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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

An Unexpected New Adventure

I’m a dreamer!  There’s no doubt about it and my sweetheart does a bit of dreaming, too.  Together we have begun to dream and plan for future days when we will be free to roam a bit farther from home than we can these days.  Our dreaming always includes travel to see parts of our continent we’ve never seen.  Those dreams also include a trailer – what I lovingly call ‘a cabin-on-wheels’.  In the past I’ve shared our sweet, little trailer that we’ve enjoyed for a few years.  I moved right in and made it a home away from home.  It’s been such a gift to us and, if the walls could talk, you would hear of adventures filled with joy and laughter and a few experiences that might make good comedy.
Little TrailerOver the past couple of years we’ve become more and more aware that we needed to have a trailer with some benefits our little one couldn’t provide – like a bed we didn’t have to make up from the sofa every night.  And a bed we could walk around so one person didn’t have to climb over the over (sleeping) person in order to get up.  Space was at a premium but we were fine with that.  We began to dream about the long-term.  In that quest we’ve attended every RV show in our area.  Two every year in Portland and two every year in Salem, Oregon.  In between the shows we’ve often stopped by dealerships to look and dream.  Some of the dealers began to recognize us at the big shows.  In our hearts we knew what we would like to have in the future but we didn’t dream about or consider what we needed now.  We just didn’t know how that could all happen soon.  But, it did!  And we believe God put it all together for us. 

When we go to the shows we don’t look at anything that we wouldn’t consider buying.  We tried to keep our attention focused on real possibilities.  At a recent RV show we had walked miles and miles through two humongous buildings that were packed full – and I do mean full! – of RV’s of every sort.  I don’t know how they do it but the trailers and motor homes and fifth wheels and toy haulers are parked just inches from each other.  You can go into one and look right into the window of another one beside it.  Rows and rows of RV’s with aisles in between can get pretty overwhelming.  Then when you’ve seen everything inside you go outside - there are more parked between the buildings and in the parking lots around the sides and back of the buildings!  Two weeks ago we went to the last RV show of the year.  We looked and enjoyed, stopped for lunch, and then looked some more.  We talked to dealers.  We talked to people who had models we saw and we talked to some who didn't have a clue what they wanted but were having fun.  Just when we thought we had seen the last one I looked around the corner and there were two more parked nearby.  I was tired, my feet hurt and I was ready to go home!  I hoped my sweetheart wouldn’t want to walk over and look at the last trailers.  But he did and I did, and we are SO glad we did.  Our Trailer at the RV ShowIn all of our looking, there’s one model that we’ve loved since we first saw it more than a year ago.  We began to compare everything else to that one.  When I stepped in the door of the first trailer of the two I called out to my sweetheart who was still outside.  I told him he had to come quick – he wouldn’t believe it!  This trailer had the exact floor plan of the one we loved.  It was a different brand but every square inch was the same!  I could hardly believe it.  We looked it all over and soon the dealer came by and noticed us sitting inside.  We talked with him and learned a lot about this trailer.  It had been gently used but in great condition and the price was great!  We looked and talked and looked some more.  All we could talk about as we drove home was that trailer.  The conversation continued through the evening and I was a bit surprised the next morning when my sweetheart said, ‘I really believe that’s our trailer!’  Would you believe we drove back to the RV show, looked it over again, found the dealer and bought it?  Yep, we did!  A few days later we picked it up. . . Blog - New Trailer Heading HomeAnd took it home.
Blog - New Trailer At Home I can hardly believe it.  It still doesn’t seem real – it seems like a dream when I look outside and see it sitting where our little trailer was parked.   I have all kinds of plans for decorating our new-to-us home away from home.  Ideas fill my head and, at times, they just don’t stop. 

I’d love to give you a tour.  Here are photos from the dealer’s website so you get an idea of the space and how things are laid out.  This is a rear lounge model with big windows at the back of the trailer.  The sofa folds down into a bed if we have overnight guests.  Some rear lounge models have a pair of recliners where the sofa is.  We think we will probably replace the sofa with swivel recliners some day.  We want them to swivel so we can turn around the enjoy the views out the big back window!  The shades are down part way in the photos but I keep them up under the valances during the daytime.  I have plans to ‘remodel’ the window coverings one of these days.
Ad Photo - Living RoomAcross from the rear door – which is really the front (entry) door – is the slide out with the dinette, which also makes down into a bed, and a roomy pantry.  There is storage under both sides of the dinette.  You may notice a blur on part of the valance.  It’s not deformed - I tried to erase a huge, red sale price sign that was hanging there when the photo was taken.  On the right you can see part of my little kitchen.  The counters are a composite with a granite look. From here you see part of the entertainment center, which is wonderful. 
Ad Photo - Kitchen and Dinette This gives you an idea of the layout of the main living area.  This photo was taken from the middle of the trailer looking back into the living area.  I call it my open concept ‘great room’!Ad Photo - Living AreaFrom the back – looking toward the front of the trailer you can see more.  On the right is the kitchen – complete with a three-burner gas range with little oven, microwave, a nice refrigerator with freezer and, of course, the sink.  On the left next to the dinette is the pantry and – my favorite – the entertainment center.  The entertainment center has a nice TV and a surround system that includes a radio, CD and DVD player.  It sounds incredible.  There are speakers in the main living area, the bedroom and outside so you can choose which area – or all three – where the sound will be heard.  Give a musician (me) surround sound and she thinks she just may be in Heaven!  The big black ‘thing’ in the lower cabinet is a sub-woofer speaker, part of the surround sound.  It enhances the bass tones.  That’s the speaker you hear when a car goes by with loud booming music coming from inside when the windows are all closed.  We haven’t turned it up to make things rock and roll – but I just might try it someday when nobody’s looking.  Just beyond the refrigerator is a door into the bedroom ‘suite’.  There is a pocket door that goes into the wall behind the entertainment center.  It can be closed (and locked from the other side) for privacy.  The door on the right goes into the ‘potty’ room.  Yes – that’s what's in there.  Just the potty.  Maybe I should call it the powder room.  It’s small but quite adequate.  From here you can see the bed at the front of the trailer.  Ad Photo - Entertainment Center and Kitchen Let’s go into the bedroom and I’ll show you around.  Straight ahead, at the front of the trailer is the queen-size bed.  It’s a bed – a real bed – that we can walk around!  It has a great mattress that is very comfy!  No more pulling the sofa out every night to make up our bed, which we did in our little trailer.  The bedspread and shams are gone now – they are put in trailers just for show.  I imagine there may be people who actually use them but the spread is fitted and quite awkward.  They usually don’t go with the décor new owners envision for the room.  I’ve ordered a new quilt for the bed.  It should arrive in a few days.  The valances match the old spread and they will be recovered or replaced when I get inspiration from the new quilt.  The lambrequins (side pieces on the windows) are going away.  Not only are they too formal for me but they are fabric over a stiff cardboard-type material.  They are clumsy and, at times, seem to be in the way when we walk around the bed.  They will be replaced by a nice tie-back curtain that will give a softness to the window décor.  We will keep the day/night shades.  There is a lot of storage in this bedroom.  The end of the bed lifts up and there is a lot of storage space underneath. You can see the closets on each side of the bed.  Toward the lower right side of the photo you can see a little bit of another closet.  Between that closet and the window on the right is the back door (really on the front of the trailer).  Ad Photo - Bedroom In the lower left corner of the photo above you may notice a sink and a bit of counter.  Many of the new trailers have the bathroom sink outside the 'potty' room these days .  It gives access to the sink when someone else is using what my grandmother called 'the facilities'.  There is a privacy curtain that goes across the entire room on a ceiling track  between the end of the bed and the corner of the sink.   We won’t use it unless we have guests (grandkids) with us.  Next to the sink is a very roomy shower.  Above the shower is a nice skylight – opaque, not clear, so birds and people flying overhead can’t see in!  You may wonder why we like the sink and shower in the bedroom.  My sweetheart was adamant that the next trailer we bought must have a nice dressing area.  This accomplishes that and it works for us.  The pocket door is to the left of the shower, between the bathroom/bedroom area and the living area. Ad Photo - Shower and Sink There you have it.  Our new-to-us trailer where adventures await.  We’ve already taken it to the coast and had some – should I say ‘interesting’? – experiences adjusting to life in a different trailer.  It doesn’t feel like home yet.  It still feels like I’m in someone else’s trailer but I’m told that is normal.  It won’t be long before it’s cozy and familiar and will feel like home.  I’ll share our first outing together at the coast soon.  It was quite an adventure!
Ad Photos - Collage Just so you know, we will be selling the little trailer and – before you ask – NO!  I will not be selling Daffodil.  She is my very own trailer.  She and I have more adventures planned together.

Monday, November 2, 2015

An Autumn Day In The Mountains

I didn’t mean to be gone for so long.  I’ve written a hundred blog posts in my head since I was last here but they never got to my keyboard and on to you!  Everyone here is fine and doing well.  We’ve been busy with a million things that keep us coming and going – things like grandsons’ football games; appointments, shopping and errands with my dear little mother; day trips and a few days away here and there with my sweetheart; and business dealings that take time and energy.  Oh, and a new something in our life that has become part of our life and is giving us adventures we never dreamed possible at this season of our lives.  I’ll share more on that tomorrow.  I will – because I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  It’s a good thing!

A few weeks ago my sweetheart and I took a day trip into the Cascade mountains not too far from home.  My sweetheart wanted to check out a new-to-him deer hunting area that a friend had recommended.  I wanted to scout around with my sweetheart and enjoy the day in the mountains.  It wasn’t long before we began to see familiar scenes that I love!
Up the HighwayThe road took us from the valley where we live, around corners and turns in the road, alongside a beautiful river that flows from the mountains to the valley where it joins two more rivers and heads toward the sea.  Partway to our destination we came to a gorgeous, big lake.  Well, not really!  It’s where a beautiful lake should be – a lake that is usually filled with marinas and boats and people who are enjoying all kinds of water sports.  That’s the normal thing at this spot but it’s not that way anymore.  Instead, it looks like this.  Normally I would have been standing at the edge of the lake to take this photo.  But not this year!  You can see a bit of the lake - really just a river now - at the base of the hills.  The lake should be up to the tree line on those hills across the way.Dry Lake BedTwo years of drought have brought devastation and loss – loss of most of the lake and loss for the business people whose lives depend on the income that life on and around this lake brings.  A river exists where there was once a lake.  The tree stumps you see are all that’s left of a forest that once stood tall here.  The trees were cut down and many years ago a dam was built downstream to control flooding in the valleys below.  The drought has pretty much returned the land to its former state.Lake and MountainOur trip continued as we began to drive higher into the mountains.  The first signs of Fall became evident.  At first, just a little. . .Color in the MountainsAnd then more and more as the altitude changed and the temperatures cooled.More Fall ColorWe stopped along the way several times to walk on trails or see sights we didn’t want to miss.  All the while my sweetheart was checking for signs of deer for his upcoming hunting trip.  My camera seemed to find more places where the colors of Fall were on display.  Oh, how I wished we could stay longer and explore.  Fall Color
We stopped at a place where we expected to see the headwaters of the McKenzie River, a rapidly flowing river that comes from high in the Cascade Mountains.  I have lived by this river twice in my younger years and I was excited when we saw the sign directing us to the place where the river begins its descent down the mountains.  I love bridges and it didn’t take me long to get out of the car and head walk to the middle of this one.
Mountain Bridge Imagine my disappointment when I looked down to see the river and this was all I saw!
Dry River Bed No water!  More signs of the drought that has hit the West Coast over the past couple of years.  The Cascade Mountains are made up of volcanoes that erupted many, many years ago.  Lava flows that covered the countryside are evident everywhere.  It always amazes me to see trees and shrubs and flowers growing in the middle of lava beds.   Lava rock is extremely hard.  You don’t want to walk across the lava beds because the rock is so rugged it will destroy the soles of your shoes in no time at all.  Yet there is beauty in the middle of all of this hard rock.  It seems a bit impossible, but it’s true!
Lava and Color 2 Color and Lava 2
There were other adventures from our day but I’ll save them for another time.  I always enjoy sharing my corner of the world with you.  Oregon is a state of breath-taking beauty.  We have it all – sandy ocean beaches, fertile green valleys full of abundant agriculture, gorgeous high mountain vistas and deserts that have a beauty of their own.   I‘ll return and share more with you soon.  Before I do I want to show you our latest ‘adventure’.  Please come back very soon so I can tell you all about it.