Our Home Away From Home

Three weeks on the road was much easier because we had our home away from home. Otherwise known as a travel trailer. With this mode of travel, we can take all our stuff. We can load up our own food, our own adult beverages, our three dogs, and hit the happy trails.

Over the years we have been lucky enough to experience all types of RVing. From a pop-up to a motor home, we found that a travel trailer works the best for our traveling style. For three weeks, the CrossRoads Sunset Trail 26BB Grand Reserve, was our home. Getting from one place to another was easy, thanks to Michael’s pride and joy, his diesel GMC one-ton Denali HD.

What makes set-up work so well?

This trailer is small enough we can take it anywhere. Our goal was to be small enough we could go into national park campgrounds and other remote areas. This little camper can do that.  The center of the trailer opens up by way of two opposing slides. With the slides open, the main living area is large enough for the two of us and our three dogs to relax comfortably. The kitchen island, with double sinks, makes it possible for both of us to work in the kitchen at the same time. Storage is always high on my wish list and this trailer comes through with ample storage space throughout the entire trailer. There’s the usual under bed storage, under the dinette, and multiple large storage places in the kitchen and bathroom. An added bonus is the outside kitchen and shower. Coming in from the beach, that outside shower has been a huge plus. The outdoor kitchen has a small refrigerator, sink, and storage areas. All that cuts down on trips in and out of the trailer and makes grabbing that cold drink so very quick and easy.

If you are in the market for an RV,  please check out Kansas RV Center, Chanute, Kansas. Michael has helped us so much as we’ve transitioned from full-time RVing to RVing for fun. Mike has always been just an email or a phone call away.  We value his sound business advice, his fairness, and his excellent customer service. Thank you, Mike. The RV world is a small one. We ran into one of his other customers when we were in DuBois. Jeff and Michelle have a MobleSuites that reminded us of the fifth wheel bought from Mike when we first retired. It was great to hear their experience and together, we had a four member Mike admiration society.

RVing is always an adventure–from the places you see to the people you meet along the way. I have a journal that I kept for years when we began this type of travel. I am sorry I stopped writing because those trips are wonderful to re-live by the stories both Michael and I wrote. I’ll have to share them as well.

Thank you for keeping Texas and Texans in your prayers.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love and cherish Y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Missing in Action

I have a confession to make. Our latest trip has worn me out–mentally and physically.

For my mental health, I know writing is the best thing. Try as I might, I could not make any words make any sense yesterday. I was missing in action.

A big part of my exhaustion comes from feeling so helplessness as I witness the losses my fellow Texans are experiencing as a result of Hurricane Harvey. My heart begs to go help. My brain argues, at least for now, there is not a lot I could do. Never to be left out of the debate, my little inner voice reminds me of the good relationship I have with God. She urged me to use that gift and put in some extra prayer time.  So, I took her wise advice and did just that–said many prayers. If you can grab an extra minute here or there, join me. You may be as surprised as I was at how saying those few extra prayers will help you as well.

A follow-up to the refrigerator saga. Our Sears approved service technician, Paul, arrived early this morning to fix our Sears Kenmore Elite. Paul got five stars because he came prepared with a replacement compressor. He dropped down to 4.0 stars because he initially hesitated to replace the compressor due to the fact he was sent to do a diagnostic evaluation. After listening to our story, which was strongly and whole heartedly shared, he agreed to do the replacement IF Michael would help.  An hour and a half later, the new compressor was in and Paul was on his way to his next call.

Some advice for anyone considering a new LG refrigerator. Paul told us that LG compressors do not have a good service history. He has replaced many compressors on new refrigerators. Some units he’s replaced compressors twice with one customer waiting for their third compressor. He confirmed what we had heard from our salesperson at Home Depot–the wait is long because there are very few service people who have the knowledge to do the work needed and of those workers, very few are willing to do the hard work needed to get the job done.

Today is the 54th anniversary of the day my Mom lost her long, hard battle with cancer. Today’s page was supposed to be all about her. Try as I might, I could not pull it together well enough to share.

After this amount of time you’d think it would not be so difficult. Well…it’s not that simple. I’ve learned grief is sneaky tricky. You think you’ve mastered it or at least moved on long and far enough it can no longer create an undercurrent in your life.

Wrong.

I’ve also learned the older I get, the more questions I have about that time in my life. Over the years, I told my stories and believed I understood what had happened during the time of her illness. I now understand I know very little. My memories of that very critical time in my life are all based on observations made by my eight to ten-year-old self.

There has always been an uneasiness, sparked into life on anniversary days like today. I kept that at bay by staying busy. If I was busy, I avoided any discovery that did not match my safe little collection of memories.

It’s now time to put on my detective hat.

As I make my discoveries, I’ll share what I learn. That is the whole point of this blog–sharing my life lessons, in hopes I’ll help someone else along the way.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

Please keep Texas in your prayers.

 

Home

3,300 miles later, we are home.

As Dorothy said, there’s no place like home.

Over the next few days, I’ll share tales about our journey along with things that made the trip so much easier.

A valuable part of any road trip for us is our dog car seats, Fido Ridos. Whenever we travel with our dogs, Bud, Duffy and Ruby, these seats are the first things that go into our back seat. As you can see, they boost the dogs up so they can see out the windows, secure them so they are safe from any sudden stops, and keeps each dog in their own space. Bud, our oldest Lhasa Apso, struggled with car sickness until we discovered these car seats. Now, no more rapid stops due to a sick dog or worrying about quick stops when we travel during busy traffic times. You can check these dog seats out at fidorido.com.

I leave you tonight with a request to keep Texas in your prayers. There are thousands of people struggling due to Hurricane Harvey. From what I hear, this storm is not done with the Gulf yet. Every meteorologist says they have never seen anything like this!. I did not know this much rain was possible. Please God, protect those amazing volunteers who have responded to help.

You make me proud to be a Texan.

I am…

B…simply being… 

I am very happy to be back at my desk.

As you go bed tonight, join me in prayer for those in need due to this storm.

Love and Peace.

 

 

August

I love August.

As a kid, once the Fourth of July fireworks ended, I knew summer was only a breath away from being history. This was also the time when my internal clock would chime away, telling me it was time to prepare for the new school year while prodding me to give some serious thought to my own future.

Even though it has been many years since this month signaled my return to school, I still hear that message.

It has become one of the more comfortable constants in my life.

In honor of that tradition, I’ll be stepping away from my computer so I can recharge my batteries and search for old and new stories to share.

Why not join me?

I am…

B…simply being…

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

God Winks

One of the great benefits of writing is I have a reason to go through old stuff. My husband and I have downsized our lives at least three times over the past two years. In light of these moves, I’ve been shocked with some of the little things that have survived.

Today, the clipping and the pictures fell together in what I would call a God wink. What’s a God wink, you ask? I think most people would call it a coincidence. SQuire Rushnell describes it as an experience where you’d ask yourself, what are the odds of that? It’s like when you were a kid and sitting across the table from someone you love when they’d wink at you. You knew what that wink meant–they were thinking about you. God does the same–a God wink is His way of letting you know He is thinking of you and all will be okay.

For me, one of the greatest gifts of aging has been the ability to look back on my life. To see how certain people came into my life–or re-entered my life–at the moment when I needed them the most.

My family moved from Traer, Iowa, to Waterloo, Iowa the summer before my freshman year. That move was tough and made for a very hard summer. I worried every day about how I was going to handle being the new kid in a new school. I wouldn’t know anyone.

My Dad remembered another family who had moved from Traer to Waterloo. He found a way to contact them and gave them our home phone number. Within a few days, JoLyn contacted me, asking me where I was going to go to school. I told her West Junior. She quickly told me that she would also be going to West Junior.

Oh my God–the answer to my prayers. I would not be all alone.

What made her special was what she did next. It was a few days before school started and she knew the building was open. We set up a time to meet and she took me to the main office so I could turn in paperwork, showed me around the building, and gave me the tour of the other buildings on campus. That year we did not have any classes together but she checked on me often and made sure I was doing okay. In a big school, I always knew she was there if I needed her.

Debby Small was my neighbor and a year ahead of me in school. It was Debby’s house where I would go whenever I needed to get away. I loved going to the Smalls because their family was busy, loud, and loving. At least that is how I saw them. Debby had two brothers and two sisters and there was always something happening. I loved being in the mix because it felt real to me. They were the first family I saw being normal–if I came over and there was a fight in progress, the fight continued. There was no stopping because the neighbor kid was there.

At my house–things like that happened behind closed doors.

What my family didn’t seem to realize was, even though the doors were closed, the windows were still wide open. It was Tom and Karen Sink who clued me in about that.

Tom and Karen moved next door shortly after we moved in. They were a young couple with a toddler who needed a babysitter. After a few months of babysitting, they shared with me that they could hear some of the things happening at our house.

Our house was a house in constant turmoil. My Dad had remarried. There were problems. Tom and Karen knew. Tom and Karen took my sisters and me under their wings. I am not sure where any of us would be today without them.

These four people came into my life when I needed them the most.

I am still amazed and forever grateful.

I am…

B…simply being… 

Have a great weekend.

I love you.

Peace

Happy Birthday, Bethie

Today my sister, Beth, would have been 62 years old.

She absolutely loved her birthday. Looking back, I think she liked it because my other sister and I have birthdays in September. Her August birthday gave her something that was all her own. I think a middle kid needs something that is uniquely theirs–and she definitely made the most of her day.

For weeks, she’d tell anyone who’d listen what was on her list for gifts along with the type of cake and flavor of ice cream she wanted for her party.

 

I miss her today–as I do every day.

Even after ten years I still catch myself thinking that I need to call her…

She was one of the bravest people I’ve ever known, forging her own way, fighting her own fight, showing me her way of dying with dignity.

I love you, Beth Ann Burton.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace

Scary Stuff

It was an early morning in Hibdonville.

Michael was getting ready to go help his friend, Dayne, out at the lease and I was off to water aerobics. The best thing was–this is a very big deal–we woke up to rain. It has not rained here for weeks with temperatures in the 100s. We were celebrating every falling rain drop. Please Lord, I prayed, send us more.

To get the forecast, I turned on the news. Wait a minute…

What?

My world went a tad bit off kilter as I listened to the reporter saying the US had fired a long-range missile from a launch site in California as a warning to North Korea.

 

For a few minutes, I found myself transported back in time to Mrs. Kvidera’s sixth-grade classroom, listening as she taught us about Communism, propaganda,  and what it would mean if Russia attacked us using a nuclear bomb.  She called it The Cold War.

I was also reminded of that dangerous game of chicken where two cars raced rapidly toward each other until one driver ‘chickens” out, turning sharply to get out-of-the-way.

My adult, logical self, searches for something positive to focus on about our world today.

My sixth-grader self is pretty uncomfortable with the whole situation.

Scary stuff.

This has weighed on my mind today, crowding out all my other more creative thoughts.

Take a minute with me to say a prayer for those people who hold our world in their hands. May God give them the wisdom to call the game of chicken off before a knee-jerk, reflexive reaction creates a world sized disaster.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Join me in prayers for peace.

 

 

 

Pieces of the Puzzle

A few years ago, one of the doctors I worked for told me his wife had video taped her Dad while he told family stories. What a great idea!

So many times, I wish I had made notes while I had such great family historians around me. I had heard the stories so many times, I never thought I would forget them.

I did.

The picture today is probably one of the first ones of my Mom. Unfortunately, this picture is a copy of copy–so the detail is poor, at best. My Mom is the infant in my Grandpa Jim’s arms. My Aunt Charlotte is squatting at Great Grandma Dora’s feet. I think this is taken at the McDonald homestead in Duncombe, Iowa.

The scattering of photos I have are like puzzle pieces I shuffle around in hopes of re-creating that one big family picture that pulls it all together. What I would give to have just a few scribbled note cards.

My lesson for today is an easy one–listen to those family stories carefully. Make notes so you have them as a reference. Or, make a video recording of the stories being told by the original storyteller. A good storyteller is a rare, precious gift–treasure them.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you and wish you peace.