Heart Disease: Metabolic Syndrome


We are a bit behind in our Travel posts. But we have been a bit consumed with our health concerns. Fortunately, it looks like we are on the road to recovery and hope our journey down this road might encourage others to have the best health possible!

Real life....

IMG_0851 April 2017. Bill has lost over 40 pounds and I’ve lost over 20. We didn’t try to do this, just changing our diet caused the weight to literally melt off! Our before picture is below.

Have you ever heard of Metabolic Syndrome? If you are like us, we never did, until December 22, 2016 when Bill was informed he had it. He was still reeling from the fact the week prior, he was told he was at risk for a massive heart attack and/or had heart disease. Like everyone who gets such a scary diagnosis, you never imagine it could happen to you.

In one way, it was a relief! It explained why Bill couldn’t lose a pound when he tried! We are a very active couple, living a lifestyle that demands activity. Or else, we chose this lifestyle because we love activity!

We love the outdoors, either to take…

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Heart Disease


From my personal blog. Our winter travels are officially over, but still have a few more blog posts. This post was what we were coping with all winter as we learned about heart disease and learned a new way of eating and better exercising. We also learned a lot about traveling although it’s been 3 1/2 years! We know one thing, we’re going to keep on keepin’ on!

Real life....

7 (1) Aren’t we the picture of health? Photo taken August 2016 Is it just us, or has anyone else noticed something interesting about pharmaceutical commercials these days? They show a good-looking couple, middle-aged (whatever that is to the viewer) out having fun: bike riding, playing golf, playing with their child or grandchild, walking and holding hands in a romantic setting? (Maybe like this picture?) Then the commercial begins, “See your doctor about taking XYZ drug.” Then in fine print and a VERY low and fast voice, you are warned that this drug could cause paralysis, blindness, heart attack, or some other more serious cause of death? And then as soon as that is over, a law firm advertises: ”If you have ever taken such and such drug and you have cancer, it’s been determined that drug caused the cancer and we will sue for $millions for YOU!” What’s with this?

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Growing Old Together!


I wrote this on my personal blog. But it fits here under our marriage category!
And I always pray when I learn of another couple divorcing. My heart aches for them. We understand. We’ve been through it. And then we had a miraculous reconciliation! That’s our hope and prayer for all concerned!

Real life....

Previously used in Arpita’s Life as guest blogger.

We’ve been members of and active in three churches. In the last church, I was on the visitation team. I loved visiting our shut-ins and people who just needed a friendly visit. Most of those I visited were on the elderly side, generally, 80 and older. I relished the wisdom they shared as we talked. Several of them said things to me that I’ll never forget and some I want to model into my old age!

One very dear man was bordering on depression. He had been such an active and very giving man. Always wanting to help others. He also used to do visitation, but now, he was the one in need. As we talked about his days growing up on a farm, he said he wished he knew he would live to be so old. He would not have played so…

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A tribute to my step-dad


Beautiful couple!

Beautiful couple!

What a blessing Clifford Duncan was to our family. He and my mom married in July 2003. Mom was beginning to lose her vision, but he gave her a new vision: Travel!

My mom and dad were married 54 years when he passed. Cliff and his first wife, Hazel, were married 49 years when she passed. So both knew the joys, tribulations and blessings a long marriage brings. Losing his wife was difficult. Talk about lonesome! He told me he prayed for a wife. And did I ever imagine my mom was praying for a husband? No, but in spite of living near family, she was lonely and with her loss of vision, her life was becoming more lonesome.

So that was the scenario when my middle sister and Cliff’s oldest daughter “fixed” them up after he had recently lost his wife to cancer. He and Hazel traveled extensively in an RV around the country, including to Alaska in a motor home! They started small and owned about every type they make. My parents owned a travel trailer, but they kept it in an RV resort. Mom always wanted to take it on the road, but my dad was a home body….so she finally got on the road with her new husband.

They dreamed of traveling cross-country together.   While Cliff and Hazel traveled extensively, it was mom’s dream. Mom especially wanted to make it to California to see one grandson and his family. He and his wife had four children, but it had been years since she saw them. Did I mention their ages? Mom was a spring chicken at the age of 79 and Cliff was on the older end of 69!  You really couldn’t tell they were 10 years apart in ages. Oh, if mom could see and read this, she’d be mad I’m telling her age (she’s now 92). So shhhhh…..

They began their journey, after selling his home, to be full-time travelers. And at the time, that was the last thing we ever dreamed of doing, ourselves (ha and look at us now). But we did admire them. My middle sister and her husband bought a Class A motor home and traveled with them for a while. And much of the time was spent in Florida so my husband and I would ride our motorcycle to visit them.

Full Time Travelers

They weren’t on the road long when they began to think they needed “roots.” Cliff had heard about a place in Alabama, where you could own your land and have full hook ups for your motor home. I said, gently, at your ages, you may want to live near one of your six children! Mom had 3 and he had 3. Well, since we lived in Florida, I always say we won that lottery! They moved near us. And my middle sister bought a snow bird home there was well. And eventually, Cliff’s oldest daughter and her husband semi-retired and moved there as well. So we had lots of great family times and especially for the holidays.

We kids helped put on a  beautiful and simple wedding. Then we entered the life of a blended family with six adult children.

Wedding Party

I loved Cliff right away because one thing he told me early on was that he reads the Bible every morning and had since 1994. And then he began reading it to my mom every morning. He was a regular church attendee as well. Mom always wanted the continuity of church membership. Cliff became such a wonderful blessing to her, how could I not learn to love him like a dad? And at my age, that was not going to be easy, but we quickly bonded.

Cliff and mom became active in their new church.  It had an outreach ministry to the community with a used clothing store. They worked in it faithfully until it closed.  I can’t begin to say all they did, but they were very active until recently. They even began to bowl with a group of friends from Sunday school. Imagine my nearly blind mom bowling. Yep and she wasn’t too bad.

Their days of traveling in the motor home soon came to an end after mom suffered a serious fall in one of the parks. It was so sad to see them have to slow down, but at their age, it was worrisome to all of us kids to know they were on the road full-time. They really didn’t plan their trips, just started driving, and then used an RV membership to find a place to stay over.

Eventually, Bill became more vocal about wanting a motor home, so Cliff helped him want it even more. They could talk for hours about the dream. We fell into a rhythm, where we mainly were together for the holidays. They did take occasional trips and eventually, their favorite place was Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

We did little things for them around the house that were difficult for them. In particular, I helped maintain Cliff’s computer. He amazed me at how he liked to stay up with everyone via email. We even got him and mom on Facebook to better stay in touch with family. But mom really struggled with it due to her vision loss. Bill considered him a friend.

Cliff was a real patriot. I love seeing the American Flag hanging outside of homes. It seems the only people who fly the flag were in the military. And that was Cliff. He served a tour of duty in the Army.

What was there not to like? He and mom were very loyal to each other. But they never imagined Cliff would pass first. But he did have a number of health issues. He is survived by five siblings, with only two siblings older, and he was the first to pass.  He was just so engaged in life, it was just hard to hear that he was terminally ill. He was diagnosed the end of March. He called each of us kids to let us know. We were in Talbot Island, Florida at the time, getting ready to head to Virginia, to be at our daughters April 1. What should we do? We didn’t think long about it. We turned our rig around and headed south and spent a week with them.  It was tough. He was told he had two months to live, maybe six if he took treatments. He decided to fight it and survived over eight months.

We also managed to visit them over Mother’s Day, then spent a month with them in September. We all thought the end was near, but he seemed to improve and the hospice nurse finally said he could last six more months or even six years. So he had a second chance and he began to get out and walk as well as change his diet to help his body heal from the radiation and chemo. He began to gain weight and felt like eating out again.

Life was good…and then, a few weeks ago, he became miserable with pain. The hospice nurse came and had another nurse come to help him. They ended up sending him to the Emergency Room. He took a turn for the worse….and in about two weeks, he quietly passed from this world into the arms of Jesus. My oldest sister traveled there to help mom as my sister and I were unable to go help. But we were there in prayer. Mom stayed with him in the Good Shepard Hospice House for the 10 days he was there. My oldest sister traveled there to be with her as his local daughter had a prearranged travel obligation arranged with her sister. They were both with him over Thanksgiving. They thought they would see him when they returned. But no, he didn’t make it.

So now to reflect. Just like my dad when he was terminally ill, he never cursed God for the disease. And more important, like Job as told in the Bible. Both accepted their fate. And Cliff kept his faith to the end, saying he didn’t understand it, but he accepted it. He and mom tried their best to be prepared, but there is just no way to really prepare for the loss of a loved one.

We seek our solace in the Bible. We understand life is short. And our bodies are only temporarily here on this earth. We know we will be reunited for eternity.

 LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. Psalm 39:4

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

An update, sort of….


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2015 ICE, Gaylord Hotel

Phew, what a journey we have been on since we first attempted to leave Myrtle Beach. Since purchasing our 40 foot Class A motorhome this past May, we’ve really tried to travel at a leisurely pace. But things keep coming up to hinder our desire – or to cause us to hasten our journey. While we do completely enjoy our new spacious and luxurious home (but with a minimalist theme), we miss our nibble X-tra Lite 5th wheel that handled speed a little better.

Here is a synopsis of our journey from mid-November to today (December 9, 2015.)

Arrival:  We wrote about our difficulty getting out of Myrtle Beach here to arrive at our current location. We are near our daughter and her family (including our two precious grandsons).  Our total stay will be about six weeks.  While we averted a major disaster (and those of us in the lifestyle know that is always a possibility), the worst part is we arrived here a bit un-rested to begin helping our daughter as she returned to work after three months of maternity leave. The oldest is now two years old and three months and the baby is three months old. At our age (eligible for social security), we don’t have the energy we would prefer to have as we care for these precious boys. We’ve heard being grandparents helps keep a person younger. We are sure hoping for this!  Anyway, we wanted to arrive a day ahead to set up camp and get “acclimated” to our new environment – from the beach to a forest-type campground. And REST from the trip. Since we didn’t have that luxury, we set up “camp” quickly and then headed off to pick up our two-year-old grandson from daycare. Once at home, we packed his overnight bag and he spent the night. He loves our motorhome and we love having him spend the night. Rest is over-rated, right?

Getting in the swing of things: Aside from wanting to be with our daughter and her family for the holidays, our main reason for being here is to take care of our infant grandson while our daughter returns to work. We don’t want the baby in daycare until as long as possible….so we hope to have him ready for daycare by the end of December/early January.  While we wished we could keep him out of it, his parents both work and we just can’t do it at this time. Bill told our daughter before she had children, he would not help her raise them….but he is eating his words a bit….he can’t get enough of them and time will tell what happens down the road….

New adventure:  In the past 10 years, at any of our church congregational events, I was usually seen holding a baby. What a great legacy to be known as a lover of babies! And the greatest privilege was to be asked to help take care of 6-week old infant twins. That really got my juices going to one day be a grandma. And people told me frequently I would be a wonderful grandma. So when our first grandson was to arrive, we did change our lifestyle to see him more (sold everything and began traveling full-time).  Aside from being present at the birth of #1 grandson (and subsequently #2), we also took care of #1 for a month to also keep him out of daycare a little longer after our daughter returned to work. What a time of joy and special bonding that was! But at this same time, Bill was beginning to live his dream of traveling. And I was on board, but I’m very torn….I want it all!!!

So we are now watching #2 grandson as we did with #1. But we are two years older. And sadly, we are now 30 minutes away from their house, rather than the 10 minutes the first time.  So all that to say, the JOY of this new baby is like an adrenaline rush! I am getting up very early to be at my daughter’s house by 6:15. In essence, I put in a 12 hour day, not including the commute. While here at the house, since he does sleep a lot, I help with housework, laundry and shopping. Bill is the chief cook! And then we play and enjoy our grandsons to the fullest.

We love our daughter tremendously, but honestly, we don’t remember all these fun times with her as we are having with our grandsons.  Since we both also worked full time, we just don’t remember much about her early months and years. So how wonderful now as grandparents, we get to experience the awe and wonder as we watch these babies and toddlers go through as they explore life.  We are cherishing our time here, but it is winter and cold….so we will depart the end of December or first of January for warmer climates.

Grandson #2 is helping us etch into our minds the beauty of birth and dependence of precious children on the adults around them.  It is like a new adventure with #2!

How is our new home handling winter?  When we bought our 5th wheel, a sticker by the entrance door said, “Polar Pack.” And we latched on to the statement while the salesman warned us, it didn’t mean it could go much below freezing. And we discovered it didn’t like freezing weather as our pipes froze on us as we fled south last January.  Remember the polar vortex that hit the east coast of the US?  We couldn’t outrun it….

We are happy to report we are very pleased with our new home. While it doesn’t have any type of “polar pack,” it has better insulation. We have been able to keep it toasty warm for our grandsons when they come to stay overnight. That is huge! We also learned a few lessons last winter. For one, we now have an insulated and heated water hose. We also did learn a few other tricks for surviving in freezing temps. I’ll save that for a later post….after we bonafide survive this winter!

What are our fun adventures besides our Monday-Friday routine?  During the week, we also still have our own responsibilities, like processing the mail, balancing the checkbook, seeing doctors for routine stuff us older folks have to deal with, grocery shopping, and for Bill, to keep our vehicles clean and shiny! We are constantly asked if our home is a 2015 or 2016! Everyone is shocked it is a 2010! Yep, Bill keeps it polished! But come the weekend, we do want to have fun with the family.

Here are some links for a sneak preview about the fun we have been having: We started out with our visit to the ICE 2015 Christmas at the Gaylord National Resort;  a day trip to the Shenandoah National Park to hike; a return to Williamsburg, a family tradition; and more!

We are also enjoying our Sunday morning times of corporate worship at Spotswood Baptist Church. We especially love attending church during the Christmas season. It just makes it really Christmas, singing Christmas carols and hymns about the birth of our Lord and Savior! I wrote a blog, here, about this past service.

So that is all the good. Sadly, we also experienced the sad part of life. I remember being told as a child, there are three things you can count on in life: births, death and taxes.

Bill and I have already experienced the death of our dad’s.  I was so blessed to have a dear step-dad, Cliff Duncan when my mom remarried after being alone for five years.  Mom did pretty well, but she began to lose her sight. And then my middle sister and his oldest daughter “fixed” them up. He had recently lost his wife.

Cliff loved traveling in an RV. He and his first wife traveled extensively around the country, including to Alaska in a motorhome! They started small and owned about every type they make. My parents owned a travel trailer, but they kept it at an RV resort. Mom always wanted to take it on the road….so she finally got on the road with her new husband.  My tribute to him..

There is A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:3-8

Changing Our Minds, Part 3


  • ChangeIs it possible to change after a crisis? According to one scientific study, not many people do. This research was conducted on 3,700 people (for more research on “change”, visit National Institute for Health.) Actually, I’ve attempted to quote the pastor at the church we attended last week,

Could you change if it was really important? A study of 3,700 people who were diagnosed with high cholesterol determined only one in 10 can….They were told for their health, they need to take one pill a day. By the 3rd month, 1/2 had stopped taking the pill to lower it. Then, a year later, only 1/3 continued to take the life-saving medicine. The reason? The pills reminded them they were sick. So the bottom line was, they didn’t resist the change, they resisted being changed.

We couldn’t believe the sermon this week sounded like what we needed from the sermon the week before, Changing Your Minds. Maybe this is what I (Debbie) need to really make that final change I have been struggling with for over 40 years!

To be very honest, I’ve noticed I’m not the only wife with this “problem.” Bill was happy to hear I really am serious about tackling this with our new lifestyle. Those 400 or so square feet we now live in means we REALLY need to get along. And for the most part, we do, almost all the time. If you’ve read some of our first posts about our marriage (we divorced after 13 years only to experience a miracle and remarry a year later), you’d know we are like most married couples. We started out thinking we are the perfect couple and we will have the best marriage ever. And then eventually, reality hits and again, like most marriages, we began to experience the common issues men and women have. Disagreements.

When we remarried, we vowed we would do it right the second time and we honestly gave ourselves over to the Lord for His guidance. We recently shared as guest bloggers on Aprita’s World, what we feel is about the best advice we can give young marrieds. So you would think we have the perfect marriage now.

Well, we are working on it and as our last post shared, there is hope if we allow the Lord to work in our lives. So the challenge the week after the sermon was to see how it played out. And then we had another “detour” to our vacation in Myrtle Beach. This time, our daughter needed some help. The solution was for us to drive 400 miles one way to pick up our oldest grandson. We actually had tried to get her to come for a week with both grandsons, but we know traveling with a newborn and an active toddler wouldn’t be easy.

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We had a great time with him, but our focus was purely on him and only him! So no time for me to see if I had really changed, but something told me, I hadn’t. As we dealt with him, I couldn’t help but ask, “Lord do I act like a two-year-old toddler when you are trying to get me to do the right thing?” You know what I mean, “I want to do it MY way!” Oh, our patience was tested. We worked as a beautiful team, keeping him safe and helping explore a new world, the beach, and gardens.

Off to church, we went on Sunday, taking him along to enjoy the church nursery. He had a grand time and we got what we needed, the sermon topic was “Principles for Change.” We chuckled as we read the bulletin, God had a message for us again! But the scriptures seemed an odd place to focus on change, or were they?

Mark 2:2-12

The healing of the paralyzed man

This familiar story is about the paralyzed man who had so much faith, he asked his friends to take him to see Jesus. However, he didn’t realize how hard it would be to see him. He was in a crowded building and the only way in was to make a hole in the roof and be lowered into the presence of Jesus. And the friends did exactly that. The result, Jesus knew of the man’s great faith and said,

Verse 5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Verses 11-12. “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The sermon continued. Through the power of God, we can change. We become new creations. Old things become new. Much like this paralyzed man. Didn’t he experience change? Our lives change, too, when we meet Jesus. Bill and I have both changed drastically since we both met Jesus in our younger days. But it is a life long process to get to where we want to be. To really change! We know we have to want to change. But I’ve wanted to change this “quirk” and it’s taken longer than we want. Come on Pastor, help me see what more I need to do!

We have to ask, how do we prepare to change? Much like the paralytic. The first principle is to be surrounded by friends and family with faith. He had four friends he trusted and depended upon! And then as we met the Lord, we first need to allow our hearts to be changed. And that is acknowledging we are sinners and are in need of a savior. Jesus clearly saw the man’s heart and his faith. So his sins were first forgiven and then he was able to walk.

Psalm 103:2-3 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases….

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We need to ask ourselves, who are my friends? W hat is their faith? Do we realize our faith can be seen, so do we see their faith? Let’s go back to verse 5: When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” And like these four men, their faith was evident. Let’s look at some Proverbs for wisdom about our friends:

Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.

In other words, if you want to see positive changes, you want to be surrounded by people of faith who are wise! I’m thankful my husband is very wise! And we are blessed with friends and family who are also living for the Lord.

This paralyzed man needed friends to help him. Then he caught their faith as they brought him to Jesus. No one wants to be a bother, but to change, we need to bother others. To confess our sins not only to God but to each other.

The process is to first seek the PARDON or forgiveness. And that was what he did, by approaching he Lord, even if on a mat! Then to accept the POWER of the Lord, “take up your mat.”  And finally, allow Jesus to work from the inside out. First the forgiveness and then he could walk!

So how do I apply this? Today, we had to miss church due to the round trip to return our grandson. Instead, as we rode, we talked and talked….about this matter!

So here are some notes from our discussion. I wish I could have taped it. We do talk about the state of marriage a lot. Because we are surrounded by married people. And we want the best for them…but like us, they need to WANT the BEST for their marriage.

Here are a couple of thoughts from our discussion:

  • Interesting how our culture wants marriage for all. But it is only for the alternative marriages that the media seems to promote. If we want to talk about a covenant marriage as designed by our Creator, if we are a believer in the God of the heavens and earth, then we are seeking to be married as God intended it.
  • When a man talks harshly to wife, he is called an abuser. When wife does it, she’s “just a nag.” Men say they don’t hear their wives when they are nagging them. Have you noticed, you don’t hear jokes about wives tuning out husbands, but wives say it all the time. Oops, I do accuse Bill of not hearing me. So maybe I am a bit of a nag at times. I need to watch my what comes out of my mouth. Instead of saying, “Bill do this or that!” Say, “Bill, would you mind doing this or that?” Geez, is that all I need to do?
  • As we finalized our minimalism – After 40 years together, about all we kept were our family pictures. They define who and what we are. When people divorce, what happens to the pictures? We decided when we divorced, we would give them to our daughter. How do you think she would have enjoyed them? Looking at all the fun times we had? Would she feel joy or sadness? Happiness or heartbreak? We’re so thankful we are continuing to make family memories in our pictures.
  • We don’t teach children how to be married. They pick it up watching parents and world around them such as TV. What kind of marriages are being promoted? All we can do is pray our daughter sees our marriage as different from what is promoted. In fact, we are so happy to say she has told us more than once, she is so grateful she was raised by two parents who love each other, and her. And now that we have grandchildren, this is even more important as we help her as needed.
  • Going deeper, Bill no longer lets me tell him what to do anymore! Now that’s the CHANGE I needed. He’s a grown man, a college graduate, who graduated with honors as he likes to remind me!
    He asked me, “Do you know how it makes me feel when you try to direct me? Is there something wrong with me?” Oh NOOOOO!!!! I’m so blessed I have such an honorable and wise husband. What’s wrong with me that I continue to do this?
  • Fortunately, we have a desire to succeed! We want it all!!! So I just have to ask for forgiveness, once again. This is not the first attempt at this….but this is the last.

My dear husband, please forgive me once again for telling you what to do. I’ve really worked on this and I’m sure I get it now! Friends, will you hold me accountable?

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Aren’t we happy grandparents? With our two month old grandson this weekend.

For more about the Change our Lord wants accomplished in all mankind, visit http://thelordiswithus.com/2015/10/27/the-new-true-self-must-increase-the-outer-man-must-decrease/

Changing our minds, Part 2


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Our site on Saturday. Forgot to take a picture with the blue sky!

Warning: This post contains sensitive matters related to our marriage and spiritual lives.

We arrived in Myrtle Beach on Friday, October 9. The weather was beautiful, as it usually is after a storm. In this case, Hurricane Joquin. We liked our site and got settled in quickly. Then off for a three-mile walk on the beautiful beach. We had a wonderful sunset and visited with neighbors. All and all, a great first day.

Saturday, the rain began. Could this campground handle it? While there had been some flooding with the hurricane, it had dried by the time we arrived. And yes, thankfully it and the area survived another full day of rain. We managed to get in another three-mile walk before it started. We decided with as many campers we saw, we best get to Camping World and see if they would be able to install a new washing machine. YES, as busy as they were, they booked us in on Monday morning at 8:00.  Hooray! For those who’ve followed our journey into buying the motor home, you know this is a BIG deal. (One main reason we wanted the motor home was for the washer and dryer capabilities. “Sharing” them in some campground laundry mat is less than ideal. When we bought it, we were told they both worked. But the washer didn’t….and that is fiasco is documented here.)

We were starting to decompress, so how great we were able to walk six miles in our first two days!  But we didn’t really talk about where we would go to church in the morning, which we normally do the night before. We did like the church services they have at this campground, so I assumed that would be where we would go.

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We woke up early and over breakfast, Bill suggested going to a “real” church. It comes out he was a bit tentative about the campground service. I googled First Baptist Churches (seems the best go to for us of late) and discovered their services were 8:30 or 11:00. If we hurried, we could make it. So we began to hurry. Debbie more so than Bill. You see, I want to do what he preferred. I’m fine where ever, as long as we go. But really, what is “church?” It’s not a building. It’s us!

While our new home has lots of space, it can get a bit tight if we are both in a hurry to go somewhere, like church. And we did have a collision this Sunday! It was really my fault. I was “directing” Bill (and that’s my 40-year-old quirk). He didn’t appreciate it….so long story short, we couldn’t make it to the 8:30 service. So off we went to the 9:00 campground service.

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The “church” service is held in the Rec room, next to the campground store.

What a surprise to see it was packed. The first row was open and we arrived right before 9. Of course, we got the prime seats! Bill is an introvert, so he hates having to walk in front of everyone…We had a welcome song and we really felt comfortable being in a church full of people like us, travelers, campers, and “visitors.”  Then Chevelle Turner led us in “Let’s Just Praise the Lord” and “People Need the Lord.”  Her voice is amazing and these songs were old time favorites. Then let the preaching begin.

I was on the edge of my seat as I knew the Lord has a special word for us since we had our little “collision.” And it wasn’t just bumping into each other. It was grating on each other’s nerves! Isn’t that how Sunday mornings are for everyone? LOL

Sermon title, “Changing Your Mind” and it was so geared towards, me, Debbie. (Maybe Bill will feel the same for himself. He hasn’t said yet!)

The texts were from the book of Romans and italics are mine for emphasis of this blog:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

And Romans 8:5-9

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.  The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

Ok, so these seem like some pretty scary scriptures, but I knew we were in for a challenge. And we knew this was the message we needed to hear. So true confessions time, again. Very few people know a side to me (only close family) that we affectionately call, “little Larry” after my dad. Dad was a brilliant man, IQ wise, but socially, he struggled. He would fly off the handle over the little things. Needless to say, I tend to get irrational with Bill on rare occasions, but what happened this morning was one of those times. I KNOW I need to change my mind….

The pastor started out by telling us these scriptures mean it is a continuous process and it occurs from the inside out. The mind is described as housing our attitudes, thoughts, feelings, actions. These things are learned as babies are not born prejudice or with bad thoughts. Medical doctors can’t explain this process, but scientists have been intrigued for centuries.

I’m thinking this sermon must be for Bill. I have a great attitude about life, my thoughts and feelings are lined up with scripture….but the action part….OK, so I act up every once in a while. But for my very patient and kind husband, that every once in a while is a real thorn in his side!  Bill, on the other hand, has the actions down pat.  But his family background has ingrained him with a bit of negativity….but he can better explain it. We are both poking at each other during sermon points, as in to say, “that was for you!”

Let me just outline what the sermon was about, which, in essence, is that it’s up to us and our desire to change and be transformed.  But how do we do this?

  1.  We need to harness our desires. As we move from our past sinful life, we will allow the Lord to work in our hearts and minds.  We will want to be more like Jesus. He gave several examples of what that looks like, but the best was how King David expressed how he was longing for God’s presence, praise, joy, fellowship, and expressed confidence in God’s salvation. (Psalm 63).  He was a man after God’s own heart as stated in Acts 13:22 “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'”
  2. Deny ourselves (this statement is one reason why Christianity is unpopular – but it really works in our lives AND motor home) and pick up His cross (today, we view the cross as a cherished symbol of atonement, forgiveness, grace, and love) as we learn how to manage our thoughts.  Actually, being married is also a great way to learn to deny ourselves as we seek harmony and learn to put our spouse’s needs ahead of our own! But I digress. He used Elijah as an example.  We all go through trials and testing of our faith as he did.  We learn in 1 Kings 19 that Elijah just had a mountain top experience, but then when word was told to Queen Jezebel, she sought to have him killed. And this is where Elijah’s thinking process is skewed. Why would God abandon him now, after all He enabled Elijah to succeed and do? In essence, it’s not about ourselves as it wasn’t about Elijah.

Ok, I’m pretty satisfied so far and realize I need to do some mind changing things. Remember, I’ve confessed I was the one “directing” this morning. So now, Pastor, tell me HOW do I change my mind?

First, begin by monitoring our thoughts, such as worry, anger, covetous and negative thoughts. (But I’ve mastered these! I never get angry….oops…Guess when I told Bill what to do it wasn’t in the kindest way.) He continued by asking, “Isn’t it a downer to be around people full of these actions?” Remember if you are thinking these things, you are going to ACT on them.  Again, King David is worth quoting here, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23  The Pastor recommends saying this DAILY! How many times have I prayed this? I know I have READ it more than a dozen times since I have read through the Bible at least that many times since 2004.

Second, process life through the eyes of the Lord!  “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him….” 2 Chronicles 16:9a  I love seeing the world through my two-year-old grandson’s eyes. They are filled with wonder as he explores this world! Ah, to translate that to seeing the world through the Lord’s eyes!

Fearless

Awe and wonder at life at age two!

Two more great scriptures is to bring this together are: “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 & 4

Finally, he closes the sermon with these great diaries to help us see how “attitudes” can be so easily displayed. I had hoped I could find this on the web, and yes, here is a great closing, from here:

The Dog’s Diary

8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm – Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat’s Diary

Day 983 of My Captivity

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now …

I drafted this last Wednesday. Then we got a phone call from our daughter that she needed some help as the two-year-old had an infection the baby could easily catch. So what do we do? We drive the 5 hours to get him. We spent the night and brought him back, but the return trip was seven hours. He needed to stretch his legs and run around! So he’s now been here with us for a week. And we haven’t changed yet, so guess we now need Change Part 3….up next!