I Named Her ‘Gypsy’, Prowler Reno, Pt. 3

gypsy clipart

Isn’t the above picture sweet?  I collect camper porn now on pinterest.com.  It’s a thing.

Also, a couple years ago, I bought THESE pajamas which I named my “Happy Camper Pajamas”…(You should remember this pattern…it may become very important in the reno.  Just sayin’).

happy camper pajamas

And this is what I actually look like when I put them on…

happy camper pajamas2

But I digress…

As promised, I took the “before” pics today.  If you missed the first two installments of my series on renovating my vintage 1976 Prowler RV camper, then you can see them here and here.

The man I bought the trailer from had wanted to gut the trailer and renovate it himself.  He only owned it about a month, he said, and only worked on it one or two times.  All he did was begin the demo process before he decided that he didn’t have the time to do the renovation himself and decided to sell it.

Now, it is yet to be seen if I am crazy or just a little unwell myself.  It probably depends on who you ask…

Anyway, the previous owner did a good job of saving everything for the trailer.  The stove, the refrigerator, the heater, etc. reportedly all work.  We haven’t tested this ourselves yet, but I’m going to believe it for now.  He saved the hubcaps and all the pieces he took out.

There is even the original cushions…wouldn’t want to miss out on that beautiful pattern!!

Why was the color of bodily fluids a popular color scheme in 1976?  Makes me wonder…



 Why was the color of bodily fluids a popular color scheme in 1976?  Makes me wonder…

Anyway, if you look closely (to what may look like rubble  to the naked eye), you may see a stove/oven, hubcaps, a dining table and lots of other stuff that will be taken out and saved for later.


The stove/oven and exhaust fan is a burgundy color…and it looks like it has never been used on the inside!  Score!


Double sink and hubcaps and lots of other odds and ends have been saved and can be reused!

But then again…a lot will go.  All the paneling and non-wood wood cabinets and walls will go.  We will take it down to the studs and the outer metal skim and start from there.


The bathroom will be completely taken out.  Neither sweet hubby nor I want to learn the steps to “empty the black water”.  (That is a camping term for those in the know.  For those not in the know, black water = poo and pee water).

We are both life-long-learners, but there are things we are willing to go our whole lives without knowing, and black water emptying seems to be one we can both heartily agree on.


This is our bedroom.  This is where the previous owner already started to gut the camper and he even gave us all the chip board that he had already purchased!  (standing in left of picture).  If you look closely, you can see that there are some rotten boards down there that need to be replaced. All the windows work and none are broken!  That’s a win!


And here is the kitchen area.  We will use this as a template to build our own…probably.

But my sweet hubby said I can’t start on it until he makes a pad for it in the backyard where it will be parked during the reno.  And he has to do that before the neighbors report us.  If you’ve ever seen Breaking Bad, you know what I’m worried about…



And she followed me home! Prowler Reno, pt. 2


it followd


On Sunday, my sweet hubby and I made the trip to go pick up my trailer!  If you missed part 1 of my new series where I explain WHY IN THE WORLD I bought a vintage trailer, you can read that here.

This is my excited face when I realized she was actually FOLLOWING ME HOME!!  She wanted to be mine just as much as I wanted her!  Woot!

(Insert my sweet hubby’s unexcited face here.  But I’ll just leave that up to your imagination, cause he really is a long suffering man who doesn’t need his unexcited face splashed all over the Interwebs!)

First I need to disclose that both my sweet hubby and myself are complete novices in the hitching and unhitching a trailer concept.  Seems like it should be straightforward, but no. And unhitching the trailer is even harder than hitching it, BTW!  It’s actually faster to take the entire hitch off of the truck, it turns out.  Just so you know for next time.

But the REALLY hard part is directing the driver of the truck as to how to back the trailer up into your driveway!!  As in YOUR OWN driveway and NOT the neighbor’s yard. Who knew that when you wanted the back of the trailer to go right you have to turn the wheels of the truck left??

Anyway, after some minor setbacks and a trip from Maryland, through Pennsylvania, and back to Delaware, she is here.

And you know that feeling of when you buy furniture from a furniture store and you think that the furniture is going to be a great fit while you’re in the store, but then when you get it home IT SEEMS SO BIG!!!  Well, that is how I feel about the trailer now that it is sitting a little crookedly in my driveway.  Same trailer as before, I just have to stand a little closer to take the picture if I want to stand in my own yard.

I’m losing daylight and also battery power in my phone, so I will take BEFORE pictures of the inside of the trailer tomorrow…stay tuned.


What Is She Up To Now?…in which I reno my 1976 Prowler, pt. 1

The most important thing to know at the outset of this project is that I’m 50 and this is my goal for the rest of my life…

what is she up to

I’m not positive that I’ll ever wear clothing resembling this, but I don’t want to rule it out…just sayin’.

My daughter assures me that no one was ever going to say, “What a sweet old lady,” about me anyway, so I’m in the clear there.

Anyway, so this is what I’m up to now…

On Facebook Marketplace I saw THIS…

original ad

(Except, she wasn’t sold yet, I took this picture after…)

And I knew I HAD TO HAVE IT!!

Now, in addition to wanting to be known for being a little eccentric, I also have ALWAYS WANTED TO RENOVATE A CAMPER!!

 wanted to renovate a camper.
I LOVE CAMPING!!!  My parents used to take us camping in a pop-up trailer every summer.  We traveled all the way from Ohio to California one epic summer  That was the summer I went down a water slide for the first time, we drove THROUGH a tree, and we discovered that my little brother and my mom should definitely NOT be allowed to be in canoe together!

Camping always meant playing UNO and making homemade doughnuts and riding bikes and hiking nature trails until we were pock marked with massive mosquito bites and lost track of the day of the week.  It is some of the best memories of my childhood and times I always wanted to recreate with my own kids in my own camper.

I also have an entire page on my Pinterest.com page entitled “Happy Camper Ideas” whereas I have saved all of the pics of campers that have made me wistful and made me laugh…and the ones that made me say, “I can do that!”

So, I arranged with the seller (and with my hubby) to go see on it on a Thursday afternoon.


And that’s how she became mine.

Stay tuned and follow along.  I’m going to take you through the renovation step by step, and we will find out together whether I am a little bit crazy or a little bit unwell!!


Becoming a Teacher

By Lori Michelle

(I’m an award-losing author…and here is yet another edition.  In the attempt to get my writing “out there” I enter contests from time to time, and this is my latest award-losing entry.  But having my own blog means I have my own little forum for growing in my writing.  Hope you enjoy reading about how God taught me about being a REAL teacher.  If you would be so kind as to comment, or ask questions, I’d be so grateful.  Thanks.)

Two months after I graduated college with my BS in Elementary Education, I got my first job.  I became a professional educator, as in I was finally getting paid to do the job for which I received my formal education.

But I didn’t become a teacher until years later.

And my guru in the art of learning would be my own son.

Warren* was a feisty, friendly, full-of-life five-year-old the year we enrolled him in kindergarten.  When I dropped him off at school in the morning, I would watch my little toe headed boy with his yellow jacket and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle backpack bound into the school building without looking back.

After a few weeks, he began to change.  His exuberance and excitement about school diminished. He was overstimulated when came home from school.  He was grumpy and overactive and even sometimes violent towards his little sisters.  I noted the change, but felt it was simply an adjustment to school.

A few months went by and suddenly I began getting phone calls from the teacher concerning his behavior.  Warren had hit a student over the head with his lunchbox.  Warren had pulled down a girl’s pants in the lunch line.  Warren had spent yet another afternoon in the “time out” corner.

I began to wonder to myself, “There must be a pattern here.  There must be a reason.”  So I began marking on the calendar every time I got a call from the teacher or principal.

At the parent-teacher conference, I brought my calendar with me.

The teacher began to show me evidence outlying her concerns for my son.  It was March of his kindergarten year, and Warren could not write his name, much less any other letters of the alphabet.  Warren could not tie his shoes.  Warren spent more time in “time out” than out of it.

I brought out my calendar and pointing to the pattern that had emerged, I asked, “What happens every 10 days?”

The teacher surveyed my notes and exclaimed, “I change out the centers every 10 days!”

So every time my son had finally began to learn a new skill, the centers were changed and he had to start over again.  My son was frustrated.  Even though he was bright, he wasn’t learning at the pace of the other students.  The constant change and struggle to keep up was making him feel defeated and incapable and angry.  He acted out his exasperation the only way his five-year-old emotions knew how.  His behavior was communication…my son had unmet needs and required my advocacy, my voice, and my intervention.

So, I made a radical move.  I quit my job as a professional educator and decided to home educate my son.  That was in 1993 and homeschooling was not yet a “movement.”  At least not in the area of North Carolina where I lived.   (There were only a handful of homeschooling families in our entire county, and my resignation caused quite a ruckus in my church and among my teacher friends…but that’s another story)homeschooling

I said I will only homeschool for a couple years…just until I get him caught up.  After all, I had taught many children to read as a professional educator!  I knew just how to help him!

Except I didn’t.

I tried everything I knew from my years of being a professional educator.  I tried every curriculum or method I could find.

I read to him scads of books on all kinds of topics.  We did science experiments.  We took nature walks.  We spent hours at the library or at the museum.  He spent ages building, inventing, playing, and climbing.  Anything that stimulated his interest, we explored, from rocks to medieval castles to cooking.

Yet, in the fourth grade, my sweet son said to me, “I just want to go to the library and pick out a book and read it!”

Nothing I tried worked to help my sweet, bright, fun-loving, feisty son learn how to read!

I reached out to a Doctor of Education for help.  He performed a full battery of psychological and educational tests on my son.  On the day that I was to find out the results, I arrived full of hope and faith that this man would finally have the answer to my son’s learning difficulties.

In a nondescript room with only a small table between us, the professional educator labeled my son’s learning disabilities one by one.  He attempted to communicate to me the severity of the situation.  I kept asking him what could be done, but obviously, I simply wasn’t grasping the immensity of the problem. He finally burst out, “Your son is NEVER going to read!  Why don’t you just give up?”

I drew in my breath slowly and forced back hot, angry tears.

“Sir,” I began shakily, “I will not give up on him because I am his mother!  You are wrong.

  1. SON. WILL. READ!”

I collected my purse and my papers and I stood to leave.

I became a teacher that day.  I decided that I would do whatever it took to teach my son to read.

And I did.

By the end of 5th grade, Warren could read on the 2nd grade level.  By the end of 7th grade, he was on the 5th grade level.  When Warren was in the 8th grade, he decided he wanted to go back to formal schooling.

He graduated from high school when he was 16, and graduated from college with a B.S in Business at age 19.

Today, he is an Assistant Vice President for a major financial company in New York City.

When Warren went back to school, so did I.  I renewed my teaching credentials and went back to the classroom, too.

But this time, not as a professional educator, but as a teacher.  My years outside of the formal classroom with my son had taught me more about the true nature of education than all of my college courses and years of experience combined.

I now teach special needs children who have difficulty learning in the traditional way.  I believe in them until they can believe in themselves.

I treat my students as if they were my own son or daughter…looking for that unmet need that calls for my advocacy, my voice, and my intervention.  I utilize my knowledge as a professional educator, but I devote my heart as a teacher.

Paralyzed by Perfectionism

This article was originally published in the January/February 2006 issue of Christian Woman Magazine.

mom in messy house


My house was a pit!  A mountain of unfolded laundry sat on the couch.  Clutter covered every surface.  Dirty dishes filled the sink.  The bathroom was filthy. Toys and papers littered the floor.

As I walked from room to room wondering where to begin.  I was overwhelmed.  So I moved the laundry over and plopped myself down on the couch, waiting for motivation to move me.

The, outside the open living room window, I heard a car in the driveway. Motivation!  I shot up and looked outside.  It was a good friend from church.  I opened the front door as she stepped out of her minivan and called cheerily, “Hey, Lori, I’ve been meaning to pop over and spend some time with you!”

Making apologies for my messy house, I invited her in.  After one step inside, she stepped short and took in the conditions surrounding her.  When her eyes met mine, she said in all sincerity, “You’re a perfectionist, aren’t you?”

I almost fainted on the spot.  How could he say such a ting after viewing my pitifully kept home?  Seeing my shocked expression, she continued, “Since you cannot do everything perfectly, you aren’t going to do anything at all.”

Lightbulb moment.  My friend was absolutely right!

It took an embarrassing moment and an honest friend to help me realize something about myself that I had not realized before.  I had a weakness that stopped me in my tracks.  I was allowing my perfectionist tendencies to paralyze my efforts to get things done.

That experience changed my life. I learned to be a better housekeeper, knowing that orderliness and livability do not mean immaculate perfection every day.

That day also helped me to ask myself if I had been letting perfectionism paralyze other areas of my life as well.  Had I let the fact that my  children did not always behave perfectly keep me from consistent discipline?  Had I decided that since I could not come up with a perfect Bible class lesson every week, I would not teach at all?  Do I allow the fact that I house does not look exactly the way I want, keep me from having company?  Is not knowing what to say in every situation keep me from talking to people about Jesus?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes!  Taking a survey of the many areas of my life, I found myself coming up wanting.  Again and again, I felt like a failure because I could not do something as well as someone else.  Perfectionism was hurting almost every area of my life!

But along the way, God has taught me something about perfectionism.  He is stronger than my weakness (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).  He can redeem my failures and mistakes and rescure me from temptation (2 Peter 2:7-9). He can turn around my situation and use it for His purposes (Romans 8:28).

God does not want me to use my weaknesses in this area as an excuse not to start doing what He has set before me.  He does not want me to dwell on my imperfections.  He wants me to have faith that He can make up the difference and use me anyway…

My house still isn’t ready to be on the cover of Better House and Gardens, and if you drop in on me, I’m not promising you anything but a smile.  But I haven’t despaired over the condition of my house lately, either; I do what I can.

Stepping out on faith and doing something – however imperfect the outcome – is my new mission for my God.  I will no longer be paralyzed by perfectionism.

From the Bin in the Basement

Last weekend, I dug through an old box in my basement and found some of my old writing.

Before my divorce, I had a dream of becoming a published author, and I really went for it for a while.  I lost some writing contests and collected a file of rejection letters.  Yet, along the way I did manage to get around 10 articles published and got very close to a book deal a couple of times.  I spoke at some Ladies Days events as well, and I found the CD’s of the talks I gave back then!  (I didn’t realize I had such a southern drawl…EWW!)

journal writing

During my divorce crisis, I lost my interest in writing altogether and for a long time I thought it might never return.  I missed my muse, but could not seem to summon her.  Over the years, she has slowly reintroduced herself by drips and drops.

I found some old rejections letters with my rejected manuscripts attached.  I also found the old magazines in which my articles were published.  I haven’t seen any of these items in years, and it is hard to describe my joy at finding them.

But then I started reading some of them…and I hated them!

I didn’t hate all of them.  Some aren’t so bad.

But others are so embarrassing!

Some of my old articles…published ones…sound like some of the books by Christian authors that I chucked over the last few years.  Books from authors like Elizabeth George and Willard F. Harley Jr. and John and Stasi Eldredge.  I know these are popular, Christian authors…mainstays in the circles I used to hang with.  But I just can’t stomach them anymore.  They are so…so…so…


That’s what I hated when I read my own writing.  How I wrapped up very complicated and difficult concepts into pretty wrapped and ribboned bite-sized black-and-white packages.  Gag me with a spoon!!

And then I lived a crisis that made me learn again everything I thought I already knew.  At one time I had all the answers…all you had to do is ask! Until the day I finally understood that I didn’t know much about anything at all.

That is when I became willing to learn and ready to listen to other voices…and maybe even willing to question and willing to open my mind to possibilities and grace that I had never even considered before.

So, I have a new bevy of material to share.  I’m so thrilled to have found it. Some of it I will be reworking to reflect my current understanding…or admitting that I still don’t understand.  Its probably the closest I’ll ever get to time traveling…of righting some wrongs (or rewriting some wrongs, whatever the case may be).

And some of it I’m kinda proud of.  God did give me some talent and some zest.  He has hailed me with an undeniable avocation to use these gifts and talents and passions for His Kingdom and for His pleasure.

So over the next for weeks and in no particular order…I will be presenting you with B.C Lori Michelle (Before Crisis).

What about you?  Do you have a bin of old writing sitting in your basement..or attic…or computer?  What would it be like to rework some of it to reflect the person you have grown to be through your crisis?  I’d sure love to hear your thoughts.

Telling My Story

I’m going to write it.  I will.  I’ve already started, but its hard.  I’m scared.

There is much I need to say that I’ve never said before…to anyone.  People will be surprised. What will my parents think?  What will my children think? Or will anyone even care?  All of the potential answers make me sink in my sandals and busy myself with housework, and schoolwork, and Facebook.

But I HAVE to tell it.  Because I cannot live if I don’t.  Because writing it is part of letting it go, of healing the wounds, of putting the clutter on the curb.  It is finally finding a voice after so many silent years; it’s part of moving forward.

Satan has always wanted to silence me.  I’m not sure why.  Because he dwells in silence, and secrets, and darkness.  He abides in clutter, and clatter, and in unforgiving hearts.  And because God has given me this voice…this gift of storytelling…this gift of teaching, so Satan has conspired to silence me with coercion, with guilt, and with shame.

My story is also a story of redemption.  Of God’s remarkable ability to create beauty from ashes.  He restores.  He heals.  He reconciles.  He Loves.  If my life and my journey mean anything, it means this: God is Redeemer!

This post from SheLoves Magazine resonated with me.  I love how she starts it with a quote from one of my favorite authors, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~Anne Lamott

That’s right, Anne, they should’ve behaved better.  They should’ve paid attention.  Some, maybe most, knew not what they were doing.  Some do not know that I know.

So here is fair warning.  If you love me…you don’t know everything. We will talk.  I will tell you the things I’ve never said.  And maybe you will read my truth and hear my voice and listen to my story of love.