Getting our Cowboy on –

Earlier this week, before Thanksgiving and the Big Rain, we took a little trip into Ft. Worth to see what there was to see.
OK – we didn’t do ALL of Ft. Worth (and there’s plenty to do there and in neighboring Dallas). We really just wanted to get our Cowboy on at the Ft. Worth Stockyards.
Ft Worth Stockyards
Today the Stockyards are full of shops and restaurants and more shops and event venues.
But between 1866 and 1890 more than four million head of cattle were trailed through Fort Worth, which was soon known as “Cowtown.” In the early 1900’s Swift and Armour set up packing plants and the area thrived.
Ft Worth Stockyards
But as the economy shifted, those plants were closed. By the early 70’s the area was in decline. Fortunately, the local historical society stepped in to preserve the area, and many of the area’s landmarks have been restored including the Livestock Exchange Building and the Coliseum. While weekly livestock auctions ceased many years ago, the Stockyards continues to host special breed events and sales including Longhorn auctions. Many thousand of head of cattle are still sold in the Stockyards every week via video/satellite sales originating in the Exchange Building. The livestock legacy lives on.
Ft Worth Stockyards
The stockyard is also home to a couple dozen (+/-) of longhorn cattle.
Ft Worth Stockyards
And twice a day (weather permitting :)) there is a cattle drive down main street “just like in the old days”.
Ft Worth Stockyards
OK, so it’s not QUITE like the old days, but it was still pretty fun to watch the big guys make their way down Main Street.
Ft Worth Stockyards
The good news (for them) is that they were just headed back to their corrals – not the Armour factory! We had a good day in Ft. Worth. We had a great steak lunch (of course!), and enjoyed learning the history of the area. We didn’t spend much time in the shops, but if you’re looking for something “Texas” this would be the place to find it! And since it has pretty much been raining since that day – we’re pretty happy we got our Cowboy on when we did!

If you’d like a bit more history about the Ft. Worth Stockyard, you can find more here!

Thanks for stopping by! If the rain lets up, we’ll be on the road tomorrow, heading to our December SOWER project about 100 miles down the road – Heart of Texas Camp and Conference Center. Talk to you soon!

Posted in Pictures of the Adventure, RV Life, The Adventure | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Enter His gates with Thanksgiving!

ThanksgivingSteph2 copy

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
 Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

 Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

 For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Posted in RV Life, The Adventure | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mondays are for Memories – November 2009

From just about this time six years ago. Seems we were headed to Southern California!

November 27, 2009 – Out of the Desert

We spent our Thanksgiving day on the road. But since it was almost all New Road, it was still a very good day! (And we did get to talk to our kids and we have a turkey ready to roast tomorrow, so there will still be leftovers!). We were only going about 200 miles from the Coachella Valley down the east coast of the Salton Sea, south to El Centro and then west along the bottom of the state (almost into Mexico) and then a little north to swing around to Jamul (there are mountains in the way of actually getting there more directly). Here is what it looks like on a map –
Coachella.Indian Hills route
Here’s what it looked like as we drove it –
Down past the Salton Sea
Coachella to San Diego
The north end of the Salton Sea is in the Imperial Valley – a real fruit (and vegetable) basket area of California. This field was ready for something!
Coachella to San Diego-1
Although the Salton Sea is increasing in it’s salinity each year (along with becoming more poluted), it is still home to about 30% of the the remaining American White Pelicans.
Coachella to San Diego-2
(If you’d like to know more about this lake (the largest in CA) there is some info Here on Wikipedia.)
We soon left the lake behind us and continued through the desert – but we knew that mountains were in our future!
Coachella to San Diego-3
Coachella to San Diego-4
Oh, yeah, mountains ahead. We were going from about 300 ft. below sea level to over 4000 ft. above sea level. Not the highest pass we’ve traveled by any means, but believe me, it was one long climb!
Coachella to San Diego-5
Coachella to San Diego-6
Coachella to San Diego-7
And what goes up, must come down –
Coachella to San Diego-8
and down –
Coachella to San Diego-9
and down.
We passed some majestic windmills along the way –
Coachella to San Diego-11
and pretty much continued to wind up and down and over and through mountain after mountain.

Coachella to San Diego-10Coachella to San Diego-12Coachella to San Diego-13Coachella to San Diego-14

We eventually made it to the outskirts of The Big City – but I bet you can all picture Thanksgiving traffic. It wasn’t very photo worthy.
We finally settled down in parking lot near a Kohls in El Cajon. We figured if they asked us to move we would just say we were waiting for it to open at 4AM. Fortunately, no one bothered us so we didn’t have to actually get up and do it! (But I must say, many others did! And without the comfort of having their bed in the parking lot!).

Today we moved into our December project – Indian Hills Camp. We haven’t seen too much of the camp just yet, but I can share with you my new picture window view –
New View - Indian Hills
I don’t think we’re done being thankful just yet!

Posted in Mondays are for Memories, RV Life, The Adventure | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sabbath Rest – Thanksgiving Medley

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I’d share a medley of two Thanksgiving classics –
We Gather Together and Come Ye Thankful People, Come.

Thy Name be ever Praised!

Video by CRC Worship

Posted in Sabbath Rest | Tagged | 1 Comment

From beginning to end….

From the beginning
New Life Ranch-1
to end
our November SOWER project was excellent! Here are just a few of the reasons we loved this project. We’ll start with the practical.
They invited us to join them for meals whenever they were serving guests. Now you might think we loved that for the savings it represented (and believe me, we did appreciate that!). Or maybe it was the beautiful salad bar that helped me stay on track with the pre-holiday attempt to lose a couple of pounds (and you know – it did!). But what we really loved about eating in the dining hall was being able to sit with, and get to know, the staff. And even better than getting to know the staff, was getting to know their little ones. From 6 weeks up, there were surrogate grandkids everywhere. We never knew when a little one would join us for dinner or a hug or both! It was such a delight – and an honor – to get to know these dedicated families who have given their hearts to “To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to equip believers for ministry.” Plus it was pretty sweet giggling with the kiddos!

Then there was the property. From our parking area to the horse pastures to the hiking trails – this place really is “a valley set apart”.

Oh – the Work! I confess there was no disappointment when we weren’t asked to clean cabins. Data entry of Guest Survey Cards (so fun to read the comments, and just so you know – Biscuits and Gravy was by far the favorite meal) and then sewing curtains in our very own yurt.
All of us ladies were pretty happy with our job assignments.
And the guys liked building their little gate house. They finally split up the team (5 guys on that little building got a bit crowded), but Gary largely stuck with the building.
(What is it about that guy and roofs?)
They got it as far as they could, and we’re pretty sure the New Life guys will be able to finish it up in no time.

Did I mention the Birthday Month? Since my b-day is in November, I pretty much claim any celebration as being done in my honor, and use any excuse I can to have a bit of cake and ice cream. I celebrated with our SOWER friends, talked and FaceTimed with all the kiddos and had several mushy birthday cards to open. It was a great day – and a pretty darn fun month!
Yes, that bowl of fried ice cream is as big as my head, and I’m happy to report that four of us worked on cleaning the bowl!

Touristy stuff. NLR is tucked in the NE corner of Oklahoma. The closest town is Siloam Springs, AR and the Missouri border is not all that far away. I was amazed to discover all there was to see and do in the area. Everything from safari rides to historic villages to the very first Walmart store. We were pretty focused on getting the reno closer to completion, so we only took one day to be tourists. We headed over to Bentonville, AR (known as the birthplace of Walmart) but also home to a beautiful American Art Museum, Crystal Bridges. This was founded by Alice Walton and recently added a complete Frank Lloyd Wright house to its collection.
It’s pretty spectacular. And it’s free! What’s not to love!

On the renovation front there was my beloved desk project –
and more recently, the addition of the long awaited (really, he’s been asking for a recliner for years!!!) recliner.
We’re still fine tuning the furniture placement, but all in all, it’s working out just fine. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Then there were the people we worked with.
Working SOWER projects is kind of like going to summer camp. Even if you don’t know anyone else when you arrived, when it comes time to leave it’s hard to say good-bye. Of the four couples we worked with we had worked with two before, had met one at a rally and one we had never met. By the end we were almost family. We worked together, often ate together, and played together. We’ve shared our sorrows and our triumphs. And we parted knowing we’ve found new prayer partners. Friday morning we all scattered in different directions – Texas, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. We’re gonna miss these good folks! Although we’ve parted ways, we’re still joined in the heart!

Yes, from the beginning to the end – that was one fine project. Seeing God at work in camps and schools and group homes and rescue missions across this country – and maybe being a small part of that work – is absolutely the best part of being a SOWER! Joining together with other folks to share in that blessing (and maybe even see a bit of this beautiful country) is just icing on the (birthday) cake!

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me ramble on about New Life Ranch and our time here. If you just came by to find out about the bungee cords – well, the answer is 7. Unless you count the 3 factory installed straps that hold back the pocket doors and then the number is 10. :)

Psssst – there are more pictures of our time at New Life Ranch HERE if you’re interested!

Posted in Pictures of the Adventure, RV Life, SOWER Projects, SOWER Projects 2015, The Adventure | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment