Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday, at Silent Valley

Hi dear friends and family,

I hope all is well for all of you.  I thought I would try to bring you up to date on a few things, including stuff I meant to include before, and share about a book I read this week.

First a picture of the Best Buy Geek agent, Antoun, who took care of us last week.
Not to be unkind, but have you ever seen anybody MORE geek-y looking?  He was kind and patient and reassuring to me when I was overwhelmed and terrified.  I am so grateful for his help.  Tony was right in telling me I needed professional help getting my computer de-bugged and safe to use again.  We were down the hill last Friday and stopped in to say hi and tell him how good it is to feel safe when I go online now.  We give the Geek Squad at Best Buy TWO thumbs up!

Since our dining room has transitioned to an owl decor, I just had to replace the plain silver wall clock with one that compliments the curtains, cookie jar and the place mats.
Most of you know that blue is our favorite color too.  On the left side is the daddy owl (Jim) and next to him a little boy owl (Willie).  On the right side is the mommy owl (me) and next is the baby girl owl (Millie).  I just love it!!!!  Jim isn't as thrilled as I was, but he lets me do what I want to with the decor.  The silver colored wall clock is in our bedroom.

Now each room has it's own decor:  sea shells in the kitchen and our bedroom, lighthouses in the living room and the bathroom, and owls in the dining room.  As long as I don't mess with Jim's easy chair and the TV, he is happy.

A week ago Saturday we met my sister Donna and her husband George down in Banning for lunch.  She brought me a book she thought I would enjoy reading.  It is called "Heaven is for Real" by a Nebraska pastor named Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent.  It is less than 140 pages long, but is an amazing book.  It is about a very young boy, Todd's son Colton, who got a chance to really see heaven.  He sat on the lap of our Lord Jesus, and saw God the Father, the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist, the angel Gabriel and the devil too.  He describes things that such a young boy would not have known about if his story was not true.  It is an incredible account that I found very compelling to read.  I heartily recommend this book to anyone who doubts the truth of the Bible, and to anyone who knows that the Bible is totally true and would like to know more about heaven.  I learned a lot from this book, and will share one small item.  Many learned Christians have told me the our pets do NOT go to heaven because animals don't have a soul.  I was very upset about this because I just knew the Jesus loved the little children and the animals too.  When asked about who else he saw in heaven, Colton told of seeing family members that died before he had been born, and said that there were many animals, horses, dogs, and a lion.  He said we will be reunited with our loved ones, and I am happy to know that our departed pets will be among the loved ones we will see again.  

Jim is scheduled for his next surgery on December 15th at the Loma Linda VA hospital in Loma Linda.  We won't know what time until the day before.  Tony will again come stay in our RV at Wilderness Lakes to look after the furry kids.  However, Joan will be off skiing with her group of older friends.  They call themselves the "Over the Hill Gang".  If I remember correctly, they range from their 60's to over 100 years old.  Is that amazing or what????  I really admire people who keep that active and enjoy life with such zest!  I will miss her at the hospital that day, but I wish her a wonderful week on the slopes, and I thank her again, for being with me for his surgery in September.  We should all be inspired by Joan and her friends who are living their dreams every day.  

Now I must ask for prayers for all the people who have lost their homes and some who have lost loved ones to these terrible, devastating fires in northern California.  Back in 2011 we spent time in that beautiful area.  We visited the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, a petrified tree and a geyser in the area.  Later we drove farther north and saw the amazing giant redwoods, and even drove our car through one!  It is a wonderful and beautiful part of this state.  We are deeply saddened to learn that so much of God's beauty has been taken from us by fires.   I pray these people will seek comfort and strength from God as they begin the arduous task of rebuilding and moving forward again.  Life can be challenging, but God never gives us more than we can handle, especially if we remember to ask Him for help.  

Someone recently wrote to me that this life will not be too long.  I'm sorry I didn't save the comment.  I went back to my email to see if I had, but it was gone.  I'm not sure just what he means by too long.  Even on dark days, like when Millie was sick, I feel blessed.  I truly hope she will be part of our family for a nice, long time.  However, if we lose her, we will still feel blessed for all the time we have with her, also with Willie.  I have grieved profoundly for each pet that has left us, but I am grateful for each of them that God has sent into our lives.  A friend of mine once said years ago that she would never have a pet because they ruin your lives.  I told her that until she has loved a pet, and been comforted by one when she is sad, she will never understand how totally WRONG she is.  A few years ago she got a puppy, and now she won't go anywhere without her beloved pet.  Life cannot be too long for us.  We wake up looking forward to what God has in store for us today.  As a song once said, "I never promised you a rose garden" but most days are better than I could have asked for.  I'm in no hurry to leave this life, even though I KNOW the one ahead is even better.  I want to experience all that God has for me here, before I begin that new life.  



Have a grand day and a glorious week ahead, and thank God for all he has given you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Some Good News

Happy Days are Here again, the skies above are clear again!  I just wanted to share my joy with all of you who have written and prayed for us.  

On Tuesday, after the infusions of normal saline had finished, we needed to take Millie to a local veterinarian for follow up lab work.  I discussed the whole story of her illness with this doctor.  As I had thought, she said that Millie's small, shriveled up kidney is most likely congenital, and not an acute problem.  She said that Millie probably had gastritis last week, which left her dehydrated.  We are happy that the ultrasound showed us about her small kidney, which is probably not functioning at optimal capacity.  The repeated blood work was all within normal limits now, for which we are very grateful.  We are still encouraging her to drink plenty of water, so she won't become dehydrated again.

Since we now know that she has some degree of limited kidney function, we have to protect her remaining good kidney.  In order to do this, we will be putting her on a diet that is low in protein, because a diet high in protein stresses the kidneys.  We started yesterday to gradually transition from the grain-free Nature's Domain diet we were buying at Costco to a low protein diet.  The doctor wants us to do it gradually as a sudden diet change could cause her to start vomiting and having diarrhea again.  

We also have delayed the vaccinations she and Willie are currently due for until she has fully recovered from this illness and is off the medications she is taking now, so there won't be any adverse reactions.  This means we have to keep them away from any other dogs for a while, until they are vaccinated and not at risk for other illnesses.  

Millie is almost back to her usual playful self, but is still staying close to me.  Somehow, I think she realizes she was pretty sick and that I was trying to help her.  I can't thank you enough for the prayers for Millie.  

I praise God for leading us to another doctor, so we could get a second opinion.  We thank God that Millie is recovering nicely from her tummy troubles.  And we know that God is watching over us to keep us all well.  My dear brother Tony replied to our last blog about how we sometimes fall victim to feelings of self pity.  He reminded me we have only to look around to see many who are less fortunate than we are, and realize all the blessings we need to thank God for.  God loves us and wants to take care of us.  All we need to do is ask Him.  Have a wonderful day full of peace, love and joy. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

This Has Been a Very Tough Week for Us

I'm not sure how long this will be, and it won't be what I had said it would be.  It began as a good enough week.  On Sunday I baked a nice cake and Diane & Jim Hubert came over after dinner to play Mexican Train.  We really enjoyed their visit and had a nice evening together.  Sunday night was chilly, but not too cold.

Monday morning Millie spit up some phlegm and didn't want to eat breakfast.............so I figured we shouldn't push it and let her take it easy for a while.  Most of the day she rested on the couch.  That night at 5 pm she ate about 2/3 of what she normally eats, so we thought she was feeling better.  Everything seemed OK until 11 pm, when she vomited up the whole dinner she had eater six hours earlier.  I was up with her most of the night.....watching over her and offering sips of water every hour.  In the morning I called her doctor in Menifee.  He said I should bring her down there for him to see her.  On the drive down from here she vomited a huge amount of bile.  We got there and he took her right in.  After examining her, he was going to just send her home with meds for her upset tummy.  He said if she got worse, or didn't get better, he would do blood work and an abdominal X-ray.  Since I didn't want to risk her getting worse, I implored him to do the follow up work now.  He also did an ultrasound that showed she had a deformed left kidney and the lab work suggested she might be in early kidney failure!  OMG.  Starting on Wednesday, I have been infusing 100 mL of normal saline into her shoulder area on each side.  It used to be called a clysis, and amounts to fluid under the skin that causes a swollen area, which has to gradually be re-absorbed.  In order to make sure it doesn't fill the area around her trachea, making it more difficult for her to breathe, I have sat holding her for well over an hour each day.  I have to keep her head elevated and massage her back and shoulder area to make sure  the collected fluid does her no harm.  I have been worried sick  because she has been very lethargic since this all started.........but today she was a little bit more playful and active.  Maybe we are beginning to see a slight improvement.  Please pray she will be alright soon.  

As many of you know, Sunday afternoon I was taken in by a fraudulent individual who tried to manipulate me to get money from our bank accounts.  It is too upsetting to go into all of the details, but suffice it to say, Tony advised me that this was a hacker and NOT to do what he told me to do.  He also told me to call my bank and freeze our accounts and cancel my debit card.  That turned out to be the easiest part of that nightmare.  He had apparently left spyware on my computer that let him see as soon as I turned my computer on, and he began taking control of it.  I quickly shut it off, and called Tony.  He told me that I would probably need to take my computer someplace, like Best Buy, to have someone, like the Geek Squad to take off any spyware and malware that he had put on it, and set up a new anti-virus security program.  All has been done and the Geek agent told me I should change my passwords, especially on our bank accounts and my email account, which I did on Wednesday.  My computer is working better than ever now.  This hacker is the person who had convinced me my computer had over 3000 viruses back in August, which maybe he put there in the first time!  Anyway, the takeaway from this is that I have learned to be MUCH more wary about my computer.  I will NOT give out ANY bank information or give anyone access to my accounts!  

All in all, with the computer hacker and then Millie getting sick, this has been the worst week I can remember in a long time, and yet we feel we still have to focus on our blessings.  
First:  I was able to reach my dear brother Tony, and he advised me on what to do before any real damage was done to our bank accounts.
Second:  We were able to get my computer fixed and secure again without further trouble.
Third:   We were able to get Millie to a doctor who is taking care of her.
Fourth:  We are more fortunate than the people who were at the ill-fated country music concert in Las Vegas.  We are fans of the music, but could not have afforded to go there, so we were here, safe and sound.  Our prayers go out to ALL the people who were injured or killed there on Sunday night, and to their families and friends who are dealing with all this pain and grief.  I can't even imagine how they must be feeling or how they are coping with all of this.  Obviously we cannot imagine what makes a person do such evil acts of violence.  It just boggles the mind.  All I can say is that we hope all of you will pray for these people.  

Please remember that no matter what you are struggling with, there are others who are suffering with even worse things.  Know that God loves you and is watching over you.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, ask yourself what you can do for someone else.  It will help.  Ask for God's guidance and you will receive it, and be comforted.  Bye for tonight.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday at Silent Valley

Well this has been another busy week for us.  We got up here on September 21st, and after setting up we were exhausted, so we took it easy on Friday.  Our friend Jim Hubert came over for a short visit before going home from work.  Since Donna & George were coming up on Sunday, we had to do a little grocery shopping on Saturday.  While at Wal-Mart I spied something I just had to get for Donna, since she also loves and collects owls.  

I'm happy to report that Donna was pleased with her gift of the cute owl cookie jar.  She had

previously mentioned that she has been looking for an owl tee shirt but had never seen one, so I went online and found a cute one from Wal-Mart and had it sent here for her.  That picture will follow a bit later.  We had a grand time together on Sunday, and they left before dark to get down off this hill.
As you can see in these two pictures, the dogs do tend to get a little rowdy when we are not at home.
 Monday we had a couple errands we needed to do, so alas, we went back down the hill again.  Tuesday was Jim's appointment at the Loma Linda VA and all went well.  Jim Hubert came over and walked the dogs since we didn't get back before they would need to do so.  Thanks again Jim, it's always a relief to know someone is willing to help our furry kids when we can't be here.  
I had hoped Jim could get his flu shot while we were at Loma Linda, but they won't be giving them until next week, and we really didn't want to have to drive all that way just for that.  They gave us a form so he could get it at any Walgreen's Drug store.  Thursday we drove down the hill yet again.... first stop was to pick up some mail..........but it was not there.  We also needed to get a replacement latch for our screen door while we were in Banning. After leaving the post office, we realized our driver's side rear tire was low.  We had apparently driven down the hill on a leaking tire, but God always watches over us and we made it down to Banning safely.  Jim tried to inflate it, but it wouldn't hold much air, so we drove over to a tire place in town.  All the workers were at lunch so we had a long wait before someone got to it.  The bad news was that the leak was in the side wall, which can't be patched.  The good news was that he had a very GOOD used tire he could sell me, so we took it.  Finally we got on our way again to go to Walgreen's for Jim's flu shot.  More bad news, they tried to tell us that the birth date we gave them does not match the one on record with the VA.  It did but she had entered a number incorrectly, however this wasted still another 30 minutes before he could get his injection.  Then we went to Wal-Mart for me to get mine.  Again we ran into a snafu as she could not verify my Humana/Wal-Mart insurance.  Again, after a couple phone calls and re-entering our New Mexico address, she finally was able to process the request, and I got my injection.  By the time we got out of there, the place we needed to go for the screen door part was closed..................so guess where we had to go again on Friday, and my owl cookie jar was in to pick up at Wal-Mart.  
As you can see, Millie was not too impressed with it, or the cute blue owl placemats I got, but I love them!  Donna called me that she had a book she thought I would enjoy called "Heaven is For Real" which I did very much want to read.  After a little discussion, it was decided that we would meet for lunch Saturday in Banning, and she would bring the book for me.  We also brought her a cute cookie plate and two coffee mugs that match her owl cookie jar.  She was wearing the owl tee shirt we had given her.  It looked really nice on her.  George was also wearing the shirt we got him.
I think they both looked great!  Donna said they have no pictures of us, but George said they see pictures we take on every blog.  He said I always include a picture of Jim and the dogs, so here is the latest one.........
I persuaded Jim to get a haircut and have his beard trimmed yesterday.  Doesn't he look handsome?  He likes the Grizzly Adams look, me not so much.  The place he usually goes was swamped with people, so we tried a new place called The Alley, and Jim liked the guy who did his haircut.  He even used a warm towel on his neck before he shaved it.  WOW!  Reminded me of Floyd's Barbershop on the old Andy Griffith show.  
Tomorrow after church I might give Millie a haircut and do her nails...........they really need it.  After the fiasco at a Petco up in Washington that resulted in the death of our beloved Mitzi due to a collapsed trachea, I will NEVER, EVER take any dog of mine to a groomer again.  
Well that is all the news for now.  Next time I will share some of Pastor Paul's messages from his sermons that Terry Ives sends to us.  I hope Pastor Paul doesn't mind if I include them because he does provide a lot of wisdom and inspiration, that I feel is a blessing to us, and a blessing to be shared.  
Have a great weekend, and a good week ahead.  Keep the rubber side down and look up to see all the blessings God provides for all of us.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The First day of Autumn

Today is the first day of autumn, and it sure does feel like it.  Yesterday we packed up and traveled to Silent Valley.  For those of you who don't actually know where this is, we are south of I-10 in Banning, up in the San Jacinto mountains at an elevation of about 3500 feet.  It is colder than down in Banning, but not as cold as up at Idyllwild.  It was down in the lower 50's before we went to bed last night, but I don't know how cold it actually got because when I got up around 4 am and tried to check on our outside thermometer...............it had no reading showing!  I guess it isn't used to being that cold.  Even now, at 10:30 am it's only reading 54 outside.  Usually we keep warm using two electric heaters to try to save propane that the furnace uses.  Last night I got out our heaters.  One wobbled and didn't look like we could trust it.  We used the second one, but it didn't put out much heat at all.  We bought both of them in Truth or Consequences back in 2013, so I think maybe they are dying of natural causes, and need to be replaced before it gets too cold outside.  They have served us well.

Now for a brief update on Jim.  He had his surgery to get rid of the stone in his left ureter one week ago today.  It was a very long day, and we didn't leave the hospital until 6:45 pm.  We try to avoid driving after dark so this was stressful for us but we got back to Wilderness Lakes at 8:15 pm.  My brother Tony was there taking care of our dogs, and we were very grateful for that.  My dear friend Joan was with me until shortly before Jim came back from the recovery room.  What an amazing friend and a real blessing she is to me.  We had lunch in the cafe at the hospital and walked around and chatted and the time passed much more quickly than it would have if I had been waiting alone all those hours.  Again, thank you Joan.  She and I have been friends from before Jim and I got married, and I can always count on her when I need someone.  God bless you Joan.   Jim had his catheter in until Tuesday of this week.  I took it out, and he has been OK since.  He still has some pain from the stent in the ureter, but that will be removed next Tuesday and hopefully then the pain will stop.  We are also hoping to find out when the rest of his surgery can be done.  We would like to thank all who prayed for Jim during this ordeal.

I have tried to help Jim as much as I could so he wouldn't overdo on anything, but he still worked hard to pack us up and drive up here yesterday.  Our friend Greg came over to load the outside refrigerator into the back of the car for us too.  Despite the help we got, he did too much, and he had a rough time of it last night, but I'm trying to get him to take it easier today.  We have over three weeks here, so nothing has to be done right away.  The funny thing was that the forecast was for rain in the morning yesterday, so we hurried to get here and set up before the rain arrived.  It certainly DID look like rain would start any minute, but it didn't get here until about 9 pm last night.  So much for the weather reports and health news.

We are loving the new oak-look vinyl flooring Greg installed here, but it is colder on the feet in the mornings!  Maybe I'm going to have to wear socks at night.  We are thinking about another project for in here, but we haven't talked to Greg about it, so I'm not telling anybody about it yet.

When we arrived here yesterday we were delighted to see there was nobody in the site we like best, site 400, but as we approached it, we saw that there was an "out of use" sign on the electric post, so we had to keep looking for another site.  We ended up back on top of the hill where we have been every time we have been here this year!  The dogs seem to like it up here in the "wilds," but it's NOT my favorite site in the park.  Maybe next time we can get site 400.  It's close to everything and large and level with good guest parking too.
I'm sorry there are no pictures with this blog post, but I haven't been running around taking any pictures this week.  Maybe I'll get some bird pix later on, or I can share pictures of the dozens of squirrels that run around driving Millie crazy!

We like to read our "Daily Bread"before we read our Bible each day, and there was one essay that I especially liked recently.  A boy said he likes to read a book better than to see a movie because with a book, he can spend more time with getting to know the characters.  The writer compared that to reading the Bible.  Some of us hurry through our reading without taking time to get to know the people.  I have to admit that sometimes that is true of me too.  Someone, not too long ago, tried to tell me that the lessons in the Bible are not relevant to our life in this day and age.  I think that person was also reading too fast.  It takes time to think about how to apply the lessons to our current life.  It takes time to try to understand what Jesus was telling us.  Most of us today are in too much of a hurry to stop and think about life and all that God has given us.  When is the last time you thanked God for all He has done in your life?  When did you stop to ask Him where you should go from here, or how to get there?   When was the last time you stopped to notice an awesome sunrise or a beautiful sunset?  Have you thanked Him for the summer you have enjoyed or bringing us to this Autumn that begins today?  
My friend Alice sent me a parable today.  It was about an employer paying a late arriving day laborer as much as the ones who began work in the morning.  To some it didn't seem fair but like the parable of the prodigal son, God welcomes us all with open arms.  How often do you "judge" the labors, or merits of others?   When did it become your place to judge others?  I am as guilty as any of you who find yourself doing that.  Thank you Alice for reminding me that God is the only one who should be judging any of  us, and if He finds us lovable, and of value, who are we to disagree?
Please try to start this autumn season with a renewed love for your fellow man (and woman).  Begin each day with a grateful and forgiving heart.  We probably ALL need to judge less and love more.  And last, but surely NOT least, please pray for the victims of the hurricanes on the east coast and the earthquake in Mexico.  Pray for survivors to be found, and for comfort and God's strength to help those who have lost loved ones and everything else that has been lost.  

Thank you and now enjoy this day, and all that you have ahead of you...................and as Walt Wille says, "Keep the rubber side down".

Saturday, September 9, 2017

P.S.

I thought I would try again to include pictures.
 We saw this in the back of a pickup truck in the parking lot here at Wilderness Lakes.




 
This is the vintage trailer I mentioned in today's blog.
 This was taken after we took down the wreath that smelled like it was beginning to burn, and after the wind tore up the EZ up canopy top.
This is the family that LOVES everything purple.  I heard today that the electric box at their site caused a fire that damaged their RV electrical system.  OMG.


This is all the pictures I have for to post tonight.  I really don't know why I was able to post them now, but not before.  Computers are funny I guess.  Have a great week ahead.  Bye and bye.

Summer is Over, but it's Still been Hot!

Hello everyone,

For some unknown reason my blog site would not let me start a new post, so yesterday I emailed Geeks on Tour and they told me what to do to get back to where I could start a new post.....so here we go again.  Did you miss us?

Most of the past week it has been quite hot, but today only got up to 92 so it felt better.  We even had some rain, I think it was on Thursday.  It was like the rain we got in New Mexico......by the time we took in the awning and put things away, the rain had stopped.
Did I tell you that we got a new EZ Up canopy last week?  High winds had shredded the canopy top on the one we had been using to keep the car cooler.  Our new one is a little bigger 12' by 12' and it is working nicely.  It gives us a little more room to open the car doors and remove stuff when we come back from Wal-Mart!  

In the last post I told you about our mishap with the tow bar assembly on the car coming off when we pulled out of the gas station in Hemet.  Jim tried to work on the assembly, but found it was bent just enough so it would not slide in and out of the mechanism for proper towing, so we went over to Richardson's RV to see if we could replace the part that was bent.  I worried about how safe it would be to use the old equipment with a new towing arm, so I asked Rafael how good a price he could give us if we bought the whole thing.  We have been good customers at this RV store, and he gave us a really good price!  Kudos for Richardson's RV in Menifee, for anyone who needs RV parts or service.  They also sell Jayco RVs, but we are happy with the one we have.  Anyway, we got it yesterday, and Jim & I got the whole new unit set up without too much difficulty.  I feel much better about towing the car with a new tow bar and with the EZ Connect electrical connector we got while we were in Arrey in June.  All is good for our travels starting in January.  

I have tried to download some pictures to this post, but they just didn't come through.  I will try again later but for now, sorry no pictures.  I took a picture of a vintage tiny red trailer that is for sale, if anyone is interested.  It might be the same one I put on the blog a couple months ago, but I'm not sure.  If anyone wants information on it, let me know and I will send you the phone number to contact the owner.

Jim saw his primary doctor for his checkup and renewal of his medications last Friday, and had his pre-op work-up at Loma Linda this past Tuesday.  His surgery to remove the stone in his ureter will be done next Friday.  My very dear friend Joan is coming up to the hospital to stay with me while Jim is in surgery.  
I can't tell you how much we appreciate her being with me through this.  My brother Tony will come here to look after the dogs while we are at Loma Linda.  We feel very blessed to have loved ones who are ready and willing to help us out this way.  

I would like to ask all of you to pray for the victims of the hurricanes in the Houston area and now approaching Florida, and the victims of the earthquake that hit off the coast of Mexico.  We can't begin to imagine how devastated these people are, and please pray for those who have lost loved ones in these disasters.  There are a number of places one can make donations to help these people.  Even Wal-Mart is matching donations of their customers.  

It's very easy to get all wrapped up in the business of life.  Many of us rush around doing all that we have to do, and forget how very fortunate we are to be here and to be able to do what we are  doing.  Please remember to be grateful for each day, and all that we have in this life.  Most of us are blessed to be living here in America, having a safe place to sleep, and enough food to eat.  Most of us have a little money in the bank, and a car to get around in.  We are free to worship where we want to, or not to worship, if we choose.   As I often do, I encourage all of you to begin each day with gratitude to God for all the blessings we enjoy.  

I will close for now, and try to figure out how to add pictures to my next blog post.  Stay well and be happy.  Good night friends.