06.29.17 Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Thursday, June 29, 2017 – Today we went to Garvan Woodland Gardens, the 210 acre botanical garden of the University of Arkansas is nestled in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains of Southwest Arkansas.  As their website says:  “Garvan Woodland Gardens is an example of The Natural State at its best: a canopy of pines reaching skyward providing protection for delicate flora and fauna, gentle lapping waves that unfold along the 4 ½ miles of wooded shoreline, and rocky inclines that remind us of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains.”

The Gardens are open February 1 through mid-November 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.   Admission for adults is $15 each.  The map on the left shows the whole gardens.  We made it through about 2/3rds of the gardens which is pretty good for our first outing in several months!

 

Roy found a turtle!  

This is a beautiful place where many have weddings.  There is a Groom’s Building and a Bride’s Building and then there is the Chapel!  In the middle of all the beautiful green trees and plants, what a beautiful church!

This was a beautiful place to walk around. The humidity was very high so we came away from it dripping!   I kept thinking that this was not something I could have done even two weeks ago.  I am so thankful that God got me through all the medical stuff and to this point!  When we got back to the car I left one of the rocks I’ve been painting!  I hope someone finds it and it helps brighten their day!

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06.28.17 Hot Springs Mountain Tower in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Wednesday, June 28, 2017  – This morning Roy removed the broken slide motor and put in the new slide motor.  Dora’s slide is happy now! I spent some time painting rocks!

This is the slide motor

This is Roy getting ready to install the slide motor!

These are some of the rocks we got from the creek, before I painted them today!

When that was done, we decided to go into Hot Springs and check things out.  Hot Springs National Park is part of the city of Hot Springs. We’re only 7 minutes from the center of town. We drove past the Visitor Center and Bathhouse Row. Very cool!

 We stopped at an overlook to look down at Hot Springs and took a couple of photos.

When we saw the sign at the beginning of a 3 1/2 mile road leading up the mountain to Hot Springs Mountain Tower we decided to check that out.

After roaming around the gift shop and paying the $5 each fee, we took the tower elevator up 216 feet to the observation decks .  There we got to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs Mountain, and Diamond Lakes area – all at 1,256 feet above sea level.

First thing we saw was our own Boots parked right down there where we left him!

 

Tomorrow we will probably go to Garvan Woodland Gardens which is a 210-acre botanical garden!!!!

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06.27.17 Hot Springs National Park – Gulpha Gorge Campgroud

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 – Today we traveled 168 miles from Lake Village, Arkansas to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  We are staying in Site 28 in Hot Springs National Park – Gulpha Gorge Campground.  This is a first come first serve campground which I am not terribly fond of.  You cannot make reservations and you never know if they have any openings until you get there.

We left Lake Village, Arkansas early this morning so we could have a better chance of getting a spot at Hot Springs.  This is a naturally beautiful campground with a creek running through it.  And they had a few spots open!!  We are parked right by the creek, have full hook ups and a nice level parking spot!

I’ve never experienced paying a machine for our stay before now and this one was fairly painless.  The park attendants took us around in a golf cart to choose the site we wanted that would hold Dora since she’s pretty big.  We found one and came back to the office to pay the machine!!

We only paid $15 which is half the usual nightly rate.  We have a Senior Pass that either gives us free admission to parks or half off!

The BBQ pit is in great shape (they normally are not) and the picnic table is clean and is now decorated with the plants that travel with us!

We’ll be here five days while we look around the Hot Springs area.  Unfortunately, as Roy was putting out one of our slides, it made an awful sound so he had to inch it out until it was in place.  He will be replacing the motor tomorrow.  Thankfully he has a spare motor that he carries with us!  Our sightseeing will not start until Thursday and I’ll share all that with ya’ll when it happens!

Roy’s already gotten the mini motorbike out and driven around the park!  We really like this place!

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06.26.17 Amite, Louisiana to Lake Village, Arkansas – Day One of our Route 66 Journey

Monday, June 26, 2017 – This morning Dora, Boots, Roy and left our little paradise in Amite, Louisiana headed for Chicot County RV Park in Lake Village, Arkansas.  We thought we were leaving back on May 8th but that wasn’t to be. I am all fixed up health wise so today it finally happened!

I’m referring to this trip as our Route 66 Journey but we have to travel through Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri to get to Route 66 so here we go!

The beginning of the day.  Dora is where she usually lives and Boots is where he usually parks and of course the house is always there!

Our patio decorations are all packed up and ready to roll. Chairs, tables, plants in pots and our floor mat. Roy’s sitting so close to Dora because he’s watching the outside television!One last look at our pretty flowers.

All the lillies and lantanas are cut back and you can see some of the rocks I painted.  Kallie and Madisyn hid them for me – hid in plain sight that is!

Roy’s unhooking our utilities – he’s so good about handling that yucky chore.

A look at the empty RV parking space and our patio  Dora’s out on the road ready to get hooked up with Boots.

We love the beautiful little house we built two years ago.  We are so blessed to have wonderful folks renting from us.  Thanks Kevin and Shannon!  You are the best!

Here’s Dora with Boots hooked up sitting on the road waiting for me to finish taking photos! Most people who have visited us always see Dora, our motorhome, with the slides all the way out.  That adds a good 6 feet to the width but without the slides being out this is what it looks like.  We have enough room to move freely through the motorhome but I’m surely glad we get to put the slides out when we are parked somewhere! Everything gets piled on top of the sofas and the bed for traveling.  It pretty much all stays in place.  Every now and then a kitchen drawer will open when we turn but then it usually closes back up when we turn a different way! 

All the plants that travel with us!  Roy made me move the one with the long vines before we got going!  He said he could just picture it wrapping itself around his legs as he drove!

Pretty sure no one can miss us with the bright orange strapping!  This is new for us, taking the motor bike with us on the road.  Looking forward to riding it!We stopped at Thrift Town Pharmacy on our way out of Amite to pick up some last minute prescriptions.  Here’s Roy, Dora and Boots waiting outside for me!

Roy drove 225 miles today.  That would normally take 3.5 hours but we tend to stop a lot and look at things so as usual it took us 6 hours to get to Lake Village, Arkansas.  We are staying just one night at Chicot County RV Park which is on Lake Chicot. Lots of green grass, oak trees and very quiet!  We walked to the Lake and discovered a fishing pier there that we took a walk down.  It’s a good distance down the hill to the pier and after walking back up that hill I realized I need to build up more stamina before tackling a lot of climbing and walking.  Here are some photos of our time out on the lake.  Looking back at the RV park from the pier. Here’s my honey Roy looking as cute as can be!  We leave here tomorrow for Hot Springs, Arkansas where we plan to stay in Hot Springs National Park at Gulpha Gorge Campground.  It’s a first come first serve campground so they don’t take reservations and that always worries me.  We’ll be getting up pretty early in the morning to start the three hour drive there.  I have a whole list of things we can do in Hot Springs but one that I’m pretty sure we will do is visit one of the bathhouses and soak in the rejuvenating hot springs water!

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06.22.17 The day we’ve been waiting for!

Thursday, June 22, 2017 – This date has been circled on our calendar for a month now.  Two weeks after leaving the hospital, having learned I have a large bleeding ulcer, I visited the gastroenterologist, Dr. Dennis Booth.  He said that before we could leave town I had to have another endoscopy to see how the ulcer is healing.

Tuesday of this week I had my last visit with Dr. Chiasson, the orthopedic doctor who has been taking care of my staph infected elbow.  I was hoping he’d say it was the cutest elbow he’s ever seen but he came close and said it looked considerably better but could take a while longer before it looked like the other elbow.  In case it flares up he gave me a two week prescription for the same strong antibiotic I’ve been on.  That way, no matter where we are, I can start taking the antibiotics immediately so it doesn’t get as bad as it was.  We got his okay to get back on the road.  After that only the two tests on Thursday stood in our way.

We arrived at the Northlake Gastroenterology Clinic at 8:30. They are a great medical staff and I felt well taken care of.  After the procedure when I woke up Dr. Booth said everything looked normal and the ulcer is pretty much all healed! Praise God!!!!!

After the procedure we went by Quest Diagnostics for some blood work to see how my iron and blood count are doing.  This was for Dr. Valdes.  The lightheadedness I WAS having – got that WAS – has mostly stopped since I’ve been off some of my medicines.  Now I’ll be adding them back one every three days to see which one was causing the lightheadedness.  Yay for progress on that front.

Elbow – mostly healed.  Ulcer – mostly healed.  Lightheadedness – mostly stopped!

This means Roy and I can FINALLY get back to our full time RVing life.  Our plan is to leave Monday, June 26th and head North.

Madisyn and her daddy (our son) Chip are coming to visit this afternoon.  Tomorrow we are going to our oldest son’s house to pick up something and to see their children and his wife!  After all these goodbyes, we’ll be busy this weekend getting things ready to pull out on Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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06.16.17 A day with awesome family!!!

Friday, June 16, 2017 – Yesterday, my sister Harriett brought some of her family to play and visit us!  Our niece (Greg’s wife) Nancy and their daughter Sally haven’t been to our home in Amite before now.  I was so excited to get to show them around!

Dana’s family came last year for a visit and you may remember John took a dunk in the pond right before they left.  That didn’t happen today thank goodness!

We sat down by the pond for a long time visiting and eating at the picnic table and feeding the fish in the pond.

Sally and John made their way to the other side of the pond where the red dirt is! These two young folks are amazing!  So well behaved, delightful to be around and just cute as little buttons!!  I loved chatting with them and finding out what’s new in their world.  My sister sure has great grandchildren!!

After we visited down by the pond we moved up to the patio by our motor home.  John and Sally enjoyed playing inside (in the cool a/c) for a while.  Roy has a flight simulator on his computer that John did great with!

I love each and every people in these photos so dearly and while we infrequently gather, every moment is precious!

Next up as far as people coming to visit us, is both of our son’s families coming Sunday for Father’s Day!  Grandkiddie fun coming up!!!

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06.15.17 Lightheadedness…………..

Thursday, June 15, 2017 – If you’d like to skip past today’s blog post feel free to do so. It’s mostly my own documentation of the current medical issues we are dealing with.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had four medical tests to help determine why I continue to be lightheaded. Some people call this dizzy but the emergency room doctor explained to me back in May that dizzy is what a kid gets when he spins around. Lightheaded is what someone experiences without all the spinning around.

I describe it as having my vision close in on me, having to grab on to something to stop from passing out and hearing loud humming in my ears. Sometimes this is brief and sometimes it goes on for a couple of minutes. At first I just stopped doing anything, becoming quite the couch potato. I’ve learned to cope with it and not let it stop me from doing things as time has gone on. It happens every day and has been for quite a while, long before I wound up in the hospital with the bleeding ulcer.

I use to think it was because of one prescription that I take which is Invokanna that removes any sugar in my system through pee pee. Thinking that was the cause of the lightheadedness, and wanting the benefits of taking Invokanna, I thought I had to suck it up. I’ve been off of the Invokanna just to test if that was the cause since being in the hospital, and still the lightheadedness continues every day.

The first test was an MRI of my brain, second was a carotid artery ultrasound, then a holter monitor worn for 48 hours and finally yesterday an Echo Cardiogram. All of these were done at North Oaks Hospital. Wednesday, Roy and I met with Dr. Valdes to get the results of those test.

Seems that all the test showed NOTHING that would cause lightheadedness. I am thankful that my heart got checked out and I know that is fine. There was a little plaque build up in the carotid artery but nothing to worry about. So!

Since all this is good and my blood count is back to normal Dr. Valdes said he wants me to stop taking several of my prescriptions for the next 7 days to see if that causes any change to the lightheadedness. Some medicines I can’t just stop taking but those that I can stop, I am. Now that I know it’s not something having to do with my heart I am going to gradually start pushing myself physically harder and harder each day. All this cautious stuff needs to stop and I need to get back to being me!

So, from here we go next week to Dr. Booth’s surgical center to have another endoscopy and a colonoscopy. That will show how well the large bleeding ulcer and inflammation of esophagus have healed. I’ve been on Protonix for six weeks and have not taken Naproxin or Plavix for six weeks so I am hopeful that we’ll get a great report from that doctor!

We’re now aiming to leave Louisiana on Monday, June 26th!

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06.14.17 Happy Rocks, Smiley Rocks, Patriotic Rocks, Yes ROCKS ROCK ROCKS!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – We have collected large, medium and small rocks from all around the United States and have them in our garden at our home base in Amite, Louisiana.

Recently I’ve been thinking how cool it would be to paint on some of those rocks with my grandchildren.  I decided to take a shot at it, before getting the kiddies involved, keeping in mind that I am a pretty pitiful painter.  Even when painting walls more paint winds up on me and my clothing than on the wall.  I don’t have artistic capabilities but I have a love to share positive messages with others. The key in my plan is to leave inspirational messages for others to find.  If it makes them giggle, smile or out right laugh I will have accomplished something that makes me happy!

I recently posted on Facebook that I was going to do this and asked guidance from my artist friends as to which paints they recommended.  One of my FB friends, Kelley O’Connor, tagged a friend of hers, Connie Meades Ferguson.  Apparently Connie has been doing this same thing for a while on a big scale. On her Facebook page called Montrose “Rocks”!  a lot of inspiration for rock paintings can be found! Click on the Montrose “Rocks”! link to be taken to her Facebook page.

“Spread happiness, love & inspiration through the simple gesture of painting rocks & “hiding” them throughout the community for people to find. This is a community-building group meant to inspire creativity in all ages & bring kids/families back together again in a world gone completely wild.” – Connie Ferguson

This is a link to a great video about Connie’s project!

 

Connie’s endeavor, and her guidance of what paint supplies to purchase, have inspired me and obviously many others as can be seen by all the rock photos posted on Facebook! When doing some Google research I’ve learned this is exploding all around the country!  What a beautiful way to unite our country!

I won’t be painting the largest of our rocks.  The medium ones have the name of the state they are from written on them already, though I will be adding some cute decorative art to some of those.  The ones I will focus on painting are the smaller ones, 2″ to 6″ in size.  I collect craft supplies for Madisyn and other children that come to play.  I have several colors of glitter and other paints in those boxes.  We purchased some clear, white, black and light pink spray paint and six paint pens.  Being as inexperienced and untalented as I am artistically I thought the paint pens would make the finished product come out better!

Yesterday I got started by spraying several rocks and today I painted designs on some of them!!  Now that I’ve started I see I need some additional colors.  How can I paint anything patriotic with just white, light blue and light pink.  No, gotta be red, white and blue! Can’t paint a decent Southeastern or LSU rock with the limited colors I have.

My plan is to not only leave painted rocks around places we visit, but to place them throughout my gardens at home and in the gardens of those I love.

I’m not ready to photograph any of my rocks yet but here are just few of the ones on the “Montrose Rocks” Facebook page.

   You never know what you’re going to get when you open a blog post from Dora and the Explorers!  If this rock painting sounds like something you might be interested in I recommend going to Connie’s Facebook page and reading how she recommends you do it, including what type paint to use!

I may create my own Facebook page for myself and others to post their painted rock photos on!  If you do get into this please send me a photo of your rocks to rosalyn@selu.edu!  We will see how this develops as time goes on!   I’d love any feedback ya’ll can give me on this.  Do you already paint rocks and leave them for people to find?  Do you paint them for your own or others gardens?  I love using stickers, glitter and other creative items.  If you use some of those I would love to learn more! Also if you have rocks that you’d like me to take a stab at painting something on (something extremely simple) please get them to me and I’ll be happy to do that!

I just had a thought…… Christmas rocks for the garden!!!!!

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06.11.17 I’ve never been a member of a church that…………………

Sunday, June 11, 2017 – Yes, I’ve never been a member of a church that called a new pastor.  The church I grew up in, Lakeview Baptist Church in New Orleans had its pastor, Rev. J. Richard Randels, before we joined.  The church we joined in Hammond, Trinity, had just called Dr. Randy Davis when we joined. So this was a first for me and I’m sure happy about how it all turned out!

The process that a Southern Baptist church goes through to call its own pastors is unique and I will be writing about that in a future blog post.  A lot of denominations have their pastors chosen for them.  We do not do that.  Through God’s guidance and much prayer following God’s will, and a huge amount of work by a Pastor Search Committee, we call our own pastor to our local church.

That is for another day, but today is all about the new Senior Pastor that Trinity Baptist Church in Pumpkin Center, Louisiana (technically its Hammond, Louisiana) just voted on this morning! I couldn’t write about this before now because our new pastor is currently the pastor at another Louisiana church. It wouldn’t be fair for the members of that church to find out about him leaving through my blog.  When we were told at the end of our Worship Service this morning that the votes were counted and that he’d been contacted, I knew I could make it public!  So you see, Yes I can keep a secret! Good thing it wasn’t any longer than a week!

So now for the big announcement.  Our new pastor is Bro. Avery Dixon!  His family includes his wife Misty, son Aiden and daughter Mia!

Last Sunday this amazing family spent the day at our church.  Bro. Avery preached, Mia (the young daughter) sang, we sang joyful music Worshiping our Lord, we all ate together and then we spent two hours of question and answer time.

For a 38 year old young man he and Misty handled the questions posed to them very well.  His beliefs are all directly tied to what the Bible says and that is my heart’s desire for a pastor who will shepherd our flock at Trinity.

Each church family was sent a packet of information about Bro. Avery the week before.  Of course you know I did as much Googling as I could before he even showed up!  I don’t even have words to express the amazing Worship Service we had last Sunday.  Our own Cindy Shelton introduced Bro. Avery and Mia to the congregation.

Young Mia’s voice was pitch perfect as she shared her confident love for our Lord with us. She sang “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”, acapella.  I don’t know how her dad preached after that!

Bro. Avery’s sermon from Lamentations spoke straight to my heart.

Bro. Avery earned his Masters of Divinity at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans. He has served as Pastor at Hope Church in nearby Waldheim, Louisiana, for the last 8 years. He is an Expository preacher which means he presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable.  An expositor cares little if his audience says, “What a great sermon” or “What an entertaining speaker.” What he truly wants them to say is, “Now I know what that passage means,” or “I better understand who God is and what He requires of me.”

As always. dinner on the grounds was delicious and we got to visit with so many of our great Trinity friends.

Bro. Avery and Mrs. Misty Dixon

The question and answer time was well attended and a lot of thoughtful questions were raised.  After hearing their answers I was quite reassured that this young man and his family were indeed led to us by God to serve at Trinity!

Mrs. Cindy Shelton opening the Question and Answer time. This sweet lady is everything I want to be when I finish growing up!
Even the younger church members had questions!

It will be a few weeks before he starts his new position at Trinity.  We may be well along our journey down Route 66 by that time.  We will be watching via Live Stream as this young couple settles in at Trinity. I am looking forward to seeing where God takes Trinity Baptist Church now that Bro. Avery will be joining us.  He’s young enough to be my our oldest son’s age! yet quite mature in his beliefs and knowledge.

Before closing I want to say MUCH THANKS to Bro. Derek Wall who has filled in as our Pastor after Bro. Bob Adams needed to step down due to health issues.  Bro. Derek has been our Minister of Youth and Education for several years and will go back to that position when Bro. Avery arrives and settles in!  Thank you for being willing to step up and take us on, Bro. Derek!!

I cannot say enough about the kindness, compassion, genuine love for our church, and guidance that Bro. Bob Adams, our Transitional Pastor, showed to us during his time at Trinity.  He led us, the members, to understand the process and to be prepared to welcome a new shepherd which is what we consider our Pastor to be.  He guided the Pastor Search Committee while they were doing their work and is in full agreement that Bro. Avery Dixon is the pastor God’s chosen to lead Trinity Baptist Church forward doing His Will.

This next thank you may be last but it is certainly not least.  May God bless each of you greatly for your service to our church.  So many hours of hard work goes into the work of a Pastor Search Committtee.  Our committee was comprised of Ms. Cindy Shelton, Ms. Megan Wild, Mr. Doug Williamson, Mr. Philip Bankston and Mr. David Thompson.  They are all individually exceptional Christians and collectively they’ve outdone themselves in their work serving our church.  Thank you so much guys for being strong Christians and allowing God to guide you in all you did for us!

Welcome to the Trinity Baptist Church family, Avery, Misty, Aiden and Mia!

I leave ya’ll with several photos I took that Sunday of our church members through all the day’s activities.

Mr. Gene Traylor
Mr. Doug Williamson
Mr. Mike Whisenhunt, our sound guru
Mr. Bill and Mrs. Sylvia Sims
Evynn, Caroline and Sean
Larry, Annette, Blanche, and Wanda Forest
I couldn’t pass this one up. Ms. Emily and Ms. Louise just a sharing world matters together!
Sometimes glare just gets in the way of a great photo. Ms. Emily, Ms. Louise, Ms. Octavia and Ms. Hubsch!
Ms Grace and Mr. Charlie Turk
Charles and Marie Robbins
The one and only Spot and Leanna Traylor
Just a little part of the Martin family!

I am hopeful to have some answers about the cause of my lightheadedness this week!  One more test, an Echocardiogram and then a doctor visit for all the results!! The following week is the endoscopy and colonoscopy, oh my!!  And hopefully, that will wrap up all this health mess so we can get busy on Route 66!!

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