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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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!

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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!

Changing our minds!


This post will be a bit different from just traveling. We are back on the road, so a bit about putting our rig in and then out of “storage,” the crazy journey here on a road we never want to drive the motorhome on again, the crazy weather since arriving…and a marriage issue….

On September 16, as we left our daughter’s home in Virginia, we had an unexpected trip down to Florida for a few weeks to help my mom out. Because we needed to get there by a certain date and had planned a month at Myrtle Beach (for the monthly rate discount), it would not have been fortuitous to drive the motorhome 800 miles. Our solution was to drive it nearly 1/2 way, park it in Florence, SC for the three weeks to a month, and then we’d only be a few hours from Myrtle Beach. Aside from the fact Hurricane Joquin belted Florence and along with much of South Carolina, this was the perfect plan.

Thankfully, since we had a relationship with the owners at the campground, they allowed us to use a 30 amp receptacle so we wouldn’t have to disconnect our batteries (Bill was researching this) and then throw out much of our food in the freezer and fridge (we do love our residential fridge) and leave the doors open. We felt at peace leaving our home but sure were unnerved as we watched the weather reports. We did call and they assured us the campground was fine where we were parked.

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I took this snapshot as we drove out of the campground.

Things turned out better than we expected during our time helping my mom. It was a rewarding time for the family. And Bill had time to finally sort through and clean out our 5′ X 10′ storage locker. In the end, we didn’t have anything valuable enough worth paying the rent on. We just were sorry we didn’t have more time when we sold our home. But as they say, it is what it is!

We were ready to pick up our motorhome on October 6, a Tuesday. But then there was that hurricane, and I-95 was shut down for miles, before and after Florence. We waited another day. Not only did the roadways begin to open up, but we had great news for my folks. So we quickly packed up and headed to Kingsland, GA to spend the night. The roads and weather were still a bit iffy, although the campground told us we could come on up.

As it turned out, we did have to take a 60-mile detour, which also cost us 60 minutes. But in the grand scheme of things, it was OK. We since found the right website which would have better prepared us. Here are a few pictures showing the route (and traffic) of our detour.

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Traffic back up for a short time.

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This sign was confusing as we were looking for I-26.

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This sign made more sense to us.

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Finally, our destination, Florence, SC.

We happily reunited with our motorhome. And thankfully, the electric stayed on the entire time, so no rotten food! Everything worked. Since it has been a grueling trip with the detour, we decided to spend the night. We needed fresh vegetables, so off to the store we went. And we were able to scope out the highway for our departure. Southbound I-95 was still closed and that was our preferred route to the beach. Now what to do?

The next morning, try as we might, we depended on our new GPS that lets you set it for an RV. We think it knows Bill doesn’t want to drive in a town with lots of traffic and narrow roads.

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This is what we got!

We were in this type of traffic for nearly an hour. The good news is that although Bill thought he was going to lose his mirrors, he drove beautifully and no white knuckles. Finally, we began to see daylight, we would arrive at the beach this day!

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The entrance to Pirateland and to check in.

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Not an easy campground to maneuver in. That’s Bill turning onto the road to back into our site.

We are finally here, our long-awaited trip to the beach. If you remember, we love the beach and that was really what helped solidify our relationship when we first began to date – if you can call what we did date! We really met, fell in love and got married within a few months!

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Bill won’t pose for a picture, so I just said, “Hey Bill” and snapped this as he turned around!

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This is why we like Myrtle Beach! It’s the beach!

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Now, I’ll happily pose….but I usually have too much paraphernalia. We walked three miles our first time out!

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We sat outside with our neighbors and chatted as the Lord gave us a picture show!

Next up, what do we mean, “Changing our minds?” And what does this have to do with our marriage?