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 🙂

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!!!

Feeling Frustrated and Yet Blessed

Today is one of those days I am truly missing my Bestie and other girlfriends. I would love to be able to join her or any one of a number of friends at a local coffee shop and share a cup of coffee, some laughter and tears, great conversation, encouragement and brainstorm some ideas.

I am so tired of dealing with people who only know how to follow a script and don’t think for themselves or look at the whole picture. The issues of late are ones that make me think our traveling and living around the United States is really not a good idea.

Trying to get a car registered, driver’s licenses, car insurance and now appropriate health insurance have all been loaded with stress and more stress. Trying to explain we don’t have an electric or cable bill or a mortgage payment to prove we are living in North Carolina just doesn’t compute with people. We live in a travel trailer which is parked in a campground. We pay site rent which includes all of our utilities. We presented the receipt for that site rent but was told it was not acceptable because it was hand written…well of course the receipt is hand written but it has the campground name & address imprinted on the dang receipt!!!

We get mail at an address that the IRS acknowledges and North Carolina DMV recognized it as our address and registered our new truck, through the dealer, to that said address. Okay, the auto insurance company finally said “well if NC says that works then we can use that address.” DUH!!! It’s our address. We prove we are working in North Carolina but the concept of us living onsite while working and in our travel trailer on our off weeks just doesn’t compute with some people.

I had to get new health insurance due to new job and new state of residence. Okay, got that set up, verified my diabetes medication would be covered ~ yes my copay is $40 a month but I can handle that. Go to refill said prescription and new insurance says doctor has to prove I need that medication. Okay, did that in Texas but will the BCBS of NC recognize that ~ nope, has to be a NC doctor and we have start completely over with trying a 3 Step Therapy to prove I need the speciality medication Ozempic. Was first told it was an FDA requirement, no it’s not, it’s a stupid health insurance requirement. Can BCBC of NC take the results of the Step Therapy from the doctors and BCBS of Texas information ~ nope! Has to be done by a NC doctor…can you say collusion between the insurance companies and drug manufacturers and doctors/clinics?

Well, what if we pay cash for the prescription for this month on the prescription that is able to be refilled at the local Walmart and that be applied to my prescription deductible? Nope, needs preauthorization for the Step Therapy and since I don’t have that the insurance company won’t accept a receipt for $856 which is what the Ozempic would cost using Good RX to get a discount. Go figure…I am paying the out of pocket deductible!!! to the dang pharmacy one way or another. Okay, moving on, go to the manufacturer of Ozempic, get a discount card where because I have health insurance I would only have to pay $25 a month for the prescription…Yay, hippee skippee….NOPE because the insurance company still doesn’t have the preauthorization for me to use the medication because I have not done the Step Therapy here in NC – the pharmacy won’t give me the discounted price. But wait, they will let me pay $2026.25 for cash pay for the medication but wait again, insurance company still won’t put that money towards my $800 deductible!!!!

So I have a prescription that can be refilled but no way to pay for it unless I want to pay the $2026.25 for one month!!! Well since that is more than my take home pay for one month there is no way I can afford that. So I go without a much needed medication. And it immediately shows in my Blood Sugar numbers….I normally take the Ozempic every Tuesday. Sunday and Monday I already notice that my Fasting BS numbers are starting to climb but still in pretty good range…under 180…but no Ozempic this week and my numbers are climbing exponentially…this morning my Fasting BS was 220!!!! No change in what I have eaten the last week, still drinking same amount of water and because I can’t get the medication that is helping me to keep my BS numbers in check my numbers are skyrocketing!!! So yes I am frustrated.

So due to crazy insurance company regulations, people refusing to use common sense and look at things as a human and not a scripted conversation my health is at risk!!!

I have brought up continuity of care issues, tried to speak to a supervisor, tried to speak to a customer care advocate and get the same damn run around each and every time. And yes I am frustrated!!!

But wait, I am blessed…I have a husband who loves me and yes even drives me crazy at times

God’s Reminders!

Colossians 1:3-5 — A Reason for Hope with Don Patterson

This morning I was woke up to my phone ringing…it was Ron as our boy was having internet connection issues and couldn’t get online to do his school work. I mumbled I would be right down. I couldn’t figure it out so called the school to let them know he would be online as soon as we figured things out.

I never could figure out what was going on so I connected him through our hot spots on our phone…I then fixed me a glass of water and came into the living room to spend some time in the Word. And the Lord met me right where I was with the phrase “God has been patient with you, be patient with others!”

August 28, 2016: “Run Hard. Rest Well.” (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) on Vimeo

And then I opened my daily devotion with the above scripture. In the devotional it states we live in a culture of rushing!! Hurry and do this, instant gratification, and like a two year old we so often want what we want when we want it which is right now!! But God calls us to work hard, be consistent and yet he states many times over “Keep the Sabbath” “rest in me” and then Pastor Charles’ words come to mind

JUST BE!

And so I sit here, listening to some worship music and give thanks for how the Lord provides for me…I have always struggled with “having my quiet time.” Getting up early is hard for me, give me a warm bed and sleeping in any day and yet after many years the Lord has allowed me to have a job where I am encouraged to be in the Word and spend time building my relationship with the Lord…I now have every school day morning where the kids we are responsible for are doing virtual school…and that gives me time to read, pray and study….thank you Lord for granting my desires!!

I wrote in my prayer journal this morning: Give GRACE to others as God gives Grace to me. What is grace: forgiveness, love, peace and calmness…God has brought me so far and I need to remember to give him thanks for His faithfulness. Ron and I often say “God has never failed me and we don’t think he will start now!”

As I read back to what I’ve written I realize I have had a spastic conversation here…as Ron says I’ve never met a word I didn’t like.

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I don’t know where my thoughts are going or if my writing is important to anyone else but I do know that I like to write and share how the Lord has and is working in my life.

I told a friend the other day that I would like to take all my journals and put them into the computer. I have always wanted to share my story of how even in the darkest of days and moments God has protected me with a thought or a call from a friend or a memory and I still want to do that I’m just not sure that is what I should do. Then I think about a word Margaret shared with me once when I asked her “how do you know you are doing what the Lord wants you to do?” Her reply was “just take a step, take another step, praying for the Lord to open doors for you and if He wants you to go another direction he will shut a door and open another one. I still think of that conversation often and just keep trusting the Lord that He is leading me where he wants me to go and do.

I’m feeling like I am going in circles in some areas of my life and yet I know I am doing what I want to be doing, well for the most part and so I will continue to keep trudging along and write when I am led.

And I AM

I'm thankful for . . . - Cassandra Hathaway

Thinking and Reflecting

I woke up this morning thinking of a woman who I haven’t thought of in years…her name was heavy on my heart. I prayed for her and for whatever situation she is in right this minute and I sent an email to some mutual friends to see if they have had contact with her and also caught them up on us and where we are and what we are doing.

I then spent some time on Facebook and then picked up a journal from Spring 2016…I want to take all my handwritten journals and put them on the computer ~ well that’s what I think I want to do ~ anyway, I opened the journal…it’s called Every Day Blessings. I opened it to the second entry, 4.10.2016…my weight is the same as it was five years ago…guess that’s good at least I haven’t gotten any fatter!!!

The first line I wrote: “Once again it has been over a month since I have picked up my Bible and spent any quality time writing” nothing seems to have changed much though I do get into the Word about every two or three days now…OH NO, I just admitted I don’t read my Bible every day!!! Farther into my writing that day I wrote “I feel like I have so much to do and yet seem to have no time to do anything, working long hours, feeling tired all the time and just wanting to relax after work. I have paperwork to do, house to clean, laundry to do, things to organize, commitments I make and yet I seem to fall short at getting things done, even at work, projects on top of projects yet it seems I am always behind. I know I am an organized person or can be ~ yet it seems I am always falling short.”

Though the situation has changed…we were co-managers at an Over 55 community and now we are house parents at a teen shelter, we worked 5 days a week with two days off and now we work 7 days on/7 days off…it seems like I am always playing catch up or feeling like I have so much to do and no time to do what I want…but that isn’t exactly true…I have found we make time for what we do want to do and push aside the things we say we want to do but don’t do.

What I do know is different is my attitude towards life…I used to be so negative and angry at the world. Just the other night one of the kids asked if we had any pictures of us when we were younger. So we got out the laptop (Ron has scanned most of all our pictures and we have them on our laptop!) and we started looking at pictures. R made the comment “Ms Ali you looked so old and angry back then … she was referring to pictures taken between 1975 and 2000…and now you look so young… how can that be as I’m 63 years old now??? And you look so peaceful and happy. A few minutes later in the conversation she said, I know what it is…you look so soft and at peace!

And that is what is different…I am no longer the angry at the world person, looking to blame others for all that is wrong…I look for the good and see how God has blessed us. Another conversation we had this past week was with friends who showed up at our hotel room the other night. (We were staying at a hotel since we didn’t have water at the trailer). The phone rang in our room and we were asked to come down to the lobby so Ron had gone down to see what the problem was…we thought it had to do with our bill as we had had a problem at check in. So Ron went downstairs and the next thing I know he is coming in the door of the room and saying “someone hit the truck and they are here.” My response was “oh no, we’ve only had it a couple of weeks” and then quickly saying don’t let them in I don’t have any pants on…remember we were relaxing in the hotel room LOL! and after I got my pants on I was being hugged by two friends…friends we hadn’t seen in over a year and they happened to be here in NC and had stalked us (via Facebook) to surprise us!! And then our friend laughed and said “Ali you were so calm when Ron said someone had hit the truck. We thought for sure you would be screaming mad and all you said was “oh, it’s just a truck.” They were expecting the response to be what and how I had responded so often before…angry. Later at dinner we were chatting and he said I remember the last time we saw you, you were so anxious and everything seemed to set you off but you just laughed and was so calm even when you thought someone had just hit your brand new truck!

I replied, it’s all the Lord…HE has healed me from so much anger and anxiety. And I added “well I did do the work, but it was the love of the Lord and a hubby who showed me about unconditional love” that has taught me that life is too short to be angry and seeing only the negative in things. And life is so much better now…I am at peace and feel calmness most of the time.

And so reflecting this morning that though some things feel the same, I say statements that are the same in reality life is different…I am enjoying life and where we are. I love the JOB we have…being paid to stay home and be parents and caregivers and being an encourager to others and sharing that though things look bleak at times really life is good.

I’m not sure how to end this post, but Ron is up now and so I will get off the computer and get onto doing what we need to do today…being together and enjoying each other’s company and just relaxing enjoying our little home on wheels.


*****
What are you doing for yourself today?
What brings a smile to your face today?
What brings a smile to your heart?