Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Randomness

Thought you might enjoy a little more photography and a little less verbiage.

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Thank you for following us,

Jenni and Ken

Friday, September 27, 2013

Juggle and Dance

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For Sale: Older family home on the outskirts of Beaumont. This is a must see and will not stay on the market long.

DSC09995Years ago when Ken and I were in the market to purchase our first home together, we scanned the newspaper and we relied on friends to give us the scoop on choice properties they had heard about. This was before we had a computer in our home, mind you. Back then, we used the old-fashioned style of networking.

We saw some beauties, as we traipsed around every weekend from one open house to the next. Most of these beauties we could not afford, of course. But we dared dream big for someday’s sake.

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(Wouldn’t this be lovely. Actually, it is Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon.)

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(Trevor and I washing our feet, above, after working outside in our garden, below, Spring 1999)

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The house we settled on was not my first choice, but it was in a good neighborhood, top-notch school district, and it was on a cul-de-sac and was fully fenced. All these were important for my children and so trumped, for instance, a larger kitchen or a basement. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage.

In the thirteen years we lived in our home, I longed for a larger one. I longed to have an office and a guest room and maybe even a family room, instead of all those rolled into my daughter’s old bedroom. I grumped and grumped about it only having about 1200 square feet of living space, yet in the end, when illness took over, I could no longer even keep that small of a home clean without help.

Then we lived in the tiny duplex for three years. This was a major adjustment, being so  much smaller than even that 1200 square foot home. But we did it, and I grumped about all our junk, day in and day out, until I could grump no more.

Now we live in a 32 foot Firan Raven motor coach with no slide outs. It is crowded. We cannot seem to get rid of all our junk. I guess it’s human nature, our junk, our mess. We all have something hidden in our closets, or spilling out as the case may be.

Even though it’s crowded and we have to juggle and dance more often than not, I love living in this confined space. Most everything I need is close at hand. Our bedroom is wall-to-wall mattress and pillows. Most nights I sleep like a baby tucked safely in a crib.

I am claustrophobic, but this arrangement does not bother me. I have the whole out-of-doors as my living space. At most resorts, we have a pool and a hot tub a short walk away, and with all the beautiful, new surroundings, I am eager and willing to walk Tinker Belle every day, too.

Sure, I would like a large house some day, but I can clean this one, end to end, in under an hour. How could I ever beat that, without hiring help?

Blessings are where you look for them.

Love,

Jenni and Ken

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cooling Our Heels

DSC00052We knew this day would come. We knew we would run out of money before we ran out of month. Why wouldn’t it? It happens to everyone, everywhere, who lives paycheck to paycheck. Being on the road doesn’t make us immune from these everyday woes. It actually makes us more vulnerable.

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Our home is one wheels. When it breaks down, we become, essentially, homeless, as happened back in July in Yreka. This was a major financial setback, but (knock on wood) we have not had any problems since.

Over this past month, every semi-annual bill that could possibly come due, did. Therefore, after our valiant push to get down here to Southern California, we now must cool our heels. Kick back and relax. Stay awhile.

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As for my mission, God has me working on abiding right now. That’s a word we in this modern time rarely use. We tend to want everything right now. Microwaves ruined us in the kitchen. And on the computer, we get frustrated if a page takes longer than two seconds to download. We cannot even wait to make purchases anymore. If we cannot afford it, that’s what credit was invented for.

With everything available at our fingertips, simply for the asking, we’ve really gotten into a me-me-me attitude, and it sucks. Sorry, but it does.

Stop and smell the roses, already. There’s more to life than the tip of your own nose.

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So here we sit, biding our time. God has me in a wait mode right now with my mission, anyway. Maybe that was in response to me complaining that I was so tired and needed a rest, for when I prayed for answers about my Hesperia dream, I was told to be patient and to wait.

When we drove through Hesperia two weeks ago on our way to Beaumont, I was so tired that God could have placed a neon sign directly in my path, and I would probably have missed it.

Friday is moving day again. We will be traveling a whopping six miles down the road to Cherry Valley Ranch.

I like this waiting mode. Besides, it gives me more time to spend with my daughter and, after payday, we can also travel westward to the Los Angeles area, to visit other family members. Seems we’ve got family everywhere and plenty of time to visit!

Love,

Jenni and Ken

Monday, September 23, 2013

Techno-Savvy? Not Me

IMG_0274I thought it might be useful to others who may be on a similar journey (or are contemplating such) to go over some of the things we have found most helpful.

First, when it comes to blogging, I cheat. Gasp! Yes, it is true. I use a Windows program called Windows Live Writer. It allows me to write, edit, and publish a bunch of blog articles all at once, and then they get neatly doled out per my scheduling. So, it may look like I am writing daily or almost daily (I know, ha ha, right), but I can get three or four posts done in one afternoon, and then spend the next three or four days thinking about what to write about next. So, it really isn’t cheating. It is time management.

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One major problem we had to overcome was the availability of reliable internet. At first, I tried to just use what was provided by the resorts, but the deeper into California we got, the more expensive it became to “rent” the internet, even for one afternoon. Besides, then we ran into another problem due to the nature of public internet sources. One resort had their router set so that no downloading could be done. I can understand this. They don’t want people tying up the limited internet for everyone by watching You Tube videos or Netflix all day long. But they also stopped me from uploading to the blog server.

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So we gulped hard and called AT&T to turn my i-phone into a hotspot. So far, so good on that front.

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A guy at Canyon Creek tried to sell us a cell booster of some sort (it is what he does for a living). He proved it worked for his Verizon phone, but he could not guarantee results with AT&T. We did not succumb, but maybe if we found one that did work with our service, then maybe.

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For photo editing, I use Photoshop Elements 9. Though some things in life need no help at all in the cuteness department. Photoshop seems to do what I need without too many headaches. Then again, nothing is as user friendly as I used to believe everything was. You know, back when my brain was young and elastic, and not full of disease.

The one thing I have not been able to replace since leaving Portland is the fount of technical knowledge I had at my beck and call—my son.

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I miss you, Trevor. Don’t laugh next time I call you because I cannot turn my hotspot on. Unless I am already laughing, of course.

Love and best wishes,

Jenni and Ken

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Birds of Southern California

Ken has been snapping to his heart’s delight, all the unusual birds of this beautiful desert oasis. Okay, so they aren’t so unusual, unless you’ve lived an otherwise untraveled life, such as I have. It has been great, seeing all the new wildlife, birds, and plants.

Here are a few of the birds. I have identified them where I could. There’s one elusive bird, who refuses to pose for the camera—The roadrunner! Yes, we have seen them, but our cameras have not been quick enough to capture this delightful creature. Maybe before our journey is through . . .

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Here, we have a lovely Blue Heron, but we have those up in Oregon, too.

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A little difficult to see here, this is a Killdeer. Yes, we have those in Oregon, too. I hear them calling, even in the night. They compete with the trains that go by almost constantly right outside the resort.

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So, yes, we have ducks, too. I don’t seem to be making my point about unfamiliar wildlife. Hang in there.

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This little guy has some strut and a long tail, but his flock mates seem to be missing their tail feathers.

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This is a Great Egret, notice the yellow bill. The Snowy Egret is smaller and has a black bill.

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This little flycatcher appears to be a Western Wood-Pewee. Somebody needs to tell him that that is a lure, not a fly.

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This goofy bird I saved for the finale. It is an immature Black-crowned Night-Heron.

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Thank you for following our adventures. We appreciate each and every one of you.

Love,

Jenni and Ken

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fisherman’s Retreat

P9170251Fisherman’s Retreat gets a two-thumbs-up from us. The weather may be quite warm still during the days, but the nights cool off quite nicely. The lakes appear to be full of fish, at least willing to be caught on camera if not the hook.

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We have a space most conveniently located near the bathrooms, the pool, and it is not too far from the lakes. Plus it is shady to boot.

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I haven’t gotten out to meet many people yet, since I am still recuperating. (The traveling has been far more difficult than I had imagined.) But Ken brings me stories from people he meets out on his walks. For today, I live vicariously through my beloved husband.

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We did, however, go visit my daughter shortly after arriving, and she and her beau will be spending the entire day with us tomorrow. These are the times I long for. Oh, how I have missed my children.

I’d love for you to meet my daughter. She is one of my great delights in life. I’ll tell you all about our visit soon.

Love and blessings,

Jenni and Ken

Friday, September 20, 2013

Blessings, Divine

P9150052Please forgive the lapses in my postings. Life tends to get out of control when one has a chronic illness. Sometimes I feel like a tumbleweed, tossed around at the mercy of the world’s winds.

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Since we arrived at Fisherman’s Retreat in Redlands, I have spent most of my time indoors, recuperating. Sometimes I feel left out, as Ken goes on his daily walks without me. I’m just not up to such long walks right now.

There are blessings even in this, for without me out there taking pictures, Ken has been honing his skills. He has become more intentional in his photography. I’m even considering turning that branch of creativity over to him totally, for a time, anyway. It is much too much, all that I try to accomplish with my creativity. And it is good, very good, to give him this special chore.

So, from here on out, the majority of the photos I will use in my blog will actually be Ken’s contribution. The Lord has blessed me once again, through my husband and all this beauty.

May you be blessed in your comings and goings and doings and being,

Jenni and Ken

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

High Maintenance Hottie

DSC08681Have you ever stopped to consider how others might see you? Of course you have because you know as well as I do that we are talking about all those labels we try so hard to get rid of. If we step to the side for just a moment, or we change the wording a bit, we might actually be able to laugh at our labels, instead of cry. It’s the whole, “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy,” attitude.

DSC08684I had never really thought of myself as high maintenance until recently. I’ve always tried to remain independent, not wanting to put upon others and wear out my welcome, so to speak. But, when one has a chronic illness, sometimes she needs help. So I had to drop the fa├žade of independence, in favor of a more congenial, less stubborn reliance on the help of others.

As a disclaimer, despite our grandson’s proclamation that I am always in a good mood, I most certainly am not. I just work really hard to not let others see me, as I go off the deep end, but my poor, dear, sweet husband gets the brunt of it every time.

DSC09406I have wicked migraines that come on strong and fast and slur my speech and steal my words. I can be in normal conversation one moment, and then the next, I’m a babbling idiot. These meltdowns also come with an emotional flavor. After one incident, I cried and begged Ken to forgive my two-year-old behavior. He said, “Two? More like eight, because you know better.”

One evening during a whopper of a migraine, I insisted on arguing about my jeans and his shoes. I cannot tell you why we were arguing, essentially about the proverbial apples and oranges. I haven’t a clue because it didn’t make sense even as I tried desperately to argue my ridiculous point that night.

It is during my migraines, when I become belligerent like a child, that I am most high maintenance.

When my pain and fatigue shake me to the core, this is also when I am most high maintenance.

When I whine and cry because I am too tired to think straight and I interpret Ken’s gentle coaxing as aggressive pushing, this again is when I am most high maintenance.

P8210267He is such a gentle, giving soul, and yet he quickly gives me the evil eye if I am overstepping. It is then that I pray, very loudly, “Lord, please help me to be patient. I know I can be pushy. Please teach me to be satisfied with what I have, Lord. Please let Ken know how much I appreciate him getting me a third glass of water. Lord, I know I am so needy, please forgive me. And thank you for putting Ken in my life. Amen.”

Then he softens, knowing that if I didn’t really need help, I would not ask. Besides, he has opportunities for revenge (oh, you sadistic puppy, you), and he pokes fun at my faux pas (all in good fun, nothing sadistic here). He gets to take a cold, wet washcloth to my fiery body, to extinguish my hot flashes. After all, I do seem to be of that certain age, when women can be overheard saying, “I’m still hot. But now it comes in flashes.”

Moral of today’s story: Laughing at ourselves can be good medicine.

Peace,

Jenni