Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

timeshare presentation – waste of time?

Time shares

We are very familiar with time shares.  My in-law’s owned five.   We have enjoyed using their time shares over the years.

So when we found out that our trip included a time share presentation, we knew what to expect.

Upon checking into the hotel we were informed to allow two hours for this meeting.   We both looked at each other and smiled.  Two hours, really?  That would be nice as then we would have more ocean beach time.  However, we knew that it would be much longer than that.  Why can’t they just be honest?  sigh

From the moment we encountered our tour guide, I knew that this was no coincidence.  This was a divine appointment.

First thing we did was tell Yolanda that our mother had a time share in Florida that was ours if we wanted to take over the maintenance fees.  We didn’t  want to.   She would try to get us through this process as quickly as possible.  After all, the ocean was calling us.   From that point on the conversation shifted, but first we had to sit through an hour of group discussion and lunch.  While I think that this part of it could be illuminated, it did allow for chit-chat with our guide.

Even before Yolanda knew we were ministers, she began to share the trials she was going through.  A listening, caring ear was all it took for her to open up.   She would share burden after burden.   Right before our eyes we could see her countenance change as we encouraged her in the Lord.  Renewed hope is a powerful thing.   Before being handed off to the next guy in the time share scheme, we were able to pray with her.   All three of us recognized this as a God ordained encounter.    What a hug from God!

Yolanda did fulfill her job requirements.  We did take a tour of the facility.  Turns out the very one they were wanting us to buy into was Vacation Village in Orlando.  Our mom has a unit there that she has been trying to unload.    We have stayed at that very  unit.     We would still need to sit through two more sales pitches after Yolanda.  Even though my husband would tell them that unless it is free we were not interested, they would still push their agenda.

FYI – if you are interested in a time share —  my mother-in-law has one she will give to you just for taking over the maintenance fees.  Or if you are at a presentation and interested in buying –  hold out for the final pitch.    It just amazes me how it goes from $28,000 to $3,000.  For us, the yearly maintenance fees and the RCI fees to exchange are more than we want to pay for a week of vacation.

For us, we knew what to expect.  It took longer than the two hours we were told.  We also knew that God had an agenda that was greater than the time share corporation.    That presentation was not wasted time but kingdom time.

Yolanda – God loves you!!

til next time

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April 12, 2014 Posted by | ministry, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

one month later

saying 2

It dawned on me today that it has been one month since I quit my second job.

In  my first week a dear, precious friend of mine went to be with Jesus.  That week was filled with preparations.    Note to self, make the time to run through the song on the organ before the funeral.  There were three keys that did not work that I needed.

That first week and a half was hard.  I didn’t anticipate just how difficult the re-entry would be.  I also did not expect all the demands that would come my way.    Thankful for a dear friend who helped it make sense to me.

Certainly it has not gone according to my original plan.  Yet it has gone according to my plan.  You see, whatever God’s will is for my life is what I choose  (that becomes my plan) and I know that nothing happens without going through Him.  Therefore God has allowed the circumstances for reasons I sure do not understand, but in acceptance lieth peace.

In acceptance lieth peace.  Peace = calm and quiet or the absence of war and strife.  So in acceptance lieth a calm and quiet heart or a heart without war or strife.

Acceptance is not the same as approval. It is the recognition that God is in control and I can trust Him to work all things out for my good and I don’t have to allow frustration, strife, or stress to take over.  All of this is extremely important for me as I deal with the issues that keep coming at me.  

God offers me  peace that goes way beyond my understanding.   A calmness washes over me when I quit struggling to make sense of it all.  Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense, but God is not taken by surprise nor is He on vacation. 

It is what it is and God has it under control.

Vacation came a week after the funeral.

The plan was to spend only two days with family.  The rest of the time was scheduled for much-needed rest and relaxation for both of us.

Again, things did not go as originally planned.

My mom fell on Tuesday.  She was playing kick ball unsupervised with a small child, at the memory unit where she is living.  She fractured her pelvic and was at the ER.

We were closest.  We spent the rest of our vacation going to see mom.  Seeing your mother in such needless extreme pain  was emotionally draining.

This time it took me a bit longer to get to the ‘in acceptance lieth peace’ frame of mind.   Praise God He is an ever-present help in trouble.   (Psalm 46:1)

Later others have said to me that it was good that we were on vacation because we were there and didn’t have to figure out how to get there.  (Hmmm, sounds kind of like Spring Break.)

What they don’t understand is that we would have figured it out.  However, we won’t figure out how to plan another vacation of rest and relaxation this year.  Yes, it took me awhile to get to the acceptance part this time.

It has been quite a first month.

A few things I have dealt with this past month.

pray

Grateful for those who are there giving me encouragement and support and learning how to accept those who aren’t.

With Christ I am stronger than I ever imagined.  When I reached the point where I thought, “God help the next person who asks something of me,”  and yet had God’s strength to carry on and give even more.  Praise God for the power of the anointing!

Guard against being offended.    (Psalm 119:165)  Really?  This again?

Jealousy will change a relationship.  Still haven’t figured out how to fix this.  All I can say is that I would gladly let someone follow me for a week  and then maybe they wouldn’t be  jealous.   Ministry is work.  Work that I love but it comes at a price that many are not willing to pay or even realize there is a price involved.   Yet they  want the ‘glamour’.   Jealousy, you are a wicked companion.

Doctors, social workers, nurses, administrators, policies, and decisions as to what to do next with my mother.  At one point the doctor gave me the option of hospice.  He thought a week.   She was dehydrated.  Therefore her kidneys were failing, oxygen low and she was in extreme pain from the fracture.   Yesterday she was released from the hospital to a nursing home for rehab.  This roller coaster continues…..

One month — what a month.

I look forward with great anticipation to what God has in store.  Getting to this point came with a high price tag but that just makes me know that it was worth it and the best is yet to come!

Proverbs 31:25 (NASB)

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

til next time

August 31, 2013 Posted by | dementia, living in a fish bowl, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

perspective

Sometimes you just need a little perspective.

When you look at this picture what do you see?  The Jolly Green Giant of course.  He is huge!  How huge?  Well, his smile is 48 inches wide.  Now that is a smile!

If you look closely, you can see me standing underneath the jolly green giant.  I am as tall as his boot.

Perspective.

It is hard to see me because I just kind of blend in with the trees in the background.  Yet I am there.

Perspective.

Sometimes I think we  are too busy focusing on the thing that is looming in front of us that we miss what else is going on.

Recently we spent a day at the Grand Canyon.

I remember thinking how vast it was,  how small I felt compared to the enormity of the canyon, and how great is God’s love for me.

Perspective.

Yesterday we spent the day with my mom.  She is battling dementia.  Battling dementia now that is an oxymoron.   How did that phrase ever get coined?  She isn’t battling it at all.  I am battling it.  She is going with the flow.  She is focused on the here and now.  I am wanting my momma back.

Perspective.

There were times during our outing that the ‘old’ momma came out.  Dementia may be stripping her of her memory but her personality is still there.  She is still spunky.  She still breaks out into song.  She still wants people to laugh!  She still cares about people.

Yet her illness makes me feel so small.

Perspective.

I don’t want to spend another day distracted by the demands of life.

Perspective.

I am grateful that God gives grace for each new day and that my joy is not dependent upon outward circumstances but an inward relationship with Him.  “This is the day the Lord has made, I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 my paraphrase)

Perspective.

Yes, sometimes I need a little perspective.  Thank you God for the reminder that in everything I face, You are with me.  When life comes at me fast, You are an ever present help.  When I feel small, You are right there holding my hand.

Perspective.

til next time

September 15, 2012 Posted by | dementia, just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

the rest of the story

The conclusion – or as Paul Harvey used to say –“the rest of the story.”

After taking a few more stops to admire the beauty of the Grand Canyon, we found ourselves on a road appearing to go nowhere and certainly the one less traveled.

It was truly the open road with plenty of solitude.

We had over 400 miles to travel if we were to make it to Steve’s.

We would go for miles and miles and miles without seeing life of any kind.

The roads were very nice – great motorcycle roads but desolate and barren described the land.  There was no shade – probably because no trees could grow there, just plenty of  sun beating down and bouncing off the pavement.  The temperature was rising.  Later we would find out that it got up to 115 degrees.

In Iowa we have deer crossing signs, but here they have Cow crossing signs.

Sure enough there were cows along the edge of the road.

It was only after we had gotten almost to Colorado that we realized that cell phone reception was non-existence in much of that area.   I am sure glad that God is who we depend on and nothing stops that connection.

Another thing we like to do is find unusual places to eat.  This was by far the strangest pizza we had on our trip.  It was fantastic.  Only draw back was the restaurant was big on fresh air, open windows and walls (yes walls) and what we wanted was air conditioning.  It had been a hot ride on the bike!

Finally we cross into Colorado.  The scenery begins to change and we are almost to Steve’s house.

When we arrive we were treated to the best Lobster I have ever eaten.    If that wasn’t enough, Jozie also fixed bacon wrapped filet mignon.  What a feast!  It was great to meet Jozie and Olivia. It had been 25 years since the guys had seen each other.  It was a wonderful reunion! 

The next  morning was our 26th anniversary.  It was also the day we went through the mountains!  We were very grateful that the clutch had been repaired back in Oklahoma.  The bike was made to travel and it took the mountains like they were just baby hills.

Absolutely gorgeous!!!  Surrounded by beauty!!!  What an experience!!

Nebraska — getting closer to home.  We were certainly glad that we did not need gas when we stopped at that station.

Ole’s Big game steak house was well worth the stop.  The food was great and the big game was impressive. 

We also stopped to check out the Pony Express.  Yes this trip was also educational.  After all, I am married to a teacher.

Speaking of educational, this place was a wealth of information.  We live on the Lincoln Highway but it took a trip through Nebraska to learn about the history of that highway.  We could have used more time here.  There was so much to see.

We are almost home.  It has been 10 days, over 3,400 miles on 2 wheels.  We had days that were filled with wonder and beauty.  We had days that were a matter of endurance training.  I learned a lot about myself and drew closer to the one who loves me most.   There is just something about being up close and personal to nature that cultivates an awareness of  God’s presence.     Truly it was a trip of a life time.

As we were pulling into our town I told Curt that I just needed a shower and a night in my own bed and then I would be ready to go again.

I was born to ride.

For part 3 – Grand Canyon – click here

“and now you know the rest of the story.”  Paul Harvey

til next time

September 11, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Grand Canyon – living the dream

2 wheels – just God, Curt and me— cruising down the highway — ltd!

Finally we have arrived.  We are less than 20 minutes away from the Grand Canyon.   We are both excited and relieved.   The reality has started to set in.  We really are here. In the morning we will see the Grand Canyon.

We have battled wind, extreme heat, torrential rain, sickness, and yet witnessed first hand God’s deliverance and protection.  There has been mile after mile of beauty, peace, and inspiration.  Truly we are living the dream!

(For Part 2 click here)

One of the things Curt would do every night  is wipe down the bike and look things over.  That night he happened to notice that there was more leakage around our final drive.  This concerned him so he felt he better check the level.  As it turned out he did not have the right tool.   He checked at the local gas station, the maintenance department at the hotel, and with other bikers.  No tool to be found.  No garage to be found.  Now what?

We are 20 minutes away…………… now what?

However, someone told him that there happened to be  a garage right in the Grand Canyon that would work on vehicles.  So we jump on the bike and head to the Grand Canyon.  First stop will be the garage.  He kind of – sort of knows the general direction of the garage.  It soon becomes evident that there are roads going here, there, and everywhere.  It is a huge place.

He decided to pull in and ask directions at the next building we see.  As he is turning into the parking lot I point out the small sign on the back of the building.  GARAGE.  We just happened to drive right to it.  What a way to start our morning.  (Oh and I am a firm believer that things don’t just happen; God is in control and He makes a way.)

It was a very good thing that we had it checked.  The bike was very very low on fluid.  They filled us up and sent us on our way.  How much did that cost us?  Nothing but a hand shake and  a “have a great trip” comment.

Finally, the moment we had been anticipating.

It is breathtaking.   It is all I thought it would be and so much more.

I don’t know what the North Rim is like but I can highly recommend the South Rim.

I bought a picture to frame because I knew my camera just wouldn’t capture the true beauty.  However, my camera does show that we were there 🙂

Absolutely awestruck at the magnitude and beauty of it all.  Much of the trail along the rim is paved.  We did go on some that were a bit more ‘natural’.

There is also a shuttle bus that will take you to points of interest where you can look and then get back on the bus or take the trail to the next point.

We also did go under the Rim. <– You can see the trail.

They warn you to be careful and to remember that going down is much easier than going back up.

Yes, it was everything and more!!  Truly exceeded my expectations!

It was kind of scary as the trail wasn’t as wide –  making the drop offs that much closer.

What a fantastic day we had.  Going under the Rim was the last thing we did.  Probably a good thing because otherwise I would have been tempted to go farther than we did.  As it was, we easily made it back up.

We  took the shuttle bus from the Bright Angel trail back to our bike.  On the way the driver noticed this fella.

On our trip we saw all kinds of wild life – some of it was very up close and personal.  Truly this was not Iowa.

The next morning we took off for Colorado.  I didn’t realize that we would have many opportunities to see the Canyon again as we drove out.

What a wonderful unexpected blessing from God that we were able to enjoy the Grand Canyon that next morning as we began our journey home.

We had over 440 miles to go on this day if we were going to be able to spend the night visiting with a dear ‘old’ friend – who served along side Curt in the Marines.  I knew he really really wanted to get there.  Neither of us realized just how barren Arizona and Utah were going to be.   Not to mention that the temperature was rising!

(the conclusion of our trip will be the next blog)

til next time

September 7, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

living the dream

2 wheels and plenty of highway…….. living the dream……….

Part 2 – click here for Part 1

I thought the wind in Oklahoma was bad but it continued on into Texas.  Day four of a ten-day motorcycle trip finds us on the road by sunrise.  It was a beautiful Sunday morning.  The plan was to stop around 10:30 or so and locate a church.    However, by 8:00 the wind had picked up and was in full force.   I guess that is because there was nothing to stop it.

By 8:45 I am done.   The wind is so loud that I have to yell at Curt to take the next exit.    We pull into a gas station and I inform him that I am done.  I can’t do it anymore.  By this point the tears are flowing and I am angry.   The wind has beaten me.

The original plan was to buy t-shirts at the Grand Canyon.  Well, I was sure we had gone as far as we were going to go so I picked out Texas t-shirts.  After about 10 minutes Curt tells me that there just happens to be a chapel service starting in 5 minutes and we should go.  Sure I would go because I am NOT getting back on that bike!

I must have missed the first 15 minutes.  I was still pretty upset and determined that I was done.  Eventually I began to hear what he was saying.  He preached for 45 more minutes on the Grace of God.   He touched on every avenue of grace.  By the time he was done I was ready to get back on the bike.  Had the wind stopped?  No!  Did my head stop whipping from side to side?  No!  What had happened was that I accepted God’s grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9  “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Texas was a turning point for me.   I can’t quite put into words what it meant to get back on that bike.  Then came New Mexico.  With a new attitude and one more state behind us things were looking up.

Here I am.  I have figured out how to battle the wind and the sun.  When the sun got to beating down on me too much my long sleeved light weight shirt came in handy.  I do kind of look like I could be about to rob a gas station but then you see the tiny flowers on the shirt.  LOL

We had great weather and clearly this was not Iowa anymore…………………………And then………..

the RAIN   Not just any rain.  We thought we were going to miss it.  We saw it raining and lightning  on both sides of us but  straight ahead was clear.  Then the road turned.   (sigh)

It wasn’t just any rain.  It was a downpour.  We just happened to be coming into a town when it let loose.  It came down so hard that the street flooded.   Drenched rat comes to mind.  Yes that is Curt  wringing water out of his shirt.

Finally, it let up enough for us to venture back out in it.  We got rained on a couple more times but nothing to compare to the  street flooding, torrential rain storm of earlier.

However, that evening found Curt running a temperature.   I don’t know if it was something he ate, or the fact that he had been drenched and then chilled earlier that evening, or maybe it was because this was the night to do laundry but he was sick.     He went to bed and I prayed quite a bit.  He needed to be better in the morning as I could not possibly drive that big machine.  Would we be stuck in New Mexico?

Sometime in the night I happened to notice his fever had broken.

It became evident to us that there were forces that were trying to destroy our trip but, in each and every situation God made His presence so obvious.   People were praying for us and we could see the results of those prayers.  With God there is no problem too small or too great.  No matter what we encountered, God was there making a way through it.

The next day we reached Arizona.  We  most definitely did a victory dance!
We were one day away from the Grand Canyon!!

to be continued

til next time

by the way, things don’t just happen –– God is always working things out.

September 3, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 wheels and plenty of highway

10 days, 2 wheels, over 3,400 miles of wonder, beauty, challenges……

Much of the time it was wide open spaces, my husband, God and me. What a perfect combination!

Since we actually had a destination  – maps were helpful.

Curt likes maps.  This made for  free  souvenirs for him at the visitor centers.   Speaking of souvenirs, that is a draw back to taking the bike. Space is limited.

However, I still managed to bring a few things home.  Of course it helped that I threw away a pair of shoes that I had packed.   I needed the space.

We love ‘mom and pop’ motels.  Having been on the bike for quite a bit of the day we would find a quaint motel and then walk to supper.

As long as there was a/c, clean rooms , wi/fi, and hot water it was all good.

Everywhere we went it was the same story.  Very dry!  Green grass?  Not much –  if any.  Rivers were very low.

We did enjoy plenty of opportunities to travel on Route 66.  Here we are driving along side it.  Why we would go 45 maybe 55 when we could go 75 less than 50 yards away?

We were blessed to see some old friends as we passed through Oklahoma.

Due to the heat, we would get up early and be on the road close to sunrise.   The heat and wind would pick up as the day went on.  Hot took on a whole new meaning.

Day 3 –  found us in Oklahoma going up a hill when we lost power.  There just ‘happened‘ to be this extra cement slab on the other side of the shoulder.  We were able to get clearly out of harms way.  Good thing as it was a busy highway.

What to do while we wait for the tow truck?  Pull out our Louis L’Amour books.  Oh look there is even a place for us to sit.

There is an unwritten motorcycle code that states that it is just not acceptable to be on your bike and not stop if another biker is stranded.   That code is alive and well in Oklahoma. 

However, we had no clue what was wrong and so we called AAA.  One of the bikers told us that there was a Yamaha dealership at the exit we had just passed.   Hmmm, coincidence?

It is a busy Saturday morning yet the Yamaha dealership  just happened to agree to work on our bike as soon as the truck got it there.  HappenedCoincidenceNo, it was  God who was so all over this.

The problem was our fuel pump had went out.   The dealership didn’t have a fuel pump for our older model Yamaha.  They could have ordered one, maybe it would be in on Tuesday or Wednesday.  This was after all late Saturday morning.   Ah but what they did have was a fantastic mechanic that was able to do  some ‘southern engineering’ and modify a fuel pump they  had on hand.  (They gave us their business card so that the next time someone works on our bike they can call and talk to them to find out just what they did.)

Then the mechanic took it for a test drive and  he noticed that our clutch was slipping.  We would have no trouble on flat land but he knew we were going up into the mountains, that would be a problem.  Yes we got that taken care of too.  The price?  Very reasonable.  I wish they were located around home.

Being stranded on that road, on that day was truly a blessing from God.  Later there would be plenty of wide open spaces where we didn’t see another car or building for miles and miles and where there wasn’t cell phone reception.  Arizona and Utah have a lot of desolate land.

We were back on the road by around 2:30.   By this time it was hot and windy.  “Oklahoma where the wind goes sweeping through the plains.”   True story!  I was very glad to get to Texas.

Little did I know then that Texas was going to prove to be a turning point.

The wind was brutal.   I have a face shield but not a full face helmet.  The wind would catch underneath and whip my head.  It wasn’t just a gust now and then but it was a wall of wind that just didn’t stop.  I made it that first day in Texas.

But……………..

to be continued

til next time

September 1, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments