Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!

Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!
We are extensively traveling around...working and having a blast...Life is Grand!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Accomplishments for 2007

First time in many years that we were not waiting anxiously for the year to come to an end, reflecting back on 2007 has been a very pleasant journey and looking forward to an even better 2008. Thank you God for all of these moments and many more that we enjoyed this year.

Daytona, met a few of the drivers, owners and even shook their hands…Met Anne at Happy Camper and picked up Race (more on him in 2008)…Worked in New Mexico at a Hot Springs…Worked Las Vegas Motor Speedway…Gambled on a River Boat on the Mississippi…Seen the destruction of Katrina first hand with our own eyes in the Gulf area…Gambled on a Cruise Ship in Florida…Crossed many bridges steep and scary but did not allow the fear to stop us…Seen the fourth of five Great Lakes (Jerry did this, I have seen them all)…Seen the awesome power of Niagara Falls…Drove through Canada and almost didn‘t allow us in without passports, had our RV thoroughly inspected by the Border control…Visited Tennessee and the Foleys…A surprise visit with Lois while in Michigan…Enjoyed a service at the Renaissance Unity Church in person not via the Internet as we do every Sunday morning…Worked at Jellystone Campground and met Yogi…Was able to assist our dear friends once again managing Hickory Lake Campground…Finally visited Tombstone and enjoyed the history lessons…Learned how to laugh through our challenging moments…Jerry had his first experience with frozen ground as we traveled across Texas in an ice storm, he fell but did not hurt anything too badly…Crossed several more State lines.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Our Pasts...

Looking back into my past and finding some good has been the hardest thing for me to do and some of your comments have pushed me to do just that. It hasn’t been easy because it feels as if every good moment has a black cloud over it. Recalling small fragmented moments that life seemed to be worth living was a challenge but a few did come to mind but then the very next moment held a terrible misfortune that took all the pleasure away.

For those of you who are lucky enough to look back into your past and find good times, my heart fills with happiness for you. We would just ask that you try to understand that not all of our pasts have a silver lining. Some had stipulations attached…many had really mixed messages attached…some were brutal…some were just plain awful…some even carried some physical or emotional scars which take time to heal.

It is acceptable to look into ones past and not find many happy moments but it is not acceptable to pretend and act as if they were good times. For all of those moments made me exactly who I am today and writing about them helps in allowing me to finally let them out so they can fly away from turning me resentful.

So for the New Year ahead, my hope is that we all live our lives the best we know how and when we learn more…we live more.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Toad or No Toad?

It’s time for us to once and for all follow our hearts and get out of our box and just go for it. It took a tremendous amount of courage for us to become full-time RVers almost 3 years ago but the main reason we did was to follow the NASCAR circuit working or visiting all the race tracks. So far, we have only done three and that is just not acceptable to us any longer.

From our past experiences, we know that it is a big financial step to take since every attempt we have made, money has held us back so we have been looking for ways to lighten our burden and Jerry had an epiphany this morning. He has been having many of those lately, must be all the meditating we have been doing regularly. Anyway, he suggested since we would be traveling so much and basically just towing our Jeep hardly using it at all, why not sell it and go without it.

The cons would be…not having a vehicle if we stay an extended time anywhere or sightseeing (we could always drive the RV to all places)…not able to use the toad if the RV breaks down on the highway or for an extended time in the repair shop (we do have roadside assistance, which would help).

The pros would be…saving on the expenses for regular maintenance on the Jeep…saving on gas for the RV (towing we do around 7mpg, without towing we do over 8mpg, big difference when you calculate the thousands of miles we will be putting on this year)…having only one vehicle to maintain verses two (since Jerry does most of the maintenance on the vehicles, the time saving would be a lot)…less wear and tear on the RV by not having to pull the toad…we have our bikes that we have been trying to use more often for our health…downsizing our Jeep has been a topic for quite awhile now anyway and if we choose to stay in one place for an extended time, we can always buy another used smaller vehicle.

We will be staying in the Phoenix area for another month before heading out so we have some time to play with the idea. Any and all comments would be deeply appreciated.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

An Awakening

Christmas is now over and the difference a day makes is marvelous. The sad feelings we had yesterday have now disappeared and we are now ready to take on all of our new experiences that life has in store for us.

We woke today knowing that life is exactly how we choose to make it and for the first time in a long time we are choosing a grand life. This lifestyle for us began 3 years ago with so much anticipation and we allowed circumstances to change all of those dreams…no more…we are moving forward in our lives and not allowing our dreams to fade into the sunsets. We are getting busy with finding work at the tracks and we will be doing many more tracks this season than we had planned, beginning with California, Vegas and then...

The both of us turning 50 has been symbolic and we choose to choose to make the next 50 even better than the first. Thank you for our readers comments that have energized our inner souls to go for it all and to finally let go of our past.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas Song About Mother's Shoes

Today began as any other day…it ended with a very important message. Feeling a bit melancholy and just wanting the holidays to be over, this day was slowly turning into a day with many little nuisances making their points.

Almost every person we came in contact with was annoying and it was getting to a point where my attitude may snap at any moment. People were being rude and oblivious to anything but themselves. There would be justification on my side since they were the ones being judgmental and not in the holiday spirit.

To make matters even worse, the weather took a drastic turn, the wind picked up and it was a cold and frigid, especially for Phoenix. For a Friday night the show was slow which made for plenty of time to just sit and think…then it happened.

A Christmas song came on that has always made me cry and this time was not any different except not only did I cry but it was also like reading a book, pages of our lives turning as I read the events. Life changed drastically for us back on Christmas day in 2001 when the news of my baby brother being as sick as he was became apparent.

Before that Christmas, I looked forward to my birthday in October when the chain of good fortune always began for me and continued through the New Year. This time of the year always brought out the best of us, we decorated extensively and always tried to do the right thing for all concerned. That year changed my entire thinking process and as hard as I tried to focus on the good things…the bad things continued to happen. A few short months after that Christmas, my youngest brother passed away…a little over a year later, my mother passed away…a month later my sister and I severed our relationship and she began persecution of us in a very nasty way, even for her…shortly after my daughter took her son, my grandson away from us because she was angry at my terribly misdirected outburst…another brother passed away. Life had always been a little tough for us but nothing prepared us for all of this to happen, all the time we were one inch away from losing it all. We continued to play the roles we thought we had to live by but that soon began to take a toll on our own self-esteem and the reason we looked into our hearts to find the way to follow our dream lifestyle. During this time we became full time RVers which is the only thing that kept us from hitting rock bottom.

It’s amazing how you can look back and see your life as if it was a book you were reading and wonder how you ever made it through, but we did. Not only did we make it through all of those hard times, we also have come to a time in our lives where we no longer accept the mediocre, instead we go after our very best and we usually find it. Life has given us many opportunities to grow from lately and we have stood up to the test and have passed with flying colors. Everyday is still challenging but we get better at living our lives to the fullest with a lot help from God.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dysfunctional Way of Life

It has always been a normal way of life for our family…to hold a grudge…never forgive…get them before they get you…punish them every chance you get…make some very poor choices…blame everyone else and never take responsibility…denial…denial…denial. There are still times that I find myself guilty of these things too, but those times are becoming fewer and I have learned to deal with the situations and move forward and not stay stuck in the past. I wish I could say the same for my daughter, the anger for her is as strong as it was the day it happened.

I could definitely understand her anger if I was a “monster” mother and grandmother but I was not. Now I may not have been a June Cleaver but I did the best I knew how with what I knew then and when I learned more, I did better. As for mistakes, well I certainly made plenty of them but at the same time I learned from them and improved myself.

Hanging onto the anger and placing blame is not a healthy way of life. I take full responsibility for my part in this entire situation but she needs to do the same and to understand that we all make mistakes that we can’t undo but instead of muddling in the dysfunction, we need to rise above it and handle it in a healthier way.

To continue denying us visitation with our grandson is making a choice that is based on the anger funk and is not healing nor helping to any one of us. To continue denying that it is not affecting Austin is just preposterous. Her anger is clouding her good sense. He is affected even if she does not see it herself. If he is not showing it, could it possibly be because she has taught him to deny his feelings as she does her own? Or that her anger has made him fearful of even bringing us up, afraid of her backlash which has always been obvious. He has always taken on the role of being the one who could make his mommy happy or sad by how he acted. He learned very early on not to say or do things to upset her because he always feared she too would leave him and he has always loved her so very much that he would do anything to make sure that never happened.

It is now time to stop the dysfunction from carrying onto yet another generation. Precious time is wasting that we will never be able to get back. If God forgives each and everyone of us and never holds a grudge, then why can’t she?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Our New Map

So many times as we are routing our journey…we forget which roads we have already taken and part of our plan is to take as many of the roads less traveled and not to continue down the same paths. We purchased a 2007 Atlas back in 2006 and it was showing the wear and tear but at the same time we didn’t want to replace it since we had highlighted all the roads we have traveled so far. Pages were falling out and they edges were quite frayed…so we got the new one. We updated to the more expensive one where the pages have a binder type holding them together…going to give this type a try.

Now for the transferring of the highlighted roads already traveled. I thought it was going to be a pain in the…instead we began doing it and had the time of our lives. With each highlighted road we transferred onto the new map, we relived our past experiences. The good and the not so good, but all were needed to take us exactly where we are today. We are living the good life…we have one another …we have joy…we have laughter…we have love…we have forgiveness…most of all we have our dreams with the attitude of never giving up.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Spirit of Christmas…

Lives within each one of us. It’s not about the gifts, nor shopping, not even the decorating. The real meaning of Christmas lies within your heart. We are now trying very hard to see this season as a giving time, a caring time, a time where we love, even when that person no longer loves us.

It’s sad because the time we are all missing out of will never be returned. These precious years can never be given back to any one of us. Life is not always kind and we may not always have the life we wanted, but I know deep within myself, I was a good mother and a fantastic grandmother (Nana). There were many good times and yes, several very ugly times…but in reality, there was certainly many more good times then there were those dark and ugly ones. We recall many of those moments every day because at this time that is all we have…our memories of the life shared with our daughter and grandson.

It’s not about giving up, instead it’s about letting go. Yes, more than anything we would prefer to have our daughter forgive us and allow us back into their lives but we can now see that it is not going to happen.

"It is was it is!"

We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves. She is doing the best she can at this moment with the knowledge she has, we are also doing all we know at this time and it is just not enough to take away her pain and her anger. It is time for us to move forward and continue praying that God keeps them safe, for it is now out of our hands and into his. I pray that I continue to have the strength to get through all the sad moments ahead.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Back on Track

The rain has ended here in Phoenix…the land is drying…the cold remains at night…the sun shines bright during the day…the blahs have flown away and the show must go on.

It felt good once again to be active and out amongst other people. We have always loved spending time together which is one of the reasons this lifestyle is great for us, besides the traveling. But, there are times when the rainy weather sets in and work comes to a halt that we begin getting on each others nerves. This time was different, this time we both fell into a “Funk”. We whined…we cried…we blamed others…we blamed ourselves…we felt useless…we laughed. It was only then were we able to “Pick ourselves up and get back in the race…That’s Life”.

Life’s Lessons are getting easier to handle and I joke with Jerry that it happened a few short months ago on the day I turned 50 and I guarantee that it will happen for him in just a few days when he finally turns 50 as well. It’s actually fun learning these lessons now in the never ending aha moments. Things we have always known but just didn’t make sense before are becoming clearer every day. Our lesson this time around we learned is to relax and enjoy the ride and to remember we do not have to do or say anything, it is always our choice but most of all…BREATHE!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What A Shame When Your Child Loses Their Way…

And takes your grandchild with them. We were there as grandparents from the moment he was born. During her trying moments with his daddy, we were there to help in any way we could. When things got ugly and nasty as they did during their divorce, we were there to guide them. When they needed our “babysitting” we never hesitated, even changing our plans at times just to make her life easier. When we chose a different lifestyle that would no longer allow us to be there for them 24/7, we still offered everything we could…even having him spend the summer with us at one of our jobs. When the summer wasn’t enough and she asked for more time for him to hang out with us, we rearranged our schedule to fit hers. All of these things we did because we love our grandson and only wanted to help our daughter because I know first hand just how hard it is to be a single parent. Boy, did that backfire! By doing all of this instead of making it easier on her, we apparently were controlling so after six years of not saying anything to us like that now she chooses to keep us out of their lives and claim she is very happy without us.

She claims that Austin does not even ask about us because when he did ask, she told him we were no longer a part of their lives. He is a very smart boy and I am sure he has realized the subject is off limits with his mommy. That is why many times while we were in his life, he knew he could come to his Nana and Papa to discuss things his mommy refused. Pretty deep issues as why his daddy left him and why his mommy yells all the time.

Yes, I made a big error by having an argument with my husband while our grandson was in earshot but to condemn me as if I killed someone is truly unbelievable. She claims that by her forbidding us to be part of Austin’s life is not hurting him and that he is better off without us in his life. She claims that I was more of a parent to him then a grandparent…when he spent time with us, we allowed him to be a child and just have fun and not have to be anything but himself. She claims this was us parenting him and not being grandparents, not sure how she gets that but she does. In my opinion, a grandparent loves and cares for them…spoils them…has fun with…takes them on vacation…tells them stories…helps them with life, all that we did.

She also claims that she does not talk bad about us…we hear her telling people that we are dead. If that is not talking bad about somebody, then I do not know what is. Austin hears this and thinks that his Nana and Papa are dead or even worse thinks that we abandoned him, when in fact we continue to try…only to be shut down by our daughter. She claims this is not affecting him, after we had been such an intricate part of his life.

Anger, most of time keeps us stuck in the pain…the pain of losing her grandmother, uncle to death and us to living our lives traveling has made her very bitter towards life itself. She has always taken the less then positive road in all of her choices and has always allowed others to influence her feelings. I always tried to allow her to be who she was and always prayed that she would make better choices…I taught her to be strong…to be able to survive without anyone just in case that happened to her. Somehow I taught her to be mean and vindictive as she has been to me. I take full responsibility for raising her alone since I never had anyone who stepped in as I did for her and her son. In my opinion it was a blessing but it is apparent she does not feel the same.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We’re Going To Be Just Fine…

We come here to Phoenix with so many hopes and shortly after arrival we just end up depressed and very sad.

The weather turned really bad, cold, even frigid and wet and just continued for days, then the very next weekend more rain and cold. The light show took a big hit the first weekend from the storm so work slowed to an almost halt which gave us too much time to think.

We love being in this area but we might rethink this stop for next year. Our daughter is still carrying on and will not allow us to visit with her or our grandson. It has been almost two years and all I can think now is there will never be any getting back the time that we missed with our grandson. How will I ever begin to forgive her for that? I think I have but then I think about the past two years when he thought that we left him and her anger caused her to say many things to him that is just not true. We are not terrible people…we were fantastic grandparents…he loved us very much…we had fun…we showed him love all the time. Why can’t she see what this is all doing to him…a child who spent most of his time with us and then because of nothing else but her anger…was ripped away from two people he could ALWAYS count on.

We will get past this moment in our lives…the holidays will soon be over…we will leave the area…the disappointment will disappear but the sadness will linger until we are reunited with our grandson.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Our Web Pages

We just love adventure…in every possible aspect in our lives. Together we love to travel but when we are stationed in one area for a few months, I have a tendency to get a bit …well for lack of a better word…I get antsy. To alleviate some of this tension I search for new and different ways to share our stories, photos and reviews.

Our blog here at Blogger continues to be the best place to share our stories. The time taken to learn more of the new updates have paid off royally with the new photo slideshow, photos, links to our other web areas and so much more. If you do not have a blog already, please take the time to get one here, you will love the ease it requires to add your stories.

As for our photos, this website offers Picasa Web Albums. My experience with it has been minimal but it seems easy enough and offers many features as the one we currently use. I do plan to utilize Picasa more in the near future but I am not ready to let go of Shutterfly yet, it has been my favorite free photo storage now for years. One of the disadvantages so far with Picasa is that it has a storage limit but offers for a fee more storage.

Our reviews will remain at ZeeMaps. After researching Google’s equivalent, we will still stay with ZeeMap.

For the past few years, we have almost given up on our webpage and have almost let it go but once again we renewed it for one more year. It is not that costly, but it is very complicated to update. This will be a continued area we will research.