Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Here Again!

It may seem that I've been hiding - but that's not what happened to me!  Life just seems to keep coming faster and faster.  And, then, Spring and Summer came along and I'm positive life picked up speed and went even faster than before! So - here's a bit of what I have been doing while I was away.

Around the first of May my vintage trailer, Daffodil, came out of her winter spot in the corner of the backyard.  She hadn't fared as well as planned through the winter months.  Winter wasn't totally kind to her and there was a bit of work that needed to be done to make things right again. (We know what we will do different next winter!)  Before the work was completed my sweetheart gave her a good 'bath' so I could take her to a girlfriends' camp-out in the mountains between home and the coast.  We had fun and, as always, I learned a few more lessons about life with a trailer.  It seems there's always something that doesn't go quite as planned but that gives me opportunities to experience new things I need to know about life with Daffodil.  Things really began to change shortly after she and I came home from that camp-out.  We took out almost everything that wasn't fastened down and got to work.  Miss Daffodil is getting a makeover!  We had to deal with the issues caused by winter storage.  That gave way to some beautiful changes inside!  We're putting things back together this week and soon - very soon - her new look will revealed.  While she was already the cutest, little trailer you could imagine, soon she will be everything I originally dreamed she could be.  I can't wait to show you what's new!  And I'll share a bit about our camp-out, too.
Around here you never know what's going to happen when you leave the room!  One morning not long ago I got up early.  I let Joey, my little dog, out of his crate where he sleeps at night.  We went through our morning routine - a short trip out to the backyard for him, opening curtains and blinds to welcome the new day for me and then a bit of quiet time to start the day in the living room before activities of the day begin.  I returned to our bedroom to get something and I could hardly believe my eyes!  Someone (!) had put Joey on our bed and that little rascal had made himself right at home in the very spot where I had been sleeping a short time before!
Someone commented on my Facebook page that my sweetheart and I go away from home more than anyone they know!  It may seem that way at first glance but, if you know what our lives involve right now, you know that we are overseeing everything for the care of my dear, little ninety-three-year-old mother.  Her needs are increasing and the load gets heavier as time goes by.  It would be very easy for 'us' to get lost in the demands of the days.  My sweetheart and I believe it's very important to keep that from happening so we take time here and there to get away and spend time together.  One of those times took us on a recent day trip to explore an area not too far from home - an area where we thought we might like to go for a few days of vacation.  We headed south a ways and then turned east toward the mountains.  Around lunch time we passed through a little town part way to our destination.  We decided to stop and eat at a little place along the highway.  We could tell by the full parking lot that it must be a good place for lunch.  Before we could get in the building I spied something I just had to see!  This is the tiniest vintage trailer I have ever seen.  The owner walked by and offered to let us look inside.  It's a guy place so I decided not to take pictures inside.  I could imagine what I would do if it were mine!  It's smaller than Daffodil but absolutely darling. He added an extra long 'tongue' on the front so he can carry two motorcycles.  Certainly not something I would do! 

After lunch we continued on to our destination.  Last year I showed you a 'lake' that had been devastated by drought.  It looked like this when I shared it with you.  It was just a river off in the distance!
This is what it looks like this year.  This was taken from the same spot as last year's photo but not zoomed in as much - and it was a cloudy day so the mountain was hiding.
There's a saying here in Oregon - 'If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes!'  Our trip home from the lake was testimony to the truth of that statement.
 A few minutes later and a few miles farther north.
We did return to the lake for a few days of vacation last week.  I'll share more of that time with you on another day.  My sweetheart spent time early each morning searching for fish!  Although he wasn't as successful as he hoped to be we did bring home fish that went into the freezer for a few future meals.  We had a beautiful campsite and the weather was perfect.  Every evening after dinner my sweetheart took Joey and me for a boat ride on the lake.  We all wore our life jackets - even Joey.
Time on the lake was so refreshing and all the cares of the day that tried to fill my mind just seemed to vanish.  I told my sweetheart, 'This is what life should be!'  I'm totally convinced we should buy a house on a lake so we can take evening rides after dinner every night!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Little Bits of Stuff

I'm checking in again to let you know that I'm still around these parts. I've had a bit of a problem getting photos on my blog so I haven't done any posts recently. My new laptop seems to think everything belongs on 'the cloud' and it kept telling me that's where my photos belong! Well - excuse me - those are my photos and you can't have them Mister Cloud.  I seem to have figured out how to get them back. It worked this time - here's hoping I can soon share more. Since I upgraded to Windows Ten I can't use Windows Live Writer to draft my blog posts so the formatting doesn't turn out the way I want it. Blogger has problems with formatting and it's frustrating when it won't do what it's supposed to do.  I've considered changing to another blog service - and I may do that one of these days. In the meantime, it is what it is!

My sweetheart and I have been busy. As always. Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods and there's yard work and projects galore. Our list of things that must be done before winter returns seems endless but we're working on them. Progress is always a good thing!

We've taken some time off and gone away from home, too. One of my Facebook friends made a comment that we go away more than anyone she knows. I replied and told her that's how we keep our sanity in the middle of everything that life brings our way.  We're retired, after all! We took a day trip to the Oregon Coast not long ago. It was a gray, cloudy day when we arrived.
It wasn't long before the sun came, the day warmed up and we spent time walking on the beach without our coats.
Last week we spent a few days in Central Oregon.  My sweetheart's family gathered at his brother's home with family visiting from out of state. We had a great time together and it was such fun to relax and catch up with each other. We took our big home-on-wheels and spent a couple of extra days in a wooded campground nearby. One evening we had dinner guests come by. A mama deer and her twins came right up with the side of the trailer. The mama knew we were there - she watched us most of the time they were there.
Part of my growing up years were spent in Central Oregon so I always feel at home when I return. I never get tired of the mountain views - I can't get enough of them.
Joey loves it best when we travel with the big trailer because we have to take my sweetheart's pickup. The front seat has room for all three of us and he is one happy dog when he can be sit between us. He loves to look out the window but it's absolutely perfect when he can snuggle down on his blanket and take a nap with the two of us beside him. He's a contented little guy at nap time. It means miles and miles of sweet dreams!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hanging Out With My Friends

If you wonder where I've been and what I've been doing - I've been hanging out with my friends.  It's a habit that started many years ago when I was a young girl.  Proof is in the photo albums my dear mother so lovingly assembled and kept.  That's me in the picture - a very happy, six-year-old girl - with my friends.  I loved my dolls and animals!  I can tell you stories about almost every one of them - and would you believe I still have some that are in the photo? 

Oops, pardon me - I got side-tracked.  It took me a long time to get over the horrible 'bug' that made me sick earlier this year.  It took antibiotics and cough pills for daytime and cough syrup for nighttime and then - viola! - I started to feel better in time to enjoy a visit with one of my very best friends.  We've been friends since college days and we've stayed in touch since then.  We try to get together and do something special every year or so.  This time she flew up here for a week's visit.  During that week we drove to the Oregon Coast to attend a wonderful ladies' retreat.  We had a beachfront lodge room and gorgeous weather.  Add to that a hundred and fifty other ladies to spend time with.  Great speaker - good food - sweet friends, new and 'old'.  What a special time we two had together.

I was there - honest, I was.  You can tell because those are my shoes!  I was enjoying some quiet time out on the patio of the lodge.  Time alone, in the sun, just putting my feet up and relaxing.

Shortly after my friend left to go home I met another dear friend for lunch.  She used to live close by before they moved to Georgia.  She comes often to visit her daughter and we get together when she's here.  Lunch at a new-to-me place in Portland and lots of good catching up made for a very special time.  I took this picture on my way to meet her that day.  Only in Portland would you find a chicken playing a violin on the corner of a busy intersection!
I had such a good time with my friends but I couldn't leave this post without saying that my very best-ever friend and I left town for a few days last month.  My sweetheart and I (and Joey) took our home-away-from-home-on-wheels to the beach for a few days of rest.  We stayed in a new-to-us place and had a quiet space at the end of road in an 'adults only' side of the RV resort.  It was a new experience for us and we had a good time.  Most of the reason we had a good time was because we were away.  Together!

(my sweetheart and Joey walking on the beach)

Other things have been happening around here but those will have to wait for another day. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Day To Remember

Forty-two years ago today was a day that changed my life forever.  Our sweet son, Mr. J., entered the world and our lives - and we've never been the same since.  He brought such joy and things we never dreamed possible to our family.  We are so proud of the way he has grown up - the way he has led his home and family, the caring father he has become - but most of all, the way He loves and serves God with his life.
Happy birthday, dear son.  You forever changed my life!

Then, as if that wasn't enough, God did something else very special on this day eighteen years ago.  We became grandparents to the sweetest girl in the world!  Our lives changed again in ways we  could never have imagined.  Our dear Miss A. was born on this date - sharing a birthday with her uncle.  It was like God added frosting to the cake of life!  Today she is a great young lady with hopes and dreams and plans for life.  We are very proud of her and can't imagine what life would be like without her.  Happy birthday to our sweet oldest grandchild - our first granddaughter!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I'll Be Back Soon. . .

But first, I'm trying to clear my head!

A nasty cold grabbed hold of me a couple of weeks ago and it doesn't want to let go.  At first it seemed to be a light thing - something that was going away day-by-day.  Then it 'recycled' with a vengeance and has hung on with fury.  I am better but this is taking much longer than I had hoped.  In the middle of all of this I was scheduled to sing and play for the memorial service of a sweet older man from our church.  Two or three days before the service I completely lost my voice.  As I tossed and turned in my bed one of those nights I devised a 'Plan B' that I never had to put in place.   And I prayed.  Oh, how I prayed.  I asked others to pray.  God answered prayer and gave me strength and voice enough to minister in music at a beautiful service that honored a life well lived.  Then I came home and crashed!  Each day is a little bit better.  I think!

But, my mind - the part that hasn't been taken up by this 'bug' - has been busy thinking of things I want to share and photos I want you to see.  So, please be patient.  I will be back soon.  Yes, I will!

Oh, and that Christmas header?  Don't worry about it.  I will get it changed one of these days.  Or, maybe I'll just be early for the holidays later this year!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Another New Year

Somehow last year has quietly slipped away and we’ve turned the calendar to another new year!  A long time ago my dear father told me that time seems to move faster the older you get.  I didn’t believe it!  It didn’t make sense to me back then – but it does now.  I know what he meant.  Each year seems to go faster than the year before.

Two thousand fifteen was a hard year in many ways.  Commitments to things that required much prayer and wisdom, watching the decline of my dear, little mother, loss of a grandbaby born too soon and so much more.  But in the middle of it all, there was so much to be thankful for.  Time with dear ones, answered prayer, seeing God’s hand in things that seemed impossible.  Birthdays celebrated, grandchildren’s smiles – hearing them say ‘I love you’ – and more than we could ever have imagined.  Hearing God’s voice give direction, peace in our hearts when things seemed to go wrong, knowing we are right where He wants us to be for this time and surprises He planned long before we knew about them.

Over the last few years I’ve listened for God’s still, small voice to my heart – listened and waited for Him to give me a word for the new year.  A word that would be an anchor, a reminder, an encouragement and – at times – a challenge.  Many words came to mind through the last weeks of this past year but one was like a flashing neon sign in my heart.  It’s a word that I’ve had before and I wondered if I was missing something.  Shouldn’t I have a new word?  But God kept bringing it to mind in ways I couldn’t miss.  So, I embraced it and gave it much thought.  It might be just another word to you but I know God has things for me to learn as I live out this word through this new year.  My journey may try to pull me away from this word.  At times it will be hard to let it show through my life – at other times it will be easy.  As this new year – and this ‘new’ word - takes hold in my heart I feel a bit of excitement to see how this is going to play out.  How is God going to use this word?  How is He going to use me because of what this word can show through my life this year?  How will I grow because He’s working this in the deepest parts of my life?

My word for the new year is J-O-Y!  Sometimes simple.  Sometimes not, but the thing that’s most important for me to remember – no matter what’s going on around or inside of me – is that JOY has nothing to do with circumstances.  It has nothing to do with emotions.  It has nothing to do with my attitudes.  It is His JOY shining through me.  His JOY speaking to the hearts of dear ones or strangers.  The Bible has much to say about joy.  It makes it very clear that JOY isn’t something I can drum up, paste on my face or put on like a coat.  The Bible tells me that ‘the Holy Spirit [God’s Spirit] produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!’ (Galatians five)

So, for this new year, I choose JOY!

  ‘Joy does not simply happen to us.
We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.’
Henri J.M. Nouwen

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Adventures At The Beach

In my last post I showed you our new-to-us home-away-from-home.  Thank you for your sweet comments.  Yes, it seems like a palace instead of a travel trailer.  I’ve already begun to add a few of our own touches here and there but there will be many more.  I’ll share them with you soon.  It will be an ongoing process.

We picked up our trailer from the dealer on a Friday.  We were given a tour of the trailer, complete with explanations of all most of the ‘systems’ involved.  Some things we knew from our years with our little trailer.  Those things weren’t new to us.  Other things were new because our little trailer didn’t have all the bells and whistles this one does.  That was Friday.  On Saturday I moved things I wanted to use from the little trailer to the big trailer.  It wasn’t long and we had everything we would need for the first trip in the new trailer.

In September we made reservations to return to our new favorite campground on the Oregon Coast in October.  I shared our late summer adventure at this campground here.  We planned to take our little trailer for one last excursion this year before putting it ‘to bed’ for the winter.  Then, before that happened, we bought our new trailer.  I quickly called and changed our reservation to a bigger site that would accommodate the longer length of the new trailer.  When we arrived we were thrilled to spend a few days with wonderful views of the sea from inside our cozy dwelling.  I spent a lot of time looking out the big back window. 
Tillicum Beach - Through the Window
At times I opened the door and just stood there to savor the view.
Tillicum Beach - Through the Door That area was our own little ‘yard’ – just for our site.  It was just a few steps from the door of the trailer.  We could stand at the fence along the edge of the bluff and see –what seemed like - forever.
Tillicum Beach - At the FenceWe had some pretty amazing adventures with our new-to-us-trailer.  Things didn’t start out well!  Because we are seasoned trailer people we knew the basics.  We knew exactly what to do to get a trailer ready to roll and we knew how to work most of the systems in this big trailer.  Or, at least we thought we did.  The dealer had walked us through the trailer and around the outside and explained everything.  Or, had he?  There were still lessons to be learned:
  • Not everything in every trailer the same.
  • Be sure that the refrigerator and freezer doors are firmly latched before you take off!  Don’t take anything for granted.  Just because the refrigerator door looks like it’s closed and latched securely doesn’t mean it is.  You have to check it to be sure.  Double-checking wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
  • When the refrigerator door opens and a dozen eggs fall out on the floor while you’re going down the road, they roll – and break.  And scramble.  And get all over anything in their way.  You may be surprised how far broken eggs can run in all directions as you merrily make your way to the beach!
  • A good egg wash shines vinyl floors!
  • Don’t assume that the fresh water pump works exactly the same way as in the old trailer when you are ‘dry’ camping (camping without being hooked up to a water faucet – drawing water from your big fresh water tank that you fill for times like this). 
  • Water pumps  in trailers need to be primed when they’ve been ‘run dry’ when tested by the dealer. 
  • The service manager at the dealership where you bought your trailer will be happy to talk to you on the phone and tell you the ins-and-outs of priming your fresh water pump.
  • You can go for a day and a half without water in a travel trailer – especially when there’s a water faucet across the street and you have a couple of big pans or a jug to carry it to your trailer. And it’s a good thing you are parked just across from the very nice restrooms!
  • Not all hot water heaters work the same way in all trailers – but, with another call to the dealer’s service manager you can learn what someone should have told you when they walked you through and showed you how all the systems work.
  • Once you have fresh water pumping through your faucets and hot water you don’t have to heat on the stove – be grateful!  Don’t take it for granted.  There are people in the world who would give anything to have the luxury of fresh water.
  • After all the lessons are learned – LAUGH!!!
We had guests visit us while we were at the beach.  We didn’t expect them but they must have decided that we were pretty nice people because they came by more than once.  One little kitty seemed a bit braver than. . .
Tillicum Beach Kitty The other two.
Tillicum Beach - Two KittiesWe saw them resting in the sun near our trailer.  Then we saw them again when we returned from a walk on the beach the next day.  They were waiting at the door for us - relaxing in the sunshine on our welcome mat!  They let me get fairly close before they scampered off down the road and into the bushes.  We wondered if they belonged to someone who lives in the homes next to the campground.  One evening we saw a mama cat strolling through the campground like she knew where she was going.   Maybe, she was rounding up those babies to come home for dinner.

Our last day at the beach was different from our first two.  The weather changed and dark clouds rolled in.
Tillicum Beach CloudsIt rained in the night and we woke to a gray day the next morning.  As I looked out my little kitchen window I was glad to see that the rain had stopped.
Tillicum Beach - Kitchen Window ViewThere was time for one more walk on the beach before we packed up and headed home.
Tillicum Beach - Gray DayWe enjoyed our time on the beach but it ended too soon and it was time to head back to our trailer to get ready to head home.  From the beach we looked up and saw our trailer.  It was hard to believe it was really ours.
Tillicum Beach - Trailer From the BeachWe have a process for getting things ready to travel.  My sweetheart takes care of the outside tasks and I make sure everything inside is situated so it will travel safe.  This time I made sure the refrigerator door was securely latched – now that I knew what to do! - and I checked it several times. My sweetheart came inside and he checked it, too.  We’ve had enough experience cleaning up raw eggs that have broken all over the floor.  We don’t need to do that again!  Just to be safe – I hard-boiled the remaining eggs shortly before we left.  Just in case!  Soon everything was securely in place, the trailer was hooked up to the trailer and we were ready to go.
Tillicum Beach - Truck and TrailerI never want to leave the beach but I always know I will return again.  A piece of my heart is there and there’s no doubt it will call me back again.  Each time is special.  We’ll always have sweet memories of those few days at the beach with our new trailer.  And lessons learned.