05.29.17 Memorial Day Tribute to the fallen HEROS of the 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the Mississippi National Guard

Reposted from 2013: The soldiers who serve in our United States Military are the bravest, most giving, honorable, strong, and best men and women I know. The video below is called “So God Made A Soldier” by aspiring Naval Officer Benjamin Morse. It was featured during the 2013 Super Bowl and caught my attention then. This Memorial Day I hope you will watch and listen to the meaningful words of this young soldier.


My own family has many generations of men who served in the military, all of whom I love and am very proud of. My daddy Leroy, husband Roy, uncles and cousins have served. Our oldest son who requested his name not be used served in the Army from the time he got out of high school until around four years ago, resigning his commission as a Captain.

In 2005, our oldest son served a tour of duty in Iraq at FOB Iskandariyah with the 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry Regiment, 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the Mississippi National Guard. I feel that the military was greatly responsible for making him the man he is. He acquired and developed leadership and mission management qualities that later transferred to his civilian project management work. freedomOur oldest son has achieved much in his 34 (now 37) years but his military service is something I shall always be extremely proud of him for. While over there he spread the gospel of Christ to the other soldiers and provided Bibles to the Iraqis in their native language.

I’d like to specifically honor today those young men who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, the fallen soldiers from that tour of duty in 2005. The information below come from the Mississippi Rifles web page. I can still remember our oldest son telling us about each of them when they died.

Freedom Is Not Free

…in memory of our fallen comrades

Sergeant Robert Shane Pugh Headquarters Company, 1-155th I,nfantry

Specialist Robert McNail Bravo Company, 150th Engineers

Sergeant Timothy Osbey Headquarters Company, 1-155th Infantry

Specialist Joseph Rahaim Alpha Company, 1-155th Infantry

Staff Sergeant Saburant Parker Charlie Company, 1-155th Infantry

Specialist Daniel R. Varnado Charlie Company, 1-155th Infantry

Specialist Bryan E. Barron Charlie Company, 1-155th Infantry

Corporal Audrey D. Lunsford Charlie Company, 1-155th Infantry

Major Gregory Fester Bravo Company, 490th Civil Affairs

Captain Lowell Thomas Miller II Headquarters Company, 1-155th Infantry

1st Lieutenant Robert C. Oneto-Sikorski Charlie Company, 1-155th Infantry

One of the displays after two soldiers were killed in Iraq.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!


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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly

05.27.17 The real secret sauce when life, parenting, & people are hard, by Ann VosKamp

Saturday, May 27, 2017 –  If you’ve been reading our blog for a while you’ve probably picked up on the fact that Ann VosKamp’s website, A Holy Experience, is one of my favorite source of inspiration and I think very highly of her writing.  Today’s blog immediately struck me as something young mother’s should read.  I remember the challenges of raising little ones in this world.  Ann has several children and the honesty of her writing may help someone.  Feel free to pass this along to someone you care for.

These two sentences below are found way down in the article but the importance of the message made me copy it and include it here so you don’t miss it.

It’s his eyes — if you’ve put the fear of yourself into a child, how is there room for the joy of the Lord? Joy isn’t an optional feature to the Christian life — it’s the vital feature of the Christian life.

I highly encourage everyone to go to her site, spend some time there.  You will be blessed!

the real secret sauce when life, parenting, & people are hard

Back then I said I’d never be like him.

I slammed doors to punctuate the point and to make sure my dad knew it.

You can be tall and 15 and think you know a lot of things.

And you don’t think about growing old and looking squishy around the middle and telling teenagers to just, please, turn out the lights.

You don’t think about how you can open your mouth and let the sharp side of your tongue tear the innards out of a soul —-

and there’s no way you can stuff the whole bloody mess back.





I don’t know how it happened exactly.

Or maybe the truth rightly stated is — I really don’t want to remember.

How we were late, 35 minutes late, and when I got in the van they were all waiting, all 7 of them, waiting and squashed close in a mini-van that’s far too mini for lanky Dutch teenagers.

And early summer heat and and a clock ticking loud and, one late mother who can flare into this wide-eyed, wild agoraphobia when facing hours of finger food and paper plates and BBQ small talk with absolute strangers.

It got ugly.

A kid hadn’t ironed his shirt.

Over the course of a whole hour and ten minutes of hunting down socks and doing up hair and scouring for one battered croc — and telling my jangled it’s-time-to-go-nerves a dozen times that all fear is fraud and nowhere on earth is beyond the reach of God — I had told the boy at least 5 times, that he really did have to iron that shirt.

And then, 35 minutes late, he’s in the van looking like he’s rolled with a bunch of wombats to Timbuktu and back.

Maybe I should have shrugged the shoulders?

Maybe I should have said it didn’t matter, let’s just go? But I had asked him – five times. More like 5.8975 times and in this insistent, your-mama-she-means-business-voice.

So, to a van full of the waiting and the hot and the frustrated, I say No Ma’am. No ma’am, we are not going like that. Back into the house and you have. to. iron. that. shirt.

And the kid starts wailing. At mock pitch levels. Like I’d just announced an imminent amputation of a necessary limb or the banning of all birthdays for the rest of his breathing existence.

And every nerve ending in this highly sensitive body is already feeling unraveled and gory and I don’t even want to go to this thing and I feel the iron weight of time and kids and expectations all pressing down on the lung and his howl is jet thunder in the frayed veins.

And I turn hard toward the bawling kid.


I’m not proud that I can hiss.

Here’s, right here, it’d be real convenient to claim I wasn’t thinking straight, that some tightening screw had somewhere loosened….

But it’s been said and I’ve laid up nights, thinking about it, and it’s true and I say it like this: No matter the jarring, a jar of fresh water can’t spill filthy water. When you’re upset, you upset what’s really in you. 

I grab the boy’s arm and lean in close to his face. His wracking sobs are hot and hard in my face.

And I’m gnawing. Gnawing on the side of lip, pulling on my mouth like I’m trying to hold something back, like I’m trying to chew through to something better than this – better than him.

How can you have held the child that came from you as an ember of very heaven and then glare blind angry and stomp him right out? Who can look into a child and forget miracle?

Me — the amnesiac mother who forgets holy all the time.

I lean in and over, gnaw like a wild thing, and the kid pulls back and wracks it out like this haunt — like this high and holy haunt.

“When … you… do… that…” His shoulders heave, chocking back all this heart water right undammed.

“When… you… chew… your lip like that?” He wipes his face with the back of his arm. “You … look… just… like… Grandpa Morton.”

And there’s no air in my lungs.

I’ve caved, in a moment everything’s caved.

Like him? Like my Dad? 

It’s like a flashing supernova, the look in a child’s eyes and there’s a flaring mirror and you see you are everything you’d said you’d never become.

You can become everything that once undid you.

I’m right tipped, upset and know who I really am and what really spills, and here is why I’ll never stop being a grace beggar, a wild Cross-clinger.

“Please… Don’t… Do… That…” The poor child can’t stop the heaving of his shoulders, his heart.

I’m undone now — undammed.

And feeling so damned.

How can grace get a hold of you — when the past won’t let go of you? 

How do you leave a legacy different than the one you’ve been left? That’s what I’ve got to gnaw through to. How do you mangle the ones you love most?

“Sor…ry… Mama… didn’t… mean… to make you… cry.” And he’s the one who can’t stop.

And I kneel down and let go of his arm. And I hold his face. That’s what I should have done, done right at the beginning. What would happen in a world where anger was your flag to reach out and cup a face?

He looks so scared and wrung and thin — every child’s a thin place.  I see God.




And that’s what comes:

If you don’t fight for joy, it’s your children who lose.

What do I want my children to remember — my joy in clean floors, made beds and ironed shirts — or my joy of the Lord?

You will be most remembered — by what brought you most joy.The joy of the Lord is your strength and the person of Christ is your unassailable joy – and the battle for joy is nothing less than fighting the good fight of faith.

His cheeks in my palms, they’re so white, so wet.

It’s his eyes — if you’ve put the fear of yourself into a child, how is there room for the joy of the Lord?Joy isn’t an optional feature to the Christian life — it’s the vital feature of the Christian life.

Battle for joy or lose your life.Or other’s lose theirs.

And I whisper sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry… and hold hold his face close.  I tell the boy I know nothing yet, nothing.

Every ungracious moment means someone doesn’t fully yet understand grace.

And the boy crumbles into me and I hold onto him and a forgiveness I’ll never deserve and there’s a grace that can hold us, that can mold us, the way joy can bend you soft at all the joints.

And I murmur it into the thick of his hair — that even now He can still make us like Him.

The boy touches my cheek like a flag waving yes.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!


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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly


05.26.17 Announcing “Search My Blog” and a Health Update

Friday, May 26, 2017 – Have you ever wanted to find something you remember reading on my blog to share with a friend?  Well maybe not everyone has wanted to do that, but now, everyone can do this!  My always brilliant and helpful hubby discovered how to add this feature to the Dora and the Explorer blog and now it is available! One of our most read blog posts is about our RV purchasing adventure involving the local SWAT Team in Conroe, Texas back in 2012.  This new feature makes finding that blog post super easy – “easy peasy” like my boss Curtis likes to say!  Just type Conroe (less is always better when trying to search for something, instead of typing in Conroe, Texas) and it will quickly find the two blog posts related to that memorable day!

On Dora’s main page to the right you’ll see this.  Click on the image if you want to enlarge it:

Another nifty feature you can explore is “Follow.”  To access this feature scroll down, looking on the right hand side of the page till you see this!

This feature is exactly as explained.  If you want to receive an email notification when Dora publishes a new post, you can!  Just enter your email address and respond to the confirmation email you will receive.  Easy Peasy, Right??

Health Update: I am really ready to get back to continuous good health.  I return to the orthopedic doctor today for them to check my swollen, painful elbow.  The swelling is significantly down but still exists.  My hand and arm are no longer swollen like a balloon and for that I say “Thank You God!”  We ventured out yesterday to drive around our area and just see somethings.  We stopped at Dollar General for some bread and after a few minutes there I had to go back to the car.  Felt awful the rest of the evening.  Between passing out, hitting my elbow on the door, spending days in the hospital to find out I have a large bleeding ulcer, coming home quite happy, then within days arm and elbow swelling up, draining twice (culture showing Staph infection) causing excruciating pain followed by a few days of good feeling mixed with times of not good, I am ready for all this to be over. I have a 1:45 pm appointment today to see Dr. Chiasson, orthopedic doctor.  I am praying they do not have to drain it again since it is still swollen.  I may ask for anesthesia if they do – ya’ll think I’m kidding, I’m not.

Yesterday morning I felt like the iron medicine, stomach healing medicine and antibiotic was starting to do their work but yesterday evening it all left.  I have so little strength but was trying to carry on with most of my usual responsibilities around here.  Roy has had to take over and I appreciate so much his willingness to do that.  I’ve decided that if I don’t feel considerably better by next week I will go back to Dr. Valdes instead of waiting a month to see him again.

I would appreciate your prayers as I fully rely on God for all things in my life.  He listens to and answers prayers, always! I am spending more time on my computer as it doesn’t require much energy and allows my brain to stay active.  I really am enjoying using God’s words from the Bible to create graphics for my blogs.  I hope you all enjoy them too! Feel free to right click on them to save to your computer or use it as your computer background, whatever you’d like!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!


Click on the links below to go there!

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly

05.24.17 Home Sweet RV Home by Dirty Rotten Racklefrack on RVillage.com

This article written by an RVillager known as Dirty Rotten Racklefrack was very informative and helpful. You can easily become an RVillager by going to the website http://www.rvillage.com and join. It’s free, quick and easy! There are more blogs written by D.R.Racklefrak on RVillage that you may enjoy and learn from!

Home Sweet RV Home

A Featured Blog by Dirty Rotten Racklefrack!

Downsizing into an RV is an increasingly popular option these days. Full-time RV’ing has been common for older and/or retired folks for a long time, but more and more younger singles, couples and families are seeking an alternative to the produce-and-consume American Dream we’ve all chased for decades. For many who are seeking a richer, fuller life, the nomadic RV lifestyle represents the most favorable compromise between affordability and freedom.

But just because we move out of a house doesn’t mean we can’t have a home. If home is indeed where the heart is, then ideally we want to love the space we live in instead of getting lost in it. (See what I did there? Lost in Space? Danger Will Robinson! DANGER!) It doesn’t matter how much space you have or don’t have, what matters is that we connect with that space on an emotional level that makes it feel natural to call it “home.”


Organizing your RV sounds like an easy first step, but you’d be surprised how many folks misinterpret its purpose. RV organization isn’t just about cramming more stuff in smaller spaces, it’s more about enjoying the physical space that’s left over after everything is put away. Who wants to spend every day and night staring at stuff shoved into every nook and cranny?

Why is an RV so hard to organize? Compared to a stix-n-brix house that has tables of every size, bookshelves, mantles, counters, islands, large cabinets with multiple drawers and shelves, etc., RV’s have precious little useable horizontal surface area – even the drawers and shelves inside cabinets are often smaller. And much of what horizontal surface area an RV does have is dedicated to something other than storage, like sitting or cooking. Making the horizontal space inside an RV multi-functional is an excellent way to de-clutter a room while simultaneously adding a little decorative form the function.

Many office desktop organizers can double for organizing a galley. Something like this Rustic Wood Organizer is charming and organic and could hold a lot of spices and condiments or small cooking utensils. Another option is this Makeup Organizer that could serve a similar function in the galley, but it could also be put to good use in many other areas of an RV, like the bathroom, shower or laundry areas.

More often than not, the real struggle boils down to convenience vs. capacity. Drawers and pullouts make accessing stuff easier, especially anything way in the back of a cabinet, but they also waste a lot of space inside the cabinet. Stackable Baskets can double or triple drawer or shelf space and come in all shapes and sizes. While they’re typically used on countertops, they can make a huge difference in drawers or pullouts or inside cabinets by adding multiple levels of convenient horizontal storage where there used to be only one.

Basement Storage

RV basement storage might not sound like it adds a whole lot to your quality of life on the road, but the more stuff you can efficiently store in the basement, the less stuff there is to clutter your RV’s interior.

Storing stuff in your RV’s basement is a little easier to deal with than interior RV storage because we’re not as concerned about aesthetics, but it can still be a challenge. Plastic Storage Bins can really simplify the task by helping us group related items together in one or more tubs that are easy to access. I use Colored Duct Tape and a magic marker to make it easy to find whatever I need; the colors group tubs by contents – like green for outside cooking stuff, or red for roadside emergency equipment – and the hand-written label tells me exactly what’s inside each tub.

The trick to using storage bins in a basement is to leave yourself some space to move tubs out of the way so you can get to other tubs deeper in. The closer all the bins in your basement are to the same size, the easier it is to maximize the storage space and move them around to find what you need when you need it. Think of it like one of those sliding tile puzzles we played with as kids without all the fun and excitement.

A lot of RV’s have sliding storage trays in our basement, and they really are very convenient. But, like any drawer or pull-out shelf in a cabinet inside your RV, they take up a lot of room on their own. (Plus, they’re really heavy so you have less weight carrying capacity to store stuff you need!) Depending on how much headroom your sliding tray has, a rolling Underbed Storage box can help organize the tray and make it easier to move stuff out of the way.

RV’ing with Pets

Pets help make any house a home by filling it with unconditional love. (Plants can have the same effect, they’re just not as much fun to play fetch with.) Cats and dogs are the obvious choices for the RV lifestyle, but many RV’ers travel with birds, reptiles, rodents – even fish! – and many others travel with a combination of some or all of the above.

Our cats don’t love traveling down the road, and they absolutely hate being in their crates. We initially had pretty good results with Bach’s Rescue Remedy and Thundershirts for Cats, though they eventually became so accustomed to the road that they didn’t need either anymore… but they sure helped in the beginning.

Outdoor pens for your pets offer them both fresh air and safety – from predators and from getting lost. They come in a wide variety of sizes and typically fold to take up very little storage space. Many cats and even small dogs love Window Perches for sunning themselves while enjoying the view, and with a little modification they can even be used on the outside of the window for many types of pets – just add some window screen or sun shade to enclose the outward-facing openings and voilà… you have an instant outdoor pet balcony!

Decorating Your RV

How many of you have thought about painting the interior walls and/or cabinetry but didn’t know where to start? As a professional carpenter and woodworker for many years, I can tell you it all starts with proper preparation.

The process will be different depending on the surface material – wood vs. wallpaper vs. paneling – but once it’s properly prepped a good coat of Kilz Oil Based Primer / Sealer will make the rest of the job a lot simpler with far better results. I strongly recommend oil-based primers for a number of reasons:

  • They adhere far better to wallpaper or paneling without the risk of it soaking through to the underlying glue and encouraging it to peel or bubble;
  • On wood, oil-based primers won’t raised the grain like water-based latex sealers will, so there will be a lot less sanding and recoating.
  • Oil-based sealers cover stains much better in a single coat, and this one will even cover most cooking, smoke and pet odors!
  • Quality water-based latex topcoats (which I also strongly recommend) will stick like glue to an oil-based primer. You’ll need a chisel to get it off!

Interior color palettes can literally be whatever color(s) you want, but in general the smaller the space, the lighter the color; the larger the space the darker the color. Again, it’s not a rule, just a suggestion, but it’s a good one that many interior decorators start with as a baseline.

Whatever color scheme you choose, remember that an RV’s interior takes a lot of abuse, so a high-quality paint is a must for excellent results and durability. For those reasons alone I’m a huge fan of Valspar products, not only for their wide variety of colors and finishes but also for their ease of application and reliability.

The key to good color choices isn’t that everything should match, but rather that everything should complement and/or enhance everything else. Our RV is rather spacious with the slides extended, so my wife and I chose a medium-toned earthy palette for the walls to complement the extensive amount of richly-colored cabinetry we have throughout the coach, while adding a solid base for all the accents of bright color we have, like pillows, throws, vases, rugs and runners, and especially our bedding.

Interior Remodeling

You don’t have to be a professional carpenter to remodel the interior of your RV, though it helps to know one if only for the access to some tools you might not have. Ripping out our old shower enclosure and installing a full-tile surround was a huge undertaking, even for someone with my experience, and it isn’t something I would recommend for the average DIY-er. But there are many remodeling projects that can be accomplished with even the most basic skills – or no skills at all! – that can help transform your rolling brick into a lovely home.

One very popular choice right now is peel-n-stick Wallpaper and Tile. Either can be used to accent a small area, like a backsplash, or even make an entire wall stand out and be noticed. They’re simple to cut, simple to install and look great when you’re done. Again, proper preparation is the key – clean, smooth walls are a must – but you’ll be very proud to show off the results!

Replacing your existing flooring is another very popular option, though it can be a little tougher job than painting or peel-n-stick tile. Many RV’ers choose vinyl flooring because it’s easier to install for most folks, it’s durable and there are a lot of colors, patterns and textures options to choose from.

When someone asks me what type of flooring they should install, I almost always recommend vinyl as a first option – for all the reasons I mentioned above AND because it’s so thin it’s less likely to interfere with your slides rolling in and out. (The previous owners of our rig had thick tile and underfloor radiant heat installed, and it’s thickness has caused an alignment issue with one of our slides I still haven’t resolved!)

Your RV dream home!

We all have different ideas of what makes a house a home; no two RV’ers I know do everything the same. (I was recently denounced as a heretic for daring to use a 6-bladed razor!) But whether your house rolls down the road a little or a lot, making it a home is absolutely the nicest thing you can do for yourself and your family.

Travel safe. Travel well. Travel often.


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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly



05.23.17 Wow, everything changed!

Tuesday, May 23,201 – I’m fairly certain some of ya’ll wish I’d stop talking about medical problems.  I wish I could stop. Last Friday I had my elbow drained of a lot of fluid that was making it swell and was very painful.  They did a culture.  Remember all that?

My elbow swolle back up Sunday and was extremely painful, so as soon as the orthopedic doctor, Dr. Chiasson, opened this morning I made an appointment to see him.  I already had followup hospital appointments with the gastroenterologist and my primary care doctor for today.  I was so hopeful we could get back on the road tomorrow, which is now Wednesday, but all three doctors told me no way today. Once I got the appointment made I went back to bed because the pan was so bad I couldn’t function.  I took one of Roy’s pain medicines which helped very little.

The first visit at 2 pm was with Dr. Booth, gastroenterologist.  He said my ulcer was very large and the inflammation in my esophagus was very bad.  He also said that the ulcer is mostly like the results from years of taking anti-inflammatory medicine for arthritis.  I’ve been off the Naproxen, anti-inflammatory, since being in the hospital over two weeks ago and my body joints are screaming at me every day. I truly didn’t realize how much relief they were giving me until now.  He ordered a follow up endoscopy and colonoscopy for June 22nd at his endoscopy center in Hammond. He said I have to stay off of naproxen and Plavix (taken to prevent more TIAs)  until the June 22nd tests at which time he said I probably would be put on Celebrex which seems to not be so harsh.    I wasn’t happy when Roy asked the doctor to not let me leave town and even more unhappy when the doctor said no.  The next doctor was my orthopedic doctor.  After that visit I knew there was no way we should leave.

Dr. Chiasson, orthopedic doctor’s appointment time was 3pm.  He said the culture of the fluid from Friday showed staph infection was growing.  He talked about admitting me to the hospital but decided with other health issues going on he’d try strong oral antibiotics and pain medicines.   There were two antibiotics that the staph culture showed a sensitivity to were Doxycycline and Clindymicin. Draining the fluid today was incredibly painful, much worse than Friday,  The fluid was a much larger volume and cloudy instead of clear like it was Friday.  Today’s draining was so painful I had to lay down on the table to stop from passing out.  That started me crying which didn’t stop until the next doctor’s visit.  I consider myself a strong woman but being in pain it was just too much.  They gave me some Coca-Cola and I laid down on the patient table for a while, then the nurse took me out to the car in a wheelchair.  I have a follow up apt for this Friday but they kept stressing, as did my primary care doctor, that if the pain or swelling gets any worse to not wait till Friday to come right back in.

Finally the last doctor was my regular primary care doctor, Hugo Valdes at 4:15.  I am always happy and up beat when I go to him but today was sobbing and sobbing.  He has a very calming nature and not long into the visit I was feeling much better.  He got back the blood test results from last Friday and my iron  is only 34 which the normal range is 55–160 µg/dL.  He called in a prescription for Poly-Iron and talked to me about everything saying its just been too much all at one time.  He wants to see me after I have the endoscopy and colonoscopy and hopefully I’ll be good enough then for us to get on the road that day or the next.  Another month home isn’t the end of the world and I just have to suck it up, rest more, and take care of myself. I know God will have me back to normal as soon as possible!

Both Dr. Chiasson and Dr. Valdes told me if anything gets worse or red streaks go up or down from my elbow I am to get to the hospital quickly. Just took my temperature for the second time today.  Earlier it was 98.6m, this time it is 99.8.  My normal temperature is 97.6. If it doesn’t go away in the morning I’ll go to the hospital. 

I worried that having appointments at 2pm, 3pm, and 4:15 might not work but God knew I needed it all done and got us to each one on time!

The antibiotics, pain medicine and year prescription of Protonix (medicine to heal ulcer that I’ve been on since I arrived at the hospital almost three weeks ago) were picked up yesterday.  Roy went back this morning to get the Poly-Iron tablets. I don’t know if it was the pain medicine or what but my sleep last night was quite strange.  You know how sometimes when you’re not sleeping for long periods you wake up and it’s only 30 minutes later, well last night it was 2 to 5 minutes all night.   Very very strange sleep.  I need the pain medicine desperately but if tonight is like that again I will try taking only Tylenol. Update: Before going to sleep Tuesday night my fever went up.  Spoke to Dr. who said to add Tylenol to the medicines I’m taking and if it goes up higher I will need to go to the hospital.  After a great night’s sleep I woke up to perfect temperature and feeling well rested!  Praise God for small happinesses!

Today I went outside for about 30 minutes to enjoy the beautiful outdoor air.  On my way outside I noticed that at the bottom of the right windshield we recently had installed was lots of water that must have come in from the overnight rain storms we had.  Roy called Jeff who installed the windshield and he is on his way here to check it out.  It took a couple of visits to get that plugged up but we think we are good to go with that now!

After all the fun from yesterday I was very convinced that leaving on Wednesday of this week was not going to work for us.  I have reservations to cancel and have reconciled that I have to rest more so that when we are finally given the go ahead to get back on the road I am well in more aspects enough to do so!  This gives us more time to be with our sons, their wives, and our grandchildren!  If I am feeling good enough by early June we may be attending the John F Kennedy Senior High school 45th reunion.  that was a typo about the 45th reunion!  I couldn’t possible be that old! I’d like to go to one of our Coast to Coast local RV Resorts for a couple of weeks during this time.  We’ll see, but for now we will not be leaving tomorrow morning!

Since we thought we were leaving tomorrow, Wednesday, we went to church with Chip’s family at Soul’s Harbor.  Here all the Ponchatoula/Amite Chauvins (except Madisyn) in church Sunday morning.

Maybe we can go to church with our oldest son’s family when I am feeling better! There is nothing like sitting in a worship service with your family worshiping the Lord!  Maybe the Ponchatoula and Baton Rouge Chauvins could join us at Trinity one Sunday.  Maybe we can fit a day of Chauvin family fun in at our home in Amite b before we leave town!!!

Last and certainly not least is all the caring Roy has done for me.  He is outside frying fish right now which is something he’s very good at.  He’s done some laundry, brought me something to drink a few times and is being very loving.  I thank God for the man he put in the football stands at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans’ City Park when I was only 16.  He was dating one of my good friends so it was hands off for a while.   The next year they  broke up and we started dating.  God knew then, just like he knows now, that we were meant to be together!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!



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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly

05.19.17 Big, Bad, Ugly Elbow and Bloodwork

Image result for need my coffeeFriday, May 19, 2019 – Since coming home from the hospital I have continued to feel light-headed.  I’m going to see my doctor, Hugo Valdes, and the gastroenterologist on Monday. My primary care doctor, Dr. Valdes gave me blood work orders to find out why and hopefully the results will be in his office for my appointment Monday.  I’ve been taken off of Invokanna until the visit to see if that is the cause but even off of it I continue to be light-headed.  I’ve adjusted to the light-headedness by not doing much.  That gets old fast so I’m hopeful there will be a solvable solution to this.  We live a lively life when on the road and I need stamina to see everything we see.

We left Amite early this morning stopped by his office and headed over to Quest for the bloodletting.  Doesn’t it seem like the morning you can’t eat anything is the morning you’re starving.  I brought a hot mug of coffee with me and started sipping it as soon as the bloodletting was done!

We went from there over to Dr. Brett Chiasson’s office for them to check my big, bad, ugly elbow.  It started hurting while I was in the hospital and over time has swollen becoming very tender to touch and painful to move around.  I’ve had this a couple of times before and Dr. Chiasson drained the fluid off of it.  I made an appointment to go this morning after the blood work.  The took an x ray, touched it a lot and asked a bunch of questions.

She asked me if I had injured it and I said no.  I didn’t think about when I fell on the floor when I passed out.  A young friend of facebook mentioned that to me and both Roy and I agree that’s probably what caused it.  They numbed it, drained it and shot it full of steroids.  It’s wrapped up tightly now to reduce the change of it filling back up.  Even with the steroid shot it is still very painful.  Grrrrrrr.  While we were there I got another steroid shot in my right knee since it’s begun hurting again.

The doctor’s office asked me to take the specimen drained from my elbow over to North Oaks Diagnostics for a culture which I hope we get back early next week. Today, a day later it feels and looks fine! So thankful to God for his blessings!

Very thankful to have this morning behind us we went over to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Hammond to enjoy their buffet one last time!

Our oldest son  graduated with his Master’s of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary this morning while we were having so much fun with doctors.  We planned to be there with him but my recent health scare kept us from traveling there.  His childhood French teacher, captured a scene on the online graduation and sent it to me.  Here he is! He prefers to be nameless on our blog.  Since this is such a big deal I am sharing the info but not his name!

Roy’s helper when he was restoring houses, Jeff Mader, brought to us a stack of boards.  I have wanted a rustic quirky fence behind our flower gardens (and to block off seeing the cow poop!).  Roy found these in Baton Rouge.  He cut them all in two and weaved them into the wire of the existing fence. With no saw horses and a borrowed saw he got to work.

Seeing Roy build something so imperfect was quite odd.  His work is always so perfect.  He did it exactly like I wanted it and I couldn’t be happier!  It will be fun when we return home later this year to find ways to make it a cute fence.

I am very very much looking forward to seeing Dr. Valdes and Dr. Booth on Monday afternoon.  Feeling lightheaded so much is really wearing on both Roy and I and I want to get to the bottom of it.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!


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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly

05.17.17 Big beautiful windshield

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 – On our way home from our Northeastern journey last year several rocks flew off a dump truck and hit our windshield causing cracks and dings.

We finally filed with our insurance company and today we have a new windshield (two windshields, since ours is a two windshield model)!  Absolute Auto Glass is the company our insurance provider, Progressive Insurance, uses in this area.  They were easily able to find one of the windshields and the other had to be ordered from Florida. It arrived yesterday and today they are here!

Within around 90 minutes Jeff Craddock, owner of Absolute Auto Glass arrived, removed the old windshields, prepped the new windshields, installed them and left to head towards another customer!

Below are some photos we took inside and out showing the work that was done.

The final product inside and out!

This company is from Denham Springs.  If you ever need their services, here is their contact info:

Absolute Auto Glass LLC

Jeff Craddock, Owner

225 413 6842


We’re one step closer to being ready to leave town for our journey along Route 66!  Almost ready to start making plans and reservations!


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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly

05.16.17 Chauvin Mother’s Day Joy 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Mother’s Day at Trinity Baptist Church is always special. The love of God and each other was show in the report from our Pastor search committee, parent and baby dedication, beautiful duet by Koree and Randi Beth Wall, meaningful message by Rev. Derek Wall and the loving spirit of all our church’s members. I am hopeful that the folks at Trinity have gotten use to me snapping photos on some Sunday mornings because I got a lot of them on Mother’s Day.

Here they are backwards in the order in which they were taken, but it was easier to leave them this way than to fix them! Here they are: After church I visited with friends in the parking lot in the sun quite a while. I began feeling very light headed again. No further signs of problems, just that.

We headed home where I rested for a while before Chip and Misty’s family showed up. They brought a huge box of boiled crawfish, potatoes and corn. Some of the most delicious crawfish I’ve ever had. Misty’s mama, Vickie and Misty’s brother’s children Haylee and Connor (who live with Vickie) joined Chip, Misty, Madisyn, Kalie and us for our family Mother’s Day.

A beautiful (bit warm) sun shiny day added to the wonderful Mother’s Day we were already having. After pigging out on the crawfish, potatoes and corn, we made our way down to the pond for some more fun. Chip had fun riding around on the mini motor bike he and Misty bought us! Haylee loves gymnastics which shes quite good at and flip flopped around our property!

Haylee (Misty’s niece) got such a kick out of how the catfish and perch gobbled up the catfish food we’d throw into the water. She knew for sure she could scoop up a fish in a large Folger’s coffee container, and she was right. Three times she scooped up fish and then poured them onto the ground watching them flap their way back to the water! They fished with poles for a while too and even tried to go black berry picking. That ended when they heard something in the bushes and they all came running back! Kallie, quite comfortably, hung out in the hammock while visiting with us. Madisyn loves her Mama Misty (her step mother) and it was wonderful seeing them enjoy their time together.

This young man above, Connor (Misty’s nephew), got to fish in our pond today and the joy on his face was quite a blessing to see! Click on the photo to watch the video of him catching a fish!!

We love having Vickie, Connor and Haylee in our family since Chip and Misty got married. We look forward to many family gatherings with them in the future. Misty, Vickie, Connor and Haylee have a very special bond that is wonderful to be around. This next photo is of Connor enjoying taking the wheel in our motor home pretending to drive!

Well that wraps up a spectacular Mother’s Day with a special church family and regular family. I went to sleep last night quite happy and thankful that God has blessed us so abundantly with all of these wonderfully special folks!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!


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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly

05.15.17 Deepest, Heart-Felt Feelings

Monday, May 15, 2017 – This blog post contains some of my deepest, heart-felt feelings. I was released from the hospital a week ago today. It took a few days for me to realize how close to death I was the Thursday it all started.  God’s not finished with me yet in this life, so he kept me here on earth, and I’m still kicking!

I feel so different since all this happened and I’m going to attempt to put into words what’s changed.  You may know I have Vascular and Frontotemporal Degeneration Dementia.  After much prayer and anxiety I had gotten to a place where I was able to share this with others and to make peace with it myself.  God is good like that!

In my acceptance of this path that God wants me to walk, I didn’t realize how closed down I was becoming.  I wasn’t completely closed down, just making my way there.  Social settings seemed to cause my brain to mush (my term, obviously not technical) that I’d begun avoiding them.  If you know me, you know this is a 180 degree turn from my previous self. Living a simple, quiet life seemed to suit me quite well during that time. I have to share here that when I started this blog post I wasn’t sure I’d find words, yet they are pouring out.  God is good like that!

Since leaving the hospital I’ve realized that while I was there I had many moments of great mental clarity.  I look at life with a new optimism and love for our Lord.  One might say that I needed the blood transfusions. That might have contributed, yet I don’t think that’s what caused it.  I’ve been in that acceptance stage of my dementia for about a year now and I wasn’t losing blood all that time.

The last day I was at the hospital I had an endoscopy which required some form of anesthesia. I don’t know what I had but it wasn’t twilight or full anesthesia.  Upon awakening from the anesthesia my level of peace and clarity was extremely high.  It may have been that when I was told immediately after the procedure that it was a bleeding ulcer, looked benign and that the treatment started a few days before was what I’d need to heal this.

Maybe something in the anesthesia itself awakened something in my brain that was closed off from the brain atrophy or TIA lesions.  Did God use this even to give me some quality time right now??  God is good like that!!

Our family has had some difficulties functioning normally in the last few years.  We are in a good place right now which I know has lifted some of the mind numbing stress.  God walked each of us to this beautiful place in our family’s history.

I believe in looking at all possibilities to conquer a problem, to understand a challenge or whatever life throws at us so that is what I’m doing right now.  I have to admit I am crying as I write this, I am so overwhelmed at the difference in my life before and after this recent hospital stay.  One of the results of frontotemporal dementia is an inability to feel emotions.  Me crying says to me that something has definitely changed.

God has changed me regardless of how it happened.  He can do all things, remember??

I believe it is God taking bits of several things and working them together for my good.

We had Chip and Misty’s family over here for crawfish after church on Mother’s Day.  Two weeks ago I wouldn’t have undertaken this.  I didn’t cook anything. Chip and Misty provided the the boiled crawfish, potatoes and corn.  All that was needed from me, was to have a clean house and outside property.  I looked out the window on Saturday and saw Roy taking care of some of the things I always take care of before company comes.  That makes my heart so happy and thankful! I was looking forward to Mother’s Day so much it surprises me. It turned out to be a spectacular day with very special folks.  More on that in a future blog post!

We haven’t been to church in a couple of weeks between the awful storm two weeks ago and being in the hospital last Sunday. I needed to be in the House of the Lord yesterday with my Trinity family badly. We are very blessed to be members of a church where people love each other and are there for each other.  God is so good!

I had been going to bed at 7 pm, reading for a while and then waking up at 9 or 10 am.  That’s a lot of hours of rest, but I needed that down time to keep my brain fresh during the day.  This week I’ve been staying up until 10 pm (out of the bed) and waking up each day at 8 am ready to start a new day.  I thank God every morning for the opportunity to see and live another day.  I am excited for each day and an opportunity to care for myself better and live a full life.

My grey hair had taken over my head of previously blonde hair.  The last night in the hospital I decided to put an end to that and texted the amazing Christie Williamson about getting my hair styled and colored.  My sister (and what a wonderful sister she is) agreed to switch her appointment time that Wednesday with mine the following Friday, so that I could have it done sooner. I don’t know how much better I look, though I’m giddy happy about it, but the uplift and happiness it gave me was well worth giving in and going for it!

I am happy with a deep joy that makes me catch my breath. I’ve always been thankful for all of God’s blessings but I seem to recognize them easier now.

My thinking is so clear, it’s a bit scary, after going through months where I saw bit by bit my thinking deteriorate.  I’ve not been able to blog like I use to, but now I can’t seem to stop doing it.  I’d taken to playing Farm Town, which I used to play years ago.  It was something to do to keep my brain active.  Now I don’t seem to have much time for such stuff.

Before I was willing to quietly go off into the sunset. Now this ole gal is going to go out living life to the fullest. Whatever contributed to this I know it was all God’s doing.  Being a child of God means trusting him as your Lord and Savior.  It means giving your life to him to live like he wants you to.  I can’t even begin to express to you the peace and joy that comes from knowing this.

I don’t know how long this will last, but I am hoping it last a good long time.  If not, then I am thankful that God gave me this time of clarity and joy. I am learning to love God more each day, live for God more each day and appreciate all the little moments of wonder that he gives me.

One of my favorite hymns is “It Is Well With My Soul.”  I feel like I am beginning to understand the words of this hymn.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!


Click on the links below to go there!

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly