Alice's Restaurant ~ Dishin' Up Food for Thought

Alice's Restaurant ~ Dishin' Up Food for Thought ~~~ A place to share what I am thinking, reading, feeling & contemplating as I travel on this journey called life.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Trusting God

Trusting God is not easy.  Oh when things are going well in our lives yes it's easy to trust God.  But when you get fired unexpectedly, you have $12 in savings because you just got back from a wonderful vacation seeing family and friends, sharing tons of hugs and giggles with the grand-kids, and you have to scramble to find a place to park your home on wheels, you are trying to figure out how to get some medications, and trying to hold your head up high in the middle of chaos and confusion trusting is hard.  But we do trust.

We move one foot in front of the other.  We call our praying friends, we continue to be honest with our words, we don't argue or yell or throw a temper tantrum, we move one foot in front of the other and we keep trusting.  We read God's word, claiming his promises like in Jeremiah where we read    "I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  Jeremiah 29:9-11"      and then we laugh as we see how God really is in control and does know what He is doing and knows what is good for us.

And as we step forward some times the fear/worry creeps in we wonder how are we going to make it, how are we going to ever find another job much less get there ~ remember our home on wheels needs gas to get us down the road.  And then the Lord surprises us with a couple gifts of money that were totally unexpected and lovingly accepted.  And we follow God's leading, stepping out in faith that the doors that are opening are really his leading.

So we continue to see his way.  Asking for prayer, getting encouragement in phone calls, emails and Facebook comments.  And we step out, load up everything we have and drive 800 miles to a place we have never been and what a beautiful place it is ~ Branson, MO.  And we continue to trust for full-time employment and thank God for the part-time work I have.  We take advantage of Ron not working as he gets some much needed personal business taken care of.  And we meet new people and make new friends. 

We talk about needing to find a local congregation so we can worship our heavenly Father with other believers.  And out of the world of Facebook he leads a gal to comment on a comment of mine and now today I am getting ready to go to a Ladies luncheon at the Friendly Baptist Church (that really is the name of the church).  I am so excited to fellowship with other women who love the Lord as I do.  We get invited to another church service that starts at 9 a.m. ~ which works great for our schedule as we need to open the campground office at noon on Sunday's.

And we continue to pray, trust, and yes even have a little melt down so you send out a panic email, continue to trust and seek full-time employment.  We know what we would like to see happen but is it what God wants?  Is it what will happen in the real world?  We send out more prayer requests and then have a great interview and are offered full-time employment as managers of the campground where God has led us for part-time work. 

And then this morning I am pleasantly surprised by a reminder from God in my devotion that even though we didn't know what was going to happen or even why certain things were happening God knew.  This morning's devotion started with a reading in Ruth where Ruth tells Naomi she will go wherever she goes.  I claimed that verse when Ron and I moved to Blaine in 1989.  I would go wherever Ron wanted to go and I would keep the advice I received from Col. Nutt in 1978 that my job was to make our home a happy and welcoming home wherever we were living (we were in the Air Force at the time and stationed in Holland and I was wanting to go home!!) because if Ron had a happy home he could do his job wherever it took him.  And that has been one of my goals ~ to always have a happy home for our family no matter where we were living.

And then the devotion moved to Prov. 20:18 "Every purpose is established by counsel (the LORD)."    And reading 'We all go through tough times.  It is how we deal with them and what we learn from them that defines who we are.  The Lord has a purpose for them all."  and "It was as if God had been working in ways known only to Him, to bring us together." and then closes with this prayer: "Father, your purpose is our good.  Let us be aware of the ways you work in our lives." (By Brock Kidd in Daily Guideposts 2012)

And I think about a comment a friend made:   You come across so calm in all of this.  So you are an encouragement to me. :)   And I think if you only knew about my mini-melt down the other morning and then I think, okay it was only a mini-melt down, not a full blown anxiety attack where I feel paralyzed and freak out and fall apart and make matters worse than they are (remembering some of my behaviors when I was worried sick when Jamie was in Iraq or totally panicking because we didn't have any money for groceries and feeling like I needed to beg any and everyone to help us).  And then I say "Thank you Lord for your love and grace and mercy in my life.  For loving me through the tough times and helping me to grow and trust in You even more."

And I will never forget the morning of April 4, 2012 as we were being fired and thinking about God's promise from Jeremiah 29:11 "OK Lord, I think you need to share with us now what those plans are because this is not making any sense to me at this moment."

And we are now employed at a small campground, in a beautiful part of this country.  We are nestled in among some beautiful shade trees, have a swimming pool and exercise room to use whenever we want.  We have an opportunity to find the church where we know God will use us and we will feel like we are home.  And we feel a peace and calmness surrounding us that is a blessing all of its own.

So today I give thanks for how the Lord works in our lives even when we don't understand!  He does know the plans he has for us.  Sometimes we just have to be open  to follow where He leads.

And this is view that we see each morning from our new home where the Lord led us!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making Dinner

Making Dinner ~ it shouldn't be a hard decision but sometimes it takes me forever to figure out what to cook.  I enjoy cooking I just hate trying to figure out what to cook.  And I really don't like it when I ask hubby "What would you like for dinner?" and his response is "I dont' care."

So this morning while I was working on the laptop I asked hubby if he would get out some meat from the freezer for dinner.  He said "OK."  And promptly opened the freezer and jumped back as something fell out.  Dinner tonight is broiled pork steaks (that's what fell out of the freezer) and home made potato salad (with the left over egg salad from lunch dumped in) and for dessert (which we don't have every night) is banana nut chocolate chip bread.  And now looking at this I think we need a vegetable.  It will be either green beans or corn ~ whichever hubby gets out of the tote.

So how do you decide what to make for dinner?

Oh, one more thing ~ who does the dishes at your place?  Since moving into the motor home full time and there is only room for one person in the kitchen area we made a deal.  Who ever cooks dinner gets the night off from doing the dishes!!!  So I really don't mind cooking because that means I don't have to do the dishes.

Friday, April 20, 2012

First Waking Thoughts of the Morning ~ Terminated

Woke up this morning from a dream where I was back at the Lone Star Corral, doing something in the clubhouse kitchen and a couple of guys were in there with me.  E was asking me a question about something I had written up and R was kinda ignoring me but I could tell he was listening to the conversation.  And then "TERMINATED" was said in a sentence and I just stopped dead in my tracks and woke up.

Thinking about "terminated" my mind went back 24 years ago when we were moving from Federal Way, WA to Blaine, WA.  The situation at that time was that we were moving because there were just way too many people in the area.  At Christmas of 1988 Ron came home from running an errand on Christmas Eve and was very upset because it took him almost an hour to go 3 miles!  He was not a happy man and very stressed.  And then February of '89 we moved to Blaine doing two of the things I said I would never do: 1~move to Blaine and 2~live with Ron's mom.  Did both :)  And in making that move we had to terminate with our therapist who we had been seeing for 2 1/2 years.  And that scared me so much that I would find myself sick to my stomach quite often.  And I was even able to keep our last session for after we were moved and kinda settled into our new life.  So on April 3, 1989 we had our last session w/Tom.  And we talked about the word "termination" and why it scared me so much.  It just sounded so final, nothing after that and we had grown to love and appreciate Tom's Christian counseling and his friendship and the thought of that 'TERMINATING, ENDING, NEVER SEEING HIM AGAIN" was just plain scary to me.  How could I go on without him in my life.  He had helped me get through some really tough times: dealing with past abuse from my parents and how that in turn affected my life, my parenting, my marriage.  And what if something were to happen, what would I do if we were TERMINATED???

I will never forget that dinner.  We met at Black Angus in Federal Way.  Don't have a clue what we ate.  We met in front at 6:30 p.m. (well a little later because Tom was never on time:) and we left there at 12:30 a.m.  Six hours!!  We talked, laughed, discussed some things like the night in 1986 which happened to be the first Friday of the month and we were going to Enumclaw for their Christmas parade with the boys after our session and Tom asked Ron "Do you know what sickening sweet it?"  Ron replied, "No."  Tom described sickening sweet as taking a large can of Redi Whip and squirting the whole darn thing into your mouth and swallowing it (Tom's brother used to do that to gross his momma out:) and then he told Ron "YOU are sickening sweet."  I remember laughing to myself and Ron didn't say much.  That is, until we were in the car heading to Enumclaw and Ron went on & on about he was not sickening sweet and how dare Tom say that to him.  I bet Ron must have referred to that comment at least 5x that night if not 10x.  And quite often through the next week.  Did he say anything to Tom at our next session?  Nope, nada, not a word.  Never said anything to him for 2 1/2 years until that night we were saying our good-byes.  The funny thing is that Tom never even remembered saying that to Ron, but here 31 years later we both remember that night and now often will joke about "ew...that must be sickening sweet" and then laugh about it. 

We talked about my mom and our relationship ~ pretty nil at that time.  And how I felt like I didn't have a mom anymore.  And that hurt.  Thankful though that God healed that relationship for the most part and when she passed away in 2005 we were sharing our lives more with each other.  Not the way I always wanted a relationship with her but we did have a relationship and that is what is important.

And we talked about different things that had come up during the  2 1/2 years we met - like when I went on strike for almost 2 weeks.  Wonder if the boys remember that.  They were in shock that I said I was not going to do anything for them: no laundry, no cooking, no cleaning, nothing.  They wouldn't pull their weight in our home by doing their chores like cleaning their bedroom, putting their clean laundry away, setting/clearing the table at dinner time without complaining and so I went on strike.  Jamie got so mad that he called Tom and told him HE needed a session with him.  And so Jamie saw Tom alone one week and then we had a joint session: Jamie & I and left their with a job chart for Jamie and a new understanding of what it meant to be part of a family.  We all work together for the common good.

Oh the memories I could share.  But that is for another time.  Back to the word "terminate."  As you know just two weeks and two days ago we were TERMINATED from our positions at the Lone Star Corral.  And wow, what a difference to how I responded and handled the situation.  Never got sick, never yelled or even reacted.  Just did the business that needed to be done.  I am so thankful for my scripture that morning "I (being God) know the plans I have for you."  And while Marti was telling us we were terminated that verse went through my head and I thought "OK, God you need to start sharing those plans with us and hopefully you will do it soon:)." 

Yes, I was in shock, it came out of nowhere.  I was hurt by the lies that were being said about both of us.  And yet, I put one foot in front of the other and said a ton of prayers and continued to put one foot in front of the other going where the Lord would lead us.  Yes, I cried when I called Pastor Charles, Dee and Merel.  Ron and I cried together, shared our thoughts and put one foot in front of the other.  Yet God is faithful and he has led us each and every day since that day 16 days ago (like he has for the 36+ years we have been married). 

Still don't like the word "terminate" and yes it is final but this time it has been quite refreshing and freeing seeing how God is working in our lives, my life and the doors that have opened for us and how exciting it has been to see him take a situation that for a few minutes seemed so devastating and bring glory and honor to our Lord.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reality, Faith and Thoughts

A lot of things have been happening as most of you know.  And yesterday as I was waiting in the clubhouse to have Easter dinner that nasty Satan tried to enter my mind.  I found myself wondering "What are we going to do?  Do we start driving somewhere?  We have enough money to go about 800 miles.  I am scared and worry is starting to creep in."

And then I said out loud and yet quietly "OK, LORD, you say you know the plans you have for us, you told me that on Wednesday morning before confusion, disbelief, shock set in and we were fired.  Lord, help me to keep my focus on you, see the blessings we have (so many friends commenting on my blogs, on Facebook and through email) that I know we are not alone.  Forgive me for letting doubt creep in just a few minutes ago."  And then I walked away to say hello to some people and sat down and shared a delicious meal ~ the only thing that would have made it better was if there was dessert, making new friends and visiting with them for two hours.  And the worry and anxiety was gone.

Had a very relaxing late afternoon and evening with my hubby.  We sat outside enjoying the beautiful sunshine, listening to families laughing and playing in the swimming pool, reading and napping (Ron).  Later in the evening we had something I have not made in years: bacon and cheese toasted sandwiches ~ yummy!  Watched Amazing Race & Celebrity Apprentice before heading off to bed.  Slept well and woke refreshed about 7:15 this morning.

And then the mind began racing.  I got up, made myself some licorice tea, got caught up in my Guideposts Daily Planner ~ I write down each morning what we did the day before.  And I hadn't written in it since we left San Antonio to go on vacation!  So I started with Wednesday, April 4th through yesterday and then backed up to March 23rd.  All caught up now.  Then I read my devotion for this morning.  "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."  I Cor. 2:9 and then I pondered on those words.  Feeling encouraged that once again God has shown me that He knows what the plans are that he has for us even though we have no clue, no idea.  Thanks for the reminder Lord.  And then I read through some emails that friends have sent to us in the last few days ~ and one verse that keeps coming to mind (my paraphrase) "No need to worry, the birds don't worry about where they will find food or shelter so why should I worry?"  Easy to read but sometimes so hard to follow and do. 

And this morning it is hard to hold onto that faith and trust when inside I am wanting to cry, scream and shout ~ what happened?  why did this happen?  we had plans for the coming year and now what will happen?  And this happened to us but it affects others too ~ friends who have made plans to be with us, trips to join other friends for a weekend of fun and adventure.  And we have little money which makes me scared ~ where do we go in three weeks, actually 2 1/4 when we have to leave Medina Lake Thousand Trails?  Yes we can go park to park but do we use up the gas/money to go 250 miles and if so which direction do we head.  Do we head back toward AZ, CA, OR or WA where things are familiar or do we head towards GA where we have friends & family but then we have to pay for camping? 

I have made a list of things to do ~ should I just start going down the list and do things one at a time?  do I jump around on that list and do things in a crazy kind of order?  And then more things pop into my mind of things that need to be done...can you hear the craziness starting to roll through my mind and heart?  I can.  I even thought of posting on Facebook ~ "Does anyone want to contribute to the Ron & Ali fund to cover gas, groceries, medicine?  And then the next thought ~ does that question say I have doubt and where is my faith?  So I don't make the post on Facebook but I do share it with my friend so we can laugh about it.

I have so much to say but I feel like I have to be careful, can't and don't want to step on toes, since we don't know exactly what will happen with unemployment (we make our first claim on 4/17 and then will find out if we get any benefits) and we don't know if we are going to have to fight for the benefits or not.  Questions come to mind ~ do we have any recourse with the manner in which we were let go ~ the BOD didn't even follow their own contract with us.  Can you tell I am floundering, wondering what our next step should be.  I would love to have a sit down conversation with the BOD but believe we would be lied to as we know we have been in the past.  Can you tell I am perplexed? 
I so wish we were part of a close church family, that we had a good relationship with a local pastor where we could go and talk and cry and pray with and be prayed for.  I wish I was in Blaine so I could walk into Charles' office, sit in my spot on the couch and just blubber and blabber and know he would listen, give me some suggestions (which I always follow) and pray with me.  I am really missing my Northwood family and pastor/friend.

I would love to be able to go have a coffee date with my bestie so we could laugh and cry together but that's kinda hard when I am in Texas and she is in WA.

And now the tears have started to fall and it is hard to see what I am writing so I am going to close for now.  Will check in either later tonight or again tomorrow.  Ali

Reply to Changes are a Coming

Wanted to reply to the comments on yesterday's blog ~

Carol ~ 2008 was a year of the rollercoaster in our life.  On February 24th, little Opal was born 11 weeks early weighing in at 1 lb 15 oz, 13 1/2 inches long.  Her birth was very scary and we didn't know if either her or her momma would make it but thankfully they both did.  Suzanne can't have any more children, then went on to lose their daughter Emerald in April 2009.  Opal faced many hurdles, stayed in the hospital till she was 4 months old, during which time she was life flighted from Bellingham to Seattle.  We are so thankful she is the happy, healthy little girl she is.  She brings us such delight and enjoys life!

On March 24th, Christopher was born healthy and strong and is a delight to be around.  On that same day, Ron's mom was put on Hospice care.  It was definitely a day of emotions running from the mountain top to the valley and back and forth.

On April 24th, Anne went home to be with the Lord and her precious husband who had been gone for almost 30 years.  Truly a sad day to lose such a marvelous woman but rejoiced that she was with our Heavenly Father and darling hubby.  On May 2nd she was buried and that was the morning that Opal was airlifted from Bellingham to Seattle.  Another roller coaster day. 

But through it all, God was and is faithful.  Hard to believe it has been 4 years.  We are so happy for both Opal & Christopher and they truly delight us!!

Carol, Kenny & Angela ~ thank you for your prayers for us as we start another new journey in our lives.  It is very comforting to know that we are not alone and that we can call on our friends to specifically pray about different situations.  I keep reminding myself what Jer. 33:3  says "I know the plans I have for you."  And "all things work together for good for those who trust and believe in God."  (don't know the scripture reference).

And to all my blog readers ~ thanks for reading and being a part of our lives.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

NOTE: If you read The Wandering Workentins - this is the same post as what was posted there just a few minutes ago.  

Wanted to write you all and let you know what is going on with us.  Last Wednesday, 4/4 Ron & I were let go from our positions at the Lone Star Corral.  They gave us a reason which does not hold truth as far as we are concerned. We have filed for unemployment and are praying that God will find favor and we will be able to get benefits.

First I want to share our Wednesday morning: my scripture verse that morning was Jer. 33:3 “I know the plans I have for you.”  As we were being told that our contract was terminated immediately I thought “OK, LORD you know the plans you have for us so hope you plan on sharing them with us soon.”

Currently we are at Medina Lake Thousand Trails, Pipe Creek, TX while we get settled and figure some things out.  We have a 21 day park to park contract so housing is not an issue.  We will find out the week of 4/17 if we will get unemployment; hopefully we will get unemployment which will help considerably. We have about $1000 and have paid the most pressing bills.  My meds are fine for about another 2 months.   We have started to apply for different jobs and will do that every day. 

Other than that we are not sure of our plans.  One place we will be applying is for the October – December season.  They provide a Full HU site, $10 per hour with lots of opportunities for over time.  They are in Cambellsville, Kentucky.   We believe we will have no problem getting on with them.  What we will need to do is find a job for the summer months.  Because we don’t think we will ever have another opportunity to be in this part of the US so we are thinking we will move toward Kentucky, staying at TT parks along the way and boon-docking in Wal-Mart if in between parks.  We can always stop at a McDonald’s and Starbucks and use their free WiFi.  We have plenty of canned/boxed food in our food totes, a freezer full of meat and a pretty stocked fridge for the time being.  Good thing we like to cook and try new dishes ~ I am sure some will be pretty creative.

We would ask that you keep us in your prayers and that we will be open to the Lord’s leading, not get discouraged and keep the faith.  

On another note, we had a great vacation the week before we were let go.  We flew to Seattle and spent four days in the Blaine area seeing lots of family and friends and then we headed south stopping in Seattle for an eye check up and polish of my artificial eye and then made our way to Garibaldi, OR where we met up with Brandon and his family.   We were together till early morning on 4/1 when we made our way back to Seattle to fly back to San Antonio where friends picked us up. Worked Monday & Tuesday and then got let go on Wednesday.  We were so glad we had that time with family & friends, got rejuvenated and spiritually      refreshed.  

Here are some pictures - more will be added along with some fun posts.

Jamie, Opal & Grandpa

Opal enjoying her chocolate mouse!

Jamie & Opal (she looks a little tired because we met at 8:00 a.m. for breakfast before we headed to Seattle and OR).

Max and his beautiful smile!!

Christopher enjoying his birthday cake!  Can't believe that he & Opal are 4 already!

Treyson eating some cereal.  He is such a cuddler and believe me this grammy got lots of cuddle time in with him.

Max, Christopher & Grandpa heading into the Haunted Mansion at the Carnival (Funtastic Shows) in Clackamas, OR.  So fun to see many of our friends who we worked with when we traveled & worked with them.

Grandpa reading and Max watching a movie

Max watching the movie and Christopher wrapped in his new blanket that Grammy made for him.  Do you see a theme of BSU Bronco colors in these pictures? 

We love you all and will keep you updated on a more regular basis of where we are and what is                going on with us.  If you want to reach us, please send us an email at ali1257 AT gmail DOT com.

Love Ali & Ron

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hanging at Sea Tac Airport

I am sitting on the floor at Sea Tac Airport close to our gate, N14, found one plug in to charge my computer on.  So not like Houston that has multiple charging stations all along the concourses.

We have had nine wonderful days with family and friends - will be posting more specific blog posts on here and at "The Wandering Workentins" in the next week.

As we were driving here we saw lots of darkness ~ we left at 5:48 a.m. from Molalla, OR.  Left a note for the grands as to why we did not wake them up (they were sleeping when we kissed them good-bye) and then gave Brandon a big hug and even got a few spoken words from him :) and a kiss and mumbled byes from Danalyn.  So glad to have had time with them this week and to reconnect with them and the boys.  (pictures to come)

Last Tuesday stopped to see Christie & Todd at Erickson Labs Northwest for a Spit & Polish ~ actually a good cleaning of my artificial eye and boy did it feel wonderful when Christie slipped it back in.  Before leaving Blaine Tuesday morning we had a nice breakfast with Jamie, Suzanne & Opal and then made a stop at the DMV and got my much needed drivers license.  One of the hassles of having only one eye is that now they need a form from the doctor saying yes I can drive ~ give me a break - I have been driving for almost 40 years.  Enough whining - I got the dang license and am good for five more years.

We arrived in Seattle late Friday, 3/23, spent the night with friends Sam & Janna Dyck (we house shared over 30 years ago!!!) So fun to get to reconnect, laugh and enjoy each others company.  Thanks Sam for staying up till 4:15 a.m. even though you had to be at work at 7:00 a.m.  Next stop was IHOP in Everett where we had breakfast with Heather Loggains and her girls: Montana & Berkley.  Wow have those girls grown!!  Thanks for making the effort to connect with us.

We then made our way to Blaine with a stop at Pacific Builders to pick up Ron's Christmas gift.  Used the pretense to wish Stephanie congrats on the new arrival coming to their home soon.

Kimberly made this with a picture of our motor home.  Ron was so surprised.  If you are interested in one then give Kimberly a call at Pacific Building Center (click on the link above).  I will take more pictures once we get it set up at home.  Going to use it as a night light in the motor home.

Then onto Birch Bay: stopped at The C Shop to say to Patrick & Patricia, Keith & Saara and the gang.  Lots of chocolate bunnies hanging around that shop.  If you want a special treat for this Easter check them out and tell them Alice & Ron sent you.

And then to the Lang Hotel, hosted by Jim & Mary Lang.  So good to spend time with them, have a sweet place to rest our head, get lots of visiting in and a home base to run around and see so many friends & family.  Was super excited to see Jamie, Suzanne & Opal along with lots of friends throughout our time in Blaine.

Well the computer is fully charged so now I can get up off the floor, at least I hope so.  Will write more later and show off lots more pictures.