Independence Day is two weeks away. But recently, our emblem of freedom and promise – the American Flag – has come under attack, along with other foundational American icons and ideals. From COVID-19 to protests and riots, we find ourselves in fragile times. We know it can’t go on much longer like this. And we leave the solutions to prayer and support for those fighting for righteousness on the front lines of this culture war.
This blog is not about getting caught up in the inflamed rhetoric and ideologies of America’s current identity crisis. It’s not about racial divisions or the struggle to reestablish her unique foundations.
It’s simply a celebration of Old Glory.
Hoist her High, Let Her Fly
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies’ independence from the British monarchy. It was a war hard won. The flag they chose would represent each of the fledgling states in their new life of freedom.
As the annual date of the founding of our nation nears, we at Lake Fork Providence RV Park want to celebrate the history of our flag.
To remind, and be reminded, of its glorious past.
That Americans are willing to fight for its preservation and for the republic for which it stands. One nation, under God.
We are thankful to live in this great country. Land of the free, and home of the brave.
The flag of the United States of America has gone through 27 different iterations since its start. The very first flag was the Grand Union Flag, which made its appearance at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.
Old Glory’s Big Brother: The Gadsden Flag
Continental Marines from Philadelphia were later seen carrying yellow drums emblazoned with a fierce rattlesnake. It was coiled and ready to strike, with thirteen rattles, sporting the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.” That motto became part of the Gadsden flag. it was created by General Christopher Gadsden, leader of the Sons of Liberty in South Carolina.
The flag’s symbolism was detailed by Gadsden’s friend and colleague, Benjamin Franklin:
- The Rattlesnake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America
- The rattlesnake also has sharp eyes, and “may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance”
- She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage
- The rattle = the number of the Colonies united in America
Heavens to Betsy
Betsy Ross lost two husbands to the Revolutionary War. Despite her tragic losses, she was a strong woman, and continued on alone with her upholstery business. She often shared with friends and relatives that day, late in May of 1776, when three members of a secret committee from the Continental Congress came to call.
Those representatives were George Washington, Robert Morris (purportedly the wealthiest citizen and landowner of that day) and Colonel George Ross (uncle of her late husband John) who asked her to sew the first American flag for the brand new country.
The Declaration of Independence was read aloud for the first time in July at Independence Hall. The tolling of “liberty bells” was part of the citywide celebration.
Until that time, colonies and militias had used many different flags. From variations of the Gadsden to the simple yet profound Liberty Tree flag used by Washington’s first squadron of seven Navy cruisers.
Also known as the Liberty Tree flag, it sometimes stated “An Appeal to God”
The following year, on June 14, 1777, Congress passed a resolution. It declared the flag of the United States “be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
We Have a Winner
Today’s flag of the United States of America, with its 50 stars and 13 stripes, was created in 1958. It was designed by 17-year-old high school student, Robert G. Heft, of Lancaster, Ohio. Heft had only received a B- for his sewing project, but it was his design that President Dwight D. Eisenhower chose out of 1,500 entries. Heft’s teacher raised his grade after his American flag design won the contest.
There are many reasons to love our flag and its history. Sadly, many citizens don’t realize the precious cost of every stripe and star.
We lift up an Appeal to Heaven, and pray to see unity restored among the people in these tumultuous times. Our hope is that righteousness will prevail once more. And that it will bring peace and joy to the hearts of our countrymen and women.
June is National Camping Month, and the timing couldn’t be better! People are itching to get out of their houses and back into nature following the quarantine. Accuweather just came out with a report about the post lockdown RV rental boom.
America may be taking its time reopening, but you can bet Lake Fork Providence RV Park is open and ready to help you celebrate your freedom!
Meanwhile, let’s celebrate National Camping Month by looking at a few RV fun facts. Did you know…
The first motorized RV showed up in 1910
The RV life gained plenty of fans right from the start. It grew in popularity and upgrades quickly. Back then, it was considered a luxury to be able to hit the road with your comforts and conveniences.
In use for over a decade, the very first motor home was built from a 3 ton Packard truck. It was 28 feet long by 6 1/2 feet wide, slept 11 and had an icebox, toilet, and sitting area.
The average RV owner is age 49, married, owns a home, and has household income of $68,000.
Move over, Boomers! RV owners come from every demographic, but the median age gets lower and the income steadily gets higher as each generation finds their niche in the RV lifestyle. The fastest growing group of RV owners is people aged 35 to 44 years old.
RV Vacations can save a family of four 23-59%
Take your pets and conveniences with you AND save big! A recent survey found that for a family of four, traveling by RV on vacation can save them 23 to 59 percent on their vacation costs.
So, what are you waiting for?
National Camping Month is the perfect time to explore your RV options. We just might be the answer to your weekend, weekly, or annual part time or full time dreams. Make plans to come visit and check out Providence, the premier part time and long term RV park in the Lake Fork area. You’ll love our location a half mile to the lake, our trees, and our secure, gated community.
Come for the fishing, come for the boating and water sports, come for the camping. Come for the local antiquing and blueberry picking.
Just come! (See you soon!)
Remembering Our Heroes
Lake Fork Providence RV Park Takes this time to honor our fallen service men and women. We invite you to visit the Poppy Wall of Honor (see our FaceBook page) where you can honor them, too! Have a safe and reflective Memorial Day.
USAA created its first-ever Snapchat augmented reality lens just in time for Memorial Day. The company, which serves military members and their families, will honor the lives of fallen military members via AR.
From Washington, D.C. to Your Smart Phone
This brings its annual Poppy Wall of Honor experience from its physical location on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to Snapchatters’ phones. There is also a dedicated website.
Poppy Wall of Honor pays tribute to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending the U.S.. Once Snapchatters dedicate poppies, they will be added to the digital memorial.
The Poppy Wall of Honor campaign was inspired by World War I poem “In Flanders Fields.” USAA noted that the poppy has been an international symbol of remembrance since 1920.
A Snapchat First
The Poppy Wall of Honor has come to the National Mall for the past two years. It enables visitors to learn more about the more than 645,000 military service members who lost their lives in conflicts.
How it works: Snapchat users go to selfie mode. They will see the poppies from the wall bloom and transform into a single poppy on their lapel. This is their symbol of remembrance for fallen service members.
From David Cohen, Social Pro Daily:
“…This Memorial Day, even as we remain physically separated, we ask our country to come together as they do every year and honor the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend the freedoms we hold dear.” – USAA CEO Wayne Peacock
Out here in east Texas we are blessed to enjoy a relaxed version of the COVID-19 quarantine, especially compared to our family and friends in metro area lockdowns. And perfect timing, as we are also appreciating spring in all her lush, green glory. Once restrictions are lifted in your local town or suburb, come visit us. See why Lake Fork Providence RV Park is a premier destination for boating, fishing, and other RV adventurers. Check out our life in the woods. You may decide you never want to leave!
Perfect day for a walk
Whatever turns your road may be taking, we can add beauty and stress free living for a longer, better quality lifestyle. If you missed our “Health Benefits of Forest Bathing” series, check it out for a whole list of reasons to love our trees.
The delicate butterflies are fluttering by…
April Spotlight: Debbie Snyder
One of our more recent additions to the Providence community is California import Debbie Snyder. A petite lady with a big heart, Debbie loves music, sewing, and outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and backpacking. And, of course, caring for her adorable pets.
We always love to hear about the journeys of our residents, so we chatted with Debbie about her transition from house to RV, and from California to Texas.
“I lived in Riverside from about age 12,” she shares. “California is very different weather wise from Texas, so I’ve been adjusting to the colder winters. California winters usually stayed about 50 degrees, only dropping down to around 40 degrees. So after my first winter here, I’ve added a few more jackets and fleece hoodies to my wardrobe. I’ll be ready for next winter!
Everything is Bigger (and Louder!) in Texas
“And I do have to say we never had the spectacular thunderstorms out west like Texas has. I love them, but my pups are still trying to figure out what those crazy loud booming noises are.”
I asked Debbie what she missed the most about her house and her prior lifestyle. She said she did miss her yard. We have a wonderful “back forty” behind us where pups love to play, but having a secure, small yard is great when you don’t want to supervise.
She also shares that she has learned how to organize her space like a pro. While downsizing and preparing for her move, she sold all her furniture, and every knickknack she owned. She enjoys the minimalist approach RV life has given her.
Corky and Willow out for a stroll on a gorgeous morning
Nature’s Soundtrack for her New Life
Of course, we can’t end the spotlight interview without asking what she loves about Providence RV Park (because there’s ALWAYS something to love!).
She smiles and says her panoramic view of the towering trees is probably her favorite part of this new life, followed by the peaceful and laid back atmosphere at the park. The relaxing sounds of the birds make her list as well, and being away from the hustle and bustle of busier towns with their traffic and noise. Peace, woods, birds, quiet, ahhhh.
For someone who has always loved camping and the outdoors, Debbie says it’s fitting for her to retire to a life in the woods out in God’s country. And she’s happy to share her space with her furry companions.
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forest s are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
In this last of our “why you should be forest bathing” themed blogs, let’s look at a few more reasons why we should appreciate the trees in our lives.
Have a Heart for our Tall, Green Friends
The latest from the scientific community is the recent discovery that trees have a “heartbeat,” or distinct but barely detectable pulsing mechanism.The pulsing is believed to act in the same fashion as a heart, pumping the necessary water and nutrients from roots to leaves.
And speaking of water, anti-cancer terpenes (the main active in essential oils) are most dense right after it rains. They swirl around in the woodsy air, just waiting for you to come in and breathe deeply!
We discussed the many health benefits in the first two blogs, but there’s more to trees and plants than most people realize.
Can Plants be Trained?
Australian ecologist Monica Gagliano has conducted several studies proving that plants can be trained. Similar to Pavlov’s dog that salivated at the bell even without food, Gagliano and her team used light (reward) and airflow (conditioning agent). They found that the plants would grow toward a fan that was initially lit even later when the light was removed.
But that is barely scratching the surface.
The Power of Words
A fascinating experiment by IKEA UAE focused on the effects of words on plants. Placing two Dracaenas at a school, they gave the exact same water, sunlight and fertilizer to the plants, but each received a different looped voice recording. One played constant verbal compliments, and the other verbal threats and bullying words. The children were told to speak their own positive and negative words to match the recordings.
This is what the plants looked like after a month:
Sticks and stones may break bones – but, it turns out – words can ALSO harm you. Guess which plant got bullied?
Plants Have Feelings, Too
Another experiment (by Mythbusters) amazed the program staff. It showed that plants have primary perception, reacting to negative thoughts and emotions. Other studies have shown memory of those who hit or abused them when tracked on a polygraph machine.
So what are we saying here?
One thought might be that we are probably missing so much in our world by moving too fast. Hopefully, the silver lining of the current national quarantine is learning to slow down. A second would be that words and thoughts have great power. Pay more attention to what you are thinking and speaking.
But mainly, we are reminded that our God is a BIG God, and has created an amazingly complex world for us to enjoy. Accept the invitation to explore it. One way is to plan a visit to east Texas (once the quarantine is finished, of course!) and sample a little forest bathing here at Lake Fork Providence RV Park. What do you have to lose, except for some stress and maybe a few aches and pains?
And hey, you might even make a friend while you’re chatting with the oaks and pines.
Lots of Trees = Strong Immune System
In the last blog, we discussed the amazing benefits of forest bathing, or spending time in the woods. You’ll find a wealth of health there, including stress hormone reduction, 30% average energy increase, improved sleep, and a cardiovascular health boost. Phytoncides (essential tree oils) are found in forest air, especially pine trees and cypress, and activate the immune system’s natural killer cells.
Americans typically spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, according to an EPA study. And right now–for those in many metro areas–it’s 100% due to COVID-19. Yikes!
Indoor natural pollutants like radon, molds, and pet dander can be 2-5 times higher than outdoors, and that’s not even including the toxicity of typical cleaning solutions, pesticides and chemical off gassing of man-made furnishing materials. Not the ideal atmosphere for a long, healthy life.
The contrast between unhealthy indoor air and immune boosting woodsy air has never been greater. No wonder forest bathing is gaining so many fans.
Use the Downtime to Plan a Healthier Future
With the Corona Virus bringing life to a screeching halt, many people have been forced to change their habits. Hand sanitizer and social distancing are great tools to “flatten the curve” and shorten the pandemic’s reign of fear.
But this is also a great time look at your entire health picture, starting with lifestyle. Is it time to add visits to the country? Are you ready for a few tweaks or changes to improve your health and quality of life? Or maybe even a new chapter, choosing to view life from your own home on wheels? The silver lining of any crisis is that through processing it, doors often open to new possibilities.
Don’t Wait until the Next Crisis
Many people do not truly explore the many options open to them regarding health and general lifestyle choices until a crisis occurs. Options like extended stays or full time living in beautiful wooded surroundings like Lake Fork’s Providence RV Park in east Texas.
There are still a few spots open, so start your new health plan with a visit to Providence for some forest bathing once the quarantine lifts.
Talk to others who’ve already discovered the value of breathing in pure country air, and enjoying acres of lush, health giving trees and foliage.
Who wouldn’t want to live longer, and with better quality of life?
It’s easier than you think!
Into the Woods
The woods can be a scary place to a kid. It’s a world of its own—dense, wild, and filled with hidden things.
But once you’re an adult, (and stop reading fairy tales), you realize the woods can be a fascinating place. Walks through the woods make for special moments. A rare glimpse of wildlife, an unexpected patch of berries, or dramatic rays of sunlight pouring in on a wooded path can be breathtaking. Wildflowers can chase any leftover stress from a long day or week right out of your world.
But aside from its beauty, did you know the woods holds important benefits for human health?
Trees are not just great for stress release, but several studies have shown they help our immune systems in measurable and direct ways.
Forest Bathing: Grab Your Rubber Ducky and Head for the Woods
Forest Bathing is a thing. Really.
In 2006, Japanese researchers from Nippon Medical School published a study that confirmed the powerful effect trees have on our immune systems.
If you live in a tree-rich environment, or visit one regularly, you inhale all kinds of substances that build up your Natural Killer Cells, making them more effective and aggressive. They go into turbocharge mode eliminating viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.
It’s a natural medicinal bath!
And the east Texas piney woods are the best. Spectacular benefits have long been associated with pines. From antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, to hormone support and free radical scavenging.
You take a dose of anti-aging goodness with every breath.
It’s Never too Late to Turn Back the Clock
So start thinking about aging well. About surrounding yourself with nature to take advantage of all the powerful health benefits placed in this world for you by your Creator.
There are plenty of ways to kick stress to the door, but waking up to the beauty of the woods outside your window is the best. Enjoy your coffee along with a relaxing forest bath.
So come check out Providence RV Park in Lake Fork, east Texas. Come for the fishing, the boating, the berry picking, the walking, the relaxing.
Or come to discover your anti-aging and health benefits waiting in the woods.
Donny Moore, one of our full-time residents at Lake Fork Providence RV Park, bought his Thor ACE motor home a few years ago for workamping purposes (and for you pet lovers, it is also known for its furbaby-friendly design).
Saying Yes to New Adventures
Donny enjoys some downtime
Donny’s son was headed to Oregon for a new entrepreneurial venture, and Donny wanted to help him get established. He decided, however, that he didn’t want to commit to living in Oregon with family back here in Texas. So, he purchased his Class A motor home, and headed northwest.
Buying an RV turned out to be the best way to go. His son’s job situation didn’t pan out the way they had hoped, and he ultimately chose to return to Texas.
With his new home on wheels, Donny could now live anywhere he wanted, for as long as he wanted. Of course, he picked Providence! Why? “I loved the security of a gated community, along with the trees, and the relaxing, spacious feel of the park,” he says.
Maddie, his 14 year old miniature Yorkie, agrees. She’s been his little sidekick for years, and loves taking strolls with him around the park. She also loves being pampered, and has Donny wrapped around her little dew claw.
Lady Maddie, who clearly thinks life is one big spa treatment…
Donny owned a grocery store for a couple years, then got into the antique business with two shops. These days, his unique finds can be found in Tyler’s famous Ye Olde City Antique Mall. Look for his company, Love Antiques n Auctions, and say hello.
The place to go antiquing on a sunny Texas day
The Art of Downsizing
As one of the managers for Providence RV Park, I asked Donny how hard it was for him to downsize when he first moved into his 30′ motor home. He just laughed. “It isn’t hard for men. It’s only hard for women. Women are too attached to their stuff.”
It was my turn to laugh. Why? Because when I moved into my own RV, I read every article and blog I could find on the subject, and “downsized” as well as I could, then put the remainder of my things into storage. Like, um, THREE storage units. Yeah. He’s on to something there.
Donny’s best advice when you’re looking for the perfect RV is to treat the deal like you are buying a car. Shop around for the best price, and don’t forget the importance of their customer service department. Look for reviews and check on their reputation. After the sale, it’s just you and them, and you need to know they will be responsive.
And when you’ve found the perfect RV, come to Lake Fork Providence RV Park, where you’ll find the perfect spot for your perfect home.
Get started right with Mary Jane’s guide to Glamping
The world of glamping (glamour camping) is exploding right now, and happens to be the star of our second half of The New American Dream. In part 1, we discussed workamping (work camping or working from the road) and how it suits the changing needs for many who are growing out of the suburban lifestyle. Mobile freedom is the new prize for living well.
Living Without the Stuff
Many homes have basements, attics, and garages–great places to accumulate and store everything needed to go with the traditional family package. Unfortunately, we often wake up one day to discover the unhappy truth that we do not own all this stuff — it owns us. At one time, each item had its purpose. But now, decades later, lifestyle and priority changes are causing an entire generation to reflect and recalibrate.
How did we get all this stuff? Are there things just sitting that others can be using? Is it time for a lifestyle inventory?
The Cost of Stuff
Somewhere between starter homes and retirement homes, we are discovering that rooms of clutter and boxes of stuff have limited us. Weighed us down. Cost us money, time, and energy spent maintaining and upgrading (and sometimes just LOOKING for) our stuff. We’ve realized that instead of making our world fuller, too often it has actually made it smaller. Our focus turned inward where we had everything we needed. We settled for living life vicariously through characters and scenes on our flat screen TVs, forgetting there was a big, beautiful world outside waiting to be explored.
Enter the RV lifestyle. By scaling down and hitting the road, you can choose any number of RV options. You can move into a full-time long term RV Park as your home base (Providence RV Park, situated in the east Texas piney woods near Lake Fork, has everything from weekender options to annual part time and full time). You may find you love the woods so much you don’t want to roam beyond it. Or you can unhook and take off to visit places you’ve always wanted to visit but without the hassle of having to book and pay for hotel rooms.
The more adventurous enjoy the idea of boondocking, or going off the beaten path to exotic locales. In exchange for often breathtaking views, they don’t mind foregoing the basic comforts of being able to “plug in” to electric and sewer facilities typically available at more permanent locations.
Glamping: the Best of All Worlds
But what about those who have a luxury mindset they can’t bear to leave behind as they head out to the wild blue yonder? Or those wanting to enjoy nature’s stunning views while surrounding themselves with at least SOME of the comforts of home? Yes, glamping is for the Eva Gabors in life who shudder at the thought of roughing it, even for a brief stint. You can glamp in tents, yurts, treehouses, tipis, and–of course–RVs. The point is to make your experience the most memorable ever.
Naturally Elegant Yurt
RVs are easy to glamp up…all you need is money!
To some, that means bringing your Edison string lights, a bottle of wine and a Coleman queen size air cot with goose down duvet to outfit your tent. To others, it means booking a romantic treehouse “hotel” room to get you up, up, and away from it all. If you’re anywhere near the DFW area in Texas, check out Grandview Treetops. You can nest in private luxury for a weekend or so high above a working ranch and raw goat dairy on 95 acres with trails and plenty of room to hike. Or not.
So check out the glitzy world of glamping with plenty of guides, directories and how-to manuals like Mary Jane Butters’ guide on Amazon. There are so many possibilities out there. Consider catching up on all the life you may have missed. You know, while you were looking for your stuff.
Birds eye view of a sun drenched Texas morning! (Grandview, Texas)
The Resort at Paws Up (Greenough, Montana): The only tent in town with A/C, hardwood floors and heated bathroom flooring!
One of several Treehouse Point options starting from $120 per night (Issaquah, Washington)
There was a time when the suburban split level with a white picket fence represented the American dream. Those chasing after it were usually from cities and urban areas, looking to escape the smog and gridlock for a better place to raise their 2.4 children. (We’ll save the question of what life was like for the poor .4 child for another time.)
The dream included a yard with perfectly trimmed hedges, a devoted dog to play and fetch, a lawn with no dandelions, and plenty of room to grow. Most would upgrade to bigger homes with bigger lawns, and more responsibilities as families expanded.
The American Dream Grows Up
The American Dream has changed a lot since the 50s. Many of the Boomers—once intent on escaping to the suburbs to grow their families and flower beds—now stand at a new juncture. With the kids gone and too much house left, big mortgages and daily upkeep no longer make sense. The new longing is to pare down, to focus on the important things in life before too much more of it gets lost in the daily grind.
Instead of expansion, now it’s about lightening the load. Forget keeping up with the Joneses—now it’s about keeping up with your own changing priorities.
Mobility and freedom are the new status symbols.
Workamping: The Best of all Worlds?
Workamping may be the new American Dream for many interested in RV living. The concept actually has its own patent! According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: “Workampers are adventuresome individuals and couples who have chosen a wonderful lifestyle that combines any kind of part-time or full-time work with RV camping.” Some workampers operate their own businesses. Others work part-time, while still others are able to transfer current full-time jobs without skipping a beat. Some work seasonally, others year-round. Workampers include government workers, teachers, writers, musicians, corporate field reps, hunting, fishing, & tourism industry workers, and even non-profit volunteers. There are free sites that connect RVers with jobs for those itching to get away from it all, but needing to continue working at the same time.
Providence Works For Everyone
Here at Providence RV Park, our tenants span a wide array of professions and ages. Several school teachers and a concessions entrepreneur (Canton Trade Days is the world’s largest flea market) call Providence home. We also have a retired rocket scientist (yes, Virginia, there really ARE rocket scientists among us 😊), a marketing rep, government employees, and a writer all living full time here. Our part time tenants include a construction company exec, a retired colonel and other retired (but still quite active) folks who come for the water sports and trophy bass fishing at Lake Fork. Weekenders who come in for the tournaments enjoy the secure yet fast and easy access to activities.
From Workamping to Glamping
Join us next time, when we will look at the upper crust segment of the RV world, known as the glampers (glamorous campers). Proof that amenities and comforts DO have a place out in the wild. Or, at least, SOME folks think so.