Friday, August 26, 2022

The people we meet along the way...

We are convinced that these encounters on the road are not accidental but orchestrated by the Author of our faith and the One who has taken the wheel (ie Jesus take the Wheel...great song Carrie Underwood!)  We have earnestly prayed for opportunities to share the Lord with people on this journey.

These are two recent stories...

In Texas:  Liz, Aidan and I were out on a shopping trip and decided to stop in a little Mexican restaurant for lunch.  It had five stars and despite looking like a little shack on the edge of the road, we decided the reviews don't lie so we went in.

It was the kind of cafe where you place your order at the till and they bring it to you.  So we placed our order and sat down.  The cashier, Christine, brought us our drinks and struck up a conversation.  I shared where we were from and that we were on an extended RV adventure.  She opened up and basically shared that she was a single mom of three kids, aged 15 (youngest) up to adult.  The oldest has just gone off to the army and she took the job at the cafe to help keep her mind off the fact that she was missing him.  Her youngest is a girl and she shared her battle with raising her.  It opened up the conversation for us to share the Lord with her and we told her to stay strong, stay the course, not to give up, and that we would pray for her and her family.  It felt wonderful to share the goodness of the Lord with her.  We know that she is not alone and He watches over her and she had some measure of faith already (based on her response). We are very thankful for the opportunity to sow some seeds that we can continue watering with prayer.

In Alabama:  Yesterday was a four state drive.  We left Tennessee from one campsite headed towards our current destination, also in Tennessee.  The highway took us from Tennessee, to Mississippi through Alabama, then we touched down in Georgia for a hot minute, and back into Tennessee (not necessarily in the correct order as I'm not looking at the map).  I actually had to look up which state we had lunch in.  Turns out it was at a Cracker Barrel in Madison, Alabama.

I just want to say that the Cracker Barrel billboards work.  We saw the cheesecake stuffed pancakes up on the billboard and knew that it had to happen one day.  During this trip, we have tried In and Out Burgers, Chic-Fil-A, and now today it was Cracker Barrell for those amazing looking pancakes.

These are as good as they look.  Cheesecake stuffed pancakes.

The front of the store is lined with these irresistible rocking chairs.

Delicious brunch.

Our server Sharon was a lovely and hospitable lady who when she took our order, asked if she should bring out Aidan's drink with his meal.  Liz and Aidan had gone to the washroom so I said "yes please! You must be a mom".  Only a mom would KNOW that a kid is going to drink all the juice first and then not eat his meal.

Her reply took my breath away.  She said "I had one child, a son.  He was murdered when he was six years old.  Drowned."  Of course, I gasped, covered my mouth as you would at hearing this shocking news and then immediately told her how sorry I was.  She told us he her was her only child.  I'm still reeling at the hearing of her story. Part of me was mad at myself for making this flippant comment.  But how could I know her story? God must have known we needed to hear it.  We prayed for her after she left our table and will be continuing to do so.  Such a tragic story.  When she returned I said, "Thank you for sharing your story with us.  I can't imagine how horrible that must have been for you.  We will be praying for you."  She sent us off with a God Bless You.

And with that we set off for Tennessee to our next camping spot.  The cheesecake pancakes were awesome and the experience unforgettable, both for the food experience and also for hearing of this sweet lady's tragedy.

Colossians 3:12
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Oh Memphis!

So wow!  What a day.

Yesterday we had just about enough of the Thousand Trails Cherokee Landing campsite.  While the vegetation was gorgeous, and the pool the largest we have experienced so far, the campground was very neglected.  The "comfort centre" wasn't fit for a dog let alone a human.  It is obvious that this is not one of the Thousand Trails that has had an injection of capital. Compared to Verde Valley in Arizona (10/10), this was a 0/10. Our campsite was a pull-through but it sloped downhill right outside the front door of Harriet.  So we couldn't set up any tables or chairs or sit outside and we had to watch our footing all the time.

So, we made a decision to leave early for the next campsite, also in Tennessee, which meant we needed to experience Memphis today.  And did we ever!

We knew we wanted to hear some live music but weren't sure if there would be a venue that Aidan could also come into.  We were thrilled to find B.B. Kings Blues Club right on Beale Street in Memphis.  We had experienced the BB King Blues Club at Sea on our Alaska Cruise and had loved it.  And this one had a kids menu!  They had two shows, one at 2:00 pm and the other at 4:30.  The one at 2:00 was a solo act and a trio was scheduled at 4:30.  We thought we would park and wander Beale Street and eventually end up at BB Kings.

We were surprised that the city was basically asleep at noon.  Then Tony reminded us that musicians don't get up until noon LOL.  I'm sure Beale Street comes alive at night. So we had no problem parking, only encountered one questionable character (who seemed high) that we managed to avoid, and then made our way to Beale Street.

There were many photo opportunities.

The Peabody Memphis is a historic luxury hotel in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee, opened in 1925. The hotel is known for the "Peabody Ducks" that live on the hotel rooftop and make daily treks to the lobby. The Peabody is a member of Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Hard Rock Cafe.  Photo op only.  We didn't go in.

It was hot and muggy so we decided to go to BB Kings at about 2:15 and see if we could sit through both shows.  They happily obliged.

The first act was Memphis Jones.  He reminded me of the Memphis version of our own Jeff Stevenson from Brentwood Bay. A very versatile musician/singer with lots of stories interwoven, we loved his act.  We found out during his stories, that he is a senior Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Memphis.  He ministered to the crowd throughout his set. When he was promoted to Senior Pastor he was going to quit his side musical gigs, but the Church encouraged him to stay because of the ministry opportunity. Very cool.

We had a front row seat, and Aidan couldn't hide his enthusiasm for the music.  Thankfully there was a dance floor for him to get expressive on and it was the best place ever for a boy who loved music and needs to move to express it.  He was the life of the party and Memphis Jones even called out a blessing for him.  It was actually precious.  Aidan happily transported the donations to the bucket on stage and soon others enjoying the show asked Aidan to give their money as well.  This kid was in his element.

Memphis Jones

Next up was the Trio (actually a quartet)

Front row seat

Memphis Jones said to Liz "I take credit for him falling asleep at 6 p.m. tonight".  Ha ha..

This kid was moving! There was a whole lot o' shakin' goin' on.  It's not something any of us will forget any time soon.  And the BBQd chicken dinner was superb too. 

Then we headed back to the campsite and began packing up for tomorrow's departure.


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Texarkana and Arkadelphia? really? who named these towns?  We thought they were quite comical and I promise you (that's something the "southern" people say) that these are actually on the map.

It was also quite entertaining to hear other customers talking in the gas station once we crossed from Texas to Arkansas.  I felt like I might just be in a John Grisham novel. The accents are very thick, but I guess it's actually us that have the accents now.  Anyway, it was entertaining to the say the least.  We in the south now!

We spent just one night in Arkansas at the Little Rock KOA.  I really want to give a shout out to KOA.  They have been always clean, friendly, and very welcoming.  They escort you right to your site and the majority of them actually come and pick up garbage every morning.  You just need to leave your full garbage bag at the end of your site and they will collect it.

On the one night stays we usually don't end up hooking up the sewer or unhooking the trailer from the truck.  It makes for an easier and earlier getaway in the morning.  We are getting it down to a science now.  Liz and I  prepare the inside cabin before the slides come in.  Liz and Tony and I all take care of the outside.  It takes us about an hour to be ready to hit the road.

We are not going to "Texarkana" nor "Arkadelphia" but are glad we left Fort Worth when we did.  There was a massive rainstorm which would have been treacherous to drive through.  So we are very grateful that we missed it.  We have been blessed with missing the bad weather storms.

I decided to work on my hexies in the car.  It was really too bumpy and I did prick myself with a needle multiple times before I decided that a better activity might be to remove the papers that could be removed (because their borders were totally encased).

Next up is Tennessee!! And we will be so happy to finally get there.  Our church, Jacob's Tent, is there and we have been longing to visit them for a very long time ever since we found them online.  And we will be celebrating the fall Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) with our Jacob's Tent family.

We have a lot to be thankful for!

See you in Tennessee y'all!


Saturday, August 20, 2022

RV Quilting

Before we headed out on our RV adventure I prepared two "quilt kits" from my stash before putting the rest of my sewing room (pared down sewing room that is) in storage.  By kit I mean I pre-cut all the pieces so that they would be ready to sew when I had the time (between camping stops).  They are illustrated here on my Work in Progress page

at the bottom of the page.  Note:  I also brought my hexie project but the two Kathryn Kerr quilt UFOs are in storage for when we return.

Well, today I pulled out the Boxy Stars and finished the quilt top.  It wasn't without a few confusing moments.  I did two blocks before we moved.  I did them to 'test' the fabrics and then put them away safe in a container for the RV.

I worked on them in Arizona for a bit and yes I did have the pattern instructions with me.  It wasn't until today when I was finished putting the blocks together and was in pressing mode I noticed that two of these things are not like the others.  I thought I had made two booboos.


In fact I made 46 booboos.  It takes a special kind of talent to do that, I'm tellin' ya.

So with all the corners trimmed off already, these were set in stone and it was now time for a happy accident outcome.  At least I was hoping it would be a happy accident.

This isn't how I expected this quilt to turn out.  I really wanted to create the star formation (top left corner are the two 'good' blocks) but is what it is.  It's a humility quilt and I am reminded that only God is perfect.

I won't be putting a border on it.  I don't have backing or batting but once we land somewhere long enough to acquire some, I will like quilt it on my Janome with a simple stitch in the ditch, bind it and gift it to whoever the Lord reveals it is for.

It's not a bad thing to work on one project at a time.  Who da thunk?

Tomorrow is a travel day so I finished it, packed it away and will be ready to roll out in the morning.

See you at our next destination!


Human Doing to Human Being...

Ok.  So let's get real and vulnerable for a moment.  If Brene Brown can be vulnerable so can I.

For a LOT of the last few decades I have felt more like a human DOING  than a human BEING.  I have worked almost non stop since I was 17.  I even had to go back to high school for my grad as I finished early when I landed my first job (yes at 17!) at a law firm.  I was an entry level legal secretary and worked for a man who was about 60 when I started.  He told me I had a head like a rock garden, whereupon I soon learned to take notes when he gave me instructions. Ouch!  OK. So I'm a bit of a scatterbrain. Acknowledged. 

The fear of being in his presence didn't beat me.  I learned and eventually (decades later) was a pretty darn good paralegal.  

Life lesson:  Don't get hurt by those criticisms.  Use them as a springboard to do better, to improve your game!

I worked all of my adult life even when I was 9 months pregnant and ready to deliver.  Even when I had nursing babes, toddlers and school age children.  I had a Mennonite work ethic and was darn proud of it.  

Gosh!  I even worked when I broke my foot!

Business Manager (at home) for Island Christian Info/Sunday Magazine

Paralegal job.  Loved my work!  But my body shut down and I had to take early retirement.

Admirable?  Sure....BUT that's all I, work, work.  My answer to harder.  My therapist told me during counselling for said burnout that I didn't present like typical depression cases.  I was more like Drs whose answer is to work harder, not to rest.  Nailed it.  That was me.

You'd think after a year of therapy and tons of prayer that that would have solved my problem, but nope!  My default mode is 'working'.  When someone doesn't carry their weight, I pick up their load as well, not even aware that I'm being a rescue ranger, or as I called it the 'chief enabler of the universe'. 

Well this year I did something incredibly brave.  I stopped.  I mean I REALLY stopped.  I could see it happening again, not with legal work but with my  quilting business.  I loved it but it all got to be too much.  Too many quilts, too many finished quilts piling up. Stop the train!!  Can't you just see me pulling that string to alert the train engineer?

After about 7 months of family discussions, planning sessions, and prayer and surrender, we decided to sell our home and take a time out.  As mentioned in previous posts and on my long arm quilting page of this site, I'm on a sabbatical.  We purchased an RV and are travelling North America.  Me, hubby, daughter and grandson.  Hubby has advanced Parkinson's and we don't really have any idea how long he will be with us, so the time is now.

Going from what felt like a million miles an hour to full stop was a hard transition.  On our travel days I am in the back seat of our truck with my grandson which affords me lots of 'staring out the window' contemplation time.  

And you know what I learned?  I don't do well idle.  I don't sit still well. (I kinda already knew that which is why doing patchwork soothes me.) Doing nothing (other than admiring the beauty of our scenery passing by) does not come naturally to me.  Who am I without the crutch of work upon which I had apparently built my identity? Who am I without quilting?  Good questions.

I'm a human BEING, that's who.  I wasn't designed to be a human DOING and I do not have any more worth because of it.  I am LOVED by the Father for who I AM, not what I DO.    It may take the whole trip to really grasp this and let it sink deep into my heart. But that's a start.

So this time out sabbatical for our family is a time of recalibration.  It's a time of soul-searching and seeking the Father and enjoying His goodness, provision and opportunities.  And I'm going for it.  Despite being uncomfortable at times, I know that He has provided this time out for our good.  He has led us, and provided for us, and covered us.  He has laid out a visual banquet of His creation for us to feast on.  We feel His guidance every day in every decision we make and it's a good thing.

To Him be the Glory!


Friday, August 19, 2022

Fort Worth, y'all!!

My daughter has a very precious friend in the outskirts of Fort Worth.  We decided we all needed a rest from the two back to back one-nighters in Albuquerque and Amarillo.  We chose a campsite close to her friend.  It's basically a trailer park with mostly full timers.  It doesn't feel like camping.  It feels like we are in a trailer park, including a domestic dispute that woke most of us up a few nights ago.  Thankfully we are just here for five nights and we are spending some quality time (not packing up) just catching up on rest, enduring high temps, some social time with Liz's friends who had us for dinner, some self-care (pedicures and a quilt shop stop), some sewing and blogging time for me and a bit of computer work online for a realtor friend (I'm his admin on an as needed basis).

There was a pretty bad thunderstorm/lighting and hard rain a few nights ago, but we saw a beautiful sunrise the next morning...storm over.  It's so interesting observing the weather on this journey.  I me a weirdo.  I just notice stuff is all.

Our pack up consists of:  clearing and stowing all the kitchen stuff, bringing in all the bucket chairs and storing them in our master bedroom, bringing in Aidan's bicycle and storing it in our master bedroom, stowing the living plants in the shower stall and pulling in the 'miscellaneous' bins into the bathroom.  Vacuum.  Pull in the three slides.  Outside:  We need to disconnect the water hose and stow it away, empty the gray and black tanks and stow the sewer hose away, unplug the very heavy electrical cord and stow it away.  Then Liz will back up the truck and go through all the necessary things to attach Harriet to Max the truck. Store the tire chalks and any levelling blocks (we call them lego blocks). From there she checks the tires with the torque wrench and then we are good to go.  It takes about an hour to go from living in the trailer to being ready to move on.  I have a basket that goes from the trailer to the truck with all the maps, the calendar and my note book.  Fill the cooler with cold drinks and it's WHEELS UP!!

We found a Costco in Fort Worth where we finally purchased some kitchen upgrades that we have been researching.  I truly thought an air fryer was a luxury/fad before our adventure.  What I didn't know when we were considering living full time in an RV is that the oven interior is only about 4" high.  This means no baking of bread and no roasting of chickens.  We have talked to a lot of 'neighbours' at different campgrounds who have all added to our 'field research'.  What we decided on was a Ninja Smart Air Fryer (two baskets) and a Ninja Air Crisper.  We want to make bread and we also want to make Pizza for our Erev Shabbat tradition.

Last night we had broccoli, rice and salmon.  We did the rice in the microwave but used the two baskets in the air fryer to cook the broccoli and the salmon.  It was delicious!  We have had a hard time finding our kitchen mojo since being on the road, but it's most likely because we've been using one burner and the microwave which can seriously dampen the cooking spirit.  We've had our share of fast food on the journey and we were all craving real food.   And last night we got it!

We roll out of here on Sunday morning and are heading to Tennessee.  We are all looking forward to that stop which will be six nights.  We are hoping to source out some great music while we are there.  Tony should enjoy that!  In fact, we all will!

Thanks for staying with us on this journey.


Monday, August 15, 2022


Texas is a HUGE state.  We had a long travel day from Albuquerque, NM  to Amarillo, TX for yet another one night stop (layover).

We arrived to heat over 100 degrees F  with Carrie Underwood singing "How Great Thou Art".  He truly is a great God.  We have been so amply provided for, covered and protected during this journey.

The drive into Texas wasn't all that scenic, and truthfully, this blogger had a catnap.  More blue skies, a good highway, and a pleasant stay at Amarillo KOA where the pool was close and the showers were clean.  We usually don't do a full hookup and opt to take showers in the campsite facilities if we are just overnight.  And that we did.  We wanted to get on the road early for Forth Worth which is a 6+ hour drive.

Howdy little partner!

One thing I love about KOAs is that their office usually has a general store.  Whether you need toilet paper, a new sewer hose, or some chilled beverages, they usually have it all!  We have yet to find one we didn't like. ***** for KOA Campgrounds!!

Off to Fort Worth next. Or at least close by.  Catch you deeper in the heart of Texas....y'all!


Sunday, August 14, 2022


New Mexico in a word was GORGEOUS!  All I knew of Albuquerque before the trip was hot air balloons...because their marketing works, obviously.

It was just a short one night stay (stopover) at the KOA in Albuquerque.  Of course there was a lovely pool to greet the warm and weary and we made a b-line for it, at least Papa, Grandma and Aidan did.  We let the driver have a little nap while we enjoyed the water.

"map boy" doing his thing

Curious old me wanted to know why these mountains (mesas) are flat.  Thank you National Geographic for the lesson of the day:

"A mesa is a flat-topped mountain or hill. It is a wide, flat, elevated landform with steep sides.

Mesa is a Spanish word that means table. Spanish explorers of the American southwest, where many mesas are found, used the word because the tops of mesas look like the tops of tables.

Mesas are formed by erosion, when water washes smaller and softer types of rocks away from the top of a hill. The strong, durable rock that remains on top of a mesa is called caprock. A mesa is usually wider than it is tall.

Mesas are usually found in dry regions where rock layers are horizontal."

It must be all of those flash floods!  We've had alarms going off daily through these dry places.  Liz and Aidan got stuck in one on their way home from Antelope Canyon.  They are serious and nothing to mess with.

I'm daily struck with the amazing variety of landscapes and weather, all on the same big piece of land called North America.  I'm truly amazed.

We have a sleeper!  And this means he will need tuckering out in order to go to bed at a decent hour.

And the pool will provide that opportunity!

Good night from Albuquerque!  Tomorrow...TEXAS!


Thursday, August 11, 2022

When in Arizona...

We crossed into Arizona today where we immediately noticed the price of diesel was significantly less.  I wish I could say we waited to fill up but we didn't  We filled up while still in California and regretted it a few miles down the road when we saw the price signs.  Oh well.

We stopped for some cool drinks en route to our next campsite at Verde Valley Thousand Trails.  This one tells it all...

It was a refreshing thing to sip on as we made our way to our next campsite.  We called ahead based on our last Thousand Trails experiences in Oregon.  We knew we wouldn't be arriving at noon so weren't sure what we were in for.  They called us back to confirm that they had given us a premier site and confirmed that it had 50 amp power and sewer.  That was a relief! No shark tank circling this time!

When we arrived, we were delighted  to see that this place is set in the high desert with spacious spots, that are big rig friendly, and easy to back into.  Liz especially was relieved at the ease of backing in.  The neighbour next to us (a full timer here) said " did a better job of backing that in than most men!".  She's pretty amazing alright!

It was a quick setup before Liz and Aidan got back in the truck and headed closer to Antelope Canyon for their adventure together.  After looking at the reviews of the tour, it was clear that 70+ steps, ladders, and a mile long hike might be a bit too much for Tony and me.  So we stayed back at camp and they went.  They stayed at a hotel close to the canyon so they would be ready for the 10 am tour departure.  And it gave her a rest from driving too much.  And having a bubble bath in a real tub wasn't a bad bonus either. These are some of her pictures.  Breathtaking, wouldn't you agree?

There is a pool here but it is a mile downhill which means a mile uphill on foot to get back to Harriet.  It looks beautiful online and maybe when they get back tomorrow we will give it a try.  But for now, we are content to enjoy the view, the sunsets and the quietness of this place.

View from my 'office'

Panoramic view outside our campsite

A very broody sky and sunset.  Gorgeous!

It's incredibly quiet here.  There is NO traffic noise.  None.  The only thing I heard while outside was the sound of the air conditioners and the odd dog barking.

And pool time before we headed off for our next destination!

I'm glad we will be here for Shabbat before continuing our journey on Sunday.  We will enjoy our sabbath rest in this beautiful place.  Stay tuned!