Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Cowboy Church

 Stable Faith Cowboy Church


Moving into a new community requires finding your way to the grocery, discovering new restaurants, and meeting new people. High on the list for me has always been finding a church family.


Mike and I knew our way around the north Tampa area of Lutz, but moving further north gave cause for us to look for a place of worship closer to our new home. 

We wanted a place where we both felt comfortable. 

We had only been married a couple of months. We both liked the church near our Ohio home, Center Pointe Christian Church. (Actually, Mike really likes the preaching there but isn’t crazy about contemporary music.) 

Me? I can worship almost anywhere as long as the Word is shared accurately, openly, and honestly.


Moving Mike’s things from Lutz to Inverness, we traveled north, passing a small building in the nearby town of Brooksville each day. It was a wood building in a pretty setting. The sign over the porch read “Stable Faith Cowboy Church.” 


I had never heard of a “cowboy church” before. Mike, a bit of a cowboy himself, had the boots for it. It was worth a try. 

I looked the church up online and read “Mission and Principles of the Church.” The 10:30 service would work for us so we headed that way the following Sunday.


These were down to earth people. Of course being invited to enjoy coffee and donuts on the back porch didn’t hurt either. We felt at ease.


The music was great. The preaching was excellent. We were fed.


As the service ended, a man came to where we were sitting. “Mike Tyler!” he called out. Steve had worked with Mike at the Tampa Electric Company for years. His wife is a friend of Mike’s sister. We felt at home.


We haven’t officially joined the congregation yet, but we think of the Cowboy Church as “our church.”


I’ve worshiped in churches with all sorts of music.  I’ve spent time in churches where the message was shared in a different language as well as churches meeting in homes, tents, or theaters. 


I know that “church” isn’t the building or the name. It’s the people. It is the heart for Jesus expressed through word and deed. And if they wear cowboy hats? No problem. If the baptisms take place in a trough outside? No big deal. 


Feeling at ease, fed, and at home. 

Welcome to "the cowboy church."

I suppose this could
be called the "Welcome Wagon."

Baptism in a Water Trough

By the Way...You can find the messages on the Stable Faith Cowboy Church Facebook page.

Note: The baptism we witnessed was that of Wounded Warrior Josh Cooley on August 27. To read his story from a local paper  CLICK HERE.





Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Say "No" to Car Snobs

Say "No" to Car Snobs

Mike is not a car snob.


I’ve known a few. They are those people who look down on a car because it’s a foreign make or not one of Detroit’s Big Three…the Old Guard. Or whatever manufacturer they support.


I used to think my grandfather was a car snob. He only drove Grandma around in a Buick. Then I realized he had Ford trucks and such. It was Grandma who loved the Buick. It was a nice ride.


My parents weren’t car snobs either. We had Fords, Chevrolets, and even a Rambler station wagon back in the day.


My first car was a 1966 Ford Mustang. It was a great car. It was pretty and as it turned out, well built. I know that to be true because it held up fairly well in a crash. At least no one was injured. Of course the car was totaled. 


My first “date” with Mike was in his F-250 Pickup Truck. He picked me up at the house where I was staying in Florida and drove me to our high school reunion. He later came to Ohio in that truck to date me. 


We talked on the phone and texted daily. I learned that he had, tucked away safely in his garage, a 1969 Chevelle Super Sport. It was identical to the car he drove in high school. 


His first car… A true muscle car… A throwback in time… A time to remember with fondness. 


This was my first indicator that Mike was not a car snob. (By the way, I like that in a man.) 


My second clue was when he didn’t make fun of me driving a Honda Accord. He actually appreciates it. Recently he told one of his friends how we drove it back from Ohio this summer. 


“It’s comfortable and with my truck, we would drive from the house in Ohio to the last stop in Kentucky and have to fill the tank. If I was lucky, I could make it to north Georgia before stopping again but would have to stop a second time in Georgia before I hit the Florida line. 

But with the Honda, we left Ohio and didn’t stop until we were well into Georgia. I’m serious. I thought the thing must have a seventy-gallon tank or something! But it only took twelve gallons! I think that car makes gas!”


See what I mean? The man appreciates a good car. No matter what it is.


We drive the Chevelle to our local car show on the courthouse square. The spaces fill up quickly in this cooler weather. At the show you can find old cars as well as new ones proudly displayed by their owners. True car enthusiasts marvel at the Chevelle’s pristine condition. 


If you read my post about my first car show, you know I’m becoming a “car girl.” If you didn’t read it, I’ll post a link at the end. You’ll be able to see Mike’s Chevelle.


Since that first excursion, I’ve learned that people who love cars appreciate all cars for what they offer. True, there are a few who turn their noses up at certain vehicles, but for the most part, car enthusiasts appreciate the unique features each automobile offers. 


Mike and I recently bought a new car. We wanted something a bit sportier than the truck or Honda. The car show was coming up. It’s a monthly event sponsored by the Citrus County Corvette and Camaro Club. Mike said he would drive the Chevelle and I could drive the new car. 


That's Mike's Chevelle on the Left...Cool Car!

Really? Not that I minded. It’s just that I thought it funny he would even suggest it. After all, it’s new…well…new to us. It’s a 2017. It’s pretty. I would feel terrible if something happened in the three miles or so from our house to the car show.


“Are you sure?” I asked. “What if something happens to it?”

“It’s a car, Becky,” he replied. 


That’s pretty much what he said when I was nervous about driving his truck for the first time. “It’s a truck.”


My husband has his priorities right. 

I come before the car. Any car. 


No. It’s like I said. Mike isn’t a car snob. He’s a good man.


As promised, click HERE to read about my first car show. 

If you want to read about my experience driving Mike’s truck, you’ll find that post HERE.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Customer Service in Small Town USA

 Customer Service in Small Town, USA


Shortly after moving into our new home, the air conditioner went out. The unit was running… it simply wasn’t cooling. 

We called one place we found online, but the person never arrived. We called a local company called Airfix. The woman accepting calls late at night walked us through a few steps we could take. She knew the system and was able to tell Mike where he could access the drain. He hooked up his shop vac and although we decided we still needed service on the unit, we were comfortable enough to sleep through the night.


Troy’s, a landscape company arrived on time when we needed some work done in the backyard. Troy was professional with the work he did and fair with his pricing. And Ray, a handyman we found through our local ACE Hardware store did excellent work repairing our deck. He, too, arrived on time and was fair with the charges. 


The folks at Airfix…and Troy and Ray are more than good at the work they do. They are good people. 


Moving to a small town on Florida’s Nature Coast from the busy Tampa Bay area has been a blessing. Don’t misunderstand. There are good people in bustling Hillsborough County, but it’s a huge region!


Here? Here they are your neighbors. 

Troy’s Landscaping is just down the road. Ray fishes in our lake. We pass the Airfix building every time we head to Walmart.


The Historic Courthouse
in Our Town

And it continues. We wanted to add a few feet to Mike’s shop. We put in for a permit to make it bigger. Our permit was denied, stating we had to have a “storm water mitigation plan.” It would add twenty five hundred dollars ($2500.00) to our $500 permit cost. The woman from the permit office told us to call the surveyor who did the initial work on our property and they could give us more information. 


The surveyor is part of a local business. 

We called. I explained our dilemma. A man named Mark understood. Yes, it is $2500 to survey and write up a storm water plan. It could cost much more to fix everything in the plan. He talked of rain barrels and such. He lives in the area. He used to work in the permitting office. 


We described our property and as we talked, he learned our “new shop” was only 450 square feet larger than the other one. 


“You know,” Mark said, “I’m pretty sure that unless they’ve changed things, there is a 500 square foot exemption. If you aren’t adding more than 500 square feet, you don’t need the storm water mitigation plan.” He sent an email to the permit office and copied us on it within minutes of our call.


Some people balk at living in a small town. We aren’t among them. From the people we meet on the streets and in restaurants to the small business owners and those working in the county and city offices, people in our town put a face on the label “Customer Service.”


It is being available.

It is being a good listener.

It is being honest.

It is being on time.

Good Customer Service is looking out for what is best for the customer.

My rating of Small Town, USA?

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The End of an Era

 The End of an Era


That’s what my daughter typed in a message when I told the girls we would no longer be vacationing in Myrtle Beach. “The end of an era,” my youngest daughter wrote. 


Tom and I took the girls to Myrtle Beach for a vacation many times throughout the years. We started going there when we bought a time-share in the 80’s. We didn’t make the trip every year. We often traded for a ski lodge. Once, we traded for a five-bedroom chalet in Scotland. That was fun. We traded our week for a few other experiences as well, including honeymoon destinations for our daughters.


After Tom died, I rented the time-share week to others. I saw no point in vacationing there. 

This past summer, two of my daughters, two granddaughters, and my mom and I made the trek to Myrtle Beach to the time-share once more. 

It was our last hoorah! 


I sold my place there. I now have no real ties to property in Myrtle Beach. Just plenty of family memories. 


It is the end of an era. That’s okay. It is the beginning of a new one…a new place in life’s journey.


Mike and I live on a beautiful freshwater lake in Inverness, Florida. There are saltwater beaches within a few miles drive from our house. And plenty of sunshine to go around. 


And…our Ohio home is close to family and a bevy of experiences nearby that Mike and I hope to enjoy in the near future. And when I say, “nearby” I mean the Tri-State area of Ohio-Indiana-Kentucky…with a side trip to Wisconsin now and again to see our kiddos there.


Myrtle Beach? It has its place in our family experience. An era we all enjoyed.


There’s a passage in the Bible that says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) 

And yes, the Byrds made those first eight verses in chapter three famous in a song back in the late ‘60’s. The folk-rock hit was called “Turn, Turn, Turn.”


The rest of that passage says this:

2          a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3          a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

4          a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5          a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6          a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7          a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8          a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.


The era for us in Myrtle Beach may have ended, but the journey continues. 

It is...a time to move on…

And if you missed the post about our last trip, you can find it HERE.


Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Critters in the House

Critters in the House

 We have critters in our house. 

Two dogs and a cat to be specific. 


Long ago, Max Lightening the Wonder Dog was a member of the Waters family. We all mourned his passing in 2012. Losing Max was so painful I didn’t want another dog. He was a member of our family.


When Mike and I started dating, I knew he had pets. I was cool with the notion of a dog. Or two. But having a cat was a different story. The only cat I’ve connected with in any way was my neighbor cat, Joe. (You can read about Joey HERE).


Still…I like animals and as it turns out, I love the man. So the answer is YES…we have critters in our house.



Honeybee is a Blue Healer. We call her “Bee” for short. I wasn’t too sure about how she would take to me. Blue Healers tend to be “one person” dogs. Mike…to be specific.


“Don’t worry if she nips at you,” Mike said. “She’ll get used to you.” But if she growled or turned my way, Mike scolded her. 


Blue Healers are herding dogs. I soon learned that Bee’s “nips” were barely anything at all. She was merely trying to move me in another direction. I could live with that. 


When we moved to our new home, Bee no longer had to deal with stairs. No stairs to go out or in. No stairs to climb to go to bed at night. Having no stairs breathed new life into the beautiful animal. She now accepts morsels of food from me and stands nearby, looking up with sincere appreciation as I prepare her midday meal. 


The change? I think somehow, Bee credits me with giving her an easily accessible yard and a single story house to call home. 



Don’t tell the other critters, but far and away, Roxy was my favorite at the start. That’s a strange thing to say because going into this relationship with Mike, she was the one I feared the most. Roxy is a full-blooded pit bulldog. Until I met her, I had only heard stories of how horrible and vicious pit bulls can be. I heard of how they had a taste for blood and killed young children.


Not Roxy. She might lick you to death…not really…but she is the most loving dog you could hope to find. Roxy is the manager and caregiver of the three. Actually she looks out for all of us. All. Including Bee and the cat. Okay, maybe she merely tries to care for the cat and wants to play with her, but the cat is not receptive of Roxy’s care nor is she ever in the mood to play Roxy’s games.


Tiki Kitty

The last critter in the lineup. Tiki was named after the resort Kon Tiki in the Florida Keys. She has the coloring of the famous “Hemingway Cats” you find in Key West, though unlike those critters, Tiki has the normal four or five toes on her paws unlike the six toes the Hemingway Cats often sport.


Mike rescued Tiki in the midst of a storm. Now, as far as Roxy is concerned, Tiki is the center of the storm. Tiki doesn’t have much to do with me either, though from time to time, she’ll let me stroke her soft gray fur…while she sits on Mike’s lap


She does appreciate me, though. She watches as I prepare her food and follows me until I set the dish down. She’ll throw me a look of “thanks” before digging in. 


So what have I learned from having these critters in our house?


Bee reminds me to respect the differences of those we don’t know well. To appreciate them for who they are and never write somebody off if they don't respond to your overtures of friendship immediately. And... this is the biggie...always be willing to give others a second chance.


Roxy was able to show me that even with all my talk about accepting others, I can be swayed by media to form unfounded opinions about those I don’t know. She has helped me see how bias and discrimination is shaped in the unsuspecting mind.


And Tiki? I’m not altogether sure what I’m learning from Tiki Kitty. Patience, I guess. I’m confident that with patience, one day she’ll trust me enough to let me pet her…on my lap