A Short January

Tomorrow at Zero Dark Thirty, I’m leaving for a much anticipated “Winter Sisters Getaway” back at that lovely cottage on Alton Bay in New Hampshire. Since my days will soon be filled with all things “sister,” I thought it would be wise to do a little SOWER wrap-up before I leave.
Aside from the weather being a little on the cool side (but still – no snow!) it’s been a perfectly lovely project. I mentioned in my last post (Week One Done Again)six of the 8 of us were working on refreshing (i.e. patching and painting and painting some more) one of the cottages that had been vacated due to COVID several months ago.
While they finished up that project and then moved to a variety of other maintenance chores, Beth and I kept busy in the kitchen.
Yes, that is a monster pile of bacon (about 50# – lunch later that week was going to be breakfast for lunch!)

It was a busy week and lots of work was done, but the best part of the last week was really the fellowship!
We enjoyed a campfire last weekend
and this weekend we checked out the Suwanee County Historical Commission Museum.
It was filled with all kinds of local history and since we had the place all to ourselves, we even enjoyed a private tour by the curator!
You can’t check out a museum in the morning and not go out for lunch, right? (I think it’s a SOWER (unwritten) rule.)
We ladies had a very good week of fellowship, starting with a little tea party at Jan’s on Monday afternoon complete fancy tea, homemade scones, clotted cream and lemon curd.  What a precious time of fellowship!
Then Wednesday (after work) we had a little LDO (Ladies Day Out). We did lunch in Live Oak and a bit of ‘in town’ shopping! It was a sweet time of fellowship and sharing life.
(No pictures of the shopping, but we did find some great bargains at a little Christian Book Store that was (sadly) closing! At least we helped them clear out some inventory?)
We rounded out this last weekend with putting together our group picture at a massive Live Oak tree on the edge of the property!
Since we like to see actually those dear faces, we started out with this configuration.

But that tree was calling for some more creative photography! This one was really fun!

Today was my official last day of this SOWER month, so for me it’s a ‘short January’. Gary and the rest of the team will be working through Thursday (well, except when Gary is taking me to the airport tomorrow!) and will be finishing up a variety of jobs around the property.
This afternoon I took a break from pre-trip preparations (i.e. trying to figure out packing for WINTER), and the four of us ladies gathered for one last cup of tea and prayer.
What sweet new friends God has blessed me with this month!

Tomorrow’s an early day (and a long one with a 4 hour layover in Baltimore)and there are still some odds and ends to wrap up before I call it a day. I can’t promise lots of blogging over the next ten days – the computer is staying home. But the tablet is coming along so you just never know what may (or may not) be happening here at this little corner of the internet. Thank you for your patience with me!

And (as always) thanks for stopping by!



PS – If you’d like to see a few more pictures of our time here at FL Sheriffs Youth Ranch (work and play) you can check them out here!

Sabbath Rest – The LORD is My Salvation

How beautiful to know that –
The grace of God has reached for me
And pulled me from the raging sea
And I am safe on this solid ground
The Lord is my salvation

The grace of God has reached for me
And pulled me from the raging sea
And I am safe on this solid ground
The Lord is my salvation

I will not fear when darkness falls
His strength will help me scale these walls
I’ll see the dawn of the rising sun
The Lord is my salvation

Who is like the Lord our God?
Strong to save, faithful in love
My debt is paid and the vict’ry won
The Lord is my salvation

My hope is hidden in the Lord
He flow’rs each promise of His Word
When winter fades I know spring will come
The Lord is my salvation

In times of waiting, times of need
When I know loss, when I am weak
I know His grace will renew these days
The Lord is my salvation

And when I reach my final day
He will not leave me in the grave
But I will rise,
He will call me home
The Lord is my salvation

Glory be to God the Father
Glory be to God the Son
Glory be to God the Spirit
The Lord is our salvation

Music video by Keith & Kristyn Getty performing The Lord Is My Salvation. (C) 2016 Getty Music Label, LLC

The rest of the story

Following the 2010 Census, I relayed the following exchange that happened with a hardworking Census Bureau employee –

*Hello, this is Doris from the Census Bureau. Can I please speak to either Gary or Stephanie Conrad?
-This is Stephanie
*Hello! I have some questions about your location from your census form.
*Well, can you tell me exactly where you were on April 1st?
Let’s see….April 1st we were parked in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Prescott, AZ
*A Wal-Mart Parking lot in Arizona? Well, it says here on your form that your address is in Lake City, FL.
Well, it is. But we live full time in our motorhome and on April 1st. we were in Arizona. But I figured you really wanted to know where we got our mail, and registered our vehicles – that kind of stuff.
*But we really need to know where you were physically on April 1st.
The Wal-Mart in Prescott, AZ.
*Well, where were you going from the parking lot.
On April 2nd, we went into a conference center outside of town and stayed there for about three weeks. And before that we were in Palmdale, CA.
***confused pause*** Actually I called because we were having trouble locating your Lake City, FL address. Could you give me the closest crossroads for that address.
-I’m sorry, but I’ve never been there.
***longer pause***
*But it’s your address.
I know, but it’s actually a mail-forwarding company and we just have a manila folder there. I’m pretty sure it does exist, though.
*Do you know anything about where it’s located.
*Well, thanks for your help. I think.

Then this weekend…..

I’ve always felt a little bad about poor confused Doris, so when I realized that our project this month (in Live Oak, FL) was just down the road from Lake City it just seemed right that I should solve the mystery of just what those “closest crossroads” are.


Turns out the closest crossroads are actually Interstate 75 and Hwy 90. I was a little puzzled when we turned right just before the on ramp to I75 onto NW Knights Blvd. We drove past a couple of motels and a health clinic, and there at the end of the road was our never-before-seen-by-us mail forwarding service that we used for over 10 years.
I was a little under-impressed, but they served us well for those 10 years, so as long as they can get the job done – all is well.

So, Doris, I can see where it might’ve been difficult to actually locate this business! But if you were to ask again (now that we’ve moved into a file folder in Livingston, TX) we can help you with that.  Because  we’ve actually been there!

Have a great week, friends!


Sabbath Rest – Fairest Lord Jesus

These first few weeks of 2022 I’ve been sharing some newer hymns. Today I’m back to a classic, written in the late 1800’s. Since this is Gary’s favorite hymn I let him pick the arrangement/vocalist. And I think he did just fine! Here’s Steve Green singing Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus,
ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

Fair are the meadows,
fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.

Beautiful Savior!
Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
praise, adoration,
now and forevermore be thine.

Week One Done – again!

Why is it these weeks go by so fast??
After a slow start on Monday morning (which often happens as everyone figures out where things are and who’s good at what and just when things need to happen) here at FL Sheriffs Boys Ranch, the week picked right up! Most of our team (6 of the 8 of us) are working at one of the cottages. They’ve had a reduction of residents due to COVID and the cottage was empty, so it seemed like a good time to do a little rehab and refurb!
Walls were being patched
and painted
and everyone worked as a team to get ‘er done!
Since I’m not working in that area, I’m sure exactly how far along they are, but I do know they’ll be busy well into next week!
Beth and I (the other two team members) have been working in the kitchen, helping to feed the kids that live here!
We’ve cut up chicken, peeled eggs, prepped cabbage for coleslaw, cut up fresh fruit for the lunch bar and (the best part) helped in the serving line. (There’s nothing like feeding kids in my book!)
Because Beth and I are working slightly different hours, we’ve been walking from the RV parking area to the dining hall – a nice 30 minute walk.
And then after lunch (after we feed the boys and staff, then they feed us! Sweet!) the four of us girls walk back to the Rv’s!
To summarize – the work has been good, the weather has been cool but (mostly) sunny AND I’m even getting some great exercise!
Oh – and we’ve even enjoyed a fun evening of games!
Yep, it was a good first week all around!

Seeing the country……Serving our Lord!