Tag Archives: Oklahoma

One Week In

One Week in Oklahoma
One week into October
One week into our Oakridge Project

And it’s been a good week! This is our third time at Oakridge, which is unusual for us since we generally like to work at new (to us) ministries. But coming back to Oakridge is always a sweet experience. It’s a family run camp, with five siblings all working alongside Mom and Dad with the camp maintenance and activities. And as the kids get older, some pretty cute grandkiddos are on the scene too!! We all gather for devotions in the morning, and I just love how Brian’s (Papa) lap is always open for a little one or two!
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We’re working this month with our good friends, Kim and Joe, and some new good friends, Lana and Dan. The guys are tackling a big electrical job. Like rewiring the main chapel and dining hall and move all the wiring to underground Big.
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Gary got called away from that job to do some electrical work up at their bed and breakfast (The Ridge). I don’t have any pictures of that, but I’m pretty sure he was working hard!
We girls were focused in the West Chapel.
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We’ve been sprucing up the room, touching up paint, replacing and repairing wallpaper,
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and re-staining places on the floor where the finish has come up.
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The floor is going to be our biggest challenge because, well, it’s BIG, and we really don’t know the first thing about repairing stained concrete floors. But we’re muddling our way through, with lots of directions, a little help from You-Tube, and lots of rubber gloves!
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We still have a couple of steps to go on just this section, so I’m pretty sure there is some job security for us!

So this first week has been great! We’ve had the opportunity to worship together, enjoy some wonderful meals together and even attend an adorable two-year old’s pumpkin birthday party!
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Grown-up really know how to concentrate on those pumpkins!

We’ll be here until just before Thanksgiving, so we’re looking forward to a grand (and productive!) time here!
Thanks for stopping by!

 

We’re Baaaaaaack

Is it Tuesday already? Although we have returned from our Oh-So-Fun Cruise
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I am no where near to being caught up on my life in general. We have arrived at our April SOWER ministry/project and are getting settled (and catching up on emails, etc.). Before I can share about the monkeys and zip lines and snorkeling adventures, I need to organize and process the photos from the SOWER TX Round-up.
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And before I can do that I need to put together the SOWER newsletter (already past the deadline).
So – this little mini-post is just to say Hi – and I’ll be back soon. Honest!
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Our new neighborhood (that’s us behind the white truck). =)

From beginning to end….

From the beginning
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to end
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our November SOWER project was excellent! Here are just a few of the reasons we loved this project. We’ll start with the practical.
They invited us to join them for meals whenever they were serving guests. Now you might think we loved that for the savings it represented (and believe me, we did appreciate that!). Or maybe it was the beautiful salad bar that helped me stay on track with the pre-holiday attempt to lose a couple of pounds (and you know – it did!). But what we really loved about eating in the dining hall was being able to sit with, and get to know, the staff. And even better than getting to know the staff, was getting to know their little ones. From 6 weeks up, there were surrogate grandkids everywhere. We never knew when a little one would join us for dinner or a hug or both! It was such a delight – and an honor – to get to know these dedicated families who have given their hearts to “To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to equip believers for ministry.” Plus it was pretty sweet giggling with the kiddos!

Then there was the property. From our parking area to the horse pastures to the hiking trails – this place really is “a valley set apart”.
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Oh – the Work! I confess there was no disappointment when we weren’t asked to clean cabins. Data entry of Guest Survey Cards (so fun to read the comments, and just so you know – Biscuits and Gravy was by far the favorite meal) and then sewing curtains in our very own yurt.
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All of us ladies were pretty happy with our job assignments.
And the guys liked building their little gate house. They finally split up the team (5 guys on that little building got a bit crowded), but Gary largely stuck with the building.
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(What is it about that guy and roofs?)
They got it as far as they could, and we’re pretty sure the New Life guys will be able to finish it up in no time.

Did I mention the Birthday Month? Since my b-day is in November, I pretty much claim any celebration as being done in my honor, and use any excuse I can to have a bit of cake and ice cream. I celebrated with our SOWER friends, talked and FaceTimed with all the kiddos and had several mushy birthday cards to open. It was a great day – and a pretty darn fun month!
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Yes, that bowl of fried ice cream is as big as my head, and I’m happy to report that four of us worked on cleaning the bowl!

Touristy stuff. NLR is tucked in the NE corner of Oklahoma. The closest town is Siloam Springs, AR and the Missouri border is not all that far away. I was amazed to discover all there was to see and do in the area. Everything from safari rides to historic villages to the very first Walmart store. We were pretty focused on getting the reno closer to completion, so we only took one day to be tourists. We headed over to Bentonville, AR (known as the birthplace of Walmart) but also home to a beautiful American Art Museum, Crystal Bridges. This was founded by Alice Walton and recently added a complete Frank Lloyd Wright house to its collection.
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It’s pretty spectacular. And it’s free! What’s not to love!

On the renovation front there was my beloved desk project –
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and more recently, the addition of the long awaited (really, he’s been asking for a recliner for years!!!) recliner.
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We’re still fine tuning the furniture placement, but all in all, it’s working out just fine. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Then there were the people we worked with.
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Working SOWER projects is kind of like going to summer camp. Even if you don’t know anyone else when you arrived, when it comes time to leave it’s hard to say good-bye. Of the four couples we worked with we had worked with two before, had met one at a rally and one we had never met. By the end we were almost family. We worked together, often ate together, and played together. We’ve shared our sorrows and our triumphs. And we parted knowing we’ve found new prayer partners. Friday morning we all scattered in different directions – Texas, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. We’re gonna miss these good folks! Although we’ve parted ways, we’re still joined in the heart!

Yes, from the beginning to the end – that was one fine project. Seeing God at work in camps and schools and group homes and rescue missions across this country – and maybe being a small part of that work – is absolutely the best part of being a SOWER! Joining together with other folks to share in that blessing (and maybe even see a bit of this beautiful country) is just icing on the (birthday) cake!

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me ramble on about New Life Ranch and our time here. If you just came by to find out about the bungee cords – well, the answer is 7. Unless you count the 3 factory installed straps that hold back the pocket doors and then the number is 10. 🙂

Psssst – there are more pictures of our time at New Life Ranch HERE if you’re interested!

Moving – and other updates!

We moved today.
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It wasn’t far, but still and all- the slides have to come in, the breakables need to be bungied down, and things that roll have to be secured. Okay, let’s be real – when you’re only moving from one end of the camp to the other, lots of things just get piled on the bed!
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We did have to wait for the horses to cross.
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It was a beautiful day for a trail ride, by the way!
But we made it safely and are now settled in our new neighborhood!
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And we are loving some of the neighbors –
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Hey, pretty girl – look this way for the camera!!!!
In other news, we had a great first week.
After a couple of days of data entry (inputting guest surveys), we ladies moved to this building.
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This is a Yurt. These buildings are usually filled with bunk beds for sleeping or chairs for meeting, but in our case, it was filled with machines for sewing!
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Every window in the camp is being fitted with the same basic curtain. And we are on the team that is making that happen!
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So fun! (Plus, I can go over in the afternoon and work on some personal (as in CHRISTMAS) sewing! Yippee!!)
All good, all good!
The guys meanwhile are making great progress on that gatehouse. From slab to under roof in just 4 short days.
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And that was with a rainy day thrown in. Needless to say, with all the ladder work, my guy was pretty happy for the 4 day work week. And a jumbo bottle of ibuprofen!

There was a group from YWAM (Youth with a Mission) here this week so we not only got to enjoy meals in the dining hall, but we also got to interact with some of those great young people! Here are some of our SOWER hands playing a goofy table game with lots of other young hands.
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The more mature at the table did not win.
But we also had a game night and a really fun and delicious evening out at a local Amish(-ish) restaurant, The Wooden Spoon. They only serve an evening meal one night a week, and folks were lined up well before the doors opened. By the time we were done, we understood the draw.
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Oh yeah, baby. Now that was a dinner! (Not to mention that salted caramel 6 layer cake that Gary & I split. Oh My.)

Today, while we were packing up and moving, the rest of the gang did a bit of sightseeing. Safaris, historic villages – there’s quite a bit to see and do in this little corner of Oklahoma. Actually, I think most of the sightseeing was in Arkansas, but who’s judging. Hopefully next weekend, with the interior renovation almost complete, we’ll be able to take in some sights ourselves.
One last picture before I say goodnight –
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Isn’t it pretty here?

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

New Month, New Day, New Job

Well, we’ve just completed our first day at New Life Ranch, located in the NE corner of Oklahoma. We arrived yesterday, after a lovely drive through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and finally Oklahoma. Yes, there were a lot of fields and not a lot of curves, but we still enjoyed the drive. Especially Nebraska, since we hadn’t traveled through that state before.
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(That just leaves North Dakota on the ‘haven’t been there yet’ list. Maybe next year?)
But I digress –
Our first day on the job went really well! We ladies had a bit of a slow start, waiting for the office team to arrive to get us started on some data entry, but all in all it was a good morning.
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Once we get that task completed, I’ve been told we’ll be moving on to sewing curtains. Oh, my. Computer work and sewing projects – they really know how to spoil a girl!
The guys got started right away on a new gatehouse at the main entrance.
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It’s a pretty little building, but it started this morning with only a concrete slab, so I think they are making some great progress. Of course, getting 5 guys to work on such a small space can be challenging!
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Nothing like a ‘little’ new construction to make the SOWER men happy!

Since there is another batch of volunteers here, we’re in some temporary parking at the moment.
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But while it will be nice to move up to the regular RV park, this spot is working out really well. We’re quite centrally located and Gary has a nice little garage for him to work on some of the finishing touches of the RV Reno. But our official spot looks like it will be pretty nice too!
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Here are a couple more shots from a little walk-about I did today to get a feel for the lay of the land.

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So our first SOWER work day in two months went really well. It feels good to be back in the saddle again – here at New Life Ranch!