Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Thanksgiving and Beyond

For the most part, our Thanksgiving went very nicely.......except one small mishap.  As many of you know, I don't like wearing shoes, especially in the house.  So I was busily preparing our holiday dinner, barefooted, and when the timer dinged, I rushed to check on food in the oven.  However, I stubbed my toe so badly my baby toe was pulled sideways, like at a right angle from my foot.  It hurt sooooooo badly that I couldn't even speak!!!  When I did, all I could say was Oh my God, over and over.  I fell onto Jim and cried.  He carried me to the couch, elevated my foot and kept ice on it.  That's how I spent most of the next week.  When I had to walk, I used a cane and Jim helped.  By the following Monday I was quite a lot better and could walk, even though the baby toe was still swollen and tender.  

On Wednesday we packed up and moved out to Palm Desert for our two week stay before we will return to Wilderness Lakes for three more weeks.  I was busy getting things set up inside the RV and, of course, I was barefoot.  I wanted to squeeze behind the bed to plug in our electric blanket........and I again stubbed my poor little baby toe on a case of bottled water Jim had left in the corner of the bedroom.  Since I didn't turn on the light I had not seen it there.  As this was the second assault in less than a week, my poor pinkie toe was very, VERY unhappy about it.  I have been doing my best to stay off it, but there ARE things I have to do.  I do have an appointment to see my doctor in Menifee next Thursday, so I guess I will have to let him look at it then.  However, since Jim has his surgery on Friday, and I will be taking care of him after he comes home on Saturday, there isn't anything I can do about the toe right away.  

In other news we saw something really cute at the WalMart out here in Palm Desert last week, and I had to get a picture.


Tony thought it might be a Gypsy vehicle, but I think it's too small for that.  I think it might be a homemade tiny house.  If I had seen anyone around, I would have asked to see inside it.  We really don't want to live in anything that tiny, but I do get a kick out of seeing how creative some people can be when they build the home of their dreams!  

This RV park is very full now with Snowbirds from Canada, Alaska, and Oregon, just to name a few.  We are mostly surrounded by VERY large Class A motorhomes and some 5th wheel trailers.  Many have three to five slide-outs for extra living space.  The problem here is that with all the palm trees, it's not always easy to find a site where they can put out all the slides and their awnings without hitting a tree.  

It was amusing to see a new arrival yesterday who parked across the street from us.  He has a rather large SUV that towed a very tiny Casita trailer.  I doubt if it is more than 16 feet long.  That might be OK for just one person....but he is traveling with a very LARGE dog, named Freddie.  Freddie is part golden retriever and part full size poodle, called a Labra-doodle.  Since the weather was warm yesterday, Freddie and his owner spent much of the day outside, but it must be quite a challenge when they must stay inside, like on a rainy day.  

Monday we went to Loma Linda VA for Jim's pre-op visit for lab work, EKG, chest X-ray and to meet with his surgeon.  It was a long day, so we took the "kids" with us.  We found a nice, shady spot to park and left the windows down about an inch or two.  They had a lovely breeze and were just fine.  We came out after all the tests to walk them and had lunch with them before the meeting with the doctor.  That's when we found out Jim would have to stay in the hospital for at least one night.  I should have realized that ahead of time, but I didn't.  It has been over 14 years since we ever spent a night apart, and neither of us was happy about it.  I asked if I could stay in his room overnight but the doctor said that would not be allowed.  I really don't want to drive all the way back to Wilderness Lakes on a Friday night, and then back there in the morning, since it is over 60 miles each way, so I might try to find a motel nearby, like a Motel 6, where I could spend the night.  But I'm also not thrilled with the idea of a night alone in a motel either.  Still that's better than trying to sleep in our car in the hospital parking lot!!!

Yesterday Jim got up on the roof to begin washing and waxing the motorhome.  It made me very nervous for him to be up there, but he was determined to do it.  He has a new "toy" he wanted to try out.  It is called the Hydroshot by WORX.  It is a power washer, but doesn't use too much power.  It has a rechargable battery and you can use a 2 L bottle for the water.  He has the soap dispenser accessory so it is all very portable.  The only drawback was that he had to keep coming down off the roof to refill the water bottle!  We have decided we will have to get a few more 2 L bottles so he can carry up more water to work with.  Today he is power washing the rest of the motorhome, but at least now he has both feet solidly on the ground!  If any of you are interested in seeing the power washer he is using, you can either go to the WORX website or to the Home Depot website and type in Hydroshot.  On the Home Depot site there is a neat video of how to use it and all the accessories.  We bought all of the parts for LESS than half what it would cost to have someone else wash and wax the RV ONCE!  He has also used it twice to wash the car, so it has already more than paid for itself.

We are going to have to do one more upgrade in here when we get back to Wilderness Lakes.  Our kitchen faucet was a beauty, but it is in need of replacement.  The pin that holds the  pull-out  faucet in place when you don't want it pulled out has broken.......so it won't stay in place.  The base plate is wearing away, I guess from hard water.  We looked around and found a nice new one, at Home Depot, that pulls out, but has a very strong magnet that holds it in place when you want it to.  Tony is going to install it next week when he comes up to stay with us for a few days.  He will stay with the dogs while we go to Loma Linda, and help out when we get back home again.  

Last Sunday we drove by car to Garden Grove to attend church with our beloved church family.  It was just wonderful to see Pastor Paul and Aiko and all the rest of our dear friends.  It is too far to drive every week, but it IS worth the trip when we can go.  I was delighted when Pastor Paul's sermon was on kindness.  He read the scripture that tells us that whatever we do for the least of God's people, or whatever we FAIL to do for them, is what we do, or fail to do, for God.  Even though we cannot get into Heaven based on our own good deeds, God does want us to be kind, especially to those less fortunate than we are.  We will be judged by what is in our hearts, and kindness towards others should ALWAYS be in our hearts.  As I also wrote last time, Above all else, be kind.  We may not have a lot of money, but a simple act of kindness doesn't have to cost anything.  A smile or kind word to others can make the difference for someone having a difficult day.  If you see someone struggling to carry their packages, you could lend a hand.  Just showing that you sincerely care can help someone who is struggling with a crisis in their life.

If you do have some extra money, maybe you have a favorite charity you could support.  I like to buy pet food and treats for a local animal shelter.  We also always give a few dollars to each of the Salvation Army bell ringers this time of year.  Also, many stores have bins for food donations for needy families, and toy bins where you can donate new toys for kids who would otherwise not be getting any presents.  But the point I really want to make is that the need for kindness does not end on December 26th.  Homeless shelters, animal shelters, and all kinds of charities have needs all year long.  Maybe if you have a little extra money you could sign up for a monthly donation to a worthwhile charity.  A few such organizations are:  The Wounded Warrior Project, The Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, and St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and of course there are many more that need help.  Most of them ask for a  monthly commitment of $19.00 each month, and that's only $228 per year.  Many people spend more than $19.00 in a week at places like Starbucks.  Please stop for a minute and think about what you can do to make life a little easier or healthier for other people, both the two legged AND the four legged people around you.  Maybe instead of asking for a gift that you really don't need, you might give a gift that keeps on giving all year long.  And you can feel warm inside knowing you did something that could make a difference in other people's lives forever.  This just could be the Merry-est Christmas you have ever had.  

Here's wishing you the most blessed Christmas ever and a very happy and healthy New Year.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Day Before Thanksgiving, So Much to be Thankful For

It has been a busy week since we last posted here, so I'll try to be brief in my reporting of it all.

We absolutely love the new oven and refrigerator.  Even though the fridge is supposed to be the same size, it seems to have more space in it.  I'm not sure if that is possible, but it seems so.  The oven is definitely 5 inches taller, so we are looking forward to roasting a 12 pound turkey in it tomorrow!  Last Saturday I baked a lemon cake in it, and it turned out perfect!  I used to have to turn the pan around half way through the baking to get both sides done......and it was never level on top.  This one was perfect, thanks to the new oven.

Here we are, set up in our site at Wilderness Lakes.  Last week I forgot to put a picture of our site in the blog, so here it is.


 Saturday  night our friends Diane & Steve came over for dinner and brought us an early Christmas gift.  They built the base stand and added the hanging flag on it.  She let us go pick the kind of solar lights we wanted for it, and we took her advice about using the center hole for seasonal flowers.  We had to order the lights from WalMart to get what we wanted, but they arrived yesterday, so we got to enjoy it last night. 
  I hope you will click on the picture so you can see how beautiful the Christmas scene on the flag is.  I am going to also include the picture I took last night, so you can see how much light the lamps provide.  The flag can be removed and replaced for the other seasons of the year.  I'm looking forward to the many different flags and flowers we can use in it.  Thank you Diane & Steve for this beautiful gift.

This just puts me in mind, once again, that we all need to begin each day with an attitude of gratitude.  Even when it may not seem to be true, we all have so many blessings to be thankful for, like our true friends and family, and loving pets.  It's so easy to forget that and feel sorry for ourselves if we focus on what other people may have that we don't have.  Most of us have all that we truly NEED and much more.  We sometimes even resent others who we perceive to have more that we think they deserve.  To feel this way only harms us because we feel bitter and spiteful.  Instead of being jealous of others, please take a moment to thank God for all you do have.  God KNOWS what you really need, and he will always provide it if you just ask Him for it.

Yesterday I was looking at our December issue of Motorhome Magazine.  In the back of it Alan Rider writes a column called "The Road Ahead".  In it he made reference to a well known phrase that we should all remember.  It simply said "Above All Else, Be Kind".  Please stop for a second and think about those five words.  The season to celebrate the birth of our precious Lord Jesus is fast approaching.  We are being bombarded with crass commercialism already, with very little mention of the true Reason for the Season.  As people begin the shopping (or have already begun it) how many people will take time to stop and be kind to someone else?  Yesterday we were in WalMart to pick up our solar lights.  A woman in a wheelchair was having trouble with her purse and packages.  I was so proud that Jim spotted the woman and spent a few minutes helping her to rearrange everything so she could continue on her way.  Others had pushed past her as if she was just another inconvenience to them.  It never hurts to be kind to others....and it will even lift your spirits when you see the smile on the face of the person you helped.  Every day offers us a choice.  We can choose to think only of ourselves, and what WE want, or we can choose to thank God for each day we are alive and ask Him how He would like for us to use this day to His Glory.  When you wake up, please think about all that you have to be thankful for, and choose to use your gifts to glorify Him by helping others who are less fortunate.  

I often speak of the need to purge because of our small space, but it also is a way to help others.  Do you have more clothes than you will ever need?  You could donate clothes to a homeless shelter or Salvation Army store.  Do you  have tons of blankets?  Animal shelters always need blankets to keep the animals warm.  And speaking of animal shelters, please think of them when you make your list of donations this year.  They need dog and cat food, animal beds and even toys, collars and leashes too.  Homeless shelters need donations of non-perishable foods too.  There are also Veterans and their families that need all the help they can get.  Donations of tooth brushes, and tooth paste, socks and underwear, warm jackets and gloves are always appreciated.  I'm sure you can go online to look for charities that are in need of whatever you can donate at this time of year.  I even saw a donation tree at WalMart asking for help for local needy families.  

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving, and please begin the Christmas season with your focus solidly on the true reason for the season.  And don't eat toooooo much tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It's November and the Nights are Getting Cooler

We left Palm Springs last week on Sunday, and spent three days at the Elks in Yucaipa.  The folks were very friendly and it's a pretty lodge, with a cool picture of an elk in the bar area.  We came in for their Monday Night Tacos, but I must admit, not as good as Taco Night at Garden Grove lodge.  Somebody should teach them how it gets done right!  The next day George and Donna took us to their favorite restaurant for lunch.  I tried their Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.  The best Philly sandwich I've ever had was at the A & B Drive-in we went to in T or C, New Mexico, and their reputation is still intact!  I can't wait to get back there in February to enjoy them again!

We got to Wilderness Lakes last Wednesday, and our new gel foam mattress was here to pick up.  We got a great pull-through site and hurried to get all set up.  When we were done, we pulled the sheets and old mattress off the bed and set up the new one.  They said it might take up to 48 hours for it to fully expand, so we expected to have to sleep out on the couch, but that was not the case.  It expanded right away and we were able to sleep on it that same night.  We had to get Millie a taller set of steps so she can get up onto the bed, but both dogs love it!  I can't tell you how great it is to sleep on this new mattress.  Our friend Greg hauled away the old one, and we gave him the 2 inch thick memory foam topper we had used for about a year.  So everybody wins!
Tony came over the next day, for a three day stay.  He installed the new white sink and taller faucet in our bathroom.  Jim had installed the new polished oak toilet seat and chrome towel ring.  All good.
I have ordered a new chrome soap dish for bars of soap, and a beautiful sea shell style dispenser for liquid soap.  Also ordered new hand towels and a new rug for in the bathroom.  It's going to look really amazing when it all gets here.

On Monday Brad came to install the new stove/oven and refrigerator in our kitchen.  I guess nothing ever goes exactly as planned.  First he got here three hours late, and the stove was too big for the opening from the old stove, so he had to cut down 5 inches to make it fit in.  This also required moving the fuse box farther away, which required extending each of the wires about 8 extra inches!  He couldn't bring the refrigerator in through the door, so he said he would come back with a helper to bring it in through the front door on Tuesday.  They ended up taking the house door off completely to get it inside.  Then the doors on the fridge opened on the wrong side, so they both had to be relocated on the other side, beside the stove.  They couldn't get the fridge door to close, so they ended up taking it off again, before finding the problem and fixing it.  We discovered the stove sat 3/4 inch farther out than the old one had, so he said he would put a wood strip in on each side....... to make it look better, and he left.  I called our buddy Greg who came over and looked at it.  He said all that needed to be done was to remove the stove, cut 3/4 inch out of the counter behind the stove and push it in so it fits flush with the front of the counter!  Today he did just that and it is wonderful.  Now my kitchen is perfect.  I have a bigger oven and could even roast a 10 pound turkey in it, maybe even a 12 pounder!  Finally I will be able to bake angel food cake again!  It even has a broiler in it.  I am so delighted with what Greg has done.  And when we do get the new convection/microwave oven, he will build us a shelf for it above the stove.
It's so pleasing to finally have a kitchen as workable as we had in our house.  
And it's great to have friends like Greg who help us out when things don't go as well as we had hoped.  We will be mostly eating hot dogs and beans until the new kitchen stuff is paid for, but we will be cooking them in style!  
Now we have to get caught up on the more mundane tasks, like laundry and house cleaning, but all is well.  Our dear friends Almeta and Rueben left today to spend a few days with their daughter and son-in-law here in Menifee before leaving to go spend six weeks with the other daughter and her family up in West Hills.  We will miss them terribly, but we wish them a safe and wonderful trip and a marvelous and blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas with their loved ones.  

We have so very much to be thankful for this year, as usual.  First, our health is pretty good, and Jim is doing well after his first surgery.  The second operation will be on December 15th, so he will be well and recovering before Christmas.  Tony will be here with the dogs when we go up to Loma Linda VA hospital that day, and for a couple days after.  I was hoping he would join us for Thanksgiving, but he is spending it with his lady, Jan.  Second, our pets are in good health and as playful and loving as ever.  Third, our home is in good shape and we still love living and traveling in it.  And most of all, we are so very, very thankful because we know and love our savior Jesus Christ, who loves us and watches over us each and every day.  When things don't go the way we had hoped they would, we KNOW our Heavenly Father is in control, and all is well.  We know we are where we are supposed to be, and we take great comfort in His love and protection.  I hope each of you has asked Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior, and will know the true joy that brings, a joy nothing else can offer to you.  Have a wonderful day and a very joyous Thanksgiving and Christmas ahead, but I will write again before that.  Bye for now.




Monday, October 30, 2017

Cooling Off in Palm Springs

It has been quite hot here in the desert for the past week, but praise be to God it is finally starting to feel like autumn here.  We are so grateful for our two working air conditioners since it was over 100 most days, and only down into the mid 70's at night.  This week it's only supposed to get into the mid 80's with nights in the lower 60's.  What a blessed relief that will be.  With it being cooler the last two mornings, we have begun taking a 30 minute walk here in the park.  That, of course means I have gotten to take some pictures of the other RVs we see here.  Palm Springs, for those of you who don't live here and might not know, is a rather hoity toity area.  It is home to many wealthy retired people, and a second home to many of the rich and famous.......NOT like us.  We see a lot of very pricey RVs here, but also some that are not so pricey.  I always like seeing the variety that comes here.

Here are two shots of a Gateway 5th wheel trailer.  It is interesting because it has a patio extension on the side of it.  We saw these on the TV show "Big Time RV" but it's the first side patio we have seen up close.  This trailer has two slide rooms on each side, so the inside area must be huge!  We watched him back it in to his site.  He tried three other sites before he found one with enough space for the slide rooms AND the patio.  Boy I'm glad we don't have anything THAT big to maneuver in.  I would be terrified for sure.  We also can't afford anything that big, but we still don't want anything bigger than what we have.  This is just right for the two of us and the two furry kids.
 Here is a van/camper we have seen here before.  I don't know if he lives in this park, but he goes out every day, and returns at night, so he might have a job some place nearby.
I got a kick out of the decor outside this motorhome.  Lots of people really get into the Halloween spirit.
 This is called an R-pod, and I was surprised to see the slide room on it.
 Here's another view on the other side.  I don't really want a trailer, but this sure is a cute one.  The picture on the right is between the two windows on it.  I just had to include it, since it was a frog paddling a canoe! Too cute.

Somebody will have to tell me what kind of bush this is, but they are all around here, and very pretty.
We saw this little fella in the ranger station this morning.  If you press the button it plays "Dixie"!!!!  The folks who work here are all very nice, and friendly.
Today we walked over into the "30 amp" side of the park.  We have never even been inside the family center and pool area.  This cabana is in the pool and spa enclosure.  There were people in the pool, and since I didn't want to invade their privacy, this is the only pix I took while we were there. 

 This motorhome is called the Winabago View.  It is a cute little compact RV.  If we ever have to downsize, this is what we might choose......like if I had to be able to drive it myself.
 I got a kick out of what is written on this 5th wheel.  On the left side pix it says "living the dream", and above that, in the pix on the right it says "FBI Full Blooded Indian".  I love how RVers express their individuality!

 I have NO idea what the letters on the back of this one mean, but it's NOT every day that we see a purple RV so I had to take this pix today.
Many drivers do NOT respect RV drivers on the road.  They often cut in too close and do other things that are dangerous.  This Toy Hauler 5th wheel wants to let people know just how dangerous it can be to drive in the area that might be in the driver's blind spot.
As I said earlier, not every RVer is loaded with money, and some camp very economically.  Here is a pop-up tent trailer and a separate tent.  I think we are much too old to ever sleep on the ground in a tent again! 


I think this is just too small for
us.  I took the pix on the right to show just how empty the park is 
right now.  In another month, it will be full again for the winter......many snow birds come here.
 
This is the same tiny "woody" we have posted pictures of.  We usually see it in Wilderness Lakes.  I posted this pix because it showed their "pet" flamingo in front of the trailer.  They also have a live addition that we had not seen before.  There is a young duck in the fenced pen in the picture on the right.  There is also a shaded cage for the duck to go inside to get away from the heat and sunshine.


Since it has cooled off some, we saw a few bicycle riders out today enjoying a ride around the park.  We may get some rain later this week, so one takes advantage of nice days to get outside.
Last but not least is our home with the awning out.  The day we arrived, we backed it in too far, and because of the palm tree, we couldn't put the awning out.  A few days later we packed up, moved the slides in and moved forward three feet so we could have some shade from the incredible sun.  We still get the morning sun, but we can sit outside in the late afternoon and enjoy the evenings outside.  

God has blessed us in so many ways.  My brother Tony had planned to sail with some friends, on their boat, down to Mexico this week.  He was very anxious about some of the conditions and therefore I was worried sick about him going.  Can you imagine my relief Friday night when he texted me that he got cold feet about it.?  He had them bring him back to San Diego, and he was back home in Oceanside on his boat.  I always believe you should trust you feelings when you have doubts about what you are going to do.  Maybe the anxiety he felt was because God was telling him not to go.  This is just one of many ways our Heavenly Father communicates with us, and we need to LISTEN when He does.  Trust God to always guide you.  Faith will never take you where the Holy Father would not want you to go.  Thank God Tony listened and came back safely.  
Have a wonderful week ahead, and enjoy the cooling weather, and the beautiful sights and smells of autumn. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

We're in Sunny Palm Springs Now

Hi dear friends and family,

After near freezing temperatures at night, well it seemed really cold to us, we are in Palm Springs and it is quite HOT here now.  Who would have thought it would get over 100 degrees near the end of October???  The over night low temperatures barely dip below 70.  While we were up in Silent Valley we put the comfy soft flannel sheets and the electric blanket on the bed.............but I'm pretty sure we won't be turning that on while we are here for two weeks.  

Doggy updates:  Millie continues to do well and is accepting the Hills Science Diet Kidney formula quite well, and her appetite has returned.  YAY!  Back in May, in New Mexico, Willie had what we believe was a kidney stone, caused at least in part by the higher than normal calcium level in the local water.  He was treated with an antibiotic for a possible urinary tract infection, and recovered.  Even though he has not had any more troubles, the vet said he probably should NOT continue on the high protein, grain-free diet he was on, but he doesn't need the prescription diet Millie is on.  We did online research and decided to try him on the Natural Balance Vegan diet, which has nearly 10% less protein than what he (and Millie too) had been eating before.  I am transitioning him gradually while we use up the high protein food, and he is also accepting the new food quite well.  It is costly, but it will possibly save money on vet bills down the road.  Again YAY!!!


Before we left Silent Valley we took some pictures of the decorating being done for Halloween in the park.  Here are some of the pix we took.
 Take a close look at this three wheeler parked next to the ranger station.
 This and the next two pix are at the site we had hoped to get into when we arrived here last month.

When we left on Saturday they were STILL working on their decorations!  Even though this is just not our thing, I can see why this guy won first place in the decorating contest last year.

The guy who had these witches, also had a lot more, but not like the first guy.  He has witches flying from the trees and a few skeletons sitting in chairs.  It's all in good fun.  Next Saturday they will have over 1000 kids trick or treating in the streets up there all afternoon, plus the costume contests for each age group and the site decorating contests.  

This is a tent I saw up the street from us here in Palm Springs.  It looks like army surplus to me, but I don't know for sure.  We got here on Saturday, and setting up in the 90+ heat was exhausting.  We got a nice site, hooked up and did only what we had to until it cooled off later.  Sunday we tried to relax and today we are beginning to feel like ourselves again.  

Jim just told me he ran into a guy this morning that he had met here almost two years ago.  The guy remembered him and called him by name.....wow.  He was the guy that suggested to Jim that he should see if he could qualify for VA medical benefits......which he, of course, has done.  This guy told Jim that HE had been denied because he makes too much money, but he was glad to hear that Jim has been able to receive his care through the VA. 

Even though I liked using our small washer and spin dryer so we didn't have to haul our clothes out to the laundromat, I am thinking about trying to sell them here tomorrow.  Besides the craft sales they allow people to do on Friday mornings, they now have what they call "Yard Sale at your Site" on Tuesday mornings.  My reason for selling is mainly because I am always trying to reduce the amount of stuff we carry around.  This past month we gave away our Power XL air fryer, because it did not fit into ANY storage we had inside the RV.  It also duplicated what we can do in the NuWave Oven, so we didn't need both.  Diane and Jim were delighted to get it and love to air fry sweet potato fries and other veggies.  They are vegans and say they are using it every day!  They can use it for veggie burgers and so much more.

Jim got a bigger compressor, as the one he had took forever to do the motorhome tires, so he gave the smaller one, and his older power drill to Jim & Diane too, mainly Jim I would think.  You might ask why we didn't try to sell them these items but we have a good reason.  Although these items are currently working, they are NOT new, and we don't know how long they will continue to work.  I would HATE to charge a friend for something that could stop working before long, and risk having them think we took advantage of them.  Still, if they do work, and someone we know can use the items, we would rather give them away than throw them in the trash. We did trash a pair of outside chairs that felt like they were about to give out, and we gave our blue rug that we bought for the screen room we don't have anymore to Diane & Jim.
Anything we can get rid of is less weight to carry around in the RV or the car.  Also, it means less for Jim to have to load up to move, and set up when we get someplace.  We do like having our "toys" but we also have to consider the cost of carrying all that stuff around.  Every time we went to one of Gail's lectures on ways to save space and/or weight in your RV, I would come home and get rid of lots of stuff............but she has stopped selling her stuff and giving lectures, so now I have to figure out for myself how to do all this.  I do go through all our drawers, closets, and inside storage spaces to see what we have collected over the past year, or have carried around for another year that we are not using.  I like to say "If we haven't needed it for the last 12 months, we probably won't need it next year."  However, Jim doesn't always agree with that and says maybe we'll need this next year, and have to buy it for a higher price.  Oh well.

Now we have a new items we want to save up for.  We actually NEED a new stove and oven.  That is funny because so many people never use their RV ovens, except to store things inside, but we cook and bake in ours almost every day.  Our stove top igniter does not work anymore.  Not too big a deal by itself, but the oven door won't stay closed so it is hard to bake when you can't keep the oven at a constant temperature.  We also worry about gas leakage into the RV, so we open a door or the MaxxAir vent to make sure we have plenty of fresh air in here when we bake.  

Once we replace the oven, we would like to get a new refrigerator/freezer.  We have inadvertently broken off three or four of the cooling blades, so the refrigerator has to work harder to keep food cold, using more electricity.  Also, newer models are more efficient and actually give you more cubic feet of storage in the same space we have now.  Many people are converting to residential refrigerators, but we don't want to do that.  Those only run on electricity, but RV units can also run on propane. We use propane when we dry camp, such as if we are at Elks lodges that don't offer electric hookups.  

We also think we need to replace the mattress on our bed.  We added a pillow top mattress topper when we bought this RV, which made it much more comfortable...........but we really think a new mattress is what we need, as soon as we can get it.  Maybe it's time to start buying lottery tickets!  LOL.

I think it's time to close now so I will summarize by saying that if you also have too much baggage in your life, maybe it's time for you to take stock of what you really need and what you need to give up.  This can apply to more than possessions too.  Are you holding onto a grudge or an old "hurt" that you should have let go of long ago?  The possessions that you are hanging on to might be more useful to someone else.  If you don't know who to give things to, the Salvation Army or Goodwill might be a good place to donate things.  As for the pain or grudge you are holding onto, I think you know who to give that to.  Many sermons and hymns have told us to take our problems and concerns to Jesus.  He can take all of our burdens from us, so we can move forward without them.  Let them go, and start anew without the unneeded baggage.  Thanksgiving is just weeks away, and then Christmas and a New Year.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to start the holy season and the new year without all the pain and anger and strife that you may have been carrying around for such a long time?  I know I want to.  Have a wonderful day, and week ahead, and so much more.


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.