Thursday, November 26, 2015


I truly hope each and every one of you will have enjoyed a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving by the time you read this.  Yesterday Jim made home made dinner rolls from scratch, and I prepared all the side dishes.  That means today I only had to make the Impossible Pumpkin Pie, and we put the turkey into the NuWave oven upside down for about 1/12 hours.  After that we will turn it right side up for another 1 1/2 hours.  Then later I'll put the dressing and mashed sweet potatoes in the oven to re-heat while I cook the vegetables and make the gravy.  While doing all this, we are enjoying the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and later the National Dog Show.  We really enjoy this holiday, and the chance to relax and reflect on all we have to be thankful for. 

First and foremost, we are thankful for our Gracious God who gave His only son for our sins, so those who accept this awesome gift are guaranteed a seat in Heaven.  I am thankful for my awesomely wonderful husband, my beloved son Matt, who is an incredible person, of whom we are very, very proud.  We give thanks for our good health, our families and friends.  We are thankful for being able to make the amazing trip we made all the way to the state of Maine, after going to Horseheads for my 50th high school reunion in July.  Later we went down the east coast to Atlanta to see my sister Joan and her family, before heading west again.  We got to see my friend Sharon Medlar and her husband Jack in TN, which was wonderful.  Finally we got to head back out west before it got too cold, and visited Ric and Wendy in Arrey, NM and Matt and Shannon in AZ , then back here to Southern California.  You might have noticed I did NOT mention being thankful for THINGS.  Although I am thankful for our motorhome, and thankful that God protected it and us on these many miles of our trip. 

We are also saddened by losses.  Early this year, we lost our camping club friend Herve Collette.  Later, while we were in Texas, we learned of the death of our friend Wayne Scott.  In July we found out Sylvia Yazell had died, and last we got a call that our friend Charmaine Weeks had died up in Oregon.  We pray for comfort and peace to their family members.

As we pass from this holiday into the Christmas season, I would like to share a few thoughts.

Over the last few weeks, and in the next four weeks ahead, we are bombarded with ads for items that we are told we cannot be happy without, or that we MUST give to show the depth of our love for family members and friends.  These things can never make you truly happy.  We need to remember the REAL and only meaning of this Christmas season.  It is about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I hope none of you missed out on time you could spend with family today to camp outside Best Buy or rushed away to get to Wal-Mart or Macy's or any other stores that are opening today or very early tomorrow.  Like many others, I have always enjoyed the Christmas stories such as the Night Before Christmas, but these must never make people forget what this Christmas Holiday is about.  Ric writes a wonderful article that he publishes weekly, and this week he was having trouble with his computer, so Wendy had to finish it for him.   I asked permission to include part of it in this blog.  Ric said yes, but asked that I give the credit to Wendy, not him.  Here is most of what she wrote.  I sure hope it reaches your heart the way it did mine.
Christmas season will be upon us. I pray that you remember  what the season is about. I am aware there are those who do not believe in  the true Christ, that is the Christ who is God, came to earth, died for our  sins, and rose back to the throne of God.  I am here to  tell you that Christmas is no more about Santa Claus than Halloween  is about the Great Pumpkin.  Granted Charlie Browns buddy Linus looks for the Great Pumpkin the same way we looked for Santa as children. But did Santa appear?  Did The Great Pumpkin appear?  No. Halloween aside, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, Messiah, Savior. Unlike Santa that brings transient presents, Jesus brings the greatest gift, an uncondidtional gift.  Have you been naughty or nice? That really doesn't matter. Jesus only asks
us to accept His gift.  The gift of forgiveness for our sins. He accepts us for who we are and how we are.  Not a check list of how many times we told a lie, or hit our sister, etc. Jesus looks at our soul and sees us for what we are, loves us and accepts us, right there, no questions, WOW, no list only His love and our bared soul.  Just Him and us.  As we sit back from our Thanksgiving tables, and start making our Christmas  plans. My Christmas list has very few things on it. My  families' health and happiness and their relationship with Jesus. For my friends and aquaintances that are not Chistians, my prayer is that they would come to that most important relationship they will ever have. The relationship of unconditional love and acceptance.  There is a relationship of hope, a relationship with the One that will keep us for an eternity.  Santa lasts about as long as it takes to clean-up and throw out the wrapping paper and boxes.  Finally, put the tree away for next year. I hope there will be happy memories that are being packed up.

I couldn't have said it better, so I didn't try.  Happy Thanksgiving, and I wish you a happy, healthy, and most of all a blessed Christmas ahead.  And of course, to our dear friends who are Jewish, we wish you a wonderful Hannukah.  I hope I spelled that correctly.  Please forgive me if I didn't.

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23rd, Still at Silent Valley

Hi Everyone,  we are still here, since the weather has been milder this week.  We've had sunny days, and really chilly nights.  We put our micro fleece sheets and blanket on the bed, under the beautiful quilt, and we stay toasty warm at night.  Millie crawls under the covers and stays there most of the night.  Willie sleeps on the couch or in his bed, with a flannel blanket over him.  Around 5:30 or 6 am, he comes in and joins us on the bed.  Life is good!!!!  We have been using two electric heaters to supplement the furnace, and have had to use them for many hours each day.  This week they both overheated, and smelled like there could be a fire hazard.  Jim did his best to clean them, but with little success, so we have replaced them. 

One night we were awakened by the howling of coyotes very nearby.  The dogs were alarmed and barked for several minutes.  The next day Jim invested in a large Mag Lite flashlight that is long enough, and heavy enough that it could be used as a defensive weapon, if necessary.  I hope the need never arises, but he has it if he needs it.  We are, after all, out in the wilds of nature! 

You might ask why we come up here, but the area is usually peaceful, and it is beautiful.  The view from the roadway is quite specatcular.

These are a few of the sights we see when we drive down to Banning.  The one to the left was taken looking east, towards Palm Springs, and shows the tower of the Morongo Casino.  We have been coming up here for at least ten years, and we learned just this week that there is a prison located near the base of the hill.  OMG.  It's only about one mile from the KOA campground at the bottom of the hill.  What a shock it was to learn that!!!

Above, are two more shots we took driving down the hill on Friday.  It really is so scenic.  Maybe we'll get some snow, and include pictures of it before we leave here on Sunday.   
Today my sister Donna & her husband George came up for a visit and lunch.  It was the first time we had been able to get together since we got back to California.  They were going to visit us at Wilderness Lakes while we were there, but they both got really sick with upper respirstory infections, and thankfully chose not to bring their germs to visit us.  It was great to see them today.  They will be celebrating their 53rd anniversary next month.  Many congratulations on that.  Too many people are too willing to walk away when the going gets rough.  I'm very proud of them for staying together, and raising two wonderful daughters!  They also have five grandchildren.  It's been a good life all in all.  To celebrate their 50th anniversary they took a lovely cruise.  They had a grand time, and are hoping to take another cruise next spring. 
It was wonderful to have them here.  Both of the dogs had fun playing with them.  Millie loves company, and even Willie was happy to see them.  After they left this afternoon the dogs took a much needed nap.  I guess it's tough being so cute!!! 
We are looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving here, and will be going down to Wilderness Lakes on Sunday, November 29th.  We are looking forward to seeing our dear friends Almita & Rueben before they head out to visit a daughter who lives a little north of here.  Forgive my forgetfulness, but I think she lives up in Simi Valley, but I'm probably mistaken about just where it is.  They will be gone for about a month, so we will be seeing them for a while, then wishing them a wonderful, and safe trip there and back. 
As I often say, this is a wonderful, and beautiful country, and we like to encourage people to take advantage of any opportunity to see as much of it as possible.  Keep the rubber side down and enjoy this great land God has given us. 
Today my sister was voicing an opinion I have shared before.  None of us knows how much time we have here, so we should enjoy each day.  Don't put off doing things because you could regret it.  She also said "don't waste time worrying about things you have no control over."  Many of us waste energy doing that, so it was a good reminder.  
Happy Thanksgiving, please do count your blessings.  Don't waste time thinking about what you don't have....enjoy what you DO have. 
Love to all,  Jim & Sue (and Millie & Willie too) 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Baby It's Cold Out There

I know there are other parts of the country that are much, much colder than it is here.......................but we didn't move to California to be shivering from the cold!   We LIKE the nice warm days and not too cool nights here.  They say we are going to have a major El Nino this year that will bring more cold, more rain, and "they" say serious flooding is expected.......... so we may end up going back to Arizona or New Mexico for a few months if it gets too bad here.

The last few nights down at Wilderness Lakes, it went down into the middle to low 40's, and that's plenty cold enough for me.  Today we packed up to come up to Silent Valley.  It is really beautiful here, as you can see, but the winds were whipping around like crazy and it's colder here than it was down there!
As you can see, Jim is happy to be here.  We are now all set up, and with a little help from our Heavenly Father, we got the satellite dish to receive a signal.  It sure wasn't working for us.  Thank God our Lord wants us to be happy!   It seems like it's going to be too chilly to play mini golf here, so that means we'll be spending more time inside.  We won't be putting up the screen room here, since we don't want to risk losing another awning if it snows while we're here.
Today is Veterans Day.  Please remember to thank a Veteran for his or her service.  Other than Jesus, only a Veteran is willing to give his or her life to protect us. 
Our dear friends, Almita & Rueben have been sick with colds, so we didn't get to spend much time with them at Wilderness Lakes.  I emailed Almita to let her know how much they would benefit from getting a couple Himalayan Salt Lamps.  Almita wrote back that after I told her this she looked them up on the internet, and would get some as soon as she can.  For those who might be going to Quartzsite in January, that's the very best place to find them.  The prices are very reasonable there, and they have a huge variety of styles and sizes.  If you aren't going there, I did see one style of lamp at Wal-Mart for about $15.00.  At this point I want to tell everyone that we do not sell ANY products or services, so if we recommend anything in our blog, it is ONLY because we wish to share information on products or services that we think are better than average.  As for the salt lamps, I suggest one for every 100-150 square feet of living space in your home.  You should leave them on at all times.  They only use a 4 or 7 watt bulb, so they don't use a lot of electricity, and they make a nice night light too.  We have one on the dining room table and one in our bedroom.  They have made a huge difference for us.  We've had no more terrible colds, no more severe migraine headaches for me, and much less trouble with allergies.
Before we left this morning, Rueben came over to see us.  He said they might come up to see us here at Silent Valley.  We couldn't be happier!  So far I have forgotten to take their picture to add to our blog.  I apologize for that, and will remedy the situation ASAP.
More news, yesterday, Jim's cell phone needed a charge, and it would NOT take a charge with our usual charger.  The charger worked just fine with my phone, but not for his.  We took it to the Verizon store in Menifee, hoping to replace the battery.  The guy told us they don't sell replacement batteries for our phones anymore......can you say "ancient"?  LOL.  It turned out we were elligible for an upgrade, so we both got new Verizon LG flip phones.  The good news was we only had to pay the sales we got them for about $4.00 each.  Then he looked up our plan and asked why the 4G Jetpack was on a separate account.  I told him we had been told it had to be since we needed "data" for it that we didn't have on the phones.  He informed me that he could put the cell phones, jetpack and our tablet all on one account and save us a whole bunch of money each month.  Jim had brought with us the tablet we got for free at the Escapees Rally back in March, because we didn't get any information on how to use it.  This guy told us that we can attend a free class at the Verizon store to learn to use it, but first he showed us how to get started with it.  YAY!!!  Then, because after all he is a saleman, he showed us a newer tablet that had a larger screen, was HD and was lighter weight, that we could purchase for only $49.99.  We decided to go with the new tablet...............and it has a user manual.  Double YAY!!!  We have to admit that we really do like Verizon.  I know some people are not as happy with them, but we have had excellent service and we just can't complain about them.  
Mary will be arriving here tomorrow for a two week stay with us.  Then she will be going to her cousin's house for Thanksgiving, and we will meet up again when we all go to Palm Springs.  
The dogs like it here at Silent Valley.....not a lot of other dogs around.  They do like to look out for squirrels here.  Not much other news, so I guess I should close for now.  Take care, stay well and keep the rubber side down when you travel around this great country.  Happy trails.  :o)

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015 Still Happy to be Home

Hello dear friends,  We are still at Wilderness Lakes, and it has been grand being in one place for a while.  After Halloween, we relaxed a bit. 
The kids were happy to just "chill" for a while too.

We have enjoyed an afternoon with Rueben & Almita, and an evening with Gail & Mike Alexander.  It turns out, we'll be seeing them at theThousand Trails Preserve in Palm Desert this winter.  They are going to be doing sales at a swapmeet at the College of the Desert on weekends.  We'll have to check that out soon.  Diane & Steve joined us for candy bar bingo on Saturday, and then they came here for dinner that night.  It was a wonderful day.  
On Thursday, Jim had an appointment in Garden Grove to see an ophthalmologist, so we made a lunch date with our good friends Joan & Jim.  She ended up also having an eye doc appointment the same day and time, so that was a kinda funny coincidence.  Anyway, we met for lunch at the Garden Grove Elks lodge.  It was very nice.  She gave us belated birthday cards with Wal-Mart gift cards. 

We used the cards to get a new quilt, pillow shams and a new area rug for the hallway next to the bathroom.  The ironic part of this is, I never used to like quilts, but when we were at Rueben & Almita's, she showed me her quilt, which had been made entirely from her mom's house dresses.  It was amazing, and I was hooked and wanted a quilt for our bed.  The new set really brightens up the bedroom.  Thanks for the idea Almita! 
As for the eye doc, it looks like Jim is facing surgery for cataracts before too much longer.  I'm sure glad they have gotten much better at that than they used to be!  It will be a day surgery and home the same day.  We'll probably stay at the Elks for a week when it is done.
Sunday we went to church here in the park.  It was very nice to see Pastor Bob and the usual group.  I didn't realize how much I had missed them. 
Later that day we drove up to Camping World in San Bernardino.  I wanted to get Jim a new recliner I had seen in their ad, but they currently didn't have it in the color I wanted.  We did get a new shower head called the Fury.  It mixes air into the water, so it feels like you are using more water than you really are. 
Since California has a very serious water shortage, we will enjoy using it. 

This wasn't a great shot, but I wanted to show that San Bernardino is trying to decorate the walls along the freeway.  This is new since we left here back in January.  There were a lot of nice scenes on the walls.

Hopefully, next week we'll be able to get the chair for Jim later this week, as they are supposed to be getting more in on Friday.  We are planning to go up to Silent Valley on Wednesday, but as yet we have not been able to get through on the phone to make the reservation.  If I can't reach them by tomorrow morning, we will have to drive up by car to make it.  We would have waited until tomorrow to take down the screen room, but on the news today they predicted rain for today and early tomorrow.  We didn't want to be doing it in the rain, or putting it all away wet, so we got busy and took it all down today.  I doubt if we will set it up at Silent Valley, since we have, in the past, had SNOW up there on Thanksgiving.  I really don't want to wake up to find that snow tore down our awning and destroyed the screen room, along with everything in it.  But so rain today.  Alas.
Life is good, God is awesome, and we are all well.  Take care and stay well, and enjoy America!  It's God's glorious gift to us.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

November 1st........we survived Halloween

Hi Everyone, 
I wasn't sure just what I would have to write about now that we are staying in one place for a while, but it seems I do have things to share today.  Many people decorated their RV's or sites for Halloween.

Millie & Willie were also dressed up for the day.

The park has a train they run every Saturday, so many people enjoy the ride.

Yesterday we went to the Swap Meet here in the park, only to find that our friends Gail & Mike Alexander were set up here selling their products that save space and reduce the weight you are carrying in an RV.  Gail had gone back to her RV with really bad back pain, so we chatted with Mike a while and promised to visit them later at their RV.  We walked the dogs and then went over to the family center for the weekly Candy Bar Bingo game.  I won 3 candy bars, Jim and Mary each won 2.  Not bad considering that the place was PACKED with many more people here for Halloween.  After that we went to visit Mike & Gail for a while, but we had to get back to our site before the trick or treaters came by.  We had all manner of visitors.....these were the first group that showed up.

       Everyone here got a kick out of doctor cutie!  But she wanted to give us all flu shots.  LOL 

It was a lot of fun seeing all the kids having such a good time.

After handing out candy, we had a light dinner, and then invited a few friends over for drinks and snacks.  We met Diane & Steve when they used to be the RV Hosts at Garden Grove Elks.  They did a fantastic job there, but now they are enjoying the freedom of retirement and travel.  Mary also came over for the evening.

 All in all, it was a very pleasant day.  Our new friends we met in Santa Rosa, Rueben & Almita are coming here to Wilderness Lakes this week, so it promises to be a good week ahead too.  Take care folks.  Make the most of each day.  Nobody knows how long we have left here on God's green earth, so we should enjoy each day.  I know the promised land is even better, but that's no reason to squander a moment of what we have here.  Keep the shiny side up, and stay well and safe.