Bringing Joy

Today’s post is going to be a little different. Actually it’s going to be quite different from what you usually see out here. But I felt like it was important to address this issue and also, it is important to me that I share with people more than just the fun or physical side of my life, but also some of my heart and soul.

It could be that someone who reads this really needs to know, truly know, that heartache, even great heartache, though its a part of life, cannot stop the joy in life for long, unless you let it.

One of the things that I do for me everyday is to find ways of Bringing Joy into my life. Some little things, some bigger things, because this journey called life can be and often is filled with heartache and there are days when it’s tougher to find your joy.

I have a little Christmas ornament. See the snowman perched up in the Y of the word JOY? That silly smile makes me smile every time. I having it hanging someplace where I can see it as soon as I wake up.

image

That way I have a little reminder each morning that I can choose to have joy today. That’s just one of the things that I do to remind myself that Bringing Joy into my life and holding onto the joy in my life means I will enJoy my life. 🙂

Anyone who has met my little Macha will tell you she is a joy to be around.  I can tell you she can be a pistol at times, but she is a sweetheart.

Do My Muscles Show?

Do My Muscles Show?

These photo shoots are exhausting!

These photo shoots are exhausting!

Did you get my good side?

Did you get my good side?

For the last few years I’ve been reading my Bible every morning, well, almost every morning. (Is there a smiley that blushes?) Even all of the begats can help in Bringing Joy. Keeping those promises you make to yourself makes you feel good. Bringing Joy into your life.

I also usually check my gmail every day so I found a way of Bringing Joy through my email. There are several different things I receive daily.  Some that I can read in just glance or others that are more in depth.

One of my favorites these days is forwarded to me by my church. Holy Land Moments Daily Devotional. They have some great insights into the Word.

I have two that are always very short. Which makes it easy to pop in and just see what they have to say. One is from the NIV Bible, quoting different scriptures, which is always a good thing for me.  The other short one is the Quote of the Day.  That one has quotes from different people throughout history. They are usually up lifting or thoughtful quotes and quite often, inspiring.

More often than not, one of these emails will have an impact on me each day. Whether it’s just something intriguing to think about or if there’s something I’m going through, I can often see how that devotional, verse or quote could apply to my life in a special way.

I’m certain you’re absolutely fascinated at this point, but in case you’re wondering ‘what it’s all about?’ I’ll be happy to tell you.

In fact, I’m glad you asked.  😉

Every once in a while and usually only when I’m going through something that is very difficult not only will one of those emails have a direct bearing on my life but sometimes they will work in concert to help me. Almost as if it had been planned that way.

In the last few days, something that happened a couple of months ago, finally overwhelmed all those barriers that I had placed so carefully and so well. You know what I’m talking about. There are those of us who will work like crazy people so that we can’t have time to think about the hard things in our lives.  Others will find different avenues to escape from the pain. We each have our ways of dealing with loss.

~ Loss ~

Many of us have walls or barriers that we put up to try to cope. To hide from the pain.

Me? I was Not willing to face it, because the pain was just too difficult to bear.  There are two things that I have always turned to.  Humor and work. Don’t get me wrong, yes, I would call on the Lord and I would pray, but each time the tears would start, I would desperately try to hold them back.  I would call on the Lord, yes, but to stop the tears.  I would say I didn’t have time to do that right now, then I would bury myself in work, and try to find the funny in life.

Fortunately for me the good Lord understands that I have issues in that area and so He provided not only a way for me to work but a way to give me a better life out here on the road in the process.

My little trailer happened right in the midst of this great sorrow. I wound up working harder on it than I probably have on anything else in a long time. Not just because it needed to change for me to be able to live in it, and my time with the right tools was limited, but mostly, because I needed the work. The humor, it was not working well this time.

I will be posting about the changes I’ve made in my beautiful little trailer at another time. But today I wanted to tell you about the two emails that came into my inbox day before yesterday. This time it was the quote and the verse that touched my heart.

As I said, pain and grief had overwhelmed me. The work on the trailer was as done as I could get it. Well that’s not entirely true. I could have tried to keep working on it, but realized that I was just driving myself into the ground. You have to understand its not that far to go to drive myself into the ground these days, so I had to stop. But that meant that all of those carefully built walls, each stone laid in place so perfectly, would start to crumble.

I don’t know about you, but for me, when something has gone so terribly wrong and then anything else goes wrong? Even if the second pain is just not that hard, I will capture it and hold on to it and say there’s the reason for my sorrow. That way I don’t have to go back and look at the real loss.

~ Loss. That word. ~

For you to understand the quotes and to realize how much impact they had I’m going to need to tell you a little bit about the second smaller heartache.

As you know by now, if you’ve read some of my earlier posts, I am indeed Allergic to the 21st Century. Others call it Environmental Illness but that term bothers me, because not all environments can make you ill. Dare I digress again? No? Ah well.

Back to the subject at hand. Suffice it to say that choosing the appropriate environment to live in is very important to me.

I had one of those aha moments a few months ago, an epiphany on a grand scale and thought ‘What if…?’

What if we could lease a big chunk of dirt (Some people call it land) from the state and have it dedicated as a campgrounds specifically for people who are Allergic to the 21st Century. That way the things that I have a hard time with would not be allowed.  Campfires, ATVs, and generators, are among the top 10 on my hit parade and are almost always found at a regular campgrounds. The bonus, of course, would be that I would get to help other people like me.

The first thing that came to mind as a possibility, was dirt controlled by the Bureau of Land Management or BLM. From the little research I did and the calls I made, National forests are under a lot of protective laws, which would prohibit the kind of campground I wanted to have.  From what I know of State Trust land it did not seem doable either, though I intend to check into it.  But BLM land is already in use in different ways throughout the state and the country as a place for people to camp.

I made a few phone calls and kept getting shunted to voice-mails and never got a call back. Until this last time, which was just a few days ago. This time I got bumped up.  I was able to leave a voice-mail at the district level. Oh yes, I was definitely moving up in the world. Trust me, I was genuinely surprised when the gentleman called me back later that same night.

He was very knowledgeable about his world as you would expect, but he was also willing to share that knowledge with me and although he had never heard of environmental illness before he was willing to look at the different options to see if there was something we could do.

We discussed my hope for others like me and my own dreams of having a place to park that was safe.  We went through the different scenarios where the BLM land is already being leased and I learned some interesting facts.

1) BLM land is not really leased to cattlemen. What is actually leased is the grass itself so their cattle could feed, but other than that they have no real use or rights to the land.

2) Miners who lease land looking for gold, or other riches from mother earth, are only allowed to stay on the land for two weeks at a time and then have to leave for the same proscribed period as the rest of us do. There are some occasions where they are allowed to live on the land but in those cases the BLM would have to do a case study for the Environmental impact on the area. That didn’t usually happen.

3) The long-term visitors areas or LTVA’s on BLM land in southern California and southern Arizona have special dispensation. He told me that was a very rare instance of use for BLM land.

Just as I was starting to wonder if there was any chance at all of this working, he told me about one more possible use. An intriguing possibility. But I won’t discuss that now. That too will have to wait for another post.

(Let’s see that’s two posts I’ve promised you and neither one of those are even the post that was already in the hopper when I started this one. Hmmm)

I can tell you I did some research on his idea and I’m very excited about the possibilities or at least I was very excited until I came to realize that trying to do this myself was going to be practically impossible, because of my limitations. Working on a plan of this scope would be extremely demanding even if I was in perfect health, and I’m not sure why, but for the first time, it really brought home to me just how limited my life has become in some areas. Perhaps it’s because I have been so involved in simply trying to survive and desperately trying to hold on to my joy. Maybe I was so occupied with that, that I did not realize, until just a few days ago, exactly how much I have lost.

~ Loss.~

~ There’s that word again. Loss.  I could feel that hammer chipping away at that wall I had built so carefully. ~

While my choice of environment in the last two years has been largely dependent upon my physical needs, I learned years ago that the choice of environment should also apply to the people around you. For me, I know the people in my life will have a far more profound impact on my world then just about anything else ever will.

Their attitudes and their feelings towards me can cause heartache in my life or they can Bring Joy, sometimes, incredible joy. While for the most part the people you interact with will always add some of both, you will come to realize, with time and trials, that there are some friends or even family members that the little bit of joy they bring is just not worth the heartache or trouble that comes with it. Then there are others who have brought pain and heartache into your life, but the heartfelt joy they give you more than makes up for it. Learning to distinguish between those two are a skill that may take a lifetime to acquire. But I keep working at it. 🙂

(Just a note : Sadly, there are those who know this is true but never try to learn or change who they have in their lives and I find myself filled with pity for those who do not even know there is a choice).

Actually. There have been several things that have happened lately that has caused me heartache. But this one in particular has caused me grief and sorrow in a way that I have never known before. It has been very difficult to cope with.

So when this new heartache came on the scene it was very easy to grab a hold of it and say that’s why I’m hurting, that’s why I’m crying, that’s why I’m sad.

I emailed the few people that I had let know about my epiphany. Telling them that I was going to step down. That I had realized that I could not do this project. Then for the last few days I have shut myself off from the world. I have not been on my Facebook page at all.  I turned off the notifications to my gmail and even though I read a few emails,  I rarely responded to anyone. I started to cry. Truly cry. The kind of tears that come from the very depths of your soul.

The one person that I did talk about with this briefly, through email, is someone I met out here on the road a year and a half ago.  Doug is one of the most annoying men I have ever met but he does have a bizarre sense of humor.  That makes up for a lot in my book.  He is a camping buddy on occasion and lets me borrow his tools. I call him Crazy Man because he is, but every once in a while he has some insight.  He told me that he thought I was accepting ‘hard reality’ just a little too eagerly and he wasn’t buying it. I came to realize that he was right. Again. An annoying habit of his. But I didn’t realize that until later.

First, Now that I was back into my email a little bit, I read this quote.

Success…

“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?”

― W. Clement Stone

Obviously, reading a quote about environment and how it can have a profound impact on your world when I had just been talking about trying to find a good environment to live in was surprising. It’s certainly spoke to what was going on in my life at the time.

But even as I wrote to Crazy Man aka Doug about the quote I had just read I realized it didn’t quite ring true. That wasn’t the reason for my tears.  It was the verse that tied it all together for me. But that too I did not realize until a little later.

PSALM 62:7

My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

I told him that I knew that I needed to trust the Lord in helping with this project. You see I know If it was supposed to happen then things would fall into place. But they wouldn’t if I didn’t at least try.

But like I said it didn’t quite ring true.

I was not crying about the loss of my ability to pull off a project of this magnitude. Something which would not have daunted me for a moment, in my previous life. I was finally crying because of that great loss that happened a couple of months ago. That is where that verse truly applies. The Lord is my rock. He is my fortress.

In reality, I have gained more in this new life of mine than I ever lost from my old life. Yes, my limitations will make it difficult to try to make this dream of a special campground come true.  I will have to take my time and do what I can, as I can. I will have to trust the good Lord to make up the difference and help me find the right people to help make this dream a reality.

But the truth is, losing skills or abilities is nothing, when you compare it to losing someone you love.

As I said earlier and it may not have made much sense then, to have had it in this post, but it’s the people in your life that will profoundly affect your environment.

I can honestly say that there are those in my life that have had a devastating effect. But I have also been blessed beyond my desserts with some of the truly wonderful people I have in my life now.

Some are from work that had become friends and we’re still in contact. Even some of the more casual friendships on Facebook, with people I have never met in person, have become dear to me.

There are people that I have met out here on the road and come to know, that are more precious to me than people I’ve known for most of my life. Some of them are also Allergic to the 21st Century and had no choice about this lifestyle.  I have met quite a few who are living this life with me. Some are becoming dear friends, but there are two who already are.  Scott and Liz are both precious people with a true love for the Lord who have befriended me and have helped me in so many ways. The greatest help they have given me is knowledge and information about the new world I am living in.  Wait, no. That was the second greatest thing they gave me. The first and truly amazing thing has been their unconditional love.   There are  also those who are out here because they want to be, and they too have truly touched my life in special ways and in some cases my heart.

Pastor Greg and his lovely wife Sheila in Flagstaff, well, actually, if you were to ask anybody in the church they would tell you that their names are Pastor Gregorio  and Rocker Sheila. 😉  You will have to ask them how they got their nick names. Those two wonderful people have found a special place in my heart that few people ever reach.

Of course, there is my amazing, wonderful and crazy son, Charles, who just can’t stand it when I compliment him in front of people so I won’t say much more except for the fact that when I say “I love you honey” I mean it from the very depths of my being.

Then there is, was, my husband.

George L. Smith, most folks called him Smitty, but the family name was Mick.

My husband of almost 30 years passed away on January 11th 2015. We have been separated, legally separated, for a long time but it never did stop the love.  All of the hurt and pain from the original separation had faded with time and we had become friends again. Good friends. Someone that I knew I could always turn to when I was struggling or hurting or just needed to yak at someone.

Someone who knew me so intimately. Both the good and the bad and yet still loved me.  There was great comfort in the fact that I knew, truly knew, that despite the fact that I was living out here in the wilderness in my van and truth be told, no matter what I got up to in this crazy life of mine, that there was someone out there, who truly loved, me.

Please understand that I know that coming to this realization and the tears I shed these last few days will not stop the pain of his loss from surfacing. But it has allowed me to get past some of the anger and the hurt. It has eased my heart. It has taken down those walls that I was trying so desperately to keep in place to block out the pain.

Thinking about him and thinking about the wonderful things that we had together, the primary one being our son, will help me to hold on to my joy.  Obviously, there were things wrong in our marriage. Please do believe me when I tell you that it was on both sides. But there were many things about my husband that were truly good and wonderful. I miss him and will miss him for a long time.  Most of my photographs are in storage In Snowflake, but I have a few.

If your wondering what he was smiling about check out the next picture.

If your wondering what that mischievous grin is about check out the next picture.

This was taken when Charles was about 5 years old.  His dad had a snake that he was going to take and show Charlie.

This was taken when Charles was about 4 years old. His dad had a snake that he was going to take and show Charlie.  Charles loved it, but Mom would mot let them keep it!

This was a trip to Mount Rushmore.  Charles was pretty small then.  Hard to believe he is 6'2 these days!

This was a trip to Mount Rushmore. Charles was pretty small then. Hard to believe he is 6’2 these days!

Just so you can get a closer look at the two handsome men I had in my life!

Just so you can get a closer look at the two handsome men I had in my life!

This is a picture of Charles and his dad on one of Charles trips back to Kingman AZ from Texas last year.

This is a picture of Charles and his dad on one of Charles trips back to Kingman AZ from Texas last year.

Rest in peace my dear husband, I will see you by and by.

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14 thoughts on “Bringing Joy

  1. Good morning, i read your beautiful post this morning. It was an awesome reminder that joy is a choice and we must chose it daily. It was so fun to see the pictures of Charles and Mick. You are an amazing writer , have enjoyed you blog.feel blessed to be your friend.

  2. Hugs and more hugs to you! I, too, had a real problem with tears (holding back) for decades! When they finally came, I thought I’d flood this town, but oh, what relief there is in just letting them go……… When the drought is over, the desert will bloom brighter than ever! 😀 You are such a blessing to all who know you, Rachel. I will always be encouraged by your smile, your voice and your faith! Love your smiley faced snowman! 😀 Keep writing!

    • Suzy, thank you so much! I will never forget your help when I was there in Kingman. I know you couldn’t stay but the fact that you came over with me that first day helped me be able to go into my husbands house and that meant more to me than I can ever explain. The tears, it is hard isn’t it. But it is better. When I start to cry now, I just let myself cry. I am so glad you understand.

      I am glad you like my little snowman!

  3. Rachel! I know we don’t talk much, but I do pray for you, and I enjoy following your posts. I cannot imagine your struggle. Every time I see your post I think about when we talked in the parking lot in Show Low over a year ago, and I pray that you will continue to be blessed. I am truly sorry for your losses, the loss of friends, and the loss of family. I did not know about your husband’s passing. I look forward to a future time when we can visit again, like we used to do in the House of prayer band (I think that is what it was called!) and at Calvary.

    • Chase! 🙂 It is good to hear from you my friend. I know we don’t talk much but we do pray for each other and that’s a very powerful thing. I too look forward to the time when we can play and sing together again. I have gained so much out here in this new life of mine. I have been blessed in so many ways. It has been hard. But, as always, the Lord is seeing me through this too. I love you my dear brother in Christ. Thank you for your prayers. 🙂

  4. Speechless. Lump in my throat. Streams of tears. However, I am surrounded with JOY! Knowing one who is Chemically Ill, Environmentally Ill, Autoimmune Ill can change one’s life for the best…..and welcoming them into your family is of the greatest value, is tremendously rewarding, and is an eternal blessing. Our “Rachum” – miss ya bunches and miss Macha baby bunches too!

    • Rocker Sheila! So happy to see you out here on my little blog. Thank you for your words today. I am so glad my words touched you. Yours have certainly touched me. You and your hubby are family to me. My life family! Macha says hi too! 🙂

    • I will be interested to hear what your thoughts are after you’ve had time to ponder for a while. 🙂 I’m actually pleased that it has caused the need for that kind of thought. Thank you.

  5. Your post both touched and blessed me. I understand so deeply what you referred to as keeping the pain from overtaking you until you could take in portions you could manage (with God’s help). I am so sorry for your loss. Thankful for your son and the much love he has for his mom. And most of all thankful for your deep intimate love for The Lord. He will surely continue to make a way for you.
    I will be praying that if they are meant to be that your dreams will materialize with much help and favor from our awesome God all along the process. You are a sweet beautiful soul and I am glad to call you my sis-friend. With continuing prayers and much love, Brenda ❤ <

    • My dear Brenda,

      I had so hoped and prayed that you would like this post and that it would reflect the love that I have for my Lord and for those around me. Thank you for your wonderful words and your encouragement and I know that the Lord will continue to walk with me no matter where He takes me in this crazy life of mine. I have been so blessed. Actually, I tell people I’m not blessed, I’m spoiled rotten! 🙂 I have so much out here that I did not expect to have. I have gained friendships that I would never have known, friends like you my dear sister friend. 🙂

      Your encouragement and your love and the kindness that you have shown me throughout this time has been a blessing to me. I doubt I could ever truly express how you have touched me. Your love for the Lord shows in all that you do.

      take care of you, talk to you soon. 🙂

  6. I am sorry for the profound impact loosing your husband has had on you. I pray you keep finding joy in your life and continue to spread joy to others as you do. Hugs to you my friend

    • Thank you so much Linda. It has been a difficult journey in many ways, but there has been discovery and joy along the path. I will miss him but even with all our troubles, I know he loved me. I hold on to that. 🙂

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