Update,Vacation, And A Lesson Learned

Some of my readers have been asking about my health, so I wanted to give you an update. I am so very grateful to God for the healing He has given me! After a variety of tests both with my medical Dr as well as my Nutritional Dr, I was pleasantly surprised with good results!! All my blood work looked very good as well as the CAT scan. With my history of cancer, it brings peace of mind to have things checked out! My symptoms matched that of a stomach ulcer, so the past few months I have been treating for that. And Praise the Lord I have improved much! The bellyaches, nausea and extreme fatigue have disappeared! I was also likely detoxing from the mold we had in our bedroom and bath. Good health is an enormous gift from God!! Let’s not forget to thank Him! And not just thank Him, but live godly lives in His service, and in this way, glorify the One who gives us life!

On April 28th, our little family left for an 8 day trip. Our first destination was Summersville KY. for a niece’s wedding. It was so good to see some family and enjoy the special day with them!

Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs….Dallas and Jenny Wenger!

On Saturday we headed on south to Hartselle, Alabama. I lived there as a young girl for 8 1/2 years and hadn’t been back for a long time! I have many fond memories of my youthful days there!

When I was 21, my parents started The Old Cookstove restaurant near Danville, AL. It’s home cooking, out in the country, back behind what used to be home. I enjoyed working there for several years. This place is owned and run by someone else now, but we stopped by for Saturday night supper and it was tasty as always!

Saturday night we stayed with friends, Eli and Rosie Kauffman. On Sunday we went to church at Emmanuel Mennonite. Though much has changed, there was still much familiar!

Sunday afternoon we headed on further South to Gulf Shores Alabama!! We had a house booked for 3 nights to enjoy the beach, family vacation and to celebrate our 10th anniversary a few weeks early!

I would like to say the trip down there was bubbly with our anticipation of our destination, but I must state the truth. The weather Sunday was completely overcast with varied periods of rain. We were keeping close tabs of the forecast in Gulf Shores. It was heavily sprinkled with chances of thunderstorms. I could hardly believe it! Like, we next to never go to the beach! And the two days we were planning to be there looked dismal. So much so that I began my own small river down my cheeks. I was real grouchy…. I know. It’s embarrassingly childish, but I was very very sad. How can you enjoy the beach with rain, cloudy skies and thunderstorms?! I prayed a few prayers. The Lord heard and I think, taught me a lesson….

We woke early to clouds with little sunshine. I peeled right outside to read my Bible and pray, on the boardwalk behind our house that went out to the bay. The children were up before long and we all got ready to head out to the beach by 8 AM! Figured I better start enjoying it before the thunderstorms!

And would you know, it got sunnier and sunnier! The ocean was magnificent!! I was in it as soon as possible and Josie right after me. But Reece? No, thanks, Mom. It’s too noisy! He was whimpering around and no way was he getting close to that water! Jerald was coming to relax more than plunge in the ocean or do beach sitting. I mean, sure he did some of that but he was just as happy to go see the city. So he took Reece, drove around, and purchased a few beach necessities.

We slathered on sunscreen. In my younger days I got sunburned too often. But now I was a lot more mature. I was going to be real wise this time! With this good sunscreen we were going to be just fine! How I rejoiced in that ocean!! The crashing waves plunging into us was simply exhilarating! Josie and I splashed, hand in hand, running along the ocean’s edge. Getting soaked, salty and sandy was just fine! I never tired of the constant roar of the ocean breakers. We collected sea shells, and tried singing Sally sells sea shells down by the seashore, without success.

Josie and I

The beach we accessed was only available for those houses along there, so it was far from full!! The fact that it was Monday and early in the season also helped. We had a vast amount of that beach all to ourselves! It was simply perfect for our little family! With that beautiful beach sand, I was reminded of the verses, How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand… Psalm 139: 17, 18. How completely unfathomable! This is our God!!

Gulf Shores AL

After lunch, Jerald offered to take Reece to the house for his nap. Josie and I kept right on beaching to the utmost. I had reapplied sunscreen which was a safe, healthy brand, so I figured we’re good to go to keep from sunburning too much.

There was laundry to do, but I could not be hampered by anything as unromantic as clothes washing, when there was sand, sun and salty waves to be enjoyed! I thanked God over and over for the sunshine and the joy of a beach vacation! I thoroughly repented of my previous bad attitude.

After an hour or two, Josie wanted to go back to the house to play in the bay where the water was calm and shallow. So we camped out there awhile and to our joy, even discovered a floaty! I started feeling sun burned but thought I’d surely be fine. Reece and Jerald came out and I finally dragged myself away to get that laundry started. By now it was late afternoon.

As we cleaned up to go out for supper, I was shocked by my appearance. My legs were starting to hurt. My misery was only begun. “Red as a cherry” Jerald said. Before bedtime I was starting to chill and even took Tylenol, and I next to never take pain killer for anything! I was fried so crisp I squeaked when I walked. Squeaking in pain anytime I got up out of bed because then is when horrible cramps grabbed my leg calves! I was kinda in grandma mode, all hunched over and waddling around. Determinedly, I was doing my utmost to not complain! I didn’t manage 100% as we were out mini golfing that evening but I was still being pretty chipper!

The Mr. and Mrs. had a visit at bedtime. The Mr. mentioned about being moderate in all things, including sunshine. I’m not having pity on you, he said. You were so concerned about sunshine, and God gave it. And you completely overdid it. And the Mrs.? What did she have to say??! “Ouch!” That was about all she could say. And weeks afterwards I kept being reminded of my sunburns, because I kept peeling flesh. I swept up so much dried up flesh off my floors, it was literally astonishing! Several times when Josie saw my skin she says, “Mom, your ‘skinny’ like crazy!” Great! At least I can be called skinny for once!

So did I learn a lesson in moderation? I’ve learned some things for sure! But moderation in all things is still something I’ll need to keep working on. Moderation in a variety of other areas of life would make good articles for blog posts. However, moderation in all things, including the discussion of moderation!

On Tuesday when we went out, I was armed with a hefty amount of sunscreen and a solid dose of moderation! I enjoyed the sun, sand and waves all over again, though somewhat hindered by my painful condition. Soon after lunch, we had to begin laundry and some packing up. It also clouded over with chances of rain becoming closer to reality! And yes, the rain did come! It rained a little that evening then there were thunderstorms through the night. And still looked rainy as we left early Wednesday morning. We drove through more rain as we headed north. Our route took us right through Macon, Mississippi where I have friends from my Alabama youth days. We stopped in and were shown good old southern hospitality, enjoying a tasty brunch together!

Earl & Gina Bontrager, Steve & Marilyn Kauffman, and Tim & Mel Kauffman

I was reminded again of the friendliness and accent that’s a trait of the South, when we were in Alabama. I love that accent and when you talk with real southerners, you almost subconsciously start talking like them! Josie never heard such southern drawl before. After she heard someone talking with a strong accent she asks us, “is that lady talking Spanish?”

We drove as far as Strawberry, Arkansas where we stopped for the night at Jerald’s brother Wes and Heather’s place. This was our first time to see their baby Javin! He is our children’s only cousin on the Rhodes side. He’s also extra special because God chose to wait over four years until He blessed their home with a child. Javin was a long awaited and much prayed for baby!

Javin, Josie and Reece
Wes and Heather and Javin Rhodes

Thursday morning we headed out for the last stretch to home! We had a sunny day to travel though 60* felt cool after the comfortable 80’s we’d just enjoyed! But how good to be home again!! Often when we go tripping, I’m looking forward to coming home, before we ever leave. But this time, I so completely enjoyed myself, that I wasn’t even pining to be home! Oh! Except, of course, where I failed to use moderation in my enjoyment.

I love the family God has given us!

The 20th of May it was ten years since we said “I do.” Since we’d celebrated earlier, we just met each other at a cute coffee shop for about a half hour. Afterwards I picked up the children and headed for the chiropractor and groceries. Walmart was busy and shopping with both the children definitely kept my brain overly occupied. I had written “anniversary card” on my list. We headed right to that section. Shame on me I hadn’t even had my card on time, but I figured I’ll get it and give him one that day yet, so all’s good. Then I spied Father’s Day cards. “Oh yes! I’ll just get those immediately so I don’t forget like I did the anniversary card!” So we got cards for my dad, my husband and my children’s dad. And on we go for groceries. And wouldn’t you know! I completely forgot the anniversary card until I was home!! I was so beat out! But what could I do?! For sure, there was no going to town again that day!

Should I? Dare I try? Yes. I’ll look. Doesn’t hurt to look.” I got down our beautiful “love letter” box and hunted through. I’ve saved stacks of cards in there since were married. After thoroughly searching I found an anniversary card from 2 years ago. What I had written I still felt the same. I even added to it a bit. The date and the 8 years caused a bit of a problem, but that was soon fixed by adding stickers over the top. One even said “love you”. It was perfect! I desperately wanted a card till he came home from work!!

Then I also remembered a bag of M&M’s in the pantry. I do not normally keep these on hand but happened to have some for cookie use. (Since it also totally slipped my mind to get a treat or something for him!) Gratefully I grabbed the bag and perched it and the card on his desk. “Wow! That was close!” I felt enormously clever.

No he wouldn’t have had any hard feelings if I didn’t have the card that day, but I just really really wanted to, because I just really really love him! And besides, he’d blessed me with roses the day before!! And no, he never found out my little trick! Until….Well. He always helps edit my blogs. And that was the end of the secret! But we’re still in love!! ❤️

May 20, 2011

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