Busy, Yet Reminded to Breathe ~ Lenten Season ~ Day 20

Time…oh how I wish I could stop it at times and other days wish it would move faster. The saying “time passes quickly” is so true especially when there are lots of things that need to happen in a certain amount of calendar days!!!

YET, this morning I am reminded that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow the days go

and I am so thankful for that. The past week has been crazy, busy at times, other times just the kind of day where you watch the clock, or fall asleep and think you will only nap for 2 hours and five hours later you glance at the clock and say “Oh crap ~ where did the time go!” Both Ron and I are looking forward to being on the same sleep schedule. Right now the three nights he works, I find myself staying up late so I can snuggle and sleep next to him ~ there is just something comforting being able to reach out and touch his foot or hand and know we are together. And then I wonder how can I do the things I need to do because I have slept half the day away. It seems lately I am being constantly reminded that this is just for a season and this season is coming to a close and a new season and new adventure are on the horizon.

This morning in God’s word (Joshua 5) ~ he encouraged me

that He is with me every step of the way, from the Luther Lenten Devotional I am reminded “In a time of journey, whether it be 40 years of journey through the wilderness, 40 days of journey through a crisis, or 40 hours of anxiety or despair, God’s promise holds us.  God’s promise is unconditional, which means it is always offered to us, no matter where we are, who we are, or in what situation we may be.” 

Isn’t that a great promise…we are never alone!!!

So as I start this week off running, well after sleeping almost 10 hours!!! I am reminded to keep my eyes on the destination but to enjoy the journey. So many things to do this week…the must do’s ~ doctor appointment, clean and purge stuff in the trailer (I know, it’s a never ending job!!!), organize and figure out how to store all my yarn ~ don’t say give it away ~ I have projects to do!!! Spend time with Brandon, Danalyn, Chris, Treyson and Alex!! We will definitely miss being close by so need to soak up all the time with them that we can!! Some me time ~ connecting with a new friend to say “see you later” BUT most of all being thankful for every day that I am blessed to have here on earth!!!

As I just wrote that last line I thought of three friends that are facing some struggles ~ thankful that I can pray for each of them and be an encouragement to them in a little moment of time and I pray that they (and you) are able to find a little spark of joy and sunshine in your day today!! If you think of them, please say a prayer for peace, reconciliation, calmness and joy to shine in their lives! I know they would appreciate the prayers.

In closing, the verse below closed out my devotionals and I was reminded of my most happy place…being near the water, watching and enjoying God’s handiwork. I won’t see the ocean or even a lake or river today BUT I can know in my heart that He will always love me, just like He loves you! That HIS grace and mercies are new every day and isn’t that refreshing…knowing we get a “do over” every single day!!!

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Is there a “do over” you need today?
My “do over” for me, is give myself the grace that I so willingly give to others when I don’t meet all my crazy expectations. Lord, help me remember to breathe, one foot in front of the other, to stop and smell the flowers and enjoy this day that you have given me!!!

Lenten Day 16 – Love Like Jesus

Both of these verses were in my reading this afternoon, yes afternoon! I usually try to have my quiet time with the Lord in the morning but this week is kind of crazy. Our grandson, Christopher joined us yesterday for a night and today Treyson is staying for two nights.

We asked Christopher what he wanted to do while hanging with us…watching movies, eating burgers and sleeping in! So we did…we watched the 2008 Batman movie “The Dark Night” and then the new release “The Adam Project.” They are not movies we would have chosen to watch but we are glad we did. “The Adam Project” had amazing special effects and a great message at the end of the movie.

Lunch was burgers at Chili’s

We took Christopher over to his Grandma & Pop Pops for tonight and picked up Treyson. The boys are both going to Boy Scout Camp in Georgia this summer and Treyson still needed to earn some money to go towards camp so he is busy helping Grandpa do some much needed trailer cleaning.
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This is the front after the first scrubbing (f you look closely at the top you can still see some of the nasty green pollen)…and as you can see below they are doing the front once again!!!

Tonight dinner will be cheese dogs w/tater tots and veggies and then movie time with Treyson. Tomorrow morning Treyson and Ron will caulk around the sunroof in the bathroom of the travel trailer…it’s not bad that it drips in the shower but it’s really not good for the trailer 😂

Also tomorrow we will head to the post office to mail out a Crocheted Dish Towel to the first contest winner of Crochet Creations by Ali.

Congratulations to Jim Tuck!!!

Back to my devotional this morning and welcome to my world of moving from one topic to another without skipping a beat !!!

Some of the thoughts I wrote down:
~ we should strive to be more Christ like each and every day
~ be more real
~ not that our works will get us into heaven, it is our love and belief in Jesus and so my prayer is that each day I can love more like Jesus!
~ and again I come back to struggling with feelings, making mistakes and have to remind myself feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are AND when I make a mistake or am struggling I can remember that there really aren’t failures (except the failure to learn from our mistakes) because if I learn from a mistake I also learn how to accept more of God’s grace in my life and thus be able to learn how to extend grace to others. And I am so thankful for God’s grace!!! And the fact that I don’t have to strive to be perfect…I just need to

Moving and Trusting

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that we have lived full time in an RV since Fall 2006 and started traveling in Fall 2009.

In a nutshell we have worked for a carnival, sold Christmas trees, managed a campground in Texas, then in Missouri, as well as Ron worked for Amazon in Kansas and back to Missouri to manage the same campground with different owners.

And then we worked at GUMI Camp, USA and then moved back to Oregon, then again to Texas, spent a few months in Utah ~ the altitude was a bit high for Ron and again we made our way to Texas. Then to North Carolina and most recently to Florida.

We have managed a 55+ independent living company, been house parents to more teenagers than we ever would have imagined, worked as gate guards and then foster parents to some sweet precious children who we miss dearly (we continue to pray for them and hope they remember us with love and then house parents in an emergency shelter and again here in Florida for a time. And then we made the tough decision to leave child care…we loved working with most of the children, it was very difficult with some of them but after dealing with a ton of verbal and emotional abuse from some of the older boys we decided it was time to find something else. So without much thinking, a lot of reacting and feeling like we didn’t have many choices we quit our jobs at AKP. Ron returned to Amazon here in Florida.

We have so enjoyed our time in Florida, being close to our son Brandon and his family, finding a church that we enjoyed and learning from Pastor Fred to keep seeking the Lord through everything we faced. And we have faced a few things that were unexpected…Ron having a heart attack right before Thanksgiving, me (Ali) spending Christmas in the hospital with heart and GERD issues, Ron reacting to his new medications and spending another 24 hours in the hospital and struggling to make ends meet…many people

prayed for us, blessed us in ways we could never imagine and us praying for guidance, seeking counsel from friends and praying and seeking the Lord’s will for us, for what and where we should be for the next season. And Ron kept saying “Keep trusting God, He hasn’t failed us yet and there is no reason why He will now.”

And once again, among all of my anxiety and yet holding on to God’s promises that

and taking each day, moment by moment and trusting and tackling the elephant one bite at a time, seeking God’s plan for us, and trusting some more and letting go of what my/our wants our God opens doors!!!

And He has done that. After talking with people in Vermont, Iowa, Alabama and South Carolina, we have accepted positions at Camp Sparrow RV Park in Gaffney, SC. Yes we are excited for another new adventure and yet sad to be moving away from our son and his family here in Florida. But in our sadness, we celebrate all the fun times we have had the past few months being with our grandsons, spending holidays together and for this season of our lives!!!

And we can’t wait to see what the next chapter involves!!!

God is Faithful and Trustworthy ~ Lenten Day 14

It’s been a few days of craziness for us ~ I was due to return from Oregon on 3/16, changed my flight to 3/13 – leave Portland at 2:00p arrive in Tampa at 11:55p…forgot to figure in

and then arriving at the airport find out my flight to DFW won’t arrive in time for my connection to Tampa so I got rerouted including two 4.5 hr layovers!!! Oh my goodness!!! So I called Ron ~ honey you get to sleep tonight…just get up at 4:00a to pick me up at 6:00a…sent a text at Midnight…nope flight not due in until 6:30a so no need to get up quite so early!!! Finally arrived, got my luggage (one of which was a broken suitcase ~ decided it was 12 years old, not worth it to file a claim plus too dang tired to worry about it). Crawled into my bed at 7:30a!! Sleep never felt so good!!!

I am thankful that the Lord provided me the opportunity to help out a friend and be reminded over and over again how He faithfully provides for his children.

In one of my devotions this morning I am reminded how “the Bible doesn’t ask us to explain why things happen but to remember how God’s wisdom and power have been at work, even long before you or me. This keeps us from interpreting present circumstances hastily, limiting grace to timelines, or cramming the darker mysteries of life into bright, tidy spiritual boxes. Our times are in his hand. Now is the time for seeking his care and trusting that when this season, too, is past, it will be revealed among the ranks of God’s mighty history with his people, a page in the calendar year of God’s time.

Ecclesiastes tells us

Before making the trip to Oregon, Ron told me multiple times “Maybe you aren’t working right now so you can be available to help our friend.” We have had over 80K air miles just sitting there ~ enough to cover my flights and I could be unemployed in Oregon as well as in Florida…so off I went. I was glad to be there to assist with family and health issues, get things in a manageable form and see my sweet ocean!! As most of you know, the ocean is my happy place!!!

And in Pacific Northwest fashion I was sent back to Florida in the midst of a storm!!!

As I reflect on Ecclesiastes as our lives are filled with different seasons I reflect back on my past…as a young wife, then young mom, losing a child when I was just a child, mom of rambunctious toddlers and teenagers who made me question my ability as a parent, as an adult dealing with past emotional trauma of abuse of every kind imaginable, as an adult child of alcoholics and dealing with their lives and death and how their lives affected my life in so many ways.

I can see how the Lord was with me, even when I didn’t see or feel Him!!! The hard things I have dealt with have led me to be able to help others…minister to those who are watching a baby pass away before their eyes, losing a teenager who had their whole life ahead of them, listening as someone sat by their parents bedside saying goodbye, being there to welcome the birth of a healthy child, celebrating graduations from high school and college, sending our loved ones to a foreign country to fight battles no one understands. So many things…that we want to question, wonder the why and how and yet God reminds us over and over that he is our refuge and strength ~ in Psalm 63

In verse 1, the psalmist cries, “My soul thirsts for you,” and God is our sanctuary. In verse 5 we hear, “My soul is satisfied,” and God’s promise is abundant. In verse 8, “My soul clings to you,” and God is our refuge.  God is holding us up and piecing us together one day at a time 

One day at a time, one step at a time, one minute or hour at a time ~ that’s how God is…He is with us every step we take, every decision we make even when we don’t understand or know what to do…and that’s where our (my) trust in God comes from trusting even in difficult times.

Something I have shared a lot in the past few days has been

And that is how we should face each day,

and

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And so Ron and I continue to trust and seek where the Lord wants us to be?

Stay tuned for some news!!

God’s Promises Never Fail ~ Day 11 of Lent

Woke up tired and sore today. Not as bad as some days have been, but definitely my back doesn’t like something BUT God met me once again right where I am!

One of my devotions today talked about how Jesus has felt every emotion that I could possibly imagine, he has been sad, tired, frustrated and also energized, loved and persevered! If God can do all these things and He promises to always be with me and even though today feels like a hard day I can take comfort in knowing I am not alone.

So today, as Ron and I talk about upcoming opportunities and what we want we continue to say “if it’s God’s will we can do ………… “

Another thing I read this morning that spoke to me had to do with Blessings. One devotion stated “blessings are God’s main way of communicating his grace for us.” And to remember that blessings are not just things for us, but also ways we can share God’s love with others. Even as my back is hurting today, if I can focus on others, pray for others, encourage others my aches and pains don’t seem to heavy.

One thing I am working on is changing how I say things to myself…instead of saying things in a negative way I’m trying to change my words into positive…for example I have told myself this morning “even though my back is hurting, I am able to still go for a walk and do the things that I need to do.”

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My question for the day is:
How do you change a negative thought or situation into a positive one?

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I want to close with something that I am very thankful for…
I am thankful for people I have gotten to meet through my blog over the years.
Today I celebrate with another RV’r couple who have always encouraged us in our journey as we travel and work across the country, I celebrate with them that they were able to get a sweet looking truck and can’t wait to see what their new home on wheels will look like!!!

I’m thankful for the encouragement I get when people leave me comments. Some are from people we have met while traveling, met only on Facebook and through our blogs, some we have been able to meet and hug in person and for those who have become our family, some who live this crazy RV life and some who live in one place and share their stability with us! I am just thankful for all those in my life who love and encourage me in so many different ways!!!

Who are you thankful for today?

God is My Strength ~ Lenten Day 10

Sometimes I am so amazed at myself…I have so many things I want to get done each day and yet lately I seem to be so easily distracted. Or maybe I’m just aware that I am more distracted 😜

So many questions I find God asking me in my devotions this morning…

  1. Luke 13:31-35 ~ would I blindly follow Jesus if I didn’t know the outcome. Reading about Jesus and his trek in Jerusalem, he knowing what was to come yet the disciples only knew what Jesus said. I would hope I would have followed Jesus blindly yet sometimes I do wonder since I like to know what is going on and what might happen. Today I know I choose to follow Jesus because He loves me.

God loves me no matter what! I didn’t know what unconditional love meant until years into my marriage to Ron. He has been and I am sure will continue to be the example of Jesus in my life…Ron loves me. He loves me when I panic, he loves me in my craziness and in my role as mom and grammy! I am so thankful Ron loves me. And though some days he may ask himself why, he doesn’t tell me. I love Ron and am so thankful God brought you into my life almost 47 years ago!!!

And I am thankful that God loves me more than I could ever imagine. God reassures me every day of his love and care for me.

2. I am reminded that my strength comes from the Lord! Sometimes I look back on different situations and I reminded of how far I have come in life…from such an insecure young girl, who wanted nothing but to be loved and would do almost anything to please others so they would love me, heck just like me. This morning I was reminded that it’s okay to look back and see where I’ve been but what is not good is to get stuck in the past.

3. One of the verses from my readings this morning is found in Isaiah 53: 3-4a where I am reminded that God carries my grief and sorrow and that led me to more prayers of thankfulness for those who have walked by my side over the years…too many to name (I know I would forget someone and don’t want to offend someone for forgetting to list them) but they know who they are…they have stood by me, held me and encouraged me, reminded me that I am loved and cared about and most of all that God is the one who carries my grief and sorrow so that I can live in joy and peace today!!!

The final verse in my reading this morning reminded me to that even though some would and do attack me, trying to pull me back down to feeling inadequate and not good enough the bottom line is that

God Holds Me Up!!!

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Who do you lean on when you feel down?
Do you have a favorite verse you repeat to yourself?

Greater Love ~ Day 4 Lenten Season

As I opened my Bible this morning I was thinking about a conversation I had with Ron earlier in the day. A little back history…yesterday his phone texted my phone an Emergency SOS. I wasn’t home and yes, a little panic settled in. I tried calling him, no answer. I tried calling again, no answer. I called the RV Park office and explained to the gal that I was not home and then Ron’s phone was giving me an emergency SOS text and would she mind going over to the trailer to check on him. He was supposed to be sleeping as he had worked the night before. I think that was two of the longest minutes I have spent in a long time. She came back, said his alarm went off, scared him, he somehow called 911 and couldn’t get his phone to shut off BUT he was fine! Thank you Jesus! Ron called me. We got his phone reset and continued on with our day. Ron didn’t go to work lat night because he had a headache and just felt exhausted. This morning he said he is doing much better and will be going to work this evening.

This morning I called him while I was out and again he didn’t answer. What the heck?? I called again and he answered. I did tell him, with all the stuff that was going on he couldn’t not answer his phone….my heart might not be able to take much more stress. His phone was on silent…I walked him through, again, how to turn it on (the little button on the left of the phone had been pushed down yesterday during the phone issues 😳. He reassured me he was feeling much better. Thank you Jesus for keeping my hubby safe. We talked a bit and I encouraged Ron to eat a bit more protein and see if that helps.

And then I sat down in my little corner and opened my Bible…the opening line of my Lenten devotional this morning was “Lent is the time of greater love”. I love Ron more than anything and I guess the last few months of health scares are finally catching up with me. The above verse reminded me to keep my focus on God’s love. God’s love for me, for Ron, for our children & grandchildren and even for myself. And to remember to stay focused on God’s Word (light).

A song that was included in my devotion this morning “My Song is Love Unknown.” by Samuel Crossman (1664). The first verse goes like this
My song is love unknown,
my Savior’s love to me,
love to the loveless shown
that they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I,
that for my sake
my Lord should take
frail flesh and die?

And again I am reminded that God’s love for me is more than I could ever imagine. And that no matter what happens in this life I will never, ever be alone!!!

Another song that has really been speaking to me lately is sung by our friends, Roy Morris & Barbara Fairchild, “He’ll Keep You Thru”

If your passion for living is gone
And the trials have taken your song
Here’s an echo of the truth
And its ringing in my heart from my youth.
He won’t keep you from the fire
but he’ll sure keep you through

He’ll keep you through the fire
When it becomes a furnace
He’ll keep you through the waters
When they become a flood.
He would not make what he could not keep
He would not start what he can’t complete
And what he does not keep you from,
He’ll keep you through.

He didn’t keep Noah from the flood that came.
He didn’t keep Moses from 40 years of pain.
Now there’s Daniel, Paul and Silas, and the Hebrew boys, just to name a few
And what he did not keep them from, they knew that he would keep them through.

He’ll keep you through the fire
When it becomes a furnace
He’ll keep you through the waters
When they become a flood
He would not make, what he could not keep
He did not start what he can’t complete
And what he does not keep you from
He’ll keep you through

And what he does not keep you from
He’ll keep you through.

Reminding me over and over again, God doesn’t keep the fires and trials from our lives BUT He does help us get through them!!! Thank you Jesus for another reminder that I am never alone, even when my mind races to and fro. My prayer today is “Lord help me to focus on you and to be intentional in all I say and do. Amen.”

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Do you have a favorite song you like to listen to that encourages you?
Or how about helps you to keep focused?

Time Just Goes on Bye ~

I am just amazed at how fast time goes…I have been up for over an hour and a half and made my list of must do’s for the day, spent some time in the Word (not enough that’s for sure…I feel like some days I could spend hours just reading, thinking and processing God’s Word. I glanced up at the time and realized I have allowed myself to get distracted way too much this morning…doing things that need to get done, but not prioritizing and sticking to what needs to be done first!!!

And my mind is all over the place from my devotionals this morning ~ so get ready for some random thoughts…in no particular order…

Lenten Season ~ Day 2…Pope Francis says “Lent comes providentially to awaken us from our lethargy.”

Is my inability to stay focused any different than a temptation, like Jesus was tempted…I face temptations…that chocolate bar in the drawer or flitting from one thing to another, not completing the task at hand before jumping in two feet into the next one. I think I am being “awakened” to pay attention to what I want to do, what I am doing and how I go about things.

One of the themes from Lenten Season Day 2 was being honest. A question was asked “Do I put out the “polished Ali” or do I allow myself to be vulnerable?” My goal is to be authentic in all I do, to be vulnerable to what, when, how the Lord wants me to live my life. And for the most part, I think I am. I know sometimes I share too much or too quickly but God is teaching me when to be quiet…that is hard for me. Lately I have found myself saying to me, Ali….stop, breathe, do I really want to say this or that and stepping away from the computer (talking) for a bit.

The other day I posted a memory on Facebook about helping those in need and got into a wild conversation with a family member. I was ticked she would accuse me of saying one thing and doing another…I stepped away from the computer. Prayed about how to respond, shared with Ron the conversation and then sat back down and responded. God reminded me in my devotions that it doesn’t really matter what she (the family member) thinks, it’s what I know, what God knows and what truth is. I am thankful for that interaction as it reminded me what is important…my relationship with the Lord, my word and actions…to be truthful in all situations.

Lenten Day 3 continues with

To continue to Love one another, to encourage one another as well as listen to one another as each of us face many struggles in our day…

Lately one of my struggles has been walking…my lower back has been hurting quite often. I called my doctor, he told me to stop taking one of my medications, keep pushing myself to walk at least once a day and touch base with him again next week. He says the new statin he put me on could be the culprit…we will see YET I will keep walking. Dr. T reminded me that walking for 15 minutes twice a day has the same benefit as walking for 30 minutes straight so my goal for this next week is to get out and walk twice a day, not just in the morning. I also have to remember that I am the only one that can get me out the door…well that and encouraging words from my friends & family 😁

As I continued reading this morning, I was reminded over and over that God is my refuge, He is who I need to run to (maybe just walk) to each and every day and in being my refuge, my protector and my Poppa…wherever I am He will always be. Reminds me of what Ron and I say “our home is where we park it.” God is my home wherever I am at…He is always with me!!! Thank you Poppa for loving me even as I get distracted, flit from one thing to the next, as I share my spastic prayers with you…thank you for loving me!!

Now to ask Poppa God to show me how to do all the things I want to do and the things I need to do and to remember everything happens in His timing not mine!

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How do you handle doing the things you want to do along with the must do’s?

Lenten Season ~ Day 1

This is the verse that began my Lenten devotional series today. What a beautiful reminder that God is always faithful, HE always loves me and is waiting for me each day to reach out to Him!!!

Began the second part of my devotional and it reminded me that as I go through each day I need to seek to be how the Lord wants me to be: loving, kind, patient, compassionate, slow to anger, listen ~ really listen, don’t be thinking of the next thing to say, but listen, really listen.

When most people think of Lent they think of “I have to give up ________________ (fill in the blank) but this year my focus is not giving up something but focusing on the things I need to do to have a healthier body, a calmer spirit, a more loving heart. So my focus today is to speak love in my words, speak positively!

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What about you? Are you giving something up for Lent? Or challenging yourself with something new?

Playing Catch Up Again 😜

Life is crazy sometimes and it’s not like I’m working an outside job or have so many appointments I still can’t seem to do ALL the things in one day that I want to do. So I’m smiling at myself, telling myself it’s okay to just do what I can do and give myself the same grace that I would extend to others.

Tomorrow is the first day of the Lenten season. The definition is: Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.

Here is my catch up to Ali’s Pre Lenten Season of Thankfulness:

Day 31…I was really struggling and texted my friend Roy Morris to ask him and Barb to pray for me…my depression has been raising its ugly head off/on/and on again so much the last few months. I asked Roy if they would pray for me. He responded: 🙏🏼. A few minutes later he sent me this: I just talked to Jesus and ask him to block satan’s attack of depression…… he CANNOT cross the blood line Jesus has placed with His blood. Remember this…..our mind ( thoughts ) is like a mental airport. We are the air traffic controller for that airport. We can tell the devil and his planes that’s loaded with bad cargo ( such as depression) they can’t land in your airport…..take it somewhere else. Then you let God and all the wonderful cargo (blessings…thoughtfulnesses, healings, ect. ) land in your airport and focus on all the many GOOD things He’s done for you and there won’t be room for the devils planes.❤️

I read the above right after he sent it to me and have read it a couple of times each day. The picture of being at the airport and seeing signs that says “Not today, satan, not today” keep flashing through my mind. I am so thankful for friends who I can call on to pray for me and they do right then and there. I am thankful for friends who share what God shares with them and thankful for friends who encourage me.

Day 32: today I am thankful for living in this country where we have the opportunity to go to church, to openly worship God, singing praises to his name and hearing God fearing men openly share about God’s love for us. The sermon today was on Servanthood…Jesus was a servant and that is what he calls us to do and I find myself asking “how am I serving the Lord today?” Getting out of my own head and encouraging others. And I thought about “what is my calling?” I believe one thing I am called to do is share my story, not to toot my own horn, but to share how God has taken care of me and healed my heart and mind from some very hard and hurtful things. The more I think about “being called” and what it means for me as woman, a wife, mother and grandmother I want to do a prayer/writing study to see where God leads me. Ron and I were talking this morning and he mentioned that he believes I am called to minister to other women who struggle with mental health issues and those who deal with the loss of a child.

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My first question to you today is would you share with me what you think my strengths are? and the hard one, my weaknesses?

Day 33…I was thankful for a day of finishing up some projects. Here is a sneak peak:

Day 34…I am thankful for a hubby who is such an encourager to me!!! I often sit in awe and just give thanks to God for a husband who loves me more than anything and knows just the things to say to me to uplift me, encourage me or make me laugh!

Thank y’all for reading along with me on this journey of being thankful and focusing on the positive. Even in my dark days I can always find things or reasons to be thankful.

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What are you thankful for today?