So, Hope House

So, Hope House….

This is a bit late (trying to work out some internet issues), but before I get too involved in our Sugar Pines project and this beautiful area, I wanted to share a bit more about our time at Hope House in Marsing, ID. So here goes –

(I know you must get tired of hearing this, but) We had a great month! Oh, the internet was slow, the TV channels were slim and we were plagued by our least favorite weed in the country (‘goatheads’ which have tiny iron spikes that come in on your shoes and then attack your bare feet),
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but being able to serve at this ministry was such a blessing.  We learned that there are many different faces to Hope House and came to appreciate each one.  The ‘under-18’ crowd are kids (10 and up) who are placed here largely due failed adoptions (many international ones), and who are struggling with severe attachment disorders. They can no longer stay at home, and this is a place to come where they can get intensive help in a group setting.  There is also a group of residents who have been there for many, many years (before HH became focused on the attachment disorder scenario) and live in a separate building where they have a kind of independent group living set-up. Most have some severe learning/mental disabilities (but are very loving and sociable) and have nowhere else to go.  These guys just light up when they see SOWERS – and I’m sure it’s a big reason why so many of the SOWER workers there come year after year. The final group are girls who have ‘aged out’ of the program, but again have nowhere to call home. The philosophy of Hope House is no one is ever made to leave (unless they just need more help and care than they (Hope) can provide).  So needless to say, there is a lot going on at Hope House, on many different levels!  What SOWERs do is try to keep the facilities safe and working so that the dedicated folks that interact with the residents can concentrate on that important work.  With a school, a gym, a dining hall building, residence halls, etc, there is always something that needs to be done. And with 8 SOWER couples (that’s 16 hard working (not so very old) senior citizens), a lot was accomplished.

We ladies painted bathrooms, got Christmas stockings organized for filling (they get sent out to different churches who fill them), labeled med cups (sounds simple, but my goodness what a big job!), sorted through donations, scanned and organized records, helped out in the kitchen and made curtains for the girls’ dorm.

Here are a couple of my favorites –

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And there are a whole bunch more HERE!

I’ve lost track of what all the men did – but it was a very long list. Rooms were built, floors were tiled, siding was installed and painted, A/C’s were checked and repaired, stairs were built, bathrooms were added, plumbing was plumbed and electrical wire was strung (and connected, I believe!). When our group leader read off all that the different teams did – it was just plain astonishing!

And of course, I don’t have nearly as many pictures of the men working (although I did snag some from friends!) –

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Aaannnd – there are more pictures of those handsome guys working HERE!

Although we didn’t interact a great deal with the kiddos/adults during our working hours, we did worship with them on Sundays (what a blessing!) and we also checked out a couple of their volleyball games.
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We had noticed that one of the residents (in the younger group) had some major physical handicaps.  M had been born with no legs from just above the knees and no fingers on her hands.  She had recently been fitted with prosthesis for her legs, and had just begun going to volleyball practice.  As we visited with the coach, she explained that at this point someone holds the ball for her when she practices her serves. Gary took a look at the situation, and thought that maybe, just maybe, he could figure out something that could help her hold the ball herself as she practiced (and then maybe even played!).  Here is his solution –

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We did end up doing it a second time (it’s called the invention learning curve) to get the fit correct, and even then we weren’t sure that it would actually work. But she seemed game to try it out, and we hope that it is an encouragement to her in the days to come. (I told her that if it doesn’t work, then she could always just have it with her in case someone asks her if she can lend them a hand……:) )

So our time there was a delight! We were blessed with beautiful sunrises right out the window –
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and driving through this area (called Treasure Valley because its rich agricultural heritage) was likewise lovely –
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All in all – an outstanding month! It was easy to see why so many SOWERs who have come here over the years, come here again and again!

If you’d like to see the whole batch of the photo – work, play and scenery – you can check them out HERE!

[Real time update – 9/25 – I’m sitting in a Panera Bread, enjoying the internet and (relative) quiet. We had a great first week, and a GREAT weekend in Yosemite. My plan is to have posts already to go, and then just get them uploaded as I can, so there will always be a slight-to-major time delay! Thanks for your patience! There are a couple of pictures over on the Photos Page if you’d like a bit of a preview!]

 

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Just checking in!

We’ve left Idaho, and we’re settled in Oakhurst, California (see the So Where are We Now page for more details), and I have lots and lots of stuff to write about. And lots of pictures to share.

Sadly though, I have very bad internet so it might be a bit before I get an official post done. So this is just to say –

We are alive.
We are well.
We are busy.

I’ll do my best to get some real ‘catch-up’ soon!

Thanks for your patience! Here’s a Windshield Shot to hold you over…..
On our way!! Yosemite here we come! #ontheroadagain
(Starting out in Idaho)

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A bit of randomness

1. Not so random, but certainly late – I wanted to thank you all for the sweet anniversary wishes! We had a fun day, driving to Boise with friends and checking out the downtown Farmers’ Market and doing a quick walk-through of the Capitol Building (that’s two down and 48 to go!). It was a lovely, lovely day!

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2. Although we didn’t have a huge celebration on our anniversary DAY (though we were delighted to Facetime with all the kiddos), we did just finalize plans to take our very first cruise!!! It’s not until early April, but we are pretty excited about it! We’ll be going with good SOWER friends, sailing from Galveston and checking out the Western Caribbean ports of Cozumel (MX), Belize City (Belize), and Roatan (Honduras). Now if I could just figure out what Gary will be wearing on those two ‘formal nights’. Thrift shops, here we come!

3. We said good-bye to an old friend yesterday.
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This little piece of Pampered Chef stoneware has been with us since the beginning. It’s outlived three toaster ovens, and heated up countless pizza slices and hotdogs. It’s roasted vegetables, cooked many dinners-for-two (from fish to pork to chicken), and even baked a cookie or two in its day. As you can tell – it’s very well seasoned! (It’s supposed to look like that, right?). When I noticed that significant crack a couple of weeks ago I became quite concerned. I wasn’t sure we could continue without it. Thanks to eBay, I found a replacement and was delighted to start breaking it in.
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But I wasn’t quite ready to give up on our old friend. Until last night.
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It broke apart in my hand as I was lifting it out of the sink. And not even at the crack I was worried about! Thanks for all the (yummy) memories, my old friend.

4. We’re parked just a bit away from the RV parking area this month.
Main parking –
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Our spot….
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It’s nice a quiet here in the ‘backyard’ and we also have the bonus of beautiful sunrises,
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and some equally beautiful end-of-day skies!
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So even though we might not be parked in the ‘thick of things’, we are very content.

5. Both Gary and I are terrible lonesome for our kids and grands these days. Although I saw them all in early May, Gary hasn’t been able to hug any of them since Christmas. So when I realized that I had a Picaboo coupon that was about to expire, it only seemed proper that I make up a couple of posters of the Grands and the Cabin (another thing we’re missin’ these days.)

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OK, it’s not quite a hug (or morning coffee in front of the fireplace), but it helps!

6. For reasons unknown to us, our window awning straps seem to have become the local hangout for the neighborhood yellow jackets.
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When I noticed a similar (and a bit more intense) gathering on the bedroom strap
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it seemed time to take action, and out came the hornet spray. Sorry guys, but we really didn’t want to take you with us when we left town next week.

7. There are some great sunflowers here!
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Hope you’re having a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

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45

It’s been 45 years since these youngsters walked down the aisle and said I Do.
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45 Years. It’s been quite a ride, those 45 years. Raising three children, renovating an old house, running a small business, and yes, (I can say it out loud) staying married. A lot of grace has been poured into those 45 years, and I’m thankful everyday for the gift of this man and the life we’ve had together.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Lavender festival!! #purple

Happy Anniversary, Honey! Loved you then – love you more today!

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The Dashboard Garden

After I wrote my post about the curvy drive we had getting to SW Idaho, several folks commented on the ‘stuff’ that rides along with us on our nice flat dashboard.
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So here’s a little ‘splaining about our dash riders.
First, on the left, is Gary’s computer. No, he’s not playing solitaire as he drives. It’s his mapping program, and the theory is that it tells us where to go. (I often have my phone GPS going too since I can’t see his computer screen.  Those two GPS’s don’t always agree, but we usually come to some type of agreement before we get too far down the road.)
Then there’s the aloe vera plant.
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We picked her up when we were down in the Florida Keys (2011). Literally – from the side of the road. I confess, Vera is looking a little peaked in this picture, and I promise she’s doing better already. Over the 5 years she’s traveled with us, I’ve re-potted her several times, and she’s getting close to needing it again. But she’s handy to have around as a mini-first-aid kit!
Then there’s this little fellow –
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We picked him up when we were in Arizona this past winter. I can’t tell if he’s happy or not on the dashboard. But he seems to be doing OK with my expert level of neglect.
Over in the corner we have two collections – the littler stuff (stones, shells, sea glass, driftwood)
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And then the bigger stuff.
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This is mostly rocks and larger shells that don’t fit in the jar. Some we’ve picked up along the way (there’s one from Lake Superior) and some have been given to us. A couple of favorites are the little crochet covered river rock (thanks, Lynne) and the painted one, given to me by a SOWER friend in Maine. (Thanks, Bunny!).
The zip-lock bag has my latest scavenged treasures – shells and sand dollars from Discovery Bay in Washington.
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I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll be doing with them yet, so they are still in the gathering bag. Christmas ornaments, maybe? (Pintrest, here I come!)
So that leaves the one thing that has been on that dashboard from the very first. The Jade plant.
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When we left Jamison, back in August 2004, we left behind a 4 foot high jade plant tree that I had purchased as a little thing the very first year we were married (1971). While we left the tree behind, we brought along this little cutting.
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(photo from Sept. 2004)
See how tiny it is? (And how uncluttered the dashboard is?)
I put this little collage together in 2007 to show how it had grown-
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Over the years, as it gets too big for Gary to see over when he’s driving, I’ve cut it back, re-potted new cuttings and left jade plants with new friends (and unsuspecting family members) all around the country. Toward the end of last summer, both Jade and Vera had outgrown the dashboard (we never want to compromise the driver’s view, right?) and they were relegated to riding in a milk carton in the shower. I did the most recent re-potting in South Dakota (October 2015) and left the bigger part of both plants with new friends there. By the time we left, our traveling plants had one again found their spots on the dash!
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When we’re parked for a bit I usually pull out a couple of pictures of my favorite things – one of the family and one of the cabin. –

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And like any flat space (in our house anyway), it also collects change, screws, wire nuts, and the occasional out-going mail item! It’s a wonderful clutter catcher!

But when everything is tucked away for the next adventure,  I confess there is always something comforting when I see those little leaves making themselves known as I photograph the road ahead!
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Thanks for stopping by – and have a great weekend!
Steph

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