Category Archives: Pictures of the Adventure

Photos of our travels and stops along the way

Backtracking – Part IV

Really? Another installment? I think this will be the last of the catch-up posts, so here goes…..

We finished up our project at HEART in Lake Wales, FL and drove the house up to Live Oak, FL (where we worked in January), parked it nicely, plugged it in and the next morning we loaded up the truck and drove to Texas! It was kinda crazy, but we really wanted to get to the SOWER Texas Rally and this was the only practical way to do it!
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It was a long day of driving – but we got close enough so that we just had a bit of a drive the next day to get to our Rally destination (ALERT Academy in Big Sandy, TX). After a stop at the office in the morning, we were off to the Rally!
While the remnants of Covid-19 and the price of fuel may have diminished the number of attendees at this year’s Texas Round-up, what we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality! Once again ALERT provided exceptional accommodations and meals along with a great facility for fellowship and community. We were able to help out with a service project collating/stapling booklets containing the Gospel of John and Romans to be sent worldwide
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and I even got to run one of the massive stapling machines!
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As a bonus – I left with all my fingers too!
We met so many new SOWERs, and it’s always a blessing to see how God is growing our ministry! Here we all are –
SOWER Roundup, 2022 03, ALERT
Pretty nice looking group, right? From folks who have worked over 100 projects to the couple who were on their way to their first project- our fellowship was sweet, and it was well worth the drive!
We arrived safely back at Live Oak, got a good night’s rest and set out the next morning for our April project – here at Marshview Bible Camp!

We’re pretty close to Savannah, so this past Sunday we drove in for the morning worship at Independent Presbyterian Church which was inspiring!
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Then we strolled around town and enjoyed some of the Savannah ambiance!
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Such a beautiful city!
One thing we did miss, though! Turns out my nephew and wife were also in Savannah that day – and went to the evening service at IPC! We couldn’t let a ‘near miss’ deter us, so we met up Monday night for some ice cream!
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What an unexpected delight!
So that about brings us up to date. Well, except for what we’ve been doing this week here at Marshview. But hey, I have to save something for another day, right?
Thanks for stopping by (again and again!)!
Steph

If you’d like to see a few more TX Rally photos, you can check them out here!

Backtracking – Part III

Whew – we’re getting there, friends. Honest.

UntitledAside from the massive amounts of turquoise paint (did I mention that we used 7 gallons of that bold color!) and the wonderful connections we’ve made over the last couple of months, there was also a very memorable “Ladies’ Day Out”. Often when we SOWER ladies take off for an afternoon we enjoy a nice lunch and then check out the local thrift shops or other shopping venues. But last month we stepped it up a notch and enjoyed an afternoon at Bok Tower Gardens.

Not only did I go with two beautiful women (both inside and out!)
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but oh, the beauty that we saw while we were there!
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While the tower itself is not open to the general public, it is home to a spectacular carillon and we also enjoyed a wonderful concert. We totally understood why they call it the Singing Tower!
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While we mostly just soaked in the beauty of God’s creation and didn’t take a plethora of photos, you know I took some, right?
Here’s a little slide show of some of the loveliness that we enjoyed!

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies.

Christ, our Lord, to you we raise
this, our hymn of grateful praise.

Backtracking

Since my life has been such a whirlwind lately – and my blogging has been less than regular – I feel like I need to do a bit of backtracking to get caught up. So let’s start out just before I made that first drive to Vermont back in late February.
Wrapping up our time at Lake Swan –
We ladies finished up our month with (you guessed it) painting! Only this time we were painting brown benches brown –
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and the best part was we were doing it outside on a beautiful day!
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Gary finished up his shop bathroom renovations-
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not that the renovation was actually complete, but it was as far as he was going to be able to go with the supplies on hand.
We wrapped up our time with a lovely campfire before folks began to head off to their next destination.
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It was a good month working with some lovely SOWERS!
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Next up was that trip to Vermont – you can read about that HERE!
While I was in Vermont, Gary moved the rig to the FL SOWER Rally where he somehow managed just fine without me.

I know. Somethings just defy explanation!
Next was our March SOWER project at H.E.A.R.T. Institute in Lake Wales, FL.

This is a training center for missionaries heading into third world countries. Attendees live in very rustic cabins and learn about all types of gardening, animal husbandry and how life is sustained in those situations. Oh, and pit toilets. There wasn’t a session going on while we here, so it was pretty quiet. But we did enjoy the guinea hens and the goats and pigs and other critters that were being raised there. We were not quite so impressed with the roosters who did not seem to possess any sense of when would be an appropriate time for crowing. We ladies started out with some gardening.
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(OK, it was more weeding than actually gardening.) But the second week we moved to one of the cabins with the directions to paint everything except the furniture and the floor.
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Let me tell you what – there are a LOT of surfaces there! While Gary was working on another project over in the garden area, the other two guys joined us ladies with the painting project. Because, yes – some of those areas were just too high for us to reach.
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And the color? Well, when a 5 gallon bucket of premium Glidden paint is on sale for $30.00, THAT’s the color you decide would be just perfect in that cabin!
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Gary did need the fellows occasionally for some additional manpower –
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and by the end of the project the new (as yet to be covered with vines) arbor/trellis was constructed.
Untitled Doesn’t look too impressive here, but I bet it will look great once the greenery happens!
What a good month! Lots of turquoise paint, crazy animal sounds all through the night, and wonderful SOWER friends who are now family!
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And that brings us up to ….bedtime! Lots more to share, but it will have to wait until tomorrow!

See ya then,
Steph

The New Neighborhood

Springtime in Georgia! We’re working this month at Marshview Bible Camp, located in Midway, Georgia.

It’s a “new to us” project, and actually has only been a SOWER project for about a year. We’ll be doing some general maintenance and cleaning in preparation for campers this summer, and there is also some new construction the guys will be working on.
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We’ve only been here three days and already we’ve had two campfires
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and made one trip into beautiful Savannah! Sweet!
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Then tonight we were able to connect with our nephew and his sweet wife who were in vacationing in Hilton Head and providentially were in Savannah for dinner. What a treat- both the ice cream (long gone by the time the picture was taken) and the visit!
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Yep, it’s gonna be a good month!

Nieces

I have been blessed with six lovely nieces. Over the years we’ve kept track of them, rejoiced at their weddings, celebrated at the birth of their children and prayed for them in their times of need. One of the blessings of my recent trip to Vermont was being able to spend time with three of them and getting to know them on a whole new level!
First there was Heather, Elna’s oldest daughter –
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Let’s face it – 20 hours on the road and sharing a Econo-lodge double room sets the stage for a fair bit of conversation.
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Since Heather was the driver (and bless her heart, she did ALL the driving), I figured it was my job to keep the stories coming, right? There were historical stories (about her grandparents and great grandparents), there were travel stories (yes, I have a few of those), there were family stories (we do have a fair number of family members in common), and there were sister stories (her sister, my sisters – whatever!). We didn’t come close to solving the problems of the world, but we did share our hearts as she kept the pedal to the metal (within the speed limit of course!) heading north. I think one of the reasons we kept up the steady stream of stories was because when we paused we would remember just why we were in that little Honda for hours on end. It was easier to keep talking than to focus on the unknowns ahead.
Heather, that was a very long road trip we shared – and I’ll be treasuring each mile for a long while to come.

Then there was Chris, daughter #2 from the Fitzpatrick clan.
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Chris moved to Bradford (the same town where Elna & Henry live) last summer after she took a job at Dartmouth. She not only shared her lovely guest room with me,
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but she fed me, loaned me her car, supplied me with all sorts of winter gear and even convinced me to hike into the cabin after a fresh snow!
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It was a grand and beautiful day and a totally unexpected addition to this little Vermont jaunt.
Chris – Your hospitality was stellar! We are all so thankful you are close by Elna – and that you loves her so!

And then there was Bethany – Daughter #2 of Elna & Henry.
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Bethany, her dear hubby and two sweet little boys live in Utah, and she had flown in for the weekend. Given the limited visitor schedule, I didn’t get a lot of visiting time with Beth over the weekend (her first priority was time with Elna of course). However, since I was trying to figure out just how and when I was going to get back Florida and she was flying home on Monday, it seemed that a plan which involved getting to an airport via Beth was a good plan indeed. Thanks to some travel agent-type magic, Chris found me a flight out of the same airport, on the same airline, on the same day and virtually at the same time. Once again, God had worked out those details.
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And since the airport in question was JFK in New York City – it was another road trip in the making! We didn’t have as much time together as Heather and I, but it was still precious heart-sharing time.
Bethany – I was honored to share the time with you!

And so I could see God’s hand even in the uncertainty of those Vermont days.  He was holding us close – and we could feel it in every hug we shared.

UntitledThis past Sunday two of those nieces (along with several other family members) gathered at Elna’s for a big family visit. It might’ve been exhausting, but judging by the look on her face – it was well worth it!

Thank you for your prayers for Elna and our family. They have been appreciated – and felt!

Steph

 

 

 

PS – the header picture is from 2003. I can’t remember how we got all those girl cousins (except Sydney who was only 13) to our house but love this sweet memory. For those of you who know us  – L-R: Hannah, Heather, Lara, Chris, Abby, and Bethany =)