Where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing
This is just a snippet of where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to since Dennis retired from the Navy in 2016. I struggle with getting details up in a timely manner due to wifi, boat requirements (sailing, maintenance), busy doing ministry, teaching and feeding the kids (boy, they eat a lot lately!). Then I hate to post new stuff when I haven’t posted the old stuff. So I’m hoping to use this timeline to get some basic information out and then eventually go back and write a blog post with more pics and all the nitty, gritty details. If you want a complete picture, scroll to the bottom and read in reverse.
November – We’re in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. We’ve been spending our time with Pastor Willy and his congregation. He has a ministry to young men that struggle with addiction. Dennis taught at a Wednesday night church social and preached a couple of times. He and Willy had opportunities to get together and share/pray also. We had his family out to the boat one afternoon for lunch but we didn’t get to take them sailing since we were down an engine.
October/November – Bahía del Sol, El Salvador
October – Guadalajara, Mexico with Greg and Robin Goza for a couple of weeks and then back to the boat in Marina Chiapas, Tapachula, Mexico. It was good to be home but it was a mess and needed a lot of clean up before we were ready to sail.
September – We spent the first two weeks in San Diego for annual medical appointments and Hope had her wisdom teeth removed. Then we were back to Huntsville, AL to help Brandy’s parents pack, clean and move out of their home of 42 years. Dennis and Brandy each drove a moving truck to from Alabama to Colorado.
August – Scotland! We spent a few weeks in St. Andrews with some of our oldest friends. We loved being together again and seeing our kids interact is incredible. Towards the end of the month, we caught a military flight back to the US.
July – We escaped France and drove to Switzerland. A week with a family running a Christian retreat, then back to France where we went to the beaches of Normandy and the American Cemetery. Then we spent a week in Ireland where we found ourselves at a missionary retreat just south of Dublin. Next stop – Scotland!
June – Running (what was supposed to be a small) Airbnb in France turned into a nightmare. Read the blog post.
May – After living onboard full-time for almost 4 years, we hauled the boat for the summer (and turned out to include the fall also) to go to Europe. It was supposed to be a sabbatical for us but turned out rather differently.
April – Easter Sunrise service on our boat in the anchorage brought over almost 20 people. We then headed to La Paz where we met our first group of missionaries from TEAM. We spent the month plus some of May working and serving with them.
February/March – La Cruz/Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We started a Sunday evening worship service at the nearby marina while the kids were super active in the La Cruz Kids Club doing all sorts of community service projects.
January – Back in San Diego and finally finished enough of the VA medical appointments to head back to Mexico. Two weeks from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with only a couple of nights at anchor while we waited for better weather.
November/December – Driving back to San Diego from Alabama via New York. Yes, that’s crazy, but it was an opportunity to see friends, share our ministry/fundraise, and teach our kids more about our country. We visited the Naval Academy, Philadelphia (Constitution Hall, Liberty Bell, etc.), New York City (including Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, World Trade Center, etc.), West Point, Gettysburg, and so many other places. Travel is our best source of education for our kids.
October – Marina required – we left the boat back at our old stomping grounds, Fiddler’s Cove. We drove to Alabama and dropped the kids with Brandy’s parents. We went to the PCM (Pastoral Care to Missionaries) Conference in North Carolina for a week. It was a wonderful experience where we learned the official name for what we do, “Member Care.”
June/July/August/September – We spent these months back in our “regular” routine. Since we could not return to our previous marina permanently, we had to move every 72 hours. Anchorages are free in San Diego but only allow 72 hr stays, 3 times per month. Marinas are expensive. We worked out a pretty good system by September but we constantly were asking ourselves where we left the boat.
April/May – We left Puerto Escondido and began our sail back to San Diego. Since the VA dropped the ball and deleted Dennis’ VA claim, we had to go back and spend months doing it all again.
March – We headed back to our boat in Loreto. We spent time with Don and Lorraine Karsgard, missionaries in Loreto. Dennis preached one Sunday for Don while they spent the weekend sharing at the prison in La Paz.
January/February – We continued our drive to Woodbine, GA to spend time with Dennis’ family. From there we turned around and headed back to San Diego. We stopped to see many old friends and churches along the way – sharing our vision for this ministry and fundraising.
December – We also packed up our storage unit in San Diego and sent it off in a POD to Texas. We drove to Huntsville, AL to have Christmas with Brandy’s parents.
November – Continued on to Puerto Escondido in Loreto, Baja Sur, Mexico where we decided to leave the boat while we went back to the US to work through Dennis’ medical claims for his military retirement.
October 31 – We left San Diego with about 600 new friends sailing south approximately 800 miles on the Baja Haha rally.
September – Dennis’ retirement from the US Navy after 21 years of active duty service as a Surface Warfare Officer and a Chaplain.