Life marches on, every day, every hour, every minute. Sometimes I wish I could stop the clock…like this past Sunday while FaceTiming and watching the Seahawks game with our grandson. We laughed and cheered the Seahawks into a win over the Cowboys! It was definitely a fun time and I am thankful for technology that allows this Grammy to spend time with her grands even when they are 1500 miles away!!
And then there are days like today where I find myself looking for things to keep me grounded and centered. Today these two spoke to me…the first one was sent to me about a week ago by my bestie. And just like two weeks ago, it is right on the mark for where I am and where my mind and heart is.
and then this one:
Today has been a hard day yet I know that no matter what obstacles I face that I am never alone. And that God has never failed me!!! And when I do feel alone and I question whether anyone but me cares about XXXX that when I ask for prayer for something that many are there just to say a prayer for me. And for that I am truly thankful.
******** What are you thankful for today? What do you do to encourage yourself? Do you have a favorite scripture verse or saying that you like to repeat on those difficult days. ***********
Life has been tough! Life just seems to be ????? heck I can’t even think of a word to describe it ~ it just has been tough!!!
Someone asked me why I hadn’t written anything in awhile ~ I’ve been thinking about that and my first response is “I’m just tired.” And then I realized I am just tired of everything that seems so heavy, so negative, so stagnant. And then I ask WHY? What has changed in my life…and I reflect back to the middle of March 2020. My anxiety was high, we were preparing to travel for 5 days to go see Ron’s oncologist for his annual cancer check up. Hard to believe it had been two years since his surgery to remove the nasty C.
For the most part we don’t watch the news every day but since we would be traveling we were watching the weather reports and talk of Covid was beginning to run rampant. Yes it was scary, yes it is a nasty bug but life for us continued…we faced what we needed to face and put one foot in front of the other. Tensions were running high here in our home. The little’s were anxious about us being gone for 5 nights, we were anxious of what would the doctor’s find, we were concerned how the little’s would do. It was the beginning of Spring Break and we had had to change our plans from a camping trip to a doctor’s visit. And yet we still put one foot in front of the other.
The doctor’s appointments went well. Cancer is still gone. The only concern voiced was Ron’s weight…but that is nothing new; we have both battled being overweight for all of our adult lives. What a relief. We both commented that night as we laid in bed how relieved we each were, apologized to each other for our shortness with each other and planned a nice one last night out without little’s for our return to the ranch.
And then life threw a punch…quarantined to the ranch. By the time the kids went back to school it was 159 days from school day to school day. Yes, we got out a bit: took the kidlets to the drive thru Safari in San Antonio, only getting out of the truck to go to the restroom, we bought a little blow up pool and the kids had many “swim days” right here at home but for the most part it was Ron or I going to the grocery store or picking up the mail. Even trips to the office were cancelled unless absolutely necessary. Kids did counseling via Zoom, even did a couple of doctor appointments via Zoom ~ do you know how hard it is to keep a 5 year old engaged in a conversation with a face on the screen to be diagnosed and treated by a physician. In my opinion, it was pretty worthless.
Then unexpected changes happened, got new kids to our home due to staff changes. Little’s were moved to a foster adopt home, start to finish was less than four weeks, crazy times for sure, more schedule changes here at the ranch, rumors and anxiety flew at a rapid pace about the future of the ranch, our jobs and then we were scrambling to get the kid’s stuff for school not knowing, were they going in person or would it be remote. Our girl decided she was going to go to school ~ a good move for her as it got her out of the house, she gets to see friends and interact with others.
And then I realized through it all that my depression was lurking around every corner. Visually appearing as exhaustion, lots of exhaustion, absolutely no energy to do anything. Yes I kept cooking for the family, attended the necessary training’s for the job, did what needed to be done but my heart was not in it, I was and am just plain tired.
And yet, through it all I have kept moving forward, slower at times with lots of naps thrown in and yet I haven’t totally given up. Though at times I would like to crawl into my recliner, crochet and watch TV and hide and hibernate from all, and some days I did just that…I give myself kudos for not totally throwing in the towel.
And so today, I find myself asking what do I need to do to get out of this funk…to get energy back, to feel alive and not like a slug. So I did what I know to do. I opened my Bible for a short devotion yesterday and today and always, always God has met me where I am.
Yesterday my devotion was titled “Bountiful Benefits” and this morning was “Relief from Your Distress” ~ yes, Jesus met me right where I am…God accepts me right where I am and loves me unconditionally and I was reminded that God forgives, He heals, He encourages and I am good enough just the way I am AND I have much to be thankful for…family, friends (even though the circle has gotten smaller ~ I think more my choice than anything), a job that doesn’t really feel like a job most of the time, the ability to be with my hubby most all the time and even when he does something that drives me crazy or makes me want to slap the sh** out of him, I am thankful for Ron, for Ron’s love for me and the patience he shows me when I drive him crazy or ask for three kinds of ice cream on a rainy night when he really doesn’t want to go out but he goes to the store anyway. Yes I am blessed beyond measure.
I am encouraged to cry out to the Lord, to give thanks for everything, to keep on trusting Him and to know that
For my good! I may not understand the why’s or how come’s but I do know that I am never alone and that no matter what happens with our jobs, our living situation or ??? that God is in control and that no matter what happens today or tomorrow, in the end everything will work together for good!
The above verse was the scripture art for today. As I read it I have hope, hope even in the midst of struggling times. Yesterday was a hard day for me, the day before was a hard day for me but today I feel energized and awake.
The alarm went off with a bang this morning and as I woke from a dream I thought “glad that was a dream…what a mess.” Not sure of all of it…I was in the car with a friend of a friend after having an argument with my friend because I volunteered her to do a ceramic piece without speaking to her…she was really pissed even after I apologized a lot…we were packing up our little house to move and I was feeling stressed because the deadline was looming and Ron was taking his own sweet time doing things. Then in the car I had to go to the bathroom..finally found a port-a-potty…more like a port-a-six-potty…it even had college girls cleaning it…went into three different stalls before finding one with toilet paper. I had college girls walking into the stall helping me clean up. I kept apologizing for the mess though looking around all the mess was on paper not on the toilet or even me…I kept saying I was sorry to my friend even though I don’t even know where she was, told our mutual friend that my friend was being pretty harsh just because I said she would make this other gal something…there was no rush and she could do it when she wanted…I woke up thinking…boy what a dream…when the alarm scared the you know what out of me LOL…as I walked to the bathroom I kept telling myself I was glad it was a dream…not sure what all this moving is going on in my dreams, poop everywhere but nowhere. But very relieved it was a dream.
Dreams are weird at times…and then I wonder what does it all mean? I think dreams happen because our days are so full of stuff that our dreams are trying to work out things that are going on in our minds…what do you think?
I was scrolling through Facebook yesterday and thinking about when Ron and I got married, almost 45 years ago and wondered what happened to the pastor who married us. I found the Facebook page for the little church we were married in in Las Vegas and reached out to see if anyone remembered or knew Gary. Found out Gary died in 1978 after being sick for a quite a while. We left Las Vegas in October 1977 when the Air Force transferred us to the Netherlands, Camp New Amsterdam, Soesterberg, The Netherlands. Life was crazy for me/us…new babies, one baby dying, moving across the world at age 19, new beginnings and scary times. And thinking now, I was so wrapped up in me/us I forgot about our friends in Las Vegas. Oh I have thought about the friends we had there over the years and wonder where and how some of them are doing. But yet they are just a memory in my mind. And I am reminded that this world is not about me but about others…and then I think about our sermon from Sunday about being a disciple and the note I wrote out at the top of the page “Stop being selfish and focus on those who the Lord brings into my life.”
I am reminded to reach out to those I love and care about, let them know that I love and care for them…not just think about them but let them know. Whether they are close by or 2,000 miles from me…I need to reach out to others.
And then another memory popped up…Jamie was in Iraq and I was so fearful that he was going to be killed over there…I was so often paralyzed in fear I could hardly get out of bed. One day Pastor Charles called to see how I was doing and I told him I was still in bed (around 11am) and he told me he had a project for me. I was to get up, get dressed, call our friend Jack and tell him I was coming to his house to clean it for him. Jack’s wife, Dee had passed away about 4 months before BUT I couldn’t tell Jack why I was coming to clean his house (because Charles told me too!) I was just to go and do it. I remember calling Jack and at first he was hesitant but I insisted. I remember pulling up in the driveway and thinking…what the heck am I doing? Why would Charles think I needed to clean Jack’s house? But I did what I was told because that’s what good girls do…that’s another story for another day…back to cleaning Jack’s house.
I spent about 4 hours there. The dog followed me from room to room. I dusted and swept, mopped and wiped down counter tops, cleaned out the fridge and changed the sheets on the beds and even put fresh flowers on the center of the dining room table. I left before Jack got home. A couple of weeks later he told me that he smiled when he came in and saw the flowers…they reminded him of his sweet wife Dee and thanked me for the pleasant memory. I remember when I drove away how I felt good, not for cleaning the house but for doing something for someone else just because. Reaching out to someone else…and that’s the reminder to me today…get out of my skin and reach out to others in my life.
We have had a rough week with the kidlets and I hate going off with a negative air in the home so this morning I’m going to reach out to the kidlets…let’s have watermelon for breakfast!!! Let’s start the day fresh!!!
************* How are you going to reach out to someone today?
A lot of things have been on my mind for the past 24 hours, that’s probably why I woke up about every 45 to 60 minutes in the night 😦
I am tired of negativity and bashing for having differing opinions/thoughts/feelings as other along with arguing and name calling. I just want calm and peace…
I saw a friend copied and pasted the following and it spoke volumes to me:
As governors are trying to figure out how to ease back in to a new normal, please remember:
🛑 Some people don’t agree with the state opening…. that’s okay. Be kind.
🏡 Some people are still planning to stay home…. that’s okay. Be kind.
🦠 Some are still scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening….that’s okay. Be kind.
💰 Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business or their homes….that’s okay. Be kind.
👩🏾⚕️Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off….that’s okay. Be kind.
📝 Some will be able to attend interviews after weeks without a job….that’s okay. Be kind.
😷 Some will wear masks for weeks….that’s okay. Be kind.
💅🏻 💇🏼♀️ Some people will rush out to get the hair or nails done…. that’s okay. Be kind.
❤️ The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings and that’s okay. Be kind.
We each have a different story. If you need to stay home, stay home. But be kind .
If you need to go out, just respect others when in public and be kind! Don’t judge fellow humans because you’re not in their story. We all are in different mental states than we were months ago. So remember, BE KIND.
And then the tears started falling for all the negativity I have been involved in…yes…I am also part of the problem. Not so much name calling as that brings up painful memories from my child hood ~ NO one should be called a name that is hurtful. And I’m truly sorry for any pain I have caused others all for wanting to be right, to be in control (who’s really in control?), to feel safe and cared about.
The bottom line is that right now, for this season, for such a time as this…this is our new normal…limited trips to the grocery store, no just hopping in the car to go to DQ to get an ice cream just because I want one or heading to Victoria to walk aimlessly through Hobby Lobby just for something to do and I am reminded to focus on what is important! Relationships, my children who aren’t children any more, my grandchildren some who are facing some tough times, our kidlets who are struggling and friends who are lonely, who are missing loved ones. I think about all the places I have been, all the people I have met, all the different experiences I have had in my life and the thought comes to mind
And again I got distracted ~ this time by the thunderstorm going through our area right now and little ones scurrying to be held and just like that I am reminded by a dose of reality…all that really matters is relationships and the here and now. Yesterday is gone, never to be done again and tomorrow may never happen so for today, for this season of life, for such a time as this…I’m going to smile and be thankful for all the blessings in my life…and there are many!!!
Have a great day! Find something that makes you smile and remember
It has been a rough week for me…and as I reflect back on the week I keep asking myself why was this week so hard…IF I look at all the good things and there are many I wonder even more why has this week been so tough?
How has the week been tough…
I am exhausted…I can take two 2 hour naps a day and still sleep 8+ hours at night and still am exhausted.
I am struggling with not following through on things in a timely manner…so not me.
We are dealing with an issue with our kidlets that just doesn’t make sense to me.
I have one thought that keeps running over and over through my mind. I wake from a sound sleep thinking about this one thing. I prayed about it, rebuked Satan from my mind and yet the thought just keeps coming to my mind.
My life is filled with many blessings…
I am well loved by my husband.
I am surrounded by great friends who are my family.
I am for the most part, pretty healthy…my A1C dropped from 10.3 to 7.1 ~ and that is great news!!!
We are financially more stable than we have ever been in all of our married life.
We have great health insurance. My medications used to cost me $1500+ a month and now it is $74.99 a month!!! And I don’t have to skip meds any more.
We are starting to build friendships with people at the church we have attended for the last 10 months.
The pastor preaches great sermons each week and are so relevant to our lives in the here and now.
Our boys, Jamie & Brandon are well adjusted young men, are both married to wonderful women and have blessed us with the best grandchildren a Grammy could ever ask for.
We have many friends around the United States who are more family than friends.
And probably the most important thing is that we are loved and guided by Jesus each and every day of our lives.
And yet I am struggling. Struggling to feel peace in my heart. Struggling to feel like we are doing what the Lord would want us to be doing. Struggling to get my diabetes under control. Struggling to not rock the boat. Struggling to be a good example to and for our kidlets.
Struggling is hard and the want to just hide is strong yet it’s hard to hide when we have kids to take care of, errands to run, appointments to keep and life to live…so I struggle on the inside and then I see it ripple to the outside in my frustration over stupid things, over things I can’t control.
And then I think of something I have shared so many times…I need to learn to give the grace that I extend to others to myself.
So tonight I want to end the day focusing on a positive…the positive interaction with our girl, who struggles to be herself without coming across rude to others who told me tonight as I was tucking her into bed…Mama I love you, thank you for loving me even when I don’t do things right…OH Girl…if you only knew I am trying to be the Mama to you that I so wanted as a little girl. And then I silently say “thank you Jesus for giving me this opportunity to love these kidlets in the manner I always wanted to be loved.”
Memories, come and go and little things or big things trigger them…the past few weeks I have been reflecting on my memories with our home church Northwood Alliance Church, Blaine, WA.
Changes are one of the things that gives rise to memories and change is coming to NAC as Pastor Charles & Margaret prepare to retire from ministry there this coming Sunday. I wish I could be there but it just didn’t work out…so I find myself sitting and thinking…
We first met Charles & Margaret when our sons, Jon, Jamie & Brandon played soccer together and Margaret being the school nurse and my working in the elementary and primary schools.
We first began attending Northwood in November 2001 after my dad passed away and the struggles and issues that arose at Birch Bay Bible Community Church happened. I could bring up the negative but what good would that do? So let’s just say, for the better of things, our marriage and relationships we moved on from BBBCC to Northwood and it was a good move for us.
Northwood is and has been my family for over 19 years. And like most families we have had our great times, our good times and even some hard times but what family doesn’t share some hard times AND hard times allow us to grow and become stronger.
I was our church secretary for 7+ years and I remember when Ron and I left to go to work for the Carnival (Spring 2010) Charles put in the bulletin…”it’s not often one’s church secretary runs away with the local plumber to join a carnival!” 😍
My memories consist of family diners, Thanksgiving and cooking/serving a 48+lb turkey, Christmas Eve Candlelight services, potlucks and Bible studies, lots of hugs and even tears but through all the memories is woven
and my devotions this past week have also focused on love, loving one another, loving unconditionally, loving others and showing grace.
Memories of coming together when we were hurting over the loss of a special friends…specifically thinking of Dee and Jack Nixon…they showed so much love to me, my family, our boys and demonstrated how to love one another through the difficult times
celebrating marriages: Julie & James
Jon & Rayna
Elizabeth & Chris
and so many others…
I’m thankful for my Northwood family
and as they/us face this new change of selecting a new pastor to shepherd the Northwood clan
and as we encourage and celebrate Charles & Margaret
and our Northwood family grows and expands
I’m thankful that we can love from afar for those of us not living in Blaine right now.
Yesterday woke up with a sore throat so laid pretty low for most of the day.
Today is another story.
Up at 5 to have about 45 minutes in the Word and with the Lord,
then time with the kiddo’s before taking them to school,
and then it was off to HEB to pick up some much needed groceries,
Walmart to get a coffee maker for the main cottage, scored some new T-shirts for Ron…the ones that dry quick when you sweat were on sale for $6.88 each instead of $9.99 so bought him six more!!
And then home to pack and get ready to head to Houston.
Ron is home with the kidlets
and I am in Houston for some training for work.
getting to spend time with
PJ…she is the daughter of my friend Merel,
haven’t seen her for years so it was good to spend a few hours with her
PJ is the same age as Jamie
and we go way back…her mama, Merel and I were pregnant with
Jeremy and Brandon at the same time…
it is truly a friendship made in heaven.
Fun to hear about her life in Houston and glad to reconnect.
I will be here for two nights and then back to the ranch on Wednesday evening.
TBRI ~ The TBRI Caregiver Training is designed to train staff/caregivers in Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) equipping them with the skills and tools needed to be successful in their various roles. We used TBRI when we were at MCH, well parts of it. It will be good to learn more about it and how it works and how to use it as we care for our three kidlets.
Hope all who is reading this is having a great day!!!
having no like or equal; unparalleled: a unique achievement
highly unusual, extraordinary, rare
I remember hearing when I was a young child my mom saying “you are unique and there will never be another one like you” and then she would laugh and say that’s a good thing. At times I took those words as a compliment, that I was special and at other times I took it to mean “thank goodness there are not two of you – I (my mom) couldn’t handle more than one of me.
And then as I grew in my relationship with God I realized it is a good thing to be unique and to use the things that are special about me to bring Him honor by sharing who I am with others as well as working together with others to make a whole.
Romans 12:3 – 8 talks about being unique yet part of a whole. We are all uniquely made and each of us has strengths and weaknesses yet when we work together, sharing our individual talents we can become one wonderful body.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
What is unique about you?
What is unique about where you live?
What is unique about something you have done in your life that has left a positive impact on others.
What is unique about me? Some people would say having only one eye is unique. I would say that I am who I am today due to the many struggles and life issues I have had to deal with over the past 55 years. I have a heart of compassion and service which I use wherever the Lord leads me and I believe those gifts are due to the circumstances I have faced. I can see where my struggles have allowed me to become a loving and nurturing wife, mom, grammy, aunt and friend.
What is unique about where I live? Well we live in a 37′ Class A Motorhome and move our home wherever God opens the doors for employment for us. Most recently, with the closing of Branson View Campground the Lord led us to apply for work with Amazon in Coffeyville, KS. Right now our home base is at Big Chief RV Park in Liberty, KS which is right across the street from Amazon Distribution Center in Coffeyville, KS.
What is unique about something I have done in my life that has left a positive impact on others. I would have to say that I have turned a rough childhood and teenage years where I suffered lots of pain from abusive parents and relationships into being an encourager to my family and friends and sharing that no matter the circumstance you find yourself in you can always find something positive about it.
While we have been here in Branson we have attended Friendly Baptist Church. And it is just that FRIENDLY. We were warmly greeted by Pastor Cardis Bryan and had met Bill & Virginia Hickox through an RV Facebook page that I belong to. Shortly after our arrival here in Branson Virginia invited me to a women’s fellowship luncheon and we attended a services there. We love the great Southern Gospel Music, all the old hymns and the great preaching by Pastor Cardis. As campground managers we couldn’t always make it to services on Sunday mornings and we just hoped they would understand. And they did 🙂 Pastor Cardis came and visited us one day here at the campground and told us we were always welcome whenever we could make it. And there was no pressure to join the church ~ we explained that our home church is in Blaine at Northwood Alliance Church and that was not an issue like the church we attended off/on in Hondo, TX. That made attending Friendly Baptist Church very enjoyable with no pressure. We found out a couple of weeks ago that Pastor Cardis was retiring and today would be his last Sunday preaching there. We made sure to make sure we could go today. And boy are we glad. What a glorious service honoring Pastor Cardis & Stephanie and hearing how the church started and how God has blessed them over and over. If you are ever in the Branson area we encourage you to attend a service or two.
Here are a few pictures and some of the special music we were treated to.
The Choir leading the opening song accompanied by so many wonderful musicians.
The Stained Glass window above the baptistry. When the sun is shining through it gives off such beautiful colors.
Pastor Cardis Bryan giving his last sermon “Memories”
Jerry, Son-in-law, singing a special tribute to Pastor Cardis
Music Director Bob Mabe and his sweet wife, Sue
Recognizing Pastor Cardis & Stephanie
Saying good-bye to Virginia & Bill Hickox
And we were invited to stay for lunch and boy was it tasty. We had fried chicken from Bobby Jack’s BBQ and was it delicious!!! And an assortment of salads, baked beans, corn and green beans w/ham 🙂 and ended with a variety of cupcakes.
The definition of Grateful: 1. warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful 2. expressing or actuated by gratitude 3. pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable or welcome; refreshing
I am grateful for my hubby and the upbringing he had. I am grateful he had Christian parents to raise him into the wonderful man, husband, father, grandfather and friend that he is to so many. I have been thinking of his parents a lot today. 33 years ago today his dad, Pete, went to be with the Lord after a long fought battle against cancer. I remember that day so clearly in my mind. It was a day full of crazy happenings: first I got my wedding rings stuck on my finger and had to have them cut off (Ron’s first trip home from work), then Anne (Ron’s mom) called and said Pete wanted to speak to Ron ~ kinda hard because Pete could not speak above a whisper so I called Ron’s boss, told him what was going on and he sent Ron home for the second time in less than two hours. After making arrangements for a friend to keep Jamie (2 1/2 years old), packing a suitcase for us and Brandon (almost 2 months) and getting the truck loaded we headed from McChord AFB to Blaine, WA. About 3 1/2 hour drive. We had reached Everett (half way) and made one of our usual stops at the rest area. Ron’s driving was pretty erratic so I told him I would drive. As I began driving towards Blaine I prayed “Lord, please let Pete still be alive or have him pass at least 15 minutes before we get to the house.” I think I said that prayer over and over all the way to Blaine. Selfishly I didn’t want to be the one responsible for Ron not being able to see his dad one more time. God is Good and for that I give thanks – Ron was able to have a few minutes alone with Pete before he breathed his last. And in sixteen days it will be five years since Anne was reunited with Pete. And even though his parents and I didn’t always get along, I am so grateful for their parenting of Ron, their love for us as a couple and parents and for our children. One happy memory I have of Pete is him babysitting Brandon. At meal time, we would put Brandon on the bed next to Grandpa and Grandpa would keep an eye on Brandon. Another memory is when we were visiting at their home when Jamie was 15 months old and I was scolding Jamie for climbing on the coffee table and Grandpa telling me “Jamie can climb on table it is not going to hurt anything.” And once Ron was scolding Jamie for throwing his paci on the ground and Ron telling him he was going to spank him if he did it again and Grandpa Pete saying something about spankings not really being necessary and Ron telling him he should have thought of that 20 years ago when Ron was a little one.
I am also grateful for the people God has brought into our lives over the years. I am grateful for friends who encourage me in new adventures and remind me that God has never failed me yet and that He also meets all of our needs. Today we were blessed by some friends here in Branson and so grateful for their friendship ~ we will miss you Jw & Wanda!! We have many friends in our life who have blessed us time and time again and we look forward to making more friends as we continue working and traveling around the USA.