Blog Update

For quite some time I have been feeling the not-so-gentle-nudge to do something about this blog, Life in the Van.  I cover such a broad range of topics from faith to family to food, and in the blogosphere, that is no good.

Those of you who are interested in reading more about topics related to faith and family may not necessarily be interested in my recipe posts.  Conversely, those of you looking for new recipes may not be interested in hearing about my thoughts on matters of faith and family.

So, this past week, I fixed that.  I have a new blog up and running called The Gluten Free Gathering.  Here, I will be posting only gluten free recipes and other food related topics.

Life in the Van will remain the place where I share what the Lord has laid upon my heart.  I will be sharing matters of faith, lessons, and family topics as I always have.  If there are any cooking contest adventures, I’ll share those as well.  But soon you will begin to see all of those yummy recipes disappear from Life in the Van.  They will find a new home at The Gluten Free Gathering.

So, you have some choices:

Thanks to all of you who have followed and supported me in my writing venture.  It’s something that I truly love to do.

Does God Have a Plan?

Life has been busy and complicated of late.  Seasons like this sprinkle the timeline of our lives like snow (sometimes like a blizzard).  Busy doing what needs to be done…what has to be done.  Running to and fro.  Dealing with the challenges life has.  Aging parents.  Health concerns.  The future.  It seems as though everything else gets pushed aside.  Our good intentions become just that, intentions; things dreamed of or planned, but never coming to fruition.  The out-of-control elements of the day dictate its course.  Sometimes we simply feel like we are bobbing on the waves, being pushed to and fro, struggling to keep our heads above, at the mercy of the tide.

Continue reading “Does God Have a Plan?”

When Christmas is Hard: Cobwebs and Christmas Trees

Our family has always enjoyed having a real Christmas tree in our home.  There is just something about the fresh smell of pine that draws each of us in.  We typically frequent a local garden center to select our tree.  But one year we ventured out to a tree farm to cut down our own.  Unfortunately, I was unable to go because of a commitment at church, but my husband and boys joined my brother-in-law and his children on a tree-cutting adventure.

Continue reading “When Christmas is Hard: Cobwebs and Christmas Trees”

Surprised By So Much Sexual Sin?

Of late, the news has been dominated with story after story of accused sexual impropriety and misconduct.  It seems that with each passing day another politician, celebrity, or public figure falls from grace.  While the depravity of man in general does not take me by surprise, a naive populace does.  I find myself a bit dumbfounded as I hear of the outrage and shock that people have expressed at some of the recent revelations.  Please understand clearly:  I do not condone such behavior.  It is wrong and reprehensible.  But, my question is this: should this trend be surprising?

It shouldn’t.

Continue reading “Surprised By So Much Sexual Sin?”

Experiencing Peace In Times of Uncertainty

Life is uncertain.  Changes and challenges often rattle us to the core with little or no forewarning.  Sickness.  Brokenness.  Rebellion.   They’ve all stepped over the welcome mat and entered into our lives as uninvited guests.  They provoke us to fear and anger, bring disappointment and doubt, and cause us to fret and worry.  Can there truly be a sense of peace and calmness amidst the storms and trials of this life?

A few weeks ago I felt prompted to make an appointment with a cardiologist.  With such a long-standing bout of Lyme Disease and the full knowledge of its potential effects on one’s heart, I felt the need to get a baseline reading on my heart health.  It’s funny, sickness and testing are not foreign to me.  I’ve never experienced true stress and anxiety at the doctor’s office or during testing.  However, this all changed the very moment that I opened the door to the cardiologist’s office.  I was overcome with such a sense of panic, like none I had ever experienced before.  And, if you didn’t realize, there is absolutely no way to mask or hide anxiety at the cardiologist.  After my initial visit, the doctor arranged for a whole host of tests to be completed over the course of the next several weeks.  One by one I completed the tests, all coming back as normal.  The last of the tests was scheduled to be completed at the doctor’s office.  This last test did not produce such stellar results.  The doctor speculated as to the cause and requested further testing.

This normally strong woman simply fell apart as she left the office.   I emerged back home a blubbering mess.  For the remainder of the day I felt such a cloud of darkness hovering over me as the tears flowed.  I didn’t pray.  I didn’t open God’s Word.  I didn’t recall the many verses I knew.  I didn’t remember God’s goodness.  Instead I chose to question, doubt, and allow the seeds of anger to spring to life.

The next day the doctor’s office called asking me to come in again for additional testing in a few days.  Once again fear enveloped me and held on with an intense grip.  Realizing my weakness, I reached out to a few friends asking them to pray for me.

With a few days to wait for my testing, the Lord laid these thoughts on my heart.  I’ll call them  “The Six R’s of Resting in God When Life is Uncertain,” and they have served as a good reminder to me.

  • Remember
    • Remember the many promises of God.  Call to mind the portions of scripture that you have hidden in your heart for moments such as this.  Rehearse them.  Recite them.  Reflect on them.  Repeat again and again.   Our God is a promise keeper.  He is unable to do anything less than keep the promises  that fill His Word.  Here are but a few:
  • Reach 
    • Reach out to the Lord immediately without delay.  He knows our troubles before we ourselves do.  He is concerned for us.  He is near to us.  We need only to call out to Him.  Push aside all the other voices of fear, doubt, and anxiety and come before the throne of the Lord.
      • The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18
    • Reach for His Word.  Read the familiar promises in His Word, but delve further into the scriptures to uncover new truths and promises that may have previously gone unnoticed.  Pray that the Lord would open up His Word to you in new and exciting and comforting ways.
    • Reach for trusted friends.  Be honest.  Take down the facade of strength and ask for faithful friends to uphold you in prayer.  Tell them in what ways you are struggling.  Share specific requests.  Set aside pride and ask for prayer.
      • For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. ” I Peter 3:12
  • Release
    • We are all human with God-given emotions.  Our initial response to hardship is not to celebrate.  If you are anything like me, I need to let out one really good and hefty cry.   God understands our frame; He knows our weakness.  Cry out to Him not in anger or frustration but as a child coming to their parent for comfort.  I literally envision the arms of the Lord wrapped around me.
      • For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”  Hebrews 4:15
  • Reflect
    • Think back and remember all that the Lord has already done for you.  Look back to past valleys and see how the Lord has walked with you through those times.  Remember His faithfulness.  Remember His strength.  Remember His goodness.  Let memories flood your mind.  I often marvel at how the Israelites second guessed God and His power.  They had gazed upon miracles with their own eyes, yet they doubted God.  In my own moments of weakness, I’ve realized how easy it is to forget what God has done.  His work at times can become a distant memory.  Bring them to the forefront of your mind.  Remember and reflect on all that He has done.  He has been faithful and will continue to be.
  • Resist
    • The evil one would like nothing more than to fill your heart with doubt, depression, and despair.  We leave these doors wide open when we turn away from our Lord during challenging times.   The moment we divert our eyes from our Father, the devil will be quick to catch our gaze and to fill our hearts and minds with blatant lies.  We will question the goodness of God, doubt His love, and question His sovereignty.
      • Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  James 4:7
  • Rest
    • Find rest and peace in the Lord.  He alone is in control.  He alone is sovereign.  He alone cares for His children as no other could.  Hand this over to Him.
      • You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”  Isaiah 26:3 
      •  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 
      • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

So, can there indeed be peace in the midst of the storms and trials of life?  Without God, peace will be elusive.  But with God, all things are possible.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Spaghetti squash is one of my very favorite vegetables.  It is incredibly versatile and a great way to enjoy a spaghetti-like meal without the carb overload.   So last year I tucked a few seeds away and planned to plant them in the garden this summer.  My son and I did just that, and we’ve enjoyed watching that plant grow and grow and GROW!  It has spilled over the garden bed and fence and onto the driveway.  It has literally taken over the side of my house, as squash plants tend to do.  It’s beautiful, lush, and full of blossoms.

The other day my neighbor commented on the abundance and beauty of those yellow blossoms.  “You must have so many squash growing in that patch,” she said.

“Not one,” I lamented.

As beautiful and lush and full of blossoms as that patch is to the casual observer, there is something that has gone terribly wrong, for not one squash has emerged.   After doing a bit of detective work and research, I discovered that there is likely a problem with pollination.  It seems that the local bees are not doing their job.  Hmph!  So the likelihood of our family enjoying spaghetti squash from our own garden is slim to none.

Of late I’ve been tempted to yank the entire plant out of the garden.  It is simply taking up too much space and serves little use other than giving the false impression that my garden is flourishing and thriving.  It bears no fruit and has little benefit aside from its outer beauty.

Then there are my green bean plants.  I’ve lost count as to how many bowls full of beans we have picked and eaten.  The eight or so plants that I have continue to produce a healthy, useful harvest every week.  If you were to take a closer look at these plants, you would see plants that are far from lush and beautiful, and to the casual observer, one might assume that these plants are not producing fruit.  There are small weeds scattered about, yellowing leaves, dry brown parts, thinness, and evidence of damage from insects.   Beauty is certainly lacking.

Yet, when you stoop down and take the time to push aside the leaves and stems and weeds of these plants, when time is taken to look below the surface,  a treasure trove of beans awaits.  These plants, though outwardly not as attractive as my billowing spaghetti squash vine, have yielded much fruit.  Even though one would assume that a beautiful plant would yield a beautiful crop and a homely plant would yield sub par fruit, these plants have shown me otherwise.

Outward appearances can certainly be deceiving.

I suppose this applies to our world today.  How quick we can be to make determinations and judgements about people based solely upon what we see on the surface.  We often take little to no time to actually look past what we see. We assign good qualities to those with beauty and poor qualities to those with a humble or even rough appearance.  Superficiality is the name of the game in our society.

The Lord reminds us that the only way to truly know someone for who they are is by the fruit that they bear.   Appearances are of no value to Him, but the heart is.   In the busyness and craziness of life, we often leave little time to look at people at the heart level.

I’m thankful for the little reminders that the Lord sends to me through my little garden.

How Children View Race

My boys were so excited as they anticipated the end of the week.  Their good friend was coming over to hangout and sleep over.  There would be chess matches and football games, talk of sports, and a bit more football.  Their hands and fingers would intertwine as they greeted.  Their arms would embrace each other as they departed.  Friends.

As the events in Charlottesville unfolded that same weekend,  I would steal small glimpses of the images on the computer as the boys came in and out of the house.  When I knew that they would be occupied for a bit, I turned on the television to see with greater clarity the events that were transpiring.  I was saddened beyond words, and I struggled as I attempted to try and understand how some could hold so much hate within their soul.

As the sweaty brood of boys crashed through the front door, I quickly turned the television off.  They ran into the kitchen for water and snacks, then proceeded to collapse in the living room.  As  I listened in as they described their football game at the high school’s new field, I couldn’t help but study the faces of the boys ever so closely.  I took note of something that I always knew was there but never really thought about: the stark contrast of their skin.

We are white.  Their friend is African-American.  I can’t begin to tell you how it pains me to even type those words here, how it literally hurts for me to separate these boys, these friends, into categories for the purpose of this post.   Our family views race as an expression of beauty and uniqueness from our Most Awesome Creator.  The Lord draws no lines, there is no separation, no difference in value or equality among man in His sight.  Man looks at the outward, yet God, looks at the heart.   We have chosen to do the same.  I know that our attempts have failed at times.

As the weekend came to a close and the boys said their goodbyes, my curiosity was piqued.  Do the boys even regard each other’s skin color as a difference?  I decided to find out and asked my friend to do the same with her son (age 14).  So we set out to question the boys as to what similarities and differences the boys have.  As I sat down with each of my sons (ages 17, 15, and 12) in private, I took note of their answers.  I waited.  Would one of them even bring up race or color?  Would their friend?

No one did.

They noted differences in age, in where they lived, in the grade they were in, the sports they liked, the teams they supported, and the foods they enjoyed.  They identified similarities in faith, the fact that they were all homeschooled, and in their love of sports and competition.  Friends.  They are simply friends, and that’s all that matters to them.

Oh, if the world were more childlike.

So, the boys and I sat down and talked about the real purpose behind my questioning.  We discussed the events in Virginia.  Although it was likely lacking, I did my best to discuss racism.  Then one of my boys piped up,”But, mom, that stuff doesn’t happen today.” And yet again, I find myself in that terrible place as a mom where I take away a bit more of their innocence, where I wipe away their “rose-colored-glasses” view of the world.  But this is their world, and I will soon be releasing them into it as they make their own way.  They must know, they simply must, because if they don’t know the truth, how can they be the difference?

That afternoon the face of racism became a bit more personal to my boys.  I forced them to imagine how their friend would feel when encountered with such senseless hatred.  In all honesty, they grappled over why some would harbor such hatred based on skin color.  It’s just something they can’t understand.  As a mom, I am thankful that they can’t relate to that kind of hatred.  Yet, they must be sensitive to the fact that it is present and that it does affect people’s lives.  They must be willing to stand up against it, to say something without hesitation, lest their silence be taken for acceptance.

I wish that could be the end of the story.  I wish that everyone would just replace hate with love.  But, there is sin and depravity and brokenness in the heart of man, and ultimately, the only solution is Christ.  On this side of heaven, the battle will rage on.  Unfortunately, it will always exist and there will likely be witnesses to and victims of more hate-filled behavior.  How do we stop it?  How do we change the course?

Well, we start at home.

We are honest at home.  We discuss the difficult matters.  We talk about how each of us can be that much needed difference.  We learn about the real story of history.  We think outside of our homogeneous neighborhood and town.  We expand our personal borders to include those who may be different than us.  We share a phone call, an embrace, a meal.  We make sure that through our front doors “sameness” is not the only guest.  We fill our yards with the beauty that is color.  We take a stand, a visible and audible one.  We talk about it with those who are affected instead of pretending there is no need for dialogue. We acknowledge when we fall short or when we succumb to hidden prejudices.

Imagine if we all did this?

We can.

 

 

When Dementia Steals Mother’s Day

It was Mother’s Day two years ago.  My mom had come to my home for dinner.  We exchanged flowers and cards with one another.  As I pulled my card from its envelope and read the inside, I paused.

“Love, Barbara”

That’s my mother’s name.  She had signed her card to me with her name, not mom.

It was that moment…the moment that I realized that my mother no longer knew who I was.

Since that time I have been going through the motions of mourning the loss of my mother.  Although she is still with us in body, she has passed away emotionally and cognitively long ago.  It has been a long, slow progression.  Through the years her forgetfulness and disorientation have eventually given way to panic and fear as everything and everyone around her have transformed into strangers.

Dementia has stolen my mother, has swept her away, has emptied her of everything but breath.   Its arms hold her, not in comfort, but in prison.   Dementia has snatched her sight and clouded her vision.  It replaces the faces of loved ones with the visages of foreigners who are aliens in her land.  Like a thief in the night, dementia comes and ransacks, raids, and pillages memories, names, faces.  It drains motivation, will, and life leaving only the comfort of a wing chair, a wall, and a world of silence.  Dementia has robbed the world of a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor.

Dementia has taken so much from my mother…from us… and left behind so little.  All that remains is a shell, a reminder of the life that once was.

As I was working on this post, the Lord laid on my heart a little object lesson of sorts.  It was a much needed reminder for me.

I’ve always loved the ocean.   There is a calmness in the sound of the waves, a serenity in the water lapping over your feet.  The refreshing ocean breeze seems to infuse one with peace.   My favorite moments at the beach are spent combing the sand for shells.  I’ve always admired the colors and shapes of each one.  They are little treasures that the ocean brings forth and the handiwork of the Lord.  I’m always sure to bring home shells from each beach excursion we have.  My prize find was a shell that I picked up on the Gulf Coast of Florida: a Lightning Whelk.  While not large in size (it only fits within the palm of my hand), this shell is completely intact with brilliant colors and stunning patterns.  I remember finding the shell tumbling in the tide.  I snatched it up and ran to my family like a little child; I was so excited to share my treasure.

As each of us was examining the shell, I explained to my then young boys how that shell had once held life within its curved walls.  That shell was a beautiful home for a creature of the sea.  But in the cycle of life, the creature either moved out in search of a larger shell, or most likely, was eaten or died.  What remained was an outer shell, beautiful and vibrant, yet fragile and lacking life.

That empty shell is much like my mom.   Even though the mom that I have known continues to fade away, even though living life has been replaced with mere existence, there is still beauty to be found in the shell that remains.   While my mom may no longer recognize my face or know me to be her daughter, I can choose to look past that and opt to remember the life that once was and try to honor the life that still is.

So this Mother’s Day I will choose to not allow dementia to steal the day.  I will allow it to remind me that all life is precious, that all life is important, that all life has purpose.  I will use it to  remind myself that my mom is a child of God and that He loves her dearly.  I will hold fast to the knowledge that dementia doesn’t take Him by surprise.

Giving of Your Best

They were there to gather donations to fill the shelves of a local food pantry.  The boys, dressed in their troop uniforms, were greeting customers as they entered the grocery store.  Each patron received a flyer detailing what items were needed and then were sent on their way with a smile.

Many gave generously that day.  They maneuvered the aisles, their thoughts on those less fortunate, on those who were in need of even the most basic of supplies.  One cart after another was filled.  Cars were loaded with bright yellow shopping bags.  Many made cash donations.  It was a good day…a very good day.  The kind of day that renews your hope in humanity a bit.

How encouraging it was to see a group of young men working to benefit others, working to meet the tangible needs of those they may never meet face to face, may never speak to, may never know.  It was good to see their excitement, good to see their zeal, good to see their hard work.  It was also good to see the generosity of the local people.  They freely gave.  Some gave much, others gave little, but all gave.

That evening, my husband, who was assisting the troop that day, told me about an interesting encounter that he had earlier that day.  A middle-aged man had approached him during the course of the food drive.  After asking how much longer the boys would be working, the man made this comment:

“I will be back in just a bit.  I have some expired food at home that I’ve been looking to get rid of.  I’ll bring it back to donate”

My first instinct was to ask my husband if he was kidding.  He’s known to be a jokester.   But no sly smile crossed his face; no elfish grin emerged.  He was serious.

In all honesty, I instantly judged, criticized, and condemned this unknown man.  How insensitive and callous he was.   How blind he was to the needs of others.  He saw nothing wrong with tossing his leftovers, his expired goods, his garbage bound food, to those who had the simplest yet greatest need. Why not just go into the store and pick up a can of vegetables instead?  Why not simply walk past the collection sight like many others did that day?  Why would he offer less than his best?

One year has come and gone.  And as the troop prepares for this weekend’s food drive, I am reminded of that man.  With knee jerk reactions and condemnation  put aside, I turned my gaze inward.  Was I any different than that man?  Was I willing to give less than my best to others?  I didn’t have to ponder for long.

I remembered the time that I was rummaging through my boys old clothes.  I wanted to clear out everything that no longer fit or was in poor condition.  I systematically sorted the clothes into two piles.  One pile contained clothing that was still in good condition; I had planned to pass these pieces along to a friend.  The second pile was filled with everything else: stains, tears, wear, fraying.  I must admit that I bagged up that second pile of clothes and dumped them into a collection box.  I never gave thought to the young man that would be wearing that stained shirt or the woman who would be modeling those frayed pants, or the child who would be dressed in rags.  I gave them my garbage and never thought otherwise.

I was no different than that man.

Imagine if I had simply gone to the store and picked up a new piece of clothing…tags still on.  It wouldn’t need to be fancy or expensive.  I’m a great bargain shopper.  Surely I could have picked up something nice for merely a few dollars.  I’m sure we could have forgone a bag of chips that week or a cup of coffee.  Imagine the reaction of some one in need, someone who likely never has worn a new piece of clothing.  Imagine them, imagine the look on their face and the swell in their heart.  I wish I could have retrieved my less than best bag and substituted it with one new item.  I can’t look back, but I can look ahead.

Keeping the best for ourselves is nothing short of selfish and completely out of step with how the Lord wants us to live our lives.  The Lord who gives abundantly, who showers us with blessing upon blessing, who provides for each and every need, has not created us to live selfish, self-centered lives:

  • And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16
  • My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
  • not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  Philippians 2:4
  • Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,  and he will reward them for what they have done.  Proverbs 19:17
  • The generous will themselves be blessed,  for they share their food with the poor.  Proverbs 22:9
  • Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  Romans 12:13
  • You must present as the LORD’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’  Numbers 18:29

Give of your best and nothing less.

 

Lyme Disease Prevention: 5 Tips to Be Tick Smart

Lyme Disease is no longer a Northeast problem.  It’s a nationwide issue.  While the CDC reports that nearly 300,000 new cases of Lyme Disease are reported each year, I estimate that the number is far greater.  And while I do not advocate staying indoors and avoiding the great outdoors all together, I do recommend that you take a few common sense precautions before, during, and after you head out to enjoy the world around you:

1.     Dress Appropriately

I have watched far too many children and adults camp and hike in shorts, flip flops, and tank tops.  I am always left scratching my head.  Wearing appropriate clothing while enjoying outdoor activities is the easiest prevention tip to follow.

  • Wear a hat – Ticks love to hide in hard to find spots: behind the ears, armpits, groin areas, and in your head.  If you have a dark head of hair, finding a minuscule tick hiding in your mane could be next to impossible.  Wear a cap or camping hat to reduce the risk of ticks meandering about your head.
  • Wear pants – No one wants to wear pants in the summer; I totally get it.  However, your legs are the number one part of your body that should be covered while hiking or camping.  They will likely be the first parts of you to come into contact with ticks as you brush against trees, branches, tall grass, and bushes.  My kids wear lightweight, track style pants or lightweight camping pants.  The advancements in clothing are nothing short of amazing.  Lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, SPF certified clothing is readily available to provide both coverage and comfort.
  • Wear long socks – I hate long socks.   I’m the first to admit it.  But ankle socks or peds just won’t cut it while camping and hiking.
  • Tuck your pant legs into your socks – No, this is not terribly fashionable, but it is highly effective.  Case in point, we were hiking a few weeks ago.  When we arrived home we found several microscopic ticks attached to one of my son’s socks.  Had he not been wearing high socks or had not tucked his pants into his socks, those ticks would have likely found a comfy home on his ankle or leg and would have started chowing down.
  • Wear a shirt with sleeves – Even in the hottest conditions, we wear long sleeved shirts while hiking.  We’ve invested in a good quality, lightweight, moisture-wicking, breathable shirt for each of our children.  These shirts allow them to remain cool and covered.  At a minimum, you should wear short sleeved shirts.  Avoid tank tops .
  • Wear appropriate footwear – Flip flops and sandals just don’t cut it.  Opt for hiking boots.  Even putting the tick issue aside, hiking boots are designed for your safety, providing traction, grip, and support over varying terrain.

2.       Stay on the Trail

While hiking, choose to stay on the marked trails.  Often times these trails are maintained by park service personnel.  In addition, with regular foot traffic, these trails stay clear of thick brush, high grass, and overgrown bushes.  Cleared trails provide a bit of space between you and those favorite tick hangouts.  Once you meander off the trail and onto unblazed territories, you will likely be walking through unkempt areas where ticks love to call home.   Grab a trail map and stay on the trail.  Here are some examples of good and not-so-good trails:

Good
Better
Best
Beautiful but not so good.
Really, you’re thinking of hiking here?

 

3.      Use a Good Quality Tick Spray

I am pretty cautious about chemicals.  While DEET is an effective deep woods option, it is also highly toxic.  I’ve avoided the use of traditional bug and tick sprays all together.  A friend of mine recommended a cedar based spray.  We’ve used it for years and it has proven to be highly effective.  It is expensive but so is treating an undiagnosed tick bite.  We use TickShield Tactical by Owens Organics.  I receive NO compensation for this recommendation.  I simply use it, like it, and have found it to be effective.  I recommend spraying both skin and clothing.

 

4.       Strip, Shower, Check

This is our family’s tick check routine.  After a time of camping, hiking, or extended outdoor time,  we follow these three simple steps.

(A)  Immediately go to the laundry room.  Strip down to your underwear, and place all of your clothing into the washing machine.  Look for any obvious ticks on your body.

(B)  Take a shower.  Use a washcloth to scrub.  Wash your hair thoroughly.

(C)  Before getting fully dressed have someone do a tick check.  A secondary person needs to carefully look over the back, neck, legs, feet, toes, head, behind ears, armpits, and arms.   Ticks can be tiny…as small as a pinhead, a fleck of dirt, or a dot on a piece of paper.  Sometimes they can be larger and more obvious.  Look each and every time.  It only takes one missed tick check to miss a tick.

5.     Use Common Sense

Don’t think that it won’t happen to you.  Don’t think that a tick is no big deal.  Don’t think that some people are simply paranoid, crazy tick lunatics.  Don’t think that Lyme Disease is no big deal.  Remember, the people writing these types of posts, the people tucking their pants into their socks, the people being adament about staying on a trail, are often the people whose lives have been forever changed by a single tick bite.  Heed their warning and advice.  None of us want to see anyone of you incapacitated.  An undetected tick bite today can cause debilitation five or ten years down the road.

You can read more posts from Life in the Van regarding Lyme Disease here.  Work from the bottom of the page, upward.