All posts by steph

A Quick Catch-up

Hi!

I’m sitting here in McDonald’s in Kosciusko, Mississippi, taking advantage of some decent cell phone service and a nice clear WiFi signal. We’ve been having a great project, but with our limited connectivity I haven’t been able to do any updates.  Gary’s getting a bit antsy to get on our way so…..

Good News – the kitchen sink saga has been resolved without having to throw away the entire rig.
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Everything seemed to spring a leak – incoming, outgoing, filter- during the repair, but eventually all was returned to normal.
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More good news – the project is going very well. The rain finally stopped and we’ve been blessed a lovely string of beautiful days! Work is going well (more on that in a later post) and probably the hardest thing about work in that in the room right next to my work area THIS is happening –
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Oh, the Smells!!!

Looks like my internet time is about to end – can you see that red truck through the window? Pretty sure the engine is running!
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Thanks for stopping by (and for your patience between posts!)
Steph

From there to here

When it came time to move from our October SOWER project (Mercy Ships in East TX) to our November project (French Camp Academy in central(ish) MS) we had a little complication. It was a happy complication called an extra truck, but a complication nonetheless! Since there was no way to get the shiny new truck ready to tow in the three days between its arrival in our lives and our need to get to Mississippi, and we hadn’t traded in our trusty gray truck (planning to donate it to a favorite ministry), there was really no other option than to have me drive the new kid behind the rig, which was towing the gray truck.

We’d already moved all the components (RV and both trucks) to the office (about 2 miles from Mercy Ships) and were all set to hit the road at daybreak on Thursday.
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And daybreak it was!
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While my first choice would always be to ride in the rig with Gary, it was pretty fun to drive the truck. I figured out how to connect my phone so I could listen to my favorite podcasts (ah, the miracle of Bluetooth), checked out all the stations on Sirius (free three month trial – sweet), and even made a couple of phone calls (nothing like talking to the steering wheel!). It was a beautiful clear day, and probably the biggest frustration was not being able to take any ‘along the way’ pictures.
OK, so I did take one –
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But it was super quick!
We made it to Madison, MS, where we settled into a Walmart parking lot for the night. Since we had a ‘loose’ truck, we even got to go out for a bite to eat(usually we stick to places within walking distance – i.e. Subway or McDonald’s in the Walmart!). (I did let Gary drive, btw!)
We returned to witness a stunning God painting, and once again were reminded of the majestic God we serve.
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Friday arrived with the promise of rain all day, so we were thankful that we only had 70 miles or so to finish up our drive.
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And I’m happy to report that we made it in with no problems. Since the rain (as promised) continued, we did a quick set up (just electric and water) and then started to address a little water leak problem we had noticed as we set out on our drive to French Camp. So although generally when we arrive at a project we’re nice and tidy, with everything put away in its place for a least a little bit, we got right to work taking EVERYTHING out from under the sink and remove the bottom drawers to locate and fix the problem.
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Happy to report that the problem is remedied, and now we just have to wait until everything drys out. With all the under sink ‘stuff’ out in the daylight,  it has at least given me the opportunity to do a little purge of the forgotten vinegars that have been hiding out there (like the gourmet red wine vinegar that has a best by date of 01/20/11 YIKES!! Not sure just how “gourmet” it is these days! Well aged, at least!) Those Under The Kitchen Spaces can be pretty scary! Hopefully by the end of the day, the space will be dried out and all will be returned to their correct spaces. (Or put in the trash!)
So, enough of that ‘keeping it real’ story! The rain has continued today, so for now, this is all I can offer of our “New View”
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Hopefully the sun will return by the time we start work (Monday AM), but in the meanwhile if you’d like to know a bit more about French Camp Academy, please hop over to my “So Where are we now” page or check out their website!

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

Full arms, Full hearts

This past weekend we took a quick trip to Waco to greet our newest grandson, and love on the rest of our Waco clan!
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It was a super sweet couple of days, where we snuggled with the littles and hung out with the not so littles!
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It was a laid back couple of days
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and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with the kiddos. Little Deacon spent Saturday night back in the hospital, enjoying a ‘spa day’ under the lights (the dreaded bilirubin count was getting higher instead of lower), but by morning his ‘numbers’ were back in the right range, and he was home Sunday afternoon.  God is good!

We did have a opportunity to see some friends, make sure a couple of our favorite Waco eateries were still delicious, and even stopped at the Parrott Ave house and greet the new owners. (Yikes, I know that was risky, but we had a gate opener that we wanted to return so it seemed like a legitimate reason to stop. They were delighted to officially meet us, and remain totally thrilled with the house. I confess it did our hearts good to know that all was well!)

We left Waco knowing we wouldn’t see these darling kids until next summer, but oh so very thankful for Facetime and Skype and any of the other miracles of technology that allow us to watch ALL these babies grow!
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Today we had another addition to the family! This very day we welcomed this sweet ride into our family-
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Not as exciting as that little Deacon, but still a pretty big deal in our world!
Thanks for joining in our JOY!
Steph
PSSST – if you’d like to see a couple more photos of those cute grandboys – you can check them out HERE!

Cabin Chronicles, Reader’s Digest Edition

When I started writing about our time at The Cabin in my head, I had it organized in several categories. Like Cabin Mornings
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or Cabin Sunsets
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or Cabin Gardening
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or just fun Cabin shots –
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But now that two months have passed, it seems best that I just focus in on The Dock Project. (Because what would our end of the summer Cabin visit be without a Project!)
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As you can see, our dock has seen better days. I think we could go as far as to say that it’s seen better years!! At our annual meeting we discussed removing, replacing or rebuilding it. Since a ‘ready made’ dock was a little out of our budget, and the idea of No Dock was not well received, it was decided that Gary (with the help of our VT family) would work on rebuilding it at the end of the summer.
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Let’s just say that Gary really loves a challenge!
First there was the dismantling….
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Once all the top boards were off, he moved the frame (with a little help from the 4 wheeler and no documentation) to the shore and then up on a pair of sawhorses. (Happy to report I DID actually help with that!)
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For the first time in 40 years (+/-) the pond was dock-less!Untitled

Once all the rebuilding/reinforcement of the dock frame was done,
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we just waited until we had more willing bodies and then back into the pond it went. Again with a little help from that trusty ATV!
Dragging the Dock into position
And then the real fun began!
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To say this was a family affair is an understatement!
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To say it was lots of fun (and lots of hard work) is also an understatement!
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So it’s not quite ready for diving off of, but we had to save something for next spring’s project, right?
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It was a great family day, and we give a big shout out to Dewey, Sharon, Bethany, Mike, the little guys, Talon and Alaster, and the puppies, Amaya and Sunshine (along with Elna and Henry who were up at the cabin cleaning up after lunch!) who made Phase One of the Dock Project a reality!

We only had two weeks at the Cabin this year, but we made sure they were filled with friends and family and long naps and sleeping late and waking to the sound of a crackling fire and the sweet aroma of a fresh pot of coffee. (OK, so I was the only one sleeping late and waking to the sound of crackling fire and the sweet aroma of a fresh pot of coffee, but we were both involved in the naps and friends and family!) So although this update is just about two months late, it was a lovely reminder of that perfect end of the summer we so often enjoy!! (If you’d like to see more photos of our Cabin time, you can check them out HERE!)

In a real-time update, I’m delighted to report that we have welcomed our newest grandboy into the family!
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Deacon Wood Conrad entered the world on Oct 15, weighing in at a healthy 8#13oz. Momma and baby are doing great – and the big brothers seem to be quite enthralled with this newest Conrad.
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And I’m happy to report we’re just days away from holding all that new baby goodness!

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

First Week and Saturday One

Well, we just finished our first week here at Mercy Ships! It’s been a good week, and even the work has been pretty mundane –
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it’s still been pretty exciting to be part of this international ministry. It’s a bustling campus as they are gearing up to launch a brand new ship in the next 24 months (or so!). Thursday we were privileged to attend their community meeting, where folks were updated on what’s happening on the African Mercy (currently docked in Senegal where severe storms hit recently), and other items for praise and prayer.
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Those folks standing in the front are part of the newest “On Board” class. About half of those folks are recent hires that will continue working here in Lindale (this campus is called the ISC – International Support Center). But the rest are training for work on the African Mercy – nurses, technicians, pipe fitters, etc.

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It was exciting to be part of this initial introduction and see how varied the needs (and jobs) are in this ministry. At next week’s community meeting we’ll actually be (though the miracle of the internet) speaking directly with folks on the ship. Pretty cool, right?

Today we are enjoying one of the first ‘no agenda’ Fridays we’ve had in quite awhile. Gary’s changed out the water filters, gotten the suitcases put away (requires getting up on the roof!), installed our new propane leak protector, and got a haircut! On my end, I’ve ordered business cards with our new address, finished putting together our “Year 15” photo book (the coupon was about to expire! Always a good incentive!)

did a little research on why our weather station wasn’t working (I really wanted to believe it was only 84 outside, but it sure felt like it was 94!) and even did just a bit of cleaning. (I know, crazy, right?) All in all, this Saturday One (as we like to call it) has been quite successful. Gary may or may not’ve just retreated to the back to do some reading (um, snoozing), and I’m pretty sure my sewing machine is calling my name!!

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Steph