Happy Easter!

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!


Chapter 17 – The trouble with marriage….

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.

Follow the Tumble Lees!

“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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Ochlockonee River State Park 3/14-17/2015

IMG_3674This is our 5th Florida State Park in three weeks and we have two more to go before we begin heading up north to spend time with our grandson. 

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.

Sopchoppy River

The river at the Sopchoppy City Park

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!

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After tAmericaPasshat 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!

Heading out for a stroller ride around the neighborhood today, as I was writing this blog!

Heading out for a stroller ride around the neighborhood today, as I was writing this blog!

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Days 3 & 4


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:

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Next adventure is Blackwater River State Park, just north of here.

Chapter 28: Starting Adventure Travel

We spent a day at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers, FL

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:

Jeremiah 29:11

“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.”

Acts 20:24

“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.”

Numbers 8:23-26

“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.'”

Proverbs 13:22

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.”

Philippians 1:6

“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.”

Proverbs 16:1-3 

“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.”

Psalm 1:1-6 

“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…


Chapter 27 – Clearing the air!

April 11, 1975“Why do men and women try to control each other early in their marriages?”  We know first hand because this happened to us!  When we met, we were traveling and neither really had a place we could call home.  Bill had been living in his dream town, Jacksonville, Florida when he left it and all to join “Christ is the Answer” ministry.  I also gave up all my belongings, dropped out of college in Norfolk, Virginia and also joined the ministry.

Long story short, we met, fell in love, left the ministry and got married.  Our first decision, aside from the wedding date, was where to live.

Bill, of course, wanted to return to Jacksonville.  While initially the idea sounded good to me, we actually visited there before we married, to see his friends and let them know about our wedding.  Bill also visited my home town and I visited his, both staying in our childhood homes and meeting each others parents.

I don’t know why, but I bluntly said I couldn’t live in a state where we had no family.  His response was, “Fine, we will live in Irwin.”  His home town.  He actually happily left Irwin and moved to Jacksonville because he hated the cold weather.  I said it was not so cold in my home town, but he insisted his parents could help us get started in life so off we went after our honeymoon!  It only took him two years to decide to move south and actually more to a beach area (we both love the beach), and not far from my parents.  So why did he insist we move to where he hated the weather?  In later years, he would confess, if he couldn’t have his way, why should I have my way!

We recently began reminiscing, a lot! A friend recently posted this long-lost photo of our wedding day on Facebook.  Our photographer, who had been my boss, offered to take the pictures and make us an album as our wedding gift.  Sadly, he said the pictures must have been lost in the mail as I never received them.  He claimed he mailed them to me.

Coincidently, we also recently attended a “Happy Together 2013 Tour” in Clearwater, FL.  What a great time of memories as we relived our teen years with about 2,000 others over the age of 60.

These two events caused us to reflect back on our dating and early married years.  Good memories flooded over us all weekend and we had a great time.  We are now in the stage of life where we are spending more and more time together.

After learning of some problems with a newly wed couple, we began to talk about our first “battle” of the wills.  We never really fought, only when we were going through the divorce process.  But we did try to win our way by manipulating each other.  The most evident battle was our first decision on where to live.

So our conclusion to this conversation.  Bill said if only I had said to him, “I only have one year of college left.  Why not live in Norfolk (or Virginia Beach) until I finished college.  Then we could decide where to live.”  Had I taken that approach, he may not have responded as immaturely has he did.  I had to think about it and concluded, I was just afraid of living in a new state, not having any family around with a man I only knew for a few months.  I couldn’t think clearly and he certainly was not looking long-term at what was best for our relationship!

We did not search for God’s response to our dilemma as to where to live.  The Bible clearly tells us: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

We simply never sought Godly counsel.  That is the way of American Culture.  If there is a moral to this story, it is to seek Godly counsel whenever you need to make a major decision!

Thankfully, the Bible also has a wonderful scripture that helps us accept our past mistakes:  Romans 8:28 …”And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

For more wisdom on how to make good decisions, visit here:  http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/7-step-biblical-decision-making-process/

Chapter 26 – Thanksgiving in April!


August 19, 1989

We can’t believe we just celebrated our 38th anniversary or that I haven’t written a post in a few months! I’ve written a dozen – in my mind…it seems the Lord spurs me on to write and somehow, life just gets in the way!

So let’s look at the month of April (August is my second favorite) as it is such an important month for us! And no coincidence, our Pastor started a sermon series titled, “Thanksgiving in April!”

I frequently post a status on FaceBook and for the month of April, I told all that this is by far my favorite month – and I am sure it is also Bill’s-although he does love October as we take a motorcycle trip for his birthday every year!

I am thankful for people God puts in my life who model Him for us! So as I think of the word, “thankful” I remember a very dear friend, Ruby Wolfe! She was the most thankful person I ever met! So fitting, she went home to the Lord on Easter Sunday in 2011 – in April! We met her in early 2005 and saw her nearly

She shares her "Thankful" testimony.

She shares her “Thankful” testimony.

every Sunday and at any special events put on at church. She always looked fabulous and loved to talk about her golf games and how she was still walking two miles every morning (she had bragging rights as she was 92 years old!) Whenever I would ask her how she was, she ALWAYS replied, “I am so thankful!” That was her legacy. And in the end, we learned she had bone cancer – a very painful disease, but yet, she still said she was thankful and didn’t want to complain! Her obituary is worth a read as she was such a special person: Ruby Wolfe. We remember her every Sunday as we see her lovely daughter, Judy with her loving husband and from time to time, her children and grandchildren visit with her!

Our love for the month started on April 11, 1975 when we were married! What a great day it was as we know the Lord brought us together! Bill was from the Pittsburgh area, but had been living in Jacksonville, Florida and I was from the Tidewater area of Virginia. We met in Washington, DC – after we both had joined a traveling ministry called Christ is the Answer! But sadly, we just didn’t fully understand love and marriage and after 13 years, we divorced….but our Lord did not leave us although we had left Him…..He brought us back together and that is the whole purpose of this blog, to share how He works in marriages if you really want to know the truth about love and marriage! It was the first institution God ordained and it is how we procreate and build more families and marriages! But this topic today is not going there!

So the next GREAT April event was the birth of our daughter, Jessica. While we now live states apart, we have only missed celebrating her birthday with her two or maybe three times. We make it a point to get together as we love and cherish her!

And now, the most current April event, we just learned sex of our first grandchild, not due until August 24! Bill wants to be surprised, so we can’t share it with you now! Let’s just say, we pray for the health and well-being of our grandbaby every morning!

So as I close out this blog, I looked back over the last birthday card I sent Ruby. These were the scriptures that fit her: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

She was always thankful! May we be also!