Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day--Consider yourself blessed

blessed - highly favored or fortunate (as e.g. by divine grace)
If you went to church at the church of your choice yesterday, you are blessed.

If you went to bed last night without concern or fear that your sleep would be disturbed by bomb blasts or foreign invaders, you are blessed.

If you woke this morning with the security and  peace of knowing that you can travel about the country if you choose, or sit at home if you choose, or work hard if you are blessed.

If you have clean water to drink and there is no sewage in the street in front of your house, you are blessed.

If you are enraged by something you read in your local paper and you know you have the right to write a letter to the editor, stating your opinion and beliefs, and you write that letter without fear of harm or persecution, you are blessed.

If you voted, or even had the opportunity to vote in the last election, you are blessed.

I could go on and on...and if you live in The United States Of America, YOU ARE BLESSED!

May we never take that blessing for granted. May we never forget that with our freedoms come responsibilities. May we always acknowledge the fact that the God of the universe bestows these blessings upon us. And may we never, ever, forget the men and women who have sacrificed so much, who have been the tools in God's hands, that have made such wonderful blessings a reality.

Thank you, men and women, husbands and wives, children, parents...for your sacrifices. May God bless you, and may we all live so that we might, in clear conscious pray, God, bless America.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Picture Project

I stayed very busy this last week. So busy I let taking pictures every day slip my mind. I did take a few and I'm happy to share them. I'm in a hurry to schedule this post so I can get to bed, therefore, I didn't take time to edit. Please forgive me.

This picture was actually from a week or more ago. I forgot to post it back then, but it just looks so cool and yummy, I couldn't pass it up. Too bad you weren't here...I would have cut you a piece of angel food, spooned on some fresh berries, and plopped on the whipped cream.

Last Sunday EZ DAZE had a cookout. I think it was a pre-memorial day even. Hamburgers, hot dogs, some pot luck, mingling, and entertainment--a nice break from the mundane.

One day I cooked turkey stakes on the grill. Marinated in a garlic and her marinade, grilled over a hot flame, oh they were moist and yummy.

Every morning this week when I stepped outside, there were diamonds on the grass. Sparkling in the sun, dew drops fascinate me.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I did a lot of laundry this week. Or at least it seemed like I did. I had to get into the "penny jar" to find enough change to do all my loads.
Counting and rolling pennies. My life is always such an adventure!

I spent almost an entire day constructing a super simple dress that, according to the instruction sheet, was supposed to take an hour to put together. I knew I would wear it a lot, sitting around the camper in this humid Mississippi heat. And now...I'm on my way to northern Wyoming. (I know you can't see me, but I'm rolling my eyes, big time.)
I think my next sewing project might need to be a jacket.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm SO dashing--AGAIN!

Do you remember that old song that went something like...

I don't know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.
I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.
Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden's getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.
Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
I don't know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I'm covered with His blood.
Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand...

Ya just never know about tomorrow. That could be our motto, for here we are, packing up the rig to hit the road again. No, we are not finished here in Mississippi. Not by a long shot! We are not ready to move on, but seldom are we given a choice.

Yes the phone rang again. This time it wasn't a person from the deployment office on the other end, but someone "higher up" on the order giving ladder. The short version of this story is--few adjusters are licensed in the state of Wyoming. My hubby is. So when the company needs an adjuster in no man's land and no one else is able or willing to go, guess who they call. My man the team player.

At the moment, we are feeling a bit like the batter who has to make that sacrificial bunt, putting himself back on the bench so another player can score a run. We are leaving a really nice campground, really nice people, a really nice church, and wonderfully profitable claims to drive dash over 1300 miles into the middle of nowhere to work claims that may or may NOT be profitable for us.

Every time we roll up the awning and pack away the clutter making ready to relocate, I get a little queasy feeling. It's that part about tomorrow, like the old song says, which is so uncertain, that makes my tummy turn flips. It's skies may turn to gray, or it may bring me poverty, or it's path might lead through flame or flood. Who wants to go to bed thinking about waking up to that kind of a day?

This adventure I'm on takes a pretty good measure of faith. More faith than I can scrounge up on my own. It's a mind bender. I rely on God to give me the faith I need to trust God.  He is both the giver and receiver of my faith. That's a thought I can spend a good bit of time churning over and over in my mind. (I'll have something to think about for the next three days on the road.)

Today I told a friend that I have a long list of "whys" and "what fors" that I want to talk over with God someday.  But for now, I'll be content knowing that His presence goes before me and I'm covered with His blood. Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.

*I Know Who Holds Tomorrow by Ira Forest Stanphill


Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's my story--in pictures

It seems like I've had a busy week, but I don't know why it seems that way. I didn't do anything unusual or out of the ordinary. I'm amazed that I feel so busy yet didn't accomplish anything--besides wash and dry a few loads of laundry, carry out a half dozen bags of garbage, vacuum, scrub the toilet, cook, wash lots of dirty dishes over and over and over know...all that domestic goddess kind of stuff.

Oh wait!  I've jumped ahead a couple of days. Let's back up to last Sunday, May 16. Over a week has passed and still no refrigerator. Well, not a WORKING refrigerator. I had spent about $10 on ice to keep $4 worth of milk, my beloved cream cheese, and three packages of lunch meat cool. That's why when I saw this...
I almost cried. Yes boys and girls, that is ICE! Our neighbors dumped precious, pricey ice out on the ground to let it melt in the sun. I thought about running out and scooping it up, but I didn't.

What stopped me?

First of all, I knew the neighbors would see me, and I thought I might look pretty pathetic. I hate looking pathetic. And secondly--remember last week when I went around the campground taking pictures? Well, one of the other residents of the park (I won't mention any names because the lady is now my friend and I don't want her to think I'm picking on her. You know who you are. *wink wink*) was a little concerned about my strange and somewhat suspicious behavior. I think maybe she reported me to the campground managers as someone they should keep an eye on. All I needed was for another resident to tell the managers I was picking up melting ice from the ground and washing it off with my tears. I'd be writing this post from a padded cell somewhere.

Instead of letting my neighbors see me gathering their discarded ice, I let them watch me take a picture of it. We've not been evicted yet! Yeah, I'm surprised too.

Monday was a wonderful and glorious day! Early in the morning I called the traveling RV repair guy to see if he had any encouraging words about the part to fix my nonfunctional refrigerator. YES! My job was on his list of things to do that day!!!!
It was quite an ordeal. Everything including the shelves had to come out, the handles taken off, the whole thing pulled out and placed face down in my floor, a half a gillion screws removed, and the entire back side of it pried off.
Can you see, in the upper right corner of this photo, the bright spot of daylight? When he pulled the thing out, it left a big opening to the outdoors. Y'all remember I'm in Mississippi, right? And this time of year, Mississippi is warm--very warm. And humid. Monday was very VERY humid.

(I'm telling you about the weather just so you can have a realistic sense of my know, all that dashing and bold stuff.) Anyway, it was hot and humid, and while the guy was removing all the screws and prying the old cooling unit off, I shut off the AC in the camper because by now all the neighbor's ice was melted, so I saw no need in trying to cool the outdoors.

After the repairman got it all taken apart and some old goopy stuff scraped off and wiped up, (which took a good bit of time) he was ready to start putting it back together with the new part. But then he noticed--he needed a new tube of the goopy stuff he had just scraped off and that tube wasn't included in the box with the new cooling unit. (Apparently it was supposed to be there but was missing.)  So, he had to "run to the shop for just a minute" to get a tube he knew he had on hand.


With a gaping hole to the outdoors, temperatures in the high eighties with humidity levels equal to or above the temperature, my "ice box" and I waited. While I waited, I wondered...Is this the dashing part or the bold part?

In the end, the repair was completed, I had dinner out one more night, and 24 hours later, my refrigerator was cold. I HAD ICE!  Oh glorious day!!!

The rest of the week just kind of rocked along.
These little finches came to my feeder. I've had cow birds and starling too. The cow birds made a mess with the seeds, scooting them from the feeder to the ground, and the starling are just ugly, mean, and rude.

Did you know that if you smear a little dab a big chunk of cream cheese on top of a granola bar, you will have a very yummy breakfast?

Once the refrigerator and freezer finally got good and cold, we headed to the grocery store. It was with mixed emotions  I made my purchases. It was good to know I had food in the camper, but that also meant that I had to start cooking again. No more dinners out.

I get a kick out of the regional foods found in the markets. Just to name a few--New England stores have Whoopie Pies, North Carolina stores have Cheerwine, and in the deep south you find green tomatoes. Good and tart, ready to slice and fry.

Every evening, about dusk, hubby and I try to take a walk around the RV park. There are about five or six killdeer that hang out here. They are so cute. I love to watch them. They are some of my favorite little birds. It's not easy to get their picture because they don't like to sit still for very long, and when they move, they run fast. This photo turned out a bit blurry so I played with it in edit mode. Call it art rather than a bad photo, okay?

I don't know what happened Saturday, but obviously I was SO busy working SO hard that I forgot to take any pictures. (That's my story, and as long as my park resident neighbors don't tell on me, I'm sticking to it.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Discipleship and crumbs in my cream cheese

I'm not a neat freak. You want to know how I know? For starters, my flip flops are still under the chair I was sitting in when I kicked them off over an hour ago, and that's not where I am sitting now. But the whereabouts of my shoes isn't what started me to thinking about my issues with tidiness. It was this.
I think a section of heaven must be made out of cream cheese. Oh yes, I love cream cheese! When I eat cream cheese, I  mean really ENJOY cream cheese, I pull open the package and dig right in. I don't try to be neat or orderly, clean or sophisticated. I dig, gouge, and scoop my way to sheer bliss. No need to waste time removing it from the foil, cutting even slices or anything like that. No sirree. Life is short!

While I was digging in my little hunk of heaven the other morning during breakfast, some granola crumbs from the knife stayed stuck in the cheese.

From out of nowhere thoughts of my mother flashed through my mind. She is a neat freak. One look at my cream cheese would have her twitching. As long as I've lived and known my mother I don't think I've ever seen a crumb in her cream cheese, in her butter, or even left on the counter longer that a split second. My mother wouldn't eat cream cheese right out of the foil in the first place, much less dig it out so unevenly and leave crumbs behind.

I thought, as I ate, about how different my mother and I are. Oh, I look a lot like her, but in so many areas, neatness being a big one, we are very, very different. I wondered why.

Again, a lightning bolt thought--Lavonda, you are not her disciple.
Wow! Where did that come from?  (I love it when the Holy Spirit joins me for breakfast.)

If you look the word disciple up in the dictionary, you are probably going to find:
That's a pretty dull definition. It is also an insufficient definition.Pull out a Lexical Aid and you'll see a disciple follows, yes, and a disciple learns from her teacher, yes, but a true disciple puts those things she learns into practice in her own life. She applies what she knows.

My mother was diligent in teaching me how to be neat, clean, and tidy. She taught me that crumbs in the butter or cream cheese are not good. I know how to completely unwrap cream cheese, place it on a plate, and slice (with a clean knife) off only what I need at the time. I learned and I learned well.
 No, I'm not my mother's disciple. The life changing question is...
Whose disciple am I? I'm I a disciple of Christ? Do I learn from Him, follow Him, and do I put the things I've learned into practice in my own life? Do I LIVE the life of my teacher, master, and Lord?

Becoming a disciple is not something I can do once and then mark it off my list of things to do. Being a disciple requires me to actively apply the teaching of Jesus Christ to my life, my actions and attitudes, every single minute of every day.

Let me tell you, I'm trying. I know I fail from time to time. Sometimes I'm aware when I mess up and sometimes I'm not, but I have a feeling that from now on, every time I eat cream cheese, right out of the foil wrapper, I'll have Company for breakfast and He will help me see and get past my points of failure.

What about you? Are you someone's disciple? Are you a disciple of Christ? Please leave comments and share your thoughts on discipleship.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week of ups and downs

It's a good thing I like adventure. Uphill climbs and downhill slides. Hard days and easy days...or is that EZ DAZE?
This is our current home away from home. It's a nice RV park and I like it here. I'll show you around in a minute, but first, let me ask you...What's wrong with this next picture?
If you guessed the door is open and the light is not on you got it right. There is a very wrong odor in there too, but you couldn't tell that from the picture could you? (Be thankful!) Our refrigerator went on the fritz while we were on the road last week so when we arrived here, things were thawed and warm. As of today, I've been over a week without ice, cold drinks, and the pleasure of unspoiled food.

The part of the refrigerator that makes it a refrigerator and not just an insulated storage hole leaked a bunch of yellow gunk...oh never mind. I'll not bore you with the details. If I think about it too much I get grumpy.
After a few days of  almost 80 degree temperatures inside my insulated storage hole, I decided to throw out the molded lettuce, wilted carrots, and this whole carton of eggs. It was obvious that the vegetables needed to go, but the eggs looked perfectly fine. I was concerned, though, about how one might smell if I cracked it open. Would it stink up the place worse than it already smells?

Then  my brain went on a bunny chase. These eggs are a lot like people. They look perfect on the outside, but you can't tell what they are like on the inside, if they are good or rotten, until they are broken.  Maybe that is why God so often finds it necessary to break us. It's just a thought.
Anyway, I've called an RV repair guy, he has ordered the part, it has been shipped (supposedly) and I'm waiting, as patiently as I can, for a call telling me he that he is on his way to install it. I'll keep you posted.

In the mean time, I'm keeping a  few country style pork ribs and some lunch meat cool in this little 12v cooler. (The water bottle is there as a reference so you can see how big the cooler is NOT.) And I bought a couple of these shelf stable meals.

That dinner looks pretty good in the picture on the package, but when you open it up...
The first bite was a bit disappointing. By the third bite I was wondering if I could make myself take the fourth bite. When I stabbed a BIG blob of something that was the color chicken breast (this was supposed to be a beef meal) but the texture of soft tofu, I fished the cardboard packaging out of the trash. I read the list of ingredients. No tofu. EWWWWWW! I pitched all the remaining bites, and the eggs, here.
You can tell a lot about a campground by it's dumpster. If the area around the dumpster is this clean and neat, you can pretty well count on the rest of the place being well kept.

I've visited this area of the RV park several times. It is a covered patio complete with rocking chairs, BBQ grills and picnic tables. Notice the ice machine. Yeah, I come here for the ice. I've spent $8 on ice to keep $4 worth of milk cold.

Adjoining the patio is the pool,
and at the end of the pool is the hot tub inside that little building. The pool sure feels good on a hot, humid Mississippi afternoon.

Can you see the third rig on the left? The Silverado? That's us. I tote my dirty clothes down this little street...
to the super clean laundry room. The take-a-book-leave-a-book library is in that filing cabinet.

I've already spent a good bit of time here, and I wasn't reading.

One of my favorite places in the park is here.
Every weekday morning one of the staff members  leads a short prayer and devotional time. All camp residents are invited to attend. It is a great way to start the day and a great place to meet like minded people and make new friends.

Meet our new friends! The Walkers. God is so good. Not only did He provide us with work, He also put us in a nice place with some really nice people. Sadly, our new friends left for their home this morning, but I intend to keep in touch.

There ya go, a summary of our first week back to work in Mississippi. It has been a really good week, and I'm praying for many more.

If you get an urge to tour Graceland, sniff a magnolia blossom, or just enjoy a few EZ DAZE, come visit us. I'll be happy to offer you some room temperature water and a shelf stable Hormel dinner!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Points of Interest

I'm still playing and working on my remodel. Did you notice I posted something under the "Your Host" tab? That section probably won't change much, but I thought I'd add a little more info about myself just in case you are a new reader and you want to get to know me. If not, no big deal. Unless you are kind enough to leave a comment, I'll never know whether you read it or not.

Here are some more buttons and links to more cool blogs out there. If you want your button or link here, leave a comment and your URL so I can come over and visit you. If I like what I'll see, I'll gladly list you as one of my Points Of Interest!

Please visit the other places on all my POI posts. I think you'll agree it is time well spent. And keep checking back as I will ad more POIs as I discover new places to visit.

Texas Blogging Gals


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Week Three Continued

The flatness of the Texas Panhandle is accentuated at sunset. We were still a few hours from home when the sun left our sky. At this exact moment, it looked as if we were going to drive straight into the giant ball of fire. One of those "wow" moments. Any minute I thought the entire sky might burst into flames.

When you spend a lot of time whizzing, or should I say DASHING down highways, you get a few of these.

And when you spend days at a time doing all that dashing, the world just kind of whizzes by your window and life becomes a blur.
I think I should title this photo Reflections. I was playing with all the fancy settings on my camera that I don't know what they are for or how to use them and what I came up with is almost creepy. Yes the world is whizzing by yet my lap (which you can see reflecting in the truck window) remains motionless. Check out the rear-view mirror. In the little part you can see the truck and where we've been while in the larger piece of glass you can see me holding the camera plus the air vent that is in the dash. The photo is just a mess but I find it an interesting mess. Oh, and by the way, just in case you were wondering, I WANTED the trees to look blurry, so I guess I succeeded. Now if only I could remember how I used those camera settings to do that!

I-40 between Amarillo and where we were bound is not very exciting. We've traveled that stretch of highway more than a few times. I usually nap or read because I'm not too interested in the scenery. It's not very picture worthy...except when...
you pass some trucks hauling a bunch of chickens. I don't know why I think a semi-truck full of chickens  is funny, but I do. A  truck full of cows? Not funny. But chickens? Okay, so I laughed out loud at the poor birds and their feathers flapping in the wind. Report me to PETA! I'll turn myself in after I have lunch at KFC.

We didn't have time to stop at KFC for lunch after all. Here is our convenient store lunch, "to go." The grace I whispered over this meal ended with, "and please protect our innards. Amen." (That might be a bit like jumping from the roof of a five story building and praying you don't break any bones when you land, but I said it just the same.)
Mine was the green tea, the mushy grilled chicken tortilla thing that was wrapped in the foil, and the Sun Chips. Rick had the half gallon of soda, the fried what-ever-it-was in the red paper bag and the wonderfully garlic flavored oily bag of Gardetto's.
His is the very skinny, even bony thigh you see in this photo. Mine was the fat  less bony one in the reflection picture. Proof there is no justice in this world!!!!

After a while, when you spend too much time dashing, you have to stop and wash the windshield. I think we hit more than just a few bugs along the way. Or did they hit us? It's one of life's great debates.
Double YUCK!
And here we are...
...arrived! This is our "outdoor living area." Hey, I'm not complaining! This place has a pool, a hot tub, paved roads, concrete patios,...and it doesn't even call itself a resort!