Is This the Year?

It’s 2020. We’ve got a brand new, shiny, “just off the presses” new year upon us. A blank slate, a winter white canvas just waiting to be filled up with plans, and perfect for those dreams and “someday” ideas you’ve been kicking around for years now.

So, is now the time? Is this the year you find freedom with a new RV?

What is Your RV Personality?

The RV life means so many different things, and that’s the way RVers like it.

Park it out in the woods or near a lake, and escape there on weekends and holidays. (Bonus: Providence RV Park offers you peace of mind with our gated community).

Use it a “hotel room on wheels” if you love to travel, or your job covers a lot of ground and you like the idea of taking the comforts of home with you. Recreation vehicles are typically 45% less expensive than a conventional hotel/air vacation.

For those into “workamping,” RVs mean you can work from anywhere and live a simpler, more stress free life.

Or take your camper on the road each year and “boondock” it where there are no hotels for miles, just gorgeous weather and breathtaking scenery.

And for those who discover they can’t imagine living anywhere else, full timing is the way to go to reap the benefits of daily, therapeutic doses of nature up close and personal.

Is This the Year of Freedom?

Over 1 million Americans live full time in their RVs. Some do it to escape mortgages and empty nests, others to spend less time on lawns and home upkeep and repairs. Honey-do lists are dramatically shortened, which means you can spend less time “doing,” and more time with Honey. And of course, many decide to go full time so they can choose where they want to live and for how long, without major upheaval when it’s time for a change of scenery.

Is This the Year to Live Your Dream?

You may have been thinking about an RV for a while now. Or maybe you’re just beginning to entertain the idea of getting more “mobile” in life. Either way, you will be delighted to learn that winter can often be the best time to buy–for many reasons–and east Texas is one of the best places to live in or park your new rig. With plenty of RV dealers, expos/shows and RV support, you’ll find the perfect match for the lifestyle that suits you best.

2020: Is This the Year of YOU?

Every year that ticks by is one that is lost forever. Just yesterday, it seems, we were discussing Y2K and whether our computers would turn on the next day. And here we are, 20 years later. Have you been living an adventure all this time? If not, it’s never too late to start.

Don’t spend your best years enslaved to a lifestyle that no longer works for you. Get out there and discover how far the RV world has come in structural, technological and comfort advances.

This could be your year to escape the urban pressure cooker, or the boring suburban sprawl.

 

 

 

This could be the year you look back on 20 years from now with a smile. Don’t let your adventure get away.

 

Providence RV Park

 

The Providence Lifestyle

There is No Better Place to Be…

…than tucked away in God’s providence. We talked a little about providence at Thanksgiving, and indeed, the entire end of year holiday season is filled with acknowledgment and gratefulness for God’s care, guidance, and provision for us. Which brings me to this question: Are you living the Providence Lifestyle?

The Israelites: A Picture of Providence Living

You might think we have come so far from the days of the ancient Israelites that there is little that we share as a people. But God’s guidance and care connect us. As we watch their desert wanderings and their victories (and defeats), they correlate precisely with their alignment with divine providence. When they allowed God to guide and instruct them, they were led to victory. When they broke away through sin and disobedience, they lost battles, they lost hope, and they lost their way.

The Israelites’ desert tents, or “sukkahs” are even similar to our RV lifestyle today, where we are closer to the elements. We are never over-insulated from whatever is going on outside our walls. It is a fantastic way to live, to be constantly reminded that He is the Lord of all creation. And we get to enjoy it with His blessings.

Reminders of His Loving Care

Christmas is at the very epicenter of God’s providence. Just think of it. He healed the fatal wound caused by humanity with part of Himself – by sending His beloved Son Jesus to rescue us from our hopeless state. He breathed life back into us as only He could do. The ultimate act of “care, guidance, and provision.”

We are reminded of this unspeakable gift each year every time we pass a nativity scene. Or receive a Christmas card (yes, people still do that!). Or watch a program on the wonders of a God Who would send His only child into a broken world to make it whole.

Life sized Creche in nearby Quitman

We are reminded when we hold a child or grandchild for the first time, that there is hope for this child’s eternal future only because of the far-reaching providence of our heavenly Father.

We are reminded when we go to the store and pass by the Salvation Army bell ringers that God often uses some of us to bless others of us. It’s His providence being shared among us.

 

 

The Providence Lifestyle

So the Providence Lifestyle is nothing more than accepting your personal invitation to live a life filled with constant awareness of how much God loves you and wants to help guide, care, and provide for you. We only limit Him when we choose to ignore His voice and His ways in favor of our own. Good ideas, or God ideas…can you guess which might make your life one you’d love to live?

Enjoy this week of Christmas fun, food and family, and never forget Who made it all possible. As it’s said every year, Jesus is the reason for the season.

But He’s also your personal invitation to live Christmas all year long.

Holiday Snapshots from Providence RV Park

Some more scenes from my strolls through our park. What a joy to slow down and breathe deep the woodsy pine air out here, and smile at the lovely pops of color and creativity. And remember why life is so good. As I said, there’s no better place to be than tucked away in God’s Providence (RV Park)!

 

Merry Christmas from all of us at Providence RV Park!

Providence RV Park: YOUR Happy Place?

It’s That Time of the Year…

…to find your happy place in the midst of holiday madness. As the Christmas holiday kicks into high gear, shoppers take over the highways, malls, and internet. The brisk, hustle-bustle atmosphere is an annual delight that can quickly turn into a joyless pressure cooker.

The schedule fills up with family gatherings and office parties, school and church plays and events, gift hunting trips and obligations of all shapes and sizes. Finances often spiral out of control. And the pressure to keep up with the crushing demands can ruin anyone’s Christmas spirit.

“There are moments,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, “when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.”

Everyone Needs A Happy Place

Christmas Providence RV Park

Serenity without…radiance within…our Mary knows how to pick out a tree!

It’s easier to navigate the stressful effects of holiday demands when you can balance it all out with planned escapes to your happy place. Do you have a happy place? A sanity retreat? A quiet respite in the country or woods where every care melts away near a lake or under a canopy of towering oaks and pines?

Henry David Thoreau spent two years living alone in a forest cabin near Walden Pond in Massachusetts. He knew the power of wooded serenity.

Out here at Providence RV Park, our residents know that unique tranquility, as well.

Let the Lights Shine

But escaping the metro congestion doesn’t mean we forget how to celebrate our favorite holidays and seasons.  Our residents have been busy dressing up their homes in sparkles and lights. They’ve be-ribboned posts, trees–anything that looks like it could use a touch of festive color.

Tara and Andy win Best Dressed RV

A stroll through the park reveals a gorgeously tall tree with elegant cream tones shining out through one window, while another home is decked out in beautiful lights and puffy lit up animal friends.

Of all the bears, puffy lighted ones are the best…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlands, ribbons, wreaths, and blinking lights invite the Christmas spirit in, while simple living keeps Christmas stress out.

It’s a lovely, reflective time of year as we wind down from whatever 2019 may have brought our way, and turn our thoughts toward the brand new year moving into view.

Dreaming of Your Own Happy Place?

So, have you thought about creating your own happy place for weekend escapes—or even long-term living? You might be surprised at how easy and affordable it is to place your “home away from home” out in the wilds of east Texas. You can visit whenever you need to stretch and breathe in that soothing piney woods air.

Or, if you visit for long enough, you might even decide to leave that daily commute and stagnant job behind. There are many RV living career options that scores of adventurers, just like you,  have found to be a perfect fit for their new stress free life. You only live once, so make it count!

Visit Providence RV Park to see why Lake Fork is one of the top fishing, camping, and relaxing destinations in the state of Texas.

What do you have to lose, except your stress?

See you soon…we’ll leave the (Christmas) lights on!

The Best Time to Buy an RV

Lake Fork is getting dressed for winter here in east Texas. The towering pines and oak trees are shedding the last of their pine cones and acorns (and the oaks are being pretty noisy about it, if you ask me!). Providence RV Park is finishing another year of steady growth. Some residents might be ready to start thinking about an upgrade, or help relatives or friends join the RV lifestyle. Which raises the question: When is the best time to buy an RV?

Many of those wanting to join “the mortgage-free movement” have been searching for the perfect rig all year. They are ready to take a break and hibernate until spring, when they’ll pick back up in warmer weather.

But Wait!

You might miss the best time to buy an RV! That’s right, you may be surprised to learn that winter truly is the best time to buy an RV. Your dream home on wheels could be gone by spring.

Here are the top 3 reasons that should motivate you to use the winter months to get out there and make your best deal:

Best Selection

New models come out near the end of the year. Just like the auto industry, prices on the year-old models are typically more negotiable than the new kids on the block. And often, new models don’t offer big enough improvements to outweigh saving a few thousand dollars.

So, check with dealers (who may have more than one lot) if you’re interested in scoring a great deal on a leftover. And if only brand new will do, sales folks looking to make quotas and pick up the pace of sluggish winter months are more likely to cut their best deals then. Even pre-owned RV sales favor the buyer in slow months. So go and check them out.

Finally, dealers are more likely to give you a great price early in the season, when they can replace it on the lot vs. later in the spring, when it’s too late in the season to order another.

Best Service

In spring or summer, you’re more likely to have to wait for assistance, sometimes a half hour or more, when buyer competition for the sales associates’ time heats up. In winter, the sales team is far more attentive to you and your needs. Your travel trailer is a huge investment, and you deserve to be able to work through every possible question and all options sans any pressure to shortcut the process.

Best Financial Options

Financing is typically easier in wintertime, and dealers are more likely to be offering creative promotions and financial perqs. Because they are especially motivated to move inventory, you’ll probably find more flexibility in terms (like deferred deposits or “No payments till spring!” type promotions).

Many will offer helpful bonuses like free winter storage of your new RV beauty, or gift card giveaways and other valuable perqs.

And don’t forget the RV expos and shows that run January through March (like Dallas RV SuperSale at Market Center). They’ve brought it all to you, and would much rather sell you an RV at a lower cost if it saves them from having to transport it back to the lot.

Yes, Virginia, Winter IS the Best Time to Buy an RV

So, research your options online and warm up and energize with a cup of Joe. Then grab your scarf and gloves, and hit the local dealerships and shows. As the icy air greets you, smile at how smart you are to beat the crowd and get the best in selection, service, and price.

Yes, winter is the best time to buy an RV in a field that is getting more and more crowded each year. When spring comes, you’ll be glad to see others just starting their search while your dream RV is already bought and ready to park or take you on a life of adventure.

 

 

Thankful for His Providence

Thankful for His Providence here at Providence RV Park

We are in Thanksgiving week, the time of year where our name – Providence RV Park – shines with meaning and purpose.

We are thankful for the many blessings our heavenly Father has poured out on us this year. From the steady growth of our community to the beginnings of our expansion on the backside of the property to accommodate future residents, we are grateful for the wonderful people God has brought to Providence.

To say thank you, and enjoy some relaxing chat time this Thursday, the Community Center will be open for a turkey feast (with all the fixins!) for any residents spending the day here at the park. We may even play a little Christmas music to signal the transition into full-on holiday mode.

In the meantime, we wanted to share a few thoughts about this holiday straight out of the history books, and the lessons we can learn today…

Did you know…?

The First Thanksgiving was Actually a 3-day Celebration

Yes, just like the ancient Israelites, our plucky pioneering ancestors knew how to throw a party.

So take your time this year. Streamline any food prep to make sure your focus is on people. Make sure those you care about know how thankful you are to know (and/or be related to) them. Get others to tell their favorite stories, or after dinner, have everyone share a thought or memory they are most thankful for. Reflect on special blessings you’ve received from God. From children and grandchildren to the many lessons and truths you’ve learned on your life journey thus far.

If you have no family or friends with which to celebrate, there is always a local soup kitchen or food pantry. Volunteer to make the holiday a bit brighter for others.

“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” –Tim Keller

Turkey wasn’t the Star of the Table

Although record had it that some of the colony’s men went “fowling” before the feast, and wild turkeys were among the game birds of the region, the menu was much broader. It included lobster, seal, and the five deer brought by their Wampanoag guests—not to mention the actual stars of the event: the season’s harvest. Many things missing from the original Thanksgiving, but popular today such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie are largely thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale (see more about her below). She shared widely circulated Thanksgiving recipes in newspapers.

Get creative, and maybe even start new traditions. If you don’t have a lot of turkey lovers in the group, consider replacing it with a duck, venison, or seafood—or a combination of any of these—knowing you are right in line with true Thanksgiving tradition.

Here in east Texas, many people skip the typically roasted bird for a Greenberg smoked turkey, a tender and aromatic delight people will wait in line for every year (it even made Oprah’s 2017 Favorite Things list!). So, do something different – a small tweak or a new tradition entirely – and add to the fun of your annual festivities.

Thanksgiving Took a While to “Take”

Washington made the first Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1789. But it wasn’t until 74 years later that Lincoln finally established the acknowledgment to Divine Providence as a national holiday.

Sarah Josepha Hale, (author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), was the Champion of Thanksgiving. For many years, she wrote congressmen, governors, and five different presidents for an annual day to thank God for His great providence. Unsuccessfully. Up to then, the only national holidays were Independence Day and Washington’s Birthday.

Sarah’s final letter to President Lincoln was during the tense times following the Civil War. It was a plea to restore unity with a national day to give thanks to our Creator. He responded four days later with the Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1863.

The lesson here?

Nagging works. Okay, maybe that’s not the lesson, but we can learn a lot from one patient, smart, determined little lady who made the history books with her many accomplishments (check her out sometime!) She brought us Thanksgiving and all the recipes to celebrate it in style.

Texas Was Doubly Thankful

Up to 1941, every president—except FDR—would annually declare the last Thursday in November as the national day for giving thanks for divine providence. For three years, Roosevelt declared it the second to last Thursday in order to extend the shopping season. Half of the states joined him, the rest stuck with the tradition of the last Thursday in November. Except Texas, the state that decided to take BOTH as a holiday (we never overlook an opportunity to celebrate). Congress finally cut the confusion, declaring it the fourth Thursday of November.

So–like Texas–be doubly thankful for the blessings our God has poured out on us as a nation. He is doing marvelous things in His people and our leadership in these historic times. Enjoy this special day of food, fun, and laughter across the land, and smile as you think of all the blessings we have today that our forebears did not.

Like propane fireplaces, turkey fryers, and indoor plumbing. Oh, and football.

Winterize Your RV to Enjoy the Changing Season

Autumn woods as the season changes

Winter crept into East Texas while we slept.

We were enjoying the lovely reds and oranges of autumn here at Providence RV Park, perfectly content with the brilliant sunshine and experiencing the final lazy days of the changing season. Leaves turned crunchy, and acorns began dropping throughout the woods. Migrating geese began winging their way to warmer destinations. Although everyone knows to winterize your RV once fall starts to make her retreat, sometimes in Texas that moment can arrive unexpectedly, unless your nose has been glued to the weather channel.

We had started October with a sweltering 91 degrees during the day and 72 at night. The last night of October, as we all slept, temps dropped to 27 degrees, and winter was officially on. Part of me sighs sadly. I bid goodbye to warm days and begin to batten down the hatches (both emotionally and physically), as we all get ready for the blustery winds of our east Texas winter.

But before we can settle in and cocoon our way through to next year with flickering propane fireplaces and cozy Sherpa fleece blankets, we need to make sure any RV prep work required is checked off our list. Some are veterans at this. The internet is filled with tricks and tips of the seasoned road warriors. Private blogs from the road as well as official RV associations and membership clubs like Passport America or Good Sam can be great resources.

Winterize Your RV

Change of season may bring icy pipes

The best way to avoid pipe problems is to inspect before winter begins, and then regularly throughout the season as temps drop

Providence RV Park is valued for its ability to offer full time occupancy when most other area RV parks are unable to do so. Because most are situated on Sabine River Authority regulated land, they are subject to many restrictions. The biggest is how many days per year you are permitted to occupy your RV. Providence counts both full and part time residents as part of our east Texas community, including many newbies to the RV lifestyle. Aging Baby Boomers looking to escape heavy mortgage payments and empty nests have made the hunt for prime, long term RV dwelling a hot one.

For those undergoing such a move, the very first winter can be a bit daunting, even for full time park residents. How long will my supply of propane last? What is a soft freeze vs. a hard freeze? How do I protect my pipes and keep the water flowing? For part timers, those who leave their rigs at the park and visit when they can find time to get away, winterizing is especially important, since Texas is notorious for its unpredictability. One of the strongest “blue northers” on record in North Texas was in November 1911, when temps dropped from a high of 85 degrees in downtown Fort Worth to 39 degrees later that day, then to 21 degrees the next day — a 64-degree drop in less than 48 hours!

Pipe Prep is Priority

But winter is nothing to fear. Just winterize your RV, take care of pets, set the thermostat and arm yourself with hot coffee in the morning and a nice marshmallow topped cocoa for an afternoon treat. For full-timers, the national weather report becomes a welcome friend. But Priority #1? Keeping your water hose protected. Some people use heat tape wound along the length, while others choose foam insulation for the hose. Many do both. Wrapping a towel around the spigot and placing a bucket over the towel is simple, but effective. For the sewer line, you might replace the slinky with hard PVC.

If you’re fortunate enough to have an RV arctic package, you won’t have much to do beyond protecting your city water connection. If not, a little after market insulation and/or a plywood piece or two placed under your RV can help a lot. Although your RV likely came with a couple small propane tanks, many full timers opt for trading up to one large one. This can minimize unhappy surprises. Like when you wake up, shivering, to see your breath and discover it’s 58 degrees in your RV. Of course, everyone’s heat requirements differ, and there are those who prefer the colder weather.

But what if you are not a card carrying member of the Polar Bear club? A couple strategically placed space heaters (the “tip over protection” type, of course), can keep propane usage down while putting your comfort level exactly where you want it. Foam based reflective inserts for skylights can cut the cold in winter and reflect heat in summer. Before winter kicks into high gear is also a good time to check various gas leak detectors since you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors.

Embrace the Changing Season

Isaac knows how this “relaxing” thing works…

So don’t be afraid of the cold! Just get ready for it, and winterize your RV before temps drop low enough to do damage to pipes and fittings. Then relax, put on some great music, invite neighbors and family over for some 5-alarm chili, and spend the down time building up friendships and family ties.

Or take advantage of the stillness to draw deep from your own restorative well, and purge out the old deadwood habits of yesterday to get ready for the next season.

There’s nothing like a warm, cozy home in the woods – especially the piney woods here at Providence RV Park – to remind you why you escaped the commute driven rat race in the first place. So…prepare, relax, and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation no matter the season, and know He made it just for you!

Fall and Cornhole

Fall at Providence RV Park

Grillmaster & Sandy

Fall, Cornhole, Providence RV Park

Fall & Cornhole, Young & Old(er)

Fall and Cornhole came to Providence RV Park. And the residents enjoyed gathering for a cookout and a little competition. Strange what a little competition can do.

Cornhole and Grilling

Cornhole competition to be precise. It makes strangers into teammates. All our new and old residents quickly mingled finding the commonality of fun. The youngest soon learned who were the more skilled and switched things up. The older boasted of better days.  Ah, that’s competition.

The games were numerous and the awarding of prizes difficult because who could remember which team they were on when. And then the residents decided who should really get the prizes based on some unknown merit system. Such is camaraderie. Such is a gathering at Providence RV Park. But then I, myself, am a gamer at heart. Bring it on.

Our designated grill master could flip food with the best of them – your wish was his command – well, under the watchful eye of Sandy anyway. She’s our longest tenured resident and friend. And now she is also the official event planner. She was the creator and finisher of the whole thing. All agreed she was the party queen. The tables were laden, the desserts plentiful. She even provided for those on keto.

I would say everyone left better than when they came because laughter is good medicine. All had a healthy dose. They also all probably took a nap.

Rest or Fishing, Just Flip the Switch

So, if you want a place in the quiet woods of East Texas, but enjoy a dose of laughter, join us. We can be either your home or your home-away-from home. For half our residents, we are their home. They are long term RVers who have chosen Providence. They know each other, watch out for each other, and give each other privacy. For others, we’re their getaway place. They getaway from the busyness of the city. Some come to fish. They come to rest. Most just leave their RV there full-time. When they come for a stay, they just flip the switch and they’re there, or should I say they’re away.

Fall and Cornhole at Providence RV Park – a winning combination.

 

Hello Fall from Providence

Welcome Fall to Providence RV Park

Welcome Fall, Welcome Sandy

Hello Fall

Hello Fall. Glad you’re here. I’ve been looking forward to your visit and hope you can stay a long time. I love your gifts of gold. And you wear the colors of fire so well. I love the red, but I don’t wear the orange near as well as you.

You are always so refreshing. Truly a breath of fresh air. It’s great to spend time together on the porch, just lingering in the evening, and somehow you challenge the sun to show off when he sets. You have a way with him. But be careful; he can get a bit hot over things.

Fall Foods

I do love the new foods you always bring. You often surprise me. Today I had eggnog ice cream at Braums. Delish! But then you did cause a ruckus between my daughter and I today when I informed her that the eggnog was better than the pumpkin ice cream.

My daughter loves your pumpkins. I have a few sitting around myself. But she is a pumpkinaholic and must have already tried 20 of your different pumpkin foods. Soup (so yummy), mashed, coffee, creamer, cider, tea, smoothies, seeds, cookies, chips, ice cream, candy. She thinks eggnog is too limited. You might experiment a little more with that. You have done such a great job with the squashes. Really, you should broaden your culinary delights using eggnog.

Fall in the Air

And I would be remiss to not mention the way you literally float through the air. The leaves just drop when you arrive heralding your coming. They love to announce your presence. I do wish they would pick up after themselves though.

Which brings me to my next point. I would like to talk about the acorns. Yes, I know it’s your special gift to the squirrels, but I think you must have a fetish with them. You toss them everywhere. They are under my feet and blowing across the porch even now as we speak. You know you stir up Mr. Wind quite a bit. My other friends, those who live at Providence RV Park, mention that during your visit you enjoy rhythmically tossing them on their RVs. I’m not sure they enjoy your musical serenade.

Oh my, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. Please don’t cry today. I’m really glad to see you; again, Hello Fall. Let’s enjoy the change from iced tea to hot tea together – did you want that pumpkin flavored or do you prefer eggnog?

 

 

 

OK to Just Rest?

YES!

How about: Take a rest, have a rest, catch my breath, BE at rest.

All of the above? Yes, all of the above…..and then some.

When I’m at Providence R V Park, Lake Fork, I’m in the “and then some” mode. And these are the things I need the most rest from. Here are a few things on my “and then some” list:

  • Rest from worry. When I’m at Providence I’ve decided that, as the old saying goes, most of the things I worry about aren’t going to happen. Rest from worry!
  • Rest from frustration. Frustration runs rampant in the city. Frustration from the traffic, traffic lights that don’t work, drivers who aren’t very good drivers, people who don’t pay attention to those around them, clerks who are rude, cars that don’t run, people who aren’t on time…..
  • Rest from constant noise, it’s inescapable, it is sometimes unbearable.
  • Rest from my schedule, the need for production, results, everyone else’s production, schedule, results, etc.

I look forward to coming to the RV Park to get rest, or maybe it’s relief for just a while/day/weekend.

Yeah!

It IS OK just to rest!

Be at Rest. Take a Rest.

Just Resting and Enjoying.

Come join Carol and I.

Regards,

James

 

Vacation from Providence

Vacation from RV Park to Alaska

Glacier Bay, Alaska

“You are going to take a Vacation from Providence RV Park? FROM it?” Yes, time to think of all the great places I want to visit, spend a little time there, sight see, you know…Vacation.

My wife and I are taking a vacation, our first in a while I might add, from work, and from Providence R V Park in East Texas, you know, the one by Lake Fork, the best bass fishing lake there is!

The thought comes to mind, “Why do you need to ‘GO’ on vacation?” I understand. Being at the “Park” is almost like being on vacation. It’s off the beaten path; it’s shady most of the time; it is quiet and clean. It is relaxing! I mean, you ARE supposed to relax and slow your pace, have fun….did I say RELAX?

Yes, vacation means different things to different folks. To my wife, it means Alaska!

So, guess what, WE’RE GOING TO ALASKA!

To me, what it means is I am leaving Providence RV Park in Quitman, Texas, and going On vacation so I can come back and “go on vacation”.

Makes sense to me!

James