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Catch Up Time ~ Merry Christmas

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

  1. Prayer ~ Jesus is always with me
  2. Worship Music ~ let music minister to my soul
  3. Reading God’s Word ~ read in Psalms and John every day, even if just one word, one verse
  4. Journaling ~ write to God what I think, feel and understand is being said to me
  5. 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!


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Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!
and please, keep in contact with us!!!

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Reflecting & Thinking

Good morning on this drizzly day in Gaffney, SC. We were planning to go to church this morning but Ron woke up with a gnarly headache ~ those of you who know him, know he rarely gets sick so for him to get up, tell me he has a bad headache, take some Ibuprofen and go right back to bed, you know he’s not feeling well. Thus I’m taking advantage of some extra time, spent time in the Word and am continuing to read and work through the book “Telling Yourself the Truth” by William Backus and Marie Chapman. As I shared a few weeks back, I was given this book by Dr. Keith, a Christian therapist I am meeting with every couple of weeks.

Each chapter addresses a MISBELIEF that so many, including myself, have believed to be true. I am currently working through chapter 7 “Misbelief in Lack of Self-Control” ~ oh my goodness…so much hits very close to home. But let me backup a bit…first there was Misbeliefs in Self-Talk ~ what an eye opener…I had never realized how negatively I talked and thought about myself, the situations I found myself in or the lies I have been telling myself over the years. The biggest lie/misbelief is that I am unlovable…so not true; if I wasn’t lovable I wouldn’t know how to love others!! And I love so many and am blessed by so many!!! The next chapter “Misbelief in Depression” really was a hard one for me…realizing I didn’t and don’t have to be held captive by my depression was so powerful. Yes depression is real. Yes it is hard to deal with at times BUT I don’t have to live in depression ALL the time….I can acknowledge that I am sad or feeling lonely, feeling scared or unsure but I can turn all those feelings over to God, asking Him to help me make it through whatever I am dealing with. Is it easy, HECK NO!!! But God will help me get through anything.

Moving on to chapter 5 “Misbelief in Anger” ~ I had thought dealing with depression and what it is and what I can do to work through the difficult times was hard but ANGER – really challenged me. But God!!! is all I can say…PR was preaching about being a victim, choices we make every day, along with this chapter on anger ~ oh man!!! Poor Ron…BUT GOD!!! Ron and I had some heart-to-heart talks, tears were shed, conviction was felt, anger tried to rear its ugly head BUT GOD!! and the encouragement of Dr. Keith, PR and Ron and my own stubbornness to get through the chapter and move forward….I realized anger was my go to feeling, it’s easier (or was) to get angry then to face reality and truth and after lots of chats with God and prayers of others I made it through the chapter and am enjoying the healing and love of Jesus!!!

On page 61 “the scripture teaches us to deal with our anger and the cause of it and to prevent the emotion of anger from running away inside me. Ephesians 4:26 & 27 says

continuing on page 63 “instead of praying the problem, pray the answer” jumped out to me ~ what a concept…instead of focusing on what is making me angry, ask God to show me how to do things differently, how to respond in and with love! I would love to say I haven’t gotten angry since I read and worked through the chapter but that would not be the truth. One of the health issues we are dealing with is Ron is having night terrors, this is something new for him/us. In his sleep he has slugged me more than once. A few weeks ago I was rudely awakened by a hard slug to my back (at 4:04AM!) needless to say I reacted with yelling and getting so mad at Ron I sulked and cried for about an hour. After going out to the living room and calming myself down I realized my behavior (yelling at and getting mad at Ron for something he had no control over) really didn’t help the situation, just escalated my anger and made Ron feel even worse for what happened. I picked up my book and saw “behave according to the truth.” (pg 65). The truth of the matter was it was an accident, Ron would never hurt me intentionally and my unhealthy response of yelling and stomping through the trailer wasn’t helping anything. I went and crawled back into bed, snuggled up to Ron, asked him to forgive me for overreacting and we prayed together for Ron to get a GOOD, restful sleep and for me to know without a doubt that Ron loves me more than anything.

I would love to say Ron hasn’t had any more night terrors but that’s not the truth…two of the last four nights have been filled with night terrors and hitting out BUT GOD has helped me to (after yelling OUCH) to roll over, hold Ron’s hands and pray for continued peace and rest with both of us falling asleep quickly. I just want to shout “thank you Jesus for helping me to respond appropriately in situations especially ones I would have in the past become a screaming lunatic.”

Chapter 6 is Misbelief in Anxiety. Here are some of the points I underlined throughout the chapter:
* …feels anxious because she has been conditioned…
* “awfulizing” ~ oh I am so good at that, going from A to Z in a nano second, imagining the worse possible thing is going to happen
* the Bible doesn’t teach us to please everybody! I only need to please Jesus!!!
* Must, Exaggerating, Over-stressed, Trapped ~ I need to stay focused on the truth!!!
* Life can be hard and unpleasant but it is endurable. I don’t have to be afraid of unpleasant feelings or situations.
* listen to the words I tell myself, argue against the words that are lies, replace the lies with truth!

Chapter 7 is Misbeliefs in Self-Control ~ can you say another big OUCH!!! Yes, it is hard to read and work through each of these chapters but identifying the lies I have lived behind and underneath and acknowledging what the truth is ~ is so freeing!!!! Words and phrases jumping out at me include victim, my discipline stinks, it’s easier to blame and I’m good at saying I’m going to ________ (fill in the blank) and I realize as I speak truth to these lies…I’m not a victim, I am an OVERCOMER, my discipline doesn’t stink but as we were told at MCH – I just need a lot of do overs 🤣, I don’t have to blame others I can own my own stuff and deal with life as it comes BECAUSE God tells me


and

Some of the statements in this chapter that really resonated with me include:
*In order to have self-control, I must actively counter my misbeliefs with the sword of the Spirit, the truth!
*I am not helpless. I do have control over my life. I can do what I think might be impossible.
*Sometimes it is okay to deny myself _____ (fill in the blank); it’s not easy but I can do it!
*I can say no to myself, it is not the end of the world!
*I can wait…be patient with myself, look at the patience God has had with me!
*Speak truth: all is well with my soul. I can live through inconveniences, discomfort, distress and other negative feelings!

You may be asking….why am I writing this out…for a few reasons, writing is therapy for me. It helps me to remember the things I have read and want to remember. My writing lets me see how far I’ve come, how good God has been to me and just maybe I can be an encourager to someone else who is struggling through life. Do I have all the answers, HECK NO! But what I do know is that God loves me, God loves you and that even though I may go through a valley or two or three hundred, I eventually get to the mountain top where the beauty and peace is outstanding, wonderful and magnificent!

How I want my life to be ~ trusting God in the valleys and celebrating the victories on the mountain tops!

Until next time! And as my friend Nikki says: Have Fun, Be Safe and Make Good Choices!!

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A Month has Passed ~ where did it go?

Every time I turn around it feels like time is racing by. Where does it go and why is it so easy for it to pass so quickly?

In the last month we celebrated Ron’s birthday – how can he be 67? We didn’t do anything special because we didn’t have any money, so we ate dinner and watched a movie and enjoyed being together.

In the last month, we both saw our new PCP ~ since Spring of 2022 Ron has lost over 40 lbs!!! My A1C went from a 10.0 to 7.0. I saw a new opthamologist and got a great bill of eye health – no signs of diabetes, the cataract surgery still looks great and the left eye socket looks great ~ I do have an upcoming appointment with the ocularist for an eye cleaning and to see how the prosthesis is holding up…this eye is almost 10 years old! The longest I have ever gone without having to have a new eye made or the socket to be rebuilt. That is all great news ~ thank you Jesus for this great report!!!

In the last month, we became members of Love Springs Baptist Church ~ this is something we have not done at all during our years of RV’ing and traveling around the US ~ becoming members of a different church. We have attended many different churches, still call two churches our home church: Northwood Chapel in Blaine, WA. Even though we have only physically set foot in Northwood a couple of handfuls of times in the last 12 years, Northwood will always be our church home and church family…so many memories and so many friends that we are able to keep in touch with over the miles. Open Door Baptist Church called to us as we prepared to move from Branson, MO to Cedarcreek, MO to begin our work at GUMI Camp USA in December 2014 and our move in January 2015. ODBC, along with Isaac & Bethany Pederson, the Nantz and Daugherty families as well as so many others welcomed us with open arms. From the first time we stepped in the door we knew we were home! We miss both of our church families from Blaine and Cedarcreek! And now we are celebrating the Lord has brought us to a new church family at Love Springs Baptist Church in Cowpens, SC! From the first text message I sent, to the many messages and Facebook posts, to the first time we walked in the door we have felt at home. Our new pastor, PR, loves the Lord, preaches the Word and is one of the best encouragers and challengers I have ever met. In the last month I went to the first of hopefully many, ladies fellowship events and I look forward to connecting with the ladies in the future. Ron and I have attended several of the Springer’s (those of us over 51) events and have enjoyed getting to know some of the couples in the church. One of the most amazing things to have happened since we began attending LSBC is to see Ron’s growth in his relationship with the Lord ~ he raises his arms in song and even took notes one Sunday…for those of you who know Ron, both of those are new things for him to try!!! I laughed when I told PR that the way the Lord is working in Ron’s life I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts dancing in the aisles one of these days 😂.

And we changed sites at our campground. There are lots of changes on the horizon (which we can’t publicly share yet). Our new site is much bigger, has a great area for a firepit and we have a great view of the entrance to the campground. This is the view from our old site (#37)

and our new site #21!

if you look closely you can see 4 of the 6 yarn totes! 🤣 to the left of the trailer is a grassy area then just a short walk to the office/pool area

And here’s the inside as it is coming together hiding behind the TV is our little freezer! & if you are sitting in one of the recliners you have a great view of the TV! behind the Futon is the view of the grassy area and events center.

So that’s what we’ve been up to!!! What have y’all been doing?

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An Observation

As I wrote the other day, I am intentionally focusing on my self-talk and really trying to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Do you know there is a lot, I mean A LOT of negativity out in the world, at least in my little world.

I’ve noticed it at work, while swimming at the pool, at the grocery store and just visiting with others how often people speak a negative thought. I’m sure I’m noticing because it is something that I am consciously working on.

I’m sure someone out there reading this is thinking “well there is a lot of negative stuff going on in the world.” Yes there is, but what would happen if each of us just changed one negative comment into a positive one.

For example, someone getting into the pool the other day yelled “dang, this pool is hot (meaning the water).” I would agree it was tepid, like a warm bath but you know what, it was also so refreshing to be able to cool off in the pool, listen to littles laughing and to be able to relax and not worry about anything.

At the grocery store I overheard someone say “they don’t have the right kind of sliced cheese.” How about “I wish they would carry Brand X but I’m thankful I have the choices I have.”

Yesterday I had to check myself a few times, I had a headache (and dang still do, one of those pounding ones where I just need to bury my head in the dark for a few hours) but I added a positive to it. “Dang I have a headache but thank goodness I can just rest this afternoon in the comfort of our air conditioned little home on wheels.”

I made a pork roast w/potatoes and onions in the crock pot. As I dished it up I thought “that is a pretty bland looking meal.” Then I rephrased it…”Dinner isn’t very colorful, but I am thankful we have food to eat. And it tastes pretty dang good.”

As I continue this journey of learning to see the positive in things, changing those negative thoughts into positive ones and learning to extend grace to myself in the same manner I share with others, I’m wondering what would happen if each of just turned one negative comment or thought into a positive one? I’m thinking that the peace that I am beginning to feel more and more would spread among each other. What do you think?

One of the verses in my devotions this week was:

I am trying to focus on this verse in a tangible and real way. Trying not to think of wants or what would be better but giving thanks for what I have and being content. As I fell asleep last night I thought “I truly am blessed! I have a wonderful husband who loves and cares for me, a job I enjoy where I get to meet new people every single day and find the common bond between us, and most importantly realizing I am loved by the One who matters, Jesus! He is my rock!!! even when I’m not so aware.

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What are you focusing on today?

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Life’s Happening’s

Once again I find myself acknowledging it has been awhile since I have written but that’s life! A lot of things have been going on with me and with us…nothing serious just life….

Let me share the hard stuff first so I end on a positive note…since that’s my theme for the past couple of weeks or so and in my self talk – changing the negative to a positive.

If you have been following our blog for any length of time, you know I have battled depression and anxiety for many years. I am on medication, have been on, it seems like forever, but my depression over the past few months has climbed and gotten more intense in the past few months. Life has thrown us a few curves, some our own making like quitting our jobs at A Kid’s Place last October, normal life issues: high cost in groceries, insurance, gas, you name it and the price of it has gone up!!

We chose to move to South Carolina and begin work at Camp Sparrow in April of this year. To say the transition has been easy would not be true. We were thrown a curve ball when we arrived that the manager who hired us had been fired the morning (Monday 4/11) of our arrival, new managers began on Wednesday which is also the day we started. I am happy to say that overall our work experience has been pretty good even dealing with a little drama ~ but what work place doesn’t have some kind of drama? But Kudos to J & K for working through things and keeping our team working together and moving forward.

We typically work 20 to 30 hours a week with the same two days off and for that we are very thankful. We love our little home on wheels and where we are parked. We get the sunshine and lots of shade, the best of both worlds!

We are hoping to be here for at least a year if not two! Lord willing!!! As we have settled into Gaffney we have found a sweet church to attend, Love Springs Baptist Church and have been welcomed and loved on even with our crazy work schedule. Sometimes we arrive a little late or have to leave a little early but are always told “come on!”

As many people have been facing, we have faced some difficult financial issues but I can say, we have always made it…because God has always provided. I will say, I have shed many a tear, cried out to God, to Ron, to my bestie and so many…I’m scared, how are we going to make it? What are we going to eat? How are we going to pay our bills? Y’all know the drill and the cries and tears…but again, God has been faithful, maybe not how I would want it to work out but y’all know what ~ we have not missed a meal, we’ve always had gas to get to where we need to go, we have not missed a truck payment and for that we are so thankful. Financially things are still very difficult but we are going to cling to God’s promise that He will always provide.

As many people have been facing, we have faced some difficult financial issues but I can say, we have always made it…because God has always provided. I will say, I have shed many a tear, cried out to God, to Ron, to my bestie and so many…I’m scared, how are we going to make it? What are we going to eat? How are we going to pay our bills? Y’all know the drill and the cries and tears…but again, God has been faithful, maybe not how I would want it to work out but y’all know what ~ we have not missed a meal, we’ve always had gas to get to where we need to go, we have not missed a truck payment and for that we are so thankful. Financially things are still very difficult but we are going to cling to God’s promise that He will always provide. Sometimes though, I just need to remind myself of that when my anxiety starts to rumble.

Let me take a minute to tell you how wonderful God is, I am working this afternoon and a gal called in to see if we had any sites available as they are traveling and having some truck issues and needed a place to pull in for the night or maybe two. I could tell A was stressed and near tears, I told her we had a site and to come on!! (sound familiar PR?). Well A just got here, started apologizing for her tears and I told her “nope, no reason to apologize, us mama’s and grammy’s have to stick together. When she called she was about 30 minutes from the campground…she let me know they didn’t hav a single problem with their truck on that 30 minute drive. And we both chuckled and I said, well God has his plans and not only do you need a hug but I needed one too!!! We hugged so tight and said “thank you Jesus” at the same time!!!

God knows I have been struggling and feeling so alone, needing a girlfriend hug and I am so thankful that A came to campground!!! Thank you Jesus for loving us both and giving us those hugs!!!

Since we arrived in Gaffney I can say the struggles have been real but so has God’s love. Besides finding a Bible believing, preaching church and being welcomed as we have God has also provided us with a good doctor. We know with all our traveling that finding a doctor is not always easy but now with both of us having heart issues, my diabetes and Ron’s history of breast cancer it is important to find one soon after arriving in an area. So after getting our health insurance switched to SC, the next step was finding a doctor. I prayed that whoever we found would be easy to speak with, not give us a hard time for having so many doctors in our history and know about diabetes and heart issues. God answered that prayer…we found Dr. J Nesmith…he reminds me of a big ole football player who could pass as a teddy bear!!! I have seen him twice and Ron will see him in a couple of weeks.

Yesterday was a six week check up following my initial visit. He had done a bunch of blood tests and told me, no news is good news, so don’t be stressing over things that don’t need to be stressed over. LOL I think he knew me in just a few minutes ~ LOL. During my first visit, I talked about how my depression was reeling it’s ugly head and could we tweak my medication. He said yes! So we increased my Fluoxetine from 40mg to 60mg…while Ron and I were hanging out on Wednesday we talked about my depression and I said “I think I’m in a better space” and Ron agreed. Yesterday when we were talking with Dr. N he was glad to hear both Ron and I felt there had been a positive turn. I also mentioned that I had started counseling again, YES AGAIN! More about that later…so we talked about my numbers. My A1C was 7.3, better than the 10 it was in February yet still room for improvement. Due to insurance changes I had to change my Basal (long term insulin) and I just started that this week so we will see if it makes a difference for the good. If you have taken Toujeo I would love to hear your comments about it.

Ron will see Dr. Nesmith in early August. I also have an appointment with a Lung specialist in early August and an opthamologist the end of August.

After 8+ months of feeling like I was teetering on the edge of the slippery slope and chatting with my Bestie, Ron and another friend I reached out to our pastor, PR, to see if he could recommend a counselor/therapist. I was having lots of ambivalent feelings – I know what I need to do, I know how to do it and yet I was feeling I needed to check in with someone. PR recommended New Mercies. I got the number from PR on a Tuesday, didn’t send them a text till Friday…you know I can’t just jump into things, LOL! After texting back and forth an appointment was made for Tuesday. I must say, up until I was actually walking into meet with Mr. Keith I was battling with Go/Don’t Go. But I went. Mr. Keith is easy to talk to and with. We just chatted a bit about my history and what I was thinking I needed. One thing I liked was that he prayed before we even began talking and before I left at the end of the session. We came up with a plan, well he came up with a plan and I’m trying to follow through with it. I am doing three things:

  1. Reading out of Psalms & John every day ~ well trying to, some days it just doesn’t seem to work out. But that’s okay…because I am extending grace to myself that I’m not perfect and giving myself credit for the days I am successful.
  2. Reading this book

and answering the questions at the end of each chapter. I find that I am reading it, absorbing the material and really thinking about the questions and the answers. Basically the book is about working on your mindset, turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. One thing I like about this book is that it is not just a secular book but written from a Christian perspective, intertwining scripture.

3. Praying out loud ~ I am realizing that praying out loud is very different then thinking my prayers or even writing them out. I picture myself sitting either at Wood’s (local Whatcom County coffee shop) or sitting at a picnic table just chatting with Jesus.

4. Oh I guess there is a 4th thing…sitting quietly and letting the Lord speak to me ~ this is dang hard!!! I don’t like the silence, no music playing in the background. The goal is 5 to 15 minutes of silence clearing my mind to allow the Lord to speak to me. I will say…I’m still working on ONE minute of silence. I find my thoughts drifting and catch myself and go back to Lord, help me to just sit and absorb…one of these days I will be shouting “I did it! I did it!” when I can sit for 5 minutes and just letting the Lord minister to me.

Ron asked me the other day how long I thought I would be meeting with Mr. Keith/counseling. I said I didn’t know…I do know I want to complete the book and once and for all break the strongholds of my negativity from my life!!!

As I have met with Mr. Keith, one of the assignments was to write down a list of 5 things I want TO REMOVE from my life and 5 things I WANT in my life. When he gave me the assignment I thought “easy peasy.” Well I spoke way to soon. I have come up with 2! Get rid of the misbeliefs/lies I tell myself and the clutter in our home. Two things I want in my life are to get all my journals put onto the computer. I still have a dream of writing out my story, to be able to share and encourage others that even though I faced many trials and obstacles in my life I don’t have to live in a negative fashion and to actively/intentionally get rid of my stinkin’ thinkin’!

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Have you ever thought of things you want to do in and with your life? What about removing things from your life? It’s not as easy a question as you might think.

Moving on…this blog post has been pretty heavy but there are good things happening in our lives…we were able to spend 24 hours with Brandon, Danalyn, Max and his sweetie Malarie, Christopher, Treyson and Alex at the beach in NC! It was so good to get and give hugs! And just hangout together!!! Then we had this guy . spend a week with us! The week went fast but was filled with lots of fun stuff…watching movies together, went swimming, took a road trip to an Amish bakery, stopped for ice cream at a local farm and laughed and played together. At the end of our week we drove to Blairsville, GA to meet up with B, C and T to pass Alex off to them. After giving/getting lots of hugs they headed back to Florida and we took a road trip. As most of you know, we don’t like to drive the same route twice! From Blairsville we drove through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, drove through a very busy Gatlinburg, TN and ate some of the best BBQ we have ever had at Bones BBQ Joint ~ we stopped there because they had free parking! LOL but the food was delicious and we hope to go back there again one day soon.

We are enjoying our jobs here at Camp Sparrow and yesterday we were blessed to learn we are each getting a 50 cent per hour raise! Doesn’t sound like much but we know it will help us as we play catch up on our bills. We are very thankful!!! We like the laid back atmosphere here at the campground. And we love meeting people and getting to learn about them and share how the Lord has blessed us.

Today Ron gets to do one of his most favorite things ~

as we celebrate Christmas in July here at Camp Sparrow!!!

Thanks for listening/reading…I hope and pray that in some way I can be an encourager to you…reminding you that none of us are perfect, that God will always provide even when we don’t see a way, and that each of us sometimes need a reminder that this too shall pass…
I look forward to a great day…how about you?

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Life and Lists continuing ~

Of course as soon as I finish a blog post something else comes to mind…so going to start this one and finish it later 🤣 started on Friday, now it’s Tuesday…sort of how my life seems to be going…focus on one thing and then get distracted…I was going to say interrupted but really its distractions…something I have been struggling with for a really long time…easily distracted, hard to stay focused and keeping on task. Not exactly sure what or why but it is what it is…so I try cut myself some slack and just go with the flow ~ you know, the being flexible thing.

11. Health Insurance ~ so thankful for insurance even though at times I complain about all the different hoops that need to be jumped through. Because of moving, insurance changes I once again am having to change the type of insulin I use. This will be the third type of long acting insulin since July 2021! Sure hope it works as well as the last two. The new insulin is Toujeo. I get the same number of boxes but two less pens in a box…but while checking it out found out the pens have more insulin in them…went from 300u to 450u per pen so really getting more for my buck. And with insurance it is only $40 a month. Which in itself is quite the savings…cash price was over $1000 for one box! So $40 for two boxes is a great thing!!!

12. Medication ~ I guess this goes along with #11 – health insurance; thankful that there is medication out there to help with some of my ongoing health issues.

13. Anxiety ~ a story all in itself…my anxiety has been all over the place. I started having more anxiety issues while working at A Kid’s Place where we felt there was no support from the administrators and many of our co-workers either wouldn’t or didn’t talk with us…like they all did their own thing…we definitely felt like a lonely soldier in the middle of a battlefield.

We don’t regret our leaving AKP in such a quick manner. Well on one hand it was six weeks of debating, stressing and trying but a quick decision to leave due to an incident on Sunday night, lack of support during a meeting with administration on Tuesday and left on Thursday. The hard part for us was not having our finances in a better place to deal with unemployment. Two major moves in less than six months, housing requirements, rising prices of gas and insurance all contributed to the unstable financial situation we found ourselves in. BUT it all contributed to my rising anxiety issues.

Then add in two major health scares for Ron and one for me and my anxiety kept climbing and then a third major move and new job to a new state. Don’t get me wrong…we are thankful for our new jobs, we love working in a campground again and having the opportunity to meet lots of new people. BUT every move has it’s own stressors ~ for us it’s always the traveling, knowing their will be issues as there always is though we were pleasantly surprised we only had two issues…one a wobbly tire which we prayed over and had absolutely no tire issues the whole trip and one operator error where Ron miscalculated a turn…and we met the corner of a ditch yet with the help of friends and a nice tow truck driver who was able to get the truck and trailer out of the ditch without any damage to either of them.

I would love to say that my anxiety has disappeared since our move to South Carolina but quite often it rears its ugly head. I have seen a new doctor (who we both love!) who listened, tweaked my meds and said he will check back in six weeks to see how I am doing. I am one week on the higher dose but haven’t really noticed a change BUT we will see. My anxiety also seems to climb around different dates…Mother’s Day and Father’s Day being two of the most difficult days I have each year.

I tend to avoid church and social media around those days and this year was no different and yet the anxiety seemed to manifest itself with a quick temper and wanting to hibernate. I am so thankful for a husband who loves me and understands (as best he can) about my anxiety and all my foibles. Often foregoing what he wants to help me make it through a day or two or ???

I have also been chatting with our new Pastor, PR about my anxiety and he has suggested speaking with the counselor at the church…my plan is to call him this afternoon and make an appointment….I know it can’t hurt EVEN THOUGH it makes my anxiety climb because I don’t want to go back there….but I also know it’s not always about what I want. I will continue to trust the Lord, my hubby and those God has put in my life…

14. Priorities ~ that was one of the words used by Pastor PR two Sunday’s ago in two services and which has also come up in my devotions…today it was on Friends and how we have to make it a priority to connect with friends and how God did not make us to be alone in this world.

Along with that is the priority to do the things I say I WANT to do…as y’all know I love to crochet and it becomes my escape as well as my therapy…I just need to not let it consume me but to also add into my day my other priorities: walking (the plantar fasciitis is getting better (thank you Donna for the bands, thank you J & K for the foot roller and thank you Ron for putting up with my hobbling) I even noticed this morning that my stretching exercises before getting out of bed my foot was not pulling like it has been! cooking healthy meals ~ hard to do at times with the rising costs of groceries…why is eating healthy so darn expensive? I think it’s pretty sad having to choose between paying a bill or buying groceries…this week the groceries came first. writing ~ two of my goals are to write daily or at least 3 or 4x a week here on my blog ~ and also copying my journals from hard copy books to the laptop to work towards the goal of writing a book or at least some articles relating to healing from child abuse, learning how to parent myself the way I should/needed to be parented as a child (major reason for not liking Mother’s Day or Father’s day), helping others with the loss of a baby (please keep CJ & B in your prayers as it’s just been a week since they had to say goodbye to their sweet baby) as well as helping those heal from the trauma of sexual abuse.

Whew!!! guess I will close for the day…I do wish each of you reading this has a great day! And if you think about it, say a prayer for Donna who is having shoulder surgery tomorrow that it will go smoothly and healing with be smooth and super quick!!!

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Life ~

I should be paying bills but feeling so overwhelmed, not knowing who to pay first ~~ things continue to be stressful around the money situation though the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming more than a pin hole…patience Ali…just keep trusting…that’s what I keep telling myself.

God has been talking to me a lot lately, especially through sermons and memories from counseling sessions and books I’ve read…I feel like I have lots to share but then wonder does it really matter if I write things out…but then I think I write for me, because I enjoy it.

One of the themes from the last few church services is being thankful, being blessed, being appreciative and God’s constant reminder to me to stay out of the negative pool!!!

Not even sure how to write this or organize my thoughts so here’s my favorite way to write…a brain dump…hang on…it may get long and crazy LOL!

Count your blessings…so that’s how I’m going to write today…by counting…

  1. A young couple in our church lost their 11 day old baby last week. Hearing that news really hit home…can’t believe it will be 45 years that Royce went home to Jesus. Thoughts of “what if” and “how come” have been fluttering around…oh we know the medical reason Royce died but it doesn’t change the ache in this mama’s heart to those baby snuggles. YES!! I am so thankful for Jamie & Brandon but like the poem Little Angels state “no heartache compares to the loss of a child” is still so very true.

    Blessings: 2 healthy sons who married two wonderful gals who blessed us with 5 grandchildren!!!
  2. Death in the family…Ron’s side of the family has experienced so much death in the last year…Uncle Merv, Cousin Larry, 2nd Cousin Jenelle, Cousin Erv are the ones that come to mind…I’m sure there are more

    Death in friends families: death of spouses: Tina and Marvalie…I can’t imagine what it is like to lose the love of your life, your mate and friend.

    So I give thanks that Ron is still here, that he is soon to be 4 years cancer free, this fall from the ladder wasn’t as serious as it could have been, that Ron loves me unconditionally and has shown me for almost 47 years how loved I am ~ just for me
  3. Thankful we have found a place to call home at Love Springs Baptist Church ~ I still feel like a visitor lost in the woods but am slowly trying to connect with people…PR (Pastor Ron) has been such an encourager even while facing his own struggles and his almost daily reminders…remember there is always someone who is struggling more than you/ME…give thanks to God for what we have not what we don’t have.
  4. Thankful for our job ~ oh it’s not perfect, things aren’t always done the way I think they should be done but that’s okay…we have a job in a beautiful part of the country, we are making friends with some of the long term guests, seeing joy on people’s faces as they camp and relax and we have a pool to use!!! Went swimming for the first time the other day…oh how much I enjoyed it and my foot doesn’t hurt while I’m swimming!!!
  5. Thankful for no major damage to our rig or truck during last night’s nasty thunderstorm and winds…we were safe and warm…okay maybe a little too warm but as the storm passed the cooler air came through and we got a pretty good nights sleep.
  6. Sunshine ~ it is so pretty outside and I love the view of the trees and seeing kidlets riding bikes and bouncing on the
    and
  7. So thankful for a flexible schedule which allows for sleeping in some mornings and free time in the afternoons on those early morning workdays.
  8. Thankful for the welcoming committee at Love Springs Baptist Church and the cards that keep coming in the mail, encouraging us to attend services and get to know others.
  9. Thankful for technology that lets me keep in contact with our kids and grands…especially when one is under the weather.

  10. Thankful to be able to chat with friends and family over the miles…some in Oregon and Washington, those closer in Georgia ~ thinking back to our time in Holland in 1977-79 when making a phone call was $3 a minute!!! … we only made one!!!

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My theme for today…being thankful and the reminder to stop comparing my life to others…do you have a theme for the day?
Are you thankful today?

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Reminders ~

I woke this morning from a dream where I was with Brandon (he was 4 or 5 in my dream) and we were on an elevator headed to take him to school (truly a dream I think most all of his schools were always one floor till he got to college 😏). There were probably 10 other parents/kids on the elevator and none of us could remember what floor the school was on…a gentleman got on, on the 5th floor, told us the school was on the 7th floor ~ now how did he know? As the door opened I picked up B and we stepped off…and then I woke up! What…I was a little shook upon waking but continued in my dream, hugging B and saying it will be okay….

Not sure what that dream meant but I got ready for work and opened my Bible (I have about 45 minutes before I head out the door) and it opened to my notes from last Wednesday night’s message by Pastor PR…I called it the 5 S’s

  1. God Strengthens us…

We interrupt this blog post to clean up the coffee mess from someone starting to make his coffee without putting the cup under the coffee spitter outer 😂🤣. Now if you knew the Alice from 35 years ago you would have expected the loudest and biggest volcanic eruption ever BUT FOR GOD! Ali of today, just got up, cleaned and wiped up the mess, not saying much except grab me some towels and got it all cleaned up and a new cup of coffee being made for my sweet hubby!!!

Back to our regular scheduled post 😁

  1. God Strengthens us…don’t look back at the “what if’s? but instead focus on all the possibilities that we have in our lives.
  2. God Saves us…sometimes even from ourselves, but by believing in Jesus, trusting Him we can and do have everlasting life.
  3. God Sympathizes with us…during the sharing of prayer requests we heard of a young couple who’s 11 day old baby had passed away. We don’t know the details but both Ron and I knew that we needed to connect with this young couple. After church we talked with PR, shared briefly about our baby boy, Royce. We told PR we would put together a card to give to them and PR will pass it on. Please pray for this young couple B & CJ and that Ron and I can not only sympathize with them but walk along side them during this difficult time. Our stories are different but we so understand the pain and thoughts, what if’s and how comes from our own journey of saying goodbye to a precious little one.
  4. God Sustains us…when things look impossible or scary, as we take a moment to breathe and remember all the hard times we have faced in our lives we are reminded that God keeps us together…maybe not together the way we think we should be together, but He keeps us moving forward, maybe a little zig zagging but we still move forward.
  5. God Surprises us! Look for the surprises in your life!!! They don’t have to be the million dollar surprise…but the surprise of being able to hear the little singing of the morning bird, or a sore foot not hurting quite so bad, for how we respond to different situations and are amazed that we (I) didn’t act like a screaming meamy over the the coffee debacle 😜

Or just in how God reminds us of different things he has done in our lives. My scripture reading this morning was from Luke 17:11-19 and titled “Returning to Thank the Healer.”

And I am reminded how much I have grown in the Lord and even on the hard days they aren’t nearly as hard as times passed.

As I sit and reflect on my life…I sort of see it in phases…the girl raised in a divorced home who suffered and experienced so many different types of abuse it’s hard to believe I even made it to graduate from high school ~ yep 47 years ago this past Monday.

The young girl who got married and was a mama before she understood all that would hold. The girl who decided that she wasn’t going to follow in the footsteps of parents who abused their children. The wife who truly wanted to love and be the best wife possible. Becoming a Grammy – the best job and responsibility ever.

But most of all, being the daughter of the King…knowing mistakes happen, but God is a loving and caring God who stands with, sits with and even carries you along when you feel you can’t do it alone.

This blog post has changed as I have written it…not even sure what all I wanted to say but the question going through my mind..

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Am I Truly Thankful for ALL that my life is?
Am I Thankful for ALL who have walked this journey with me?

Sometimes I think that’s why I dream, to remind myself of people who have been a part of my life for such a time as this! Maybe a day or two, years or months
BUT for however long I am coming to realize that God does truly care for me and all that happens in my life at the time it happens.

As I’m sitting here, wishing I could gather everyone around me who has loved me, loved me in ways I never understood and let them know that through it all your love and care has not been in vain…but that I am the woman I am today because of how so many loved me through the years! And most off all, so thankful for a God who hasn’t given up on me and who helped me to see this morning that overflowing coffee is really no big deal! And by the end of this year I will have probably forgot about the coffee incident!

💐
Go out today and give thanks!
Thanks for how the Lord
Strengthens,
Saves,
Sympathizes,
Sustains,
and
Surprises you!

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Word for the day ~ PURPOSE

I don’t know about y’all but I believe God sends me little signs or prompts…if and when I am open to them…the last 3 1/2 days I’ve been open…it’s a choice. This morning I opened my Bible and a little devotional fell out. It’s called “Confident Living” by Warren Olson, put out by Senior Living Ministries. I must have seen an ad on Facebook or picked it up at one of the many doctor offices I have been in…anyway…I opened it up and the title of the lesson for today was “Live for God’s purposeful mission.”

I then opened my email and the devotion I get from Rick Warren is titled “Focus on your purpose, not your problem.” Okay God, I get the message, it’s not about me (even though I like to tell Ron it’s all about me 😇!) and I remembered a time I was so suicidal and emotionally down in the pits and Pastor Charles called and gave me an assignment…go and clean one of the members of our Northwood family whose wife had recently passed away…I didn’t want to go but I did (99.9% of the time if Pastor Charles said do something I did…but that’s another story for another time. I called Jack, set up a time and went and spent four hours cleaning his home. Even played with Orca (the dog who I was petrified of) and walked out feeling so much better emotionally and spiritually and a good kind of tired.

Focus on others ~ put purpose in my behavior and so this morning I think about my purpose…it’s different than it was a year ago, three years ago, 10 and even 20 years ago…but in reality it is the same…to love as Jesus loved, to care as Jesus cared and to be an encourager to those I come into contact with.

I got up and got ready for work this morning and then went for my little walk…

and while walking I found a squished beer can in the middle of the road…I bent down and picked it up (does that count as stretching😂?) and carried it home and put it in the trash. My mind went lots of places…why do people throw trash around? why don’t people pick up after themselves? I could just leave it and let one of the guys pick it up but instead I just picked it up and carried it home…didn’t cost me anything and now there’s a little less trash laying around. Which led me to thinking about

and how my lack of thinking about my purpose has contributed to my depression and worthlessness feelings and so this morning I thank Jesus for showing me I have purpose…

I have purpose in lots of areas…being a wife, mom, grammy, friend, sister, employee, aunt, and yes, even a troublemaker at times (all in fun!) and how in every role I am in, there is purpose ~ even if that purpose is just to pick up a small piece of trash or bring a smile to someone’s face!

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So my question for the day ~ what is your purpose?
And that leads to ~ do you, like me, need a reminder that we each have a purpose and what is important is what we do with that purpose.

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Continuing the Journey ~

I left y’all yesterday so I could go to the doctor ~ first off, we both really like Dr. Nesmith! He listens, asks great questions, tells us like it is, took the time to answer all my questions and even asked a few of his own LOL! And he’s very handsome LOL!

He checked my foot…gave me nine exercises to do…start with one, then add the others in as my foot begins to feel better…said to start back on walking, short 5 minute walks and to be patient…plantar fasciitis takes a long time to heal…be patient ~ he obviously doesn’t know me yet!!! Hey if anyone has any of those stretchy bands that are just tucked away somewhere, this gal would be so appreciative to have them. We discussed the need to change my insulin…what was covered by insurance in Florida is not covered here in South Carolina so will be starting on Toujeo in the next week…praying for the funds to come in to cover that.

And before YOU send me a text telling me to stop begging for money…not begging at all just saying how it is. Yes I was told by someone that when I share we are having a financial need that it sounds like I’m begging and to stop sharing the personal stuff…well I’ve decided God loves me just the way I am and like I told Dr. Nesmith…what you see is what you get…yes I wear my emotions on my sleeve, yes I probably share too much but if it doesn’t come out it tears me up on the inside and I start down the slippery slope!!! And we all know that is not a good thing.

Back to my doctor’s visit…as he said, I was headed down a rabbit trail! I lost 7 lbs since leaving Florida!!! Yay me!!! And that’s with having a foot I could hardly walk on!!! Had 3 vials of blood taken…hey, I’m thankful she got it…it took two arms and three pokes but she got what she needed. Doc said he would call if things didn’t look good but to remember “no news is good news.” We talked about my anxiety and depression…he increased my antidepressant, thanked me for being honest with him about how I was doing. And he would see me in six weeks!!!

So I give praise to God for allowing me to find this new doctor, for there being no issues having Ron go with me and for a listening ear!!! Yes, I’m feeling encouraged.

We spent the rest of the day just relaxing and I did a little crocheting. Got an order for four eyelet purses and want to get them done and in the mail by the end of the week…I will share pictures when they are finished. The best part is I didn’t need to purchase any yarn so the stash is getting smaller and soon I hope to have another happy customer!!!

This morning I opened my Bible…was going to read Proverbs 7 ~ you know chapter 7 for the day of the month, but my Bible opened up to Proverbs 6 and the daily devotion was titled “The Anatomy of a Sin Addiction” there’s that word again ~ addiction! I had to chuckle as I thought “Lord, help me to focus on the positive today, to count my blessings and not my addiction to negativity.”

I turned to The Message…it shares in plain, easy to understand English:

Romans 7: 14-16 I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. 17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

And I was encouraged again…to remember to breathe, take one step at a time, don’t worry about tomorrow, to do things in love just as Jesus loved me, to keep trusting Jesus, to be me.

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As I think about today and looking around our little home on wheels
I see that just like my life gets filled with stuff and junk that our little home on wheels needs some attention so I think it’s time to crank up the worship music, do some cleaning and then go for a little walk, remembering to breathe in, to be in the moment and to remind myself don’t stress about tomorrow, just enjoy today and to count my blessings!!!

Maybe that’s what I will do tomorrow morning…start a list of all my blessings, wonder if I can list them one by one…what about you ~ do you want to join me tomorrow in writing out all your blessings?