Monday, November 28, 2011

Trimming the trees

In my opinion, this is what palm trees are supposed to look like.100_0031

But the tree trimmers have been in the park every calm day we have and today is a very calm day, so up the trees they go. It took this guy all of two minutes to cut all the limbs off that you see on the ground.100_0028

Now our tree looks like this. Isn’t that just lovely?  NOT.  Looks sad to me.100_0030

This morning, after doing Walk Away the Pounds and the laundry, we headed out to look at sofas to replace the horribly uncomfortable and broken sofa that came in the Q.  The Q is only three years old and already the sofa and the recliner that came with it need to be replaced.  The sofa never has been my favorite, but we tolerated it until now.  We found one or two at a furniture factory warehouse here at very good prices.  They really want our business.  After we left, we begin to notice that several furniture stores are closed here since last season.  We measured the sofas and came home to talk about it and pray about it.  What we looked at were sofas with recliners on each end to replace both our present sofa and my recliner.  With that thought, there is a challenge.  To our knowledge, only Lazy Boy (too rich for our budget) makes a sofa with detachable back, but this warehouse had two wall-away sofa recliners that have the snap on backs. The detachable back is required to be able to get the sofa through the Q door…. it must be done in two pieces.  You can imagine how delighted we are to have found very nice sofas with detachable backs that aren’t so expensive.Open-mouthed smile

Regardless of what we decide, we had fun today.Thumbs up

Monday, November 21, 2011

God's cake....

[Thank You! to Jeanelle Barry for sending this to me.]

cake pic

Sometimes we wonder,

'What did I do to deserve this?' or

'Why did God have to do this to me?'

Here is a wonderful explanation!

A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says,

'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.'

'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers.

'Yuck' says her daughter..

'How about a couple raw eggs?'

'Gross, Mom!'

'Would you like some flour then?

Or maybe baking soda?'

'Mom, those are all yucky!'

To which the mother replies:

'Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God works the same way.

Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good!

We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

God is crazy about you.

He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.

Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.

If you like this, send this on to the people you really care about.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

piece of cake

Saturday, November 19, 2011

CRM Saturday

First on my agenda this morning was Breakfast with the Independence Street girls, meeting at Eileen’s house at 8:30.  I don’t live on Independence Street, but Eileen is the organizer and she always invites the pastor’s wife. Winking smile If they don’t want me to come, they shouldn’t invite me, right?

Eileen, Onalee and Kay standing in the middle of Independence street waiting for everyone to arrive.2011 Nov 19 CRM 112

Come on, girls! Let’s get in the car and go!  I’m hungry!2011 Nov 19 CRM 113

This morning, eight of us went to the Tejas Restaurant just a short distance from our park. That’s Sue on the front end of the table.  She’s new to the park this season and works in the office. Next to her is her friend, Sheila, also new to the park.  Really fun girls. We hit it off. Next are Diane, Alice, Taima, Kay, Onalee and Eileen.Sue, Sheila, Diane, Alice, Taima, Kay, Onalee, Eileen, LaVon

Diane was here last year, but didn’t get to know her so really enjoyed visiting with her this morning.Diane Shern

Kay, down on the other end of the table, is just too cute in her cap.Kay

I decided that I need to take Don to the Tejas in the near future.

At noon, we headed over to Alamo Rec Veh Park for our monthly CRM potluck and meeting. It didn’t take us long to line up and fill our plates.2011 Nov 19 CRM 1172011 Nov 19 CRM 118

Our General Director, Dennis Maloney is presiding.2011 Nov 19 CRM 119

A tremendous addition to the CRM list of chaplains is Raymond Smith from the UK. We’re excited about the ministry he has begun in Los Fresnos to the Winter Texas from Quebec, Canada… French speaking.  Yes, Raymond speaks French and we’re all excited about encouraging Christians to go back to their homes in the summer and be bolder to share Jesus Christ with their friends and neighbors there…. wherever ‘there’ is.Raymond Smith

The CRM ladies gathered round in a different room to plan for this years ladies retreat.2011 Nov 19 CRM 121

Sally Maloney distributes ‘assignments.’  I will be videoing the retreat this year. Retreat date is Friday, February 17, 2012.2011 Nov 19 CRM 1222011 Nov 19 CRM 123

Featured speaker was Robert Zapeda who is serving as chaplain at an RV resort in Los Fresnos, Texas.  Robert is also the Director of Missions for the Southern Baptist Churches in the Rio Grande Valley.2011 Nov 19 CRM 126

It’s been a busy, but a great Saturday.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The beginning of the repair process.

Mr. Phil Pray, owner of Mid-Valley RV Repair, came out today to get all the information he needs to make an estimate on repairing the Q.

100_6622Mr. Pray found our water leak!  Or where the rain is leaking in.  Fleetwood quality control fell down on their job.  There is absolutely no caulking around the top of the door frame of a storage compartment in the bedroom slideout.  None.  He will fix that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kris update: Lots to Tell

Dearest prayer warriors and loved ones!

Where to begin! There is just so much to tell you all and, yes, it is all good stuff!!! The only bad thing about heading to Texas last Tuesday (November 8th) was that we had to leave home by 5 a.m. in order to make the drive to Orlando and catch my 8 a.m flight. From there, it was smooth sailing all the way.

Wednesday morning, Kris had an appointment at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) with the ear, nose and throat team. Once again, the discussion turned to Botox injections and it was decided she is still a candidate to continue the injections, albeit, perhaps stronger doses and in more areas in her neck. They checked her esophagus by scoping her, and found the voice box to still be very good, the airway well protected and covered, and the epiglottis still functioning very well. Feeding her small amounts of soft or pureed foods and water very carefully should continue. True to form, the therapists at Country Care Manor have been doing just that and, as a matter of fact, the day I arrived, Kris had been eating mashed potatoes and doing extremely well. Another... Praise the Lord!!!

On Wednesday afternoon, the three case managers working with Kris representing the VA and the Air Force came to Country Care to visit her. Russell, Kris and I met with them for almost an hour before they went out to Kris and Russ’s home in LaVernia. They wanted to see where the renovations will be made and get a feel for what the VA inspector saw and suggested several weeks back. Russell informed them the plans are with the architect and there are two potential scenarios: enlarging an existing bedroom to include all the equipment and everything Kris will need, or building a completely separate little studio-type apartment at the back of the house which will also house everything she will need. It will be connected to the house itself by a very short breezeway. There are pros and cons for both.

Thursday, I did something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Kris usually wore her hair with a bit of auburn highlights and, of course, that hadn’t been done since before the accident. I had talked with the beautician at the facility and she let me use her shop. I gave Kris a hair color, shampoo, haircut and style right there, and the outcome lifted her spirits tremendously. We had so much fun doing it, and the “ooo’s” and “aahh’s” Kris received really made her smile.

On Sunday morning, Joshua brought Andrea to see Kris, which always makes Kris’s day. (I snapped the attached photo on the front porch of Country Care Manor.) Kris, Andrea, Joshua 11-13-2011Then, at long last, Russell and I were finally able to do something we had talked about for some time: take Kris home to her house for a brief visit. There was a lot of explaining and admonishing this would be merely a first step and there will be more visits. She will be going home for good one day, but she would have to return to Country Care for now. The visit lasted almost two hours, and Russ explained all the things he wants to do to make the house ready for her. She wheeled around inside with wide eyes, and he even showed her some of the projects he’d been working on.

Kris hadn’t been home since she left for work the morning April 21, 2010, that horrible, fateful day. Sunday was a monumental occasion!!! Even their little dog, Jason, was excited and, of course, Andrea and Joshua were really glad to see her start this series of visits. In all honesty, she handled it pretty well when it came time to leave, but she did get depressed for a time once back at the facility. I had bought a Christmas tree for her room and proceeded to put it together and she actually helped me put some ornaments on it. That seemed to help a bit.

Another milestone occurred Friday last week. We were told an appointment had been approved for Kris to finally go to the Audie Murphy Poly Trauma Center to be interviewed by head of the Center’s rehabilitation department, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson. The appointment had been set for Wednesday, the 15th, but I would have to leave on the 14th. So, once again, our dear Air Force case manager prevailed and had the appointment changed!

Dr. Johnson is a delightful, lovely lady; very articulate and extremely “on top of things” in her position at Audie Murphy PTC. She interviewed Kris, who responds very well to yes and no questions, and I helped supply other information as well. Dr. Johnson was convinced her “team” of expert therapists could do great things for Kris. She decided to start with several sessions for them to “nail down” what device or devices Kris could best utilize for communication, then bring Kris in as an inpatient for several weeks to really work devotedly with her in all forms of therapy while concentrating heavily on speech. Once the plan is formulated, Dr. Johnson wants Kris to undergo some x-rays to determine the condition of the cervical spine, then she will have her eyes examined, and have a psychologist perform some mental cognitive evaluations as well.

Kris was then interviewed by the man in charge of all mobile support equipment, and he evaluated her for a motorized wheelchair. This will aid Kris in being able to recline just enough to allow her head to be against a head rest. This will enable her to straighten her head and neck, which have been strongly drawn to one side. So much so, that it is extremely difficult for her to look straight for any length of time. Kris took to the chair immediately and took off down a hallway like a shot! I expected to see a burnout spot on the floor! Laughingly, he said she will have several return visits with him for “driver’s ed” and, hopefully, Kris will have that much needed motorized chair very soon.

All in all, the entire set of events last week have again raised our hopes and expectations to an all-time high. Early Tuesday morning (yesterday), I met with the medical doctor on staff there at Country Care Manor, and he was already making the necessary changes to some of Kris’s medications as had been suggested by Dr. Johnson the day before. The rest of the morning was filled with making certain Kris was up, fed, dressed, and ready for her day. As my time to leave approached, good-bye became increasingly more difficult. But, in her own little way, she reassured me with a little tap, tap, tap on my shoulder as we hugged. It was something we started that last fall: we hug each other and I pat her shoulder while she pats mine. It’s her way of saying, “It’s okay, Mom,” and, “I love you.”

I had to leave for the airport by early afternoon, and Russell was kind enough to drive me there. He said he was grateful for my visit because he knew it helped Kris and him. I was extremely grateful for the use of his truck and to be able to stay at their house. It gave me at least a little time with the kids, although not near enough because they leave for school so early in the morning and I returned late each evening.

My apologies for such a lengthy update. It is packed full of possibilities, however, and even possibilities are good where Kris is concerned. She’s a tough little gal, as many of you already know. She now has a great deal to work toward, and we have so very, very much for which to be thankful. God has opened doors time and again. Please pray believing, as we do, and we thank YOU for each and every prayer!

Blessings and love,

Carol and George

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Champs (for tonight only)


Mr. W.H. can’t complain tonight!  The Guys beat the Dolls two out of three tonight in Spades.

We still had fun.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sunday is here!

Church was glorious this morning.  149 smiling faces in the building.  The only reason I report how many were in church with me this morning is so you can rejoice with us that 149 people worshipped together and heard the wonderful Good News that Jesus SAVES!!!

It was a extra special morning for me… I got to sing in a quartet for the special music.  That was so fun!!  Wish I had “assigned” someone to take our picture.  Still can’t believe I did that. Smile

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fabulous Friday

This was a busy Friday!

Up at 7:30.

Walk Away the Pounds at 8:00.  Walked two miles.

Road bicycle for 1.5 miles.


Moved 26 boxes of 10 hymnals each to be loaded in Dennis’s truck and delivered to another park where there is another CRM chaplain.

Lunch somewhere with a dear friend in the park.  It was a nice little soup, salad, and sandwich place.  I had the Stuffed Avocado with chicken salad. I don’t know why I didn’t notice the name of the place, except I was more interested in visiting with my friend.

After lunch I road with her up to the Edinburg post office to get her passport forms.  Mission unaccomplished.  It’s a holiday.  Well, duh!  We both knew that.

Back at the Q, Don had returned from delivering the hymnals. We rested in our recliners with the door and vents open.  Beautiful day.

Don said that Barbie had come over to see if I would like to walk, so I went over, but Ken said she had just rode off on her bike.  I got on my bike and went looking for her.  I found her in the indoor pool doing water aerobics.  That girl.  We made plans to walk after she got finished.

About 3:30, Barbie called, and we took off walking, for two miles.

I like days like today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Camper

If you have been reading my blog very long, you will recognize the name, Snookie.  We are wonderful friends and have been since our first winter in Arizona at Quail Run.

Fast forward to today.

The CAT is out of the bag! I can't believe that Snookie "lived a lie" for MONTHS!!!

Snookie and Bob, came to see us today. They are workamping not far from us and have been here for quite a while and keeping it a secret from us, just so they could surprise us. Well, we sure were surprised today when they drove up!! They will be here in the RGV all winter just minutes from us!!! I'm a happy camper... mad at her for keeping this a secret, but wouldn't expect anything less from Snookie. I'm a happy camper!

I  mean, you would not believe what all she has told me just so we wouldn’t know they are here in the Valley.  You just wouldn’t believe it.  Unless you know Snookie.


Did I mention that I’m a happy camper?100_6596

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kris update: An answer to prayer!

Dearest friends and loved ones!

You’ve heard the expression, “Be careful what you wish for,” I’m sure. Well, I’ve been wishing and hoping and praying ever since we left San Antonio on October 8th that I could go back during the week of November 8th. This week is going to be very important for a number of reasons for Kris, and I wanted to be there. So I worried, I prayed, I stewed, and I hoped beyond all hope, but – deep down – I knew it wasn’t going to be possible. The budget just wasn’t going to stretch.

Last Wednesday, I was talking to Kris’s Air Force case manager and told her my plight. She said let’s see what they can do. Because of Kris’s disability, her special needs for care, because she is having some real difficulties now with muscle atrophy and not being able to hold her head up straight, for very important appointments coming up in the next several days, and because the military just happens to have funding available to assist when necessary, I will fly out of Orlando at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning. Kris’s husband, Russell, will pick me up at the San Antonio airport shortly after 12 noon! My ticket is paid and I am just absolutely praising God, thanking the Air Force, and I’m overjoyed! Prayers are answered. No doubt about it.

Kris has an appointment this Wednesday at BAMC to meet with a neurologist to see what can be done about her neck. It has become increasingly more difficult for her to hold her head up. That will certainly affect swallowing, her balance, and her focusing ability. It’s difficult to look straight ahead when one’s head is turned to the side and down.

In addition to all that, the director of therapy at the VA Audie Murphy Poly Trauma Center is now going to evaluate Kris to see if they can possibly help her to better communicate consistently. As I have so often said lately, her speech therapist (Susan) has really worked so very hard with Kris. But there are just some things that likely require more in depth study and, hopefully, the newly opened Center will be able to help. Meeting with the director, Dr. Johnson, is going to be a big step, I’m sure, and I really wanted to be there with Kris.

So... thank you, thank you, thank you to Kris’s Air Force case manger, to the military for making this trip possible, and thank all of you for your prayers in general. And, more than ever, I thank God for hearing this prayer (among so many others). I’ll return to Florida on Tuesday, November 15th and will no doubt have lots to share with you in the next update. In the meantime, the attached photo of Kris speaks for itself. Courage, strength, determination. George tacked this photo of her up on our medicine cabinet mirror just after her accident in April 2010. It’s still there. It still gives us hope!!!Kris in Iraq

Blessings and love,

Carol and George

Monday, November 7, 2011

Engraved on His Hand

November 7

Morning (by Charles Spurgeon/updated language mine)

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."
Isaiah 49:16

The Amplified Bible states it this way: 

16Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands;

No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word "Behold," is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, "The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me." How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God's favored people? The Lord's loving word of rebuke should make us blush; He cries, "How can I have forgotten you, when I have graven you upon the palms of my hands? How dare you doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?"

O unbelief, how strange a marvel you are! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of his people.

He keeps his promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt him. He never fails; he is never a dry well; he is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. "Behold," is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marveling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of his hands. "I have graven thee." It does not say, "Thy name." The name is there, but that is not all: "I have graven YOU." See the fullness of this! I have graven your person, your image, your case, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works; I have graven you, everything about you, all that concerns you; I have put you altogether there.

Will you ever say again that your God has forsaken you when he has imprinted you upon his own palms?

The New Living Translation reads:

Isaiah 49:16

16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

Now, before you say, “Well, that’s different, that’s not the same thing as my picture being imprinted on God’s hand,” consider who is speaking.  God is speaking and when He thinks of me or sees my name, it is impossible for Him to just see a word written.  He sees all of me and all the things concerning me and about me.  So, it’s the same thing, I just like the Amplified version the best and I love the elaboration of Charles Spurgeon.

There’s no peace like the peace of knowing that I am in the Hand of God, forever.  Thank You, Jesus, for dying on the Cross for my sin.100_3405

[Warning: Romans 8:28 sounds like a feel good verse, but be aware that what God considers “good” is not the same as what the world considers “good” … it is sometimes a painful journey to “good,” but God is always with us in our refining and purifying process.]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fun Friday with Friends

Just to emphasize the beauty of the day and the clear blue sky.  Only God could arrange to have half the moon hidden at certain times of the month.  Isn’t that just curiously amazing?100_6581

From the door of the Q showing a lack of neighbors, palm trees and more blue skies.Tip O Tx

Tonight, we prepared dinner (grilled pork loin steaks, baked veggie medley and salad) for CRM General Director, Dennis and Sally Maloney.  It’s wonderful to be back with such good friends.  I’ll just insert here the fact that Sally and I beat Dennis and Don in Spades tonight.  A fact that earned Dennis the name of Whiney Hiney.  When in public, we will respectfully refer to him as W.H.100_6585


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holding it to three

My favorite picture from today’s camera.100_6481

Second place is the same tree and cows, but from a different angle, passing by.100_6482

And the yellow ribbon goes to this rare body of water.  Almost all of the stock ponds along our route today, were dried up, so it was rare to see a small lake.  Notice there is no green grass.100_6489

If you prayed for our safety today, thank you.  And thank God for our safety.

~*~*~*Lily Art*~*~*~

It is my pleasure to introduce to you, Lily, with four initials, who is a dear friend of our granddaughter, Lydia, who also has four initials.Lily Alessandra Taylor Lowell

Lily is quite talented with the camera lens and I have thoroughly enjoyed admiring her art work.  Lily is just fourteen and having fun with a hobby, so I’ve named her pictures.

Solitaire MimosaLily Art 2

Glade ReflectionsLily Art 3

Forest Warmthlily art - trees and sun

Dead Tree  (Now, do you understand why I think she is so talented?)No wonder I like Lily Art

Lily’s subject only gets more beautiful.

Lydia. or. Forest Warmth 2.Lydia 10 31 2011 2

Lydia 10 31 2011 4

Lydia 10 31 2011 5

Lydia 10 31 2011 3

Lydia 10 31 2011 6

Lydia 10 31 2011 w doggie

Lydia 10 31 2011

Stars come out at night.Lydia by Lily

L.W.T.P and L.A.T.L.  (Don’t try to figure it out. It’s their initials.) SmileLydia Wallis Tate Price and Lily Alessandra Taylor Lowell

And for some teenage fun… Lydia, at a high school football game.Lydia 9 1 2011

My gratitude to Lily for taking these beautiful pictures.  Keep up the good work, Lily. You’re going places. Smile