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Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

A Neophyte’s View of the RV World

I am a rank amateur when it comes to the recreational vehicle world, but here are a few experiences and observations that might whet the curiosity of those who have no experience at all.  If you do have a lot of experience, please write your corrections in the comments.

There is tremendous variation among recreational vehicles:  From small trailers with barely enough room to sleep in, to 19 or 20 foot sizes, to bus-sized vehicles.  Some RVs are towed, others, even very large ones, are driven independently.  And the independent ones sometimes tow a regular automobile, so that the users have a small vehicle available, exclusively for driving use, instead of for habitation.  We have even seen a truck towing a “fifth wheeler” RV and a “toy hauler” (a trailer that might contain a racing car, motorcycle(s), dune buggies, or similar items).  Many trailers, campers, or large RVs have pop-up roofs and/or “slide-outs” (sections that slide horizontally out of the RV to create more living space).  We were totally impressed once at a U.S. Forest Service campground near Oroville, California, as we watched the driver of a 30-to-40 foot RV back his vehicle (with the help of family) into a barely big enough camp site, AND he did it in such a way that the slide-outs were not blocked by the large surrounding pine trees.

The culture of the RV world is fascinating.  People come from all walks of life.  You can meet many interesting people, once you get them talking.  I always want to ask them, “Where are you from?”, and they are literally from all over the world.  At our most recent rental experience in California, there were four or five groups from Europe waiting to rent their RV.   Apparently they fly to the U.S., have a taxi bring them from the airport or their hotel to the rental location, and go on their vacation!  The rental companies charge them an extra fee to stock the RV with bedding, linens, cookware, dishware and utensils.  And at a recent campsite, our next-door neighbors spoke Japanese.

Reasons people have RVs:  Some rent temporarily for vacations, some buy for the same reason, or to live in continuously as a home.  We met a group of six who had flown from upstate New York to Las Vegas, Nevada, rented an RV, then drove up to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, to stay for two nights only.  On the other side of us at the same campsite, we met a couple whose RV was their main home.  They had sold their house, most of their possessions, and bought a thirty-five to forty-foot RV to use as a home.  We have met several couples like this, and they often use one of their children’s addresses as their permanent address.  A variation on this theme is people who are campground hosts, living in their RV all or part of the year at a campground at which they provide help and information to visiting campers, in exchange for a rent-free campsite.  Other families use RVs for vacations only, whether they rent or own.  And, we know of a family of seven who live out of their RV while traveling on their Christian ministry, home-schooling their children.  They have a bus-sized RV.

We once spoke briefly with a small family (mom, dad, and two small children) in Winnemucca, Nevada, who had a tear-drop shaped trailer.  The tear-drop shape is aerodynamic for towing, with the large side of the tear drop towards the front.  But when you park it, some models let you tilt the short side of the tear drop up, stand up inside, and convert the table to a bed for the kids, along with having an adult bed.  Some tear-drop trailers have kitchens, either inside or outside.  The tear-drops can have a heater and air conditioner, and some even have a shower inside.  As with many RV styles, tear-drop trailers vary in size and features.

Problems you may have with an RV:  Sensor problems are the most common we’ve encountered.    Many RVs have, for example, holding tanks for human waste, and there will be a sensor light inside the RV that will show whether the holding tank is 1/3, 2/3 or near 3/3 full.  Soon after the 3/3 light comes on, you will need to “dump” your holding tank.  In this case it’s called the “black water” or “dark water” tank.  Well, if your sensor isn’t working, you have to guess how full the tank is.  If you misguess, you may have a toilet backup.  Or the gray water tank (for water contaminated by washing) may have a sensor problem.  With our last two rentals, we’ve had problems with the tire pressure sensor, which is supposed to tell you if your tire pressure is off.  In both cases, the tire pressure alarm(s) kept indicating low pressure (at almost every gas station), though usually when we checked the tire pressure, it was fine.

Valves for the holding tanks can come loose, and if you forget to check those before dumping, you can have spillage of the gray or black water.  Needless to say, that can be nasty.  We had a small spillage once, diluted it with water, and the campground host eventually came by and threw kitty litter on it.

Here’s another interesting problem, a minor mystery we had:  For background, if your RV is not hooked up to city water, you have to use your vehicle’s stored fresh water and turn on your water pump.  At one point, we did have the city water hook-up connected, but from time to time, the water pump seemed to be turning itself on unnecessarily!  My husband ingeniously figured out that sometimes when we opened a cabinet near the water pump switch, it would bump the switch and turn it on.  That problem is a result of the small interior spaces some RVs have.

If you have a refrigerator in your RV, you will want your RV parked reasonably level, otherwise the refrigerator may not function, since it runs on propane.  Also, leveling will probably make life in your RV more comfortable, especially when sleeping.  (Many of us may recall that tent camping on a sloped campsite can be uncomfortable.)  The bigger RVs sometimes have leveling mechanisms attached to the RV.  Others use outside detached blocks for leveling.  And we learned that gray water backing up out of the shower drain can be because the RV is not level.

In short, the sizes, shapes, varieties, features and amenities of RVs are seemingly endless.  Be sure you learn how all the features work, especially those involved with your safety.  Then, enjoy your home away from home, or maybe your permanent home!

All the Difference

One life, Jesus’ life … has made all the difference.  Because of Him, we can have light instead of darkness, hope instead of despair, forgiveness instead of condemnation.

He was born in poverty, not riches. He was born without fame or popularity.  He was born to teach us how to give, not grab.

You, too, can make a difference by loving your neighbor and forgiving your enemies.

The Good Thief

One of the criminals, a thief, who was crucified with Jesus, said to him, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23:42)”.  Somehow he knew Jesus’ name and that Jesus had a kingdom!

Was Jesus that famous?  Did everyone in Jerusalem know about him?  Perhaps it was because of the sign above Jesus that Pilot had ordered placed there.  The sign declared, “Jesus, King of the Jews”.

In another gospel, it states that, “And the robbers who were crucified with [Jesus] also reviled him … (Matthew 27:44).”  Either the two gospels are inconsistent, or there was a transformation in one of the thieves.  He went from reviling Jesus, to, in effect, asking his forgiveness.  He realized his sin and that he deserved punishment, whereas Jesus was innocent (Luke 23:39-41).

It is interesting to imagine how “the good thief” came to this conclusion.  He may have known something about Jesus before the time of execution.  Or, perhaps observing how Jesus bore his own suffering, he realized that Jesus was not just a man, but God also.

It Hurts to Love

The cross of Christ is a paradox.  How can something so painful be good, and even holy?  Perhaps the more you love others, the more you will suffer.  Yes, there will be times of joy, but let’s face it:  often, it hurts to love.

Because you cared about others, but often they misunderstood you, or they felt threatened by your love, you suffered.  Or, you suffered when you saw your loved one suffering.  Or, you see their bad choices, but cannot make them change.  Then you must wait and pray and trust that God may change their hearts.

Selfless Love

Jesus, Mary and Joseph are amazing examples of selfless love  Even in the midst of great joy, grief, pain, or challenges, they thought of the welfare of others.

Mary, upon learning that she would conceive Jesus the Messiah, the son of God, went off to help her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child, though further along in her pregnancy.  At the wedding in Cana, Mary thought of the distress of a married couple running out of wine.  Mary also stood at the cross of Jesus when many had deserted Him.

We never hear Joseph, Mary’s husband, speak a word in the Bible.  But his actions speak loudly.  Like his namesake in the Old Testament, he was a dreamer, and as far as we know, he always obeyed God’s leading, which often came through dreams.  No matter the embarrassment (of Mary’s pregnancy), or inconvenience (having to travel long distances or pull up roots), he obeyed God and fulfilled his role as protector of Mary and Jesus.

Jesus, when he heard of his cousin John the Baptist’s beheading, went off to grieve privately, but when the crowds discovered His location, he had compassion on them and healed their diseases.  Later that day, he multiplied loaves and fishes to feed the crowd.  How often in our grief do we want to just curl up in a ball and pull the covers over our head?

While Jesus suffered excruciating pain on the cross, he still thought of us.  He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

When we have a vision of how God wants us to cooperate in His plan, we, too, can be selfless, through His grace!

Gifts and Talents

If I don’t have a realistic view of my gifts and talents, I won’t be able to develop them appropriately, and will fall short of the best I could be.  Perhaps I will have missed God’s best plan for me.

It’s Not About Me

Life is not about me.  It’s about God’s plan and my part in it.  I may not understand God’s plan, I may be dimly aware of it, but I need to trust in it, or more precisely, to trust in the One who has a plan for me.  And not only for me, but for every person on this planet.

Lord, may I be in harmony with your plan.

God Sees the Best in You

No matter who you are, God loves you.

No matter what mistakes you’ve made, God loves you.

No matter what you’ve failed in, God still believes in you.

If you think you’re a mess, if others think you’re a mess,

God sees the best in you; He see what you can become.

Never give up; turn to God.

Become His child and let Him love you.

Transformation of hurt and suffering

Someday, we might be able to see all our hurts, sufferings, and traumas

as TRANSFORMED miraculously into good,

if by God’s grace we’ve allowed Him to use these to bring us closer to Him.

This Just In!

This just in:

Many of us are scared little children running around in adult bodies.  The sooner we can recognize this, the better.

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