Devotions, God, Isaiah 43:1~3, Quiet Time, Thankfulness

Be Careful What You Pray For ~

Last night as I crawled into bed I set my alarm for 8:30a…so I can be ready to go to work in the office by 10:00a. I played a few games on my phone and then spent some time in prayer. I asked the Lord to help me to get a good night’s sleep and to wake up before my alarm was set to go off so I could spend some quality time with Him.

I wake up quite a few times in the night, usually to go potty (I know TMI) and last night was no different. First time was 1:25a, then 4:44a and I also took my thyroid medication and again at 6:44a…I chuckled to myself and thought “be careful what you pray for” ~ thinking about my prayer last night before going to sleep. So up I got. Turned on the furnace ~ it was a bit chilly in our little home on wheels ~ 61° (we do keep our little electric fireplace running all night).

I started my morning routine of checking my Blood Glucose ~ fasting of 100! That is so good!! Fixed myself a glass of ice water (trying to get more water in). I then set up my tray table, grabbed my Bible, Experiencing God Devotional, “Telling Yourself the Truth”, my journal and of course my colored pens!

EGD was titled “Truth Sets You Free” and goes right along with my Telling Yourself the Truth book from Dr. Keith that I am trying to finish. I am always amazed at how God brings things together. I have been talking with a friend in SLC about truth, God’s truth, believing truths and not lies and then this morning’s devotional was titled “Truth Sets You Free”.

Truth sets you free, truth sets me free! This is so true in so many ways. In relationships and at work. Just two weeks ago I called our boss and shared with him how I was feeling: overwhelmed, how I felt I wasn’t doing my job or meeting his expectations. It was my own kind of “come to Jesus meeting.” What I saw as truth wasn’t truth at all ~ I didn’t know how to do some things ~ that’s why I felt I wasn’t doing my job. The truth was I needed some guidance in doing what was being asked of me. Once the air was cleared, at least from my end, work seemed manageable and doable!

Truth in the workplace can also include admitting we were working in a toxic environment (previous places of employment). And how freeing life became when we removed ourselves from those toxic environments. Freedom can be seen in a few ways: peace in our hearts, sleeping better at night and even less bickering between Ron and I.

One thought that came to mind was KNOWING the truth and EXPERIENCING the truth are really two different things. At two of our recent employment locations we knew the truth was that we were working in toxic environments yet we kept making excuses to stay. Each time a “situation” made us realize that something had to change. And both times once we made the decision to move on, we experienced the freedom of truth!

Thoughts going through my mind as I read this morning
~ choose Mercy for myself, not just for others
~ expectations; who sets those for myself and are they true/right expectations
~ it’s okay to make mistakes! If we choose, we can learn from our mistakes. Frances Bacon states “truth will sooner come out from errors than from confusion.” Thus I need to quit beating myself up when I make a mistake!!!
~ Success ~ what does it look like for me? It might not look the same for others. Ron and I have talked often that how we see success is very different from others. A lot of people think a big home, fancy cars and having lots of money shows success. For us we have defined success as feeling peace in our home and where we are working, having enough money to pay our bills without stressing every day and even having enough groceries available to us. Success to us is seeing how boys happy, seeing them excited about their own lives and watching them and our grandchildren be happy and content.

One of the misbeliefs (lies) that was discussed in my reading this morning was “I should always be and act happy, in spite, of all the hardships or troubles that come my way. My response has become “my happiness is NOT dependent upon my situation or circumstance, my happiness comes from knowing I am loved by God and I am enough.

The above scripture, Isaiah 43:1-3 tells me to teach myself to be happy and content. The lies I tell myself are I an unattractive ~ Truth tells me that I am made in God’s image and that is beautiful. Another lie is I can’t but Truth tells me I can do all things through Jesus Christ! Another lie is I am lonely but Truth tells me I am never alone as God is with me always!!!

Ali’s translation of Isaiah 43: 1-3
God says it! It is truth!
He formed me! I am not one of my mom’s mistakes!
I am not to be afraid
There are 365 scriptures that say “do not be afraid”
One for every day of the year!
I am redeemed
Jesus called me by name, He knows who I am
I am His!
He will always be with me, I am never alone,
even when I am going through hard times.
I don’t need to feel overwhelmed
even though I walk through fires (tough times)
I won’t be burned
For God is my Lord & Savior!!


And I am reminded of these truths in

Kimberly Coyle says “you can’t go over it*, you can’t go under it*, oh no, you’ve got to go through it*! God says “Oh my darling, Ali, buckle up, you are just getting started and there is no going around it*! Hang on for the ride and look for the things that bring you joy!! Like the snowflakes falling this morning here in Bear Branch, Kentucky!

*IT is whatever the circumstance or situation is.*

The assignment from today’s lesson was to write down 10 things I am thankful for…
1. I am thankful I can do my job
2. I am thankful for the ability to cook edible and mostly good food.*
3. I am thankful we have our little home on wheels
4. I am thankful for turning 65 because I now have insurance to help pay for my insulin
5. I am thankful to have people in my life who encourage me
6. I am thankful for my hubby, who loves me unconditionally
7. I am thankful to have relationships with my sons!
8. I am thankful I have one good eye to see
9. I am thankful for having warm clothes on cold mornings
10. I am thankful I woke up early to enjoy the snow falling!

*Ask Ron or Kevin about edible food LOL*

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Two questions for you ~
1. Do you believe Truth sets you free? Why or why not?
2. What are you thankful for today?

Beginnings, Choices, community, Family, Love

Checking In ~

Opened my devotional notebook and this is what I found:

Oh how awesome is our God to meet me right where I am! Today will be the first day that Ron and I go out and Scouting Home Visits in the community. Am I nervous, you bet BUT God says He will be with me.

As of today I have
~ 5 consecutive mornings getting up before my alarm
~ have only had 1 soda (diet or zero) for the past 4 days AND that was with two long days of traveling. Last Saturday we drove to South Carolina to help some friends out and then Sunday we drove back to Bear Branch, KY!!
~ 4 consecutive nights of no snacking after going to bed! Even though last night as I walked towards the bedroom I thought about grabbing the bag of popcorn but then told myself “Ali, you are not hungry, you don’t need any popcorn.!”
YES I am feeling good about myself and the CHOICES I have made over the past 5 days!!!

I then opened my little Experiencing God Daily Devotional.

and my heart took a little lurch.
As many of you know, my younger sister, Joanie has refused to speak to me for over 6 years, since my older sister, Kathy passed away. I will be honest most days, I just bury my feelings and wishes that she would speak to me, heck I don’t even know THE WHY she won’t speak to me.

I have sent emails, tried calling, Ron has called her, we’ve sent letters and cards ~ all to no avail. Sad Really.

But this morning, God spoke to me ~ even though Joanie won’t speak to me
I CAN
~ love her unconditionally
~ pray for her, for God’s protection, for Him to soften her heart
~ not retaliate or speak badly about her
~ and I can pray for her!

I want to scream out “it’s hard to love someone who won’t even speak to me” But God whispered, but you can pray for her.

So as I continue this day with CHOICES, SELF-CONTROL and NO EXCUSES I begin my day asking God for protection for us as we travel around Leslie County, speaking with community members, loving on them as Jesus would have us love on them I can pray for my sister.

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What about you? What are you focusing on today?

Choices, Devotional, Friends, Quiet Time

Word for 2023!

If you have followed me for any length of time, y’all know I usually choose one word to focus, inspire and work on. Well this year I have chosen three:

CHOICES, SELF-CONTROL, EXCUSES 

As I have mentioned over the past few months I am actively and consciously working on my relationship with the Lord, trying to make healthy choices when it comes to eating (notice I said trying as I know this is a lifelong battle for me), building stronger and healthier relationships with family and friends and continuing to see myself as God sees me. I came up with these three words through conversations with my bestie, Dee, and other friends in my circle of confidants.

What? I share certain things with some and not others ~ well yes I do. If I have learned one thing over the past 65 years not everyone who says they are your friend are really friends, some have taken things I said and used them to hurt me by gossiping and telling tales. On Facebook I have 481 “friends” and what I share on Facebook is me…me to a degree as some things I have learned not to share there and that’s okay BECAUSE everyone doesn’t need to know everything ~ do you agree? (choices)

As many people do at the beginning of the New Year make resolutions or goals and I am no different though I think the goals I am working on are a continuation of the last six months or even years. This is what my goals look like this January 2023 ~

  • Moisturize
  • Work out 3x a week
  • Check my Blood Sugar morning and night
  • Spend time in the Word
  • Blog/Journal 3x a week
  • Drink more water

And then of course I add to my To Do List things that need to be done for that day or week. This week my To Do List has included:

  • Organize all our food cupboards ~ DONE
  • Organize both freezers ~ DONE
  • Setup 2023 Financials ~ in process
  • Make a monthly meal calendar ~ goal is to use up groceries we have on hand before buying more
  • Setup doctor appointments ~ must be done in January!
  • Sort & organize my yarn
  • Send Thank You cards ~ specifically related to our recent trip to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina
  • Send addresses to M & M for upcoming wedding celebration!!!

As you can see a couple of things have been completed and I am sure in the days and weeks to come things will get completed and more things will be added.

CHOICES ~ specifically focusing on making healthy food choices and to move this body of mine

SELF-CONTROL ~ another way to say this, as discussed with my bestie is MODERATION ~ I need this in so many areas of my life as I tend to be an all or nothing type of person. Crocheting, Eating, Buying Yarn, repeat 😜

EXCUSES ~ I think I would call myself a professional excuse maker LOL! But what I realize is that there are reasons and excuses…in my book reasons are truth and excuses are just that ~ excuses for doing or not doing something. In thinking of what “excuses” means to me my goal this year is to continue to strive to be honest in regards to my thinking and words I say. To challenge myself in identifying my misbeliefs that come in the form of excuses.

The above is just a lead in to where I’m at today and what’s on my mind and heart. This morning my devotions included Experiencing God Devotional and January Scripture Writing Prompts.

 and

Once again I am amazed at how the Lord brings things together. As I am evaluating where my life is, what my goals are how my two separate devotionals all come together. In identifying areas of my life I realize I am not the same person I used to be, not six months ago and definitely not years ago.

One of the questions asked in my JSWP was “what will I release this year…?” and think about my words for 2023…choices I make, am I using moderation/self-control in my life and how do I let the excuses go and replace them with truths. To finish the sentence of “what will I release this year…I want to release the thinking/feelings that I am not the misbeliefs I have been fed over the years…one that comes in mind quite often is “I am one of my mom’s 3 mistakes” which is a big misbelief/lie and replace it with I was made in God’s image, God is love, thus I am loveable. Am I perfect ~ nope not at all, BUT with Abba God I can be perfect in His eyes!

As I read Isaiah 66:2 I hear God telling me to be open to what He says in his word, believe and own what He says and to get excited for what He is going to show me.

I hope my writing today has not been too confusing – I just want to continue to journal and write about where I am and how I feel I am growing in the Lord. As I have told many friends and family ~ I want to be an encourager and hope my blog just does that.

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Do you make resolutions or goals?
Do you choose a word for the year?

Blogs, Devotional, Love

Setting My Priorities

I am the kind of person that has lists, lists of things to do, lists of projects I want to complete, lists of all the medications I/we take and even lists of chores that need to be completed! I also love to mark things off of my lists – it is a visual thing to show me I have not been a bump on a log all day long 😳.

I also use a paper day timer/calendar and it is full of lists. Lists of things that need to be done each day, things that need to be for the week and the month. I love to see things written down and crossed off.

One of my priorities, for lack of a better word is to spend time each day in the Word of God. I wish I could say I am successful at doing that every day but that’s just not true.

But this morning I did and it was good!!! I use a variety of different devotional tools along with my Bible. Today’s scriptures were from Experiencing God Daily Devotional (EGDD) and January Scriptures and Writing Prompts (JSWP) from PrayerfulPlanner.

This morning’s verses were Isaiah 6: 5-9 and 2 Corinthians 3:18

and

And I was reminded if I look at things through my mind, my eyes and my thoughts I take my focus off of God BUT by keeping my focus on God I see peace, blessings (physical, spiritual and emotional) as how God sees me and wants me to see the world.

The prompt from JSWP was to write a prayer of transformation ~ my prayer today is that as I busy myself with all the things on my list I want to keep my focus on the Lord and how He is always with me, even when I don’t feel his presence and to have God’s love that He shares so openly and willingly with me shared with those I come into contact with, whether that be in person, on the phone or through a post on Facebook or an email…Lord, allow your love for me flow through me to those I come into contact with. Amen.

As many of you know, one of the things I enjoy doing is writing and yes, writing, blogging, journaling are all on my lists ~ do I do it every day? No, but I want to. One of the tools I am trying to use this year is being a part of WordPress Bloganuary. Today’s prompt was to answer the question “How are you brave?”

When I first saw the prompt I thought “I am not brave.” But in reality I am brave in many ways…I don’t let physical stuff stop me from doing things ~ I am thinking of only having vision out of one eye. Oh there are lots of things I won’t do because I only have one eye like go water skiing or snow skiing ~ the fear is real I would lose my eye and it would be impossible to find! And at $5000 a pop, that’s too much money to risk. But I do things that I have been told I can’t do because I only have one eye ~ cross-stitch is one because you know I might poke my good eye out! I enjoy cross-stitching, it’s right up there with crocheting…I love to make things and give them away. And yes, I have scratched the lens on my left side of my glasses before with a needle and I have even superglued my eyeball though I don’t recommend either of those activities.

Another way I am brave but I don’t call it being brave ~ I call it sharing my testimony, my story of being abused, abuses in more ways than I can count and also being a verbally and physically abusive person in my past. Am I proud of that abuse ~ absolutely not! What I am proud of is that I have learned how to love myself (self-abuse is a big thing too), love those who God has placed in my life, learned to share with others that you don’t have to be abusive, that it is okay to be a loving and kind person. I have also learned that I don’t have to be in control all the time…for so many years of my life I thought I had to control those around me, to get them to meet my needs, to do my bidding. BUT in reality I have realized I can only control myself. I can only control what I say or do. It doesn’t mean I can’t share my desires and wants and needs but it does mean I can only control me.

I think I will always struggle with wanting to control things, it’s only human to want what I want, when I want it

BUT GOD
has shown me how to love myself,
how to love others,
know the difference between wants and needs

AND WITH GOD
I am whole,
I am loved,
I am loveable,
I am enough
and
I can love others
just as God loves me!

and most importantly

Beginnings, Blessings, Ecclesiastes 3:1~8

New Beginnings!

First off

Happy New Year 2023!!!

Like I am sure many of you, the last few days we have had lots of chats about the new year, new goals, do we make New Year’s Resolutions? ~ No, not really 😃 because I seem to always be setting new goals, new ideas and new plans into motion all throughout the year. We’ve discussed some things we would like to do this coming year ~ be more intentional with our time, do some short trips checking out this part of the country, go see our kids and their families ~ yes both the east coast and west coast, find and get involved in a local church and give 100% in everything we do.

We started out 2023 going to church. We attended Rockhouse Baptist Church. The question we asked ourselves in the truck on our way home was “do we want to go there again?” And our answers were the same: Yes. We have lots of questions and the way to get those questions answered is to return for another visit. Our observations include “maybe they don’t have a pastor or maybe their pastor was gone since it was a holiday.” They had a guest speaker, Bro. Adam Feltner. The music was a little different, no congregational singing, but it was mentioned that the couple leading the music was doing it so the regular worship team could have a day of rest. Brother Feltner brought a good message. The highlights

  • everyone has issues ~ God Forgives
  • even in the hard times ~ we need to seek God and give thanks
  • God is always near ~ even if I don’t feel He is
  • every day we are filled with choices ~ choose to be happy, choose to give thanks, choose to seek God
  • everyone is a sinner, even when we’ve accepted God into our hearts ~ remember He is always with me and it is important to humber ourselves daily before God
  • every day it is important to pray and seek God
  • ask myself daily ~ are my actions/words something God would be proud of

After church we spent the afternoon first watching the morning service from Love Springs Baptist Church (thankful we have the option to still be a part even from a distance). The sermon, by PR had many of the same encouraging words we had heard earlie – God won’t force us to do anything, we all have choices about what we do each day, asking myself “are my priorities in line with what I know the Lord wants me to do/be? Which led to a discussion with Ron about priorities and what’s important to us ~ we can and do make time for the things that are important to us. Whether it be eating healthy or eating cookies in the middle of the night, drinking water instead of soda pop, spending time with the Lord or going for drives (which can include time with the Lord), for me crocheting or coloring or spending time in the Word. Not that any of those things are wrong but as it says in Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything.

After chatting about the two sermons we heard earlier in the day we binged watch some Jack Reacher movies, true crime shows and I of course did some crocheting. We also made and ate 16 Bean soup w/ham, celery & onions. Thank you Merel for the delicious ham!!! We both snoozed for a bit and ate way too much junk food while binge watching TV the rest of the day. As we crawled into bed last night we both commented it was a good day!!! And we have much to be thankful for as we start the New Year.

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How did you start the new year?
Do you make resolutions?
Do you call them something else?

Uncategorized

Home Again

After 20 days of traveling, numerous potty stops (we do this a lot as old people), lots of hugs from kids, grands and friends, co..old weather, lots of great food and did I say lots of hugs from the grands we are back at Our Little Home on Wheels.

We left Kentucky on Friday, December 9th and arrived at the home of our youngest son and his family late in the evening on Saturday, December 10th in Land O Lakes, Florida. After lots of hugs, unloading of the truck and more hugs we called it a night. While in Florida we watched lots of Christmas movies, tried some new recipes like a candy cane pizza which the boys loved, layered baked potatoes in the crock pot and a loaded cauliflower casserole. And of course a trip to Marcos pizza! We took an evening to go and look at Christmas lights, a few visits to Aroma Joes for peppermint mochas and specialty hot chocolates! We went to a potluck at our old church, New River in Wesley Chapel. Lots of good food and update from Pastor Fred about his trip to Guatemala. And of course lots of hugs!!

On Friday, December 23rd we left Florida and went to Milledgeville, GA to spend Christmas with our friend, Merel and her Mama. We laughed a lot, ate a lot, went for a couple of drives, ate some more, made some Christmas cookies, Chocolate Cherry Dips, that were easy and delicious, had our first Low Country Boil for Christmas dinner, slept in and took naps and enjoyed sharing memories and catching up with old friends.

On Tuesday, December 27th we continued on our journey back to Kentucky via Rossville, GA and connecting with friends, Randy & Kathy, who we had been houseparents with in Waco, TX. We laughed a lot, shared lots of hugs, caught up with each others lives, shared a great BBQ dinner and delicious pie! Do you see the theme ~ lots of eating, laughter and hugs!

After sharing a delicious breakfast and more hugs we traveled back to Big Creek Missions with a stop at Pinnacle Overlook just after crossing back into Kentucky. We arrived back at Our Little Home on Wheels just before 5:00p on Wednesday.

While on our trip, Kentucky, like a lot of places got hit with a super duper cold storm…our little home did get a couple of boo boo’s…the hot water heater got a big crack in the bottom, fortunately the water was contained, frozen in the cupboard and not all over the trailer and the black tank has a bit of frozen yuck in it (it is slowly thawing out but thankfully no breaks!!!)

We had a lot of fun on our little vacation but the saying “there is no place like home” is so true…after a good night’s sleep Ron tackled the hot water heater issue, got the water turned back on at Big Creek Mission and helped to get the trailer organized, I spent the day, feeling a bit chaotic as it seemed I jumped from one project to another…but the trailer is cleaned and organized, the checkbooks are balanced, ordered a new hot water tank ~ thankful we had the money in the bank to cover this unexpected expense, made an easy lunch of taquitos and meatball sandwiches for dinner, moved my yarn stash into the cubby in the gym, organized my daytimer and caught up on some emails. All in all a good day!

Tomorrow will be laundry day and organizing my yarn stash, figuring out lots of projects that are on my Projects To Do List and then getting back into the swing of things here at work. Ron has a couple of plumbing projects here at the mission due to the extreme cold they had over the past couple of weeks.

We are excited to be back here at Big Creek Missions and to see how the Lord leads us as we serve the communities here in Kentucky!!!

Blessings to each of you in the coming year!!!

Uncategorized

Catch Up Time ~ Merry Christmas

I know it’s been a very long time since I have sat down at the computer and spent some time writing…all the cliches fit: life gets busy, too tired, moving, being sick, life happens…y’all know all of them so I’m just going to start writing 😁 in a sort of Christmas letter way!

This year has been another year full of changes but in reality isn’t life always changing? December 2021 found us in Wesley Chapel, FL dealing with multiple health issues ~ Ron had a heart attack in November 21, Christmas Eve found me in the hospital with heart issues which in reality was a major GERD attack. Neither of which I would wish on my worst enemy. January 2, 2022 found Ron once again in the hospital – he decided to take a nap in the middle of a cul de sac 😳 so got a ride to the hospital and an overnight stay. We found out it was the new heart medication conflicting with blood pressure medication ~ thankfully the cardio doctor on duty figured it out fairly quickly.

January, February and March 2022 was filled with many visits to Brandon & Danalyn’s home, school pickups, family dinners and trying to keep up with our bills and obligations. Which seemed to be getting harder and harder. So once again we found ourselves looking for work. In April 2022 we found a workamper position at Camp Sparrow RV Park in Gaffney, SC.

We were looking forward to meeting new people, helping others have a fun vacation or weekend getaway but from the beginning things were rocky and wasn’t the fun experiences we remembered from working at a campground. The Monday we arrived, we had been in contact with Andrew (the manager), in fact speaking to him about 10a that morning. Surprises abounded when we arrived just before noon and walked into a staff meeting to learn Andrew had been terminated, big wigs from the corporate office were in town and new managers were due to arrive on Wednesday! As you can imagine, our minds were wondering what was going to happen to us? to our jobs?

I wish I could say everything went smoothly, co-workers were great, everyone got along and the job was just as described ~ BUT not at all. Co–workers felt threatened by us, big wigs promised things that never happened, new managers knew it all or at least they thought they did. We made it through the summer, doing our job as best as we could but felt attacked and unappreciated no matter what we did.

In September Camp Sparrow was bought out by a new and upcoming campground company. Once again things were promised that didn’t happen, former workers were saying things not true and work was still full of anxiety and stress and we just weren’t happy or enjoying what we were doing. So once again we began checking out new job opportunities.

But wait, let me backup to the good stuff…even though our work life was not going as we had planned we were led to a sweet church, Love Springs Baptist Church. From the moment we connected with the Pastor and walked through the doors we knew we were home! Only the second time since leaving Northwood Chapel (formerly Northwood Alliance Church) have we felt welcomed and loved for just us! Let me say, that’s an amazing feeling. Adding, our other family church is Open Door Church in Cedarcreek, MO.

Many of you know, I struggle with depression and anxiety and this past year has been no different. In June we met with our doctor, increased my medication and I made the decision to seek counseling again. This was hard for me, I’ve been in counseling so many years, went to school to be a counselor and know what I need to do but it just didn’t seem to be working…so a text to PR (our pastor at LSBC) led me to Dr. Keith at New Mercies Counseling & Consulting who agreed to meet with me. Dr. Keith challenged me as well as prayed and encouraged me. The tools he reminded me I have are

  1. Prayer ~ Jesus is always with me
  2. Worship Music ~ let music minister to my soul
  3. Reading God’s Word ~ read in Psalms and John every day, even if just one word, one verse
  4. Journaling ~ write to God what I think, feel and understand is being said to me
  5. Community Resources ~ Dr. Keith shared a book with me, “Telling Yourself the Truth”. . This book has been so helpful to me, identifying lies I have told myself over the years. I will be honest, the chapter on Anger was very hard, I got stuck, shed a lot of tears and then Dr. Keith said…read it, don’t worry about answering the questions at the end of the chapter, just read it and move on. And that’s what I did ~ I would recommend this book for anyone dealing with depression and anxiety as it showed me some of the things I believed about myself and things I have been told over the years were feeding into my depression.

I continue to use the tools that Dr. Keith reminded me were available, as well as many of the things I learned from Tom T., Marla and Pastor Charles. Above all, I am thankful the Lord led us to Love Springs Baptist Church.

In September as work continued to be a struggle we began praying for the Lord to show us what He wanted us to do. We knew our jobs needed to change or our attitude or maybe a bit of both.

We saw an ad for Big Creek Missions looking for a workamper couple. After 7 weeks of sending emails and phone calls we were offered the job in Bear Branch, KY which we accepted. September and October were very busy months for us…first our grandson, Max married Malarie

dodging Hurricane Ian and we enjoyed being with family for five days!!! Then it was off to the Christians, Cancer & Canvas conference in Wilmington, NC. We connected with Pat Washburn and Catherine Young, met some other MBC survivors and caregivers. I crocheted some coffee cozies, washcloths and dishcloths to hand out. Saw the Marlyn Mobile (Pat share’s her husband’s story everywhere she goes!)

And then we moved to Bear Branch, KY at Big Creek Missions. From the moment we stepped onto the property we just felt a peace in our souls and know we are where the Lord wants us to be. It has been interesting how the Lord opened doors and when. Looking back, we realized we had applied for a job at BCM in Fall of 2020 but had been offered a job after we had accepted a position at Providence Home in NC. Two years later the Lord opened the door and we have warmly walked in.

Some of the things we do: Ali does office work, helps to serve meals, answer phones and Ron works on construction teams, keeps the Man Cave organized and help wherever we are needed. We work with a great team and are excited to see how the Lord keeps opening doors. Please check out the website, Big Creek Missions, and if you feel the Lord leading you to come out and serve alongside us for a few days or a couple of weeks we would love to have you!!!

Our last group left BCM the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and so our schedules are pretty laid back for December & January. We have projects we are each working on and also taking some time to spend with family and friends. We went back to Gaffney for 6 days and loved being in fellowship with our LSBC family and then back to BCM for a week. Then it was off to Florida to spend time with Brandon and his family. We will be spending Christmas in Georgia with our friend Merel & her mom, Annelle. We will head back to BCM the end of December to work on projects in January and February and get ready for the first groups to arrive on 2/27!!

On December 20th we celebrated 47 years of marriage!! This is what I posted on Facebook: I am so thankful for this man who has loved me since he first laid eyes on me in June 1975 – how do I know? Because he wrote a letter to his dad that night and said he me the girl he was going to marry. And he did just that 47 years ago today! Even when those who said it wouldn’t last – we proved them wrong. We are so thankful for how the Lord has led us, even when we wondered how? Happy Anniversary my sweet man!! I love you more then you will ever know!

We are excited to see what 2023 will hold for us!


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Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!
and please, keep in contact with us!!!

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Reflecting & Thinking

Good morning on this drizzly day in Gaffney, SC. We were planning to go to church this morning but Ron woke up with a gnarly headache ~ those of you who know him, know he rarely gets sick so for him to get up, tell me he has a bad headache, take some Ibuprofen and go right back to bed, you know he’s not feeling well. Thus I’m taking advantage of some extra time, spent time in the Word and am continuing to read and work through the book “Telling Yourself the Truth” by William Backus and Marie Chapman. As I shared a few weeks back, I was given this book by Dr. Keith, a Christian therapist I am meeting with every couple of weeks.

Each chapter addresses a MISBELIEF that so many, including myself, have believed to be true. I am currently working through chapter 7 “Misbelief in Lack of Self-Control” ~ oh my goodness…so much hits very close to home. But let me backup a bit…first there was Misbeliefs in Self-Talk ~ what an eye opener…I had never realized how negatively I talked and thought about myself, the situations I found myself in or the lies I have been telling myself over the years. The biggest lie/misbelief is that I am unlovable…so not true; if I wasn’t lovable I wouldn’t know how to love others!! And I love so many and am blessed by so many!!! The next chapter “Misbelief in Depression” really was a hard one for me…realizing I didn’t and don’t have to be held captive by my depression was so powerful. Yes depression is real. Yes it is hard to deal with at times BUT I don’t have to live in depression ALL the time….I can acknowledge that I am sad or feeling lonely, feeling scared or unsure but I can turn all those feelings over to God, asking Him to help me make it through whatever I am dealing with. Is it easy, HECK NO!!! But God will help me get through anything.

Moving on to chapter 5 “Misbelief in Anger” ~ I had thought dealing with depression and what it is and what I can do to work through the difficult times was hard but ANGER – really challenged me. But God!!! is all I can say…PR was preaching about being a victim, choices we make every day, along with this chapter on anger ~ oh man!!! Poor Ron…BUT GOD!!! Ron and I had some heart-to-heart talks, tears were shed, conviction was felt, anger tried to rear its ugly head BUT GOD!! and the encouragement of Dr. Keith, PR and Ron and my own stubbornness to get through the chapter and move forward….I realized anger was my go to feeling, it’s easier (or was) to get angry then to face reality and truth and after lots of chats with God and prayers of others I made it through the chapter and am enjoying the healing and love of Jesus!!!

On page 61 “the scripture teaches us to deal with our anger and the cause of it and to prevent the emotion of anger from running away inside me. Ephesians 4:26 & 27 says

continuing on page 63 “instead of praying the problem, pray the answer” jumped out to me ~ what a concept…instead of focusing on what is making me angry, ask God to show me how to do things differently, how to respond in and with love! I would love to say I haven’t gotten angry since I read and worked through the chapter but that would not be the truth. One of the health issues we are dealing with is Ron is having night terrors, this is something new for him/us. In his sleep he has slugged me more than once. A few weeks ago I was rudely awakened by a hard slug to my back (at 4:04AM!) needless to say I reacted with yelling and getting so mad at Ron I sulked and cried for about an hour. After going out to the living room and calming myself down I realized my behavior (yelling at and getting mad at Ron for something he had no control over) really didn’t help the situation, just escalated my anger and made Ron feel even worse for what happened. I picked up my book and saw “behave according to the truth.” (pg 65). The truth of the matter was it was an accident, Ron would never hurt me intentionally and my unhealthy response of yelling and stomping through the trailer wasn’t helping anything. I went and crawled back into bed, snuggled up to Ron, asked him to forgive me for overreacting and we prayed together for Ron to get a GOOD, restful sleep and for me to know without a doubt that Ron loves me more than anything.

I would love to say Ron hasn’t had any more night terrors but that’s not the truth…two of the last four nights have been filled with night terrors and hitting out BUT GOD has helped me to (after yelling OUCH) to roll over, hold Ron’s hands and pray for continued peace and rest with both of us falling asleep quickly. I just want to shout “thank you Jesus for helping me to respond appropriately in situations especially ones I would have in the past become a screaming lunatic.”

Chapter 6 is Misbelief in Anxiety. Here are some of the points I underlined throughout the chapter:
* …feels anxious because she has been conditioned…
* “awfulizing” ~ oh I am so good at that, going from A to Z in a nano second, imagining the worse possible thing is going to happen
* the Bible doesn’t teach us to please everybody! I only need to please Jesus!!!
* Must, Exaggerating, Over-stressed, Trapped ~ I need to stay focused on the truth!!!
* Life can be hard and unpleasant but it is endurable. I don’t have to be afraid of unpleasant feelings or situations.
* listen to the words I tell myself, argue against the words that are lies, replace the lies with truth!

Chapter 7 is Misbeliefs in Self-Control ~ can you say another big OUCH!!! Yes, it is hard to read and work through each of these chapters but identifying the lies I have lived behind and underneath and acknowledging what the truth is ~ is so freeing!!!! Words and phrases jumping out at me include victim, my discipline stinks, it’s easier to blame and I’m good at saying I’m going to ________ (fill in the blank) and I realize as I speak truth to these lies…I’m not a victim, I am an OVERCOMER, my discipline doesn’t stink but as we were told at MCH – I just need a lot of do overs 🤣, I don’t have to blame others I can own my own stuff and deal with life as it comes BECAUSE God tells me


and

Some of the statements in this chapter that really resonated with me include:
*In order to have self-control, I must actively counter my misbeliefs with the sword of the Spirit, the truth!
*I am not helpless. I do have control over my life. I can do what I think might be impossible.
*Sometimes it is okay to deny myself _____ (fill in the blank); it’s not easy but I can do it!
*I can say no to myself, it is not the end of the world!
*I can wait…be patient with myself, look at the patience God has had with me!
*Speak truth: all is well with my soul. I can live through inconveniences, discomfort, distress and other negative feelings!

You may be asking….why am I writing this out…for a few reasons, writing is therapy for me. It helps me to remember the things I have read and want to remember. My writing lets me see how far I’ve come, how good God has been to me and just maybe I can be an encourager to someone else who is struggling through life. Do I have all the answers, HECK NO! But what I do know is that God loves me, God loves you and that even though I may go through a valley or two or three hundred, I eventually get to the mountain top where the beauty and peace is outstanding, wonderful and magnificent!

How I want my life to be ~ trusting God in the valleys and celebrating the victories on the mountain tops!

Until next time! And as my friend Nikki says: Have Fun, Be Safe and Make Good Choices!!

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A Month has Passed ~ where did it go?

Every time I turn around it feels like time is racing by. Where does it go and why is it so easy for it to pass so quickly?

In the last month we celebrated Ron’s birthday – how can he be 67? We didn’t do anything special because we didn’t have any money, so we ate dinner and watched a movie and enjoyed being together.

In the last month, we both saw our new PCP ~ since Spring of 2022 Ron has lost over 40 lbs!!! My A1C went from a 10.0 to 7.0. I saw a new opthamologist and got a great bill of eye health – no signs of diabetes, the cataract surgery still looks great and the left eye socket looks great ~ I do have an upcoming appointment with the ocularist for an eye cleaning and to see how the prosthesis is holding up…this eye is almost 10 years old! The longest I have ever gone without having to have a new eye made or the socket to be rebuilt. That is all great news ~ thank you Jesus for this great report!!!

In the last month, we became members of Love Springs Baptist Church ~ this is something we have not done at all during our years of RV’ing and traveling around the US ~ becoming members of a different church. We have attended many different churches, still call two churches our home church: Northwood Chapel in Blaine, WA. Even though we have only physically set foot in Northwood a couple of handfuls of times in the last 12 years, Northwood will always be our church home and church family…so many memories and so many friends that we are able to keep in touch with over the miles. Open Door Baptist Church called to us as we prepared to move from Branson, MO to Cedarcreek, MO to begin our work at GUMI Camp USA in December 2014 and our move in January 2015. ODBC, along with Isaac & Bethany Pederson, the Nantz and Daugherty families as well as so many others welcomed us with open arms. From the first time we stepped in the door we knew we were home! We miss both of our church families from Blaine and Cedarcreek! And now we are celebrating the Lord has brought us to a new church family at Love Springs Baptist Church in Cowpens, SC! From the first text message I sent, to the many messages and Facebook posts, to the first time we walked in the door we have felt at home. Our new pastor, PR, loves the Lord, preaches the Word and is one of the best encouragers and challengers I have ever met. In the last month I went to the first of hopefully many, ladies fellowship events and I look forward to connecting with the ladies in the future. Ron and I have attended several of the Springer’s (those of us over 51) events and have enjoyed getting to know some of the couples in the church. One of the most amazing things to have happened since we began attending LSBC is to see Ron’s growth in his relationship with the Lord ~ he raises his arms in song and even took notes one Sunday…for those of you who know Ron, both of those are new things for him to try!!! I laughed when I told PR that the way the Lord is working in Ron’s life I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts dancing in the aisles one of these days 😂.

And we changed sites at our campground. There are lots of changes on the horizon (which we can’t publicly share yet). Our new site is much bigger, has a great area for a firepit and we have a great view of the entrance to the campground. This is the view from our old site (#37)

and our new site #21!

if you look closely you can see 4 of the 6 yarn totes! 🤣 to the left of the trailer is a grassy area then just a short walk to the office/pool area

And here’s the inside as it is coming together hiding behind the TV is our little freezer! & if you are sitting in one of the recliners you have a great view of the TV! behind the Futon is the view of the grassy area and events center.

So that’s what we’ve been up to!!! What have y’all been doing?

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An Observation

As I wrote the other day, I am intentionally focusing on my self-talk and really trying to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Do you know there is a lot, I mean A LOT of negativity out in the world, at least in my little world.

I’ve noticed it at work, while swimming at the pool, at the grocery store and just visiting with others how often people speak a negative thought. I’m sure I’m noticing because it is something that I am consciously working on.

I’m sure someone out there reading this is thinking “well there is a lot of negative stuff going on in the world.” Yes there is, but what would happen if each of us just changed one negative comment into a positive one.

For example, someone getting into the pool the other day yelled “dang, this pool is hot (meaning the water).” I would agree it was tepid, like a warm bath but you know what, it was also so refreshing to be able to cool off in the pool, listen to littles laughing and to be able to relax and not worry about anything.

At the grocery store I overheard someone say “they don’t have the right kind of sliced cheese.” How about “I wish they would carry Brand X but I’m thankful I have the choices I have.”

Yesterday I had to check myself a few times, I had a headache (and dang still do, one of those pounding ones where I just need to bury my head in the dark for a few hours) but I added a positive to it. “Dang I have a headache but thank goodness I can just rest this afternoon in the comfort of our air conditioned little home on wheels.”

I made a pork roast w/potatoes and onions in the crock pot. As I dished it up I thought “that is a pretty bland looking meal.” Then I rephrased it…”Dinner isn’t very colorful, but I am thankful we have food to eat. And it tastes pretty dang good.”

As I continue this journey of learning to see the positive in things, changing those negative thoughts into positive ones and learning to extend grace to myself in the same manner I share with others, I’m wondering what would happen if each of just turned one negative comment or thought into a positive one? I’m thinking that the peace that I am beginning to feel more and more would spread among each other. What do you think?

One of the verses in my devotions this week was:

I am trying to focus on this verse in a tangible and real way. Trying not to think of wants or what would be better but giving thanks for what I have and being content. As I fell asleep last night I thought “I truly am blessed! I have a wonderful husband who loves and cares for me, a job I enjoy where I get to meet new people every single day and find the common bond between us, and most importantly realizing I am loved by the One who matters, Jesus! He is my rock!!! even when I’m not so aware.

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What are you focusing on today?