Tag Archives: SOWERS

These Guys

Dundee thrift shop
I am often quite apologetic about the lack of pictures I have of our SOWER men working, but this month since we’re all working at the same location (though in different areas) I’ve been able to snap some photos of the guys. Plus – my co-workers are also good about sharing ones that they’ve taken!!
So the men are in the back of the warehouse constructing these giant shelves to help organize the incredible amount of donations this thrift shop received.
Dundee thrift shop
As you can see, they’ve gone to new heights and depths to complete these shelves!
After two weeks (and a new shipment of supplies) everyone is getting into the rhythm of team work!
Measure, Cut, Construct. Measure, Cut, Construct.
Men working

And when they have a unit complete, they all work together to get ‘er upright!
Shelf lift
It truly is amazing what a bunch of four old dudes can get done! (OK, so one of the guys is just 60, but three of them are 70+). My mama used to say, “Many hands make light the work”, and that is so true with SOWERS (even if the work isn’t light at all!).

Thank you, LORD, for these willing hands!

Through Day Two

Well, friends, we are through Day Two of our January SOWER project and I thought I’d give you some insights into how this month is shaping up. First, the ministry where we are serving. To say that Lake Wales Care Center is a ‘multi-faceted’ mission is quite the understatement. What began as a clothing closet and food pantry in 1985 has grown to include family services and resources (short-term financial assistance and tangible resources such as clothing, food and furniture), transitional housing (support for homeless families while they work through a structured program to “get back on their feet”), a free health clinic (a valuable resource to community members without health insurance), a pregnancy care program (providing support and appropriate services for women facing unplanned pregnancies), Holiday assistance (where parents can come and shop for their kids), tutoring (all ages and ESL), financial counseling, life-skills counseling, home repairs assistance done through a “Stay at Home Mission” program with local youths, and because they don’t seem busy enough, they have also started a community garden.
Yesterday (our first day of work) we met the director at one of their locations, and he gave us a walking tour of their different buildings in town (offices, warehouses, bookstore, “Christmas Store”, etc.) and then took us on a drive to show us their different transitional housing options. I have to tell you, it took my breath away! They also have two large thrift stores which along with generating needed income for this ministry, also provides quality items at reduced cost to the community.  Phew.

With our heads still spinning over the breadth of this ministry’s positive influence in this community, we loaded into our own trucks and headed north to where we would be actually spending our working days – their new(-ish to them) 36,000 square foot building in Dundee which houses their second thrift shop and more donations than you can imagine!
The guys are building massive shelves in the back
(Can you see how they’re already filling the shelves even before the guys are done with the section! Crazy!)
And after a two months of painting and one month of siding installation helpering, I’m happy to report that we ladies are working in the thrift shop. (Yes, I’m pretty happy about this!).Untitled

We’re sorting through donations, putting them on hangers, delivering them to the correct sections in the store and then when we need a change of pace, we head to the ‘floor’ and “police” the racks to keep them neat and in order. It’s a big job, friends, but someone has to do it!! Of course the biggest challenge is not filling up my own basket with items to buy. This could be a very challenging month, indeed!

We’re working with one couple we’re very fond of and have worked with before and one couple who are on their very first project. So fun! This project is a little different since we’re not parked right at job site (and in fact have about a 30 min drive to our Thrift Store),  but so far even with the travel time, it’s been a wonderful experience.  God is at work here in Lake Wales, for sure!

Oh, and Gary found a car wash that’s just off the road from our drive to and from work, so he signed up for the monthly pass. So we’ll be havin’ a shiny truck all month too!

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your support as I find my blogging ‘rhythm’ for 2021!

Getting Here

We’re getting nicely settled in our January spot (check out the So Where Are We Now page for more details!) but getting here presented some interesting challenges.
Tuesday night as we were packing up and preparing for an early departure Wednesday morning, Gary did his standard tire pressure check. We’re thankful he did! One of our rear tires was dangerously low and was a cause for concern. He got the pressure up (yes, we carry an air compressor with us), checked it in the morning to make sure it was still safe to drive, and headed to a local tire shop, hoping for a quick repair and then we’d be officially on our way.
The first shop couldn’t find the leak. The second shop couldn’t fit us in until (maybe) later in the day. The third shop was the charm – there was only about an hour wait. (Kinda hard to believe that the little town of Bonifay (FL) has THREE Tire shops!) We found an empty parking lot to wait, and sure enough we got the call just a little over an hour later. Gary maneuvered our beast into their work area, and the mechanic started working on the tire. He found the leak in the valve extension (that’s where Gary thought it might be), and removed it to fix the problem, filled up the tire, and kindly said – “NO Charge” when we went to pay the bill. Unexpected blessing to be sure! The morning was just about gone, but we were on our way at last.
Except. The engine was running rough. It would go along fine, but then it would give a little cough or jerk like it wasn’t getting enough fuel. This has happened before and each time the problem has been the fuel filter. So now we carry a spare or two just in case! We limped into the next rest stop and my dear husband worked his magic once again.
We were very thankful that that did indeed ‘do the trick’ and we were officially on our way a little after noon, aiming for a rest stop/overnight near Ocala.
Except. During one of our ‘waiting times’ we had tried to start the generator. Nuttin’. Click-click-click -whrrrrrrrrr. We don’t need the generator to move down the road (or when we’re plugged into power), but because we now have a residential refrigerator (which we love) we do need to run the generator periodically when we’re not going to be plugged into power for over 24 hours.  We’ve found that running the generator for a couple of hours in the evening and then again in the morning (we have to make coffee, after all!) keeps the fridge nice and cold. But an overnight with no generator could be trouble.
And Then. We realized that the water pump was not working. Now we carry some bottled water with us, but we weren’t really excited about flushing the toilet, washing our hands, etc. using 16oz bottles of water.
And So. We broke our ‘golden rule’ of two day travel (rest stop or Walmart for sleeping) and pulled into a campground right off the highway for a quick overnight. Power, water, all the good things – and even a bit of TV! I think it was a well spent $29.00.
We had a leisurely morning, and finished the last 120 miles of the trip with no problems, just a bit more Florida traffic than I like! Today we ordered a new valve stem extension to complete the tire repair and a new water pump control (we don’t need the pump as long as we’re hooked up to ‘city water’) along with some other miscellaneous RV parts that have been hanging out in our shopping cart on Amazon! Oh, and the generator started right up once we got to our new spot. That little glitch remains a mystery.

So once again, God has gotten us safely to our next location. We cover our travels in prayer (and I know others pray along with us), and we never take for granted a safe arrival. We’re thankful to be here, safe and secure, and ready to see what the LORD has in store for us this month!
Thanks for coming along for the (somewhat bumpy) ride!


Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are heading out for our Christmas Getaway – 12 days at a “Gulf View” condo in Orange Beach, AL.
Even as I dig out the beach towels and bathing suits from under the bed(rather optimistically since I’m pretty sure the temperatures aren’t even supposed to hit 70 while we are there!), and organize the power cords for packing, I must admit I am a bit conflicted. Oh, we’ve had several years when we haven’t been with family on Christmas Day, but I cannot think of a Christmas Season where I wasn’t kissing little faces or snuggled up with a slew of kidlins watching Christmas Story or playing games around the kitchen table at some point. We would be the “Phase II” Christmas, and it worked pretty well (plus the kids loved having two Christmas mornings!). But this year, long before the huge up-tick in COVID-19 cases and the “stay home” recommendations, we had decided to do Christmas just on our own. (We actually had considered taking a cruise. But you know…cruises and pandemics….no. Just no.) We have no agenda for our time at ‘the beach’ =). I’m bringing books and my cameras and my computer and I’m sure the days will fill up just fine! Along with the beach towels I’m also packing hats and scarves and warm jackets so we can take long walks on the beach regardless of the ambient temperature! And with today’s wonderful technology (and WIFI at the condo) there should be lots of opportunities to be part of the family festivities without anyone actually having to find us a place to sleep!!

Before we head out tomorrow, though, I wanted to give you a quick wrap-up of the work here at Teen Challenge. With the help of that fine tool (the Gecko Gauge), the section we were working on went up like a dream. We completed the entire section in just 2 1/2 days,
and that left plenty of time for clean-up and fine-tuning some of the ‘mechanical’ areas around back.
Next month there are three SOWER couples coming so they should be able to finish off the front with no problem (we’re leaving them that miracle tool). I don’t know if they’ll tackle the end of the building, but once it does get all done, everything will get a fresh coat of paint so it won’t have such a patchwork look (from the different ages of the siding). We might have to stop back next year to see how it all comes together!

Praying you all have a blessed Christmas week! I know there is a lot going on, and for many of us it will be a Christmas like none we’ve had before (kinda like 2020 in general!). Don’t know how the blogging schedule will develop over the next two weeks – but just in case –


Turning the Corner

We’ve turned the corner to the last week of this month’s SOWER project. Man, these go fast! But we’ve turned the corner on our siding job too!
By the end of last week the entire back of the building was complete. I’m really glad that we started on a relatively easy stretch of siding (as Gary was training his trusty assistant (me)) because the last part of the job had some major challenges.
See all those things coming out of the wall??? Yikes! Measure twice, cut once (worked most of the time), and don’t forget you have to lace the boards behind the pipes!
Oy! What a time we had! But by the end of the week – with a little help from some of the boys with getting the top boards up – the back side of the building was complete, the windows and doors were trimmed out and we were ready to move on!
It was time for us to turn the corner. Actually we turned two corners!
Gary took a little time over the weekend to get the siding off the first section of the front, so once we got our supplies moved around to our work area, we were able to get right to work this morning!
(Are you coughing yet, just looking at that dust??)

UntitledRemember that picture of me grimacing as I was holding up a board? That prompted a sweet text from a SOWER friend alerting us to a TOOL that is actually designed to not only hold up the board, but also keep the reveal constant. We did a little more research and found just the thing at a local Lowes, so we were able to test it out today.
Thanks, Larry – that set of Gecko Gauges has made all the difference in the world!! Especially on those 12 foot boards. They haven’t replaced me completely, but they have certainly made things move much more quickly! And with much less drama on my part! =)
It was a good start to our last week (and made being able to complete at least this section of siding more likely!).  And that’s a very good thing!

Since it’s Monday, if you’d like to check out a “Mondays are for Memories” post, HERE is one from the last time we were here, back in 2008!

As always, thanks for stoppin’ by!