Mondays are for Memories – Our very first SOWER project!

Long, long, ago (or so it seems), we started out on our RV Adventure, with the goal of seeing the country and occasionally doing a SOWER* project along the way. We planned to be on the road for a year, maybe two. We were only enjoying the tourist life fir about 6 weeks, when we decided it was time to do something a bit more purposeful than sightseeing. And so, not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we signed up for our first SOWER project month at Faith Baptist School in Vienna, Georgia. (Don’t be confused – it’s pronounced Vie-anna (rhymes with Diana.) We were parked in the backyard of the school, with freshly mowed grass waiting for our arrival. And we were ready to see just what this SOWER Ministry was all about!
During the next three weeks we worked hard – mostly doing some sort of clean-up (either inside or outside), building repair or school organization.
And while the immediate surroundings weren’t especially beguiling, we fell in love with the people and the school and our fellow workers.
And we both heard the still small voice of our Lord saying – THIS is what I have for you.
That was October, 2004, and truthfully we haven’t looked back since.
As I was looking through the blog archives, I couldn’t find one post that really spoke just about that first project. (And apparently, I was organizing the blog a bit differently and I must have been keeping my photos in some long forgotten file on the web. Oh well.)
But here is one from near the end of our time at the school that tells a little about that first project –

October 18, 2004 – Did we mention the trains?

We’re on the home stretch at our project at Faith Christian School, and Gary just asked if I’d mentioned the trains. The school (and our camp site) is located between two sets of railroad tracks – each about two blocks from the school. And these are very busy tracks – and since they go through town, they have to blow those whistles, loud and long. They say it takes about three weeks to get used to it. =)
It’s been a busy couple of weeks – as often happens, when we would go to work on a certain project, it just kind of funnels into another project. What started as Sharon and I organizing the bulletin board “stuff” turned into a revamp of the storage room and trying to make it into a “resource room.” It still has a way to go, but at least the teachers shouldn’t be quite so afraid to enter! The guys continue to busy with yard work and general maintenance/repairs and we managed to get a set of curtains made and hung. Hopefully one more set will get done before we head on our way. We wrap up our time here on Thursday, but will be staying in our little spot until Saturday, tying up loose ends and packing up to hit the road. It has been truly a blessing to be here – getting to know the teachers and students, working with our new friends Dick and Sharon Brittell, and being able to use some of our talents in furthering God’s Kingdom.

Gary and Dick taming the courtyard. The grass was high and the bushes were wild, but they set them straight!

That post, and the others from that first project bring back such precious memories. We’ve done 100+ projects since that October long ago, and have seen some beautiful parts of the country. But there’s nothing like that first SOWER project help us remember why we do the things we do!

*In case you’re new here – SOWERS stands for Servants on Wheels Ever Ready, and it’s a non-denominational service ministry that partners with other Christian ministries all around the country. During a project month, SOWERS help out in anyway that the ministry needs – from plumbing to painting to new construction to raking leaves. You can get more information HERE!

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Sabbath Rest – May the Mind of Christ My Savior

This hymn/prayer was written over 100 years ago. And yet I can only say – May this be my constant prayer this year – and in the years ahead!

May the Mind of Christ My Savior

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and pow’r controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His pow’r.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Words – Kate Wilkinson, 1913
Music – Arthur C. Barham-Gould, 1925
Performed by – The NCrew EliEli
Video by – The NCrew EliEli




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So let’s start with Christmas….

Since I have lots to catch up on and Christmas was pretty recent and I DO have some pretty cute pictures of the grands, I figured Christmas was a good place to start! And if I’m going to start at Christmas, I figure a couple of “on our way” shots is a fitting beginning.
We started early
Covered lots of country
a couple of cities
and lots and lots of road.
1200 miles (give or take) each way – but let me say right now – it was SO worth it!!!
We started out at our daughter’s house, celebrated Christmas day with her and then two days later had a Joint Family Christmas with both families.Ah, the beautiful chaos of it all!!  Then we moved to the other side of town to finish off our Columbus holiday with our son and family. I confess that I didn’t do a really good job of documenting all the fun – guess I was just too busy having all that fun!! I did get some pretty cute shots of all the kiddos, tho –
The two sweeties from the first part of the week –
Ellie B
and the five darlin’s that completed our visit.
We are so blessed to be able to claim these kids as our grandchildren. (We’re pretty blessed to call their folks our kids, but I didn’t do such a great job of getting pictures all of them!) But I did get some pictures of the festivities –
Trying to get a picture of the girls in red on Christmas morning. Looks like I was the only one interested in actually having that happen!
Pops helped little Alexandra with some boo-boo care.
The girls (and Herbert) waiting expectantly for the present opening to start!
Once we moved north to the busy household with the five kids, our days were filled with acrobats
And others who were oblivious to acrobats.
There were games to be played
And then there were GAMES TO BE PLAYED!!!
It was a great holiday – and of course it went by too fast. There are more pictures (naturally!), so if you want to see more adorable kiddos, some cute adults and then some more amazing youngun’s – feel free to check out the batch of ’em HERE!

Although it was hard to head back to Texas, we did have some pretty wonderful littles waiting for us back down the road.
So there it is – the Conrad Columbus Christmas in a nutshell. Giggles and snuggles and even some “pie in the face”.
Lord, let us never take for granted the beautiful, crazy, loving family you have blessed us with!

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Mondays are for Memories – January 2010

Since so many of our family and friends are posting snow pictures, I checked back in the archive to January 2010 when we were working at Cherry Valley School in Beaumont, California. We might not have had a ton of snow at our location, but it wasn’t far away!

January 31, 2010 – The Round About Way

Since this was our last weekend in the “Pass” (as this area is known), we figured we’d better take the advantage of a beautiful day on Saturday to take a drive to some of the nearby spots we’d been wanting to check out. Big Bear Lake and ski areas were only about 45 miles away according to our GPS, but of course we wanted to stay away from major interstates and congested areas. “Let’s go up the back way, through Oak Glen (a quaint town of orchards and all things apple only 15 miles or so up the road), maybe check out a couple of geocaches, and then make our way over to Big Bear Lake.” Sounded like a plan, so I grabbed the camera, a couple of bottles of water and some snacks, and off we went!
First Stop – Oak Glen.
OK, so we didn’t actually stop (it’s not exactly prime apple harvest time), but the views were impressive as we were heading out of town –
January 30 drive-1
And we really enjoyed the signage!
January 30 drive-2
Trust me, they really know how to do “curvy” here in California!
Oh – and I wish I knew exactly what mountain that is in the distance. It was in my viewfinder for most of the day, but the best I can do is “San Bernardino Mountain”. And it’s a guess, folks. Just a guess.
But I digress with my lack of geography knowledge…..
January 30 drive-3
See, there it is again!
Since we were headed to Big Bear we knew we would be coming into some snow. Remember last week when we had 2-4 inches of the stuff? Well, the mountains near here got 2-4 feet. Or so it seemed by the look of this car coming toward us on the highway –
January 30 drive-4
Uh, sweetie – the snow was LAST WEEK, and maybe you could have cleaned a little more off the driver’s side??????
But for us, the roads were clear.
January 30 drive-5
And even though the plowed piles got higher and higher, the drive was lovely!
January 30 drive-6
We did take a little detour to do a geocache, and while Gary was walking around with his trusty GPS
January 30 drive-8
I was busy clicking away at the beautiful snow covered landscape.
January 30 drive-7January 30 drive-9
(I think this cactus was a little concerned about the blanket of snow….)
Finding the cache with all the snow presented a little bit of a challenge (and we hadn’t done much geocaching lately, so we were a little out of practice), but I finally noticed a straight edged thing under a root.
January 30 drive-11
I made Gary do the groping (I’m not really fond of sticking my hand into dark “what just might be there” spaces, and we were rewarded with our first “find” in several months.
There were several other mountain roads that Gary had hoped to explore, but they were all closed. Such a disappointment for a guy who was really hoping for some dirt road adventures.
January 30 drive-12
Anyway….on to Big Bear Lake.
January 30 drive-13
January 30 drive-15
January 30 drive-17
January 30 drive-16
All along the way we saw cars pulled over and folks getting ready to find a sledding hill or strapping on their cross-country skis or just plain having a snowball fight. Those are some renegade snowballs on the lake ice!
And there certainly was snow enough for everyone.
January 30 drive-14
Maybe they are waiting for spring?
January 30 drive-18
We literally crawled through the town Big Bear Lake – not only was last week’s snow the first BIG snow in a couple of years, but this was the first weekend day that the roads were open. It took us 2 ½ hours to drive the 10 miles along the south side of the lake. (We stopped for lunch thinking that maybe we could “wait out” the traffic. Not only was the lunch the slowest meal we’ve had in a loooonnnng time (2 hrs. for a burger and a bowl of chili), but the traffic was still waiting for us when we were (finally) done.) I have to tell you, 4 ½ hours of Big Bear Lake is just a little bit too much!
Not wanting to go back the same way we came, Gary chose to head north, pick up a cut-off road that went over to Yucca Valley, and return from the East. It was a great plan, except we never found the short cut road. Apparently the plows had never found it either. The road we thought was “it” turned out to be a little connector road that took us back to Baldwin Lake and was only about a ½ mile long.
January 30 drive-23
But it did (almost) give him his dirt (mud) road fix.
Enough chatter – here, in the order of their appearance, is the rest of drive home.
January 30 drive-19
January 30 drive-20
Baldwin Lake
January 30 drive-22
January 30 drive-21
Down the other side of the mountain until we ended up in the “high desert”.
January 30 drive-24
We were losing daylight fast –
January 30 drive-25
Caught the sunset going through Yucca Valley
January 30 drive-26
(sorry for the blurry sunset. It’s very tricky taking sunset shots from a moving truck!)
That trip home was definitely the “long way home”!
Here’s our day’s journey on the map –
Jan 30 Drive
(You can see our missing”shortcut” home – it goes east above Big Bear and heads over to Pioneertown and Yucca Valley. It would have been sweet if it had been open!)
Zoomed out a bit –
Jan 30 Big
And here’s a zoom in –
Jan 30 small
Yeah, there were a lot of those curves!
You know, not everyone can take what should be a 100 round trip drive and turn it into a good 200 miles. And even with the crawl through Bear Lake and the incredibly slow lunch service, it was indeed a Very Good 200 miles!

Here’s a link to the original post – The Round About Way

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Sabbath Rest – Speak, O Lord

It’s been a good long while since I posted a Sabbath Rest hymn, and this new(ish) hymn really spoke to me today. Since we were traveling last Sunday, today was our first worship service of the new year.  Lord, let my heart and ear be turned and tuned to you in the coming year. May the light of Christ be seen today (and every day) in our acts of love and our deeds of faith.

Speak, O Lord

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.”

Speak, O Lord
Performed by Kristyn Getty
Video Scott Bacher



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