Since I feel like I’ve left a fair number of loose (blog) ends lately, I’m still moving in that backward direction! Let’s see if I can wrap-up our time at AIM (African Inland Mission Retirement Center) back in March. I think the last time I detailed just what kind of work we were doing there I had moved from cleaning houses and washing windows to figuring out how to redeem some well needed, but in pretty rough shape, chairs.
Of course the best solution would’ve been to totally re-cover them, but both the cost and the time involved in that endeavor was prohibitive. So we moved to plan B. Or maybe it was plan D. Make some chair covers out of Drop cloths. As the designated Sewing SOWERS, Diane and I set out to develop and implement a pattern that would be serviceable and (hopefully) a bit attractive.
It took us several hours to fine tune the pattern, but by the end of the project we had cranked out 23 chair covers!
And from the back –
I’m not going to tell you they were the swankiest of covers, but they fit the bill for the need at hand! We got the drop cloths at Harbor Freight (4′ x 12′) for $8.50/ea and were able to get 6 covers out of each cloth (less one that we needed for facings). Add in some sturdy twill for the ties (at about $.50/chair), and pretty much each chair cover cost about $2.00. AND, they are washable!
While I missed the fellowship of working with all of the other ladies, I’ll confess that I didn’t really miss all the opportunities for cleaning! We would all meet together for break, and we even had a lovely “Salad Luncheon” one day, so we were still able to connect nicely. There were 7 of us SOWER ladies, plus another 5+ volunteers that also worked and fellowshipped along side us.
Here’s our official March 2021 Group Picture –
When I look over these pictures it still surprises me that this was just two weeks ago. When we arrived at the project we only knew one other couple. By the time we left, we had enlarged our ‘family’ by many more than are even in that picture! I love how God knits us together over the course of just three short weeks and we treasure each of these new co-workers for Christ!
No, not what we’re supposed to do FREQUENTLY with our computers and other devices.
No, it’s not the backing up you do when you need to get out of a parking spot.
It’s the kind of backing up where I need to fill in some of the blanks from my sad lack of blogging over the last several months. So, I’m going to give it a shot to get this little corner of the internet back up to speed (whatever speed that is!).
First up – our zipping out, zipping back, six night, four motels, trip to Texas last week. (Was it really just last week?)
Our time in Texas was pretty much all SOWER all the time! And while the Trustee meeting was of upmost importance (at least for Gary), the Texas Round-up that happened early in the week was certainly the highpoint for us!
It was a bit smaller this year thanks to our constant life-interrupter COVID-19, but it was special in so many ways! Among our group were at least two couples who hadn’t done any projects yet (and one of those was a ‘second generation’ SOWER – Mom and Dad had served years ago! We had even worked with them back in 2008!). Others had just completed their first project, and some only had two or three under their belt. It was so exciting and encouraging to see that we ‘seasoned’ SOWERS were outnumbered by the new kids on the block. I loved meeting these new folks that the LORD has brought into our ministry!
Along with wonderful fellowship we also were blessed to be part of constructing 10,000 (yes, that’s ten thousand) booklets of John and Romans to be sent overseas.
Part of the collating team
The staple team
Thousands ready for the next step –
They’ll get trimmed and then packaged to go. It was inspiring to think about this portion of God’s Word getting into so many hands – and hearts, we pray!
Working on that Scripture project was very meaningful and I’m so glad it was incorporated into the Rally. But there were also many, many light-hearted moments as well!
Like jelly bean balancing
Or jelly bean rolling
or (my personal favorite) Peep Target shooting
(Photo creds to new SOWER (and friend) Michelle Malek!)
Our Game Masters (Gail and Wayne) kept us thoroughly entertained. (or perhaps we were the ones entertaining them!)
While laughter was an ever present guest at this gathering, there were some serious moments too. We had some Group Leader training (with lots of good questions) and a Q&A for the trustees that were present. With so many new-ish SOWERS it was a wonderfully informative time.
We finished off the Round-up with a ‘formal’ banquet hosted by the ALERT Academy staff.
Complete with a harpist.
What a lovely evening!
All of the laughter, inspiration, encouragement, and fun made for another excellent gathering of our SOWER Family!
If you’d like to see additional photos (along with pictures of individual couples in attendance) you can check them out here!
Once again we have found ourselves in an entirely new neighborhood. I honestly don’t think we have ever been in this neck of the woods before (though I’ve been wrong before about places we have or haven’t been. Just ask Gary!). But at any rate, I KNOW we’ve never been at this particular SOWER project before – mostly because it’s only been in our SOWER Family of Ministries for a year or so!
This month we are serving at The Potter’s Place – Psalm 91 in Central, SC – which is not to be confused with central South Carolina!
The town of Central, SC, is actually quite far west in the state, and is home to (among other things) Southern Wesleyan University and is just east of the town of Clemson. (There’s a university there too, I hear!)
This ministry is focused on three areas –
To provide an environment of quiet solitude where those who come can seek God and be molded into the vessel “The Potter” desires (Jeremiah 18:1-4).
To provide a place of respite for full-time pastors and missionaries who need rest and renewal.
To serve other Kingdom building leaders from Churches, para-church and humanitarian organizations.
We arrived mid-afternoon today and are still in recovery mode from our boomerang trip to Texas this past week (as in I’m still working on clearing out the back seat of the truck and has anyone seen the peanut butter?), so we haven’t done much exploring yet. But we’re looking forward to the month for sure! We’ll be working with two other SOWER couples, one experienced and one on their very first project! As an added bonus we have friends in the area and we are excited about connecting with them. And with a couple of other SOWER projects within driving distance, you just never know what adventures might be instore!
I have a very good feeling that April 2021 will be a great deal different than April 2020.
We’ve just wrapped up our last Florida weekend of 2021 (or so it appears now), and it was a very fine weekend indeed! In some very special ways it was filled with family – lots of different kinds of family!
It started out on Friday with a casual gathering of about 25 SOWER couples who have either been working in the central Florida area or live in the area. It was pretty low key – bring your own chair and lunch, social distance as you were able, and enjoy each other’s company before folks begin the great northern migration!
As you can see, we were blessed with a picture perfect day!
(and just for fun – here’s a shot a SOWER friend took of somebody being bossy – again!)
Although we started out in that nice round circle, we soon gathered in clusters of conversations – catching up with old friends, meeting some new friends, and generally enjoying the time of connecting with our SOWER family. Such a lovely day!
Saturday morning was filled with our more ‘traditional’ family. We started with being able to live-stream a singing and dancing competition of one of our Ohio granddaughters.
(Full disclosure – this is not a photo from Saturday’s performance, but it is a photo of the dance troupe. Toby circled Maddie for me because between the masks and how fast everyone was moving, I’d had a hard time figuring out last time which sweet thing was our Maddie! I know, bad Gramma – but really! At least this time I was smart enough to watch it on my computer instead of my phone!).
I never thought to take a screen shot because I was just enjoying the performance so much! They were amazing! We both were so glad to be able to be part of the ‘audience’ even from so very far away! Great job, Maddie!
Later that same morning I spent about an hour on Zoom with young builder Alex. Every month she gets a box with some type of building project from Kiwi Crates, and we work together to assemble it. This month it was a treasure chest!
It can be a little challenging since I don’t have the instruction book and am trying to explain it to her after just watching a video or two of how the project is supposed to go. Thankfully, Mom and Dad are usually close by to help! We somehow muddle through it with lots of giggles and grins – and it’s really something I look forward to doing with her each month!
To make the morning all the more special, I ended it up with some reading time with the Waco Boys.
I confess that this little reading project is a work-in-progress, as we make our way through “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”. We haven’t settled in to a very regular schedule, and our last reading time was several weeks ago. Life happens. The little one in the middle rarely lasts very long, the 6 year old enjoys our time together but I’m not sure he’s really ‘getting’ the story. He politely raised his hand just after I started.
“Yes, T? Do you have a question?”
“What kind of cheese do you have?”
No cheese in the story, but it seemed to be pressing to him! =) Cheddar, by the way.
W, at 10, follows along – but I not sure he’s really ‘into’ the story. I’m not giving up on this “Reading Time with Grams” concept, and I’m determined to finish the book (at least I want to know what happens to all those penguins!), but maybe we’ll have to a bit more research before we start our next book. Suggestions, anyone?
We finished off the day with our ‘family’ here at AIM! Residents and volunteers alike were invited to a Corn Hole Tournament, and we couldn’t resist the challenge.
Somehow we made it to the final round of the consolation players.
And with great concentration on my part…..
We actually WON! So we were officially the champions of the losers. Or something fitting like that!! All in all, a very fun way to spend a chilly Saturday afternoon.
With all those good family vibes going on, we joined our good SOWER friend Bill for worship and one last meal together on Sunday.
Oh – I forgot! We had a lovely campfire on Friday night with our SOWER family too!
It was a weekend chock full of all kinds of family deliciousness!
And for that I am so very grateful!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you weekend was filled with some family time too. Virtual or otherwise!