Come along for the Ride!

I am so glad you are here. Stay with us as we travel everywhere. I hope you will enjoy the ride.

Monday, January 25, 2016

It's going to be better now

Bill and I are very discouraged. We try not to be, but sometimes it just comes out no matter how hard we try to remain positive and upbeat.
We are truck drivers. We leave our home, our family, our beloved home church, and everything we own. I give up the desire of my heart to have a dog. We sacrifice all of that for our job. 
Mostly we like our job and see the best in all circumstances. We have made it our service to be the encouragers for so many other people. We see and experience so many things. We have attended over 200 Christian churches. We have met countless wonderful people. 
But Since we left home, right after Christmas, we have only worked 2-3 days a week. Then we sit for 3-4 days waiting for another load. 
We have spent time in weather 25 degrees below zero. We have driven through horrible blizzards. I am only saying that to point out that we aren't sitting because we are afraid of bad weather. No, we are sitting because we aren't getting the load offers that we used to get. 
We hate sitting around so far from home. We begin to have negative attitudes. We begin to get irritated with each other. We start to think that we want to give it up and go home. 
We do plan to do that soon, just not quite yet.
Right now we are sitting in Atlanta, GA. We have been here since Thursday morning. There are, at any given time, 20-30 other trucks just like us, waiting for a load too. We have been offered loads. But our company is trying to take advantage of all the trucks here. So our load rates are very low.
We understand the concept of supply and demand. However, we are out here to make a living and will not buckle to the pressure to take cheap loads just to move. So we wait. And get more and more frustrated.
We take turns reminding each other that we have had to wait patiently in the past. We go back and forth trying to lift each other's spirit by remembering how God has always provided our needs and often has blessed us beyond what we might have hoped for. We need to take heart and be strong. The Lord takes care of us.
We need to count our blessings. We also should continue to encourage others to look to Jesus.
God is enough. His love is good. His provision is sufficient. His refuge withstands. His patience is enduring. His mercy lifts my soul. His kindness is tender. His forgiveness is amazing. God is so good, He's so good to us.  
I hope that reading my circumstances do not bring you down. I would rather you see that even in discouraging situations I look to God and others for encouragement.
We all need encouraged. 
Bill and I made a commitment to ourselves when we took this job that every penny of our tithe would be sent home to our home congregation. We believe in this verse:
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. (Malachi 3:10 NASB)
And we believe that it means your home congregation when it speaks of "storehouse."
And God does truly bless us. And from these blessings we try to share blessings with others as we can. 
We have given donations to organizations, offerings at the churches we visit, people that needed things done, food to the hungry, all of which was above and beyond our tithe. And the best part of that is, as we bless others, we, too, receive more blessings.
We realize that many organizations depend on pledges and promises for support. And we understand that they must be able to depend on people's promises. They have to know that their funds will be there.
When you make a pledge or you promise someone something, you are giving your word. What is the value of your word? How much is your promise worth? 
Are you one that can be counted on? Do you often disappoint by not keeping your word?
I remember once when I was a little girl, hearing my dad tell someone, "I give you my word, that's the best I can give you."
Is your word the BEST you can give? 
A lot of people make promises with good intentions but then don't follow through. Do you know someone like that? I do. There is one person that when they tell me they will do something, It really takes restraint on my part to keep from rolling my eyes right in front of them. Their word has no value to me.
Then there are those that I know will keep their promise to me no matter whatever obstacles get in the way.
We don't want to be people that can't be counted on. We have been approached or solicited by those that we think are doing fabulous things, yet we are very reluctant to pledge. Why? Because we don't want to ever disappoint by not being able to keep our promise. No, we will continue to give as God blesses us. 

We waited out over 50 horrible load offers. They were coming out 2-3 times lower rates than what they normally do. We were being forced to accept a low rate or sit with nothing. It was getting very difficult to keep your patience. Just as we had given hope, late Tuesday afternoon, we got an acceptable load offer. We got the load. 
We had to deadhead from Atlanta to Louisville, KY just to pickup. As we were driving north, I realized that we would be passing through Nashville. Our niece, Kacey lives there AND today was her birthday!
I sent her a text to see if she would be available even though it would be close 11pm est when we got there. She was out with a friend. They went to dinner and now were at a concert but it should be over by then. 
So we made plans to meet up.
It was so good to see her and especially on her birthday. 23 years before, I was right there in the med-surg room and watched as she was delivered by C-section. 
We had a nice but short visit that lapped over past midnight so now it was our anniversary. Her friend, Oscar, was very nice and I was thankful that he gave her such a nice birthday outing.
Too soon we had to leave. I squeezed her tight and told her goodbye. 
We got in the truck and drove away.

Soon I went to sleep.
Pops and I have been married for 37 years. Yay! I love him more and more all the time.
Our anniversary was mostly driving. But we are together and I thank God for that.
We reached our delivery location at 8pm. We were a about 2 hours early, however, once there we were told that our shipment would not be accepted until the next morning. So we spent our Anniversary night backed into a dock, sleeping. Oh well.
But the bad part was, since we had to wait until morning, we lost a load. It's Thursday and we had one load this week.
We drove to a nearby Walmart to wait. And wait. And wait.

While waiting, I watched the birds.

There was a burger place beside us called Burgetory. And beside of that was Five Guys, another burger place. I watched customers come and go all day, to most places. At supper time I decided that we needed burgers. So I made my choice and went inside. There actually was 5 young guys working there. 
When I brought our food to the truck Pops was working on a load offer. And before we even unpacked our food we were deadheading to Detroit for pickup. 
Pops drove all night with not much sleep. I stayed awake until after we made our pickup in Detroit then I went to bed.
I woke up somewhere in Ohio and began to drive. 
We were scheduled to deliver at 7pm, but we were on track to get there around 4. 
We made our delivery and headed to the truckstop.

The next day Pops and I got our laundry done in the morning. We had made plans to meet up with a friend that lives near here. He was picking us up and taking us to eat.
We did some driving around then went to a place called Genghis Grill. You fill a bowl with raw foods then take it to the grill and go to your table. After its cooked they bring it to you. But to make sure that you get the correct food they write your name and table # on a tag. 
Phil handed his bowl and said, "I'm Phil." 
Bill handed his bowl and said, "I'm Bill." 
So when it was my turn, I handed my bowl and said, "I'm Jill."
It was funny but it was even more funny when they brought the food,
"You're Bill?" Sat bowl, "You're Phil?" Sat bowl, "And you're Jill?" Hahaha. Good times.
We did some more driving and then he brought us home. He showed us the church he was going to the next day.
We had made plans to meet him at church the next day.
On Sunday we drove to the church in time for Sunday school. 
It was a good Sunday school class and nice service. 
After church we went to eat again. This time, Bob Evans. Bill's order got messed up so he had to re-order. The waitress gave him his meal free including dessert because of the mess up. 
Phil drove us to a post office so I could mail some letters. Then brought us back to our truck. I spent the afternoon getting groceries and cleaning the truck. 
We watched a movie and now plan to watch the pro bowl on tv.
No load prospects yet. I sure hope that our work picks up now that it will begin a new month.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter has arrived

This is the County Courthouse of Greene County in Xenia, OH.

My very good friend, Barbara, sporting her face mask that I sent to her.

Bill and I got into the cold weather.  The temps began to drop rapidly. We had looked ahead and tried to stay in the warmer temps until the last minute. We put fuel conditioner into our tanks to keep our fuel from gelling. We ran our bunk heater and opened the cabinet door where our water tank is to allow heat inside. We made sure our winter parkas, hats, gloves and warm shoes were handy. 
We live where you learn to be prepared for anything in the winter so we know. 
I am so glad that we planned ahead. The temps got down to -29 degrees, and for most of the day the average was -11. We never saw the temps rise above 0 degrees until near sunset, then they fell again.
We saw many many trucks sitting along the highways with their hoods up. I'm guessing they had frozen fuel. Oh, what a horrible situation in which to find yourself. Frozen fuel means that you can't move your truck and you have no heat. Diesel fuel will gel easily in cold weather.
We survived well. We were warm, as long as we stayed inside. Our water did not freeze. We had a nice warm meal cooked in the crockpot. 
We made our delivery, another pickup and we are now heading to somewhat warmer temperatures.
I did feel really bad for all those truck drivers that were stranded in the cold. I wonder why they did not think to prepare for the cold. Maybe they didn't look at the weather forecast. Or maybe they just didn't think it would happen to them. I don't know.
But all of that reminded me of the Bible parable of the 10 virgins.
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. ' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:1-13 NASB)
Being ready and prepared is the key. Would you want to be found unprepared?

This is one of our "loads." Lol

A little less than 200 miles to get to our destination and we have a flat tire, on the front. So we aren't going anywhere for a little while. 
We make some calls and someone tells us that they will come right away. 
We have 6 1/2 hours to make our delivery today, otherwise it will hold over until tomorrow. 
So, let's think this out... The service tech will locate a tire of the right size and load it onto his truck. Then he will gather any tools he might need. Maybe he better go to the bathroom before leaving the garage. And oh yeah, better grab a cup of coffee to keep warm. It is only 7 degrees. Maybe he better run back in and grab his other gloves and another jacket, only he doesn't run. He walks, slowly, after all he's not really awake yet at 7:55 am.
Now he has to drive to the place on the turnpike where we are. 
Our truck must be jacked up, the old, very frozen, blown out tire must come off. He gets out all his tools, he gets out a piece of cardboard to kneel on. He decides to put on the second coat. He climbs up on the back of his truck to get our new, very heavy tire down and closer to our truck.
He must have said his prayers and be living right because everything went smoothly (how often does that happen?)
Our tire is off, now he removes the bad tire from the rim. It takes a sledge hammer. Can you imagine the shock of each hit on your cold arms and shoulders? The tire is off the rim. He rolls it to his truck, picks it up and tosses it onto his truck. 
The new tire is on the rim and he airs it up.
It is going onto our truck. 
I feel the jack lower us.
Now he begins to gather his tools and put them back into his truck.
Then he comes to us for payment. We give him our credit card and he has to go do our paperwork and run the credit card. 
After a while he returns for us to sign the receipt. 
We talk a moment but I see icicles in his mustache. He returns to his truck and drives away. 
We now have 4 1/2 hours to drive 200 miles and make our delivery in downtown DC, just 2 blocks from the Capitol Building. 
Ugh! We would be cutting it close. 
You see, as most of you know, my husband and I are truck drivers. We drive for FedEx but more specifically, Custom Critical. Our freight is always something very important that has a very critical time frame for delivery, think: donated organs, very needed medications, we even delivered a machine that keeps a heart alive outside a body during surgery just minutes before the scheduled surgery. The surgeon was waiting on the docks as we backed in. 
Anyway, we are always in a hurry. A big hurry! So we were chomping at the bit, so to speak.
The tire man was faster than what we thought he would be but his timing was different than ours. We were just customer #1 of his long, cold day. 
Do you understand what I'm getting at? 
All of this reminds me of 2 Peter 3:8-9. God's timing is different than ours. Sometimes we get so anticipatory that we want Him to come for us right now. We long to go home. 
But we are child # ??? In God's eyes. He wants all to long to go home with Him. So he is patient. He waits. He's not in a hurry.
But one day, that day will come. It will. 
I can hardly wait.
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
2 Peter 3:8-9 ESV

This is a sonogram picture of our grandson, Mason's foot. He is grasping his big toe. 

Bill and I had 3 loads this week which is one more than the past two weeks. Our last load now leaves us sitting near Atlanta, GA. 
It has been pouring down rain here and the temps are in the 40s. Most of the eastern half of the United States is bracing for a massive winter storm. 
I am watching the posts on Facebook as schools are getting out early, it is snowing a little already here and ice has begun there, stores are selling out of bread, milk, eggs and water. 
Forecasters are predicting 1 inch to 3 feet depending on where you live. This storm is dominating everyone's minds. 
Well, it interferes with our plans. It changes our routines. We may have to alter how we do things.
Bill and I are no different. We have scanned the nations weather. We have to know where or where not to go when accepting a load. 
We already went to the grocery store instead of waiting until Sunday as usual. 
We have a church already picked out in case we are still here and have already contacted them and heard back.
We have several unwatched movies waiting to be viewed.
Our tv reception has been tested and we are set for watching football. 
We are hunkered down. It is supposed to snow 1-3 inches here during the night. It will probably be gone by the time we wake up. 
It is a little amusing seeing what people do to prepare for the storm, a storm that will come and be gone in just a few days.
Jesus is coming! 
What are you doing to prepare for that? When He comes it will change everything for ever. When He appears in the sky, eternity begins. There will be no more preparation, no more planning, no more getting ready, and no hunkering down. 
"Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel." (Amos 4:12 NASB)
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB)
Lord, help me to always be watching and waiting for You to return. I pray that you send those to me that will encourage me to remain fixed in You. I thank you for Your word which is my forecast and helps me to know to stay alert and ready. Lord, I long for the day when You come and we go home with You. 
In the meantime, use me as your instrument to help others to be ready and watching. 

So the Blizzard known as Jonas has hit 1 out of every 4 citizens of the United States. The eastern half of the nation was crippled by snow, winds and flooding. 
Pops and I are in Atlanta, GA. We did see a little snow, but a lot of rain. 
Here are some shots of my family.
This is our son Tom, playing after the shoveling was finished.

Tom and Sophia

This is Bill P. Shoveling his grandma's walk.

This is my sister's car.
There hasn't been much more to talk about other than the storm. Bill and I watched a live stream service this morning. We have been not being able to find or get to churches lately so we have been following Crossroads Christian Church's series: What If? Today was titled, No ifs, ands, or buts. It was from Romans 8:35-39
We have been blessed by this series. But we are really missing the interactions with other believers. I sure hope that it soon works out that way for us. But we are very thankful for the technology that allows us to be fed even when we can't literally be there.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Slow, frustration

At the start of the week we are both now a whole week of 3+ miles each day. That feels good. It was a cold week, but we are headed to southern Florida for our first trip of the week.

Remember this picture from last week? Well, this week was brighter and you could see the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building.

Some other sites

Pops and I each got our 3 + miles today. On our very lap around the South Carolina welcome center we saw a straw gray cat that looked pretty cold.
In our second lap I stopped at the truck and grabbed a pouch of tuna.
As soon as I dumped the tuna for the cat, there emerged a yellow cat from out of the culvert, followed closely by a black and white one.

Our delivery was in St Petersburg, Fl. The weather was sunny and the temps were mild and warmed up nicely throughout the day.
After delivering we crossed back over Tampa Bay. Just as we got to the other side we got another load picking up in St. Petersburg and going to Virginia. So we turned around and crossed the bay again for the third time in the past 2 hours.
Our delivery left us in southern Virginia. We waited throughout that day and into the next afternoon with no load. 
So we drove into North Carolina hoping to do better.

These cow pictures got over 1000 views on our Facebook page.

Bill and I ran hard on Monday, Tuesday and into Wednesday. But then we stalled out. We had 3 loads cancel on us. We have sat without working since then. It isn't easy to sit and not work when the whole point of being on the road is to haul loads. 
Two of the loads that cancelled on us were headed to Texas, our favorite place. So our excitement soared then plummeted as we got the load and lost the load within minutes, twice.
I felt like a mouse in the paws of a cat. 
And although our cab is super and much bigger than most trucks, it feels pretty small after a few hours of being in it with another person who may or may not be feeling pleasant. And it was pouring down rain, so neither of us could even get out and go for a walk. 
Besides that we each have some other stuff that is eating away our emotional health. 
We watched movies and more movies. We played games on our IPads. 
We made the best of it. We love and understand each other. So we both know when and what and how to speak to each other when circumstances are like this. Can you imagine spending 24/7 with your marriage partner, the only time you are apart is when you go to the bathroom? I am not trying to be unpleasant, just honest.
So Saturday a load came, picking up in North Carolina and going to northern Wisconsin. It is winter there. It IS January. The temperatures are -7 degrees. And it could snow. When it snows there, it could be feet.
Do we want the load? 
No! I don't. I don't. I do not want to go THERE. I want to go to Texas. Please, send us to Texas.
Then I hear Bill say, "We have no choice. We have to work."
I know this. My head knows this. But I don't want to be cold, drive in the snow, or run over the weekend. Oh, well, like he said we have no choice, it's our job.

We are created to move. We are not meant to stay still or remain idle. Yet often when told to go, we are reluctant for what reason. 
Yet very often, those that go are the very ones that find favor with The Lord. 
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; (Genesis 12:1 NASB)
"Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." (Jonah 1:2 NASB)
Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-14 NASB)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NASB)

Lord, I hope and pray that wherever I am that I can be used by You in some way. And help me to trust that wherever I am is exactly where You would have me to be as long as I am obedient to You and Your word. 

So, once again because of running over the weekend, we didn't get to go to church. But we did stop for an hour for our break and watched the live stream from Crossroads Christian Church. He is preaching a series of sermons from Mark Batterson's book, If. We heard his message last week and again today. It was really good. I might have to buy the book.
Right now we are in Indiana and the temperature is already -4 degrees. We cannot dare shut our truck down or stop for very long. I sure hope our fuel doesn't gel. 
After we deliver in the morning near Green Bay, we will head west to Minneapolis for a pickup going back to the east coast.
Pray for us.