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.

Stored in Florence

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?

Our latest adventure!


Grandson #2

Don’t we look happy?

Words just can’t explain the JOY of a new born baby, especially when he was delivered before my eyes (Debbie) last night, August 22, 2015. He is his big brother’s twin, born nearly two years apart, born at the same hour, weighing nearly the same as well as the height! What fun we are going to have! And we thank God for his safe delivery, for how excellent his health is and how strong our daughter was to endure so much pain. Fortunately it was only for a few hours.

Our #1 grandson was with his paternal granny. Yay, she and her fiancé had a great time with him and the family puppy dog (nine years old but a 9 pound miniature dachshund). It’s great to have family close by to help out.

What was wild was that Bill ran errands while my son-in-law, daughter and I were in the labor and delivery room. And as is his tradition, he ate dinner at the local KFC. Poor guy, he doesn’t enjoy the finer things in life! Anyway, introvert that he was, he had his Sudoku book as his dining partner. Went into the far corner and settled in his world of escapism while he waited for #2 grandson to be born.

So an older man, age 91 and his new 79 year old friend came over to sit NEAR him. And a conversation was struck up. It started talking about the song playing, by Skeeter Davis, “Why.”  Bill was familiar with it and in fact, we knew her from our days in the ministry. Then the topic switched to politics and Bill gave him a great education. Then Bill learned their story.  They just met. He was widowed in April. They both have adult children, grand children and even great grandchildren, but none of their children want to help them out. So they are both alone in the world and found each other. They counted their pennies and hired a taxi for a date out for dinner. The woman admitted she was depressed and really struggling in life. They each barely have enough money to live on and don’t have the where with all to locate help.

When Bill picked me up from the hospital, the first thing he said was how blessed we are to not only have each other, but to have a daughter we know will always look out for us – as we have done for her all these years and now help with our grandsons. So all the JOY we felt was tempered by the situation of two lonely strangers who coincidently sought him out.

He gave them several suggestions and they were so appreciative he was so friendly towards them. It was as if they were still in their own awkward stage of a new relationship. This morning, as we prayed together and for our daughter and her family, we also prayed for this couple. Our hearts ache for them as we have so much joy with our daughter and grandchildren.

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“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Job 12:12

Do we live our faith?


BrickWallThis will be a two part blog as we share a look back into our marriage as we face another huge disappointment in our decision to upgrade to a motor home. Actually, it’s not another, it’s a continuing disappointment that hit a brick wall today.

Everyone we talked to about upgrading to a motor home knows one of the main reasons was to have our own washer and dryer. While we have tried to make the best use of our time while using the campgrounds facilities, it does always crimp our precious time. As we all know, the more fun you are having in life, the faster time flies by, right?

So back to our time at the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay, Alabama. We thought we made it clear how important it was to have a working washing machine; and, how disappointed we were the previous owner said it worked. We were very green at owning a motor home and repairing/replacing appliances. BUT, in our 40 years of marriage, we do know a thing or two about washers and dryers. We went through so many, we finally bought a set of Maytags. They lasted 15 years before we sold our sticks and bricks home last year.

Today, our new Maytag washing machine was going to be delivered and installed at the campground. We were so excited as we also bought a five year extended warranty at a great sale price (ordered over the 4th of July sales). That gave us the assurance it would last at least five years! We did a lot of research about this purchase, so we thought, and were so happy today arrived.

So back to the marriage aspect, part two of this blog. We used to be very active with young married couples in a marriage ministry in one of our former churches. To be able to do this, we became very transparent in our own marriage and even took a few Bible studies focusing on marriage. One of our favorite authors, marriage counselors and speakers is Gary Smalley. In looking for a link to his works, we found out that his one son, Greg Smalley, has followed in his footsteps.

It was an interesting read as today, we relived a moment that Gary Smalley had with his then young son, Greg. We can’t agree exactly this marriage moment played out, but we agree this is the essence of the story. Gary and his wife bought a brand new Class C motor home. We understand all the excitement that goes with this and the hope of have a great time – soon after the purchase.

When Gary and his young son arrived home, they saw the overhang to the garage smashed in and the motor home seriously damaged.  Gary just sat for a few minutes with his eyes closed while his young son was staring at him. He finally looked at his son and asked why he was starting at him. Greg said, “Well dad, you preach and teach husbands how to treat their wives with respect. I’m just watching to see how you’re going handle this!”  Gary knew he had to dig deep, so he went in and embraced his upset and sobbing wife. He held her tight and told her how much he loved her and he was grateful it was just brick and mortar and that she was ok! Wow, we loved that story when hear it about 25 years ago and we relived it today.

WasherWallToday when we woke up, when we realized the 24″ washing machine would not fit between the 21″ space through our bathroom area to the the washing machine.  And that’s when Bill had to dig deep and embrace Debbie and tell her he loves her….You see, Debbie overruled Bill at the Tiffin Service Center when he said he wanted a new washing machine. Debbie pinched pennies and let the service technician help us save a few $100. And now, we still don’t have a washing machine. But at least the dryer works!

If you’re a husband and would like to know more, here’s a great read:

IfHeonlyKnew

Wives, what do we have for you? Probably Debbie’s favorite book to help her in her relationship with Bill:

PrayingWife

 

Chapter 4 Love Life for EVERY Married Couple!


The secret to our 40 years! We are so thankful we found this Biblical “guide” to help us figure out how to have a vibrant marriage.

Follow the Tumble Lees!

“We have had bumpy roads?” my husband Bill asked after reading one of my blogs.  He looked  serious and a bit hurt!  “Of course, no marriage is perfect!  I want to be honest about our marriage, share the bad and the good!  But mostly how our love helps us over the bumpy roads and gets us back on a smooth road!”

We have been married since 1975 (I know, a long time ago.  Some reading this were not even  born, but yet, some reading this think we are still newly weds compared to their decade’s longer marriages!).  However, we did have a “break in service,” meaning, we divorced for a year!  Miracle of miracles, we were able to reconcile after a very contentious and heart breaking divorce.  We hurt each other deeply but we experienced the cleansing power of forgiveness, bathed in the blood of our Lord and Savior’s death…

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Chapter 9 The Good, the Bad, the Ugly


While we’re not traveling, reminiscing about our marriage as we prepare to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. This is a favorite of ours…

Follow the Tumble Lees!

I know I am dating myself, but I loved this movie.  So when I told Bill this was our next topic, he was surprised!  He asked, “Is there bad and ugly in our marriage?”  Men don’t see life the same way us women do, in case anyone reading this does not already know this!  (smile)

Bill never thought there was anything wrong with our first marriage.  I used to say he had his head in the sand.  But did he really?  He never wanted to see the bad or ugly.  And he still doesn’t.  We have learned so much and our second marriage is heavenly – but not perfect!  There is no perfection on this earth – we only get to look forward to it in our afterlife!  (John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish…

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