Early Morning Thoughts

Definition of Steadfast:
1a: firmly fixed in place : IMMOVABLE
b: not subject to change
2: firm in belief, determination, or adherence : LOYAL
her followers have remained steadfast

This jumped out at me as soon as I opened the email: be firmly fixed, stand firm…not sure why but this morning I woke up early, couldn’t go back to sleep so thought I would get up for the day…came out to the living room and just see chaos and mess…don’t get me wrong. I love our little house on wheels but it seems so messy, so full, so cluttered. And that’s how I’m feeling inside: messy, cluttered, confused…

My heart aches for all the hatred and violence erupting around the country. I try to voice my thoughts and yet feel like when I do I am attacked for thinking, thinking out loud I should say…I have asked this before “what has happened to us that we don’t allow others to share their thoughts, ask questions, speak about what’s laying heavy on their hearts without being ridiculed or attacked.

A simple thing like wanting to gift something to someone and being told “sell your stuff” “stop giving it away” “let people buy their own stuff”…I just don’t get it…what happened to being friendly and just loving or blessing someone just because you want to.

I’m feeling unsettled where I am…trying to get settled into a new job, thinking about the motive of things being said, trying to feel comfortable and just be…but feeling like there is so much to do and not sure even where to begin.

And then I opened my email for Verse of the Day…steadfast…be steadfast, be firmly fixed and I am reminded that I am who I am, daughter of the King, right where He wants me to be. Working with others who have the same goals as me: live in peace and calmness, be content with what we have, where we are and in what we are doing. And stop letting others tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing…know what I know, know what I need and keep on loving as the Lord leads.

So my prayer this morning is “Lord, thank you for another day to live for you. Help me to see YOUR beauty in the little things, aren’t they all little in the big scheme of life? Help me to continue to trust that I am living my life as You would have me to live…loving on others in how I speak to them, blessing others as you bless us and remember that what I can get done today is enough…enough. That I am enough, just like I am … I am enough. Lord as I go through this day let my love for you show in my contentment. Help me to spread peace to others and in my little home. Help me to focus on what must get done and know what I do is enough.

Words to ponder today:


What word are you focusing on today?

Goals

I have been trying to focus on what I want 2021 to be like for me. I want to find BALANCE in my life. I have many things I like to do and if there is one thing I have learned over the years it is that I have to be intentional to make things happen. Just wishing for them doesn’t and won’t make them happen. I recently read the book

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

and decided to set up goals in the same manner…listing them one by one and then being intentional in focusing on each one as least once a week, some hopefully more than others.

My goals for 2021 include (not in any particular order):
* Writing ~ one thing I did for myself was to join a group participating in a the course “A Year of Writing to Uncover the Authentic Self”by Rachel Astor. It is 52 lessons, one shared weekly. My plan is to set up a separate page on my blog for doing this course.
* Daily time in the Word ~ last Sunday, January 3rd we attended Generations Church and the sermon title was “Detox in 2021” and at the end of the sermon Pastor Troy challenged each person with two things: 1) to be in God’s Word daily. He said you don’t have to read, just to read or to say you read the Bible. Let God speak to you through His Word by a verse, a chapter, a passage, a daily devotional…just something. He reminded us it is not a race to see how fast we can read or how much we can read but to BE in the Word.

This is something I have worked on for so many years…some years I am better at reading on a regular schedule more often than not, other times it is like a shot in the arm, every once in a while. So to get myself into the habit of BEING in God’s Word daily I picked up “Our Daily Bread” that is a small daily devotional that has a scripture reference and a little narrative.

The second thing Pastor Troy asked was for people to make a commitment to the Body of Christ. He was mentioning it in the context of being connected to a body of local believers. This got me to thinking about Ron and I, our work schedule of 7 days on/7 days off and so what would the picture of being part of the Body of Christ look like. One of our responsibilities as a house parent is to encourage the children in our care to have a relationship with the Lord. This can be through daily devotions, attending church regularly and those are two things we do while working. We have worked the last two Sundays. Sunday before last we went to Sonrise Baptist Church and the two residents we had in our care. This past Sunday, as I mentioned above, we along with the three residents in our care attended Generations Church. Our dilemma is that on our week off we like to plan trips which may or may not include going to church somewhere else. We have found that things can be awkward if we attend the same church as the residents in our care especially if they are younger children. So a lot of times on our week off we just don’t go to church anywhere.

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t connecting with the Body of Believers…we may connect via phone, email or video chats…all those count as connecting with the Body of Believers in our eyes. What do you think?

**** well as time would have it I need to cut this short as it is almost time to go into our staff meeting. Stay tuned and I will write more later…

I will leave you with a few questions…how do you fellowship in and with the Body of Christ?

…do you set goals? If so, what are some of them? Do you reward yourself when you accomplish a goal or is the reward in the actual completion of the goal?

Take care and Blessings to all who read this post.

Playing Catch Up!!

Sunday as Ron and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary I made the comment “what a ride it has been!” Our journey from Yoakum, TX to Southport, NC has definitely been that!! We left Yoakum, TX on Friday, December 11th. We ended up staying the night in Beaumont, TX at a rest area. On Saturday we arrived at our campground in New Orleans late in the afternoon. We got set up and then just crashed…I think the past 2 1/2 weeks were finally catching up with us.

Sunday morning we got up and went into New Orleans to Bourbon Street and walked around for about 2 hours. We then drove around a few different parts of New Orleans and decided we definitely want to go back and stay in a hotel in heart of things. Just before noon we decided to drive across the Pontchartrain Bridge…26 miles from one side to the other. It was amazing. We then found a little cafe, https://www.facebook.com/crazypigsouthernkitchen, Crazy Pig Southern Kitchen…I chose it for the name.

Oh my goodness was the food delicious!!! Definitely will go back there again.

I had two kinds of egg benedicts…yummy!!!
This was our appetizer…brie fries: roast beef
Ron had a Skillet breakfast. Everything was yummy but the biscuit was way different from anything he is used too.

We sat outside while eating…it was a beautiful day and a fun way to spend a day relaxing. We left New Orleans Monday morning and went to Jasper, AL for the night. Tuesday morning we drove the rest of the way to Arley, AL where we stayed at Hidden Cove RV Park, a Thousand Trails park. The park was nice and we look forward to going there again. The highlight of our time in Arley was spending time with our friends, Jerry & Lynda and Len and Phyllis! So good to see friends that we hadn’t seen in years!!! We stayed in Arley till Friday morning when we got back on the road and headed to Milledgeville, GA.

We arrived late Friday evening and spent two nights with our friend, Merel. Merel and I have been friends since we were both pregnant with our boys…Brandon and Jeremy are now 40!!! So thankful for Merel’s friendship, great to see her Mama and of course share some much needed hugs and laughter.

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Closing for now…as tomorrow is our first school day here at Providence Home and 5:30a comes super duper early. Stay tuned for more news in the days to come!!!

A Little Delay

No pictures today…it’s been a day!!! Left New Orleans just before 10a and headed to our destination of Hidden Cove RV Park in Arley, AL

We stopped at a rest area just after passing into Mississippi and the car wouldn’t shift into gear. We tried turning it off/on. Waiting a bit and trying again. Decided to call for roadside assistance. Then Ron wondered if the gear shift not moving had to do with something with towing the trailer. So he jacked up the trailer and had me try to start it and put it in gear…voila it worked!!! Just about that time a gentleman came to see if we needed help. Ron explained what had happened and what he did. The man said that is what he would have suggested too. I also texted our friend and wondermechanic, Tim and he said to check some fuse things…Ron understood, i didn’t. Also, Brandon from our church, not to be confused with Brandon our son, sent me a text saying to call him. I did and he said the same thing as Tim. And just as we were getting back on the freeway, our friends Mike and Chris called to say check XXX out…they were glad to hear we were back on the road!!!

We are so thankful and blessed to have the friends we have in all the right places at all the right times!!! God is faithful and puts us in touch with those who can help us right when we need it.

I got a text or an email (I can’t remember which right now) from my Bestie…give thanks for the Lords protection from whatever we missed!!! She is so right…who knows what we were protected from or avoided with our delay and we were in a safe place…a nice big rest area!!!

As we continued on our drive today I found myself playing chicken with the crochet Christmas placemat I was working on…if you don’t know what that means…trying to have just enough yarn to finish a project…but alas, not to be. BUT I have the bestest hubby…he told me to find a Hobby Lobby along our route and he stopped for a few minutes and I ran into and bought 4 more skeins of yarn…and no, I didn’t have that color in the twenty-two containers/drawers in the back of the Expedition. Thank you my sweet hubby…and now I am already on to color #2 of the 2nd placemat!!!

I am one happy passenger when I can crochet and Ron does all the driving. He says he likes it better that way than if I was the one driving…LOL!!!

It started getting dark so we thought we should call the campground to check to see about checking in and finding a spot to park…good thing we did. They really don’t like people checking in after dark since the campground is really dark. So we did the next best thing…we found a Walmart along our route in Jasper, AL…and pulled in. Stopped and asked the manager if it was okay to park in the parking lot for the night…sure as long as it was towards the back of the lot. No problem…when you are 50’+ long you always park away from the front of the store.

We walked back to the rig just as one of the local police officers pulled up behind our rig. Ron went over to double check to make sure it was okay to park…he said sure…and he and his buddies will do a couple of drive by’s in the night to check on us. Ron offered him a cup of coffee and he said thank you but no thank you…it was almost time for him to go off shift.

So we settled into the trailer. Ron got the generator going, we pulled some cheese, meat and crackers out, made some coffee and hot chocolate and turned the furnace on…dang it’s cold here in Alabama!!! It’s 43’…this transplanted Washingtonian to Texas girl is not used to this cold weather.

So that’s it for today…we will write again soon. Hopefully tomorrow will be an uneventful travel day but either way we keep our faith in the Lord and trust HIM!!! Like Ron has said a lot…He hasn’t failed us yet!!!

On the Road Again…

Well we finally got on the road. A few years back my word of the year was Flexible…and boy have I/we had to be flexible the past few weeks. Our original plan was to leave Thursday, 12/10 around 10a. It got bumped back to late afternoon then to Friday morning at 10a. Well we actually got on the road at 11:01a!! And it was raining…reminded us both of many a day in Washington state with a light drizzle but then it began to pour ~ a good Texas rain!!!

First planned stop was in Houston at Cracker Barrel to meet up with our friend Merel’s daughter, PJ for lunch. We had a delicious lunch but even better conversation. Thank you PJ for the special treat and most of all for taking time out of your day to spend 90 minutes with some old folks. And for driving an hour to meet up with us!!! Your mama will be proud.

We had decided we would start looking for a campground about 4:00p and we did look. But we can’t justify paying $50+ for a few hours to only use electricity and no amenities so we opted for a rest area. We were settled in and ready to sleep by 5:45p!!! And we slept off/on till about 3:15 this morning when we decided it was time to hit the road…we have 303 miles to go today!

We will then be parked for two nights in New Orleans. Ron has always wanted to go there and we have this opportunity so we are taking it…who knows when we will get back this way. Not really sure if anything will be open due to Covid but that’s okay…it is what it is and Ron will be able to say he’s been to New Orleans!!! We are hoping to be able to at least walk down Bourbon Street and we will be wearing our masks…neither of us wants to get sick or spread anything and we want to continue to feel great!!!

Hopefully we will get some pictures and I can share them with y’all later.

Thankful for my hubby

I have said so many times “I am so thankful for Ron. He loves me just the way I am. He understands me or at least pretends too! He is a good sport and makes me laugh quite often.

Last night we celebrated Christmas with our girls ~ it was one of our ways of letting the girls that even with change they are loved.

Here are the girls snuggled under their new blankets.

And then the girls asked Papa Ron if they could polish his nails…and this is one reason why I love Ron ~ he is so loving and kind and he likes to let the girls do things that make them happy and so here he is getting nails done by A & I!

And here he is modeling the great job ~ the girls chose his special colors and A said it was for cancer awareness!!

Thank you Lord for blessing me with the best hubby and papa for our kids and grands ~ he is so good at letting us know that we are loved!!!

Change is Constant

Once again we are preparing for a move. We have accepted a position as Home Parents in Southport, NC! Our last day here at Blue Bonnet Youth Ranch will be Wednesday, December 9th. We are due to report for our first day of work at Providence Home on Tuesday, December 22nd!!

We are excited for this new opportunity as well as the opportunity to travel and see parts of the great United States that we haven’t travelled to.

Our trip to Southport will include a stop in New Orleans ~ Ron has always wanted to visit there! And then Arley, Alabama to see friends there and in Cullman. Then onto Georgia to see our Georgia family before making our way to Southport! While traveling we will celebrate our 45th Wedding Anniversary. How can that be??? We often talk about how we knew we would always be married but who would have thought we would make 45 years!!! Only the Good Lord!!!

Stay tuned for more updates!!! Now to get to my ever growing To Do List!!!

What Have We Been Doing?

First off ~ here is my warning for the week !!!

Image may contain: text that says 'BUCKLE UP Buttercup THIS WEEK'S FORECAST INCLUDES A HURRICANE, HALLOWEEN 2020, A BLUE MOON, AND A TIME CHANGE! Baton Rouge AiFamily A Family Fun'

It has been awhile since I have even looked at my blog…life seems to be crazier and busier than ever…why….I need life to slow down!!!

We made a road trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado for a Celebration of Life Service for Ron’s Uncle Kenny.

It was nice to see family, meet family members that we had never met, reconnect with cousins that hadn’t been seen in too many years to count. And most of all to share hugs and stories about Uncle Kenny. He was well loved, he loved hard and always had something positive to say and he will be missed!!!

One nice things about road trips is I get to crochet!!! This is what I worked on during the Colorado Trip. Now working on Frog to go with Toad.

Just need to add his buttons and tack down his jacket!

And of course, finding lots of other projects that I would love to do…too bad work and life gets in the way of my crocheting…LOL Though I am thinking of doing more crocheting to make a little money…need to keep my yarn stash supplied you know.

We now have two teen girls living in our home…can I say girls are definitely different than boys…we have lots of laughter going on. It’s fun to here the girls “talking like Ms Ali” they are pretty good…Mr Ron better watch out.

One thing I have been thinking about and talking about with my bestie…she really is a good listener and I miss her so….one day, some day we will have our in person coffee date and a walk at the beach…like we both say…we just don’t know when!!! One thing we have been talking about is how for so many years we have held so much in, tried to be the people pleaser and the many reasons why….old habits and learned behavior are hard to change at times. And when we do make changes and stand up for what we believe or how we perceive things to be the backlash is sometimes enough to want to make us run. We are both tired of running. Thank you sweet Dee for helping me to grow stronger and to be me, more me for me!!!

Dee and I don’t always agree on things YET we agree to disagree and talk things out like adults. Yes sometimes we get snarky with each other but we love and care for each other and we have weathered a few major big storms in our relationship but through it all we have learned that our relationship is important to us and the bottom line is we love and respect each other.

I’m saying this out loud because sometimes Dee is one of the few who lets me be me…just the way I am. And I am so thankful for that. Don’t get me wrong, I have a few other friends who love me for me and I am so thankful but I’m realizing I need more people in my life who love me for me, like me for me, and if we don’t agree on something we talk things out, agree to disagree, still remain friends and yes sometimes we even get snarky with one another but in the end…we love and respect each other.

One of these issues is

Eight new COVID-19 cases reported in Coweta - The Newnan Times-Herald

And the wearing/not wearing of masks. Hot Topic I know. Today I saw on Facebook a comment made about why all of a sudden some schools in a district are closing and not others…I am probably as confused as the next person and know that not everyone will agree with my opinion on things. But I am me and just for me, I want to put into writing what I think…and at the same time, say “please feel free to comment, let’s discuss things, but be nice…no name calling…I was called many names as a child and all it did was cause me pain…being known as an Idiot Child really does make it hard to think I am smart, I am important…and it took many years to see myself as a smart person…those old tapes are hard to turn off sometimes…but I digress…so let’s talk or not talk, but please no name calling.

I do believe Covid is real…I have known a few people who have tested positive, many who have tested negative, some who have had symptoms and some who have not. I do wear a mask when I go to the grocery store and yet at times I have to pull it off my face because breathing is difficult at times BUT so was wearing an oxygen mask when I was in labor and delivery having babies….even though the oxygen mask was there to help me breathe, it FELT like I couldn’t breathe. It just was what it was.

Do I wash my hands more, probably not, but I do use hand sanitizer a lot more than I used to … washing my hands has never hurt me. Well except for the time I had a cut on my hand and the sanitizer went into the cut…boy did that sting!!!!

What I don’t understand is why people have to be ugly at people who don’t agree with them or do things the way they do.

Just imagine how boring life would be if we were all the Image

What I do know, for me is that I can’t keep hiding and not living life. I need to be out with people…I miss my coffee and breakfast dates!!! I miss walking on the beach and being at the park. Yes people get sick, yes sometimes people do dumb things like go out when they are sick and sometimes people don’t even know if they are sick and they go out. How do I know, because it has happened to me, to our boys. I remember a time Brandon was at summer school at the UW when he was 13 and we got a call that he had a case of chicken pox!! Ugh…how did he get chicken pox…some how some way he was exposed…do we know who passed it on…nope but he got them and thus exposed 15 other students and another family….we only knew he had chicken pox when it showed itself.

I don’t have an immunity to chicken pox…I have had it 6 times! YES SIX TIMES!! And I have had shingles three times!!!! Do I hold it against those who exposed me…no, it’s just something I deal with when it happens. And believe me, as an adult chicken pox and shingles are NO FUN!!! But life happens.

And that’s how I see Covid…it happens, does everyone know if they have it or are a carrier…probably not…so we do what we need to do…when we can’t social distance, we wear a mask, do I like it, nope, but we still do it. And we do other things, we don’t go places if we know someone is sick. And yes, we wash our hands a bit more and we take our temperatures every evening plus those of our kids in our care…we are doing what we can and life goes on.

Life can be so simple yet at the same time it can complicated. . How you  choose to live yours is you… | Morning motivation quotes, Adulting quotes,  Gods love quotes

BUT Please stop bullying others for them not believing or doing what you think is the only right way to do things.

Life Goes On…

Life marches on, every day, every hour, every minute. Sometimes I wish I could stop the clock…like this past Sunday while FaceTiming and watching the Seahawks game with our grandson. We laughed and cheered the Seahawks into a win over the Cowboys! It was definitely a fun time and I am thankful for technology that allows this Grammy to spend time with her grands even when they are 1500 miles away!!

And then there are days like today where I find myself looking for things to keep me grounded and centered. Today these two spoke to me…the first one was sent to me about a week ago by my bestie. And just like two weeks ago, it is right on the mark for where I am and where my mind and heart is.

and then this one:

Today has been a hard day yet I know that no matter what obstacles I face that I am never alone. And that God has never failed me!!! And when I do feel alone and I question whether anyone but me cares about XXXX that when I ask for prayer for something that many are there just to say a prayer for me. And for that I am truly thankful.

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What are you thankful for today?
What do you do to encourage yourself?
Do you have a favorite scripture verse or saying that you like to repeat on those difficult days.
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Just Thinking ~

Yesterday someone posted this on Facebook ~

And I thought about the many trips we have taken in our married life and how we have never been involved in a serious accident and how we always pray before we travel. And I thought of the song I Can Only Imagine Here is the link if you want to take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU0MwNpRq6M and my thoughts went to wondering how hard would life be if we KNEW everything that was going to happen or even possibly happen.

Reflecting back to when Jamie was in Iraq ~ that was one of the hardest years I ever had ~ wondering, thinking that he would return with life changing injuries or worse, death. I am sad to say I didn’t handle myself in the best ways when he was over there because I did allow worry and fear to consume me. What I have learned and now truly believe fifteen years later is that it doesn’t pay to worry about something that I don’t have control over and to face life head on. Dealing with what is happening now, not worrying about tomorrow or next week or next year. Do I always remember that ~ nope, not at all and I have to be reminded to not borrow trouble, don’t focus on things that I can’t control.

And once again I was reminded of that in my devotion this morning.

Psalm 121 Photograph by Sandi OReilly

Christ is always with me, he never sleeps, he is never too busy to listen when I cry out to him. He helps me, he guides me, he protects me, he watches over me and protects me. Does this mean I never have troubles or problems or issues ~ NO it means HE will never leave me, I am never alone.

As I shared with our foster daughter, A, yesterday after she had had a hard couple of days…things happen, that is life. It is how we respond and deal with things that matter. In her case, a blown front tire while driving down the road at 75 mph ~ Ron was a passenger in her car and he said she did great. She didn’t freak out, she moved off to the side of the road, she kept breathing. She did great! Yes it sucked since she had just paid $1500 to have her transmission fixed and now $130 for a new tire but she had the money in the bank to cover both expenses, no one was hurt, yes the car had some damage but it can be repaired and she got more hours to work to put more money back in her bank account. Frustrating things to deal with but nothing earth shattering or worth dying over. And then we laughed and said “welcome to adulthood sweet girl!”

So today I give thanks for the things we have ~ a good job, pretty healthy bodies, healthy kids and grands and give thanks that we woke up again this morning and have things to look forward to…seeing our son who we haven’t seen in over a year and then in two days, seeing our grandson as he prepares for a new journey in the military and most of all for the love of family and friends.

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What are you thankful for today?
What are you looking forward to?