Category Archives: On the Road

Missing in Action

Has it really been almost three weeks?  I’ve been trying to find the words to catch you all up on why I pretty much disappeared over the last three weeks, and while I’m not sure I have them even yet – here’s at least a start!

Friday, the 25th, I was getting ready to put together a Final Wrap up of our time at Lake Swan Camp when I received a text message that my sister, Elna, had been admitted to the hospital with a brain bleed. For someone who has been battling cancer (and mostly winning)  for the last four years, these were hard words to read. And suddenly writing about painting those brown benches brown faded into the background and I was searching for flights to New England!  Unavailable. Unavailable. Unavailable.  In God’s providence, Elna’s daughter Heather was also in Florida and heading north post haste. So we loaded in the car and the three of us (that’s Gibson in the back seat) pointed that little Honda towards Vermont and we drove.

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And drove, and drove, and drove. Thirty-six hours later we were at Heather’s (about 2 hours from Elna), and ready to finish up the drive in the morning. We couldn’t get right in to see Elna – the visitor policy only allowed one visitor per day – but we met with Henry for breakfast and got the update.
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Elna was in Neuro ICU, and following an MRI they discovered three brain lesions (tumors), one of which had ruptured and caused the bleed. She was awake and doing as well as could be expected following her diagnosis. I was desperate to see her, but had to wait my turn, so by the time I got in to see her (Wednesday) she was doing much better.
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She was still having difficulty processing the written word, but ‘with-it’ in most other areas. We were so thankful! Although the visitation was limited to one person per day, there was no limit to how long we could stay. That Wednesday and then Friday were very precious days and we often just sat quietly and enjoyed the love that passed between our joined hands. (That is not to say that it was easy for her to get a good nap with all the comings and goings of the doctors and nurses!) Friday afternoon she was transferred to a rehab center to help her get stronger and ready to go home. Her daughter Bethany arrived from Utah for the weekend – another boost to her morale and well-being! And then just two days ago, she came home to complete her recovery. Praise God! While I left on Monday last week (while she was still at rehab), Joie picked up the sister mantel on Wednesday, so she was well covered with Sister Love during her hospital stay and rehab time.
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Although Joie returned to PA today, we left her in the capable hands of her hubby, her granddaughter (who lives with them during the week), our niece Chris (Joie’s daughter who lives in the same town), and daughter Heather who is about 2 hrs. away. And most importantly, in the hands of our LORD,  who loves her even more than we do!
Right now her job is to rest and get stronger. Once her brain gets happier (the doctor referred to it as ‘angry’ following the brain bleed), they’ll do another MRI and then will be able to address those tumors with some targeted radiation. The prognosis is good for this incident, but it has been a vivid reminder that yes, she has stage 4 cancer and every day is a gift. We are so thankful for our time in New Hampshire just last month. How kind our God has been to us!

There’s more to the story, of course. More of God’s hand and blessing in the midst of these uncertain days.  But these are enough words for tonight.

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Isaiah 41:13

Meanwhile…..

I’m still processing (and trying to figure out how to put into words) the wonderful time I had with my sisters in the past couple of weeks. I returned home about midnight Thursday night (after a very long masked 12 hour day in airports and planes) and we were on the road the next morning by 10AM, heading to our February SOWER project. So once again, I’ll do a little cheating and just repost what I wrote over on the “So Where Are We Now?” page to keep us all up to date!
Feb 4 – Feb  25
Our February SOWER project is at Lake Swan Camp just east of Melrose, Florida. Melrose is just east Gainesville
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It was only about 90 miles from our January Spot (see map below)

but between a fuel stop (OUCH) and a propane fill-up (good news for these chilly mornings)
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we were able to accomplish it in just under 3 hours! (When you’re on the interstate and the “Oversize Load” (as in 1/2 a house) passes you, you know you’re just lumbering along!)
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We’re parked in a temporary spot until tomorrow since the official campground is full
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but we’re hooked up to power and have a lovely view of the lake, so we’re enjoying our little bit of temporary solitude.
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We’ll be working with three other SOWER couples (none of which we have worked with before, so YEA – new friends!), plus there is a plethora of other volunteers on campus, so we’re looking forward to a grand month! Praying much is accomplished for the LORD!

Isaac Creek Campground – Alabama River Lake

Quick Update –

  • We’ve made it safely to our campground for a little R&R between projects.
  • We’ve never been here before – but so far we’re lovin’ it.
  • We have one teeny tiny bar of phone service/internet (that comes and goes) – so this will be short and sweet.
  • I’ll do my best to keep up with my PAD’s, but this internet (or lack there of) might be slowing me down!
  • Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone!

Ah, Sweet November!

There is so much to love about November! It’s sometimes lost in the shuffle between Halloween and Christmas, but for me November has always been filled with thankfulness! In response to my incredibly sketchy blogging practices in the last couple of months (or is it months and months and months), I’m going to try to make this November a PAD month. Yep, that’s a Post A Day.  Between birthdays (six!), being in a new area, serving at a new spot, and the roughly 742 photos I’ve taken in the last 60 days – I’m pretty sure I’ll find something to write about each day. But mostly each post will be focused on Thankfulness!  To start the month off, I want to say how thankful I am for YOU! Whether you’ve been following our journey since we left home back in 2004 , jumped on board as the years have gone by, or even landed here due to a random Google search – I am thankful for each and every one of you!

If you have any questions about our life on the road just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them during this little marathon!!

Happy November, everyone!
Steph

South Dakota in October

Tomorrow morning we head to Galveston with our grandson Weston for his Great Galveston Adventure! Guess I better get this South Dakota goodness written down before I once again sink into Blogging Never-Never Land!) So –
Here, in no particular order, are 10 South Dakota October Things we love!
1. Harvest Time. Oh, my! The combines!!
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We learned a lot about how the combines work, how both corn and soybeans are harvested, and how hard the farmers work out here (and everywhere! Farming is HARD, folks!). Not only did we get to watch combines in fields as we traveled around, we even got to watch them in the backyard field! (They were working at 9 o’clock at night and I didn’t get any pictures of those headlights. But here they are getting ready for the dew to dry so they could start again!)
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2.Long Walks. Long Straight Walks. Long straight soul enriching walks.
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‘nuf said

3. The Community Dinner. Howard is a small town – well under 1000 folks at the last count. And like most small communities, they take good care of their neighbors. The first Wednesday of each month there is a Community Dinner at the local Methodist Church, hosted by a variety of local organizations. October’s ‘organization’ was a neighborhood group that Don and Jenny are a part of. SO – we got to join them in preparing Chili with all the fixings for about 50 folks who came out to enjoy the evening.
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What fun to get to know their neighbors and to see a bit of ‘love your neighbors’ in action!

4. The Corn Palace down the road a piece in Mitchell-
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The palace itself was closed when we were there, but we still got to enjoy the amazing murals all made from (wait for it….)CORN!
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It was especially fun to see one that was still in progress –
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Can we call that “Corn by Number?”

5. Games – We can’t get together with SOWER friends without some game playing!
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Don & Jenny introduced us to “Fast Track” – which is like, but not the same as, Pegs and Jokers, which is like, but not the same as SORRY. Confused yet? Think how we feel! Glad our aging brains could be taught some new tricks, though!

6. Bawling calves. While this might not fit into the “Things we love about SD” category, it does fall into the “South Dakota in the Fall” column. About this time every year the area ranchers divide out the calves from their mommas. The mommas are moved to their winter pastures, while the young’uns learn to live life without mom nearby. Needless to say, when that happens to about 250 pairs of cattle on the next farm over, there is a bit of an ongoing ruckus as the ‘babies’ are moaning about being deserted. Rumor has it that the mommas are over in their new pasture feeling like (some) moms feel when school starts in the fall!
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(Full disclosure – these are not the bawling calves. But they are representative of the cattle in the neighborhood!)

7. Dignity. We took a little road trip to see this well-known statue located in a rest stop in Chamberlain, SD. So stunning!
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8. Also in Chamberlain is the St. Joseph’s Indian School and the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center.
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Very interesting and well worth the stop.

9. Sunsets
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Does my heart good every single time!

10. Dear Friends! How kind our God is to enrich our lives with beautiful friends around the country!!
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For us, the best part of South Dakota are these good friends, who share devotions with us, laugh with us, support us in prayer, and love on us regardless of where we are in the country! So glad we could spend this week with them!

If you’d like to see some additional photos of our time in South Dakota, here is a little slide show or you can check out the album HERE!

Thanks for coming along for my Ten Things! These just really scratch the surface of South Dakota in the Fall – you should check it out sometime!

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you after our Great Galveston Adventure!
Steph