So you want to go camping do ya?

Camping is not for the faint of heart, even in the “posh” conditions of a travel trailer! Having a trusty companion or two and the right tools can make the difference between success and failure.  For me that would be the guard dog, handy husband, jugs of water, and very long extension cord.  Gotter done!

Camplite, husband, kayak, Scorpius, rack, roof, outrigger, canoe, man, towing, camper, travel, trailer, home, Nissan, Frontier, camping

I am grateful for our Camplite (aka Tin Can Ranch) that allows me to go places with my hubby and stay in a mobile “clean room,” away from the hazards of hotels and limited choices of restaurant menus.  Preparing for these trips is an incredible amount of work all by itself:  just about the same amount of tasks need to be completed for a week-long vacation as an over-nighter.  I have a sense that we won’t be doing the latter again anytime soon!  Regardless, I rallied the strength and off we went with great expectations to the Illinois Beach State Park north of Chicago, Illinois.  I was to attend the day-long Designs for Health:  A Prescription for Wellness seminar at the beautiful Chicago Botanical Gardens and Steve was to tackle the surf along Lake Michigan.  Later we planned to meet up with some friends for dinner on the north side of the city before heading south around the city and back to NE Indiana into the wee hours of the morning.  Whilst the latter plans were complicated by severe rain and traffic issues for all parties, it turned out to be an “easier” part of our itinerary!

Our wacky adventures began soon after we pulled into the campground along the shores of Lake Michigan.  Up first:  hooking up the electrical.  Not!  For the next several hours we battled a worn breaker system that kept tripping no matter what we did to avert the issue.  Was it the breakers in the trailer that were overloaded?  The eroded contacts in the refrigerator switch plate that requires a few minutes of babysitting to turn on? Figuring this out required much problem-solving with wifey-poo dressed in early Spring/Winter garb, very weary from travelling and following orders from the friendly but not-so-helpful front office staff.  To sort this out, we ran our extension cord to a few adjacent sites to no avail.  Very likely it was the campsite breakers that were worn and not our camper since everything had worked fine at home the day before.  Too bad the real on-site expert had the day off!

Finally my husband figured out two work-a-rounds:  1)  hooking up our battery charger to the battery to run the water pump and 2) running our 100-foot extension cord to a 3rd campsite and through the kitchen area window to run the electric heater.  In the morning I disconnected the heater and attached it to my blow dryer to make some order of the bed head that came with the morning.  What about just taking a shower you ask? Well don’t!  That didn’t happen . . . for me anyways.  The campground did not have water or sewer hook-ups so we had filled our modest, 30-gallon water tank at home thinking it would be enough for bathroom needs with quick “Navy-style” showers.  We were wrong. Steve did get a shower . . . then a paddle in Lake Michigan . . . then another shower in the only open bathroom facilities in the campground.  I made the most of things and had a quick cooooold sponge bath before heading out to the seminar!  Oh well.  I was definitely AWAKE for the day of lectures to follow!

A few other tidbits further enhanced our experience such as Steve gashing his lip on the rusted breaker box in the midst of trying to figure out things!  So glad for our first aid supplies!  Then there was the brand new hot water pot that I had plugged in through the cord dangling in kitchen window to make some hot tea ended up not working; I used an electric frying pan instead!  Additionally I took every remedy that I had with me to ward off noxious symptoms from ongoing illness and to consume before-and-during the seminar (with copious amounts of food-n-bacon, of course).  And guess what?  The seminar was incredible!  Steve had a great time paddling our outrigger canoe 7 miles along the lake shore and the pup got in a few long walks at the beach.  Cool beans.

woman, seminar, Chicago Botanical Gardens, flowers, planter, Designs for Healing, sitting

Forrest Gump logic applies very well to almost all of our camping experiences these past 3 years:  you never know what you are going to get!  This trip was no different.  We are now home and pooped.  Massive loads of laundry and cleaning are now underway to decontaminate everything for our next adventure having something to do with trailer demolishen derby races or something.  With our luck, let’s just hope we don’t end up on the figure-8 track.  Should be fun.  Or maybe not.  I’ll be sure to letcha know.  Eeeeek!

JJ

Into the clearing as the storm wanes

Psalm, Psalm 107:29, waves, Bible, storm, Jesus, calms the sea, hope, trials

The coming day after the darkest of nights

May be the one that redeems, the one where at last there is light.

Never a guarantee accompanies each sunrise

That moments later I will live and breathe without compromise.

The seizing of my being, the cries of despair

Have gone on too long little Julie:  even my bigger self can no longer repair,

The damage, the trauma, yes that goes beyond me

My Lord holds those tears that fill the seas of this earthly iniquity.

But one day I will be whole as He promised, oh yes He did

Joy replacing all the sorrow and where life will be just right, just as He said.

If next week brings some answers then so be it too

I do have wee bits of hope for some sleep now leaves me more rested, anew.

My brain can handle more of the stuff of life these days

With the exception of the medical provider’s drama where I have to focus the way.

I shall trust in my Savior whether or not we achieve the goal

Even if the storm inside wanes incomplete, in my spirit I shall always remain whole.

For my Jesus made me just as I am:  Just Julie, your friend

And you too Gentle Reader:  in His image welcome at His table now and til the end.

Won’t you dine in His presence with me unto glory eternally(?)

If we but believe the heavenly realms shall always be in the clearing for us to see!

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Yes, Ima gonna hang in there a little longer . . . You do too, k?  JJ

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Digging down deep

Beneath the wet earth from the late season snow

Chilled like the flavorless angst of my threadbare resolve,

Lies packages of hope:  those tubers, those bulbs yet asleep

Waiting for their time when the sun awakens their beauty in Spring.

Toil not, they do not, using their time of dormancy for its purpose instead

Such that life may burst forth with all that emerges from within

Stored in seasons past, full of sugar-coated memories divided between

The new members, the seeds that join miraculous transformation:  the celebration of life as it comes.

How may I be like the created things all around knowing I am so much more —

Use my time of spinning, of strife, of waiting, of failure whilst holding on for my day of celebration too?

For I am worth more than the fruits of the earth, the birds of the air soaring on high

The giant wonders of dark seas, the furry and creepy crawly ones all around

For they have no sense of wonder to bother to reason or ask the mysterious, the “why?”

They simply trust in the DNA of their making and bid their calling to each moment in time.

I may never know the answers to my questions, my quest to make sense of this suffering that goes on

And that must be good enough for me anyways to make the most of what I have been given

As perhaps a stewardship issue, a story told more in the heavenlies than for me here on God’s green earth to know

That someday, digging down deep in my own soul, my Lord will reveal His glory and I will be glader than the raven capturing her prey from above.

Until then, Gentle Reader, we two must trust in the plans set forth by our Father God

Knowing full well that more lies ahead than the lime green leaves birthed from the showers of April

We shall see God and He will love us now til the end of the age when we blossom to the fullness of our destiny

Everlasting, everbearing, ever singing praise to the Most High Who had our hearts all along dear one . . . He said so . . . the beauty from ashes came as we went on and believed.  JJ

Prickly pear cactus, Indiana, cactus, yellow, flowers, garden, gardening, Zone 5, garden themes, poetry

The Space Between

Perhaps this was a movie title or that of an old business card

Ah, the lingering spaces between events good, bad, or ugly

Do hold some value despite their lack of measurement on scale.

I spend them wandering through the hallways of our home by day by night

From bed to couch to chair to bed, ahhhhh not much going on here

When sickness marks the hours wanting for an answer, something new.

Antibiotics are on hold from now til whenever as this past year ends

With little change beyond fewer hours of the worst of the hell, I guess

And the unwelcome addition of thirty-four new diagnoses to boot!

I have learned so much of what to do and what not to do as well

My stack of papers tell a long tale witnessed by ERs, a few friends,

A weary husband, and scores of medical peeps paid by someone to care.

My goal to find meaning in these places between crises, visits to hell

Has gone dry like a wellspring once filled with life now bone on bone dry

Stained with spent tears, one worn-out puppy, and a purse now threadbare.

The money went away with five years of living the, uh, alternative life:

Don’t call me “disabled” for there still is a bit o’ fight within me, down deep

To endure this long “medical leave” on my way to a makeover not yet revealed.

So as I breathe in the goo between the more defined places of this life

I take note that here is where energy can move along unencumbered

And one day may bring me to my own railway “Station” or at least my next big stop . . .

Gentle Reader, I hope you will be there waiting for me, won’t you?  JJ

Life 101

I really don’t think it works for me to have a young person in great health and some priviledge try and sell me on the latest fitness smoothie, butt workout, or prayer meditation. Pretty posts are meaningless to me!

So here goes an alternative from someone with decent skills and experiences from life but who is intensely focused on her health every day. I am “seasoned” by my years over 50 and fueled by the grace that comes with leaning on the Lord to see me through. If I can keep moving forward with crapoloaski (Polish, of course) all around and it makes a difference, so can you dear friends!

I keep going with a simple life-ism to, “do what you can with what you have where you are, with gratitude and reliance on the Christ who loves you, sees you, saved you, and gives you hope beyond that which you can see. Be a good steward of all the brains, stuff, experiences, and relationships I have been given.” Now break it down as follows:

break-it-down

MIND: Feed it or lose it. We must never stop learning. And deeper still: read the Bible, talk to Jesus, and blessings will come one way or another.

FOOD: Eat the food that provides fuel for your body even if you are tired or don’t feel like making it. (Avoid this and feel worse. Why do that?)

BODY: Move in a way for at least a few minutes TODAY that helps support the frame you live in if you want it work for you. Bear weight, even your own body weight, for best results.

WATER: Find water that tastes good to you to increase your hydration. Everything works better when, er, wet.

RELATIONSHIPS: Connect with someone you like every day. Ask for a hug if not freely given. Say “thank you.” Find something to at least smirk or even smile about. And if you can, do something nice for someone even if you have to pray for the strength to get it done. If you are blessed with a spouse, start with him or her, k?

INTEGRITY: Build upon something meaningful from your past even if it was from last week. This is how dreams are born, dreams are realized. God loves that. He very likely placed them there in your heart before you were born and that is cool beans folks.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD, one tiny step, one deep breath at a time. Those in Christ Jesus will have that perfect body in heaven one day, celebrating with the redeemed fitness models we once saw on Facebook. There is room for all of us here and there too. Perfection is not the goal here so let it go right now. Which brings me to my last point:

TAKE A NAP.

Seeya, :JJ