Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy New Year to Everyone!!!

We sure hope all of you had a wonderful, and joyous Christmas, and now look forward to the New Year with peace and joy in your hearts.  On the way here (to Wilderness Lakes) we saw our first snow topped mountains of the season.  

I'm sure this is no big deal to many of you, living in colder areas, but to's a reminder of why we moved to sunny southern California all those years ago!

We got here on Tuesday, and Tony came to visit us on Wednesday.  We worked quickly to have all our Christmas decorations up before he got here.  This is the wreath we hung on the outside of the RV.

 We put this wreath inside our home, hanging it in the hallway.
 We continue to enjoy using our Canine nativity, and added the lovely angel that our friend Marla gave us a few years ago, and a little Christmas tree.
 Jim and I made and framed this lighted wreath when we still lived in our house in Santa Ana.
This is the Christmas tree we put on our dining room table.  We like to think of the little snowman and snow lady as us. LOL. As you can see below, some of our neighbors get very creative with their Christmas decorations.

This one was an inflatable camper, and the door would open so Santa could look out.  Really cute!

We got some much needed rain on Thursday and Friday, but I'm not sure our neighbors were too happy about it.  The park people had to pump water out of the canals to keep them from overflowing.

As promised, we baked and decorated six cakes for the Christmas eve candle light service here in the park.  There weren't as many people there as Pastor Bob had expected so we only used four of them.  We gave a lemon cake to a lady here in the park to take home, as she was having guests over, and it would be enjoyed that night.  Jim brought back one whole chocolate cake.......which he is eating up as quickly as he can.  Hahaha!  The service was delightful, with wonderful Christmas music, and a very uplifting message by Pastor Bob.  
Christmas morning was quiet here.  The dogs had fun playing with their new toys, and enjoyed some special doggie treats!  We had agreed not to exchange gifts, and spent that money on some charitable donations.  When we need, or really, really want something, we get it, so there is no reason to shop just because the merchants want us to.  Willie doesn't like to get dressed up, but Millie likes to get festive.

 But sometimes she parties a little too much!

Christmas morning was cold, with ice hanging off the edge of our awning, but sunny and bright, so Jim got a little silly too. 

He was going to go pick up the newspaper, and had to wear his sun glasses.

The rest of the day went well.  We played Mexican Train, had a nice dinner and watched TV.  We had planned to volunteer to serve dinner at the VFW or some other place this year, but were unable to find any place to do that.  It turns out, the VFW only serves dinner to veterans on Thanksgiving day.  Maybe we can do that next year.

As you can see, the "lake" out behind us is beginning to dry up, but these birds have gone to higher ground for now.  All is well here at our home in Wilderness Lakes, and we are looking forward to a happy and healthy, and maybe prosperous New Year.  Time to think about New Year's resolutions..........maybe some we can actually KEEP this year?  As always, I encourage kindness to everyone you meet.....even those who may NOT seem to be nice or deserving of kindness.  We can't know what problems, or fears, they might be trying to cope with.  Our kindness could make a real difference to someone who is struggling.  Instead of regrets for what we don't have, we should always, ALWAYS give thanks for the many blessings we do have.  We don't have much money, but we are rich in the blessings we have.  Our health is pretty good.  We have a nice home on wheels, and two wonderful dogs to love, and they love us back.  We have family and many wonderful friends we have met along the way.  We have enough money to support our RV life style, and we are grateful for each day that we wake up to this truly awesome world God has created for us.  This reminds me of something I've been meaning to say for a while now.  There are some words that seem to be overused and it just drives me crazy.  One such word is "awesome".  Some people use that word to describe almost everything!  "That is an awesome car (or hair cut, or meal, etc)."  When I think about what is truly awesome, I think of God, and the amazing, beautiful world He has created.  We often do see a truly awesome sunset.  The gift of His son Jesus is so awesome it is beyond what any other word could describe.  Somehow I just can't see anything we do as being anywhere near awesome.  Please think about it before you say things are awesome.  The car is nice; the haircut is good; and maybe the meal was delicious, but shouldn't we save "awesome" for what truly deserves that word?

Here's wishing all of you a blessed, and happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead.  Enjoy each day for the gift it is.  Don't dwell on the past, or worry about the future, enjoy the gift that is today.  That's why it's called the present!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas is Almost here!!!!

Can you believe it's only days until Christmas???  We have not yet decorated, because we will be leaving here tomorrow to head back to Wilderness Lakes for the next three weeks.  I do have a Christmas wreath I made hanging outside, but everything else will have to wait until tomorrow.  Tony is coming to visit on Wednesday, so I hope we can have everything festive by the time he arrives.  I may have said this before, but it still amazes me.  I always thought that when we retired we'd have tons of time to do things...........but it still seems like there are just not enough hours in the day for all the things we want to do.  And now I wonder how I ever found time for the job I worked at before retiring.  Alas, I guess I have to start getting up earlier...........and maybe spend less time playing solitaire on my computer.

It has been warm most days here in Palm Springs, but the night are pretty cold (for California, I mean).  The dogs are in no hurry to go outside early in the morning, especially Millie.  But doesn't she look cute anyway?

Last week the news reported that we were going to have heavy rain in many parts of southern California.  Some places got a lot of rain, and they worried about mud slides in "burn scar areas".  Here in Palm Desert we only got light showers, but the next day we were treated to this blessing.  
On the way to pick up mail at the post office we saw this beautiful double rainbow.  I'm sorry the picture isn't better, but the sight was spectacular! 

We got our first Christmas card this week.  It was from our dear friends Ray & Carol.  WOW.  It was a really pretty card.  Thanks guys!  Since we only get our mail forwarded once a month, and we usually get our December mail around the 15th, we usually get most of our cards in the mail in January.  But that's NOT a bad thing as it extends our enjoyment of the Christmas season through an extra month!  You can't complain when the happiest time of the year lasts a little longer.

In regards to our furry kids, I feel I need to make a few comments now.  First, as always please keep your pets safe during this busy time of the year.  With guests, and maybe delivery people, coming and going from your homes, please make sure your pets don't get outside without you knowing it.  Many Christmas plants, like poinsettias are lethal to animals, so place them where pets cannot get to them.  Likewise, holiday foods can make your pets sick, so keep them out of reach.  If you are hosting a party, with lots of guests, it might be best to put pets in a separate room where they won't be frightened by too many people.  Also, some of your friends might have animal allergies, so that might protect them as well.  Please make sure your pets have an adequate supply of clean water, and only pet appropriate foods to eat, and that they stay warm and safe at all times.  Last, but not least, I would like to advise against "surprising" someone with a pet for a Christmas gift.  As you know, I am ALL for pet adoptions, but not necessarily as a Christmas gift.  This is a hectic time of the year, and not the perfect time to try to introduce a new member to a family.  Also, I think the selection of the perfect furry family member must be made BY the family that is going to have the pet.  We always hope adoption will result in a FOREVER home for an animal, but if the pet is not a good fit for the family, that will not be the result.  If you want to give a pet for Christmas, why not give a card indicating that you have paid the adoption fees so the family can go select the pet they want AFTER the holidays are over and life has slowed down a little???
  They should get the right pet for them, like our "perfect for us" pair of loving pets.

 I promised to share a tip in this email.  This tip was sent to me by my friend Nancy Clark in Garden Grove.  You may already know this, but I didn't.  Many of us live in areas where we may experience power outages.  These are especially common in RV parks and campgrounds.  More than once we have come home to see clocks flashing because the power went out and came back on.  We never knew how to tell how long it was out, and if food in the freezer may have defrosted and then re-froze.  With this tip, you will know if food needs to be discarded or if it is safe to keep.  Place a cup of water in your freezer and let it freeze solid.  Then place a coin on top.  If you come back and discover that your power has been out, check the cup.  If the coin is still on top of the ice, your freezer didn't defrost, and your food is safe.  If the coin is on the bottom of the cup, your food has been compromised, and should be discarded.  If the coin is part of the way down in the cup, larger pieces of food are probably safe, but smaller pieces may have thawed and could be at risk.  I think that is a great tip and I thank Nancy for sharing it.  Please feel free to share it with others.

Before I close today, I would again like to remind people to be a little kinder than you need to be.  Unfortunately, many people are extra stressed this time of year.  They are looking for the "perfect" gift for someone special.  They are trying to clean and decorate their homes, send out Christmas cards, and prepare special meals, and desserts for friends and family.  Sadly, instead of enjoying Christmas, they make it into a list of chores they think they MUST get done by December 24th.  May I suggest that instead of trying to do it ALL, you pick a couple things that mean the most to you, and let someone else worry about the rest?  If you are hosting a party, you could ask someone else to prepare some of the food, or even maybe buy some of the foods ready made.  Your guests shouldn't be coming to inspect your house, so don't worry if it isn't perfectly clean.  What needs to be clean is where you prepare foods, and where people are going to be.  Clean the kitchen, bathroom and living room.  Forget about the bedrooms, and relax.  

Jim and I, and the furry kids wish you all a wonderful, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.  Stay well,  and love your family and friends.  That's what Christmas is all about.  And if you are traveling this Christmas, please stay safe on the roadways.

Friday, December 9, 2016

December in Palm Springs

Hi Everyone,

We are settled in at our site in Palm Springs.  We got here on Wednesday, and there were quite a few 50 amp sites open.  In my previous post, I included pictures of a privately owned tiny house we saw at Wilderness Lakes, but here, Thousand Trails is putting in about a dozen of them to rent out.  
Since Palm Springs is a major mecca for "snowbirds," and these Thousand Trails membership parks are very popular with snowbirds, it is certainly no surprise that they jumped on the "tiny house" bandwagon.  These are right across the street from our site.
We were planning on selling products today at their arts & crafts sales, but when Jim spoke to the lady to reserve a table, she said she is booked up for this week AND next.  Imagine our surprise when we went over there today and saw THREE empty tables!  Oh well, it was nice to sleep in this morning.  

Jim is doing great since his cataract surgeries.  He is amazed at how great he can see now, and absolutely blown away by how incredible colors are.  He only has five more days to go on his eye drops, and then he is done.  YAY!!!

As advised, Jim oiled the butcher block cutting board, and we are really, really happy with how it looks, and how it fits in the space.  Charles has agreed to build us a new dining table with a leaf to open it out to seat more people when we need it.  I assured him there is no hurry, but I can't wait to see it when he does get it done!

This is a tiny camper that we saw at Wilderness Lakes.  That's too tiny for us!!!!  

Today we went around the park to see what else we could find here.  Jim had been told there were other tiny houses, besides the white ones the park is putting in.  We saw some "park model" homes here.  Some have been here, and some are fairly new additions to the park.  This is an example of the homes that are here now.
We were delighted to see that some of the folks here are all set up for Christmas.  I love to see the way people choose to decorate their RVs.

 This was at Wilderness Lakes too, and the amazing part is that the head of Jesus is convex shaped, so as you pass it, it looks like He turns to follow you with His eyes.
Aren't these festive looking?  Everybody decorates with their own style.

This is another tiny house here, all jazzed up for Christmas. 
We were slightly amused by this.  As you can see, the name is "Majestic" but for us, anything this small is just not  majestic.  But not every RV we see is being used as a full time home, like ours is.

In my last post, I encouraged each of you to find a way to do something for someone less fortunate than you are during this beautiful Christmas season.  I would like to share with you what we have done so far.  I am NOT telling you this because we are bragging, but maybe to give you ideas.  Our church at Wilderness Lakes decided to give food and gift baskets to 100 needy families in the Menifee area.  We made a donation to that project, and we took two twenty pound bags of Pedigree dog food to a local no-kill animal shelter.  Among other things, my son also gives blankets to the local animal shelter for the dogs.  The only sad part is that the Christmas spirit won't continue all year long for most people.  However, if you want to, you can sign up to donate to a variety of charitable organizations all year long, for less than $20.00 each per month.  A few of these include The Wounded Warrior Fund, the Humane Society, ASPCA, and St. Jude's Hospital.

I know that not everyone is happy about the election results from last month, but the choice was made, and we feel people should accept it.  I was shocked and disappointed by the protests that have gone on in many cities.  Yes, people are free to say whatever they want to, but some of the protests got violent and ugly.  I think that is wrong.  Now we need to get behind President-elect Trump and support him, and pray for him to help make America great again.

Winter is coming, and in many places it has arrived with some very severe weather conditions.  If you live in colder climates, please make sure to do what you need to do to stay safe.  Make sure you have adequate food and water supplies in case you get snowed in and can't go out for things.  Make sure you have your vehicles serviced so you won't be broken down someplace in frigid weather.  RV water hoses need to be heat wrapped so they don't freeze and burst.  In some areas we have been told to leave water lines dripping so they won't freeze.  If you are in an area with a lot of snow and freezing weather, make sure you have salt to spread on the ice so no one falls and gets injured.  Winter weather certainly can be beautiful, but please be sure you take precautions so it won't be dangerous.  

Also, I'm sure you all have seen the news of that extremely tragic fire in Oakland last week.  In light of that tragedy, I want to mention to make sure heating units and fireplaces   are checked and made safe.  Sadly it seems like every year someone dies of fires or suffocation from improperly vented heating units.  If you have elderly neighbors, please check on them to make sure they are OK and keeping warm.  Maybe they need someone to take them to a store to get much needed food or supplies.  We are all part of this Family of God, and we need to help others whenever we can.  

I'll close for now, and wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.