And this is what we came to Post Falls for ~ Basketball!!

Our reason for coming to Post Falls was to meet up with Brandon and his family to catch a few games of basketball.  Brandon is the head coach for the Orofino Maniacs.  

This is the weather we had to drive to from Post Falls to Spirit Lake where the tournament was being held.
The two head coaches talking before the game.

Before the game they look so relaxed.  The manager is on the left, Travis, the JV coach is in the middle, Brandon on the right.  Looks pretty sharp in that tie, if I say so myself.

Warm up for the team

And Grandpa got recruited to do the book 🙂

Danalyn watching the action on the floor. Christopher pointing to where I should be taking pictures and Max wondering what am I doing?  This is one of a few facial pictures I got of Max…he usually looks away from the camera.
Watching the game.  Don’t think Christopher sat still for more than 30 seconds and that was when he got in trouble.  Did I say he got in trouble – he wasn’t listening to Mommy.

A picture of the tiger… Christopher thought he looked scary.

My beautiful daughter-in-love, Danalyn

And Tigger came along to watch the game.
The Coach in action.

And the Coach yelling “set a screen, set a screen, set a screen!”  Do you think they got the message?

Christopher yelling “Go team go!”

Coach is getting a better look.

Watching the Ref….and not liking what the Ref is saying.
And this is the Coach after getting called for a Technical.

The Coach had to stay in his seat for the rest of the game.  Got the Technical because he yelled “This is RIDICULOUS! to the Ref.
 It was not a pretty sight to see Brandon get the technical but that is what happens when the Coach doesn’t like the calls the Ref’s are making.
The score at the end of the game.  The Maniacs were the guests and this looks like the fouls were pretty evenly called but in actuality we had 2x the number of fouls then the other team.  It was a sad loss.

Christopher & Grandpa sharing a hug during the JV game.

Christopher and Grammy.  Grandpa needs to tell Grammy when he is taking the picture 🙂

And we had to get our hands stamped so we could come and go.

And bundled up and ready to go back to the motor home after the game.
And it was still snowing as we returned from Spirit Lake to Post Falls.
During the JV game Brandon got a call from the AD (Athletic Director) that the roads between Post Falls and Lewiston were closed due to snow, drifting snow, and high winds.  So the team was staying another night.  While driving home we got a text from Danalyn texted us that the boys were pooling their money to buy pizza because some of the boys had no money left (they thought they were going home after the JV game).  

So once a team mom always a team mom.
I said I was making a chicken & cheese casserole.  Did they want me to make a couple of extra casseroles for the teams.  SURE was the reply we got back.  So after discussing the situation with Ron we made a stop at Wally World and bought stuff to make spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, milk and of course the boys would need a snack for later in the evening so we bought chips and oranges.  And then we went to the motor home and did some cooking!
The dining table loaded with food stuff and the electric fry pan to brown the hamburger.

And simmering sauce and water boiling for noodles.

And the food: chicken & cheese casserole, spaghetti noodles & sauce, bread with butter, milk and chips.

Better picture of the bread, butter and salad.  The oranges are on the other counter.

Christopher and Max were served first.  Didn’t know what would be left after 16 teenage boys helped themselves.

In the front, some of the boys eating, in the background is Brandon, Danalyn & the boys.

The whole group eating dinner.  We took over the breakfast area in the hotel.
And at the end of the day Grandpa and Christopher!
All in all we had a terrific and busy day!  More basketball awaits us once we are back in Lewiston.  Max has games on Monday and Thursday and the high school boys have games on Tuesday and Friday!  It will definitely be a busy week and we are happy we are here to enjoy it.

Swimming in Post Falls ~ December 2010

When Christopher saw us he was so excited.  He wanted to go swimming and so we were off to the pool.  We only had about 30 minutes that we could swim before heading off to the basketball games. 

Christopher, our little fish.

And Max, the bigger fish.

Do you know how hard it is for a little guy to swim without splashing others in the pool?  Christopher had a hard time with that but he did okay.  The other four people left the pool about 10 minutes after the boys jumped in.

Getting in again.  Christopher likes to climb out the stairs in the deep end, walk without running to the stairs and get back in.  Funny boy!

Christopher and Max being very careful not to splash.

It is hard for this Grammy to get front face pictures of these swimmers.  But here is Grandpa with Max and Christopher enjoying the water.

When swimming was over we headed back to the motor home, changed clothes and loaded up to go to some basketball. 

Newport, WA ~ Monday, December 27, 2010

We woke to very cold weather but that did not deter us from what we came to Newport to do.  Go to the cemetery where Ron’s Grandpa is buried.  Ron never knew his Grandpa as he died when Pete, Ron’s Dad, died when he was 14 years old.

We ate a quick breakfast of apple cinnamon oatmeal and a banana and then we got out on the road.  They weren’t too bad till we got into the church parking lot. 

Pulling into the parking lot at Spring Valley Mennonite Church.
We liked their sign and the link which explains what the Mennonites believe.  Ron was raised in a Mennonite Brethren Church in Blaine, WA.  When his mom passed away in 2008 she was the oldest living charter member of the Birch Bay Bible Mennonite Brethren Church.

This used to be the Parsonage.  It is now Sunday School & Youth classes.
This is the view of the cemetery as you walk around the back of the church.
OK I think I am a pretty smart person but I will admit it was not till we were traipsing through the snow that I realized we would not be able to find Ron’s Grandpa’s grave marker as it was covered in snow :)!  But we continued the walk to the cemetery.

The second marker in the back on the right is a Heibert.  We believe this is one of Ron’s Aunt Wilma’s relatives as she grew up here in the Newport area.
This is facing the rear of the church.  We know that Ron’s Grandpa’s marker is one of those drifts/openings.  We just don’t know which one and with over 12″ of snow on the ground we were not going to find it.
Close up of one of the Heibert’s markers.
View of the back of the church from the cemetery.  Ron commented that this big evergreen must have been a pretty small tree when his Grandpa died.  It is huge now.
 And that was our visit to the cemetery.  We drove back to the campground, about 8 1/2 miles away and then got the motor home ready for our days drive to Post Falls. 


From Edmonds, WA to Newport, WA

We have had two good days of traveling and also some visiting.  I will share our trip with pictures and a few comments.

My Christmas Cactus opened another bloom.  There are three more buds yet to open.  A note about this plant.  It started with a cutting from a friend who got her cutting from Ron’s Grandma Workentin in the mid ’70’s.  I think it is pretty cool to have a plant that came from Ron’s Grandma.

Santa Clause Ron on Christmas morning. 

Wanting a picture of us together on Christmas Day I used the window of the Jeep as a mirror.  It is fuzzy but it works.
Heading out on I5 – lots of rain.

First stop was in the parking lot of this little restaurant.  The signs on the right of the building say “Good Friends and Good Times.”  They were not open but it looked like the kind of cafe we would like to eat at.  Maybe another time.

Climbing the summit at Snoqualmie.  The motor home stayed at a steady 35 mph. 

Lots of snow on the side of the road, but the roads were bare and sometimes it rained a little.

And the sun came out at times.  The snow sure looked pretty.  I was so glad it was only on the side of the road.

The weather cleared up once we were on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass.  We stopped in Ellensburg for a couple of hours to meet up with Rosalie & Rick Sasaki.  Rosalie and Ron went to school together in Blaine.  We had a delightful lunch of ham sandwiches and nachos with cups of hot coffee.  It was fun to catch up and here about their family and share what our family members are busy doing.

Clear skies from Ellensburg to Moses Lake.

This was in Moses Lake where we stopped for the night.  Lots of pretty snow on the ground but none on the roads.
Time for our Christmas Dinner.  It was fun to listen as other customers walked past our table and said things like “Look Santa & Mrs. Claus.”  It was a relaxing meal but definitely not the same as sharing Christmas Dinner with our family or friends. 
 While we were in Moses Lake we contacted Ron’s Uncle John & Aunt Ione along with cousin Hans.  We made plans to visit with them this morning for a couple of hours.  Since Aunt Ione lost the hearing in her left ear they don’t attend church.  It sounds like a dull roar when she is in a place with lots of people.  So we visited with them till about noon when we got on the road to head to Newport.
Leaving Moses Lake about noon today.  It was cloudy with a hint of blue skies.

Cold, clear skies but great driving weather.

And then it started to rain.

Lots of snow on the side of the roads, some rain/snow mixed while driving.

This is the office at Old American Campground in Newport, WA.  It is a K & M Resort so we can stay here for free.

The playground at Old American.  I am sure it is busy in the summertime but not today.


Ron heading back to the motor home after getting us checked in.  Lots of snow on the ground.  Glad we have electrical hookups so we can use our little heater.  It is supposed to be down into the 20’s tonight.

Ron heading towards our campsite.  Ron told me to stay way back with the Jeep so he could back up and get a straight shot into the camp spot.

And here we are parked for the night.  Ron got the motor home level and plugged in.

We are all settled in for the night here at Newport.  Tomorrow we are going to go to the little Mennonite Church on the other side of Newport.  It is where his grandpa is buried.  Grandpa Workentin died when Ron’s dad was only 14 years old.  Pete & Uncle George became the breadwinners for the family.  It is interesting to hear how Pete & Uncle George worked in the logging camps to make sure the family was able to stay together.  Ron has always been a hard worker and great provider for our little family.  He came by his work ethics from having such loving and caring parents and grandparents.

That’s all for now.  Hope everyone has had a great day!


Christmas Eve Night

Merry Christmas!!!

Today has been a busy day here at the Christmas Tree lot.  Ron woke up about 4:00 a.m. and could not go back to sleep.  He got up and spent some time on the computer and then walked over to Starbucks to get a hazelnut mocha to start his day.  About 7:00 a.m. he started tearing down the lot.  He had to tear down the light stands, sweep the lot, wrap the wire, toss all the broken/burnt out light bulbs, bag up the good light bulbs, tie up the boughs that were left, stack the square grids that we stood the trees on, put the snowman and Christmas lights in the tote and sell a few trees in between.

Ron was so sweet and let me sleep in this morning.  I woke up when the phone rang at 9:00 a.m.  I got up and started cleaning the inside of the motor home to get it ready for us to leave for Newport in the morning.  I did all the end of season paperwork the tree sales.  We had a total of 289 trees delivered to the lot between November 26 and December 17.  We sold 281 trees, had 2 trees stolen and had six trees left over.  After all was said and done we sold just over $800 more than was sold last year.  Whoo Hooo!  And I gave updates on my Facebook page throughout the day of how our sales were going.  And we received lots of encouragement and support on those updates.  A friend of mine, Roxine, started writing poems when we had over 100 trees to sell.  A few others joined in.  They were fun to read and encouraging to boot!

We had one major scare today while Ron was cleaning up the lot.  Remember we are in a small shopping center parking lot here in Edmonds.  We are in the far corner.  While we have been parked here we have seen many near accidents where cars are trying to cut through or around where cars are parked.  Where we are parked with the motor home at the front entrance to the Christmas tree lot is usually a short cut that many cars are used to taking through the parking lot.  Well this morning Ron had cleaned up and taken down the back side of the parking lot and had put a couple of the light stands across that end of the lot to keep cars from coming through the lot.  Cars could not get through from the side where the motor home was parked.  Well while Ron was cleaning the lot a truck drove from the back of the motor home right into the lot at quick speed.  I saw the truck go by the window and quickly opened the door.  Ron watched as the guy put on his brakes and luckily stopped before hitting Ron.  We both just looked at him as he sheepishly backed up his truck.  I did yell at him out the door to slow down and watch out.  At that point Ron put a barricade across the drive way to keep anyone from trying to go through the lot again.  We did notice once all the trees were stacked and everything cleaned up and the barricades all stacked cars started speeding through the lot right in front of the motor home.  Neither of us can believe how fast some people drive in a parking lot. 

I made my first batch of Sausage Rolls today.  Thanks Sandra & Gerald for the recipe.  I used the one where you cook the sausage first.  I only had 3 cups of flour so only used 2/3 c of water.  We snacked on a few of them before heading out for the Christmas Eve Service at Edmonds Lutheran Church. The service was very nice and it was fun to sing Christmas carols with such a large group of people.  The message reminded us to reflect on the wonderful gift that God so freely gives to each of us who are willing to accept it ~ the free gift of salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.  After the service we decided to go for a drive and look at Christmas tree lights and see if we could find someplace to eat.  We both realized we had not eaten except for a couple of sausage rolls since breakfast.  I know, not a good thing to do.

As we were on Edmonds Way, going about 35 miles per hour, someone pushed a shopping cart down a hill from an apartment complex right in front of us.  Ron slammed on his brakes and hit the shopping cart which then flew into the left lane.  After slamming on our brakes and stopping the car behind us slammed on his brakes and also stopped without hitting us.  Ron got out and checked the front of the Jeep to make sure no headlights got busted and then grabbed the cart out of the middle of the roadway.  And the guy that stopped behind us stayed right there with his hazard lights on so people would slow down going around us.  Once again we rejoice with thanksgiving that the Lord protected us from what could have been a very serious auto accident.

We slowly made our way to downtown Edmonds and found a wonderful little Thai restaurant, the Thai Cottage.  We started our meal with appetizers and then had #43 The Drunk Noodle with pork and #22 The Three Knights with chicken, beef and pork.  The appetizers were scrumptious and the two entrees were very good.  Lots of vegetables and meat in both dishes.  We would recommend that restaurant to anyone who likes Thai food and they happen to be in Edmonds, WA.

After dinner we drove around a little looking at Christmas lights.  While looking at lights I noticed that I had three messages from Danalyn.  Thinking it must have been something urgent I checked it out.  What we got was a surprise!  What do you think ~ pretty special don’t you think?

Thank you Grammy & Grandpa for the gingerbread house!  Love Max & Christopher

Though a lot ended up in their tummies!

Chris’ cookie for Santa AND the reindeer complete with sugar cookie, frosting, coconut and carrots.

We think they did a great job of decorating the gingerbread house.  And love how Christopher not only was thinking of Santa but also the reindeer.  I didn’t know reindeer liked coconut.  Guess I will have to ask Christopher if the reindeer ate their goodies that he left for them.

Well it is almost midnight and I had better get to bed before Santa drops by.  Sure don’t want to miss his visit because I had not gone to bed.  So with that, we wish you all a 

Merry Christmas!!!

Our Anniversary and a few other things!

Monday, December 20th we celebrated 35 years of marriage.  We slept till about 8:30 a.m. and then we walked across the street for breakfast.  I had an omelet and Ron had his favorite, biscuits & gravy.  We enjoyed our time and then headed back to the tree lot.  I am so thankful for the man God gave me in my husband.  We have shared many journey’s.  We have had 33 different residences and almost as many cars.  We moved from Las Vegas, Nevada to The Netherlands and then back to Washington state.  Together we have traveled the states of Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana and into British Columbia.  We are anticipating more travels in the years to come.

Ron & Alice celebrating 35 years of marriage.  Any tips on taking self portraits will be appreciated 🙂

I do have to share one memory that brings laughs to both Ron & I every time we think about it.  On our wedding night, like two normal scared teenagers (who really thought they were adults) we crawled into bed OK IT’S CLEAN, YOU CAN CONTINUE! and I snuggled up next to Ron.  I put my bare feet up against Ron’s legs.  He JUMPED and SCREAMED, woman your feet are cold, ice cold!!!  We still laugh about that.  Ron says my feet have never been that cold since.
We have two grown sons.  Jamie & Brandon.  We buried our first born, Royce when he was 3 days old.  We have welcomed Suzanne & Danalyn as our daughters-in-love (sounds so much better than law).  And we have 3 terrific grandchildren.  Opal is Jamie’s little girl.  She will be three on February 24th.  We call her our miracle baby as she joined us weighing in at 1 lb 15 oz and 13 1/2″ long.  She is an active little girl who loves her baby and shares many laughs with us.  Brandon & Danalyn have blessed us with two handsome boys.  Max is 12 and in the 6th grade.  He loves all things Boise State University and plays soccer, basketball and baseball.  He is an avid reader like his dad and Uncle Jamie.  Christopher is our ever moving, constantly climbing almost 3 year old grandson.  He loves his daddy, goes to daycare right at his mommies work and loves anything Mickey Mouse.  God has richly blessed us with our family.

Opal, November 2010

Max & Christopher, October 2010
Hint, hint, this Grammy needs some updated pictures of these grand kids!!!

Our Christmas tree selling job is drawing to a close.  We have sold 272 trees and have 17 left to sell.  We will finish up here tomorrow, Christmas Eve at 5:00 p.m. unless we sell out sooner.  We have met many wonderful people and truly enjoyed seeing the little ones as they pick out their Christmas tree.  We gave out 82 decorated candy canes and 37 Christmas lollipops.   Ron has made five Charlie Brown Christmas trees for different children.  If we were to do this again I think we would make more of them to give to the little tykes.  

And this customer opened her sun roof on her Honda Del Sol and Ron put the tree into the front seat! 

And we have had visitors this week.  On Monday, Ben Gibson and Kyla Rhode brought the sides to the flatbed trailer down from Blaine.  It was good to see them, so appreciated them making a trip down from Blaine to help us out.  We needed the sides to the trailer so we could sell it to Chuck (the owner of the Christmas tree lot).  Thanks Ben for taking time out of your vacation to help us out.

Ben Gibson helping Ron to put the sides on the trailer.

On Tuesday, my friend Stacey and her labra-doodle, Emma came down for a visit.  She made Ron’s day by bringing him homemade peanut butter cookies.  Stacey and I went to Family Pancake House for lunch and a good visit.  And the visits continued.  Tuesday night I got an email from my best friend and personal mail gal asking if I wanted company.  Sure come on down.  So Wednesday Dee showed up just as we were finishing up the laundry.  We visited for a while and then headed over to the Teriyaki place in this little strip mall.  I had tried to get Ron to go there but he kept telling me no.  So Dee and I went and ate a really great lunch.  Then we did some shopping at TJ Max  followed up by more visiting before she had to head for home.  Thanks Stacey and Dee for making the days here at the Christmas tree lot a little brighter.  Can’t wait to catch up with you both again in January ~ there are definitely going to be some coffee times at Woods or Blackberry House!

After we are done here tomorrow we will be attending Edmonds Lutheran Church for their Christmas Eve service.  And then on Saturday, Christmas Day we will be heading east to meet up with Brandon and his family on Tuesday in Post Falls, Idaho.  We will be spending three days in Post Falls to attend some high school basketball games.  Brandon teaches at Orofino High School and is also their head boys basketball coach and they are in a Christmas tournament in Spirit Lake, Idaho.  Ron has missed watching the Blaine boys basketball team play this year.  Then on December 30th we will go to Lewiston to spend a week with Brandon & Danalyn and get in some Grammy & Grandpa time!!

One more funny to share and again it happened in bed.  This morning, very early, I was dreaming about being at church.  Charles asked me to do something and to be quiet about doing it.  Guess when a couple or more women get together it can get kinda loud.  Well I was setting up the coffee and some goodies for some event AND quite a few women came into the kitchen and started eating stuff off the table.  One lady tried to go behind me and I stuck my leg out and kicked her HARD.  Well actually, I kicked HARD alright, right onto Ron’s ankle bone.  This morning!  He SCREAMED, I woke up, told him my foot hurt.  Wonder why he says.  You just kicked me.  I wasn’t kicking him, I was kicking this lady.  We laid in bed and just laughed and laughed!  It may not have been cold feet but my feet were involved.  Good thing he loves me!!!
Guess that’s all from here for now!  Wishing each of you a wonderfully blessed day!  


Almost Done!

It seems like just a week ago we were pulling into the parking lot here at Safeway to begin this adventure of selling Christmas trees.  We have five days to go and we will be done.  We can’t say we have been busy because we don’t have anything to compare it to since we have never done this before.  But our sales this week of the Christmas trees was better than last week.  So far we have sold 221 trees with 66 trees left on the lot when we did our end of day report today.

We have met some wonderful people and have been able to share God’s love and blessings with so many.  Tonight we sold a tree to a musician who plays in a Christian band.  He said he travels in a motor home over 200 days a year and just loves it.  I told him we have been living in our motor home just over four years.  It was fun to hear about some of his travels.  Who knows maybe we will meet up somewhere else down the road.

We have met many children.  They are so fun to watch.  They run up and hug the trees, yelling they have found the perfect one.  After making the tree for Kodie the other day Ron has made trees for two other kids.  They were both so excited to have their own special little trees.  Ron is so good with the children.  It warms my heart to watch him interact with them.

This is Bubby with his little tree and stand that Ron made for him.

Another happy little guy.  He was so excited to have his own Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

These two little guys got to pick out their tree.  They chose out tallest tree ~ a 10′ Douglas Fir!

 And yes we have had a couple of grumpy customers.  Last night while Ron was tying a tree on a car for a customer another couple walked towards the lot.  I headed out to meet them and they did an abrupt turn around and left the lot.  I asked Ron and he said they were fighting from their car to the lot and just turned around and left.  We had a man who wanted us to sell him a $65 tree for $30.  Sorry we don’t set the prices we only sell the trees.

Today we were blessed with a surprise visit from Jim & Mary Lang.  They had been in Seattle for the weekend celebrating their anniversary.  We share the same anniversary date, tomorrow, December 20th.  Tomorrow they will have been married for 37 years and we will be celebrating our 35th anniversary.  Sometimes it seems like just yesterday we were these young and dumb people madly in love and now look at us ~ we are old and quirky, doing some off the wall things and yet so still madly in love.  

Alice, Mary & Jim Lang
Ron, Mary & Jim Lang, Alice in shadow 🙂

We have been talking the last few days of the many things we have done over the years ~ we have moved 33 times in 35 years of marriage (that does not count all the moves in the motor home.  We count that as one move.)  We have had almost as many cars in that same amount of time.  We have traveled to Europe, have shared many laughs and tears, have had some major mountains to overcome and celebrated some wonderful joys…like having two wonderful sons who have blessed us with three tremendous grandchildren!  We are truly blessed and thank God for those blessings every day.  And we look forward to many more years together.

Tonight Chuck came by and wanted to talk to Ron about buying our flatbed trailer.  We have been wanting to sell the trailer so we can get a tow bar for the Jeep.  Also Chuck told us we can now sell the trees at a discount.  It would be nice if we could sell all the trees early in this next week so we have time to clean up the lot and then start our own Christmas celebrations.

I told you awhile back about the great birthday gift I got from my friend Dee and promised you a picture of the sign she found for us…so here it is:

Thanks Dee & Tim.  Anyone who enters our home on wheels sees this sign as it hangs right over my little kitchen window.  Thanks so much for something that fits just right!

 Out of 287 trees we had one that came with decorations already adorning the tree.  We thought this was so cool we wanted to share it with all of you.  Hope you enjoy these decorations provided by God’s hands.  Isn’t He wonderful to give us little gifts where we least expect them.

A Fraser Fir with its own decorations.

A close up of the cones adorning this tree.  That is Ron’s hand behind them so you can see how small they are.

The other day I decided that I wanted some greenery in the motor home.  I love the smell of the different Christmas trees.  I took a heavy crystal vase that had been a gift from my mom when we got married outside to put some greenery in it.  While I was picking up a few branches the wind caught the vase and blew it to the ground shattering it into a zillion pieces.  I cried as I had had that vase for almost 35 years and now it was gone.  This afternoon Ron surprised me with my own little tree for in the motor home.  I sat it on the table and with the Christmas lights behind it, it looks very pretty.  Thanks Ron for putting an extra smile on my face tonight.

My gift from Ron.  I just love the smell of the trees in our motor home.  Thanks Honey for the special gift of love.

I guess that’s all from The Wandering Workentin’s tonight.  Wishing you all a great week as you put the final touches on your Christmas celebrations.  We are looking forward to finishing up here in Edmonds on Friday and then attending the Christmas Eve service at Edmonds Lutheran Church and then getting on the road next Saturday morning.  Talk to you all soon. 


A Thinking Kind of Day

Where to start?  Woke up late this morning after a pretty rough night.  I started not feeling well yesterday early afternoon.  Took a nap and still felt crummy.  Let Ron do most of the work on the tree lot, trying to rest.  My left eye was really sore and I couldn’t figure out why.  Woke up in the middle of the night with my eye burning.  Put a hot compress on it at 3:30 a.m.  Went back to sleep till the wind blowing the awning woke us up at 7:00 a.m.  Ron got up and went and pulled the awning in.  I put another hot cloth on my eye and we went back to sleep.  Woke up at 9:25 a.m. when a customer knocked on our door.  We quickly got moving.  Thankful she was patient with us.  She bought one of our larger trees. Yeah!

I then took the time to look at my eye.  It is quite swollen and red.  It looks like I scratched the lower lid or else developing a sty.  Not sure which.  Another hot compress and it felt a little better.  My mind has been running laps today.

Today would have been my Mom’s 75th birthday.  Hard to believe that she has been gone for over 5 years.  Some days I find myself saying “I should call my mom about ….” and then remember she is gone.  That has happened quite a few times in the last week.  I guess with her birthday being today she has been on my mind a lot.  We didn’t always have the best of relationships but the good times we had were wonderful.  I remember Christmas 1980.  She came to our place in Sumner that year.  Ron got a black cowboy hat from her.  He still has it though it is in storage.  Guess he will have to dig it out and take it with us to Texas.  He should fit right in then along with his cowboy boots.  My gift from her was 50 brand new $1 bills. She had folded each one in fourths and put them in a shoe box.  She would not let me open it till all the wrappings from the other gifts had been cleaned up.  I guess she knew me pretty well ~ when I opened the box and saw all that money in there I let out a whopper of a scream.  Yes, the one many of you have heard over the years.  $50 to spend on me, any way I wanted.  Another memory about that Christmas is that we put our Christmas tree in the playpen.  We had one of those wooden square ones.  Brandon was 10 months old and it was easier to cage the tree then to keep him from knocking it over.  We even strung lights around the edge of the playpen.  

My mom and I struggled over many things.  Thinking of them is sad so I try not going down that path.  Remembering the good things, the laughs and the teasing and the love that she had for my boys that is what makes me happy.  I wish she was here to know her three grandchildren.  I can picture her playing dolls with Opal, laughing with Christopher and encouraging Max in baseball.

I have also been thinking of her chicken gumbo.  It was so good.  I try to make it at least once a year.  This year I am going to make it while we are at Brandon’s.  Mine is okay but not nearly as good as hers.  I follow the same recipe but something seems to be lacking, just not sure what it is.  

Have also been thinking of how we are celebrating Christmas this year.  It will be different as we will be on the road on Christmas Day driving to Post Falls to meet up with Brandon and his family for basketball tournament.  It will be just the two of us.  Have been thinking of dinner and what we are going to do.  Ron suggested we go out to eat but that seems weird to me.  But at the same time I can’t think of what to fix since we will be driving all day.  Maybe I will plan on different appetizers that we can munch on while driving and then make some French Onion soup once we stop for the night.  Any suggestions please send them our way.  We are looking forward to going to Edmonds Lutheran Church which is right behind Safeway for their Christmas Eve service.  It starts at 8:00 p.m. which works great for us as we are done here on the lot at 5:00 p.m.  Will definitely make some phone calls on Christmas Day to Jamie, Suzanne & Opal and Brandon and his family, plus a couple of calls to friends and a few of our aunts & uncles.

Talked with Bonnie this morning from Lone Star Corral.  I don’t know who is more excited ~ Ron & I and our upcoming trip to Texas and the new jobs or Bonnie and the board to know they have a couple coming on board in March.  Ron has been busy planning our route.  And making reservations at different campgrounds.  I have confirmed with my aunt in Middletown and Ron’s aunt in McNeal, AZ.  Right now our plan is to leave on Sunday, February 13th from Blaine, WA and arrive in Hondo, TX on March 11th.  We start work on March 14th.  We want to use the weekend before we start to get settled in, organized and other household things preparing for full time work.  One thing I want to do is get back into planning our menu’s for a month at time.  When I used to do that, we ate pretty healthy, grocery shopped only every other week which saved us money, and took a lot of stress off of wondering what is for dinner.  I will probably start the menu planning while we are driving so we can do a major grocery shop before landing in Hondo.

We have sold 10 trees today.  We have 82 trees left on the lot.  We were hoping for good weather today but that is not happening.  We woke up to high winds and very cold weather.  Now the rain has started.  Hoping it is not a big turn off to those who still need to buy a tree.  We have talked a lot about our experience of selling Christmas trees.  We are glad we tried it but don’t think this is a job we want to do again.  But we can say we have done it.  We think selling Christmas trees wouldn’t be so bad if we had one day a week off to get away from the lot but that is not how they do it.  We will have been here 33 days when we are done.  I have driven to Costco once, Ron once to the auto parts store to get light bulbs for the interior lights here in the motor home and we took off early one morning to do laundry.  Next week Wednesday we will go and do laundry again.  Thursday Ron will take the motor home to get gas as we don’t know how many gas stations are going to be open on Christmas Day.

Sitting watching cars in the parking lot is quite entertaining.  We keep waiting for there to be a collision right on the corner of the lot.  So many people use the lot to cut through the area, cars go pretty fast through the lot and go the wrong way down the lanes.  There are times when the horns are honking and Ron and I just shake our heads.  If people went up/down the lanes as directed there might not be so many near misses.  Just now I watched one car trying to cut through a parking spot and two cars coming at opposite directions all stop looking at each other.  I wonder who is going to give first.

We have had a few visitors while we have been here and that has been nice.  So thankful for friends who have come by or called.  It helps to make the days go by a little faster.

I don’t know much else and I think I am rambling on so I should probably end this post before boring all of you.

We have been praying for many things and would appreciate your praying along with us…

…for Tammy and Kenny as Tammy recuperates from her breast cancer surgery.  They should be meeting with the doctors early next week to see what the next step is.  Praising God that Tammy has quit smoking and that the desire for the cigarettes has not been too strong.

…thanking God for putting us on the hearts of friends who blessed us with a Safeway gift card!

…thanking the Lord for the customers he has sent our way and praying for the rest of these trees to sell.  We have sold three more while I have been writing my blog post today.  We are down to 79 on the lot.

…praising God for the friends who have given us an ear to listen to our thoughts, fears, questions about taking a new job so far from home.

Take care and may all of you have a full and blessed day!


Catch Up Time Again & Time to Plan for Our Next Adventure

Greetings on this very wet and rainy night here in Edmonds, WA.

We have 11 more days of selling Christmas trees.  We have sold 164 trees so far and have 77 trees on the lot.  We are expecting one or more two deliveries this week before our final weekend.  We are actually open till 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.   We have had one tree stolen from the lot ~ found out that is not unusual.  Frustrating to say the least.

One happy family with their Christmas tree.

Ali peaking out from behind the trees.

The drilling machine.

 Friday morning we decided we had better do some laundry.  It had been 19 days since we had done laundry and we were running out of some of the necessities.  This is what 19 days of laundry looks like:

After doing laundry we stopped at Edmonds Lutheran Church which is right behind Safeway where we are parked.  I went in and asked Sue, the church secretary, if we could fill our water tank in the motor home after explaining that we are selling Christmas trees just across the street.  She said sure!  We also found out that they have a Christmas Eve service at 8:00 p.m.  Guess where we are going?  God is so good, he gave us water and we now have a Christmas Eve service to attend!

We have had a few visitors.  Saturday afternoon, Dee & Tim brought us down our mail and the license plates for our Jeep and a great birthday gift.  A little heart that is now hanging in my kitchen window (I will get a picture and post it next time) that says “Welcome to our home on the road.”  I love it and you see it as you enter the motor home.  We laughed a lot and even sold a couple of trees while they were here.  Total count for the day was 27!  Our best day ever.  We also got another $3 tip – that makes $18 in tips!  

We also had an unexpected visitor at midnight Saturday night.  A lady banged on the door at midnight and said she found her tree.  So Ron got up, went to the tree.  She said it was $21.  WRONG it was $41.  She thought that was crazy and so walked off.  No sale.  It was close to 1:00 a.m. before we were able to get to sleep.  She should have at least bought the darn tree!

Saturday night we got a job offer from the Escapees Co-op campground in Hondo, TX.  We also got a job offer from Childs Meadow Resort and another campground about an hour from Salinas.  And we also have the request to rejoin the carnival for next year.  First I was stressed because we didn’t have a job and now we have choices.  Choices oh my!!!  Answer to be found later in this post.

Sunday morning found us facing a horrendous downpour.  It was raining so hard that Ron let me sleep in.  We finally got a break in the weather late in the afternoon.  Our friend Bryan and his two kids, Evan and Lauren came by for a short visit.  They brought us treats from Starbucks!  Love them and those coffees!  

Sunday afternoon I needed to make some change.  We have a change jar so I thought I would grab it and make some change for the cash box.  And this is what happened:

This is what happens when you pop the top off the jar and it goes crashing to the ground.

Close up of the change.  It went all the way down the side of the bed and all along the foot of the bed.  Fortunately it was a plastic jar so there was no glass.

This is where the change belongs.

We sold 17 trees yesterday.  In the evening Fran, our collector, and Chuck, the tree owner came by to get our money from the sales from Saturday and Sunday.  Ron told Chuck about our job offers.  Chuck told Ron we have a job with him for next year selling trees if we want it.  He says we are doing a good job.  That was encouraging to hear especially since we have nothing to compare it to.

Today we got off to a rather slow start.  The sun was shining when we got up.  We did some clean up inside the motor home.  I think we have as many needles inside our house without a tree if we did have a tree.  We swept the inside of the motor home and hung our blue rug up on the fence to dry from all the wet shoes on it over the weekend.  Ron also did some sweeping outside.  It was a pretty quiet day.  We were both on the computer this afternoon when there was a little knock on the door.  It was Kristy and Kodie!  They made a detour on their way home from Children’s Hospital to come and visit.  We had a fun time catching up.  Kodie was anxious to get back on the road as she had been promised a lunch treat at McDonald’s.  While they were visiting we had a customer so we all went outside.  Kodie decided she needed a fresh tree.  She was on the hunt.  She found just the right size tree.  Ron then found her a special little tree stand.  Kodie knew you had to pay for her tree.  I made a tree sign and Kodie paid me 25 cents for her tree and tree stand.  Then it was time for them to go home.  Kodie had to find the tree a safe place in the car for the journey back to Bellingham.  

Ron & Kodie with her tree and receipt.

Kodie anxiously awaiting Mom so they could go to McDonald’s.

And her tree tucked safely in for travel.

I then took advantage of a slow day and took a two hour nap.  I laid down on the couch and slept for over two hours.  While sleeping it started to rain again.  Remember the rug we hung up to dry ~ well now it is really wet as it is still outside.  It won’t be coming back inside for awhile now.  Oh well.

Then we had some phone calls to make and some emails to send.  What was our news that we needed to share.  We are happy to say we have accepted the positions in Hondo, TX.  I will be the Office Manager and Ron the Outside Property Manager.   We are excited to accept these positions and start planning our new adventure.  We start our new jobs on Monday, March 14, 2011.  So now we start planning a new trip too!  I will share our plans for the route, dates of travel and where we will be stopping in the days to come.

Thank you all for your prayers of support and encouragement as we searched for work and watched to see how God would open doors for us.  As we begin this new adventure I will continue to share our praises and prayer requests.


Thursday Thoughts

It has been a pretty quiet day here at the Christmas tree lot.  Leaves lots of time to think and contemplate.  So what have I been thinking about?

Let’s begin with work in the future.  As many of you know we had a phone interview with Bonnie and the board of directors of Lone Star Corral (click on the underline link to see the park) an Escapees campground in Hondo, TX.  We were asked many questions and some of our answers brought laughter.  Like when Ron was asked if had any allergies to chemicals.  He replied, “None that I know of, except maybe a little work.”  The phone interview lasted about 20 minutes.  The call ended with Bonnie saying she would get back to us within the week.  We both felt the interview went well and are thinking this may be the job for us.  We just have to wait and see if it is offered to us.

About an hour after that phone call we got a call from Bruce from a campground in California that is also interested in us coming to work for them Summer of 2011.  Ron and I were on the phone with him for about 30 minutes.  Now we have more things to think about.  Asking ourselves the pros/cons of each job.  

We have sought the prayers of many and we know God will clearly show us where and what we should do.  How you ask?  Because just as we contemplated going to work for the carnival last Spring we asked the Lord for that peace that passes all understanding (***Phil. 4:6-7) and we had that peace in our hearts.  And we know we will have it for this situation in our lives.

Christmas tree sales have been very slow the last couple of days.  We sold 4 trees yesterday and 3 trees today.  And right now it is pouring down rain so we don’t expect too many customers yet this evening.  One thing we forgot to share about our weekend sales is that we got $15 in tips from different customers.  One lady gave us a tip just as they were driving away with their tree on their car.  There was two guys, looked about college age who saw her give Ron the tip. He gave Ron a tip too.  I told Ron that was all the change I had just given the guy.  The guy had told me he had $60 for a tree including tax.  He picked out a tree that was $55 + change with tax.  He gave the $4.00 to Ron as a tip.  We both thought that was so sweet.  With the slow sales it leaves a lot of time to think and be on the computer.  A lot of time on the computer!  There is not much to do here at the Christmas tree lot when we have no customers. 
I have done searches looking for a church to attend Christmas Eve services.  I have thought about writing an end of year letter and sending out Christmas cards which I have not done a lot of the last few years.  What I need to do is clean out the cupboard above our bed.  But I can’t see the lot from the bedroom and one of us needs to be watching the lot for customers.  And I say I need to clean out the cupboard but it is really a we.  One of us empties the cupboard and the other puts the stuff on the bed.  Then we sort it out and then reorganize as we put stuff back up in the cupboard.  We will have to do it soon as there are a couple of Christmas gifts up there that I need to wrap and figure out how to get to the people they go to.
I have also thought about writing some stories.  I posted one yesterday that I wrote a few years ago.  I enjoy writing, I just need some ideas on what to write about.  I have thought about writing up some more things about the carnival life as well as writing some psalms.  My friend Marla has encouraged me to write psalms when my mind is full and running kind of wild.

The other thing I have thought of doing is some cleaning and organizing of things in the motor home.  We have hard wood floors with six throw rugs throughout the motor home.  Right now we have needles every where even though we have shaken the rugs and swept the floors every couple of days.  We also have stuff piled on the benches and the table in the dining area as well as the passenger seat and the dog house (the engine cover).  It just looks kind of cluttered right now.  And we have people in our home every day since that is where I have to do the money transactions.  I am hoping for three busy days so will set some goals of doing some of that cleaning and organizing the first of next week.  Don’t hesitate to ask me how I am doing in those areas next week.

I have been thinking about if we take the job in Texas what all would need to happen before we would have to report to work.  The start date is March 14, 2011.  There are lots of people to see in Blaine/Birch Bay, Bellingham,  and Lewiston, Id, along with people we would want to see along the way in California and Arizona.  I would want to stop in Las Vegas and go to the cemetery where Royce is buried.  We don’t get to do that too often and if I have a chance to even be near there I want to stop.

There are things that we would need to take to Texas with us that we don’t normally carry with us in the motor home.  Like summer and winter clothes, my Americana decorations, Fall decorations and our Christmas decorations.  We usually just switch those out each season.  But with making a year commitment I would need want the decorations to be able to use.  And we would have to figure out if Ron would take any of his tools though it sounds like they have all the tools that would be needed for any job that needs to be done.

I have also been thinking about things we have learned regarding selling Christmas trees.  We have learned to get things in writing and make sure we understand things like how we get paid.  Yes I know we will get paid US currency :).  But how much we get paid, how often we get paid are two important things that we thought we understood.  Like getting a base pay and a commission or just a commission.  When payday (s) are.  And what is ALL expected of us for the job.  Also what benefits come with the job.  In our case having a place to park our little home, where we get power and water.  Hmmm….still thinking of that one.  Ron says not to worry we will get water.  I just have this fear that I will be taking a shower and will run out of water.  Just not a pretty scene to me.  Someone on one of the RV forums I read/write on suggested going to a local fire department to see if we can get water.  I told that to Ron and he said he will ask the firemen who park their big truck right by us when they go to Safeway if that is a possibility.   And where/how do we dump our tanks?  We found out after we were set up that the company that put the port-a-potty here and comes and cleans it weekly is to dump our tanks and the bill goes to Chuck.  Thank you Lord as that saves us $30 for each time the tanks are dumped.   And where to do laundry?  

On Monday I told Ron we needed to do laundry soon.  He agreed as he had only one more pair of socks.  So what did we do.  We counted how many pairs of underwear (I know too much information) we had left.  Enough through Saturday.  So we just needed socks to go that long.  So off to TJMax I went and bought Ron six more pairs of socks.  See they come in 3’s or 6’s.  3’s wouldn’t have got us to the end of the week so it was 6 I bought.  So laundry day was scheduled for Friday.  Remember we don’t have to be on the lot between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. during the week.  So tonight out comes Maggie (our GPS system) and the computer.  We were on the hunt for a laundromat, not a cleaners.  We have one of those right next to Safeway but I can’t imagine taking my dirty laundry to a cleaners for someone else to do.  So we found two laundromats.  One didn’t open till 9 AM, the other at 8 AM.  So we have set the alarm for 7:00 a.m.  I didn’t even realize there was a 7:00 a.m. and I don’t think my phone knows that time either.  So Ron, being the wonderful hubby that he is, set his phone alarm.  We will be up and at em early in the morning tomorrow.  To do laundry.  I am sure we will have four or five loads as there are two full bags and one partially full bag + we have to do sheets.  Hopefully we can get the laundry all washed and dried by 9:45 a.m. so we can be back at the motor home by 10:00 a.m. when we are to open the Christmas tree lot.

Well I think that is enough thinking for right now.  I just realized it is 8:38 p.m. and I still have not fixed dinner….now I have more thinking to do.  What to make for dinner.  We ate all the leftover.  Hmmm……Safeway is right there…maybe I will go for a walk and see if I can find something.  Sounds like a good idea to me.

Praise ~
~ for a great interview on the phone this morning
~ for the trees that we have sold so far and the people we have been able to share how the Lord brought us to this place to sell these trees
~ thanks for the tips we have gotten this week

Prayer requests ~
~ for the peace that passes all understanding about where we are to work next 
~ for us to remain healthy especially working outside in the cold, wind and rain.  It is supposed to rain
~ for me not to feel anxious about where and how we will get water

*** Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.  And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.***