transpired in our lives over the last 12 months, I encourage you to download our annual Christmas letter linked below. Hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a happy new year.
Earlier this month, we traveled to Los Angeles to pick up Jesse, his roommate James and friend Sean to celebrate his 19th birthday. They dressed up in Steampunk attire while Renee and I wore our usual jeans and t-shirts. We dropped off his birthday presents and cards at the Dream Center and then traveled to the Americana at Brand in Glendale. We stopped at the Jewel City Diner for some delicious burgers and seasoned fries. Afterward, we made our way to the Pacific Theaters to see The Avengers. It was starting its 2nd week of release, but there was still a line and a full theater. It was a great movie with the Hulk having the best scenes. Renee and I even went to see it a 2nd time this past Tuesday.
It is amazing to see the young man our son has become. We are happy that he has found a place where he can do something he loves. He has been at the Dream Center for 9 months now and enrolled at Angelus Bible Institute since January. We talk to him on Skype once a week or more. We went to a baby shower for my goddaughter/best friend’s daughter this past weekend in San Diego and saw many little ones running around. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we had a little one, but now he is a grown man chasing his dreams. We couldn’t be happier for him. We are grateful for the time the Lord gave us with him and look forward to the day we can spoil his kids though not anytime soon. 😛
Several years ago, Jesse related to his mom that he dreamed of openning a rescue mission and soup kitchen in the big city. This morning, we dropped him and two pieces of luggage off at the LA Dream Center where he will begin chasing that dream. He will begin a four month internship with the option of extending his stay after the four months are completed. We were introduced to his supervisor and learned a little bit about his initial responsibilities. He will be working for the kitchen and will be making runs to local grocery stores to retrieve food that will be used on site or redistributed to families that have no food for their children. He will also be working with feeding the homeless on skid row.
We helped him take his luggage to the room he will be sharing with another intern arriving today. They will both go through orientation before beginning work as part of the Dream Center. We exchanged a few hugs and left him to do the work that the Lord has laid on his heart. It is odd to come home and know that he isn’t living under our roof for at least the next four months and possibly more. You pray your child finds something that will ignite their heart and inspire them to greatness. We have done our part for now and we will see where his destiny carries him going forward. My lovely wife dedicated 18 years of raising him, training him and even homeschooling him as he grew. We shed a few tears upon returning home, not because we don’t want him to chase his dream, but because a chapter in his life and ours has closed. He launches out to let down his nets for a catch and we find ourselves with an empty nest.
If you would like to support him in his ministry, he has put together a sponsorship letter explaining how you may contribute to the great work he will be doing with the LA Dream Center. We will update you on his many exploits going forward and ask your prayers for him and us as we go through this transitional time in our lives.
Download: Jesse’s Dream Center Sponsorship Letter
Unlike most the world, I wasn’t impacted by the events of 9/11/2001 immediately upon hearing and seeing the events taking place in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. A few days prior, I received a call from my mom that my father was in dire health after suffering a stroke. I withdrew from seminary in Kentucky and on the night of 9/10/2001, I loaded my family into the car and we headed for Florida not knowing when or if I would return to school. We drove through the night arriving around 4 am in Lakeland, FL.
We awoke a few hours later to see the horrible scenes of the Twin Towers unfolding on TV. My mind, however, was on racing to hospital to see my father. We arrived to find him completely paralyzed on the left side and unable to do much as he was left handed. His mind was sharp, but his body wasn’t cooperating. I watched with him on the hospital TV as the towers fell and I had to explain to him it wasn’t a movie. My brother was across the country unable to come because of flights everywhere being grounded. I spent the next couple days at the hospital helping dad to eat and trying to get him transferred to an agressive stroke rehabilitation facility. The doctor was concerned about blood on his brain and recommended surgery to relieve the pressure, but offered no hope the paralysis would end. Dad agreed and underwent surgery as we and our church family in Kentucky prayed. Miraculously, dad began moving his left arm in the recovery room and would walk out of the hospital on his own power a few days later.
That horrible day will always remind me of my father as my emotions were so wrapped up in caring for him at the hospital. I didn’t feel the impact of the tragedy that befell our nation until months later when watching a TV special about what took place. Today, as I listen to names being read, I remember my father who left us on 9/17/2009 and the loss of so many that fateful day when horrible men with horrible thoughts took so many from their families. Time does heal wounds, but scars remind us of pain once incurred. Tears fill my eyes and the memory of that morning will always endure in my mind. Condolences to all who lost loved ones that day or in the military service as a result of their commitment to protect our land from men of evil intent.
Howdy Ya’ll. Last week, we returned from a week long visit to the Lone Star State or as my wife and every Texan I know calls it “God’s Country.” We flew in to Austin on the 21st of July and immediately were made aware of the extreme heat they were suffering under. Before landing, you could see how drought stricken and brown the countryside was. Renee’s parents picked us up at the airport and headed for Copperas Cove. Before leaving Austin, mom was nice enough to stop and pick up some food for us as we hadn’t eaten since United charges for all its meals now. Where did we stop, but none other than Texas own, Whataburger. Tasty burger for the win. We arrived in Cove and would later go to dinner with mom and dad at Logan’s Roadhouse. The next morning we met her brother and dad for breakfast at Lil’ Tex in Cove and then we headed north.
We arrived in Henderson, TX and met up with Renee’s best friend Michelle despite getting lost thanks to the GPS giving us faulty directions to her place. We drove past her work and then went to dinner at the Cotton Patch restaurant where I enjoyed “real” chicken fried steak. We spent the next few hours laughing and playing games at the home of Michelle’s friend Kizzi before calling it a night. We enjoyed breakfast with Michelle and headed to meet our former neighbors and fellow CFNI grads, Sam and Shari Bristow for lunch in Palestine, TX. We hadn’t seen them in 17 years and they brought their son whom Shari was carrying last we saw her. It was amazing how after a 17 year separation, we picked right up where we left off. We laughed and joked through out lunch and thoroughly enjoyed every second we had with them. We left them and headed west toward Dallas/Ft. Worth.
We arrived mid-afternoon in Burleson, TX and checked into the La Quinta. We relaxed in the room for a few hours and got ready for the main event of the night, the wedding of Joni Gingles to Jarid Yankus in nearby Cleburne, TX. When Renee and I were students at Christ For the Nations(CFNI), we started serving as youth pastors for a small church outside of Ft. Worth. One of the very first youth to join us at Aledo Christian Center was the pastor’s granddaughter, Joni. We left Aledo to attend Oral Roberts University in 1996 and Joni would join us there a few years later. We kept in touch over the years and were very excited for her and her announced wedding date. After following a winding country road, we found the location of the wedding. It was a scorching TX afternoon, but the wedding was set in the shade of several giant trees providing much needed relief for the wedding party and witnesses. It was great to see so many families and the men and women we had known as teenagers after 15 years. One of the ministers had been a young man in our youth group along with many of the bridal party. There were a few that were barely recognizable after so many years. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception that we were very grateful to witnesses and attend. It was a pleasure to see and talk with so many people that we knew while in Aledo.
The next morning, we drove south to Copperas Cove and after dropping our luggage off, we headed to our home church, Trinity Worship Center. We met and married there 21 years ago and I have been a minister through the church for 22 years. It was great to see many of our church family and especially Pastor Kirby. After service, we were treated to BBQ brisket at the home of our good friends, Tim and Patty. Tim was my roommate for a short period after I left the Army and before I married Renee. I also performed their wedding 21 years ago this week. We enjoyed catching up with them immensely and were summoned to dinner by Renee’s brother Scott that evening.
Renee’s mom took off the next day from work so they could go shopping. I was along for the first part of the trip as they visited Best Buy and I helped pick out a new monitor and printer for mom. I returned home to set everything up while the ladies continued their shopping. We met for lunch and went to Dairy Queen to enjoy one of my Texas favs, the Dude. It is a chicken fried hamburger only sold in TX. The next day, we did a little touristy stuff as we took dad with us to the Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, TX. Blue Bell has and always will be Renee’s favorite ice cream and I can’t argue with her on how very good it tastes. The tour was a half-hour and then we were treated to a scoop of ice cream of our choosing from 14 different flavors. On our way back to Copperas Cove, I detoured through Elgin, TX to stop at Meyers Smokehouse. I enjoyed a two meat combo plate of brisket and hot gut(sausage). We got back to Cove in time to go see Captain America with Scott at the cinema. Later that same night, we went to catch up with Carol, Renee’s classmate and former youth group member at Trinity Worship Center. We hadn’t seen her in several years as well, but spent several hours laughing and catching up with each other.
The next day, we were up and packed to return to California. Before leaving, we had another important event to attend, Renee’s mother was having a retirement party. We traveled with the family to include her sister Carla that flew up from Houston to mom’s office in Temple. We laughed and joked until the ceremony began. After meeting all of mom’s coworkers and enjoying some refreshments, we headed back to Cove. We went to mom’s favorite, Red Lobster, for lunch. We spent a few more hours with Renee’s family before mom and Carla drove us to Austin to catch our flight home.
It was great to see so many of our very good friends and family while time traveling through Texas. It was amazing to see how much time had passed, but we were able to laugh and talk as if we were only gone a day. If any of you care to reciprocate, our home is always open. We may not have Blue Bell, BBQ, DQ, or many of the other TX delicacies, but we will share with you all that we have here to include a warm embrace. Thanks again to all of you for making the week we spent there so very special. Special hugs to Michelle, Sam & Shari, Joni & Jarid, Pastor Kirby, Tim & Patty, Carol, and Renee’s whole family. We love you so very much. A note in closing, Jesse actually took great care of the house and pets while we were gone. Thanks son.
It’s been a month since I started the year of thankfulness on Twitter. At times, it has proved to be challenging as I try to find something to be thankful for that I haven’t already mentioned. Some days are no-brainers as important calendar dates arrive and other days I find myself contemplating longer and posting later in the day as something happens or comes to mind. I am grateful I undertook this challenge as now I am searching for things to be thankful for which is a good thing in itself.
Jesse is a little over a month away from his trip to Europe with the other members of his senior class. He has one final payment due on the 14th of February and he is within $200 of the amount needed to make it. I am very grateful to all our family and friends that have helped him realize this goal. He still will be raising money up until the day he leaves to cover the cost of a camera for the trip and extraneous travel expenses not covered by EF Tours(tips, lunches, etc.). When he first approached us about the trip, I told him he would have to raise the money and trust the Lord for the finances to cover the trip as we were already paying his private school tuition for his senior year as well as all the additional costs associated with being a senior(ring, cap & gown, etc.). As he finishes his senior year, he will have a significant milestone going forward of how his needs were met and stronger faith in the Lord to supply his needs in the future.
February is always a month of celebration in our family. Renee’s parents celebrated their 45th anniversary on the 5th. Renee celebrates her birthday on the 13th with Valentine’s Day the following day. On the 17th, we celebrate our 21st anniversary. On the 22nd, we remember my parents anniversary which would have been their 47th if dad were still with us. On the 24th, I acknowledge another trip around the sun as well.
Hope that each of taking time out of your day to read this are well and that you know the love of the Lord and family in your life. We appreciate each of you and your presence in our lives.
I am so thankful to all who have offered a prayer or financial support to Jesse for his senior class trip. He passed 50% last week and continues to sell items online and through craigslist. His newest version of the sponsorship letter is at: http://zeliff.net/Jesse/Europe_Trip_Sponsor_Letter.pdf. He has another $586 due on December 14th.
This time of year always brings thoughts of family and holidays past. We are celebrating our 5th in our home in Apple Valley. Our 1st Thanksgiving in this home, we had our friend Julie visiting from France. Last year, we had my mom visiting from Florida and she will be joining us again this year. I remember other Thanksgiving meals in Oklahoma shared with Renee’s best friend Michelle or her co-worker Warren as we moved over the holiday weekend. Another time, we gathered Renee’s youth group at Tim’s house in Copperas Cove, TX. We used to travel to see Renee’s family or mine, but we seem to stay put nowadays. We are thankful to all our friends and family that have shared a Thanksgiving meal with us.
On another note, this past Friday we went to Knott’s Berry Farm to take advantage of their Veterans get-in-free special. I made the mistake of eating a steak and egg burrito before hopping on the many roller coasters there. Due to the cloudy weather and most of the schools being in session, we only had to stand in line for 20 minutes on the very first coaster. After that, we literally walked up and got on each of the coasters. In 2 /12 hours we had been all the way around the park and had been on each of the coasters we wanted to ride. We decided to leave and head back home as my stomach continued to protest. We stopped at Panera Bread Co. and my stomach forgave me for the burrito/coaster adventure after treating it to a Frontega Chicken sandwich and some black bean soup.
That’s about all for now. We wish each of you a happy thanksgiving and hope that your holidays are filled with joy and laughter. If you desire a newsletter and Christmas card, please send us your address.
Hmmmm, let me think. It’s been two weeks since the last post so something must have happened that I can write about. Well there are the obvious sports related things: Angels sweeping the Dodgers(included for my best friend Jim), Lakers advance to the NBA Finals and battle the hated Celtics, the US begins Group play at the World Cup, all of which I enjoyed watching from the comfort of my home except the losses to Boston. No enjoyment at all for those, but the Lakers will wrap things up in the next two games to secure another title.
I went with a former co-worker Rich, who passed through town, to lunch at Lola’s in Barstow a couple of weeks back. I also took a large group to Rosita’s for lunch and Jerry took great care of everyone. Friday night, Jerry threw his 45th birthday bash at Rosita’s and even got hair extensions put in to rock the mullet. It was great seeing lots of Barstow High classmates there (Jerry, Jessica, Laurie, Gary, Derelyn, Clark, Chris, Cruz, Theresa). The old saying still holds true, “84 parties more.” Saturday, after watching the US-England match, Renee and I worked in the yard taking care of weeds and raking the gravel on the driveway. I did read a couple of Star Wars novels too. I finished Fate of the Jedi:Allies yesterday. That’s about all from here. Hope everyone is going to have a great summer as the kids get out and the vacations begin.