Category Archives: The Adventure

Tales from our travels

Final Week Frolics

Oh, my! What a busy last week we’ve had!! We ladies continued  cleaning rooms and buildings for this weekend’s guests, and the men were busy finishing up (and starting it seems) some great projects. No need to post any pictures of us ladies cleaning, but let’s just say that cleaning during a pandemic gives a whole new meaning to phrase ‘getting things ready for the next group’.

The men didn’t quite finish that slip’n’slide, but they got pretty close.
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I think it’s ready for the final vinyl finish!
They not only finished up expanding the dock
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they also designed and built a pretty nifty kayak rack on the new section.
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All done!
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These guys just went from task to task to task- stairs, gutters, decks, docks, signs…. and did a great job of gettin’ ‘er done!  What a crew!
But about those kayaks…
Judy and Mark (our brand new SOWERS) had already taken a kayak out on the lake a couple of times, and had been encouraging us all to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful lake. It was now or never, so what started out as a ladies’ afternoon activity turned into 5 couples donning life jackets, grabbing some paddles and heading out for a kayaking adventure!
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(Only Mark was brave enough to bring his phone on our adventure, and we’re so glad he did!)

It was a perfect late afternoon unwind.
But then Gail yelled over to Gary – “I’ll make a $10 donation to SOWERS if you climb up on the trampoline and jump!”
In that moment, what started out as a calm time of fellowship on the still waters of Lake Placid, became a challenge to remember!
You can check out the You-Tube videos if you want to see it in action, but here are a couple of stills so you can get the gist of just what this entailed.IMG_0655

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Yes, pretty much my face says it all!




Miraculously, the kayak never went over – and I’m pretty sure those brand new SOWERS will never forget this early introduction to the 2020-2021 SOWER President! (I’m also pretty sure he should’ve held out for a bigger donation!!!)

There’s more to share about that last week, but it’ll have to wait for another day! It’s been a great project – and we were so sad to see the first rig pull out this afternoon.
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Sniff.
You’d think I’d be used to the ‘farewells’ after all this time. But we’re so thankful for the time we got to spend here, for the new friends we’ve made, and for the opportunity to serve at Lake Placid Conference Center.

And for a kayak that did not tip over.

It’s been a good month indeed!

Thanks for coming along on our crazy kayaking adventure!
Steph

It was inevitable

The curtains were done and hung.

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The rags were hemmed and stowed away

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The mattresses were mended and returned to their bunks

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So finally the inevitable happened.
Housekeeping. Cleaning. Showers and toilets and mirrors and floors!
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With the layoffs precipitated by the COVID shutdown, we volunteers are essentially the Housekeeping Crew these days. So while I was happy to be on “Team Sewing” for the first half of the project
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I was more than willing to join Team Housekeeping as the weekend approached. There are four small groups herethis weekend (Yea for the revenue flow!), so let’s just say there is job security for next week too!
But lest you think we ladies ONLY do scrubbing and vacuuming, with a bit of painting thrown in when necessary, we do manage to find some light hearted moments as well!
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A little cheesecake at the cabins we cleaned.

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Anticipating the new improved slip-n-slide!

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Helping the men move some lumber….

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Doing a bit of Quality Control on the new hammock/swings….

And doing a bit of princess on a pea on our needs-to-be-mended pile of mattresses!
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We ended the week with a lovely ladies luncheon combining ROAMers and SOWERs-
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And then a wonderful gathering of area SOWERS at a park in Lake Wales.LakeWalesGatheringFeb21
It was grand to see so many folks – old friends and new!

It was a great second week! Next week the ROAMers are ‘off’, so it will just be the six of us SOWER couples manning the chores.  I’m pretty sure we’ll be kept nice and busy!

Hope you’re all having a blessed weekend-and a special Birthday shoutout  to our beautiful DIL, Tammy!

Steph

 

Week One Fun

I’ve mentioned before (I believe) that Gary and I really enjoy doing different projects.  So this is our first time here at Lake Placid Conference Center.  And so far we’re liking this ‘new flavor’!

First of all, we are here with 5 other SOWER couples. Mostly new to us (one on their very first project!)with only one couple that we’ve worked with before. But as an added bonus, there is another group of volunteers here called ROAMers (RVer On A Mission I think!) that are affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene (and this is a Nazarene camp). There are over 15 couples in that group! That may seem like a crazy number of volunteers but with the drastic reduction of paid staff due to COVID-19 layoffs, this ministry is especially grateful for all of the help!
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We’ve pretty much morphed into one group,
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with one project manager for the men and one for women, who then delegate to our Group Leaders, who then direct us. More or less anyway! Many of the ROAMers have been here many time before (and many months in a row), so I’m happy to veer just a bit from our usual protocols to join in with this well oiled machine! Fortunately, the SOWER contingent is largely working together or in SOWER teams as the work has been assigned. Most of our ladies have been rotating between housekeeping and painting, and by some magical designation,  but I (and my trustee sewing machine) were tasked with finishing up the last three sets of curtains (made from drop cloths!) for one of their historic buildings.
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(That’s Margaretta down at the ironing board, my trusty co-curtain maker! She’s from New Hampshire and has a little family cabin property in NY, so you know we were best friends pretty quick!)
Once we had the curtains completed, we had the pleasure of hanging our three pair plus the dozen or so completed by the previous Sewing SOWERS!
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And after curtains, came rags.
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Rags? They take stained towels (or ones left behind) and cut them up for rags. But they all need their edges zig-zagged or hemmed, or they just fray away. It’s one of the few times I wish I traveled with a Serger!
I’m just going to be really honest here and confess that I was delighted (and almost felt guilty) to be tasked with sewing chores instead of housekeeping chores. But than again, who knows what the weeks ahead will hold! I dare say I’ll get to clean a couple of toilets before the month is out!
I don’t have any photos of the ladies working, but it was really fun to watch our guys progress through the week on their project!
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This is a giant Slip-N-Slide the camp is hoping to use this summer. It’s been used before, but it was determined that the kids really needed to start from a bit higher up to have a really fun ride (and save the counselors’ backs from starting them down the slide). The plans were drawn, and the SOWER men got to work!
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Platform built – Check
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Materials on hand – Check

Two days later the platform and stairs were done
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and they were moving on to crafting the chute, complete with a bit of a curve!
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Next up were the railings (both on deck and on the chute).
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Just when they thought they were in the home stretch, they realized they would need a lifeguard chair to be safe! No problem for our SOWER team!
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Next week they’ll be dressing up the platform with lattice around the bottom, and if the actual slide material arrives they’ll be installing that too! I hate to mention this, since most of the country these days is in a deep freeze, but I think there might be a line of (old) ladies vying for the first trip down!
(It’s unseasonably warm here – 88 today!).
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As “First Weeks” go, this one was a winner! It’s truly amazing to see the work that is accomplished by the different teams throughout the camp.  So thankful to be here, and to be part of this ‘great cloud of witnesses’ serving at LPCCC!

Our Valentine weekend was pretty sweet too, but I’ll save that for another day! Stay warm, dear friends – I’ll try not to mention the stellar weather we’re having here too often!

Steph

An Even Dozen

Here are a dozen things I learned during our Sisters’ Winter Getaway –
1. Don’t be afraid to think ‘outside of the box’ when it comes to planning a Sisters’ Getaway. When we realized that our Winter Getaway was going to be in New England instead of Florida, we began searching the traditional vacation rental websites – VRBO and AirBNB. While we weren’t too particular about location, it did need to be within driving distance from Hanover, NH (for some doctor appointments already scheduled) and it also had to be handicap accessible. Oh, and fit our budget! Nothing was really thrilling us, and we had even begun to check out different hotel/motel/suites options. Good for the handicap part, not so great for the ambiance. In my searches, down at the bottom of the page was a link to Alton Bay Christian Conference Center in the Lake Winnipesaukee area. Hmmmm. Wonder what they might have to offer. There in the Facilities tab was a little sub section called Cottages for Rent. And under that heading was one cottage.
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While there was only the one exterior photo, the description sounded great, and there was, after all, a “D” on the exterior. (The owners probably thought it stood for their family names, but we were pretty sure it stood for Dwinell!). Joie contacted them to get some additional details,  signed the contract  post haste, and we were good to go. I cannot express how perfect this little cottage was for us. Everything, from the view of the lake through the pine trees to the grab bars in the bathroom, was like God had picked it out for us! (And I do believe He did!)
Cottage love
2. Jigsaw Puzzles. There is no such thing as Puzzle Police. We enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles when we’re together– the conversation can continue and it’s a nice cooperative effort. Our first puzzle was a beautiful Vermont scene, but as we got further into it we realized we just weren’t that interested in all those fuzzy fall colored trees. When our rate of “piece finding” slowed to roughly 1 every hour, we decided to pack it up without completing it. (I’m happy to report our consciences were not seared and we were still able to sleep at night.) We like puzzles with lots of interesting things to find. Once we walked away from those evil trees, we enjoyed two other puzzles.
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Also – ALL puzzles work better when there is chocolate involved!
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3. It’s perfectly OK to have avocado toast for a late breakfast every day. It’s quite delightful actually! (We upgraded to some artisan bread after a couple of days – and that added a whole new level of deliciousness!)
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4. Eating two meals a day works just fine on vacation. Especially when Joie has brought all the fixin’s for homemade soup and rice pudding. And is ready to do the bulk of the cooking. (We’ve actually worked out a pretty good division of labor. Joie’s the main cook, Elna is the main dishwasher, and I’m the driver (and avocado toast maker).)
5. While I drink my coffee black 51 weeks of the year, when I’m with my sisters it’s coffee with whipping cream (none of that whimpy half and half for us!) all the way. We may or may not have gone through 7 pints of that liquid goodness during our time together (full disclosure – the rice pudding did use some too!).
6. All three of us are enthralled with watching birds at the feeder.
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Chickadees, tufted titmouses (tufted titmice?), nuthatches, a couple different types of woodpeckers, a pair of house finches, a lady cardinal, juncos, and (we think) a redpoll.
7. The squirrels were pretty fun to watch too!
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We got pretty innovative when it came to shooing them away, but I’d like to report that attempting to throw snowballs at them was less than effective. Though that could’ve been my terrible aim.
8. Meeting up with family is the BEST!!! We had a lovely lunch with Vermont family down in Keene and we’re so glad we could make the connection!
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9. Experiencing a Nor’Eastr during our time called for a little adjustment (changing doctor appointments to video calls), but all in all it was just a beautiful added dimension to our vacation.
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(Catch the snow INSIDE the bird feeder!)
Especially when our neighbor did such a stellar job of keeping us shoveled out!
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10. Lake Winnipesaukee is beautiful! On a crystal clear (and bitter cold) day we took a drive around the lake.
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All those huts are ice fishermen. Brrrrrrrrr
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Weir Beach – not so many fishermen here!

11. Waking up with no heat one morning was a bit of a surprise, but huddling together near the little gas stove while we waited for the service guy wasn’t a bad way to spend the morning.
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The furnace was up and warming by 9:30, and the homeowner was very thankful that we were there when it happened. It could’ve been quite disastrous had it happened while the cottage was unoccupied.

12. Spending time with these two women, whom I am so blessed to call both sisters and sisters in Christ, is precious beyond words. We are so thankful for husbands who understand that our hearts need these times, and for a gracious Heavenly Father who orchestrated this year’s Winter Getaway right down to the sesame seeds for our avocado toast garnish.
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Saying farewell is always hard
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but husbands and real life call us back. Until next time, dear sisters, we’ll keep on Zooming! Real hugs are better, but just seeing your faces each week does my heart good!

Sister Care

Orlando airport
If you’ve been hanging around here for long you know I have a very special relationship with my sisters. The older we get, the more precious is the time we can all be together. Last year we did a winter getaway in Pompano Beach at a lovely condo, loaned to us by a friend. The sisters came to me and it was great! This year, given the COVID situation and general health concerns, we’re all gathering at the other end of the sister line in New England. So here I sit, in the Orlando Airport,
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waiting for my flight to Baltimore. Once in Baltimore, I join Joie on the next flight to Manchester NH, where Elna will pick us up and the 2021 Sisters’ Winter Getaway will officially begin!
Instead of a condo we’ll be in this sweet cottage on Lake Winnepesaukee, NH.

One of my SOWER friends asked just what we’ll be doing. The answer is simple-loving each other. There will be games and puzzles, naps and sleeping in, laughter and tears, scripture and prayers.
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It’s a good thing!

Fair warning- while I won’t exactly be “out of pocket” for the next week, I will be delightfully distracted. So if it’s pretty quiet around here, I trust you’ll understand!