Thursday, May 17, 2012

We've Been Busy

Hi Everyone!  Thought y'all might be wondering what we have been up to since we landed in Branson, Missouri ~~~  so let me share with you!!

We came to Branson, MO for a part-time Assistant Manager job at Branson View Campground.  Well actually the job was for Ali.  Ron said he would look for work once we were settled.  With Silver Dollar City just 4 1/2 miles from the park and with Ron's experience from working with Funtastic Shows we did not think he would have a problem finding a job.  

This was taken on our first day when we arrived on April 15, 2012.  I need to take a new picture now that we have beautiful sunny days and not through the window of the motor home :)
 So began my short stint as Assistant Manager.  I was the Assistant Manager for all of three weeks.  Because you see, Carol & Kevin decided to accept a job in North Dakota at a campground that was just 50 miles from her family.  So we applied for the Manager position and got the job :)  God is so good and we are so thankful for the many doors/opportunities that he provided for us after leaving Hondo, TX.  And so on Sunday, May 6th we started as the Managers of Branson View Campground.  We each work 40 hours a week with fluctuating days off, split shifts and creative scheduling.

And this is a glimpse at what we have been doing ~~

Ali has tackled the office cupboards, shelves and updating of a couple of signs.
On the left is the BEFORE of what the sink looked like.  On the right is the AFTER it has been cleaned & organized.
The copier & sink are right next to each other.  The picture on the left is the BEFORE and the right is AFTER it was cleaned and organized.  All the loose plastic ware has been sorted and bagged.  There are two bags of spoons & knives and five bags of forks!!  Lots of SweetnLow, small paper plates, coffee stirrers, and some plastic wine glasses and paper cups.
No BEFORE pictures, oops forgot.  The picture to the bottom left is under where the computer sits; the bottom right is the part of the counter where guests are served and the top picture is the long cabinet which is used for work space.
This is the drawer closest to the wall above the cupboard pictured on the bottom left above.  On the left is the BEFORE and the right is the AFTER of the newly organized drawer.
  Still have three more drawers to clean & organize.  Will post those pictures at a later date.

Here are the two signs that were updated today.  The one on the left is where we will be posting upcoming events.  The one on the right is where  guests who arrive after the office is closed can pick up their registration packet along with a map showing where their campsite is.  Also listed are the open sites for those guests who pull in without a reservation.  The registration packets go in the clear holder.
All my time has not been spent in the office.  There are lots of things for me to do outside of the office.  One of those other duties is cleaning the 4 bathrooms/showers each day.  Definitely not one of my favorite jobs.

We also have a Cabin that is available for rent.  I have been working at making it a little more comfy.  It's not totally done but this is how it is looking now.  We are looking forward to adding a few more things in the next week or two. I see a trip to the Dollar Tree in my near future :)

So all our friends and family can come and visit us here in Branson as we have a cabin you can rent while you are visiting Branson and US!!!  Call soon to reserve your date!!!

Upper left is the front porch.  Upper right is the bed area ~ we have added some bedding & pillows, directly across from the bed is a nice TV for watching from the bed or the couch.  Lower left is the dining table and the TV.  Behind the wall to the right of the TV is a small closet.  Bottom right is the cupboard next to the sink.  We have added a coffee pot (with coffee & filters), two coffee cups, a toaster and stocked some extra paper towels.  We have silverware also in the cabin; will be getting some plates, serving bowls and glasses in the next week.
This is one of many projects that Ron has been working on - the row of trees is the divider between Highway 265 and the top road of the campground.  Ron trimmed all the trees along that road and now it is nice and clear under the trees.  Makes lawn  mowing so much easier.  He had 3 loads (trailer & mule cart) of branches and cuttings that he hauled away.                  Doesn't it look sharp???
Here is Ron making new stands to hold the solar cover for the pool.  The other stand had rotted away and fell apart. 
 Doesn't he look cute in his doo rag?  He wore one when working for the carnival and now wears them to keep the sweat from running into his eyes.  And yes he is wearing his sun glasses inside the garage ~ he knocked his regular glasses off while working yesterday and the frames broke.  Went to Wal-mart but they didn't have frames to fit his lenses so tomorrow he is off to get an eye exam and order new glasses.  

As THEY say, if it's not one thing it's another.  We are just thankful that we have jobs and can pay for an exam and new glasses.  Again, God is faithful and supplies all our needs :)

Hope you have enjoyed seeing a little of what we have been doing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Day

 I want to preface this post ~ this is not a glowing, mushy talk about mothers.  If that is what you are looking for you need to look elsewhere.  The following blog post is from my heart, sharing from the past and moving into the present and then taking steps forward.

Mothers Day is probably one of my least favorite days of the year, along with Fathers Day I have wished this day away for many years.  And today was no different.  In the past I have chosen to not attend church on Mothers Day.  I can't handle hearing all the wonderful stories about all the wonderful ways people were raised by their almost impeccably perfect mothers (fathers).  But today was different.

I wanted to go to church.  I wanted to be in fellowship with other believers.  I wanted/needed to hear a message from God's Word.  The question was where do we go?  Here in Branson many performers do a Sunday Gospel service at the different theaters.  Didn't really want to go to a show.  Just wanted to go to church.  Two weeks ago I attended a ladies fellowship at Friendly Baptist Church (yes that is really the name of the church) on Saturday.  Then the following Sunday afternoon I got an email from a gal I met on Facebook who lives here in Branson (the same gal that invited me to the ladies fellowship) that being the 5th Sunday their church had a special music night and she wanted us to know in case we wanted to come.  So we did.  And in leaving church that Sunday night, after a great time of singing and worshiping the Lord, I saw a bulletin from that morning.  I picked it up and brought it home.  In reading it I saw that today, Mother's Day, was going to be a Celebration Sunday.  It was the 5th Anniversary of them being in their new church building.  I thought then, maybe we could do that because the focus wouldn't just be on moms.

We were going to visit their last Sunday but that didn't happen due to the changing of management here at Branson View Campground.  We ended up just going out for a late breakfast before taking on this new journey of managers here.

So this morning I was up early and was reading emails.  And one was a devotional email I just recently started getting.  And it was titled Mother's Day.  Of course.  And the first paragraph started out about "good momma's" but the second paragraph grabbed my attention.   "Others struggle when Mother’s Day arrives. For whatever reason, your mother may not have been, and still may not be, a good, healthy, spiritual role model. Your heart weeps as you continue to cling to sullen memories, anger, and bitterness. This wounded condition is actually robbing you from additional blessings God desires to bestow upon you. He wants you to enjoy life abundantly more than you could ever hope or imagine. Forgiveness is a vital key to unlocking more joy and blessings of the Lord into your life."

 And then it got me thinking.  A lot.  I have (thought I had) forgiven both of my parents and even my step-father for the abuse I suffered at their hands.  And I thought I had moved on.  But the line underlined in the above paragraph really jumped out at me.  I am missing out on blessings today because of the continued hurt/unforgiveness that I must be harboring inside my heart.  And as I continued reading this mornings devotion that there was still hurt and unforgiveness in my heart that I needed to let go of.  I prayed for awhile and then it was time to get ready for church.  I was feeling a little nervous, wondering what else God would have in store for me today.  Letting go of past hurts is not easy but I knew inside that more of the hurts (picture an onion being peeled)  had been stripped from my heart. 

We walked in the door of Friendly Baptist Church and was greeted with a big hug from one of the men greeters (reminded me of our sweet friend Gerald and his great big bear hugs that I have been missing a lot lately) and then another two more people introduced themselves and gave me another hug.  Feeling a little like home (Northwood Alliance Church) and so missed in our lives over the past 14 months it was very refreshing.  And then we went in and sat down.  Now, most people know I like to sit right up front, Ron likes to sit more toward the back.  Ron was in front and we ended up about 5 rows from the back.  It was okay because of the shape of the sanctuary I could still see the whole stage and most of the congregation.  As soon as we sat down the couple in front turned around and introduced themselves (this same couple, right after church asked if we were staying for lunch ~ I thought "of course, free food ~ you never turn down a free meal.")  And then another couple people came and introduced themselves to us.  And Virginia, my friend from Facebook was sitting across from me waved and smiled.  It felt good to be in the house of the Lord.

The music was wonderful.  Was amazed at how many  guitars & fiddlers were up there.  Even a little guy that looked to be about 9 or 10 was playing a mandolin.  So beautiful to be ministered to by some great musicians.  We sang hymns and a chorus.  Just like we like - a nice balance of the oldies and new ones.  And scripture reading straight from the Bible.  We attended one church in Hondo, that there was none, none read nor any used in the sermon.  We like to hear scripture being read!  And special music...two solo's and a duet.  It was wonderful.  And then came the time I dread "when they honor the mothers."  Ron reached over and held my hand (he knows this is a difficult time for me).  But the pastor was wonderful.  First he asked for all the children to come to the front of the sanctuary.  He said we all have had mothers.  Some of us were raised by godly women, some not, some had a great upbringing and some were raised in difficult situations.  He was speaking to me.  And then he asked for all the great-great grandmothers to stand ~ there must have been 10+ standing.  And then he asked for great grandmothers were asked to stand.  Wow, at least another 25+ women stood up.  And then he asked for all the grandmothers to stand up.  I stood up ~ I am so thankful for the gift of grandchildren and am so truly blessed with the 4 grandchildren we have (and miss the two little ones that are now in arms of Jesus) ~ probably another 30 women stood up.  And then he asked for all the moms out there and those who mother others to stand up (never heard that one before ~ don't many women who have no children of their own still mother others?) and probably 10 women stood up.  And all the people in the congregation clapped for all those women who were standing.

The pastor then gave each of the children a stack of cards to deliver to all the women standing.  As we were given our cards we were to sit down (so the kids would know who still needed a card).  And then we opened our cards.  Inside was a little card (like a bookmark) and the scripture on it read "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."  Hebrews 13:5...oh how many times that scripture was shared with me over the past 20+ years that I have been dealing with the abuse of my childhood.  Once again, the Lord told me HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME.  And he never has!!!  And the message inside the card "May God bless you this May...when the flowers are in bloom, when the blossoms on the hillsides fill the air with sweet perfume, when all the birds are singing, when the sun shines bright above...At Mother's Day and always God bless you and those who love."  What a sweet message ~ just asking God to bless me for me and for those who I love.  I felt so loved in that moment.  By God and by Ron as he held my hand tightly for quite a long time.

And after a couple of the special music selections it was time for the sermon.  Still not feeling too comfortable - guess waiting for "the perfect mom stories" to come.  But again, God is gracious and that was never shared from the pulpit.  The sermon was titled "The Three Foundational Supports for a Successful Family."  The scripture was again Philippians 1:9-12.   And the most important Foundational Support is that we are to love intentionally.  Boy did God speak to me.  You see the word that I have focused on this year is "intentional."    God knew that was the word I needed to be reminded of.  Being intentional.  Refocus on what is important for me this year, this month, this day (and we sang "This is the Day the Lord has Made"), and this moment is to be intentional in all I say and do.  Being intentional in my relationships ~ relationships with God and with my family and friends, intentional of choosing to do the right thing, in all my actions.  Being Intentional.

Thank you Lord for all the reminders today that how I am and what I do is important and that I need to be intentional in all I say and do.

And as the day continued on.  I am so blessed!  Phone calls from both of our sons and their families.  Hearing from each of my grandchildren, except for Treyson who just wants to eat the phone, is a special blessing.  Being totally focused on those phone calls and the conversations was so special.  Visiting with new friends over lunch, being specifically invited back to church next Sunday, being loved and spoiled on by my most special blessing in this world ~ my hubby who loves me more and more each day ~ he tells me that often.

I have so enjoyed this day ~ this Mother's Day.  I know that God healed more of the hurts from my past.  That He blessed me with lots of love from so many people and places.  And I know, Mother's Day & Father's Day will not hold me captive ever again!  Thank you Lord for a beautiful day!!!

And as always, please share your thoughts, questions, comments with me.  I love to hear from all my readers!!!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Beautiful Day

NOTE: This is being posted also at Alice's Restaurant ~ Dishing Up Food for Thought so I apologize if you have already read this.  If not, enjoy!!!

What a beautiful day the Lord gave us today!!!

I began my day having coffee and "chatting" with my friend Mary L.  Even though we are thousands of miles apart and have a two hour time difference we were able to have our coffee and chat for over an hour.  The internet is wonderful at times and today I am thankful for having it.  Looking forward to our next coffee time :)

Then I was able to Skype with Stacey L.  She had her coffee and I had mine.  We talked about our kids ~ the joys and frustrations, what we had planned for the day.  So fun to catch up with her.  Need to make sure to do that more often :)

And then Ron came home from some training time with K here at Branson View Campground.  I have more training tomorrow with C and we both have a little bit of training on Saturday afternoon before things are turned over to us late Saturday afternoon.  K & C are planning to leave early Sunday morning to start their new adventure traveling to North Dakota and starting a new job there.  We wish them a fun and exciting journey and are happy for them that they will be closer to family.

After catching up on a few things here in the motor home we decided it was play time.  First stop was the Grand Country to see if we could get tickets for New South: Gospel Show.  And we were successful.  The show starts at 3:00 and since it was noon time we decided to use our Applebees gift cards for lunch (thanks Brandon, Danalyn & boys for the gift).  We then walked around an antique/craft mall.  From the outside it does not look very big but let me tell you it is huge.  We walked around for almost 2 hours in there.  And we gathered lots of ideas for birthday & Christmas gifts.  We will definitely be going back there.

And then it was off to the New South Gospel Show.  What a blessing: old hymns were sung, choruses that we had never heard, sharing of the gospel by the performers and ending with an old fashioned sing along (think Gaither Family show).  It was a great show and we were truly blessed and the best blessing of all it was Free!!!  Ron & I have been gifted with season passes for all the shows at Grand Country.  By being able to attend the shows we can recommend them to our guests at Branson View Campground.  Works for all of us.  And tomorrow we are going to the Morning Show at Grand Country :)

After enjoying the show we went across the street to Outback Steakhouse & Oyster Bar  for their half price appetizers.  What a fun restaurant (not connected to the Outback Steakhouse chain).  Ron started with a Black & Tan beer and I had a Koala Kicker ~ yummy!!!  We then had cheesy potato skins and BBQ wings w/celery and ranch dressing and again we were not disappointed.  We had three different waiters and were they delightful to chat with.  While paying our bill, Vince came by our table and gave us discount cards to use for future visits.  They like to give those cards to the locals and since we will be living/working here we get them!!  Another blessing from the Lord!!

We then returned home with full tummy's and happy hearts!!!  Thank you Lord for your many blessings!!

A Beautiful Day!!

NOTE: This is also being posted in The Wandering Workentins so I apologize if you have already read this.  If not, enjoy!!!

What a beautiful day the Lord gave us today!!!

I began my day having coffee and "chatting" with my friend Mary L.  Even though we are thousands of miles apart and have a two hour time difference we were able to have our coffee and chat for over an hour.  The internet is wonderful at times and today I am thankful for having it.  Looking forward to our next coffee time :)

Then I was able to Skype with Stacey L.  She had her coffee and I had mine.  We talked about our kids ~ the joys and frustrations, what we had planned for the day.  So fun to catch up with her.  Need to make sure to do that more often :)

And then Ron came home from some training time with K here at Branson View Campground.  I have more training tomorrow with C and we both have a little bit of training on Saturday afternoon before things are turned over to us late Saturday afternoon.  K & C are planning to leave early Sunday morning to start their new adventure traveling to North Dakota and starting a new job there.  We wish them a fun and exciting journey and are happy for them that they will be closer to family.

After catching up on a few things here in the motor home we decided it was play time.  First stop was the Grand Country to see if we could get tickets for New South: Gospel Show.  And we were successful.  The show starts at 3:00 and since it was noon time we decided to use our Applebees gift cards for lunch (thanks Brandon, Danalyn & boys for the gift).  We then walked around an antique/craft mall.  From the outside it does not look very big but let me tell you it is huge.  We walked around for almost 2 hours in there.  And we gathered lots of ideas for birthday & Christmas gifts.  We will definitely be going back there.

And then it was off to the New South Gospel Show.  What a blessing: old hymns were sung, choruses that we had never heard, sharing of the gospel by the performers and ending with an old fashioned sing along (think Gaither Family show).  It was a great show and we were truly blessed and the best blessing of all it was Free!!!  Ron & I have been gifted with season passes for all the shows at Grand Country.  By being able to attend the shows we can recommend them to our guests at Branson View Campground.  Works for all of us.  And tomorrow we are going to the Morning Show at Grand Country :)

After enjoying the show we went across the street to Outback Steakhouse & Oyster Bar  for their half price appetizers.  What a fun restaurant (not connected to the Outback Steakhouse chain).  Ron started with a Black & Tan beer and I had a Koala Kicker ~ yummy!!!  We then had cheesy potato skins and BBQ wings w/celery and ranch dressing and again we were not disappointed.  We had three different waiters and were they delightful to chat with.  While paying our bill, Vince came by our table and gave us discount cards to use for future visits.  They like to give those cards to the locals and since we will be living/working here we get them!!  Another blessing from the Lord!!

We then returned home with full tummy's and happy hearts!!!  Thank you Lord for your many blessings!!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reality

Today has been a very mixed up kinda day ~ like riding a roller coaster that is constantly going up/down and all around.  I was so wrapped up in my own stuff today ~ trying to focus on God's plan, God's will and not doing a very good job.

Had a very unsettling phone calls with the Texas Workforce office (Unemployment Agency).  But we are keeping on, moving one foot in front of the other.  Following the rules and procedures though feeling pretty bummed about how things have turned out so far in that area.  Then I saw a posting on Facebook about a family in Whatcom County. 

And this is how I responded:   

Please pray for Jason & Rhonda H. Their 19 day old baby girl, Esther has been fighting for her life since she was born. They just received word that the internal bleeding cannot be stopped and that she will be going home to Jesus' arms in a very short little while. Having lost a baby many years ago, this pain is the hardest that a momma & daddy have to go through.
And hearing this and thinking about this family makes my needs seem so piddly.

Thank you for praying.
And then thought/prayed ~ Lord forgive me for being centered on myself today when a couple are hurting so bad as their baby girl struggles.  Please comfort them each as they face the difficulties that are coming their way.  May they feel Your comfort and love surround them as they love and care for their little girl.  Amen

When someone is going through so much more difficult times than I am it puts everything into perspective. 

Thank you Lord for this reality check in my life today.  The problems I have are nothing compared to the pain/heartache that Jason & Rhonda are going through right now.  I know, because Ron and I walked that same road almost 35 years ago.  And it is a journey no parent should ever have to go through.

In closing I ask if you are a praying person, please pray for God's comfort to surround Jason, Rhonda, baby Esther and all their extended family.  Thank you.

Sitting Here

This morning as I sit at my laptop working on weekly reports and thinking about finishing up our daily logs for this week,  my heart ache...