Day 5 ~ 31 Days of Writing

Oooh…a very hard one for me. I don’t know if it’s because I am getting older and don’t want to be involved in drama but I find I more often than not just don’t say anything. Especially on Facebook!

Why you ask? Because it seems more and more people just want to argue and don’t want to carry on a conversation by sharing opinions. It seems people are more argumentative because they can hide behind their computer screen.

For awhile I even found myself being “careful” about what I wrote on my blog because I didn’t want to be criticized for something I said or my opinion about something. And I especially got tired of people, especially ones I don’t know except through Facebook, sending me private messages telling me I was wrong or worse, calling me names.

Boundaries ~ hard to enforce but so important to have!

Conversations about Being in Ministry

Today has been an interesting day for me. On three different occasions I was able to share about our job here in Southport, being Home Parents at an Emergency Teen Shelter. Each person/couple I was talking with gave us such praise for the work we do and each time I found myself saying “no, it’s not me/us, it’s definitely a God thing!” And it got me to thinking about being in ministry.

I remember when Ron and I began our journey of working and traveling with the carnival (begins here) and often thinking of things Pastor Charles said to me before we took off. One of the things he said to me and which has stayed with me over the years (can you believe it has been 11 years since we worked with Funtastic Shows?) and that is “Wherever we go it is our ministry field. We don’t have to go to a foreign country, learn a new language or eat different cuisine…our ministry field is wherever we are! And I have carried that over in my signature line of my emails and even on this blog “Love serving where the Lord plants us!”

And oh the places we have been

  • working for a carnival for a season, the friends we made along the way both in the RV world but also with our traveling carnies!!
  • selling Christmas trees ~ 252 trees sold in six weeks, the poems written by friends, the lady who came at least 8 times before buying one of the first Christmas trees she had touched, YES touched!
  • moving to Texas (the first time in 2011) and learning/not learning how to deal with politics and 150 bosses in one campground!!!
  • a three week forced vacation and leaning and trusting more in the Lord!!! Being reminded that HE is with us every where and every day even when we can’t see it!!
  • managing a campground in Branson for a year
  • working for Amazon camperforce (well Ron worked and I cooked food and babysat for another couple who worked there)…loved getting to be Grammy to a little boy who just needed to be loved!!
  • traveling back to Branson to manage the same campground with a whole different feel
  • being on the ground floor of the beginning of GUMI Camp – a place where we saw us being for years and reality was it didn’t last 8 months no fault of our own
  • working for a month cleaning and readying a motel while the Lord opened a door back on the West Coast
  • Co~managed a 55+ community – how strange to be the same age as our residents! Getting a different flavor of politics or “Kissing A** education ~ the benefit being we got a year being close by to our son, his wife and our four grandsons!!!!
  • And then back to Texas ~ this time to be Home Parents at a Boys Ranch; 8 teenage boys at once is a challenge for anyone and I thank the Lord that I can look back and see how much I have grown since those first days/months and realizing kids are kids no matter where they are. Some need a mama, some need a babysitter, and some need a swift kick in the butt ~ too bad I wasn’t able to follow through on that one!
  • then another forced six week vacation, a trip to Arizona, a special two weeks with our grandsons while B & D traveled for their jobs
  • a move to Utah ~ and realizing the job is not always what they say it is! And learning to stand up for oneself even at the age of 61 ~ that sometimes its good to cut the ties even when you don’t know if that will just cause more unraveling!
  • then back to Texas! Man is it hot in Texas! But it can be cold too…even saw some snow a few days. Met some great young men who were just trying to provide for their families. And seeing how the Lord put us in a place where we had good work but it wasn’t strenuous and that doctors were readily available to take care of some serious medical needs! It was another time we give great Thanks for the healing of Ron’s breast cancer ~ he is almost to the beginning of year 3 of being cancer free!!!
  • and then a move farther south in Texas where we made good friends, got to love on some littles, who needed a Mama and a Papa to encourage and love them just the way they were and to watch them grow and love in relationship with Jesus and their siblings
  • and then again, things happened, well we were told things were going to happen and once again we put out the fleece to see where the Lord would lead us…and that is to today
  • where we are home parents to kids who just need to be loved and listened to, kept safe and have a place to rest their heads and eat!! A place where we laugh and listen, make the same dish every other week for six weeks because the kids change but they each like the enchilada casserole taught to me by my bestie!

And as I look over this list I see where the Lord has allowed us to do what we do best…love and nurture those who need it ~ those who come into our ministry field or we move into theirs ~ and I am truly thankful for the ministry of serving the Lord by caring for those who need a listening ear, a good meal, sometimes a trip to the place that shall not be named (Dairy Queen for those who don’t know), sometimes watching Paw Patrol over and over and being able to share my love for being near the water and going to the beach with multiple children!

So today I give thanks for being able to serve the Lord wherever He plants us!

Day 4 ~ 31 Days of Writing

This is just what I needed today:

Focus and Honor my Strengths!

I so often look at what I haven’t done and not what I have done!!! So today I am looking at the positives

  • I have walked three days in a row for at least 30 minutes each day! Go Me!!
  • Today is Day 4 of consecutive days of writing!!! Go Me!
  • I have gone 5 days without a soda pop!! Those who know me, know that’s a hard thing for me to accomplish!
  • I have been consistently checking my blood sugar 4x a day! It is so easy for me to just guess at how much insulin I need but I know I feel better if I check my BS before eating. Since Wednesday I have checked it before every meal!

**********
I want to say a big
THANK YOU
to those of you who have been reading and commenting along on my blog.
You are such an encouragement to me!!!

Day 3 ~ 31 Days of Writing Prompts

This prompt was so on target for me today. I have been in a funk the past few days and like I mentioned yesterday I am the first one to compare myself to others or think I am not good enough. I heard it often as a child that “you are not good enough” “you are an idiot child” “why can’t you be like your sister?” the list goes on and on. And the tapes are hard to turn off

I will try! And that is all I can do. And so bypassing the tapes and moving directly to the question of the day “if someone were to describe me in a book, what would they say?”

They would say ~

  • Ali is a good mom and grammy
  • Ali loves her hubby
  • Ali likes to laugh
  • Ali loves
No Halloween Peeps: Peeps maker pauses candy production due to the  coronavirus - CNN
  • Ali tries to look for the positive
  • Ali loves Jesus
  • Ron would say “Ali is a pen snob :)”
  • Ali enjoys cooking
  • Ali loves being a Grammy
  • Ali is a good friend
  • Ali is too hard on herself
  • Ali is her own worst enemy and tattles on herself
  • Ali’s favorite color is Purple
  • Ali loves to
Beginners Crochet Tutorial-Slip Knot and Chain Stitch | Through The Loops

So if you are reading this blog post you must know me…so now I am asking you

How would you describe me in 5 words?

Day 2 ~ 31 Days of Writing ~ 5 Things I Love

Five things I enjoy doing:

  • spending time with my hubby
  • writing
  • walking at the beach
  • sending cards to friends
  • crocheting

One thing I enjoy about my life right now is that I not only live with my hubby of 45 years but we also work together as home parents (foster parents sort of). We are currently working in an emergency teen shelter in North Carolina. The location is perfect as we are just two miles from the waterfront. Which is another thing I enjoy ~ walking along the waterfront or sitting watching the ships on the water. We have a great work schedule as we work 7 days on with 7 days off. The downside is that I rarely have time alone for just me. I either have to get up early or stay up late which I really don’t like doing either one



but we make our life work for us and that is what counts!

Two of the things I like to do is write and send cards/notes to friends and family. It is a way to do two things I enjoy at once. I am trying to faithfully send cards out once a week. Again, my goal and I don’t always meet it but it’s okay.

And I love crocheting…I have found I love making baby clothes even more than blankets. And I enjoy making things for friends and family. This is the most recent baby outfit I made for Ron’s cousin’s first grandson!:

Day 1 of 31 Days of Writing Prompts

Trying again to get back into the habit of writing every day ~ so here’s to Day 1! Tough question as I find I compare so many things in my day to day life. And most of them in the long run do cause some type of hurt. The first one that comes to mind is that “I am so fat and the next thing I know I will be as big as my sister :)” and that makes me sad. Sad for so many reasons…sad because she died at such a young age ~ she was only 54 and she has missed so much in seeing her daughter grow up to be such a lovely lady, she has missed getting to know her grandniece and grandnephews. I think she would be surprised that she has 5 of those!!!

And yet at the same time that I compare myself at being overweight I really struggle to find within me the desire and strength to do something about my weight. I don’t know how many weight loss groups I have joined, how many low carb, high protein I have started and not stuck to, I went off all sugar for six months ~ yea me!! But then I was back at it. I am good at making excuses.

So how do you motivate yourself to do something that is really only beneficial to you, you know what is right and you know what you should do. So how do you make your WHY so that it is the most important thing?

I know I am looking for a magic wand and that it is not out there…so again today I start over: I start by writing Day 1 of a 31 Day Writing Challenge. And I made good choices for breakfast: I had three eggs, two slices of bacon, two slices of toast and a half of avocado. I was going to have a banana but I was full so I quit eating. We will see how the rest of the day goes 🙂

Grab a Seat ~ from our worship service today

This morning Ron and I attended Beach Road Baptist Church. It was the second time we have been to this church. Both times we have felt welcomed right from the beginning and feel very comfortable in the service. Today’s Sermon was titled “Grab a Seat” by Pastor James Zik. The scripture was rooted in Ecclesiastes 7:1-12.

The theme that spoke to me is that one of our jobs here on earth is build relationships. That is one of the things we try to do with the children/adolescents that we serve in our position as a Home Parent. We were reminded today that our Character is one of the most important things about ourselves and something we stress that those in our care have control over. That who we are on the inside and we demonstrate on the outside is what is important. That we need to be consistent in our behavior all the time, not just when we are at church or with certain people but how we are all the time, in every situation.

Another big thing that spoke to me today is the reminder to Be Slow to Anger! I have learned over the years that it really didn’t do me any good to get angry over every little thing but to THINK before I spoke and that really life is too short to let anger control my every action.

The final thought on the sermon reminds me of many of the conversations we had over the past two weeks with The Girl that was in our care. And that is

It is important to remember what has happened to us, what we have done in the past but it doesn’t do any good to live in the past. That what is important is what happens today, what choices we make today and where we keep our focus – today, in the moment and the future…making good choices.

Thank you Lord for the sermon this morning, the time to gather with like believers and to be reminded that first and foremost I am loved by you just the way I am and that you give me the ability to look where I was and to focus on today and the future, making choices that reflect You in my life. Amen

Thinking About a Few Things

My mind has been flowing like a river today…

…first thing. I have a page on Facebook called “What’s for Dinner”. Let me know if you want an invite. It is a group where we post what we are having or had for dinner. Whether homemade, store bought or even a trip to a restaurant. Yesterday someone posted they made clam chowder. A few people had made some comments and one gal (a friend of a sister of one of my friend’s) posted something with the “F Bomb” in her response. I asked her to please delete the comment. She came back quite snarky at me asking if “ass” was okay. I replied with the following message: I don’t think it is …but the F bomb is truly not okay. As the one and only admin of this group which I started for friends and family to share what they are cooking/having for meals to give other ideas I guess i am able to say what I will and will not allow on my page. If you find you must use swear words to communicate I will as I mentioned previously block you from the group. I find no need to use the F bomb or any other swear words and if that offends you – that is on you. This is my group and very family friendly. I do not want my children or grandchildren exposed to that type of language and since I can’t control the world, I can control my Facebook pages. Got absolutely no response from her and she didn’t delete her comment with what I think is an offensive word.

I then went back on as Admin (I am the one and only) and posted this to the whole group:

Note from Admin: This is a private, family friendly group made up of friends and family members and friends of my friends. I, as the one and only admin, feel saddened that I had to have a conversation about appropriate language with an adult…so I will say it loud and clear:Using the F BOMB in this group will not be tolerated. I will ask you politely to remove any post with that word (or for that matter any other word I find offensive (or that someone else messages me about that is offensive) one time. If you choose to argue with me. I will remove the comment/post and if it happens by the same person a second time you will be blocked from this group.If anyone has a problem with this I would suggest you remove yourself from this group immediately.

Still no response from her. A sweet friend of mine responded to her as well “Perhaps this isn’t the group for you? Ali is the group owner. I feel we are “in her house” when we are here. If you cannot abide by the “house rules”, and need to provoke the homeowner with your comments, this isn’t the place for you. This is a private group, not an open forum.”

Just curious what others think? I feel like I need to give an explanation of why I feel how I feel and yet at the same time I wonder why people think they need to swear in a conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I have swore before and knowing myself, probably will again – usually in a fit of anger. Not right I know but I am human.

The next thing I have been pondering is friendship. We have had quite a few talks with The Girl since she has been in our care about friends, acquaintances, and Besties. Can girls have boy friends without being boyfriend/girlfriend. I say yes. I have male friends and my hubby who is my Bestie of Bestie friends and we don’t see that as a problem. Ron also has female friends and that is okay with me. We have couple friends and single friends. We have close friendships with people we are physically far from and yet when we have been apart for any length of time when we do get back together it is like no time has passed at all…well except for maybe a few more grey hairs.

One of the things we told The Girl was that you can have many friends. And do different things with different friends. We are friends with Jen & Lee ~ we love to go out to eat together, have a beer or glass of wine together and just visit together. Another couple we are friends with, Pat & Pat – we love to go out for Chinese food together, have been to a county fair together, shared many a meal but we would never think of drinking with them. And that is okay too.

I think of my friend Merel, we didn’t see each other for 25+ years but when we finally did get back together it was as if time hadn’t stopped. We are each other’s sister, we share her Mom and enjoy each other’s company. We have been through the thick and thin together. And then there is Dee, my Bestie….we have so much fun together and can talk up a storm – Ron and I were just talking about mine and Dee’s coffee date that lasted for over 8 hours at the local Blaine Woods one day. We had been together all day, not realizing we had taken up the corner for the whole day until I noticed it was getting dark outside…where did the time go….we laughed and talked, laughed and cried together and we always say we are ready to do it again any chance we get…can’t wait for Covid to disappear or at least for Washington to open up the state quarantine guidelines so we can make a trip back and go have that long needed and awaited coffee date.

Friendships…how would you describe a friend? Do you have to see, physically see that person to remain friends? Or can you “see” each other through email and texts and the occasional phone call and still be the best of friends?

One of the things Ron and I have talked about a lot lately is our need for some local friends. Jen and Lee are local and we try to get together at least once each week we are off and we are so thankful they moved to Texas to NC. Yet, what Ron and I are realizing is that we need more people in our local circle of friends…people we go to church with, can hang out for game night with, maybe meet for a meal or even have over for a picnic meal at our trailer. I am so thankful for our Northwood Chapel family, for our New Life BC family, our Cedarcreek family and yet look forward to expanding our church family here in NC.

And this leads me to another question…how do you make new friends? where do you make new friends at? What do you look for in new friends?

Another thing I have been thinking about is our upcoming road trip to Florida…4 more days and we get to drive to Florida to see our son, Brandon, and his wife, Danalyn and three of our four grandsons! Time is speeding past and this Grammy needs some hugs!!!

(I don’t know this author but love the picture)

and get some

tall son hugs!!! again not a picture of Brandon and me – but you get the idea!!!

Guess that’s all for today, need to run some errands and get a roast in the oven for dinner tonight!!! Hope everyone has a great day!!!

Serving with a Smile

As I’m sitting here reading in the Word this morning I received this Verse for the Day in my email; how appropriate for me as I think about my day and how would the Lord have me to serve others today.

Today we are spending the day with our 16 yr old girl, going to go walk along the beach to enjoy God’s splendor and run a couple of errands. All with a smile of joy on our face.

Yesterday when we left the grocery store, our girl said “that cashier was pretty grumpy ~ did you see her just tossing our food?” I said yes, but did you see that even though she was grumpy towards us, we both said to her “have a great day” and smiled ~ though she probably couldn’t see our smiles on our lips but hopefully in our eyes.So I am thankful for this verse to continue to remind me to serve with a smile and joy no matter what I am dealing with especially since we never know what someone else is dealing with.

My daily devotional also included Romans 11:1-12

and

are the two verses that jumped out at me….the first question “has God ever rejected his people (me)? and then followed up with verse 12 where we are told “God has never rejected his people (me)! I have often felt rejected by people in my life…people are human and so yes they can reject me…

has never rejected me!!!! Sadly, I have rejected Him at times but HE never!!! And for that I am so thankful. Ron and I have done a lot of reflecting over our lives, maybe it comes with our age and birthday’s – two of our grandchildren turned 13 in the past two months!!! How can that be? Weren’t they just little babies who were snuggle bugs ~ oh how I miss those times!!!

But I digress…rejection by others…so painful and sometimes very hard to deal with but remembering that God has never or will He ever reject me brings me comfort and peace!!!

I’m not even sure where I was going with this but reflecting back on the conversation with The Girl yesterday about the grumpiness of the cashier and how we can be different and be more Christ like is to give a smile and share joy with those we come into contact with even when we are having a hard time as we never know what someone else is going through…so smile through your mask

and share the joy of the Lord wherever you go today!!!

Lesson #1 of 52 – Writing Roadblocks

I joined this writing group that sends out one lesson a week for writing for a year. Here we are almost to the end of March and I am just getting to Lesson 1 of the 52 Lessons but as THEY (whoever they are) say: Better Late Than Never!

This weeks lesson is on Roadblocks and comes in a question/answer format.

Questions/Prompts to Guide Your Writing:

  • What is standing in your way right now? I think my biggest obstacle is myself. I know for something to happen I need to be intentional in making it happen.
  • What would happen if you overcame the obstacle? More importantly, what would happen if you didn’t (think broadly: emotionally, physically, financially, etc.)? I think I would be happier with myself for taking the time to do something for me – writing…I love to write yet I don’t force myself to sit down and write.
  • Can you reframe the most pressing current obstacle as simply a to-do list? In other words, in order to overcome this, what do you need to learn? What tasks do you need to perform? Who do you need to convince? I know I do better in life when I have a schedule or structure to my time. I see this in lots of areas of my life: my quiet time, planning meals ~ just making a daily/weekly To Do List is beneficial to my total well being.
  • Have you ever used an “obstacle” as an excuse not to get started? Did you regret it? My obstacle “no time” – the excuse of saying no time. I know, truthfully, that if I want to do something I will make time.
  • Are obstacles really just fears holding you back? I don’t think it’s fears it’s laziness on my part 😦
  • What is the longest-running obstacle in your life? Making the excuse of no time and not setting writing as a priority in my life.
  • What steps have you used to make progress toward overcoming it? How far have you come with it? The steps I have made was deciding today to sit down and write and doing lots of talking about wanting to write.
  • What is the biggest obstacle you faced in your past? Did you overcome it? If so, how? If not, why? I think the biggest obstacle in my life is allowing what others had to say or thought about me control my behavior and believe in myself. One of the hardest things I did was to go back to school and get my college degree.

Okay, pats on my back for getting Lesson 1 completed!!!