July 26th, 2014 | Author:

IMG_3397_edited-1I wasn’t going to go. While I can’t say that I’ve written any less – I still manage to keep this blog (mostly) up-to-date, I continue to edit and write for the monthly SOWER e-Newsletter, and I’ve done an article or two for the Sowergram (the SOWER bi-monthly publication) – I certainly can’t say I’ve written any more. Certainly there have been no clever articles or travelogues sent into magazines and for sure, no opening paragraph of the Rvthereyet Story have been written (let alone a first chapter!). So there was that little inside voice telling me that I didn’t really deserve to go since I had squandered the blessing of last year’s conference. But there was another voice telling me I should go. Sweet Gary once again encouraged me to take advantage of this remarkable event that happens right in our own backyard. And so I went. And was once again blessed.
Oh, I was still overwhelmed. Still in awe of the ‘talent in the room’. Still insecure about my ability to write, let alone write something that someone would consider publishing. But over-reaching the “stills” was the absolute blessing by the insights and encouragement from both the faculty and fellow conferees. I left this year feeling less afraid of the task before me, knowing that if God truly wants me to write about this adventure (or is it a pilgrimage?), then He will give me the strength, courage, community (yes, that’s YOU) and TIME to make it happen. Knowing that friends will be praying for me in this endeavor is a priceless gift from our gracious Father.
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1:9-12 (The Message)
Montrose Christian Writers Conference has come to a close. Now to figure out how to wrap my brain around the information (and encouragement) I received. Oh, and figure out what to do with all the piles! #smallspaceliving#mcwc
Thank you for coming along on this journey. I’ll need your help in the days ahead as I set my goals, plan my strategies, and try to keep my head above water. Oh, and write! All comments (and prayers) are welcome, and feel free to ask how the book is coming every now and again. But first I need to get my house back in order after a great week at camp! Anyone want to stop by and help with that?

July 19th, 2014 | Author:

Friday was a wild and crazy day here at Montrose Bible Conference.  As the final week of kids camp was wrapping up over at the Youth Campus, the conference center was gearing up for a full house of weekend guests down at the Adult Campus, followed by a one of their biggest weeks of the year – the Montrose Christian Writers Conference.  Lots of last minute room checking and basic sprucing up was happening. So it only made sense that it was also the day that the painters showed up to do the barn roof. Now as SOWERS, we are often asked to do painting.  But THIS painting was far beyond the scope of us old folks.
Yep – this roof definitely called for Professionals!
Crazy, right?
Finished product -
And it was all done before lunch! I was busy working in the laundry (the small outbuilding on the right connected to the barn) so I could peek out and see what was going on. I’m pretty sure that fellow had done a fair bit of roof walking in his day. :)
Meanwhile, over at the motel, this was happening.
And if you can’t tell what “this” is – remember the walkway that Gary jack-hammered away a couple of weeks ago (in preparation of the new decking)? Much to his delight, a local contractor came in to tear up the next section he was slated to be working on.
He loved that instead of wielding a jack hammer, his biggest job was keeping the rubble out of the driveway. Excavating-5
And man, watching the pros do their thing – it did his heart good! (and saved a fair bit of body wear and tear too!)
What had taken Gary (and the other 2 maintenance guys off and on) 3+ days to accomplish was completed in about two hours.
Which gave him the whole afternoon to fashion temporary entrances into those two rooms.
It isn’t glamorous, but it got the job done! Next week those will be the only two rooms unoccupied, so he’ll be able to get right back to his deck building.
But remember this step?
Guess what I was doing in the afternoon……
Yep – re-cleaning those rooms.
Ah, the fine, fine dust of progress!

July 17th, 2014 | Author:

In the not quite 2 weeks since I posted last (and thanks for still stopping by), we’ve been pretty busy! If we go back as far as our Vermont 4th of July trip, we’ve put almost 1400 miles on the truck.  Yikes! But while those miles might have been tough on the pocket book (cheapest gas was $3.50 at Costco in Lancaster, priciest was $3.79 right here in Montrose. Just reporting in.), the sitting still parts were filled with hugs and kisses, small beautiful children, and precious adults.  So let’s start when I left off at the last post -
The Dwinell Homestead Family Day
This homestead, built by my great grandfather and his brother, was purchased by my grandfather and his 6 siblings at a public auction in the mid-1930′s.
Five generations later, it is still in the family and the property is managed through the Dwinell Homestead Association. (We used the DHA as the model for our own Dwinell Cabin Association.) Every year, after the business meeting, the house is opened for “Family Day”. It really was a wonderful afternoon – connecting with cousins and second cousins and cousins once and twice removed and trying to figure out who’s who.
Such a crowd of family!
Next time I’m taking a copy of the family tree!

We returned to Montrose on Sunday for a quick overnight, and then Monday morning we set out for parts south. A week that would include doctor visits (just routine – and all is well), sleeping in 4 different beds, and seeing lots of wonderful family! I didn’t have the camera out as much as usual, but here is just a sampling of our “Lower PA Tour”

There was a rousing game of Connect Four Launcher with Stephen in Chambersburg.
We enjoyed some banter with beautiful “Moomie” – my sister’s 93 year old mother-in-law.
There were a couple of chores that were accomplished at Joie’s place -
Ceiling fans in the bedrooms and
vintage signs installed in the front garden. It’s always important to keep Gary busy, right?
Aren’t those flowers amazing?
Soon it was time to leave beautiful Perry County
and head to Lancaster – and the prize at the end of the week.
The good life. #bestpartofbeinggrams
And this time there was a bonus prize-
when we were joined by Lara and Herbert for a quick visit.
It was a sweet, sweet weekend that ended with a birthday party in the park for dear Weston, who (unbelievably) has just turned THREE!
Look who's three! #timeflies #whendidthathappen #instacollage
It was a wacky and wonderful week, and after we finally arrived back in Montrose (and got to sleep in our very own bed again), we were treated to one more delight when this crew stopped by on their way to the Cabin.
Was blessed to have these cuties stop by for a quick visit. (Mom and Dad came too, but didn't make the shot. ) We sent them on their way after a crazy McD breakfast. Have fun at the Cabin!
Imagine, being able to hug all my kids and grands within the space of 36 hours.
Sheer bliss.

I’ve got to tell you – that was some of the best busy-ness EVER!

Psst – there are a couple more “2014 Lower PA Tour” photos HERE if you’re so inclined. :)

July 05th, 2014 | Author:

It’s been quite a week here in the RVThereYet world! My last post talked about the diversity that comes with being a SOWER, and this past week just proved the point.
This was the knee pads and work glove day.
After finishing the demolition for the first section of  walkway (there are 8 sections total), Gary needed my help to get the framing and footings in.
That board along the building. Long and Heavy. He needed me! (Actually he needed someone a bit stronger than me, but he made do). I’m a pretty good bubble watcher (as in the level bubble) and I’m fast learning how important that bubble in the middle is! Before too long we (he) had the corner post in and was working down the other side.
And then we really got into it!

So thankful for knee pads and work gloves.
By lunch time we/he had the frame up and the joist hangers started and ready for the joists!
And by the end of the day -
the deck was on its way!
Since Gary didn’t need me on Tuesday, I moved to the kitchen where I donned an apron and tackled several dozen over-ripe bananas left over from the previous weekend’s group lack of banana eating.
Piles of over-ripe banana + giant mixing equipment = 10 loaves of banana bread, 1 sheet cake, and about 75 mini-muffins (not all of which made it to the freezer. Just sayin.)
Wednesday found me in a motel room, finishing up some priming so it would be ready for a finish coat.
I got ‘er done and then was able to hop over to the main lobby where an impromptu upholstery shop had been set up.
Mary and her son Donnie have an upholstery shop in NC and for many years have come to Montrose with their tools and reupholstered whatever it was that needed to be done. From sofas to chairs to pillows – they just kept going and going!
Now I’ve done a fair bit of sewing in my day, but I’ve never tackled any type of upholstery. So I totally enjoyed watching those masters at work earlier in the week. And on this day I finally was able to give it a try. Mary set me up on her commercial machine and had me make a pillow or two.
While I have made pillows before, it’s never been on a machine like this!
I’m sure with practice I would have found a moderate speed, but as far as I could tell it went from 0 to 60 with the tap of the toe. I’m happy to report that no fingers were sewn in the making of these pillows.
Thursday was a wrap up loose ends day as we were planning on heading to the Cabin for the weekend and then would be away the following week taking care of routine doctor visits and enjoying some family and friend visits. Although the official railing has yet to be installed, Gary had finished that first section of walkway so the rooms could be used. Turned out pretty sweet, didn’t it?
By mid afternoon on Thursday we had officially started our 4th of July celebration -
Happy 4th of July everyone! We're hanging out at the cabin, so I'm pretty sure ours will be just fine! #myhappyplace
Friday was pretty much an All-Cabin day. And even though it was cool and cloudy, it still was a treasure! We got some chores done and took naps and read our books and cooked with cast iron.
Cabin cooking at its finest. Ancient Griswold cast iron pan, piles of peppers and onions, natural casing kielbasa, and Colatina rolls (possibly the best rolls on the planet) all served up on paper plates. Oh, did I mention it's even cool enough that we ha
Classic Cabin all the way. And for us, a great way to celebrate the 4th of July!
Why, that’s today! We’re headed over to a family reunion at the Dwinell Homestead today. We’ll be seeing lots of folks that we don’t know, but it should be a fun day. While this reunion happens every year, we probably haven’t been there in over 10 years. Who are you again?
Guess I better get this post published while my internet is being cooperative – and then I better start getting ready to go! Hope your holiday weekend is going well – and if you don’t hear from me for a bit, it’s just because I’m busy hugging family!

June 29th, 2014 | Author:

One of the things that I love about SOWERS is that often our jobs change every day. I’ve been doing a bit of painting here and there, but mostly I’ve tried to be available to be Gary’s Helper. Since the motel sidewalk project has been moving kind of slowly, Gary has been working hard to fill his days – and mine too! He’s had to trouble shoot an A/C issue or two -
I wasn’t much help on the first one (all those gauges and things), but on the second one I was the chief tool getter and ladder holder. Both tasks fully within my skill set. :)
But one day this week, he really put me to work. See these pine trees?
Our job was to trim the second and third pine trees in this row (you can’t even tell the third one is there) to look like the first one (trimmed by Gary the week before!). Needless to say, Gary was the ladder-man in this job.
Or maybe I should say he was the tree-climbing man -
Or maybe the tree-hugging man…..
Me? Well I was the haul the branches away girl (and once again the ladder holder). I was also the one holding my breath knowing I would not have been very effective in catching the tree-climbing one!
Not a bad morning’s work for a couple of folks who get a Senior Citizen Discount most everywhere they go!
I’m happy to report that a local tree service came later in the week and chipped up the branches (and for way less than it would have cost us to rent a chipper and do the work ourselves – how sweet is that!) and hauled away all the chips (is that what the product of a chipper is called?). Which is a good thing, because by Friday afternoon the material for the new walkway had arrived and needed a place to live.
Gary and the maintenance guys continued to break away the concrete along the first section
and by Saturday afternoon they had it leveled pretty well.
Motel walkway
Tomorrow (Monday) I’ll be his helper again as he begins the actual construction of the new deck/walkway.
Should I be concerned that we picked up a new pair of knee-pads at Lowes today?
Hmmm…… We’ll see what the new day will bring!