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.
This 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.
Today 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:
Wives, what do we have for you? Probably Debbie’s favorite book to help her in her relationship with Bill:
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.
“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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While we’re not traveling, reminiscing about our marriage as we prepare to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. This is a favorite of ours…
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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We’ve had an incredible two weeks, pretty much off of our adventure travels, more like family travels! What a blessing we made it back to Virginia in time to celebrate Easter with our grandson and his parents! It boils down to the fact, it’s all about family!
I just caught up with everyone’s Easter on FaceBook-and that’s what dominated my newsfeed: family photos! We didn’t take one…..but my newsfeed also was full of the Good News of our lives!
As we approach our 40th anniversary, we are reviewing past posts. This was one of the most viewed. It’s still relevant! It was originally posted in January 2012.
“Truth is. I love my daughters but right now they are both acting like spoiled brats. One does not speak to me and the other speaks with venom telling me she never wants to hear from me again. I just pray that someday they come back to me and let me love them.” I don’t know the circumstances behind the pain this father is feeling. It breaks my heart when I see posts like this on Facebook and it reminds me of one of the purposes for my life.
What I do know is that this man’s marriage ended and he is in a relationship with another woman, who also has two daughters. So the trouble with marriage is that there is trouble! And when children are born into marriages and when the marriages end, the children suffer. I know when I decided to end our marriage in 1988, I was…
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We’re not sure why we didn’t try camping in state parks before. Long time camping friends of ours always camped in State Parks and highly recommended it. Why did it take us so long? Well, we thought we always had to have “full hook-ups” whereas most state parks only have water and electric. We learned through other bloggers you can go anywhere from 3 -5 days in a camper like ours without a sewer hook-up. We’ve now learned we can go 5 days.
We have been loving the experience and have selected all these state parks based upon recommendations of other bloggers. But when we arrived here, Bill asked, “who recommended this place?” Oh, my, we had the hardest time getting to our site (narrow, dirt/sandy road with lots of trees) and then backing into it (trees and sandy site). And then we were swarmed by “No See Ums” (biting midges, biting gnats or sand flies). In addition, the trip here was not that smooth – bad situation at a Flying Jay where a regular car, not towing anything, decided to tie up one of the two RV gas lanes (and it busy was for RVers). We lost about 20 minutes there and we were somewhat in a hurry since we had plans to meet up with friends in Sopchoppy, Florida. We rarely have such plans as we never know what issue we may be confronted with on our journeys.
Once we finally got set up, we ate a quick dinner, then charged down to the Sopchoppy City Park to meet our friends. That took our minds off of what we thought was going to be a bad camping experience. At the park, we were also swarmed by no-see-ums. Our friends assured us their season is short, they don’t like hot weather or breezes. After being bit about 20 times, they seemed to have left the area. Now after staying here 3 days, this place has grown on us and we’ve decided we will return.
We did learn a lesson from this state park. From now on, we need to read as many reviews as we can find and learn as much as before show up at a State Campground. It would be helpful to know the campsite layouts, which is not entirely possible on the “Reserve America” site. We’ve e started taking pictures of the actual campground sites for future use and we are loading them into Campendium, a new “RV Parks and unique Camping Locations” website. And we are talking to more people in these campgrounds who tend to know which ones are the best!
In a recent blog, we said we don’t like to travel on Sundays and we did all we could to avoid it again. So while we traveled here on Saturday, Sunday we had to change our site (from 29 to 27). And we planned to attend church with our friends who live here. The husband is the Pastor. After meeting up with them late Saturday afternoon, we broke the news to them, our ability to attend church depended on whether the people in site 27 had left in time for us to move over. And we had to move by 1:00. When we went to bed, site 27 was still empty. When we woke up, we were happy to see the site was still empty. The Park Ranger told us we could move over Sunday when the lot was vacant! We were up early enough we were able to do it and made it to church on time. And this time, it was more of a drive through site, so no issues….except we were so anxious to move, set up and make sure we could hook up the electric ok that we forgot to make sure we could open our slides without hitting a tree….or in this case, the water hook up. We didn’t discover it until we were already unhitched and the clock was ticking….Well, it all worked out great and if you want to read more about our time with this amazing couple, I blogged about our time with them here, on my (Debbie’s) personal site.
Back to our long weekend here: We were here too short of a time. We took a walk at the downtown Sopchoppy City Park (those pictures on the personal blog site), and then 3.4 miles on Monday around the campground and Ochlockonee State park. Here are these few pictures of one of the prettiest weather days we’ve had in months!
After that walk, we drove about 40 minutes to the Saint Mark’s Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center where Bill could finally buy his “America the Beautiful” lifetime pass (you must be 62, so now you know how
old young he is). This has been a dream since he was told about it in May last year when we went to the Shenandoah National Park. What a treat it was! The lady who sold it to him was 91 years old! I had to take a picture. She was a sweet heart…and she reminded us of Bill’s mom, who turns 94 tomorrow!
With this pass for only $10, he can enter “2000 Federal Recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to 4 adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 and under are admitted free.”
We then drove around the park and saw how many great trails there are and so many birds! Now we know we must return to this area. So much to see, so little time! Here is our review of the campground, which includes pictures of our campsite.
Next, we’re off to Torreya State Park, then Little Talbot Island in Jacksonville, Florida. And then, heading up to see our precious grandson!
Ok, I have to now be honest. There is one thing we don’t like here…and that is the reservation system. First, it’s hard to get winter reservations over a few days, especially Friday and Saturday night. We do all we can to avoid traveling on Sundays. That is our sacred day, if you want to call it that. We feel it is important to worship our Lord God Almighty “corporately” (with other like-minded believers) once a week. (Click here to learn more about our reasons.) We do worship Him privately and every day. In fact, we feel closer to Him in this lifestyle because we no longer have all the trappings of our “stuff” and the routines of life. When you live in a “tin box” it seems you need Him more…..we really are living on faith. And we are free to see Him in all His glory as we travel along the beaches, in the mountains, in the history of this great nation, among the beauty of His gardens, in the faces of those we meet, and most importantly in our ability to see family along the way! But about that reservation system, while we could only get four days which puts us out of here on a Sunday, it really is sort of good as this park never seemed really crammed full of people!
We just didn’t get to see or do enough here! Next time, we hope to hike on every nature trail, not only walk more on the beach, but hopefully, be able to sit and enjoy the sounds of the waves lapping against the perfectly white sands! So we managed at least a five mile nature hike. We walk for our health and well-being. And we hope it is going to keep us younger and more limber as we begin to fully enjoy our retirement years.
Here is our campsite and immediate area. The tree roots really damaged this streets concrete pads.
So here are some of our remaining pictures:
Next adventure is Blackwater River State Park, just north of here.
What do you think of when you hear the term, Adventure Travel? For us, it is our post retirement dream!
For us and the purpose of this blog, it is where we are now, more or less! We can finally say we are “really” retired. Isn’t that a common goal for Americans, to become retired? I (Debbie) officially retired from a 20 year career in law enforcement in February 2006, but I ended up working part time for a few years and have been a regular volunteer. Bill said he never wanted to “retire” so his path is a bit different. His goal or end game was to be self-employed. His first full time experience as being self-employed was as a Snap on Tool Dealer, from 1986-1988, too short of a time, but those were very profitable years for him. Sadly, that ended when we divorced in December 1988 (but that story has a happy ending:Chapter 2 So why share about our marriage?) He formally quit the working world in October 2004. When he quit, he actually had a dream job with Nationwide Insurance as an automotive claims adjuster.
But in 2000, we began working his way back into self-employment as we began our path into retirement. That was when we invested in our first piece of rental real estate. When we moved to Florida in November 2004, he went full board into real estate rentals, peaking at owning six rentals homes, but also caring for our home, his mother’s home and helping my parents out from time to time with their home – all of us in the same town. Needless to say, caring for real estate in Florida is a year around task, especially in the heat of the summer. We sold his last piece of rental real estate in August, 2013 – a dream come true as we prepared for the end game.
My “retirement dream” was to be a volunteer and work in the community to help make it a better place for all to live. But as a workaholic, it was hard to stop working, so I started back to work part time for our Sheriff. That lasted four years and my time there actually introduced me to our community in a unique way. I made connections that helped me become a volunteer and allowed me to work with some of the most phenomenal people I’ve ever met – let alone have the privilege of volunteering with! I was able to do this for several years – and this will be hard to leave as we approach our end game – adventure travel! I’m hoping with technology, I can still be useful!
Bill’s “retirement” dream was to travel all over the United States and Canada in a Class A motor home (one of those big bus-type rigs that pulls your car and tows your motorcycle, also called a Recreational Vehicle or RV). Bill dreamed about this for at least three years, searching websites for the “perfect” RV and we went to many RV shows.
So here we are, months since Bill was officially retired, although he said he’d never use that word. But the other day, he asked me, “We are really retired, aren’t we?” I had to chuckle!
What has happened – why an end game? Probably the greatest thing a parent could ever hope for – we became grand parents! And that has rocked our world in a way we never could have imagined! See, our problem is that we live nearly 900 miles from that precious grandson! So how can we marry our dream goals? Well, we are working on that and so far so good! We are now saying we are adventure travelers – but swinging by our daughter’s to spend as much time as possible with our grandson.
This is a short blog as I prepare to tell more about our transition into full time retirement! But first, I always love to see what the Bible says about whatever we are doing. So here are a few of my favorite scriptures (all from ESV) to read as one thinks about retiring, from http://www.openbible.info/topics/retirement:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.'”
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.”
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
2 Timothy 4:7
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to theLord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;…
Until next time…