Friday, March 19, 2021

 Good Baptist, Good Friends and Good Food

We found ourselves in Central Florida, close to Plant City at the start of the Strawberry Festival. We were also staying with friends we made from Germany over 25 years ago. The E's. We love to visit them. And they like to have us because we bring our own bedroom. The E's are good Baptist. "Just what is a good Baptist", you may well ask? A good Baptist participates in church activities. Bro. E happens to be on staff of their church. Mrs. E happens to participate in the choir. They are also involved with other aspects of their church. A good Baptist is also a good Baptist at home, outside of church activities. And the E's certainly are. Spending time with them, we might hear joyful humming of Christian music as Mrs. E does her chores. There is no negative talk about anyone or anything. And it's natural. Both Bro. E and Mrs. E look for ways to help others like the family who is losing a loved one to cancer.

The E's are also good friends. We good back many years to Germany where the Air Force sent us for a period of years. And, although many years have passed between visit, each time we get together is a celebration. We can pick up as though we see each other everyday. How cool is that?! They are also great hosts when we park in their driveway. They enjoy making every minute of our stay most enjoyable. 

Food. Food just seems to fit into the good Baptist culture. It also fits into the good friends category. So, we ate our fill of great food, especially strawberry shortcake! 

Fancy Farms near Lakeland, Florida, serves up fresh, lucsious strawberry shortcake with ice cream. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Oh, The Wonders of Things Never Experienced.

I have experienced many "favorite" spots to just watch and be in awe. My mind likes to think about the wonders in how something is made. Indeed, I do have a deep appreciation for so much. Sometimes I will miss something because I was just awed by it and got my phone out to learn about it. I believe this keeps us young. We need to be interested and invested in the world in which we find ourselves. I look to be amazed even in the most simple of tasks. I guess you would say that I'm easy to please. Well, yes. I try not to be complicated or to complicate things. 

When we lived in our "sticks and brick" home, we often found ourselves in Corpus Christi, Texas, where we did our shopping and made doctor appointments and such. It's a lovely little city with a large harbor. When we could afford the time, we would spend time under the Harbor Bridge just watching the big oil tankers going in and out. I don't think we saw much else. On a good day, we could see the tankers out at the oil rigs that dot the shoreline. I would just stand there in awe of the size of the ship and wonder just how it stays afloat being so large and so heavy. The great minds and all the experiments and learning to design such ships! What an army of talented people to build them! 

And I am humbled again. I'm humbled at the sheer organization and training of all personnel that run a very active port. Several times we have witnessed the skilled choreography of escorting large vessels in and out of port, which itself is not very large but holds a large array of ships. And it's not enough for us to just watch the big ships go by. Sitting on the jetty of Naval Station Mayport, spying a large pod of bottle nose dolphins playing in the wake of the ships, and the graceful pelicans gliding overhead in the wind currents, I have to pull out my phone and look up the information about the ships. I've checked out the satellite maps to see what the port looks like from above. To drive around it doesn't take up much time. And the satellite image doesn't say much for it, but the small city operating it is much to be admired. 

Apple Maps Satellite Image
Satellite image of the area.

When we first arrived at our tent site at Pelican Roost RV Park at Naval Station Mayport, we were just astonished to see the activity on the water. First we noticed several orange and yellow tugboats heading towards the Atlantic Ocean. They were followed by gray, what we can only describe as gunboats, as they were stationed throughout the port.

A submarine enters the port being guided by three tugboats.

The two submarines, after asking around and searching the Internet, turn out to be from Peru. They are flying both the Peruvian flag and the United States flag. They are on a joint venture with diesel fueled submarines.

The second submarine enters the port.

Watching the dance of all ships, crew and vessels enter and exit the protection of Mayport, is fascinating. From the little trolly ship that opens the "gate" as it dings it bell, to the protection of the opened port, the men and women on the vessels greeting us as we watch on shore, to the hearty tugboats poised for their tough jobs. All eyes cognizant of every movement above, below, and around the port.

Closing the "gate."

We don't have to leave our little tent site to enjoy museums, quaint shops, and coffee shops. No need to pay money to be entertained. We enjoy the simple pleasures of watching the Port Dance. We never know what we may find.

There's plenty of other ships going up and down St. John's River.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Self Publishing and Press Release

Never Alone Press Release

Writing is hard! What's not difficult is to dropping a lot of money to publish a book - and to promote it. But I believe in this book. I hope that it will help save a life. So here's to it. This is my press release from Strat Advertising.

Never Alone Press Release

Teresa Basaldua‘s Never Alone is a moving work designed to connect with people from all walks of life by showing them that the title of the piece always holds true. By unraveling the story of a popular, successful, and seemingly happy nine year old boy who inexplicably feels he has no choice other than to take his own life, it offers hope in a world where many can feel like it is in short supply. The author sat down recently to share her thoughts on what this project is all about, how it came to be, and what she hopes it will do for those who read it.

“When I retired as an elementary educator, I was filled with writing ideas that I created to engage students in the classroom. I was equipped with an assortment of characters, many of whom came from my own family, settings, and story ideas from modeling writing to my students. And as an educator, I wanted to write stories that would engage readers and a book that could be used in the classroom to teach thinking about the text. My first book, Faith in the Future, is a picture book that I also illustrated. I never had any training in art, but relied on what I learned from observing my father who was a creative artist. Then, throw in the fact that I’m a storyteller. My writing and illustrations come together from storytelling in the Kamishibai style. It’s storytelling with picture cards used to entertain Japanese children after World War II.”

This is certainly a highly laudable goal, but why this book, and why now?

“This book was born from the moment I fell to my knees as I was walking up to my house. A group of wonderful volunteers were rebuilding the fence that Hurricane Harvey destroyed. I had just returned from picking up lunch when I got a phone call from my daughter-in-law. She informed me that my wonderful nine year old grandson had tried to commit suicide. Yes, I dropped to my knees and cried out to God. I was thankful that he failed. But all the grief I felt years before, when my mother committed suicide, descended on me in an instant. I had to deal with my pain, so I sat down to write. I created a list, so to speak, of all the wonders this young man is. To the list I added illustrations. I added an index to empower everyone – to let everyone know that they don’t have to go through struggles alone. Through the process, I learned that suicide is increasing among very young people. And, to my knowledge, a picture book about suicide prevention for young children has never been done. But before anyone thinks that I actually showed anything about suicide itself, let me explain that the story and illustrations do not depict suicidal activity in any fashion. Even the illustrations are very muted, kept to the same three colors throughout the book.”

“Never Alone is intended to be an encouragement, a source of help to that person who is considering suicide, and to their friends and family.”

And what do you hope to achieve over the coming 12 months?

“This book started as a way for me to help myself deal with the pain of suicide. Once I learned that suicide was escalating among children as young as four years of age, I knew that this book could help others as well. The idea of this book is prevention. We are good at looking like everything is okay when we are a bundled up mess inside. Surrounding ourselves with good people is extremely important. I want to see this book in doctor offices, health care waiting rooms, counselor offices, schools and libraries. I pray that this book can be instrumental in saving a child’s life.”


today and explore a moving work that’s set to change the way the world thinks about the complex issue of suicide.

Teresa Basaldua can be contacted for interviews and speaking appearances through the Media Contact Information below.

Author’s Blog:

Media Contact
Company Name: STRAT Advertising
Contact Person: Emily Brown
Email: Send Email
Phone: 917-338-6458
Country: United States

Living in a VAN

First, let me say that my husband and I will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary this summer. Nearly 45 years of being together through the good times and the bad times and all the in-between times. We were "young and dumb" when we decided to get married at 19 and 18 years of age. 

Now, nearly 45 years later, we are closer than we've even been before. Closer, not just in attitude, but in proximity! We both retired early, sold the house, gave our children's inheritance to them early, and now live in our 20 foot high top ProMaster van. 

South Dakota Enchanted Highway "Geese in Flight" 

It may not look like anything on the outside. It's just your ordinary innocuous vehicle you might see anywhere. But when we're settled in one place, either for a few hours for an afternoon nap, an overnight stop at a truck or rest stop, or for days and weeks at a campsite, this home meets all our needs. We have several features with simplicity in mind. We built it all with very little skills. But it all came together as we lived in it. My favorite feature is our queen square bed. It's was built on a high platform with a "garage" underneath. We found that a RV or queen size sofa mattress fits well. Another feature we installed is a large Craftsman tool chest. It holds all our kitchen needs and doubles as our pantry. The butcher block top we added is great for cooking inside when it's rainy and cold outside. We use a single butane burner inside and a double Coleman propane burner when camping out. 

Our queen size bed with plenty of storage underneath.

This past Christmas we found ourselves camping in a campground in Florida. Being cold and rainy, enjoying Christmas in the van was a particular challenge. Still, we managed to create some new traditions and have a lot of fun in the process. We didn't have presents but we did have a tiny Christmas tree with lights that played to Christmas music. 

Christmas includes a cup of hot coffee in bed and a good Christmas movie.

We've been in "dry dock" for the holidays. Our van has been parked in the driveway at our daughter's home. When we're visiting family for extended time, we try to improve our little home on wheels. We added a swivel to the passenger seat, a carpet to the front and a new mattress topper. Now that all the Christmas items have been stored away, it's time to get back on the road. We're very excited to volunteer this summer for a work camper program with the National Park Service. We have lots of adventures before us. 

Just what kind of trouble can we expect to get into?

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Getting Started

Dithering! Vacillation! Procrastination! I am the QUEEN of all forms of the word. How many times I have sat down to start my blog and NOT do it for one perceived reason or another? Way too many to count. I used to have a school blog that I loved to use. It took so much of my time that it must have burned me out. 

But today is a new day.

Today, I add to my life the title of BLOGGER. It's apparently the thing to do. But what kind of Blogger am I? What do I find so important to say that complete strangers would want to visit? With so many kinds of blogs out there, I find that I have a lot to say. I'm a storyteller. So, I will share stories - stories of my journey. 

I'm on several journeys at this moment. Perhaps you might find some trail on which you would like to join me.

1. My husband and I live in a van. We travel all over the United States and Canada in a Dodge ProMaster van. We bought a used one and built out the inside the way we wanted. There's nothing fancy, but it meets our needs. We like to look for quirky things with stories. It's the story that makes that chicken wire art or medallion in the middle of the street so interesting. This is something we've been doing for almost two years. Perhaps you would be interested in learning how to live and travel in a van and what the pros and cons are. 

2. As stated, I'm a storyteller. As a retired teacher, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, (a very young one at that) I know how to answer the crazy kid questions while looking good the whole time. They all believe I the smartest person they know. And I have "Momo Magic" to boot! That's how I got into storytelling. But I'm a different storyteller. I practice the storytelling style of the Kamishibai. It's a Japanese form of storytelling that has a long and amazing history. But more about that later.

3. Out of my storytelling arose my journey as a self-published writer. I've written two children's picture books and they are very different from each other. My first book is titled, Faith in the Future. It is an adventure with my first grandchild, Faith. My second book is more serious and is called, Never Alone. It is a hard hitting book about suicide in young people. I believe it is a most important book. Self publishing is a very difficult and expensive adventure. And hopefully, one that is important to take on. Perhaps you would like to experience what it's like to travel this path? 

4. Through writing children's books, I've crossed over into being an illustrator for my books as they are picture books. I've never been formally trained as an artist, but I grew up in an artist's home. I've drawn upon my childhood memories and lots of videos to help me express the actions in the books.

All of my trails cross over each other as I continue to travel in our van, practice Kamishibai, write and create art. Perhaps there is something of interest here for you. I hope your path crosses with mine on some level.

Picture books I've written:

Faith in the Future

Never Alone

 Good Baptist, Good Friends and Good Food We found ourselves in Central Florida, close to Plant City at the start of the Strawberry Festival...