I know it’s been a very long time since I have sat down at the computer and spent some time writing…all the cliches fit: life gets busy, too tired, moving, being sick, life happens…y’all know all of them so I’m just going to start writing 😁 in a sort of Christmas letter way!
This year has been another year full of changes but in reality isn’t life always changing? December 2021 found us in Wesley Chapel, FL dealing with multiple health issues ~ Ron had a heart attack in November 21, Christmas Eve found me in the hospital with heart issues which in reality was a major GERD attack. Neither of which I would wish on my worst enemy. January 2, 2022 found Ron once again in the hospital – he decided to take a nap in the middle of a cul de sac 😳 so got a ride to the hospital and an overnight stay. We found out it was the new heart medication conflicting with blood pressure medication ~ thankfully the cardio doctor on duty figured it out fairly quickly.
January, February and March 2022 was filled with many visits to Brandon & Danalyn’s home, school pickups, family dinners and trying to keep up with our bills and obligations. Which seemed to be getting harder and harder. So once again we found ourselves looking for work. In April 2022 we found a workamper position at Camp Sparrow RV Park in Gaffney, SC.
We were looking forward to meeting new people, helping others have a fun vacation or weekend getaway but from the beginning things were rocky and wasn’t the fun experiences we remembered from working at a campground. The Monday we arrived, we had been in contact with Andrew (the manager), in fact speaking to him about 10a that morning. Surprises abounded when we arrived just before noon and walked into a staff meeting to learn Andrew had been terminated, big wigs from the corporate office were in town and new managers were due to arrive on Wednesday! As you can imagine, our minds were wondering what was going to happen to us? to our jobs?
I wish I could say everything went smoothly, co-workers were great, everyone got along and the job was just as described ~ BUT not at all. Co–workers felt threatened by us, big wigs promised things that never happened, new managers knew it all or at least they thought they did. We made it through the summer, doing our job as best as we could but felt attacked and unappreciated no matter what we did.
In September Camp Sparrow was bought out by a new and upcoming campground company. Once again things were promised that didn’t happen, former workers were saying things not true and work was still full of anxiety and stress and we just weren’t happy or enjoying what we were doing. So once again we began checking out new job opportunities.
But wait, let me backup to the good stuff…even though our work life was not going as we had planned we were led to a sweet church, Love Springs Baptist Church. From the moment we connected with the Pastor and walked through the doors we knew we were home! Only the second time since leaving Northwood Chapel (formerly Northwood Alliance Church) have we felt welcomed and loved for just us! Let me say, that’s an amazing feeling. Adding, our other family church is Open Door Church in Cedarcreek, MO.
Many of you know, I struggle with depression and anxiety and this past year has been no different. In June we met with our doctor, increased my medication and I made the decision to seek counseling again. This was hard for me, I’ve been in counseling so many years, went to school to be a counselor and know what I need to do but it just didn’t seem to be working…so a text to PR (our pastor at LSBC) led me to Dr. Keith at New Mercies Counseling & Consulting who agreed to meet with me. Dr. Keith challenged me as well as prayed and encouraged me. The tools he reminded me I have are
- Prayer ~ Jesus is always with me
- Worship Music ~ let music minister to my soul
- Reading God’s Word ~ read in Psalms and John every day, even if just one word, one verse
- Journaling ~ write to God what I think, feel and understand is being said to me
- Community Resources ~ Dr. Keith shared a book with me, “Telling Yourself the Truth”. . This book has been so helpful to me, identifying lies I have told myself over the years. I will be honest, the chapter on Anger was very hard, I got stuck, shed a lot of tears and then Dr. Keith said…read it, don’t worry about answering the questions at the end of the chapter, just read it and move on. And that’s what I did ~ I would recommend this book for anyone dealing with depression and anxiety as it showed me some of the things I believed about myself and things I have been told over the years were feeding into my depression.
I continue to use the tools that Dr. Keith reminded me were available, as well as many of the things I learned from Tom T., Marla and Pastor Charles. Above all, I am thankful the Lord led us to Love Springs Baptist Church.
In September as work continued to be a struggle we began praying for the Lord to show us what He wanted us to do. We knew our jobs needed to change or our attitude or maybe a bit of both.
We saw an ad for Big Creek Missions looking for a workamper couple. After 7 weeks of sending emails and phone calls we were offered the job in Bear Branch, KY which we accepted. September and October were very busy months for us…first our grandson, Max married Malarie
dodging Hurricane Ian and we enjoyed being with family for five days!!! Then it was off to the Christians, Cancer & Canvas conference in Wilmington, NC. We connected with Pat Washburn and Catherine Young, met some other MBC survivors and caregivers. I crocheted some coffee cozies, washcloths and dishcloths to hand out. Saw the Marlyn Mobile (Pat share’s her husband’s story everywhere she goes!)
And then we moved to Bear Branch, KY at Big Creek Missions. From the moment we stepped onto the property we just felt a peace in our souls and know we are where the Lord wants us to be. It has been interesting how the Lord opened doors and when. Looking back, we realized we had applied for a job at BCM in Fall of 2020 but had been offered a job after we had accepted a position at Providence Home in NC. Two years later the Lord opened the door and we have warmly walked in.
Some of the things we do: Ali does office work, helps to serve meals, answer phones and Ron works on construction teams, keeps the Man Cave organized and help wherever we are needed. We work with a great team and are excited to see how the Lord keeps opening doors. Please check out the website, Big Creek Missions, and if you feel the Lord leading you to come out and serve alongside us for a few days or a couple of weeks we would love to have you!!!
Our last group left BCM the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and so our schedules are pretty laid back for December & January. We have projects we are each working on and also taking some time to spend with family and friends. We went back to Gaffney for 6 days and loved being in fellowship with our LSBC family and then back to BCM for a week. Then it was off to Florida to spend time with Brandon and his family. We will be spending Christmas in Georgia with our friend Merel & her mom, Annelle. We will head back to BCM the end of December to work on projects in January and February and get ready for the first groups to arrive on 2/27!!
On December 20th we celebrated 47 years of marriage!! This is what I posted on Facebook: I am so thankful for this man who has loved me since he first laid eyes on me in June 1975 – how do I know? Because he wrote a letter to his dad that night and said he me the girl he was going to marry. And he did just that 47 years ago today! Even when those who said it wouldn’t last – we proved them wrong. We are so thankful for how the Lord has led us, even when we wondered how? Happy Anniversary my sweet man!! I love you more then you will ever know!
We are excited to see what 2023 will hold for us!
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!
and please, keep in contact with us!!!