April 14th, 2014 | Author:

and a sweet week with our niece, Christiana. Chris’s mom and dad had given her an “Uncle Gary Gift Card” for Christmas to facilitate the replacement of 5 very leaky windows in her Chattanooga house. We were delighted to be able to work in the visit on our way to our April project in Kentucky,
Love the redbud along the highway. Not so crazy about the construction cones or the bug splatter on the windshield, but I do love the redbud! #gettingclose
and I do believe she was delighted with the work that was accomplished. Even though there were a couple of glitches, it was still a great week!
We took up residence right outside her house and just ran our electric cord through her front window so we could keep our batteries charged and the fridge running. It really worked out well -

We could enjoy all the amenities of her home while still sleeping in our own bed. It’s a really good plan. :)
The windows about to be replaced are these two in the front and then the three down side on the first floor.

We started on the front ones – Out with the old

and trying to figure out how to get the window frame square for the new ones -
It was very interesting (um, maybe frightening) to check out the construction behind the original windows (well, not original to the house, just original to the most previous renovation.)
Yikes! And eventually, in with the new!

We ran into a couple of complications on those first two windows, but after a good dinner at a great local burger joint, we were ready to move to the side!
These were a bit more tricky just due to the distance off the ground, but we all kept plugging away. Gary of course did most of the plugging (away).  Chris and I worked on painting the trim and stuffing insulation into the cracks (which helped explain why her house was always so cold!), while Gary squared up the openings and got them ready for the windows.
Hi, Chris! We’re coming with the window! Actually placing the window in the opening was a three man job – Chris on the inside and both Gary and I on the outside lifting the window into place – which is why I don’t have any pictures of that. Could not figure that selfie out!
We are very familiar with “old house” renovations, but it never ceases to amaze me just how crooked these old dwellings can be.
We’ve got him framed now!
Let me just interject here that it wasn’t all work and no play. Why even an early evening run to the local Lowes can allow for some beautiful views!
Crossing the Tennessee River at dusk, with promises for a beautiful  Saturday.
We checked out some great local eateries
Big day ahead on the window project- good thing we started it with the breakfast of champions!
and I even got to accompany Chris for a run up Lookout Mountain to Covenant College where she works.
It's a beautiful day for a walkabout at Covenant College.
And what a beautiful morning that was!
But back at the house the work continued. We only were able to change out 4 of the windows due to one of them being damaged, but along with the windows Gary was able to get the mailbox properly installed in some concrete, fix some goofy electrical issues, put up some new house numbers and change out a couple of defective lights in Chris’s closet and laundry room. All in all, a very good week!
By the end of the day Wednesday (we were all leaving Thursday morning), the house was put back together, and even though there was still some touch-up painting to do (it had to wait for the caulk to set up or I would have done it. Honest.) it seemed like a job well done.

Chris has always been near and dear to our hearts. She was living in Philly while we were getting ready to sell the house and hit the road so she joined us for many of our garage sales.  And she also went home with a fair bit of our “stuff”, so when we get to visit her it’s always a wee bit like coming home! We love you, Chris – it was so fun to come and work and play and eat and laugh with you! Maybe we’ll see you on our way south in the fall and take care of that last window! See if you can hang on to that extension ladder, okay? :)

April 11th, 2014 | Author:

The Texas SOWER Reunion, that is!
From the arrival of the first RV on Sunday afternoon
to the departure caravan Wednesday morning
it was a perfectly grand event.
It had all the necessary ingredients for a great reunion -
A never ending campfire -
in the early evening….
enjoying the first night with friends…..
and starting the day with a cup O’Joe around the fire with the guys.
Morning coffee by the campfire. Well, the guys thought it was a good plan.  #2014txreunion
There was great food -
the first night Hot Dog Roast-
Pizza night -
Lunch at the Trinity Pines dining hall -
and a how-can-you-have-a-SOWER-gathering-without-a-potluck Potluck!
Can I hear a “yum”!
There was a Talent Show
and funny or serious, all were quite talented. :)
Of course there was the SOWER Auction!
Checkbooks up! And what will the starting bid be on these baked-fresh-this-morning sticky buns?
$50.00 you say? Who brought the forks? (The auction raised over $3500 for the ministry! Whoohoo!)
But for all the food and fun and (camp)fire, what really made the reunion so wonderful were these guys.
2014Reunion Group
What a special group of hard working, hard playing, and Jesus loving people! We’re so thankful that He continues to knit us together into a family!

If you’d like to see the whole set of photos, check them out HERE! I was pretty busy with the camera!

April 07th, 2014 | Author:

I’m so far behind on this dear little blog – kudos to those of you that keep checking in! I figured instead of trying to condense everything into just one post, I’d do a couple of entries to try and keep things straight. And first up will be the wrap up of our March project at Trinity Pines Conference Center. It was a great project, and with a team of 11 couples, much was accomplished!

Remember when we started? (And this photo was taken two days into the project so it isn’t really the beginning.)
Well, a mere 10 working days later, these are just some of the things that were accomplished -

6000 sq ft of concrete was scrapped and scrubbed.
5 electric palm sanders were often going at once.
(Thank goodness for ear plugs!)

28 doors were hung and framed.

11 gallons of Sand and Seal were applied.
2250 ft. of trim was sanded, sealed, sanded, sealed.
100 outlets and switches were wired.

8 bathroom vanities were built
and rough plumbed.
1680′ of lumber was cut and routed for new bunks.
And 20 4′ florescent lights were installed
along with all of the other light fixtures in the building.

Elsewhere around the property -

50 bathroom lighting fixtures were switched out.
1500′ of water pipe was laid.

There was something for everyone to do. Our ladies that couldn’t help with the construction worked on items for the gift shop or helped out in the kitchen. There were so very few idle moments at Trinity Pines in the month of March.
But please don’t think we were all work and no play. Not only did we manage to fit in some fun game nights, we also enjoyed some fine food events too!
Homemade Waffles and Ice Cream!
And the perennial favorite -
The good life!
Hot Dog Roast. Who brought the mustard?

All is quiet now at the building –
and the checklists have been taken down.
But these good folks will remain as dear friends even though many miles may separate us in the years to come.
To God be all the Glory! It was a great month!

March 28th, 2014 | Author:

We’ve been in Trinity, Texas, for the last three weeks as we’ve served here at Trinity Pines Conference Center.
Trinity is, I believe, a pretty typical small Texas town.
It has a Home Town Hero,
and while the main drag is probably a bit quieter than they would like
the town does have the essentials.
A place to buy your groceries
and if you look the other way, there’s required DQ (aka Texas Stop Sign), pizza joint, and fast food options.
There are churches (both in town and outside of town)
and even spots to enjoy a bit of local fare!
While it is a quiet little town, it is also has other essentials – like a new medical center and a sweet little quilt shop!(Ok, so that might not be on everyone’s “essential list”, but it sure perked me up!)
I have to confess,though, that this guy is what first caught our eye as we headed into our March project -
Trinity Sculpture-13
The big spikey guy on the corner!
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But as is so often the case, there’s more to that story, too! When we noticed the whimsical birdhouse tucked behind Spikey Guy
Trinity Sculpture-1
we decided further investigation was in order! One day as we drove by (after a great lunch at the Trinity Cafe) we noticed a guy getting out of a truck parked at the building that seemed to go with the corner lot. Gary pulled over and hopped out to get the story. (If my kids are reading this they’re saying, “Wait – DAD hopped out to talk to a stranger?” Honest, it’s true!). And we are so glad he did!
We got to meet Jim Robertson, the artist in residence at “Overdrive Studio“.
And what fun to get a quick tour of his working studio-
Trinity Sculpture-5
Trinity Sculpture-4
Trinity Sculpture-3
This baby is actually road-worthy and has been used in many local (and not so local) parades!
Trinity Sculpture-8
But the fact that he takes stuff from piles like these -
Trinity Sculpture-11
and designs and makes stuff like this
Trinity Sculpture-10
is amazing!
Trinity Sculpture-9
Of course it’s not all railroad spikes and futuristic vehicles -
Trinity Sculpture-7
some of it is quite whimsical!
Trinity Sculpture-12
Just goes to show you, it never hurts to stop and ask! We also were able to get the rest of the story on Spikey Guy. That sculpture is actually based on this 19th century Siberian bear hunting armor -
Doesn’t that look comfy for a long day on the hunt!
I must confess, however, that even though we now know the whole story behind that piece of art, he’s still kinda creepy when you drive by at night!
Trinity Sculpture-15
Gotta love Small Town, USA!

March 23rd, 2014 | Author:

It’s been pretty quiet on the sightseeing front lately here at RVthereyet. Except for a couple of runs to South Padre Island and a couple of dips into Progresso, Mexico, the last five months have found us staying pretty close to home.  Now that we’re in a whole new neck of the woods (about 90 minutes north of Houston), it seems only right that we make a bit more effort to see what there is to see!  And so, with just a minimal agenda in mind, we set out on Friday morning to investigate College Station.  But first we had to get there!
The drive was pretty “East Texas” – lots of cattle and small towns and open fields.
That didn’t seem like quite enough of a scarecrow to do the job, but then again we didn’t see any birds around, so maybe we’re underestimating his scaring power!
We also noticed (in an otherwise open field) these two rows of boxes.
Any idea what they might be for?
Bees? This was the mystery of the day!
But soon we were in College Station – home to (among other things) Texas A&M.
There it is -
We didn’t actually drive through the main part of the campus, but since our primary destination was on the campus we can say we were there, right? We were headed for the George (H.W.) Bush Presidential Museum and Library.
We really enjoyed the museum. It had lots of history (both personal and political) and was very well done.
2014 03 21
There was even an exact replica of the Oval Office the way it looked during President Bush’s tenure in office.
AND – you were even allowed to see how the desk “fit”.
Or maybe this…..
Oh, dear!
It was a great day out which included not only a nice lunch date, but also a stop at Lowes (for Gary) and a quilt shop (for me!). Gotta love civilization!
The rest of the weekend included some serious (and sadly overdue) housekeeping, a great seafood dinner in Livingston, a couple of naps and a bit of birthday cake in celebration of another SOWER’s birthday.
I don’t know how much more “touristing” we’ll be able to fit in (we’re only here for another week and a half and it’s filling up fast!), but if nothing else I’m hoping for a trip to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory in Brenham, TX. You don’t think 90 miles is too far for free ice cream, do you?
I’ll let you know how it works out!