Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Concord’s Justice, Greenway achieve WVIAC year-end awards

I wanted to share some good news today! So many blessings are being bestowed upon our family that I don't know which one to start with! Let me share this news of one of my cousins first.

Garin, your family members here in Florida are all so proud of you!! Job well done!

Concord’s Justice, Greenway achieve WVIAC year-end awards

Friday, October 07, 2011

Perfect for me tonight!
Thank you Lord for your Word.

Psalm 71:20-21

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Day Out With Kristin

One of my favorite days while in West Virginia this summer was the day I spent with Kristin. She drove me into Beckley where we got mani/pedis and ate at Texas Steakhouse. That evening, we met up with her grandparents at church for the last night of revival services. Kristin is a young lady desiring to be as close to her Savior as possible. She has a dynamic testimony for God, His  love, and protection. When visiting with Kristin, you sense a calmness and easiness about her.  I love you Kristin and would sure love another day out with you!

Delightful Kristin, my cheauffeur!

                    A beautiful drive to Beckley, West Virginia.

This is the road to nowhere. Literally! the highway ended right here so we took a right turn. There is talk that the highway may be complete ONE DAY!

                                     I love the shaded, country highways!

A little coal camp we had to drive through.

You can see how the road was carved out of a rocky mountain!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Granny Susie Reincarnated??

While visiting in West Virginia this summer, I met this dear lady at one of the churches I attended. I have to ask all my Riffe cousins out there; do you see a resemblance to our Granny Susie in her younger days? Aunt Catty was the first to point it out. After my aunt introduced us, I knew I just had to have my picture taken with this lady. Shamefully, I can't even remember this sweet lady's  name right now, but I was thinking of my sister Rita and cousins Roy, Beki, Deb, and Ron when I asked for her picture. I knew you all would get a hoot out of it! Or am I way off base here? Maybe there is no resemblance at all!! Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Surprising My Cousins at School

I'm re-living my early days of summer. Shane and I flew to West Virginia the first week of June. The day after our arrival there, my Aunt Phyllis and I drove to the local elementary school which is where both of my parents and most aunts and uncles attended back in the day! I loved walking through the halls and imagining my parents walking in those same hallways in years gone by. First we stopped by my cousin Alicia's first grade classroom. EMPTY! We then meandered down to another cousin's classroom, EMPTY! A few more steps down the hall revealed that most elementary children were outside on the playground, It was afterall, just two days before summer vacation was to start! Out the double glass doors we strolled, I with video camera ready. I just knew I'd see a few surprised reactions. In the video, you'll see them too. What a great memory for me to re-live!
                Cousins! I surprised Donna and Alicia by simply walking onto the school playground!
Some of Alicia's first grade students. They were the sweetest children I'd ever met!

Was Donna surprised???

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Dad's cochlear implant surgery this past Thursday went flawlessly. We are so thankful for all the prayers offered on his/our behalf. We've been through so many surgeries with dad that our trip to the hospital Thursday seemed like nothing more than a nice lunch out! (Well for mom and I. I'm sure dad has another opinion.) He was released to go home only two hours after the surgery. His biggest complaint now is the itching as the incision behind his ear heals. Praise God for that!

For now, Dad is deaf in his left ear. We can't really tell much of a difference because he only had 5% hearing left in it anyway pre-operation. He can still wear his digital hearing aids for the right hear which helps a tad. I think his last test revealed only 35% hearing in that ear.

Dad will be allowed time to heal, then phase two of the implant begins; attaching the outer device. We are all excited with the prospect of him being able to hear better and able to join in our conversations. He only hears roars in most social situations. This has caused him to withdraw quite a bit. If this left implant is successful, plans are in the works for the right hear to be done too.

We've been forewarned by the Dr. to be patient. It will take six months to a year for dad to start recognizing us by our new digital voices. Sounds of doors shutting, phones ringing will all be different to him now.

We have a wonderful God who is taking care of Dad, and us.

Enjoy the photos of his cute, new getup!

Pilot Jack!

Smiley Stickers were awarded for good behavior!

Thanks to some dear friends who brought over this delicious cake Saturday afternoon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shane's First Karate Lesson

Well, we're back from our 2 month long vacay in W.V. where Shane enrolled in Karate lessons. My cousin opened his school in the small town of my birth. We've had many wonderful experiences this summer. I'd like to share them with you here on my blog in small doses. I took photos ad nauseam (Latin for "to the point of nausea")!

For starters, I'm posting the below photos for family members who have been begging for pictures of Shane in his "Gi". So now I proudly present to you my handsome son, Shane Rios!

First Night of Class. Instruction on proper way to tie the belt.


Instructor G. Justice

Sensei Justice welcomes his cousin John.

Some of the head gear Shane looked forward to using.

Below, some of Shane's drills a couple of weeks into lessons.

(before earning his gold belt.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Back to my Childhood

I'm in the mountains where I was born! Childhood memories are always stirred when I visit here. Memories such as the feeling of being accepted unconditionally. Memories of good ol' country homemade meals. Memories of having too many relatives to spend enough time with each of them!

There is a twofold reason for Shane and I being here. Shane is taking advantage of Karate lessons in the Dojo one of my cousins recently opened and I'm here visiting relatives. I also wanted Shane to spend some unrushed time here, breathing in the mountain air, walking on the railroad tracks, being loved on by some of the sweetest people I know.

I snuck off for five days and spent a most wonderful time at South Lake Holston in Tennessee. I really enjoyed my cousin's boat and reading in the middle of the lake while she sunbathed. Oh except for that day we RAIN BATHED!!! My Aunt Virgie, her daughter Alicia, and I got caught in a dreadful rainstorm, but pulled into a cove for some respite from the pelts of heavy rain. With the help of life jackets and beach towels, we actually found ourselves to be quite comfortable and shared many laughs and stories as we also hid under the cabin's awning. Alicia took some great video of us. Hopefully I can post it soon!

My husband and mother are to arrive in July just in time for the big annual family reunion.
I've taken loads of pictures but forgot to pack my cord to upload them on this particular computer. I'll be on the prowl for a way to upload at least some of them.

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer so far. I hope to check in again soon. Ta Ta for now!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Make a Pressed Cuban Sandwich |

Now that we're living in Tampa again, we're enjoying running to the local Cuban Mom and Pop places for authentic Cuban sandwiches. A new place opened here about seven months ago which Agustin stumbled upon by accident. We've been three times this month already! Not only do they serve great hot pressed Cubans, but authentic hot Cuban dishes as well. (I'm referring to sandwiches and food here people!) LOL

Nani's is located in Seminole Heights on Nebraska Avenue, just south of Idlewild Avenue and is owned and operated by Nani's daughter. She uses her mom's authentic home recipes in her restaurant. It's very clean and Nani's daughter is so friendly. (I need to ask her name the next time I'm in her place. *blushing*) I probably have to say that I like the the Cuban sandwiches from Papi's better, but Nani's is a restaurant with booths and outdoor seating as well. Papi's is a deli/grocery and you have to order your sandwiches to go. I haven't found a website for Nani's but you can google it and see photos of some delicious food from their menu!

For those of you who live in Tampa, consider giving Nani's a visit. They're only opened for breakfast and lunch. I think they close at 3p.m. If you can't make a trip to Tampa, you can peruse the link I've included here to make your own hot, pressed, Cubans at home! If you can't find authentic Cuban bread in your area, try a French loaf. ENJOY!

How to Make a Pressed Cuban Sandwich

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Time To Let The Cat Out Of The Bag!

Poor thing's been hissing and clawing to get out for days!
So so so very much has happened since I last posted here. I've been teasing on Face book about "Letting the Cat out of the bag." Let me cut right to the chase here and let that poor Cat out right now! Last week, we moved to another city, closer to my husband's work. (whew! now that poor cat can breathe!) Agustin was transferred in December and has already grown tired of a near hour commute to and from work. But for today, I'm happy to report that we are all doing fine and recouping from the decisions and move quite well. Since I didn't say a peep about us moving before hand, I felt as though I was keeping a huge secret from all of my friends. It was kind of exhilarating feeling like a sneaky snake! LOL

We haven't found another home yet that feels like the proper fit, so we are staying with my parents in the city. I sort of feel as though I'm on a mini-vacation because our belongings, for the most part, are in a storage unit. I find it freeing to not have so much stuff to worry about day to day. My home needed some purging, and boy did I ever purge as I packed last week! It was really quite fun! It did frustrate me to see my empty office. I could have enjoyed it so much more for these past five years had I decluttered sooner!
Italic Look Jackie! I finally have a clean desk!

Too bad it took a move to get me to clean my office!

We rented the largest U-Haul truck available! I had to take a shot of these words since we were moving in with my mom and dad on a temporary basis.
"Mom's Attic"
I'd like to give a big shout out to our son, Josh and Shane, and to my mom for all their help with the packing and loading.
We couldn't have done it without you!
Friday, baby brother is flying in as he needs to pick up some important documents. Our mother has planned to prepare all of his favorite meals! He is her baby after all.

While Agustin and Shane played at Busch Gardens today, mom and I took a whirlwind tour through IKEA. I saw several items I liked but am holding off purchasing things until I see exactly what type of home I wind up living in. We plan on downsizing so our new mantra is "Simplify,Simplify,Simplify!"I did purchase a tea infuser and Mom bought some cute, round, black place mats and dishtowels.

I can't believe another weekend is already upon us since the move. Last Saturday, we went with friends to the annual Strawberry Festival in Plant City. This year we chose not to ride anything, but we did enjoy the booths, crafts, cooking shows, natural remedy liniments (yeah weird huh?), and of course all the food that is so bad for us! The best part was eating strawberries and ice cream with friends and introducing a recently arrived northerner to the festival.

Loretta, Meredith, Missy, and Pam (I'm the big red strawberry on the end)arriving at the Strawberry Festival,
Plant City, Fl
I'm wondering if the place will EVER be the same!

We appreciated the fact that the good folks at *Brandon Farms* know who the credit belongs to!

I must not close this post without proclaiming the goodness of our Heavenly Father! God has been so very good to us. It never ceases to amaze me how HE works everything out. I saw several miracles last week during the course of our moving adventure
His timing is always perfection!

I have many burdens upon my heart at this time and would certainly be grateful
for your prayer support.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Dilly Dallying

That's what today's beautiful weather calls for! I've decided that for today, I'm going to Dilly Dally! Do you ever take a day to just Dilly Dally? The low humidity, the warming sun, the breeze and temps outside call for time outdoors today. I'm thinking a walk with my doggie, then some reading out on the back patio, enjoying the breeze coming in off our little lake. Oh but first, LUNCH with my hubs who just happens to be off today!

So how is your weather where you live? How are you spending your Tuesday?
It always makes me laugh!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dear Lexi,


I can't believe you are one year old today! I'm so happy you were born into a loving, Christian family! You are one blessed little baby girl! It seems like it was just yesterday I drove about an hour to see you on your very first day in this world. Your mommy's bedroom was abuzz with excitement! Gigi and I almost fought about who would get to hold you first.
It tickles me to know that the first time you went to church, Gigi brought you into my Junior Church class and introduced you to the children!
I love you so much Lexi. If I were there in Paraguay with you right now, I'd hug you, and squeeze you, and smack a big, noisy kiss on your chubby cheeks! Oh and I'm sure I'd be squealing too. Stay healthy baby girl. I pray I can see you one day soon.

Love Forever,

Tia Pam

Tia Pam holding newborn baby Lexi.

GiGi holds baby Lexi while visiting the Junior Church class.
P.S. - I can' t wait to see the pictures of your birthday celebration. Your mommy is such a talented photographer, I'm sure they'll be very good.

Little Abbie's New Do!!!

See Abbie's long hair? Well that was before....

she got THIS new do!!

Isn't she just the most adorable little bug? I miss her and her sisters sooo much!

Friday, February 04, 2011

My Week in Review

Sunday was amazing! Working with the children in Junior Church is always a highlight of each week. This past Sunday, I witnessed a student who usually is aloof, become animated and really joined in on the songs and with the activities.

Monday was tough! I was exhausted as I usually am after each weekend. I try to not plan much for any given Monday due to health restraints. I get my son rolling with his new school assignments for the week and do some laundry. That's about it. Oh except for this week! I spent sometime on the phone making some sneaky plans concerning my mom's birthday on Sunday and ordering custom designed cupcakes from my friend Shannon Green. I can't wait for the surprise factor on Sunday when mom is surprised (hopefully). I'm taking her to her favorite Chinese Buffet (Lee Garden) and when she enters, she will see our Ladie's Sunday School class assembled and ready to celebrate her special day. Then the big finale will be when Shannon and her young daughter Sydney show up with dessert for the special occasion!

Tuesday was another low key day and gift from God. Agustin had the day off, so I cooked his favorite American meal. (roast beef, loaded baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad.

Wednesday I was to host an old college friend and her daughter in our home for the night then drive them to the airport the next morning where they would catch their flight to CHICAGO!! Well we know what kind of weather that part of the country is experiencing this week! Needless to say, their flight was changed around and as of Wednesday afternoon, they were no longer going to be flying out of Tampa. I was disappointed that it didn't work out because I was really looking forward to a long chat with a girlfriend. I was happy to read on Facebook that they arrived safely in Chicago on Thursday. She is a born and bred Florida Keys girl! I chuckled when I read her status which said: "I've never been in a place where the weather actually takes my breath away." No doubt she is referring to weather in the cold and windy city of Chicago!

Thursday was another day off for Agustin. After doing a few chores around the house and a long walk with the dog, we got our showers and headed out to dinner. Shane has been craving Olive Garden and so has my husband. So that is where we ate last night. Since my husband's resignation back in September of 2009, we've only returned once to his old store. It was good to see many of his former employees who are still opining about how much they miss him. We decided to fore go the yummy desserts there and headed to Coldstone Creamery instead. Agustin ordered the Cheesecake Fantasy. He offered me a bit saying:"Try this, it's like a party in your mouth!" It was yummo!

Next we headed to Sally Beauty Supply where I used a 20% off coupon and purchased my very first flatiron. I loved the finished salon look my hair gets after using the flatiron! While in Sally's, I met a sweet and beautiful gal from Albania. By the time I walked out of there, I felt like we were fast and true friends. I can't wait to follow up and share my Lord with her.

Needless to say, my husband and Shane didn't go into Sally's Beauty Supply with me! They ran to Target and were waiting curbside for me when I FINALLY walked out of there. My carriage whisked me away to the phone store and yep-we did it-we finally purchased our first iPhone! I LOVE IT! Why did we wait so long?? Shane and I were up until the wee hours of the morning playing with it.

Another highlight of the day came when I saw a photo of my Josh out in Texas via a photo posted on Facebook!! It's the little things in life ya' know.

Friday, today has been a most wonderful day! It started with some phone calls to friends, then a visit from my dear gal pal Pat and her daughter Rachel. What sweet and precious Christian ladies! They couldn't stay long but the short, sweet visit was a great way to start the day.

This afternoon, Shane left to spend the night with Jacob; his buddy who is turning 13 this weekend. I'm home alone with my doggie. When my friend Michal found out I was alone and pondering on what to do tonight, she invited me to her place for supper at six. I haven't seen her in over a year even though we both live in the same neighborhood. A shame, I know! (The story of how Michal and I met is a sweet, amazing story which I absolutely must share on my blog sometime.) The menu sounds delish for tonight. Grilled BBQ chicken, scalloped potatoes, green beans, deviled eggs and strawberry cake for dessert!

I'm not sure what tomorrow holds but I'm sure looking forward to it!

What about you? What were some highlights from your week?

Edited To Say: Just back from a wonderful Friday night of good food around a Christian Family Table and in the sweet company of fellow believers. This is the first time I've been out alone in awhile. I must say it felt kinda nice!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Tis the season of colds and flu-bugs! I chuckled when I read the following list of things that folks used to think would help cure ya'! (List taken from Sunday's PARADE insert.)


1) Smearing goose grease on your chest and wrapping it with flannel

2) Rubbing the soles of your feet with tallow and turpentine, and holding them against a wood stove

3) Getting passed three times under a horse's belly

4) Having a fish skin tied to your feet

5) Cupping, followed by blood-letting
{I've seen this done to my husband in Mexico. The *cupper* will rub the *cuppee* with alcohol. Then light a match near it, rush a cup over that area. The cup sucks the skin up into it. Supposedly this cleanses the *cuppee* of toxins. This is done all over the *cuppee's* body. Fun to watch but I never participated as a *cuppee* because the *cupper* seemed to enjoy it too much!}

6) Going to sleep wearing a pair of cold, wet socks with a pair of thick, dry socks on top of them

7) Stuffing your nostrils with cut garlic cloves
*I've heard my dad talk of similar mountain cures. For instance, his mother would rub mustard on his chest and tie garlic around his neck when he was sick. Sometimes she would force him to eat an onion sandwich.*

8) Pressing a warm, peeled hard-boiled egg to your forehead

9) Eating snakeskin


I think my fave is #8!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Embroidered Towels, Aunt Tommie's Work

You've heard me mention my Aunt Tommie on here many times. She is one of my dad's older sisters and a doll. She has always been known for her tedious and precise handiwork. In this short video you can see the kitchen towels she sent to my mom for Christmas this year. I just love them!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Missing 'Em!!

Some days, I just seem to yearn for a hug or to hear a sweet giggle from these two precious little girls. They belong to my niece Jackie. She and Brian are awesome parents, raising their three little ladies up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When I'm around these little gals, it seems all the cares of the world melt away. Sadly for me, they live on another continent! They are quite content there. It's where God has led them to minister. But still yet, I miss you Elena and Abbie! (Oh and baby Lexi too).

A Visit to our Neighborhood Park While Visiting With Us

What pleasant memories this photo brings! They were serving burgers and fries to us, pretending to work at a M*Donald*s. They would hand Tio Agustin handfuls of mulch. He would pretend they were french fries and act as if he was munching on them. They would just


Here's Elena in her Tia Pam's cowgirl boots. She found them in my closet - oh, I'd say within five minutes of arriving at our house! oh and notice the necklace, that's mine too! I'm smiling now as I recall how surprised I was that she found these items to play dress up in on her own and oh so quickly!

And now, purely for your enjoyment, a photo of Lexi Joy, the baby sister!

Dear Elena, Abbie, and Lexi:

Please don't grow up too, too much before I get to see you again!


Tia Pam

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two Prayer Requests...

I would so appreciate it if you could please keep my son Josh and four of his friends in prayer as they travel throughout this evening and all day tomorrow, heading to Houston, Texas. (Wed. & Thurs.) They begin work on Friday morning. While there, they will be building a huge furnace for a glass factory.

Also, my Shane is so sick again! He had about two weeks relief from an ugly virus and terrible cough. Sunday he started with another sore throat and now his poor little nose is runny and his cough hurts his throat. So far, we're trying various home remedies. He slept well last night. I trust he feels better soon!

BROTHERS-Josh and Shane