Category Archives: Mondays are for Memories

Mondays are for Memories – Happy Hour – SOWER Style

This past weekend we joined together with some other SOWERs working in the area for dinner out and a local play.

Untitled Untitled

It was a lovely evening, and it made me think about the blessing of fellowship that we have with our SOWER family. And that brought to mind this sweet “Happy Hour”  we had with our fellow SOWERs back in 2010!
Happy Hour – SOWER Style February 12, 2010
Have I mentioned before how we not only have a twelve-mile commute to work at this project but that our rigs are parked in two different locations? We’re only about a 1/4 mile apart as the crow flys (over the desert and through private property), but it’s about a 15-minute walk so it’s not like we can pop over for a quick chat or to borrow a cup of sugar (you know, for all that baking I do!). To try to compensate for our slight lack of “community” and to celebrate the end of the week (yes, even hardworking SOWERS are happy for the weekend!), yesterday we had our very own “Happy Hour” over at the other neighborhood!
Parking spot 2
While the guys were busy setting up chairs, I took in the view –
Parking Spot 2 view
Quite nice, don’t you think?
Our Happy Hour is a little different from the traditional HH – we decided to concentrate on Ice Cream instead of drinks! One of the couples picked up some ice cream on the way home and the rest of us raided our pantry for toppings. We had chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, pecans, almonds, chocolate chips, craisins and Cool Whip. And while I wish I could show you pictures of our lovely pre-dinner ice cream social, I was too busy enjoying it to snap any pictures. You know the saying, life is uncertain – eat dessert first. We concur.
I did get the camera out, though, when I saw a bird feeder set up just outside the parking area. And even though the feeder was just about empty, there was still plenty of activity –
A beautiful little House Finch
House Finch
A House Finch coming in for a landing –
A White Crowned Sparrow –
White crowned sparrow
And my personal favorite (well, today anyway), the Gambel’s Quail-
Gambel's Quail
who were busy scooting around between the rocks under the feeder. They are very fun to watch!
It was so nice to sit and relax with friends after a busy week. Plus the drive home (all 2 minutes of it) was lovely.
evening sky
(That’s us down on the left.)
We have lots of options this weekend here in the Valley – the Riverside County Fair and Datefest starts today, there’s a Greek Festival on Saturday and Sunday, there’s always the big flea market over at the College of the Desert, and different RV resorts offer entertainment and festivals…Phew. Oh, and the weather? Well, the cute girl on the local station is promising sunshine and 75.

Mondays are for Memories – Connie

One of my birthday buddies, Connie Breyer, met Jesus face-to-face last week. And oh, what a greeting she must’ve gotten! For those of us still on this side of eternity, though, the parting has been hard. I haven’t been a part of Connie’s everyday life for many, many years, but still, I consider her one of my closest and dearest friends. We didn’t speak often, but we always knew we were there for each other. Because I knew she was a faithful reader of this blog, I would often think of her as I figured out what I should write about. Several years ago (2018), I wrote the following little summary of our friendship. But as I read it now, I realize what we had was much, much more precious than what I was able to convey here. But it’s a start.

Long, long ago, in (what seems like) a galaxy far, far away a young bride [me] met with a ‘more experienced’ bride [Connie] once a week for lunch. And encouragement. And prayer.
Time passed, babies came, and schedules changed. But the friendship and encouragement and prayers never ended. Our little twosome grew to include others as we changed from being young brides to being young moms.
Friends moved, babies grew, and life happened. Things changed.
But through it all, three of us somehow, by hook or by crook, managed to continue to meet once a year to celebrate our November birthdays. We’d often meet at church on a Sunday in November, enjoy lunch, catch up with each other, and end the day in prayer. It was a very precious day for me, as I would often go the whole year without being in contact with them. But that thread of friendship never broke. Never even frayed!
Since we’ve been on the road, we three birthday buddies haven’t always been able to connect during November. But whenever we can work it out, we work it out!!

birthdaygirls08 ConnieBonnieandme
birthdaybuddies Connie Bonnie BonnieConnieand me

I didn’t make it back to Hometown this past summer, so being able to connect with these precious Birthday Buddies, these Sisters in Christ was especially sweet this past October.
I’m so thankful for these friends from that galaxy far, far away!
So Thankful for US!

What a blessing both Bonnie and Connie have been to me over the years!  As Bonnie and I talked this past week after she shared this sad news with me, our tears were mingled with such sweet remembrances of times we had spent with Connie, and how much she meant to us (and most everyone else who knew her!).  I am so thankful that this past summer we were able to get together for worship and then lunch!
Me, Bonnie, and Connie (surprisingly color coordinated!)
We had the husbands along (sometimes that just happens!), so we didn’t get to spend hours catching up, but it was still the sweetest of visits.

My heart aches for her family, especially her beautiful daughters and her beloved grandchildren.  And for the many people whose lives were brightened by this triumphant daughter of the King.  Our grief is real and hard. But I am praying that they (and I!) will continue to rest in the knowledge of the glorious life that Connie is now enjoying.
“…That you [we] may not grieve as those who have no hope.” (I Thessalonians 4:13)

I can only imagine, dearest Connie, what your new life is like. We miss you here – and always will! But oh what joy you must be experiencing!

Your friend, the young bride,


Mondays are for Memories – New Mexico

I was reminded today about the time we served at a SOWER project in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico! Here’s a post from almost eight years ago about that charming little town!

Truth or Consequences – February 2, 2016
So, Truth or Consequences. AKA T or C.
We leave this little New Mexico town early tomorrow morning, and I thought maybe it was time to give you a bit more info about the town itself.
First a bit of history. T or C was incorporated in 1916 as Hot Springs, NM. It is located right along the Rio Grande River, but it is also located over many hot springs, and that is where it (obviously) got its original name. The city changed its name to “Truth or Consequences” in 1950. Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program from the first town that renamed itself after the show. Hot Springs stepped up to the plate, the people voted, and the rest is history. Ralph Edwards was so enamored by this little town that he returned each year for the annual celebration that celebrated its ‘celebrity’ for 50 years. The town still holds that “Fiesta” the first weekend in May – and I’m sure it’s a sight to behold!
Today, TorC is quite an eclectic town.
It’s full of artsy shops, galleries, second-hand stores, and fun places to eat.
Wikipedia refers to it as a ‘spa town’, referring I suppose to the area’s hot springs, but I can’t say that I got that impression. Yes, there are some spas that take advantage of the wonderful hot springs. And there are a couple of newer hotel/motel units on the north end of town near the Walmart. But in the downtown area, you are more likely to find your locally owned and operated motel units.
Like the Rocket Inn or the Trail Motel or the Belair Inn.
Or maybe the Desert View Inn
with its offer of Clean Comfortable Rooms and Refrigerated Air.

It’s a town of huge contrasts. Ted Turner owns two ranches outside of town, along with a resort in the nearby town of Elephant Butte. Not too far out of town is Spaceport America, home to Virgin Galactic, WhiteKnightTwo, and SpaceShipTwo. (Tour tickets were pretty pricey, so we skipped that stop). Although the winters are fairly mild here (our nights were cold, but the days were sunshiny and bright and often made it into the 60s), it’s the summer when this town really booms. It borders the largest lake in New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake
and it was the creation of that reservoir in 1912 that jump-started the town. Each summer over 100,000 people flock to the area to enjoy the camping, fishing, and boating that the lake can accommodate.
But the people we’ve met during our time here have been down-to-earth folks, making ends meet the best way they can, and choosing to live a simple, uncomplicated life. Lots of folks get around on bikes and every now and again, a horse and rider trots by the rig.
I think we’ve done our part to support the local economy –
We’ve eaten at six different local (yummy)restaurants.
(Who needs a Denny’s when you can go to the Passion Pie Cafe?)
We’ve taken a turn in the mineral hot springs at Riverbend Resort
Our view of the Rio Grande from the hot springs at Riverbend Hot Springs resort. #endofprojecttreat #truthorconsequences
We took in a movie at the local theater –
(Star Wars 🙂 )
We picked up our New Mexico T-shirts at Martha’s Gift and Jewelry Shop and picked up eggs and milk at Bullocks, the local grocer.
We checked out one of the local Museums –
And although we didn’t quite make it into the Veterans’ Museum, we did stop by and take some pictures –
( 1/2 size replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall).
This is a history-rich area – everything from the Carrie Tingley Hospital (now the Veterans Center) that was patterned after the polio hospital started by FDR in Warm Springs, GA, to the Native American influences that pervade the area. There are unusual rock formations, some great rock-hounding opportunities (per our fellow SOWERS!), and many interesting drives you can take while in the area. If you need a big city fix, Las Cruces isn’t too far south, and Albuquerque is only a couple of hours north.

So – if you’re ever heading through southern New Mexico – make sure you take a couple of days (at least) to check out the many faces of Truth or Consequences.
You’ll be glad you did!

Mondays are for Memories

It was in October of 2004 that we did our first SOWER project. It was at a small Christian school in Vienna, Georgia – and those memories will always be precious to us. The school is now closed, and we have not been back that way in many years. One of our favorite excursions while there was our trip to Providence Canyon State Park – Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon. We still recommend that park to friends if we know they are heading to Georgia.
I didn’t seem so very wordy back 19 years ago – so, here it is – short and sweet!

Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon
October 10, 2004

OK, so it’s not THE Grand Canyon, but for Georgia it was pretty impressive. We took the 3 mile hike that went into the canyon itself and got to walk along the creek beds that formed these canyons.

Monday Memories

I shared this memory over on the “Where are we now” page, but as I read over that post from nine years ago, I just couldn’t resist sharing it here also! My great niece, who was here just before us, is part of the fifth generation to come (as adults) and enjoy time here. There are now 40 (!!!) in that fifth generation – truly, I wonder if they knew…

Do you think they knew?
It was in October of 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, when my grandparents purchased 190 acres (+/- as the deed states) about 8 miles outside of town along the road to Wright’s Mountain. My grandfather was the town doctor with a young family and I’ve often wondered just how they were able scrape together the funds to not only purchase the land but then build this modest one room cabin during a time when his bills were as apt to be paid with live chickens and black raspberry jam as cold hard cash.
cabin 1938
But regardless of how it all happened,  I wonder if they knew the impact this little get-away would have on their descendants.
I’m pretty sure the cabin was not built as a vacation destination. Since I doubt that in the years preceding World War II there were many vacation days built into a country doctor’s life, I think the cabin, in its earliest years, was more a spot for an afternoon of quiet, or maybe even that safe place where my grandmother could take the kids for a break in the routine. Knowing my grandmother, she probably used it for parties too!
Fast forward to the 1950’s. Although as a family we ALWAYS came to Bradford for our vacation (last week in July/first week in August = Plant shutdown = two weeks in Bradford), we stayed at our grandparent’s house – the Big House in the middle of town (complete with the Doctor’s office and Nurse Cora) and later a small house just outside of town affectionately called The Little House. I think that four young children coupled with no electric, water that needed to be pumped by hand from the not-very-close-by well and the random cow plops that dotted our meadow and path to the pond made “cabin time” a bit more challenging during those years. (My grandparents leased out their property to a nearby farmer for his dry cows to roam. The cows did a great job of keeping down the undergrowth and added a bit of whimsy to the cabin ambiance, but you never knew when you might come across one of their deposits.) We were more apt to pile in the jeepster for an afternoon cabin excursion or maybe, as a special treat, an overnight camping adventure.
While it wasn’t the ultimate destination for our family vacation, it was still the highlight. It was the spot where I learned to swim, bait a hook, row a boat, enjoy fresh caught trout for breakfast and how to read by candlelight. Precious memories all. By the late 1960’s electricity had arrived and we began to stay at the cabin for longer stretches of time. Or maybe it was that my grandparents were getting older and the happy mayhem of our family (now full of teenagers) was best enjoyed by them visiting us at the cabin rather than us staying with them and just visiting the cabin. It’s hard to say. But by the early 70’s, as our generation was getting married and starting our families, the Cabin became the destination. We could hardly wait to introduce our little ones to the joys of the Cabin. (Difficulty of children napping in a one room cabin notwithstanding. At least there were no cow plops!)

Pond1981 PondLara1981

Along with being the vacation destination, over the years our little slice of Vermont heaven has also served as a honeymoon cabin, a retreat from the world cabin and a family gathering cabin.

1998 – The last summer my Dad (center) made it to the cabin.


2012 – the Cabin’s 75th Anniversary

This summer, along with the four of us “senior siblings”, six of the thirteen cousins and their families spent time at the cabin. Several others longed to be here but couldn’t make the logistics work. Hooks were baited, inner tubes were inflated, frogs were caught and books were read. Naps were taken and favorite spots were explored. Maybe even a party or two was enjoyed. And important moments like these were shared.

Grampy Doc and Lizzie > Dad and Mom > four siblings > 13 cousins > 29 (and counting) second cousins
I wonder if they knew…….