God in the Clouds

Recently we went on vacation. We enjoyed it, maybe I’ll write about it one day (or not, you see how often I get back here, right?!) Anyway on the flight home on New Years Day, my mind started racing to thoughts of catching up at work in a job that I truly do not enjoy anymore for a company that hasn’t forgotten that their employees are the reason they are successful. I’ve made it through many rounds of layoffs, and that’s truly God, not because I’m particularly good at what I do, or because I’m indispensable or anything. It’s because God supplied this job for me before I even knew I needed it, and He continues to provide for me so we can give to the ministries that need support. So, I was staring out at the clouds, dreading going back to work, and just kinda asking God why I was still in this position, what I was supposed to be doing. I mean I know it’s a means to an end, but am I supposed to keep doing it when I dislike it so much? And that’s when God gave me my word for 2018… Trust. I don’t know about you but when hear the word ‘trust’ I immediately think of Proverbs 3 —

Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

I thought that was what I was doing, but it didn’t seem like my path was very straight, or more to the point, I didn’t see where I was going, where the path was leading. But I looked out the window of the plane, and I see these straight paths of clouds, and I was like YES, that’s what I want my path to look…straight, light, airy, and throw in an angel with a harp for good measure.

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I could almost hear God chuckle at me. I felt very clearly that He was telling me that I needed to change my thoughts, my perspective, because life isn’t all fluffy and perfect. And I guess to prove the point, this was my view less than two minutes later.

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It was like He was telling me to trust him even if I can’t see the path. I don’t have to see it, I don’t have to understand it, I just have to trust that He knows where the path is, where it’s going. Trust.  Okay, I really want to, but do you know how hard that is for a control freak? Hi, my name is Mellie, and I have an issue giving up control. (hi Mellie, yes there should be an intervention.) You can’t handle knowing the whole plan, you would freak even more if you saw the path ahead of you. Don’t believe me, just take a little look.

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How’s that path look? Well, it looks like a hot mess. No one would choose that, would they? But since I’m looking at it, where am I on that path because I can see me in one of those big puddles just sitting there, no progress, just sitting in the middle of the hot mess.

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The path changes, it’s not always ‘straight’ in the conventional sense. There are even a few paths that will eventually all lead to the same place. Even when the road seems too winding, trust. And just like that, my picture parable was over.

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All of this happened within ten minutes so it’s not like I was waiting for this message to open up for me. God had a message for me, and it was cool to see it unfold like that. It settled my mind, helped me view things differently. I’m not going to say I miraculously found joy in my job again, or understand why I’m still here, or where I’m heading or how this all works in the grand scheme of things. But I feel so humbled when God speaks to me ‘clearly’, and in this case, put in my place.

23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

So I will focus on doing this job, and I will continue to do it as well as I can, and I will trust that God has me planting good seed along the way. This year, I will focus less on what’s Not happening, and instead I will focus on trusting God.

~~ Mellie

trust

YLAM

Mustang Run RV Park – review

I know that I’m behind on blogging, like waaayyy far behind. I’ll get there, most probably. But for now I need to do a quick review of an RV park for someone who is planning a trip there. On our way to the dealership for warranty work, and on the way back, we stayed in Yukon, Oklahoma. It’s just outside of Oklahoma City proper. So, onto the stuff…

20170518_074913It’s right off Interstate 40, so from that standpoint it’s convenient. It’s really spacious, big spaces, most of them pull through. We were on the third row, almost behind the main office and even with the great insulation in our rig, the interstate noise was pretty loud.

20170511_183313We were in site 55, and I’m thinking the quietest spot would be site 52 or 53 because those are buffered the most by the office so the noise might be less.

This is the first row, directly in front of the office, so definitely gets the brunt of the interstate noise.

20170518_074938Lori, I know it won’t matter for y’all, but there’s a dog park, right under the billboard. It’s not big, just a small fenced in area, The but it was nice to let the dogs off their leash.

20170518_075007The bath house and laundry room were really clean, kinda impressive really.

There’s a small pool and a grill just outside the pool area. I didn’t get a picture of the office/community center, but there was a kitchen, pool table and sofa/chairs around a fireplace if I remember correctly.

And hopefully you won’t need them, but there are three storm shelters on site (it was important for us at the time!).

20170518_074852So they made the park as nice as they could, and for an overnight it’s not bad. Maybe even a few days. I think the biggest negative for me/us is the entrance. From the interstate, you turn right onto the road that leads to the park. That turn is pretty wide, but anyone coming out makes it very difficult to make the turn. The exit to a restaurant is literally right there. And the road is like a frontage road, so you’ll pass two hotels  before you see the entrance to the park. So, having said it was interesting getting IN, think of the left  you have to make to get OUT. It took us no less than ten minutes to get out. There was a stoplight right before the exit and another one just beyond. Timing both of those light just right was a bear, especially when you have to account for another 40 some feet behind you. So I guess if I had other options, I would choose them over this place, but if it’s all that was there, it wouldn’t be a horrible stop.  Another family that was in the area getting work done on their rig stayed on the other side of town. I think it was Twin Fountains or something like that. It didn’t show up when I pulled up our rv park app when we came through the first time, so I didn’t know about it, but they did rave about it.

Okay, so there you have it. I’ll get back to blogging again soonish.

~Mellie

Arkansas, week two

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Waterfall at Petit Jean Mountain Overlook
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Trent, on top of the world!
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Petit Jean Overlook

I did mention that we went up Petit Jean Mountain to see the Sullivans and Wilsons. Before it got dark, we went to the overlook and it was really beautiful. Can you see the people waaaayyyy down there? That was the bottom of the waterfall.

So the week flew by, with Trent out of town and me working, so it wasn’t until the weekend that we were able to do anything fun. One of the things we like to do is volunteer in whatever place we’re in, so Martha said her church was going to do an Easter Egg Hunt for the community. Pretty much unlike anything I’ve ever seen – the entire town of Morrilton showed up for this, it seemed. And a helicopter dropped eggs all over the football field! the kids had a blast, but it was hot as blazes and I was glad when it was over (took them all of 15 seconds to clear the field of 15,000 eggs.

Martha and I put out eggs, while Trent and Bill ‘guarded’ the gate to the field so the little rugrats couldn’t get to the eggs before their age group was called. It was chaotic. Not sure I’ll volunteer for kid activities again 🙂

Afterwards, we made plans to go visit a winery and grab dinner. I’ll do another entry on that because I need to find a picture or two to go with it. It was a great time, and yes, it totally made up for snakes and sirens!

a bit behind

Yes, I’ve fallen behind again, which is no surprise really. I’m actually in Oklahoma now, and one crazy storm after another has taken sleep and tossed it to the wayside. This night is just full of storms, the kind of storms that I imagine the guys on the boat were having when they woke up Jesus. I’ve asked Jesus to calm this storm too, and instead he gave me a verse that calmed me.

Isaiah 26:3 New King James Version (NKJV)

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

So the storms are raging, the RV is literally rocking and I can hear the hail pelting. The dogs are pacing, and the lightning has everything lit up like noon time. It’s just me and the dogs; Trent is in North Carolina for two weeks. And the RV is totally exposed out in the middle of field at the RV dealership, so basically I have no control over anything that happens right now because there’s literally nothing I can do to make the RV, the truck or us any safer. So when things are out of my hands, I trust that Jesus will take care of what needs to be taken care of.  I trust that He will put a hedge around me, our home, our truck….just like He did for Job. I’m also honest enough to know that He might have different plans from what I’m thinking, so I also trust that even if there’s isn’t a hedge around me, He’s still got this, and me. So I am calm. So..

Psalm 4:8 New Century Version (NCV)

I go to bed and sleep in peace,
    because, Lord, only you keep me safe.

Now to help the doggies settle down and sleep a bit before the sun comes up.

Snakes and Sirens, oh my

I grew up in the woods, like smack in the middle of the woods. If you look at a map of South Carolina, you’ll see “Francis Marion National Forest”. I lived where the M in Marion is. So trust me when I say I learned about snakes at an early age. I’ve never liked them, they’re just not my thing, but I understand the difference between good and bad snakes. I’m just saying, from my little perspective…. good snake = dead, bad snake = alive. Bonus to living in Hawaii is that I totally put those boogers out of my mind. Bad part of mainland living is that I’ve been reacquainted with them.

Having said that, I came across a small snake yesterday. I will tell you he was less than a foot long, so newly born, and he had the markings of a garter snake, so not poisonous. Roger all that, but he was ALIVE, so therefore, not good. He was hanging outside the door of the laundry room at the campground. Oh no, this girl wasn’t having that. Although I wish I had gotten a picture of him when he saw me. He was just there with his mouth open wide, like Oh LAWD, this lady is gonna stomp on me! Had he dawdled, his assessment would have been correct. He slithered on his merry way, and I got laundry done in record time.

So, I think it’s fair to say I got my heart rate up, and just about the time it finally slowed down, what would happen?!  I’m just going to say that I totally blame the campground for not telling me about this. I also blame my friends, and further, when I told them, they laughed. It was NOT.FUNNY, not at the time.

So, you know we’re staying Russellville Arkansas. Did you know that Russellville is home to a nuclear power plant?! I did, it’s actually one of the reasons we’re here. Or should I say it’s the reason Mike and Tiff are here, and since we came to visit them, we knew it was here. And I know we’re only about ten miles from said nuke plant. So when an ear piercing siren went off, I had two thoughts…is that a tornado warming or is that the nuke plant?! Either way, it got my heart pumping again. Blue skies, no warnings on my phone, so not a tornado. Holy cannoli, it was the nuke plant! that’s bad, mmmkay. After three minutes, the siren went off, and then nothing. hmm. So for the rest of the day I wondered if I had really heard anything at all, because no explosion, I didn’t die, and my hair hasn’t fallen out.

I went to Mike and Tiff’s for supper; I just love to visit with friends, and especially friends that cook for me while Trent is gone. So I’m telling them about my day, and they LAUGHED. Can you believe that?! Then Mike explained that it was a test, just a test. EVERY WEDNESDAY at noon the sirens go off just to make sure it’s working. Well now I won’t freak out next Wednesday, but dang that should be in the campground brochure or something. I can’t be the only person that freaked out when they first heard it.

My text to Martha…’saw a snake, ready to leave Arkansas’. But after hearing the siren too, I’m not feeling it so much. We need to do something fun this weekend to make my heart happy again!

So, is anyone reading this? Are you laughing at me too?

Arkansas – Land of Razorbacks and Good Friends

So Pensacola Beach is in our rearview mirror, and we were off to greener grass. We left Saturday morning, and finally arrived in Russellville, Arkansas Sunday evening. I drove the 591 miles of this two day adventure. Trent said he’s starting to think I enjoy pulling the RV. Honestly, I don’t mind it as much, but I’m really just trying to get used to doing it in case we happen upon a situation where he can’t get back to me, and I have to leave on my own. So I’d prefer he be in the truck while I practice so I feel more confident when that times comes. I don’t even say “if” because we all know it will happen, one day.

Saturday night, we stopped in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and stayed at a casino campground near where one of Trent’s co-workers lives. We thought we were going to be able to see them, but time seemed to slip away before we could make that happen.  That was the land of construction, bad bridges and really rough roads. I was definitely thrown into the fire for road hazards, so, sorry Clell we won’t be heading back your way.

Sunday, we got an early start because the radar showed some nasty weather and we wanted to beat it if possible. That didn’t happen, by the way, so I got to drive in horrendous thunderstorms too. I’m ready for anything but that bridge from Arkansas into Oklahoma – I don’t want to do that when I’m not towing. Anyway, we had lots of back roads, some pretty country before the rain came. We stopped at an exit in White Hall, AR, and there the Fosters met us for quick hugs. Those were the folks that got the recliners from us in Pensacola. They’re about an hour away from us, so I’m sure we’ll make plans to go see them soon while we’re still here. As soon as we got back in the truck, the rain started (and wouldn’t you know it was right in the middle of a construction zone). We continued on our way and I texted Martha and said I was stopping for fuel near their house, so they popped in their truck and met us as the truck stop for quick hugs, and obviously a shower because we all got soaked!

We finally arrived at the RV Park around 4 pm, which was about 3. 5 hours later than I had planned on us being there. We got set up in the torrential downpour, which wasn’t nearly as fun as it sounds, especially since the park was nothing but gravel and mud, lots of mud.

Tired and wet, we were exhausted (although Trent was better than I was because he hadn’t been behind the wheel all weekend!). Early bedtime, and the morning came quickly. After working all day, we headed over to Martha and BIll’s house for a wonderful home cooked meal. It was delicious, but even better was the time just catching up and hanging out. They’re good people. I’ve learned some new phrases since hanging out with Martha, and so while “toad strangler” may come up in your every day conversation, it was new to me. For those that are confused, we were talking about the weather of the previous day – heavy downpour = toad strangler.

I also got to learn the call of their wild, which included hand gestures and booming voices. Even their little pups got excited .

 

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The Call of the Razorback

The next day Trent got all packed up and drove to a job in, Osceola, AR, came back the next day. So I worked lots, and lots, and lots. Friday night though, we went over to Mike and Tiffany’s house. Those are our ‘Navy friends’ – we’ve known them for about 14 years, but hadn’t seen them since we picked up the RV last year. We went out for sushi, which I kid you not is the best sushi I’ve ever had (Trent said he liked it better than what he got in Japan so the bar was high!). Shameless plug, if you’re ever near Russellville Arkansas, stop by Umami’s and bring your appetite! I don’t know about the one in Conway, but it looks fancier, the Russellville location isn’t much on décor, but they’ve got the flavor thing down. After we stuffed our tummies, we went to an escape room adventure. I wasn’t very good at the puzzle thing, so I ‘supervised’, but it was a lot of fun being there with them, and Trent and Mike definitely love the puzzle thing!

 

 

Hourglass Escape Room
We Escaped!

 

 

The room we did was Alcatraz and the lighting in the rooms made Tiff and I look like zombies, hence the name Jailhouse Zombies. Whatever, I was happy to get out of the handcuffs, and we treated ourselves to ice cream because Lexi (their daughter) wanted a milkshake.  Good times!

Saturday I slept in because the week was just exhausting, and I even took a 3 hour nap later in the day because Trent said I was still grumpy. It was late in the afternoon, but we did drive up Petit Jean Mountain to the state park where Bill & Martha were camping for the weekend. Robin and Mike (Dayshift) were also there, the couple that got the couch from the Fosters when they got our recliners! So we hung out for a few hours (even had s’mores because Robin rocks!). This morning we went to church with Tiff, and then back to the RV so Trent could get packed up. He leaves bright and early for Cleveland, Ohio tomorrow. And that was our first week in Arkansas. Life is good.