Our very first RV adventure blogging post!

091316-visited-states-map
As of September, 2016 we have finally visited all of the 48 connected states in the US!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The blog below was the first blog that started documenting our travels and the experiences we’ve had.  A lot has happened since this first blog.  We were such newbies in the RV world and over the past 5 years have gained so much experience not only with RV life but in our own lives.  God has been so good to us leading us through this journey.  Hope you will read through the various posts to learn about RV life and about the silly couple that are the Chauvins!


August, 2012 – Hello world! Welcome to my first blog about Roy, Rosalyn, Dora and Boots’ adventures exploring the United States. We won’t start exploring for a while, other than an occasional trip to locations around Louisiana and a Christmas trip to Disneyworld! At least, not until our sticks and bricks house is sold! Please someone buy it!

This lovely 2 story Acadian style home on one acre is for sale!!!
This lovely 2 story Acadian style home on one acre is for sale!!!

If you’re wondering who Dora and Boots are, no they’re not our new grandchildren! They are TV characters our granddaughter Madisyn loves and consequently we’ve seen many episodes of Dora. In her show, Dora is an explorer and we learn all sorts of things through her exploring. Since our RV adventures will take us exploring throughout the United States, we thought it fitting to name our RV “Dora”. Our truck we are towing behind the RV is now named Boots, Dora’s trusty side kick who follows her everywhere! Our Dodge Dakota truck that we will tow is called our “toad”, in RV lingo. That means Boots is our toad!

I am married to my best friend, Roy Chauvin! Roy and I are a regular every day Southern Baptist Christian couple living in Hammond, Louisiana. I am a young 58 years old, born and raised in New Orleans Louisiana. Roy is a slightly older 63 year old who just turned the Social Security retirement age in January, 2013 and was born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana right outside of New Orleans. We met in 1971 and were married in 1972. Our first son was born in the late 1970s followed by his brother Chip in 1981. They are both grown men now with wives and children of their own. All that’s a story for another day but we wanted you to know a little about the folks going on this journey. We moved to Hammond, Louisiana 25+ years ago and have lived here since. It’s a small college town between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. We both currently work at Southeastern Louisiana University. Roy is the Computer Fix It Guru (of course not his official title) and I am the Telephone Billing/Work Order Coordinator which is my official title. We are die-hard New Orleans Saints fans. We’ve loved them since they became a team in our teen age years and have supported them faithfully ever since.

Our adventure began back in August of 2012. I started keeping notes as we began the journey, making the decision to undertake this total lifestyle change. Instead of a daily blog, at first it will be a monthly blog for the months August, September, October, November and December 2012. From here on out I’ll post as I have the opportunity to or when enough experiences have occurred to be interesting.

We hope anyone considering the full time RV lifestyle will learn a little from our experiences as we have learned so much from others experiences. Ask us questions if you want, if we’ve experienced it we’ll let you know what happened with us! If you’re experienced full timing RVers and you see we’re making mistakes please, please shout out to us and share your sage advice with us newbies! We’ve been so happy since we made this decision that we are hoping some of our family and friends will get the itch and come join Roy, Rosalyn, Dora and Boots on our great adventure!

The blogs below are in newest blog first order. If you’d like to read about our experiences in order start at the last one in the list from August and read up to the current date. You may have to click on OLDER POSTS to get to the August one. Please click the FOLLOW link on the right if you’d like to receive an email whenever a new blog is posted!

07.21.18 The Awakening, by Sonny Carroll

 

The Awakening
Sonny Carroll

 

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it … When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.

……….This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :

how you should look and how much you should weigh,
– what you should wear and where you should shop,
– where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
– who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
– who you should marry and why you should stay,
– the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect ,and that not everyone will love appreciate or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK… they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a “perfect 10″…. Or a perfect human being for that matter… and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in “giving” that we receive, and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of “creating” and “contributing” rather than “obtaining” and “accumulating.”

And you give thanks for the simple things you’ve been blessed with, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about – a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, the freedom of choice and the opportunity to pursue your own dreams.

And you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors, including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you’ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

Then you learn about love and relationships – how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally, and that not everyone will always come through… and interestingly enough, it’s not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren’t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns – anger, jealousy and resentment.

You learn how to say “I was wrong” and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to Say NO. You learn that you don’t know all the answers, it’s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.

Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships, and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it’s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet “your” standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that “alone” does not mean “lonely” and you begin to discover the joy of spending time “with yourself” and “on yourself.” Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know – Self Love. And so it comes to pass that, through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.

Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn’t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead, you set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.

You learn that life isn’t always fair and you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God… but merely a random act of fate.

And you stop looking for guarantees, because you’ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you’ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time – FEAR itself.  So you learn to step right into and through your fears, because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.

Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY… the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. And a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

A word about the Power of Prayer: In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed, not for the answers to my prayers or for material things, but for my “God” to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.

Remember this:- You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.
My “God” has never failed me.

 

Copyright © 2001 Sonny Carroll. All Rights Reserved
Reprinted here with permission

Introduction to The Awakening by Sonny Carroll

I actually began writing this piece in 1996 shortly after coming out of a long drawn out and painful break-up. I was a total mess. My life was in shambles and as I tried to make some sense of what had happened, and why, I began to write The Awakening. This piece is a compilation of all the lessons I learned and the observations I made about myself, about other people and their relationships, and of the wisdom that my most dear friend, Drane Uljaj, has shared with me over countless cups of tea.

2007 Note for those trying to contact Sonny Carroll:
Her website, Wake To Life (www waketolife com) is now no longer in existence and she is not contactable.

Graphics Set by Legend Designz
Artwork by Alan Ayers

I save articles or words of wisdom when I find them to use at a later date.  When I came across the version I had saved of The Awakening I was going to share it here.  Then I began reading through it again and found it had no mention of God and the huge part He plays in any Awakening.  I started to Google The Awakening to find pictures to add to the original and I came across this version.  As it turns out this is the original version and over time someone had taken references to God out of it.  You don’t take God out of anything and still have something worthwhile.  I am thankful that today God gave me a little window of very clear thinking to figure this out and put this together.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

 

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07.17.18 When You’re Tired of Pretending Everything’s Okay, by Ann Voskamp

As always, Ann Voskamp reminds us about “The One” who is always there for us!

So you can look up at the calendar today and exhale:

It’s okay to feel bone tired — you have One who gives His bone and His body for you and beckoned: Come Rest.

It’s okay to feel disillusioned — you have One who destroys cheap illusions of perfection and offers you His.

It’s okay to feel done — you have One who listens to the last nail be driven in and proclaims all the hellish things finished.

It’s okay to feel battered and bruised — you have One who storms your battles, takes back everything that needs a comeback, and proves His side won.

It’s okay to feel a bit like a fool — you have One who proves that real love always makes anyone the wisest fool who gives more, lives more, forgives more, because love defies logic, because love is the self-giving, cruciform foolishness that is the ultimate wisdom of the universe.

It’s okay to feel behind — you have One who is the Head and the Author and the Maker and the Finisher and the Carrier and the Warrior and nothing is over until He carries you over the finish line.

It’s okay to feel on the outside — you have One who is passionate about you on the inside, who wants to be with you so desperately, He moves into you, gets into your skin, so you’re never alone, dwells in you, moves into your empty places, your rejected places, your abandoned places and fills you with chosenness and wholeness and withness — because He knows the fulfilled life is an inside job.

It’s okay to feel spent — you have One who pays you all His attention, who says you are worth costing Him everything — and then He bought you back from the pit because you are priceless to Him.

It’s okay to feel whatever you feel — “because you don’t judge your feelings; you feel your feelings—and then give them to God.”

“Feelings are meant be fully felt and then fully surrendered to God.”

“Pain begs to be felt—or life will beg you to feel not one emotion at all. Emotion means movement — and emotions are meant to move you toward God.” ~ The Broken Way

It’s okay to not feel okay — because you have One — who made you His one.

You have One who left the clamor of the 99, to find you, remind you, remake you, rename you, release you.

You have One who is more ready to forgive what you’ve done, than you are to forget,

One who is more ready to give you grace, than you are to give up,

One who is more than ready to always stand with you, than you are to run.

One who is a greater lover, rescuer, saviour, friend— than you have ever imagined Him to be even when your love for Him is most on fire.

This week, these worries, this world, may leave you feeling a bit depressed — but you have a God who is obsessed with you.

His love for you is magnetic, His welcome of you is galactic, His purpose through you is cosmic, His commitment to you is stratospheric, and His hope in you is meteoric.

It’s beautiful how that goes:

Whatever the story is today — it’s okay. Because we know the ending — and how it will be the beginning of the truest happily ever after.

Whatever the story is today — it’s okay. Because the Writer of the story has written Himself into the hardest places of yours and is softening the edges of everything with redeeming grace.

Click on Ann’s logo below to go to her website

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Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

 

 

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07.16.18 What’s Dora Been Up To???

Monday, June 16, 2018 – Our sweet girl, Dora (our motor home) went out on her first vacation without us in Mid June.  A sweet family from New Orleans took her to Tennessee and Arkansas where she enjoyed a week with them.

When they came back they left us with Haagen Dazs Mango Sorbet, Blue Bell Peaches and Cream, Blueberry Eggos, two white nectarines and two bags of river rocks for me to paint!!!! I’m kind of looking forwards to the renters returning from now on! The bar has been set high!!

I’ve painted rocks for each family of renters and gave them theirs when they brought Dora home.  I hope to have many painted rocks give to renters over the next months and years!

We had a 24 hour turn around before Dora left with the next renters on a trip all the way up to lobster country in Maine and New York before coming back through Texas and arrived back home on Thursday evening.  Theirs was a 17 day trip.  When leaving for home at the end of their reservation, these renters said how much they will miss Dora and that she was a big flirt with the big rigs!!  They too brought me some rocks that they collected along their vacation for me to paint.  These renters own a successful business and were kind enough to give us some very useful suggestions of things we can add to our free list to make future vacations even better for upcoming families.

Dora leaves our home here in Amite Monday morning for the beauty parlor at Dixie RV in Hammond. Here she is with Boots hooked up to her once again.

We have almost two weeks before the next renters arrive to take Dora out west for 14 days.  We’ll probably show before and after photos when she’s finished with her appointment.  They kept her today at Dixie RV to do what work they can get done before she’s needed back on the road.  When we left I asked them to please take good care of our girl!

We are learning so much about this RV rental business with each reservation.  One thing we’ve learned is that we are making some lifelong friends with the renters who are getting to live in Dora during their travels.  We have gotten to know them well enough that we know what their prayer needs are.  They are prayed for everyday now.

We’ve added to what we provide our renters, a small ironing board and iron; bath towels, wash clothes and hand towels for six; a big trash can for the kitchen with bags; and shampoos for the dispensers (salon quality, kids no tears and head and shoulders).  I’d like for it to be very easy to take a trip with our Dora.  The less they have to bring the easier it will be on them.  Bring your clothes, your camera and some food!  That’s where we’re going with this.  We learned that while we thought the price we started out asking per day was a lot, Dora is worth much more than that per day, so her price has gone up.  There is an RV Owners Facebook group page for both companies we have Dora listed with.  That’s where a wealth of information is available and someplace I check out each day.  All of our rentals except one have been through RVShare and that one exception is a three day weekend rental with Outdoorsy.  This three day weekend rental include our first delivery to their home and pick up from their home so we’ll learn from that first.  If the three day weekend thing (she’s going to an LSU game) turns out well we may put together a three day football game package to attract rentals for those.

That’s what Dora’s been up to and what her near future plans are.  The video below has nothing to do with RVing but I found it so fascinating I had to share!

While we were in Hammond today I saw my family doctor, Dr. Hugo Valdes for a knee surgery preop and also to have my a1C checked one more time.  I T   I S   6.9  W H I C H  I S  A M A Z I N G  T O  M E!!!  I give God all the glory for working this very amazing miracle in me!!

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07.12.18 Deficits in Executive Function in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia

Thursday, July 12, 2018 – I haven’t written about my dementia lately nor have I shared information about dementia that I’ve found in my reading.  Mostly because I haven’t been able to absorb much lately and putting the information out there just wasn’t happening.
All dementias are different so what is commonly thought to be what memory loss looks like can be very different from individual to individual.  I have new learning deficiency, short term (recent) memory deficiency and others including Executive Function deficiency. If I can help others understand that there is no one way that people lose their memory that would be a big accomplishment.
This article below is about one of the aspects of frontotemporal dementia which is one of the aspects that affects me a lot, Executive Function. When I saw the article from Alzheimer’s Reading Room in my email I thought I really should share this.
From the article:
Executive function is an umbrella term for cognitive processes that regulate, control, and manage other cognitive processes. These processes include planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility, task switching, and initiation and monitoring of actions.

Executive Function is something I’ve been dealing with a lot the last two years. My deficiency in this area became very apparent to us when we were on the road last year.  Making plans during our travel has always been my responsibility.  I have always been an organizer and planner and I loved doing that.

When my brain was working at its best I could see the overall goal (the big picture), determine all the steps that needed to be taken to achieve that goal and on down to all of the details.  I was very good at that so now that I can no longer do any part of that well on most days, I just don’t like it.

The planning for our travels became very difficult because of my growing loss of Executive Function.  Having to compare two or more RV parks in various locations and remember what I found from each was impossible for me.  The parks we’d stay at depending on several factors (price, how far we would travel in a day, how close they were to what we wanted to see and on and on) Remembering what step I just did or read or found out (or I should say NOT remembering what I just did) made moving forward with the next decision something I couldn’t do without being frustrated.

We realized after a few months that if I couldn’t do this any more we couldn’t travel.  Roy could not be responsible for the driving, setting us up and taking it down at a park, all of the planning, driving us in our truck to and from places and just a lot more things.  He helped me with the planning as much as he could.  I wrote down each thing I did to try to remember.  While that helped it made everything much harder, taking some of the joy out of our travels.

For me to write today’s blog post and organize it properly my Executive Function had to be doing pretty good.  It is at the moment and I grabbed today’s good time to put this together!

Deficits in Executive Function in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia

Brain Executive FunctionBy Carole Larkin, Alzheimer’s Reading Room

Shall we ponder some of the issues regarding slowly losing executive functions in Alzheimer’s and related diseases today?

First, let’s define what executive function is.

An article by Leilani Doty, PhD, the Director of the University of Florida Cognitive and Memory Disorder Clinics tells us that executive functions generally take place in our frontal lobes, right behind our forehead.

These functions include our ability to plan things, to solve problems, to organize things in our heads, to develop the initiative to start something, to make an appropriate decision, to consider consequences of our choices, to form an idea, to prioritize things, to be able to control your own emotions and to be able to think abstractly.

Additionally executive functions include:

  1. the ability to use working memory (to hold the item in your head long enough to use it or apply it to something else),
  2. the ability to pay attention to something without getting distracted,
  3. the ability to focus in on important details, to work towards a goal (plan), to adjust to changes (shift gears midstream)
  4. and, to know when to stop an action or task that has been completed.

These things are what place us above other animals; in other words what make us human.

Dr. Doty breaks it down into 4 main steps:

  1. Start: Think about the problem and what needs to be done. Think of a way to solve the problem. Consider resources, past experience, new possibilities, values, deadlines, etc.
  2. Maintain: Start acting on the first step and continue until that step is done.
  3. Switch: Do each step and move on to the next step in order to complete the task or solve the problem.
  4. Stop: Evaluate the outcome. Is the end result good, is it adequate, is it finished, or is more action needed? When done, then stop.

And here are some finer brain actions within the main steps of executive function:

  1. Forming ideas to do an action.
  2. Starting an action.
  3. Maintaining an action until the step is finished (knowing when a step is done).
  4. Switching behaviors to do the next step needed.
  5. Regulating, controlling and adjusting body actions to deal with changes and new information along the way.
  6. Planning a tactic down the road to deal with a new issue or new direction.
  7. Holding details in working memory.
  8. Controlling emotions.
  9. Thinking abstractly.

Knowing when the whole task is finished, stopping that task, and moving onto a different task or activity.

Follow this link to see the full article: http://alzonline.phhp.ufl.edu/en/reading/ExecutiveFxLatest.pdf.

Note from Rosalyn: I ask that my family and close friends read the full article above.  Please do it for me.  It explains more than just what Executive Function does, it says how it affects someone with dementia and I think will explain a lot about how I am different now than I use to be.  Please read this. 

Back to the article: Phew! That’s a lot of things that executive function controls.

Dementia Caregiver Information (and anyone else who is around the patient a lot)

Now imagine the neurons in that part of the brain beginning to die. Think of it as if there is a light bulb representing that part of the brain and it begins flickering; sometimes on strongly, sometimes on weakly, sometimes not on at all. Well that’s how it is for years and years in Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.

How do you (the caregiver) know when the person’s executive function is OK, kinda not OK, or definitely not OK, because it’s always fluctuating? The answer is: you don’t know.

You couldn’t possibly know. Because, of course, you are not inside their heads watching the neurons fire, or not fire. So here you’ve come face to face with the true evil which is Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

You are the caregiver. The one with the whole brain (theoretically). At any given moment, you are responsible for their safety and their continued existence on this planet. Yet, they deserve to be self-reliant and independent as any other adult would be. They know it and you know it.

What to do? What to say? Stressed out much, are you at this moment?

So now, I think we are talking about talking risks here, folks. We do it with them all day, every day. We don’t want to, but we’re forced to. They force us to because many times they are not even aware that the light of logic and reason is weak or has gone out. Oh and by the way, self awareness is another executive function.

To think about taking a calculated risk by trying to control the environment or the circumstances in which this action (or non action) takes place, as much as possible. By tipping the scale on the side of safety as much as you can, you are taking a calculated risk as opposed to an uncalculated risk. It takes courage, I know, in the face of the anger and other nasty emotions that you will faced with, from the person with the disease.

But at least try.

Alzheimer's Reading RoomCarole Larkin MA, CMC, CAEd, DCP, QDCS, EICS is an expert in Alzheimer’s and related Dementias care.  She also is a Certified Geriatric Care Manager who specializes in helping families with Alzheimer’s and related dementias issues. Her company, ThirdAge Services LLC, is located in Dallas, TX, and her website is www.thirdageservices.com.

Original content the Alzheimer’s Reading Room

The Alzheimer’s Reading Room is the publisher of high quality expert content and news for the Alzheimer’s and dementia community.

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07.11.18 Mama’s Publishers Clearing House List

Image result for publishers clearing houseEven those of you who knew my mama well, probably did not know this.  She was obsessed with winning the Publisher’s Clearing House for several years.  She knew without a doubt that Ed McMahon was going to show up at her house with her prize.  I think I remember her having a special box of cookies for when they came.  That part could just be in my mind!

Anyway, on her birthday in 2001 (she wrote it as 2K1) she wrote the following note about what her wishes were if she should win the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.  This is it in her writing.  I’m going to type it up below her handwritten version in case you can’t read her writing.

I thought about this note when Philip Bankston got up to speak a few Sundays ago about the Family Life Building we hope to soon start on at our church Trinity Baptist.  You’ll see why in #1 of mama’s note.

Rewritten from 5-18-2K1. Notes:  My wishes if I should win the Publishers Clearing House “Sweepstakes”.  after thanking God for his hand in it.

1. I would pay off debt on Trinity Church, help build the much needed “Family Center”

2.  I would pay off Harriett and Georges home, Rosalyn and Roys, also Dana and Erics.  Pay off Rosie’s Car, buy Harriett a new car, give Greg a generous wedding gift to go on a home for he and Nancy, Buy Chad a new car, whatever Chip wants for his truck and help for school.  A new car for Gloria and Olga.

Pay off loan to bank (not to much)

Car Insurance 6 months and house for 1 year.

Good health policy and keep enough to keep my car in good condition, also home.

I do not need or want a new home or car, I like what I have.

If there is anything left over add to future schooling for Joseph and Annie.

I want to keep my Hibernia bank account with Joyce Kemp.

An unlisted phone number.

Chip approved this – too bad if no one else does!!!

The words on the side say “In case it is necessary Harriett and Rosalyn Joint Power of Attorney”

Yes we are now looking forward to the approval and building of our Family Life Center at Trinity.  Can’t wait to see that dream become a reality.  Our church family has grown so much we really need it now.  I know that mama will be smiling in Heaven when it does!

This note also says so much about my mama.  Her wants were so small in comparison to what she wanted to do for her family and friends from her winnings.  Her first wish was to give to God’s church and her last wish was for very little for herself.  She loved each of us in her family so much and always sacrificed for us.  We knew we were all loved and still know that!

Hope ya’ll enjoyed this little insight into a sweet lady’s wish list for when she would win the Publishers Clearing House in 2001!

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07.09.18 Doctor, doctor, doctor, no doctor – in reverse!

Monday, July 9, 2018 – I wrote a nice long blog post to document, for me, recent doctors appointments that happened and didn’t happen.  I need that level of detail to help me remember these things.  I’ve decided all this doesn’t really need to be public (I know, I decide this after years of telling everything!) so below is the very brief version of the nice long blog post!

Yes I did make an appointment to see Dr. Mortesia Shamsnia, the doctor I swore I’d never go to again a couple of years ago. After making the appointment for May 22nd and receiving the “new patient” packet (because it had been so long since I’d seen him that I had to fill out a new patient packet), I received an odd phone call. I was totally flabbergasted when a young lady called to say that Dr. Shamsnia was no longer with Advanced Neurodiagnostics in Metairie and hadn’t been since February of this year.  The clinic’s website is still active at http://www.adneuro.com/physicians.html if you’d like to check it out.  He’s just not with them though the website says he is.  He is now associated with Tulane Medical Center. To see him I have to get a referral (long story) which I don’t feel like doing.  For now, no appointment, no new improved MRI.   So no I didn’t see Dr. Shamnia and who knows if I ever will again!

First doctor I did see is Dr. Valdes.  Saw him last week and my a1c is down to 7.4. He made some changes to my diabetic medicine to help push it on down to the goal of 7.0.

Second doctor I did see is Dr. Blessey. Since we no longer have Dora (our motorhome) available to go to Tennessee and stay for a while like Roy did while he recovered we made a decision.  Image result for dr. peter blesseyI decided to look for a local doctor who does partial knee replacements. The pain in my knee is worse than it has ever been mostly because of the activity lately getting the motor home ready to rent, moving into our house and getting everything in the house set up as much as possible.  A friend recommended Dr. Peter Blessey with Ochsner in Covington.  Roy and I went to see him and really liked him.  He does a similar type partial knee replacement as Dr. Schrader does and the surgery is done outpatient!  Surgery is scheduled for July 31st.  We have a class scheduled on July 13th with them that will discuss my surgery and aftercare plans as well as go over my medical history and medications.

Third doctor is one Roy saw. The long awaited visit with Dr. Pulin Shah at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans was on June 6. He said he could do the lens replacement and do the asteroid hyalosis removal.  But he, just like Dr. Creed, wanted Roy to get and wear glasses for a while to see if that could correct some of the problems without doing surgery.  Of course, Roy has hardly worn the bifocals we bought after Dr. Creeds recommendation, and who knows if he will wear the monovision glasses if we bought them.  Roy still has trouble seeing but it’s up to him and no one can make him wear the glasses. We really liked Dr. Shah and his office door was so cool I had to take a photo of it!

I now have a terrible toothache which I’m living on pain medicine for until I see the dentist this afternoon.  More fun!

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07.08.18 Trust Me When I Say God Always Has A Plan, by Taunya at Love, Life, Relationships

Trust me when I say God knows what he’s doing. Even if you’re confused and you don’t know how you’re going to move forward or where you’re going to go, he will always open a new door for you. An unexpected door. A door that could lead you to a kind of happiness you never imagined. A door that puts an end to the hard days.

Trust me when I say God doesn’t take things away without giving you something better. God knows when something has served its purpose even if you can’t see it. God knows when things should end even if you’re not ready.

God is planning what’s next for you because he knows that you need a change. He knows that he’s taking you to a better destination or guiding you to a more fulfilling life.

Trust me when I say God hears your prayers. He’s listening to you and he’s giving you exactly what you want but in his own way. Maybe his way is different from yours but his way is always the right way. When you ask for happiness and you find yourself drifting away from the people you love, he’s telling you that these are not the people to surround yourself with because they drain you. When you ask for peace and you lose your job, he’s telling you that your future is better somewhere else. When you ask for love and he gives you heartbreak, he’s telling you that you need to make a better choice. He’s telling you you’re loving the wrong people. He’s always answering your questions, you just need to trust his answers.

Trust me when I say God is looking out for you. It may not be easy to see at times and it might be impossible to understand why things happen the way they do but one thing I know for sure is that God won’t leave you alone in the dark. He will guide you. He will inspire you. He will rearrange things in your life so you can change your life. 

Trust me when I say God wants you to count on him. He wants you to learn that people are unpredictable and they change their minds every second. He wants you to know that nothing in life is secure or complete. He wants you to know that there will be times when you’ll just have to count on your faith instead of your logic. He wants you to go through enough problems so you can have enough wisdom to know that he’s the only constant in this life and he’s the only one who can truly heal you.

Trust me when I say God always has a plan for you and that plan always includes what’s best for you.

by Taunya at Love, Life, Relationships

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07.07.18 ‘Good Cemeterian’ honors veterans by restoring gravestones, celebrating their stories, by Allie Raffa | Fox News

On any given day, Andrew Lumish arrives at a historic Tampa-area cemetery without fanfare or attention. He’s there to carefully restore veteran’s gravestones blackened by the elements and decades of neglect.

Cemeteries across the country will show you a similar scene—thousands of long-forgotten monuments belonging to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

But Lumish, a cleaning company owner, aims to refurbish the memories – and the gravestones – of America’s heroes whose time-worn tombstones have started falling apart.

Lumish said he stumbled upon a Tampa cemetery five years ago to photograph some gravestones, but what he saw that day would change his life.

“So many veteran’s monuments…were in really poor condition and it was upsetting to me,” he said. “I didn’t want for them to be forgotten…I started to research how to properly restore monuments.”

His preparation is always the same, even after 1,500 completed restorations.

He is given permission to restore a monument from cemetery staff or a descendant, charges no fee for his services and brings all his own equipment—a few 5-gallon water containers, some microfiber towels and an assortment of over 12 brushes ranging in shape and size.

Recent, he was restoring the gravestone of Milton H. Phelps, a U.S. Army Private First Class in World War II who died in 1973 at the age of 67.

“Each one tells a story…our subject right here is originally from New York state,” says Lumish, as he methodically sprays the stone while scrubbing away mold and mildew so deeply permeated that each swirl of his brush creates a wave of green muck.

He rinses the stone with water to check his progress and sprays it again with something called D/2 biological solution, which Lumish said is the only product used to clean monuments in national cemeteries.

Lumish said in a typical eight-hour day, he can complete the first cleaning phase of four to five monuments.

“A monument restoration has to be done by hand, you cannot use a pressure washer…so a monument will take minimally two months to restore and some take in excess of a year,” he said. “I won’t reveal a restoration until it’s reached its pinnacle and peak and it’s ready to be shown.”

This is the first of many visits he will make to Phelps’ burial site over the coming months, and each time, he will learn more about each veteran’s personal story.

“It’s very important to me,” he said. “It’s become a mission of sorts.”

Joe Caltagirone, caretaker of the L’Unione Italiana cemetery, where Lumish has completed several restorations, said his work means a lot to the families of the deceased veterans.

“He is treating the individual veterans as if they were members of his family,” Caltagirone said. “Words can’t express how much we appreciate that.”

Lumish’s mission doesn’t end once the gravestones are clean. He takes before-and-after photos and posts them to his Facebook page and website, titled with his nickname “The Good Cemeterian,” along with a short biography so his thousands of followers can celebrate their life.

“You find these things that are unbeknownst to anyone when you walk by or drive by a stone in a cemetery…it represents a life that we should respect and remember because we learn so much,” Lumish said.

He and his assistant, Jen Armbruster, use numerous genealogical websites and old newspaper articles to tell the story of the person behind the name.

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“I never anticipated that these restorations from 100 or longer years ago would personally affect people in today’s times the way that they do,” Lumish said. (Fox News)

“The individuals that we honor didn’t consider themselves heroes, they didn’t toot their own horn or pat themselves on the back—we’re doing it now…we don’t only talk about their service, we talk about their lives, from the day they were born until their last day on earth,” he said. “We are delving into that person’s life so that we can respectfully tell what that person went through…I don’t want anyone to be forgotten.”

One of those Lumish wants everyone to remember is his friend, 12-year U.S. Air Force veteran Chris Scala, who took his own life in 2013 after battling post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

“We honor the past, but I also always honor him,” he said.  “I always think of him.”

Lumish’s dedication to Scala and others is getting nationwide attention—hundreds of new “Good Cemeterians” across the country are joining his cause. He plans on providing them with starter cleaning kits to use in their own local cemeteries.

Inspired by the outpouring of support for his work, he created “The Good Cemeterian Historial Preservation Project,” a non-profit raising money for gold star families and veterans suffering from PTSD.

At the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national convention in Kansas City, Mo. later this month, Lumish will be honored with a National Citizenship Award.

“Personally, I’ve learned a lot through these restorations and telling these stories…I learn every single day and unless you’re learning every single day, you’re not living,” he said. “So, I’m going to live this life, however long it’s going to be, and leave it a better place than I came into it. That’s my goal.”

Allie Raffa is a multimedia reporter for Fox News based in Tampa.

 

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07.10.18 Watermelon, Blue Bell, figs, chicken breast and burgers, homemade french fries, bedroom set, two birthdays, rock painting and frozen avocados!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 – Last Sunday after church, we stopped at the Robert (small town) Supermarket.  Not only was Blue Bell ice cream on sale for $4.55 but giant watermelons were only $6.88.  They have been up to $12 each lately for the really big ones.  We bought two watermelons and two containers of Blue Bell! There are other supermarkets like the Robert one in Loranger, Bedico and the one in Ponchatoula is called Bohnings!  I’m pretty sure they all have the same specials.

One of my quirky habits is feeling the need to share with everyone when I find something I think is cool. I want everyone to know all the cool things in life, so I share it, even if it is about where to find a great price on Blue Bell ice cream and giant watermelons!

My dear friend Donna Methvien has several fig trees at her house.  She invited us to come pick some!  Big eyes, big smile, yes that was me!  We picked and picked and picked and came home with an abundance of figs!  I learned how to freeze them whole and did that with about half of them.  A week later all of the fresh ones were eaten and I’ve started on the frozen ones.  I just let them defrost in the refrigerator and they taste like fresh!  Figs are one of those foods that the first bite takes me back to my childhood. For those outside of Louisiana the tree below is a medium size fig tree.  The two fig trees we have growing are much, much smaller.  The ones I picked from as a child were about twice this size since they were at least 50 years old!

Our youngest son, Chip’s family invited us over for a 4th of July BBQ.  Everything was so delicious!  Misty even made homemade french fries. We watched the Ponchatoula fireworks display from Chip and Misty’s front yard.  We avoided all the crowds and got to see the fireworks perfectly!

Since we are starting from scratch furnishing our home we’ve been looking for bedroom furniture. We recently found a king size bedroom set on Facebook’s Marketplace.    

Here’s Roy rebuilding the chest of drawers after we found lots of problems with it when getting it home! When we picked up the set, all of the drawers were taken out of the chest of drawers.  We figured it was to make the unit less heavy when carrying it down the steps from the second floor apartment.  Found out later it was because all of the rails underneath each drawer was worn out and didn’t work.  Also the stops that prevent a drawer from going in too far were all missing.  The hinges on the center door at the top were glued in.  Yes people really do that! After $50 in parts Roy has it in great shape now!   If I didn’t really love that piece of furniture and didn’t have a husband as talented as mine it would have wound up on the curb.

We don’t have nightstands and are on the look out for something that will match or come close to matching the set. Also no bedspread, rugs  and decorations but the bedroom set is a good start!

Chip’s 37th birthday was Friday, July 6!  We joined his family at the new Golden Corral in Hammond for birthday dinner.  We all really enjoyed the food and the family fun.  Plus Grannie and Paw got to spend some time with our sweet granddaughters! Kallie is our family’s selfie Queen!

Saturday we went to Roy’s sister Linda’s great grandson Nathan’s 10th birthday.  We haven’t seen Linda’s family in quite a while.  It was wonderful having time to visit and catch up on things with them.  Nathan’s birthday cake was amazing.  The party theme was ahoy matey and his cake had an edible ship on top and edible treasure map!  The whole cake was edible and delicious!!

I’m back to rock painting and have really enjoyed the rock painting room in our new house!   

This is my set up for rock painting.  Lots of rocks both small and large in various stages of painting!

A sweet young friend of ours took these rocks below on a vacation and has already hidden a couple along their travels!

I have to share this video and information I recently learned.  See, it’s that quirky habit I can’t shake. How many of you have purchased avocados and couldn’t eat them in time before they started going bad.  I never ever would have imagined that you could freeze avocados and they would be like fresh avocados when they defrost.  Once I found out about it I shared it on facebook and found that people I know have been doing theirs like this already!  Check this out!

Natasha Labarriere-Mueller wrote on Facebook:  So on my trip to Costco to stock up on avocados (on sale), I had a TON of people comment on the amount I had. I replied to all with “well I’m going to freeze them”…. and BOOM the shock factor hit and their eyes lit up so by the end of the trip after explaining it to everyone by the avocados, everyone in line with me, the cashier and the lady at the door. I’ve come to the conclusion so many people don’t know about this….they do not brown, they do not lose their texture, they come out perfect when thawed… and last up to 4 months in the freezer so here it is for all that care to know!

HOW TO FREEZE AVOCADOS

  Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits!

Put them into a freezer gallon zip lock with the cut side down.  Stick a straw down in it and suck out all of the air like she shows below.

I think that about catches up the goings on in our lives!  I had a good brain day when I put this together.  I wait for the good days and then write or share a lot!

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