Tag Archives: Friends

On Our way home from Vermont

We stopped to spend some time with our SOWER friends, Kim and Joe, who live in Upstate New York.  We love our visits with them – totally laid back at all times.
Two of their grandsons (ages 14 & 12) were there one day since Kim’s been helping out with their virtual school days. They wrapped up their school requirements by noon and spent the rest of the day on the tractor or 4 wheeler or Gator. Pretty much this is a young boy’s paradise!
Along with all those fun-for-boys (young and old) vehicles, they have also helped build this incredible treehouse!
I mean really. Does this resemble any treehouse you’ve ever built?
When we visited them last summer it was ‘mostly’ done. The “Phase Two” structure (bedroom) was complete (and mostly decorated!)
and the kitchen/living section was just waiting for cabinet doors and countertops.
But even then it was most impressive. Did I mention that Joe has milled all the wood he used at his home sawmill? Almost anything that isn’t wood is something that has been repurposed (windows, roofing, doors, etc.).
Here’s the living area this year –


Love this sink and counter!!! The running water comes from a 250 gallon tank, and the fridge, lighting and stove are propane. This baby is totally off grid!

We thoroughly enjoyed getting a tour of this year’s improvements and finished out our treehouse time with a hotdog roast around the campfire.
Does it really get any better than this???
It was a wonderful way to end our little early summer get-away to Vermont!

Just for the record – we call them “SOWER friends” only to identify how we met them. We are such good friends at this point that I can’t quite remember when I did not know them and I thank God continually for merging our lives together. How gracious He has been to us!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. If you’d like more information about Joe and Kim’s Treehouse, he’s entered a contest through the Wood-Mizer manufacturer (the sawmill company). Here’s a link that should take you right to his spot. Feel free to vote for him too – or check out some of the other entries. It’s pretty impressive what you can do with a ‘backyard’ sawmill and lots of ingenuity!



A Visit with Lynne

Lynne and I met when our oldest sons were in preschool together. They are both 42 now, so you know we’ve been friends for a long while. They’ve moved a couple of times over the years, but we somehow managed to stay in touch, however loosely that may have been.  When Roger retired (or mostly retired) they settled in Ludlow, VT, which just happens to be on the way to The Cabin!  Since we’ve been on the road our friendship has blossomed again, as they have often come to The Cabin for an overnight or two and we have stopped to spend time with them in our comings and goings to our cabin. It’s been a lovely thing!
Croswells and us
Late in March of this year dear Roger slipped quietly and unexpectedly into Heaven.  Oh, how our hearts ached for Lynne. As we were preparing to head to the cabin in late May I asked Lynne if she was ready for company.  She was hesitant at first, I think – so much seems so overwhelming right now, but she finally said yes. Come. So Gary dropped me off on our way north and I was able to spend three lovely, quiet, tearful, and maybe even a bit productive days with this dear friend and sister in Christ.

I joined her on one of her daily walks
and we found a five-legged newt!
We helped him get safely to the side of the road. (Though it’s not a very busy road and he probably would’ve made it without our assistance!)
We lingered over breakfast on the porch,
Visit with Lynne
filled the house with the delicious smells of homemade soup,
Visit with Lynne
attacked some crazy weeds in the garden,
did little dusting and did a little puzzle puzzling.
Visit with Lynne
And finally, when the chores were done, we spent some time in her studio – the first time she’d been there since she lost Roger.
Visit with Lynne
Visit with Lynne
It was hard, but it was good.
We sat quietly and remembered Roger with both laughter and tears. We prayed. We talked about the days to come and the days that are gone. Her grief is great, but her hope in the LORD is greater! I was blessed and honored to spend those precious days with her.

We all miss you, Roger – but we know you are in such a better place! See you when we get there!


What’s Next?

We had a busy last week in Ohio – besides wrapping up work at Heartland Retreat Center there was also The Graduation of our oldest granddaughter (whoohoo), and then we had the entire gang (less one) up at the campground for a fun final day picnic. But before I get into all those pictures (oh, and there are plenty of them!) I thought I’d just let you know What’s Next for us –
Montrose to The CabinThis summer our main focus is our family reunion at the Cabin, scheduled for the middle of July. We’ve parked the coach at our favorite PA project – Montrose Bible Conference, where they are kindly allowing us to leave her while we traipse back and forth to Vermont. Gary has a number of pre-reunion projects in mind, so we leave tomorrow (May 26) and will be staying until June 7th or so. Then it’s back to Montrose where we’ll work for a bit to earn our keep, and then back up to the Cabin by July 1st. While it’s technically R&R (from SOWER work), I’m pretty sure it will be more Rebuilding and Reconnecting than actual Rest and Relaxation. Though I dare say there will be a nap or two happening as well! And oh-so-many family hugs!
The gang from our last reunion at The Cabin – 2012!

We’re looking forward to a great summer! The Cabin (my happy place), Family (my happy people), friends (ah, beautiful friends), and a bit of work for the LORD to round things out!

Spreadsheets to Bed sheets

And just like that, our May project is over! During the first of our three weeks at a project we’re finding our way, scoping out the new surroundings and getting to know our co-servants. During the second week we’re in our stride.  Our ‘new’ neighbors have become good friends, and we have a pretty good understanding of what we’ve been doing and what we’ll be doing in the days ahead. Then the third week hits. It’s like – WAIT. It’s almost over? But, but….didn’t we just get here? This month was no different! Thursday was our final official work day and already one of our neighbors has returned home.  So I before get too maudlin over these ‘leaving’ days, here’s a bit of a recap of our time here at Heartland Conference Center!

As mentioned before, I started out in the Health Office, helping to organize registrations and health forms that came in daily for summer camp. (YEA for summer camp this year!!!)
This last week I moved from spreadsheets to bed sheets as I joined the other ladies in housekeeping – transforming this
into this!
It was fun to work as a team as we got the rooms ready for the next batch of visitors!
Since I had my sewing machine set up, I also mended about 10 of the spreads that were showing some wear and tear.
But lest you be too impressed – I was really only stitching a small void in the binding – trying to prevent further ‘unsewing’.
I truly did enjoy working with these sweet ladies!

The guys worked on a variety of painting and plumbing projects, but I think the most memorable “guy job” on this project was the mowing on those fun zero-turn mowers!

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They were on those mowers at some point most days that the weather allowed it, ’cause folks, there is a LOT of grass here!
(and this is only the view from our coach!).

Although it was work, I think it was just a bit like playing on go-carts for them as they’d drive them to break and home for lunch!
The Mowing Team – spruced up for pictures!

In the three short weeks we have been here, the trees have filled out,

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and so has our circle of SOWER family (also known as friends!)! We welcomed a brand new SOWER couple (whose last name is Sowers – how crazy is that!), and got to know a couple who reminded me of Gary & I ten years ago (high school sweethearts, three kids, full-timing, etc…)! Today we’re wrapping up loose ends, tonight we watch our beautiful Ellie graduate from high school, tomorrow everyone is coming here for a post-graduation/last day with Grams and Pops picnic, and Monday we pull up stakes (or levelers as it were) and hit the road!

What a stellar month it has been – filled with family and friends and a good bit of Kingdom work!  Thank-you, LORD, for this adventure you have led us on!

Mondays are for Memories – Old Friends and New Friends

We’ve had such a lovely time reconnecting with our friends Jeff and Esther here in South Carolina, that I thought it’d be fun to look back and see other times during our time on the road that our path’s managed to intersect.  One of them was in Chattanooga back in 2007 –

Old Friends and New Friends – May 21, 2007

How does that song go?

Make new friends, but keep the old.
Some are silver and the others are gold.

Every now and again, a weekend falls into place in the most amazing way. God gave us the opportunity to get together with friends we’ve known for almost 40 years, and friends we’ve known for only a year. And to top it off, He gave us beautiful weather and beautiful places to enjoy them with.

Thursday – our day with Jeff & Esther. IMG_7707_editedWe spent most of the day with them, walking along the beautiful waterfront in Chattanooga, enjoying a Clumpies Ice Cream Cone, and catching up on family news. It was a beautiful day in so many ways: Chattanooga is a beautiful city and the weather was about perfect, but being able to spend time with such good friends (whom we’ve known since high school!) was truly the most beautiful part of the day. Here are some shots from the day……


Friday to Sunday – Nashville with John & Rosie.
Conrads and Stoners 2 Our “new friends” were great hosts, taking us to see many of the local sights and sounds of Nashville. Oh, and Tastes! We ate at some great restaurants (Merridee’s for breakfast and Miller’s Grocery for dinner), walked around Historic Franklin and The Carter House, did a little shopping, worshipped together at Christ Community Church on Sunday, and spent the afternoon at the Opryland Hotel complex. My goodness, that was quite a place! The entire weekend was a delight – we were once again blessed with picture perfect weather, yummy food and wonderful company.
And a couple shots of our Nashville Adventure….
The Carter House (site of a Civil War Battle)
The Carter House
And yes, that’s a boat ride INSIDE of the hotel…
Opryland Boat ride

And of course, if you’d like there are some additional shots here!

We’ve made it safely to our R&R location, but I’ll fill you in on that later! Time to hit the sack!


Realtime update – John and Rosie are now ‘old’ friends too! And we’re so very thankful for that! =)