Thursday, July 19, 2018

Back at Wilderness Lakes, and Happy to Be Here

Since I had appointments in the Menifee area for a few weeks, we put off going up to Silent Valley.  We had already extended our stay here by five days, so we went to a park in Hemet for seven days.  We stayed there once back in January before we left for Quartzsite, AZ.  There was one HUGE difference this July this park was over-run with ants!  Big black ants, small red ants, and millions of brown ants.  They, of course, got into the RV and made life pretty miserable.  We used a powerful insecticide OUTSIDE of the RV but inside we could only use a pet safe product called EcoSmart.  It is good in that it kills on contact, but to be safe around pets it has NO residual effect, so the ants kept coming back again, and again.  Yesterday we came back to Wilderness Lakes and unfortunately we brought some hitch hikers with us.  We sprayed and sprayed and today they are mostly ALL gone!  Yay.

We found a pretty nice 50 amp site when we arrived and got settled in as quickly as we could.  It was a back in site next to the canal so we are visited by geese and a beautiful blue heron. 
I took pictures with my phone, but when I sent them to my computer, something went wrong and I was not able to open them, so I am trying again.  Yay the pictures are here.

Since my last post was before I started my therapy for the vertigo, I will now have to bring everyone up to date on that.  Last week, on Monday I went to Walker Physical Therapy in Sun City.  I was evaluated by Natalie Walker who said that based on my symptoms I was a good candidate for the therapy to be effective.  Apparently for some people it just doesn't work well at all.  After the testing procedures were completed she began the therapy.  She warned me that it WOULD cause vertigo when she put me into certain positions, but I had not expected just HOW brutal it was.  It was so bad it actually made me cry!  After going through the whole procedure, she said if I could stand it, she would like to do it all again..............OMG.  I really wanted to get over this so I agreed to do it again.  The second time was slightly less awful.  When we left Jim had to almost carry me to the car.  We got home (to Wilderness Lakes) and I was nauseated, and spent the whole evening on the couch.  I went to bed early and when I woke up in the morning I felt much better.  We packed up and moved to Hemet on Wednesday, and I had another therapy session on Thursday.  I was very nervous about it and dreaded going back.  Much to my surprise, it was not nearly as bad as it had been on Monday.  After that session I went back to Hemet and felt OK.  Today was my third session.  The treatments were not as bad.  On Sunday I had cut back my dosage on the meclizine from twice a day to once a day.  She had me do some balance exercises, and that caused some dizziness but not nearly as bad as it had been.  

This is a picture of Natalie.  How can a person who looks so sweet put me through such agony?  Just kidding.  She wants me to stop taking the meclizine after the end of this week.  I have one more session with Natalie next Thursday, and she has strong hopes that my vertigo will be completely gone by then.  Yippee.  

On Moday we drove up to see Donna & George (my sister and her husband).  I will try to include a picture if I can get it to go from my phone to my computer.  Fingers crossed now.  It was great to see them again.

 Donna is having problems with her memory and panic attacks.  It has been very hard on George to take care of her, but he is doing the best he can.  The doctor has put her on hospice care, so a nurse's aid comes out to give her a bath three times a week.  We are going to go up again next week for a picnic up at Oak Glen where it is much cooler!  Next week is supposed to get up over 100+ again so we need to find places to keep cooler, and we want to see them as often as possible.

This 5th wheel is parked in the site we were in before we went to Hemet.

 These are called "toy Haulers" because the back end opens down to let one drive inside with motorcycles, golf carts or other off road vehicles.  Once one brings the "toys" out this can be an additional room inside the RV.  Many of them also open the back and have a patio with a screen to keep bugs out.  As you can see, this one has a side patio too.  Very nice, but not our "cup of tea".

Last week I stopped at Dollar Tree store for some cards, and found a couple things I just had to have.  The one on the left has a bobble-head, too cute.  And the one on the right, of course has the legs that dangle.  OMG.  

I try not to buy more owls, but some times I just have to get
some that I see.  Right now we have Bella hanging inside.  She's the blue owl that is cross-eyed, that I posted back when we had her hanging outside in Arrey.  She will go back outside later on.  Life is good.

By the way, last Monday we had Brad Miller Jr. over to see if he could fix our steps that wouldn't move in and out when we wanted them to move.  It took a lot of work and searching, but he did find the problem.  The original motor was shot, so we did have to replace that, but when we blew the rear tire between Tempe and Quartzsite on our way to Blythe, it severed the wires that had been connected to the motor for the steps.  Happy, happy, happy, our steps are working like new again.  It wasn't cheap, but still maybe $400 or $500 less than if we had needed to replace the whole step system.  Yay.  Thank you God.  

Yesterday when we packed up to come back from Hemet, it was quite hot outside.  It was less than 20 miles to get back here, but the packing up to travel and setting up when you get where you are going is the same, whether you go 20 miles or 200 miles.  We felt very lucky to find a 50 amp site, which means we can use both air conditioners at the same time.  We were able to back the RV into the site without much difficulty..........not always the case.  I walked the dogs while Jim started setting up.  It seemed like we got finished in record time.  Some days it takes forever to get the satellite to lock onto a signal and get t.v. reception.  Yesterday Jim set the dish outside, using the satellite AR app on his phone and came inside.  By the time I found the remote control up in the cabinet and turned the t.v. on.........we already had reception!  Thank you Jesus for helping us with all we had to do.

We had lunch, went over to the post office to pick up our mail and came back here to enjoy our location.  Because it was so hot, we both got showers and I did four loads of laundry with our little home washer and spin dryer.  All in all, the day went amazingly well.  I have told you again and again to begin your day with an attitude of gratitude.  We believe we are very blessed by God in all we do.  Praise God always.  My sister-in-law Judy always ends her emails with this phrase
F.R.O.G. which means Forever Rely On God.  I just love that idea.  We always pray for a safe trip whenever we travel, not just for US but for all the others that are sharing the road with us.  Sadly, this time of year we see an increase in road rage incidents.  There is just no reason for it.  If a driver cuts you off on the road, Praise God that you are still safe.  No matter what stupid things other drivers may do, you won't make things better by getting angry.  Instead, realize he or she made an error in judgement, and be grateful if no one was injured by it.  As I have said before, we cannot know what issues or stresses other people may be trying to cope with.  Jesus wants us to love our neighbors, and that means everybody out there.  Getting angry will NOT make things better for that person, OR for you.  It could make your blood pressure shoot up to dangerous levels, or even cause a stroke.  Again, praise God for protecting you.  Praise God and trust Him to watch over you and provide for you.  God loves you and He will not give you more than you can handle, especially if you ask Him to help you.

Have a wonderful week ahead and enjoy the life God has given you.  F.R.O.G. and thank you Judy for that phrase.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Still at Wilderness Lakes

We extended our stay here by five days to accommodate Jim's doctor's appointment at the Murrieta VA facility.  However, we had to again alter our plans for me to begin physical therapy for my vertigo.  Apparently, not all therapists are trained to deal with vertigo, and the one who is, didn't have an opening until July 9th.  We have to leave this park on July 11th, so we made a reservation for one week over in Hemet, and then we can come back for three more weeks here at Wilderness Lakes.  I am hoping that the therapy will be completed by then, or that she can teach Jim what to do, so we can finally go up to Silent Valley for 28 days.  We have friends up there that we are looking forward to seeing.  We have not seen them since they came out to Quartzsite, AZ for a week in January.  
I really thought my vertigo was getting better, and I almost thought I didn't need the physical therapy after all.  But I guess God felt I needed to be reminded of how much I do need to see the therapist.  Last night I experienced a pretty bad episode and today another one occurred that was at least twice as bad as last night.  I am only mildly dizzy if I sit still and don't turn my head side to side or look up or down!!!  
 I finally found Millie's sunglasses.  She had hidden them in the back of my closet!  She didn't appreciate wearing them, but we don't want her to develop cataracts.  When I put them on her, she acts like she can't see OR hear.  LOL.  We saw this owl hanging off the awning of a neighboring motorhome here in the park.  Two days ago a man stopped by while we were outside to admire our owls.  He said his wife loves them too, and has over 100 in her home and RV!!! 

A brief note here.  Camping World ordered the motor we needed to operate our outside steps.  Jim & Greg installed the motor and the steps still won't move!  After doing everything he could think of, without any success, Jim agreed to let me call someone out to try to fix them.  Monday we have Brad Miller Jr. coming out to see if he can fix them.  Keep your fingers crossed please.

We have not spent any more time outside than we had to as it has been excessively hot here in southern California.  According to the news, we hear that many cities have broken records, some that have held for almost 100 years!  Several areas have experienced power outages, some lasting over 24 hours.  At this point I wish to remind everyone to be very careful in such heat.  

First: be sure to drink an adequate amount of water to avoid dehydration.  Likewise, make sure your animals have plenty of fresh, cool water to drink.  

Second:  please check on older people who might need help at times like this.  Make sure they have water and keep cool.  Since using air conditioning can be expensive, use curtains, or shades whenever possible to keep the hot sunlight out of your home.  We also purchased coolers, called Arctic Air which are not as expensive to run, and do a pretty good job of keeping a small area cooler.  They have a small tank for water, and act as an evaporative cooler, for less money than using the air conditioner.  

Third:  PLEASE do not leave pets, children or older people in a closed up car.............not even for a few minutes!  It is horrifying how fast a closed car can reach lethal temperatures inside.  Please just do NOT take that risk, ever.  

Fourth:  I would like to suggest that if you need to cook or bake, do so as early in the day as possible.  Also, do NOT leave perishable foods out at room temperature after a meal.  Foods can go bad so quickly in this kind of heat.  This is a great time to try more fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which can be eaten raw or gently steamed.  It's very healthy AND won't heat up your home as much.

Fifth:  Do not stay out in the sun anymore than you have to.  Use a sunshade on your car window to help keep it cooler, and stay inside where it is cooler, whenever possible.  If you wish to save on the cost of cooling, go spend some time in your local library.  You can stay cool AND read a good book!  And while you are at it, you could take an older person with you.  Many older people don't get out very often and would really appreciate being invited to go places such as a library, or the grocery store when you are going. 

Sixth:  Please remember that in this heat, and low relative humidity, the fire danger is extremely high.  We saw on the news that over 60 separate areas in the western states are experiencing wild fires.  Many are burning out of control, and many homes and lives are at risk.  I just want to remind everyone to be vigilant and not do anything that might cause a fire.  If you are a smoker (I will pray that you might find the strength to quit) but if you are, do NOT ever throw ashes or cigarettes out of your car window.  Home owners are advised to clear all brush away from around their homes.  If you are in an area of fire danger, you might want to make up a "go bag" of what you would need to grab in a hurry if you had to evacuate from your home.  Include important papers, medications, some clothes, water to drink, and anything you could not bear to lose.  My advice is to be ready to go if the need arises, and then when they tell you to leave......GO.  I know you don't want to lose your home or your "stuff" but staying could put your LIFE in danger, and you might be putting others in increased danger if they have to come back later to try to rescue you!  You should also make sure you don't park cars where they might block the roads that fire trucks need to use to get to fire areas.  If they can't get to a fire, they can't fight the fire.

Seventh:  PLEASE do not abandon your beloved pets in a time like that.  If you are afraid, imagine how terrified they must also be.  Find a shelter that accepts pets, better yet, find out where you can go that allows pets, BEFORE you must rush out of your home.  Even if I had to stay with my pets in my car, I would never leave an animal behind in a fire!!!

As we  learned at Bible study with Pastor Bob Neral, we are supposed to be trying to become mature Christians, and that means asking ourselves "What would Jesus do?" In times like this, it might be easy to stay inside our air conditioned homes and not think about others less fortunate than we are.  I'm pretty sure that is NOT what Jesus would do.  If you can afford to, take food and bottled water and clothes to the places where the evacuees of the fires have gone.  Many of these evacuees left with little more than the clothes on their backs, so whatever you can offer, will be appreciated.  Since we live in a small space (our 35 foot motorhome) we have a rule that for every new thing that comes INTO our home, at LEAST one thing must go out.  Unless we are simply replacing something that broke or wore out, that means we make donations regularly to charitable organizations.  One of our favorites is the Salvation Army.  We also believe in donations to homeless shelters and animal shelters whenever possible.  If you have extra blankets, homeless and animal shelters will be glad to receive them, year round.  I would imagine these shelters could also use electric fans to help keep their rooms cooler too.  Animal shelters always need food for cats or dogs and cat litter is another item that can be donated.  Open your heart and offer your hands to others.  It will enrich your life, and remind you of what Jesus would want you to do.  

Just one more point that I would like to make.  It's so easy to look around and see others who have much more than we will ever have.  Please remember that it doesn't matter.  God will give you what you need.  Instead of focusing on who has more than you do, please remember those who have so much LESS than you do.  It will help you to recognize what is important, and to let go of feelings of envy, which can only hurt you.  God knows what you need and He will provide it.  The rest is unimportant.

Have a wonderful day and a blessed week ahead.  Jesus loves you, isn't that wonderful to know?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Another Day, Another Blessing

Here is my newest flag that we put up for Independence Day.  On the right is Bella, one of my outdoor owls.

I wanted to share with you what has been happening since I last wrote.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and is part of God's plan, but I'm not sure how this vertigo I am dealing with serves to glorify God.  I am trying to figure out what He wants me to do or see or learn from this.  Maybe he wants me to stop and smell the roses.  Maybe He wants me to notice the people around me and see what I can do for others.  We went to Bible study Wednesday night and Pastor Bob was telling us what God wants mature Christians to do.  Jesus said that He will show us the same measure of kindness and forgiveness that we show to others.  We need to learn to love all others, and always forgive anyone who wants to hurt us.  He said we should pray in private and do our good works in secret.  Jesus said that those who perform acts of piety and give gifts in hopes of the rewards they hope to receive have already received their rewards.  Those who do good works because it is the right thing to do will receive their rewards in heaven.  I'm a long way from what I know a mature Christian should be, but I am on the right path, and I know, God willing, I will get there.
Wednesday morning I saw my doctor.  He had the reports from my visit to Loma Linda's emergency room.  He did a test to confirm their diagnosis of paroxysmal positional benign vertigo.  He determined that I only have it on the left side......which I hope is better than having it on both sides.  He said I was wise not to try to drive until this is resolved because, as I knew, there is no way to know when the vertigo will happen.  That's also why I use a cane when I walk outside.  He ordered more of the meclizine, and said I can take it one to three times a day as needed.  So far I did have to increase the dosing to twice a day.......I hope I won't have to take them more often than that.  He made a referral for me to see a physical therapist to treat the vertigo.  Not all therapists are trained to treat vertigo, so I can't see Natalie (who is trained for it) until July 9th.  I will do the best I can, but I just hate being unable to help Jim with the things that need to be done around here.  
We found these cute dish towels at Wal-Mart and I just had to get them.  We don't USE them; I just like to have them hanging on the door of the oven.  Last week I gave Millie a nice, short summer haircut.  She seems so much more comfortable and cooler.  Last Monday we had to drive over to Hemet to an RV place there to get a new water pump.......ours was causing our fresh water tank to 
overfill and leak all over the ground.  We saw these cute little travel trailers there.  So cute and compact too.  I don't really want to live in anything smaller than what we have, but I do get a kick out of seeing these cute little trailers.  Likewise, we don't 
really want to ever live in a tiny house............but we went inside one that is for sale at Bob's RV Sales & Service, that was pretty nice.  Here's the spacious kitchen.
Below is the spacious living room and the bedroom.  The amazing part is that price is under $62,000.  We have seen tiny houses on TV that cost over $100,000 that were not as nice as this one is.

This could make someone reconsider the tiny house idea.  It was about 36 feet long and probably about 9 feet wide, with a lot of storage space inside it.  We don't have that kind of money, but it sure looked nice, and everything was new!

This was the bathroom, and there was a large shower across the hall from the bathroom.  Really nice.  As I said, we can't afford this, but we sure can admire it!

Today I had my annual mammogram done at a place in Temecula.  Please remember ladies, if you haven't been having mammograms done annually, it is important to get it done.  It is NOT a pleasant experience, but breast cancer is not pleasant either.  Annual screenings can alert you early enough to save your life.  And men out there, support your wives and maybe go with them when they have to get it done.  Likewise, men, prostate screening can be a life saver too.  Don't put off tests that can save your life.  Colon cancer screening is also important, so don't put it off.  Preventive care is usually covered by insurance, so that shouldn't keep you from getting screenings done.  If you are a smoker, today is a good day to give it up.  If you have high cholesterol, ask your doctor how to lower it.  If you have hypertension, take steps to lower your blood pressure.  Learn to relax and maybe get a dog.  A dog will encourage you to get outside and exercise, or at least walk.  Life is a gift so take care of yourself so you can enjoy it.

When I came out to the waiting room I met a lovely lady named Patricia.  She was admiring my owl necklace and earrings.  It turned out that she also loves owls.  We talked a while about our travels (temporarily on hold for my physical therapy treatments) and about our blog.  She said she would love to read our blog, so I gave her my card.  When I told her where I grew up she said she still has relatives living in Elmira!  It IS a small world.  She told me that she would love to travel around this country since there is so much to see here.   Maybe after reading of our travels she will decide to travel too.  

I'm going to close now, while I encourage everyone to cherish each day.  None of us are promised tomorrow, so enjoy today.  Be kind to those you meet.  Remember that everyone has their own problems, so don't be a problem to anyone else.  Share a kind word, a smile, or a helping hand.  It could mean everything to someone.  Don't hang onto anger or hurt.  It won't do you any good, but it can hurt you for a long time.  Pray for peace in your heart and in the world. Share love and forgiveness.  You have no idea how much good it will do for you.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Back at Wilderness Lakes

Our last entry was written on our last night on the road, in Blythe, CA.  The next morning we got up early to start out for here.  Our first problem was that the awning wouldn't roll up properly.  After many attempts we got it up "fairly well" and we secured it with bungee cords and Velcro strips.  We got the car hooked up and drove here to Wilderness Lakes, and we found the very last 50 amp site available in the whole park!  All the way here I watched the awning in the outside mirror to make sure it was not unrolling.  God watched over us because it can be VERY dangerous if an awning unrolls while you are driving. 

 As you can see, the California dessert is very, very dry!!!!
  It took a few hours but we got all set up in our site.  Later Almita & Rueben came over to visit.  It was grand to see them again.  They left here last November or December to visit their daughter up in Simi Valley, so it had been more than half a year since we had seen them.  They had their motorhome furniture reuphostered back in February so we were anxious to see it.
 Almita & Rueben are avid bird watchers, so this upholstery is very much in the spirit of these wonderful people.  They upholstered the dinette, the couch, the front seats and the window valances, and it looks absolutely terrific!!!!

Saturday morning we had to take Willie to the vet because he had a dry, scaly patch on his nose.  After blood work and the exam he told us that Willie has what is called discoid lupus erythematous and he will be on medical treatments for the rest of his life.  We are praying that he will be OK in spite of this.  He is a sweet and loving dog.   Later that afternoon, we had to miss Candy Bar Bingo because we had the awning guy coming out to fix the roller for us.  Wouldn't you just know it...................the awning worked perfectly when he checked it!  He laughed but he did adjust it and put in some "set screws" so the problem won't happen again.  

Sunday I was really looking forward to attending church here in the park, however that didn't come to pass.  At 8 am I was hit by a terrible episode of vertigo, and felt as if the motorhome was rolling over on its side.  Jim had to practically carry me to the couch.  I expected it to pass in a few minutes, but it didn't.  I also felt like I was too dizzy to even consider going to the hospital, but when it persisted for several hours, I knew I would have to go there.  Jim drove me to Loma Linda University Hospital emergency room.  I must admit the service there is very efficient and of the best possible quality.  I was seen promptly by a nurse practitioner and tests were performed to rule out several possibilities.  I saw a doctor who prescribed medicine for the dizziness, anxiety, and nausea.  Later he talked with us again and said he saw no kind of brain injury such as an infarction or a bleed and all indications suggest that it is a problem with the inner ear causing the vertigo.  He sent me home with prescriptions for meclizine for the vertigo and zofran for nausea.  

Monday Jim dropped off the prescriptions at Wal-Mart and then up to the VA hospital pharmacy to pick up the refill of his medication, then he picked up my two medications at Wal-Mart.  I rode along because he was worried to leave me home alone.   By the time we got back, I was exhausted and laid on the couch all afternoon.  Tuesday I began to feel better and by Wednesday the vertigo seemed like a distant memory.  Thursday I made the mistake of thinking thinking maybe I didn't need to take the meclizine anymore, so I didn't take it on Thursday or Friday.  By Friday evening I was almost as dizzy as I had been on Sunday, so now I know I will have to continue taking the medication for a while longer.  I will be seeing my doctor on Thursday, so we will find out what he thinks too.

We saw this on an RV here in the park.  Jim says he sees owls now, everywhere he goes.  LOL.  We have our hooting owl and the ones that hang off the awning as well as the two on the table and the owl rug outside.   I will include more pictures next time.

My dear brother Tony and his dog Woody came to visit us on Wednesday morning and stayed until Friday morning.  It was so nice to see him after being gone for such a long time.  I am looking forward to seeing Donna & George soon, but with all this vertigo I wasn't sure when I can do that.  Hopefully we can get together this week.  I have missed them so very much.

We are still working on getting a new motor for the RV step so Jim & Greg can fix the motorized step, and we have to replace our water pump before we leave here.  Then our home will be all fixed and we will be happy campers again.  

I'm going to close now because it is time to feed the dogs their dinner.  By the way, the vet put our dogs on a diet since they had both put on weight this year.  They aren't happy about it but Millie has lost over 2 pounds and Willie has lost over 3 pounds.  All good!

Life is good and the problems we have had are just little bumps in the road.  We learn from the difficult moments, not from when everything goes as we hope it will.  Praise God for your blessings. Praise God for the lessons we learn along the way.  Praise God in all things.  Jesus loves you and He will provide for you.  Never stop thanking God for all He has given you.

Have a wonderful week ahead.  It's a gift.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Travel Can Be Challenging, but also Interesting

Before I discuss our travels, I will tell you about going to Ric and Mary's wedding reception.  It was held in a popular restaurant in TorC.  Mary is a Red Hat Society Queen and likes to wear purple and red together (as per the poem that launched the Red Hat Society.)  Here are a couple pictures from that day.
 This was during the ring ceremony, which Ric announced would be brief, and it was.  Prior to that, Mary and her escort arrived, following three flower girls.  One walked with her mom, and as her mom dropped flower petals, the little girl was picking up the petals!  SO cute.
Here is a picture of their wedding cake!  Notice the figures on the top!  Here is the couple cutting the wedding cake.  It was a lovely buffet and the singer who performed was very nice.  We got to sit with Pastor Dudley and his very delightful and lovely wife Karen.  We got talking about books we like to read, and she suggested that I might enjoy the Father Tim books by Jan Karon.  I looked them up online, and my brother Tony ordered three of them for me, so Karen, if you read this, I am looking forward to reading them once I get back to Menifee and Tony brings me the books.  I only regret that I didn't take a picture of Karen and Dudley to include here.

June 3rd we went to church there, for the last time this year.  Pastor Dudley told everyone we were leaving, so it was a kind of emotional good bye until next year.  The people there are all so warm and friendly and we will miss them.

We spent the next few days getting rid of things we really didn't need and packing up to leave at the end of the week.  On Friday we got up early and finished packing and were ready to hook up the car for towing and get on the road................but for one thing.  The moveable step that is supposed to retract for travel would not retract.  We tried everything we could imagine, but it would not budge!  Billy came  over to help, but still no luck.  He said that after sitting for almost four months, maybe the battery didn't have enough "juice" to move the step, so they put the battery on a charger..............and still no luck.  Somebody suggested that maybe the battery needed more water, so distilled water was added.  Then the battery did not have enough power to start the motor at all.  Finally we called the RV guys who fixed our air conditioner last month, and they came out.  They also could not get the steps to move.  In desperation, we had them disable to motor for the steps and they wired the steps in so we could travel.  Instead of leaving around 9 am it was almost noon before we left.

We spent one night at the KOA in Lordsburg, and instead of dinner at Kranberry's Chatterbox, we decided to go for dinner at the Elks lodge.  The people were delightful, the dinner not so much.  Since we were only there for one night, we left the steps wired in and struggled to get in and out several times.  Not a good idea.  As always, New Mexico sunsets are awesome.
This was one we saw in Lordsburg.  So beautiful.

The next day we still had to use the battery booster to get the RV started, but by the time we got to Benson, AZ it seemed to be holding a good charge!  YAY!  We put out the step and had a very nice and restful three day stay.  

On Tuesday we drove to Tempe, AZ for one night at the Elks lodge there.  As usual, the people were very nice, and I found an Owl Lady there......
She told me she bought this as a key chain at JC Penney's and a friend put a loop on it for her so she could wear it as a pendant.  It's so pretty.  They were serving hot dogs for dinner that night with all kinds of toppings, so we decided to partake of same since we like to patronize all of the lodges we visit...............but we were not prepared for what we saw.  The hot dogs were cooked and served by this lady.
This isn't a great picture, but her hat sports a hot dog in a bun!  We were told that on hamburger night she has a hamburger hat that she wears!  People are funny!  Art Linkletter said it, and it's still true.  On a different note, it was terribly hot in Tempe.  I really don't know how people survive in such oppressive heat.  

We decided to get an early start to leave there and head west into California.  We packed up, and hooked up and were on the road just before 8 am.  We were happily cruising along on Interstate 10 when we started to hear a terrible banging noise.  Jim pulled off to the shoulder of the road, but we couldn't get too far to the right because it sloped down into a gully.  We were just about 50 miles east of Quartzsite when this happened.  We got out to check and discovered we had blown an inside rear tire.  For those who don't know, there are two tires on each side in the back.  We got back in the RV and I called Auto Club.  After much discussion they dispatched a tow truck that could carry our 35 foot RV.  I called ahead to the place we bought this set of six new tires in February.  Many businesses in Quartzsite (otherwise called Q) close up during the hot months.  Fortunately for us, American Custom Tires is open year round....and they had our size tire in stock.  While we waited, we had to run the generator to keep the RV cool enough for the dogs, since it was 109 outside!!!  Jim and I went outside and unhooked the car because the tow truck would not be taking the car too.  We also had to move stuff we usually carry inside the car into the RV so there would be enough space for us, and the dogs when we drove to Q.  It was a long and unnerving 1 1/2 hour wait for the tow truck driver to arrive from Avondale, and another 30 minutes to load the RV onto his tow truck.  He followed us to the tire shop in Q and I took the dogs inside while they did the work.  The distance from Tempe to the RV park in Blythe was only 164 miles, and should have only taken about two hours or so.  We originally expected to arrive well before noon............but instead we didn't get here until after 4:30 pm!  It was 112 outside and we were tired, hot and stressed out.  We checked in an got a nice tree shaded site.  We decided we would stay an extra night to rest and recouperate from that day, so we are still here.  We will leave in the morning to go on to Wilderness Lakes, where we hear it is supposed to cool down for a few the 70s with nights in the 50s, nice for sleeping.  This morning there was a power outage that affected the park, but thankfully it only lasted about 90 minutes.  We got our car and RV washed and waxed today, so that was nice too.  This is a very pretty park right on the Colorado River.

Here are a couple pictures I took looking out at the river, and I finally get it.  Since we first came to California I have heard people talk about "going to the river" and I thought, so what?  Now I get it.  It is beautiful and peaceful and some of God's very special work.  If it were not so hot, I would have really wanted to stay longer. I can imagine how great it must be to come here in cooler weather.  

Here are two pictures of the cute retro trailer that is next to us.  The orange one below is used as a photo studio/office for the guy in 

the bigger trailer behind it.
So cute!!  The motorhome below on the right is right next to the boat launch into the river.  Many of these people live here year round, and except for the heat...I get it.  This fifth wheel toy hauler on the left has an amusing message on the back.  This last picture below, is of the storage area, but it also shows how green it is here.  There are lovely, mature shade trees, and lots of green grass.  
It is an idyllic park.....except for the heat!  If we do come back here, it will definitely be in a cooler month. 
This trip has not been easy for us.  We have had problems from the day we left Arrey.  One might ask if we should question if someone is trying to tell us not to leave................but we really did want to go see our loved ones in California.  Some of our experiences on this trip have been traumatic and frightening, but we have gotten through them.  That is because we always KNOW that our heavenly Father is watching over us and making sure we are safe.  I won't deny that I will breathe a sigh of relief when we get to Wilderness Lakes and get set up in a site, hopefully one with 50 amp service,and we can relax.  I know the dogs will be glad to stay in one place for a while.  Travel can be a lot of work, but it's always worth it to see the beautiful places God has created  for us, and to meet all the interesting people we see in the places we go.  Life is an adventure, enjoy it.  Live each day and savor the joy.  Maybe the occasional hardships are to remind us that not everyone is as fortunate as we are.   Maybe we need to remember to share our joy and the love of Jesus with those we meet each day.  I don't know the meaning of it all, but I do know that Jesus loves us and that helps me deal with the bumps in the road.

Happy travels to all on this road of life.  Take care and smile at the people you meet.  It will bring joy to one and all.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Soon We Head Back to Southern California

It is with mixed emotions that we are preparing to leave our home here to head back to our other home campgrounds in California.  We have made friends with some wonderful people here, and we will miss them very much when we are gone, but we are looking forward, eagerly, to seeing family and friends in California that we have not seen in over five months.  The weather here is getting quite hot, which we won't miss, but the sunsets here are still inspiring.
 These were taken last night just minutes apart, looking in different directions.  I love the pinks and purples you see in the sky here.

This was not long after the ones above.  I couldn't pick between such amazing displays of God's artwork, so I had to include all of them.  Often it cools down enough to sit outside and enjoy the changing colors in the evening........but lately it doesn't cool down until almost midnight!

My dear friends Almita and Rueben gave me a wonderful pair of abelone and silver owl earrings a couple years ago, which I absolutely love!  I was also able to find the same owl in a pendant so I got it to wear with the earrings.  Much of the time I wear my magnetic jewelry because of all the health and wellness benefits, 
so I got the idea of combining my owls with the magnetic jewelry.  Here is a picture of the results.  Almita, I do hope you approve.  Sometimes I wear two necklaces together like this.
I also made Millie a double strand necklace in these colors with a silver owl pendant on it.  I know I posted her wearing the red one too.  Since Millie has a congenital knee problem that we have been told COULD require surgery someday, we have her wearing magnetic jewelry every day, in hopes we can avoid surgery.  So far, so good.  😊

Mary was in southern California until a few days ago.  She is traveling north, and is now in Oregon.  She will be selling her Native American crafts at pow wows as she travels.  She will also be visiting her dad in Idaho, and then going into Montana and on into Canada with another friend of hers.  They will be sharing a booth to sell their crafts while they are there.  We wish her safe travels and good sales along the way.  At a recent pow wow a woman came into her booth, and after chatting a while, she told Mary about her very severe back pain and knee pain.  Mary showed her the magnetic jewelry she wears to relieve pain she has, mostly from sciatica. 

Mary gave her my phone number and, long story short, she placed an order for a two strand necklace, a four strand anklet and a two strand bracelet.  Here is what I made for her.  To be honest, I think these tiger eye beads look better in jewelry for men, as I like jewelry for ladies to have more "bling", but this is what she wanted, and the customer is always right!

We thought we had brought with us enough of Millie's Hill's Science Diet for Kidney patients, as she needs a very low protein diet.  Sadly we ran out this week.  I called the veterinary hospital in TorC that we have taken Willie to, and told them she is on this diet because she has only ONE functioning kidney.  They said of course I could buy some from them, so we drove into town to get it.  When we got there, we were told that they would only supply it to us after their doctor verified that she has only one good kidney, which would require her to be examined and have a CT scan first.  I asked if they would provide it if I called her vet in Menifee and they told her why Millie needed the special diet, and they said nope.  I was not pleased, and we left without her dog food.  We had not taken Millie with us because it is much more comfortable for the dogs to be here in the air conditioned motorhome than in the car with us, and I had not expected that she needed to be there just to pick up dog food.  When we got home I called her regular doctor and told them about this.  They couldn't believe that this doctor would not accept a phone call or fax to confirm the need for a prescription diet dog food.  Anyway, the girl in the office in Menifee looked up a recipe for a low protein dog food and emailed it to me, so we can make safe food for Millie until we get back there on June 14th.  Thank God for good people like her who are willing to go beyond their job and help us out.

We have been busy this week cleaning out cupboards and closets before we travel.  Speaking of cleaning......we
have bought another vacuum and I think we have finally found a real winner!  Two years ago we bought a pretty good one from Shark, but it was much heavier than we had expected, and we finally gave it to Donna & George.  I hope they are happy with it.  A year ago we bought a very light weight one in Quartzsite, but it turned out it was not really powerful enough to pick up all the dog hair we have in here.  Earlier this year we bought a very good shop vac, and it had attachments that we thought would make it usable here in the RV.  It is a good shop vac, but still not good for what we needed here inside.  Last week I read an article on the Mobile RVing site that suggested a stick vac with a removable top that can be used as a hand held unit for furniture and ceilings, etc.  We looked online and found one called the Shark Rocket.  We decided not to go cordless, because we thought those might have less power.  This one cleans the area rugs, vinyl flooring and curtains, furniture and the steps into the RV.  It has a very easy opener to empty out what we vacuumed up.  It seems to be a really dandy unit, and it weighs under 9 pounds!  Again, we are very happy campers!

As you might remember, today is the Arrey Outdoor Bonanza next door.  We had planned to participate one more time before leaving here.  However, when we found out it was going to be over 100 degrees today, we were somewhat less thrilled with the idea of loading our wares into the car, driving over there, setting up our EZ Up shade and our tables, and sitting out in the heat until noon and then packing up whatever didn't sell to come back here.  Besides that, we will be going to the wedding reception for Ric and Mary this afternoon, and I was afraid we would be too hot and tired to go if we set up for the AOB.  Not only that, we also needed to do laundry we stayed here until we had all the laundry done.  Then we went over to see how it was going.  There were only four vendors with sun shades and 
 Janice was there to sell her beautiful hand made pottery and the little wooden chairs that Billy makes.
I'm afraid it's just too hot for people to want to drive all this way to shop.  I sure hope the AOB will be more successful during the cooler winter months.  

We do not like to travel day after day when we are on the 
road.  Willie and Sherry drove 1036 miles in under 24 hours to get home to Colfax, LA.  Two days ago Mary wrote that she drove 427 miles in one day because she wanted to make it into Oregon that day........but we prefer even shorter driving days, with "stay days" between travel days.  Here is our travel schedule for the return to California:
June 8th----Lordsburg (we can go to Kranberry's for dinner)
June 9 &10--Benson, AZ lunch at the Cowboy Cafe maybe
June 11& 12--Tempe Elks lodge
June 13---Hidden Beaches RV Park in Blythe, CA
June 14th-----Wilderness Lakes and stay for 21 days.
We do hope to see family and friends often once we get back to our California homes, mainly Wilderness Lakes and Silent Valley.  

Tomorrow will be our last visit to the wonderful First Baptist Church in TorC.  We will miss all the wonderful people we have met there too.  Pastor Dudley was back from vacation last Sunday.  Funny story here.  Last year, when he is preaching, Pastor Dudley will say something, and then he will say "I guarantee it".  We used to find it funny to count how many times he would say "I guarantee it" in a single sermon.  Then one day he said that someone had told him about how often he would say that phrase, so he stopped it.  He and his wife took a two week vacation to go back home to Texas.  On his return last Sunday, he was preaching and we noticed several times that he said "I guarantee it!"  It was so nice to hear it again.  We missed it.

We do love the pastors at the campgrounds we stay in, and we truly love Pastor Paul and his wife Aiko, and all the people at our home church in Garden Grove, but we will also miss Pastor Dudley and all the wonderful people who make us feel like part of the church family here in TorC.  It means a lot to us.  It's one thing to just attend a church service.  It's so much more to feel like we belong here.   If you don't attend a church that makes you feel needed, I hope you will find another church.  Being a Christian is NOT just about going to church.  It's about having a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ.  It's more than just trying to be a good and kind person.  It's more than just reading the Bible.  It's more than just going to church every Sunday (or Saturday for some people).  All of those things are good, but being a Christian is still more than that.  I can't imagine waking up in the morning without KNOWING that Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior.  I start each day with a prayer of thanks for each day, and most of all for His love and guidance each day.  I know He will not give me more than I can handle WITH His help.  Without Him, the days could be very scary and difficult to manage.  It means everything to us to know we are NEVER alone.  Life is good because He is here for us.  One of my favorite hymns says "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  Because He lives, all fear is gone."  Do you have that assurance in your life?  If not, please send some "knee mail" to Jesus, and ask Him to show you the way.  I won't claim I never worry.  Everyone worries about something sometimes.  But most of what we worry about is really not that important.  Jesus is in charge of all the things that really matter.  Please find a path to Jesus that will help you cope with the stresses of this life.  Sometimes we need to help others, in order to help ourselves find the way.  If you are sad and lonely, please get up and look for someone who might need a friend like you.  Someone once wrote that the best way to find a friend is to be one.  Too many people are living lives of quiet desperation.  Too many people feel life is hopeless.  Too many people think there is nothing to live for.  We can all help if we just reach out to these people.  Offer a hand, take time to say hello, and if you see someone who needs help step up and help them.  You will feel better for your action, and "I guarantee it."

I need to close for now.  I probably won't write again until we get to Menifee, but then again, I might.  Take care, stay well, and stay hydrated in these hot months.  Try to greet each day with joy and gratitude.  Life is good and Jesus loves you.  How much better can it get?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

At Home in Arrey, NM and Happy to be Here

Today is another sunny day in Arrey, NM.  Rain was predicted yesterday, and some areas got it, but we didn't.  Jim saw lightning off in the distance last night, but we just had a warm, and muggy evening here.  A few days ago he took this incredible picture.  

 This was taken on May 17th just after sunset.  We thought it was great because the stars here are so bright, but usually we can't get a decent picture showing them.  I just love how clear the night sky is here.  In California, and many other heavily populated areas there is so much artificial light that you just can't see the beauty and peacefulness of the night sky.  Some nights Jim and Millie and I sit outside and just enjoy the quiet and beauty.  We don't make Willie stay out with us because he gets nervous when he can't see what might be out there.  He is happier inside, but Millie isn't afraid of anything!!!

I hope you don't get tired of my pictures of our furry kids, but I like taking their pictures because they are just so adorable.  Case in point:
Millie is showing off her newest necklace.  I don't know if I told you, but three years ago her doctor told us she has a congenital knee problem, and he said someday down the road she may need surgery on it.  In hopes of not having to put her through that, I have made her magnetic necklaces.  The doctor is amazed that her knee has not gotten any worse over the years.  In this picture she is modeling her owl and magnet necklace.  Willie also wears a double magnetic necklace.  About two months ago he was having trouble 
getting up the steps to the RV or onto the couch, so I made him a double strand necklace and within mere hours of wearing it, he was acting like a pup again!  I couldn't believe how quickly he showed a huge improvement.  I don't know if you can see it, but he IS wearing it under his collar.

Another cute picture:
 She is wearing Jim's Happy Camper cap we got at Camping World last year.  She is such a character that she will go along with whatever Jim does with her.
Anyway, our furry kids are such a blessing to us that we absolutely KNOW they are a gift from God to make us happy campers too.

Last Saturday was the Arrey Outdoor Bonanza again, known as AOB.  Janice has done everything imaginable to publicize the event throughout the whole area.  She has posted colorful signs around in many places, she advertised in the Cobblestone, which is a monthly publication of events and advertisements for the area, and on the radio and even on Facebook and the RV park website.  She even printed up cards to hand out to anyone we meet.  Still the response was less than all of us hoped for.  Sadly we have competition from TorC.  On May 5th it was the annual Fiesta weekend in town.  This time it was a HUGE auction going on in TorC.  It's hard to get people to travel 18 miles to come to a new event.  We are hoping that on June 2nd we won't have any major competition and might get more people to show up.  This past Saturday we had about 8 or 9 vendors, and sales were not terrific for anyone.  We only sold a few loaves of our yummy home made breads, and a few pieces of costume jewelry, none of my magnetic bracelets, and none of our gourmet jellies.  We donated the unsold clothes and household goods to be taken to a local homeless shelter.  A camping couple who were here overnight bought one loaf of Vienna bread and a jar of grape jelly on Sunday morning before they left the RV park.  We gave away a few loaves of bread, and Ric and Mary bought some today.  The rest we have put into our freezer.  

I really thought that being here in New Mexico, the Chili Pepper Capital of the World, our Jalapeno Cheese bread and the Jalapeno pepper jellies would be a big seller.  I guess you just never know.  Anyway, I like them so if they don't sell, I can eat them.  We sold one or two of the wine and cheese breads, so I still haven't gotten to try that one yet, but I will.  We found that a grilled cheese sandwich on cheddar cheese bread is pure heaven on earth!!!!  

It's a lot of work to load up the chairs, tables and what we want to sell into the car, drive next door to the AOB area, park and set up the EZ Up shade canopy, and all the set up for selling.  It gets really hot out there before noon, and then it's a lot of work to pack it all back up to come back home again.  It's well worth it IF we have good sales, but it's disheartening if we don't make very many sales.  We debated whether we should set up again on June 2nd, but I think we will, since it will be the last AOB before we start back to California.  But we will not take as much stuff over there.  We will take one case of assorted jellies and only about 6 or 8 loaves of breads.  We will have our flyers telling people the kinds of bread we offer, if anyone wants to order anything before we leave here. Anyway, that's enough about the AOB and our sales.  

Sunday we were really tired and decided we needed a nice, quiet stay at home day, so we didn't even go to church that day.  After breakfast we got showers and got dressed.  I have been meaning to have Jim go through his closets and drawers to clear out things that he doesn't wear anymore.  It wasn't supposed to, but it turned into quite a big project.  We threw out un-matched socks, and overly worn clothes.  We bagged up things that don't fit to give to the homeless shelter, and we packed away winter clothes for next year!  We even went through the things stored underneath the bed!  Jim says that the next time I say we are going to have a nice, quiet stay at home day...............he's going to pass on it.

By the way, last week after he steam cleaned the kitchen sinks and cabinets in the Rec Room of the park, Jim also steam cleaned the stove and oven there to look almost like new.  It was amazing how clean he got it.  

Next Sunday will be our 35th anniversary.  Ric and Mary want to take us out to lunch after church to celebrate it.  Saturday I will have to bake our anniversary cake.  I don't do it every single anniversary, but I have to do it again this year because Guy remembers it from last year, and he has been asking me to make it since we got here in February!  It's the same cake (but smaller) that I made for our wedding.  For the wedding I made it as three double tiers of awesome white walnut cake with a creamy custard filling and a whipped cream frosting.  For here, I will make it as a Bundt cake which I will cut in half to include the custard filling and top it with the whipped cream frosting.  

In closing I would like to wish everyone a wonderful week, and a life filled with blessings, great and small.  Please don't overlook any of them.  You woke up this morning, so be grateful for life itself.  Many others didn't.  If it was your choice, you had breakfast this morning.  Many people are going hungry, not just today but much too often.  You probably took a nice warm shower and got dressed.  Too many people don't have access to clean water or a change of clothes.  I think you see my point here.  As I have said repeatedly, God will provide for what we NEED.  Much of what we WANT is not what we really need.  We should stop worrying about what we don't have because in most cases, we really don't need what we think we want.  

In some cases, we may be unhappy with the life we have.  It may seem empty or meaningless.  We may be sad or frustrated with what we are doing, and we may even be feeling sorry for ourselves.  I would like to suggest that such a situation is not God's fault, it is our own fault.  If we are not satisfied with life as it is, we can change it.  Pray to God for direction, and He will show you the way, but it will be up to each of us to do something.  We could volunteer to help others less fortunate than ourselves, or get a job if money is what we need.  We have only to get moving to start to feel more energized, and that in and of itself, will make us happier.  Jesus loves you, so share the love and by helping others, you will help yourself too.

Sadly, there is violence here in America, but in many other parts of the world violence is an every day risk.  Please pray for an end to the violence and suffering around the world.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will enter the hearts of people around the world and bring us Peace on earth.  Pray for our President and the leaders of the world to resolve their issues, and ask God to lead us to the world He wants us to have.  

Memorial day is coming up next week.  If your town holds a parade or other event to honor our veterans, please attend it.  Remember to thank veterans for their service.  I have often read there are only two people who will lay down their lives for you.  American veterans gave their lives for your freedoms, and Jesus died to save your soul.  Please honor both and never forget their sacrifices for us.  God bless America, and may Her flag be flown with pride.

Until next time, be happy, and please be grateful for all that you have been blessed with.