Jul 31, 2012

Do not boast about tomorrow...

My week started out with my keys locked in my car first thing Monday morning.  We bought it used, and for some reason, there was only one set of keys.  I have been hyper-vigilant about making sure it is fully unlocked every time I get out of it.  But, I'm not the only one that drives it....

After a call to Albemarle Lock and Safe and a $75 check, I was back in business.  Not exactly where you want to spend your money, nor how you want to spend your Monday morning.  But, that's life, I guess.  You do what you have to do, learn from your mistakes, and keep going.

This morning was another interesting development.  It went something like this:

Up at 6:10 to fix breakfasts and lunches for the 3 going to work.
Marci left at 6:55.  Tim was in the shower.  Abe was in the shower.
At 7:02 I get a call from Marci.  I hear her crying and telling someone she's okay.  Then she tells me she wrecked her car.  Hit a mailbox.  Windshield shattered.  Hood torn up.

I holler at Tim who is in the middle of shaving.  He rushes out the door leaving his hot breakfast sitting on the table.  He tells me to be dressed and ready to follow him, but not until I talk to him.

Five minutes later, Abe rushes out the door (they all drive the same road to work).  I did manage to send Tim's breakfast with Abe.

While I waited and paced the floor, I decided to water my big fern in my dining room.  With my eyes up on top of the bookcase where the pot sits, I approached with a big cup of water.  As I stepped up to it, I felt something squish under my foot.  Ugh.  Dog poop!  On my carpet!  Great.  I spend 10 minutes cleaning it out of the bottom of my shoe and the carpet.

At 7:36 Tim calls me.  Marci is fine; just shook up and upset.  They are (illegally) driving her car on up to the shop.  Tim asks me to bring him his computer that got left at home and to stop by the homeowners house and let them know we will fix their mailbox.

I head out driving like a Granny because I am shaky after knowing what happened to Marci.

I found the spot where she wrecked.  Tim had stuck the crushed mailbox on the sheared post it was on which was right at the ground. I pulled in the people's driveway and found their house.  A man was out in his yard talking on the phone when I pulled in.  I told him who I was and that we would be fixing and replacing his mailbox.  His first comment was to ask if Marci was okay.  He was very grateful we would be fixing it, too.  Then he informs me that there were two mailboxes on the post!  The other one belonging to the neighbor he was on the phone with.

I left and went back out to the road to clamber through the ditch and weeds looking for the other mailbox.  No mailbox.  Only pieces of Marci's car strewn along the road.  Then I climbed up the embankment to look.  About 40 yards from where the boxes were, over a fence, and about 15 feet out in a pasture, I saw the other box.  And the other half of the post. Wow!  If a cow had been standing there, she'd be slightly concussed!  Or dead.

I headed on in to the shop to drop Tim's computer off and see Marci.  Things were crazy at work.  Two key people out sick, end of the month, and Marci a bundle of nerves trying to hold down the entire office and phones.  I got to make sure she was okay, comfort and encourage her, then got out of their hair.

I headed back home to change into my tennis shoes; I was late for my walking time with Jeannine.  After getting home, I had to look up insurance info and get that to Mar.  I finally headed out the door at 8:50.

When I was almost to Jeannine's house I got a call from a number I didn't recognize.  It was a lady asking me if I had a dog named Bear.  She found him running down the middle of Stony Point Road and picked him up.  I heaved a sigh, pulled over and was getting ready to turn around and go back home.  She said she was sitting at the top of my driveway.  I told her to just drive down and drop him off on the front porch.  No, on second thought, open the back door and stick him in there.  I didn't want him to follow her back out.  So, a random stranger did a kind deed, saved our dog from getting run over, and took him back to our house.  I thanked her profusely, drove on to Jeannine's, and we did a 2 mile walk in which I burned off some steam and nerves.

Upon arriving home, I jumped in the shower.  I was thinking about how sometimes a day can take a completely different turn from what you think it's going to be.  You have your day laid out; your plans made.  You do your normal "good-bye, I love you, and have a great day" at the back door as your loved ones leave for work.  You just "figure", "plan", and "assume" that the day will go as normal and they will come home to you in the evening.

Today just reminded me that that's not always true.  We never know what a day may bring forth.  Our ways are not God's ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts.  Life happens.  It's up to us to learn what we can from our choices/mistakes; to trust in Him completely in all that we do, and to search for His will in our life.  God didn't cause Marci's accident, but He can certainly use it in ways we can't even imagine.

A little later, I looked out my kitchen window and saw this.

Five beautiful bucks calmly grazing in our back yard.  We see them several times a week.  All of them have a nice set of antlers.  I did my stealthy Indian creep thing and got a few pictures of them.

The fifth one is off to the left - couldn't get them all in the picture without going farther out on the deck.

It's a good thing we didn't do a garden this year!

Finally, after watching them for several minutes, Bear the guard dog discovered they were out there and took off after them like Hank going in for the kill.  Mr. Brave went only as far as the tree line then gave up and came panting back to the house.

After a crazy morning, it was nice to have some calm, some normalcy to my day.  I'm so thankful for all the ways God blesses us; comforts us.  I'm thankful for Marci's safety.  She wasn't hurt at all - it could've been way worse.  I'm thankful I could go see her and give her a hug.  Thankful that she will come walking in the door again tonight. Thankful that tomorrow will be 20 years that we've had her in our home and our lives.

Proverbs 27:1
Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Psalm 118:24
This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Ah, the bone-jarring, nerve-wracking, side-splitting, heart-bursting, knee-slapping joys of being a parent.  Gotta love it!

Jul 15, 2012

Virginia Summer.

Lots of people asked me on our trip, "So what's it like in Virginia?"

Virginia is gorgeous in the summer.  Although we had a 2 week heat wave, it is back to normal now.  Hot, muggy days.  Temperatures around the mid to upper 80's.  The nights cool down somewhat but are still humid.  For all you people wrinkling up your nose at the thought of humidity, just think...you're saying that as you think of your long sunny days without a drop of moisture in them.  Your nice, dry, insect-free heat.  But, it's that humidity that keeps Virginia GREEN all summer long!  Here's a picture taken of our local area; found on the Charlottesville fb page.  Morning mist, Blue Ridge Mountains in the background, green fields, trees, and bushes....ahhh.
Photo: Bam! Albemarle County in the morning.  Like it, love it, share it.

Also, this time of year in Virginia is peach time.  We have lots of orchards around here - lots of fruit available.  I don't know how prices are in other parts of the world, but I was pretty happy with getting a half bushel for $12.50.

These are Red Havens.  Freestone.  Seconds.

Our favorite way to eat them, (other than fresh), is sliced and frozen.  So delicious!

 I got about 20 quarts out of this bushel.  That's after we ate a ton of them, made some pies, and ice cream.

By the way, the best way to eat these after they're frozen is one of two ways:

Use them in a smoothie.  Or....
Get one bag out of the freezer right before you go to bed. Stick it in the frig.  The next morning, it will have thawed to just the right slushiness.  Serve in small bowls for breakfast.  Mmmm.  Can't beat it.  They also make a great, cool snack on a hot summer day.

Here's a batch of peach ice cream I made last night.

With 5 cups of heavy cream and lots of fresh peaches, you just can't go wrong here.

So there's a sample of summertime in VA, and a sample of what I've been doing since we got home.

Enjoy your summer, everyone, and try to find some fresh peaches!  It will make your summer feel more complete.

Jul 12, 2012

Random (and interesting) trip facts.

We are home! 

 Wonderful, wonderful home!

Here are a few interesting facts from our trip:

Departure date:  April 12, 2012.

Arrival back home:  June 24, 2012.

Length of time gone:  74 days.

Territory covered:  28 states.

National Parks visited:  6.

Most expensive gas:  $4.35 in CA.

Least expensive gas:  $3.26 in MO.

Number of miles driven:  9,805!

Amount spent on gas:  LOTS!  $4, 848.41.  That's if we didn't lose any receipts. :)

Rolls of quarters used on laundry:  7. ($70) Thanks to several people who allowed me to do laundry in their house!  I'm sure that saved me a few quarter rolls.

Worst mosquitoes:  MS, OK

Nicest people:  in the Northwest.

Coldest temperatures:  Crater Lake, OR and Jackson Hole, WY...both in the low 30's.

Warmest temperatures:  OK...no doubt.  95 humid degrees!

Highest elevation:  8,000 feet in CO and WY.

Windiest places:  Eastern CO and KS!  It was a workout keeping the RV on the road.  Not fun.

Worst breakdown:  in Edmond, OK...broke a suspension arm (whatever that is) and it stopped us dead. For 2 full days.

Least worrisome breakdown:  the leg-rest on the passenger seat quit working.

Our over-all favorite places:  OR, MT, WY, CO.

Least sought after spot in the RV:  the rear facing chairs at the table.

Best restaurants:  San Diego and San Francisco

Worst restaurant:  Kumback Lunch, Perry, OK

Best coffee:  we still go with Starbucks, though we liked several we tried in the Northwest.

Oddest people:  CA wins this hands down!

Best driver:  Hmmm.  We took a poll on this one - the girls, that is.  Abe is the smoothest driver.  You are less likely to get slung around, fall off the toilet, get catapulted up into the cockpit, spill your drink, or get car sick when he drives.  Tim is the best for parking, backing, maneuvering.  He can drive that RV over the craziest roads - roads not meant for 38 footers.  For example:  Jerome, AZ, the Pacific Coast Highway from Morro Bay up to Monterey, CA, the crazy streets of San Francisco, the Smith's driveway in San Diego, CA,  etc.  I now have complete faith and (almost) no fear when we drive somewhere.  I know that if it's somewhere we want to go, Tim can take it there.  Also, he can put the RV in almost any spot.  He backs it like a pro and makes it fit in spaces you wouldn't think it should fit. For example:  a 30 foot camping space in Sedona, AZ.  That's 8 feet short of what we need.  Did that stop Tim?  Oh no.  Just stick it in there cock-eyed with the rear end up against a bank and a 2 inch gap between the pop-outs and the trees.  No sweat; no problem.

Worst driver:  There's no such thing.  We're all awesome!  I am probably the most cautious.  It's kind of hard to be wild and crazy when you can barely reach the pedal.  Marci is very confident.  She drove through rush-hour traffic in Charlotte on the very first leg of our trip - did an awesome job.  There was the time in WA when Mar took the wheel from Abe.  Tim and I were sleeping in the back and didn't know they were switching out.  I think she was testing the brakes.  I just know I woke up very suddenly when my 4 inch-thick Tom Clancy book hit me in the back of the head, and my face cracked up against the back of Tim's head. Ouch. He threw his arms out to brace himself and keep from falling out of bed. Just that one little slam on the brakes, then all was well.  We went peacefully back to sleep.

Best swimming hole: South of Salina, KS.

Coldest swimming hole:  the Merced River going through Yosemite.

User of the most band-aids:  Tim

User of the most stamps:  Sherri

Who ate the most sunflower seeds:  Sherri, Abe, Marci.  Tim and Angi can't seem to manage the putahandfulinyourcheekcrackoneopenchewthenutspittheshellout thing. We're still working with them! :) Conni can do it, but thinks it's too much work for too little return.

Who watched the most movies:  Conni

Who texted the most: toss up between Abel and Marci

Who yelled the most in the shower when someone else used water:  Abe, for sure!  You'd think a little cool water was gonna kill him!

Who drank the most coffee/lattes:  Tim, no doubt.

Who slept the most:  Bear.

Who drove the most:  Tim, Abe, Sherri, Marci in that order.  Angi chose not to drive.

Who took the most pictures:  Sherri

Who took the worst pictures:  Abe

Who wrestled the most:  Abe, Angi, Marci.  I think the girls came up on the bad end of that every time.  Abe would quote scripture at them:  "You're gonna reap what you sow!" then harass them to no end.

Best practical joke:  Angi putting chili powder in Abe's mouth while he was sleeping.

Why traveling in an RV is THE WAY to do a trip like this:  There is no in and out of people's houses every night.  Or in and out of a hotel.  No living out of a suitcase.  No having to eat at a restaurant every  meal.  You have your own space;  your own bed.  I can cook and eat like normal - don't have to live off of fast food and junk.  No sitting for hours while you drive, strapped into a seat belt and smashed in between other people.  You can get up and roam around, lie down, sleep, cook, eat, watch a movie, work on the computer, etc, while you're going down the road.  How awesome is that?  You have room to get away from each other; room for some privacy.  Not lots, but some.  And cargo space?!  Wow.  Lots of it.  Room to bring home multiple rocks from various areas, some flea market treasures, and of course, room for all the camping gear, vehicle maintenance stuff, snow clothes, books, lawn chairs, 4 suitcases, sports equipment, guitar, firewood, fishing gear, and just about every "what if" thing imaginable.

I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this trip.  It was a trip of a lifetime.  I think we will all look back on it with very good memories.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to take it.  Thankful for Tim making it happen.  Thankful for our kids doing all they could do to make sure they could be with us as much as possible.  Thankful for God leading us; for all He brought our way.  His way and His timing is always perfect!

So many of you "traveled" with us.  I hope you got a taste of what it was like.  I hope you got to "see" some new country and maybe even got to know our family a little better.  Our desire is to share our life with you - to encourage you in whatever way we can.  To share what God has done for us and taught us.  To be a small light of God's love and redemption.  To reach out in love - to friends and family that we know and love, or to the random stranger we meet at a gas station,
or an RV park,
or the pool,
or at the lake,
or in a restaurant,
or at the laundromat,
or alongside the road while changing a flat tire,
or wherever we are!

 If a trip like this is something you and your family have always wanted to do, I encourage you to do it. Even if it's a smaller version of this, do it.  Do it before all your kids are gone.  Do it while you can enjoy it with them.

God bless you all, and may you live a bountiful, abundant life in Christ with your family!