Category Archives: RV Life

FAQ #2

Probably the second most asked question we get is –
What’s your favorite place/project?
And believe me, that’s a really tough question.
First of all – Places.
My. oh. my – we’ve been in some beautiful places!

Salmon LakeMontana
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Alaska
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Colorado
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Lake Tahoe
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Michigan
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Utah
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Florida
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Arkansas
PA Barn
Pennsylvania

Let’s face it – this is a country rich in beauty and diversity. And the fact that we’ve been able travel through all but two (continental) states  (Nebraska and North Dakota) – well, that just about blows me away! And to then choose a favorite place? Well it’s just about impossible. Because every time I think about a place that I especially loved, I think – oh wait, what about…..? Or maybe….?  I think I better just stick with my heart on this one –

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Of course, it’s the beloved family cabin in Vermont. Still (and always will) has the first place in my heart!

And favorite SOWER projects? Again, impossible to say. We’ve worked at over 65 different locations in these last 8+ years, and I can honestly say there isn’t one that I didn’t like. We don’t usually repeat projects, but that’s not because we didn’t enjoy working there. It’s just because we always enjoy the adventure of working at new ministries. I’ve often said that each project has its own flavor – and that is very true. The people we’ve met, the ministries we’ve become aware of (everything from camps and conference centers to rescue missions and homeless shelters), the ways we’ve seen God at work all around the country – THAT’S my favorite project. For truly we have learned that God cannot be kept in a box and that He is working around the country (and the world,of course!) in unexpected ways and in unlikely places to bring people to Himself!

How blessed we are to be on this journey! And we thank you for joining us along the way!

Mariachi and Folklorico

One of the highlights of time in The Valley LAST time we were here (2006) was a Mariachi and Folklorico (Folk Dancing) concert given by one of the area high schools. It was OUTSTANDING! In the seven years since we were here the program has expanded and two other high schools now have the same program. And much to our delight we were able to get to one of the concerts this afternoon!
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We were sitting in the balcony, and I only had my cell phone, but I think you can capture some of the energy of these young people!
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Just the costume changes pretty much blew us away!
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There was A LOT of skirt twirling going on, believe you me!
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The Mariachi band was excellent – just not quite as flamboyant as those dancers!
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The grand finale was a huge festival – so amazing!
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The talent and enthusiasm of those young people was incredible. We were exhausted just watching them!

One final funny story about the concert. The Mariachi band was at the door greeting people as they entered the concert hall. I noticed that one of the kids standing there had a camera so (jokingly, I thought) I asked if they’d like to take our picture with them. Sure, they said! So we all gathered together and she snapped a couple of shots. As we wished them the best in the concert, Gary pulled out a business card and asked if she could email us the picture. (My thought would be that as she was looking through the pictures she would just pause at that one and think to herself – who the heck were THOSE people??) She kindly took the card and said sure. Enter building, find seats, enjoy the concert, forget about the picture. Imagine our surprise when one of our group was approached by the photographer who then handed him three prints of the picture! She not only (somehow) printed out the picture, but managed to find Bill (there were only a couple of thousand folks there) and get the pictures to him! How crazy is that! She said she’d try to email it too, but meanwhile….
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I took a picture of the picture so I could share it with you!!

So this was a crazy busy weekend. I mean Crazy Busy. Mexico. Quilts. Flea Market. Concert. Wildlife Refuge. Concert. We don’t usually pack quite so much into a couple of days, but it sure has been fun! The week ahead (our last week on the project) promises to be just about as busy. SOWER gathering, Volunteer Pot-luck, stocking up on Citrus (yum), one last trip to Costco (gotta take advantage of that when there’s one close!), wrapping up the project and getting ready to hit the road. Oh, and doing a post every day! 😉

Have a good week, everyone!

Sensory Overload

From start to finish, today was a day of sensory overloads!

We began the day with an unplanned trip back to Mexico to take care of a  dental “issue” for Gary (one of his bridges fell out!).
ProgresoMexico

Since we didn’t have an appointment we had a bit of a wait, so we took a little stroll around town.  Generally Gary likes to walk in the street because the sideways are so very full of vendors and folks selling all nature of Mexican Stuff!
There were many food options –
Mexico Food
Many jewelry options –
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And many options to buy any number of Mexican souvenirs –
Mexico Overload
Progresso vendor
Pretty lady, you want a basket??????
And of course, what’s a trip into Mexico without a stop at your favorite Pharmacy –
Back in Mexico for the morning!
I loved this little boy in the shoe shine chair –
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While we didn’t go to the dentisto in this little group of shops, I do believe it’s one of the nicest little group of shops (mostly dentists) in Progreso!
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With the crown attached, the vanilla purchased and the last of the souvenirs secured, we crossed back into the good ol’ USA!
I really love these Texas fields –
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Our next stop of the day –
The Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show
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Yes, Gary (bless his heart) joined his wife and about 300 other woman (give or take a few) to check out the vendors and the beautiful quilts!
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(The other guy in the picture is a vendor. He doesn’t count!)
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The quilts were all wonderful, but since I was only working with my phone camera (which did pretty well on the close-ups but not so great on the over-all quilt shots), we’ll go with a representative sample of some of the beautiful (and inspiring) quilts that were on display.
TexasQuilts
I love that my hubby is such a good sport about these things!
Here’s a shot from the other entrance to the McAllen Convention Center, looking into the city –
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We stopped for a late lunch and then back to the campground to recover from all the colors of the day. (That means we took naps.)
And just when we were getting ready to get comfy for the evening, friends stopped by to say they had free tickets to a concert benefiting the Texas Lions Camp for children with disabilities. I guess because we were all rested up, we decided to go!
There were the Men of A-Chord – a barbershop group of over 60 men (all of whom are over 60!)
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and the Rio Grande Valley Concert Band –
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Both of them excellent!
So it was a day full of color and texture and sound (and no Novocaine for Gary), and I must tell you WE ARE BEAT!!!! Gary is long gone, and I’m headed that way once I give this one more proof-read and hit the Publish button!

See ya tomorrow!

Moon Flowers

I noticed these flowers outside the room we use for devotions. I’m pretty sure they are some kind of giant “moon flower”, but I have never seen any before that are purple.

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I was pretty happy with the pictures, especially since I only had my trusty phone with me at the time. And since I was pretty happy with the pictures, I thought I’d try to use some of the (free) fun photo editing programs I’ve downloaded, but never really played with. Oh, I have Picasa, which I love for making collages and some general organizing. And I love it because it’s free! Years ago I purchased a Photoshop Elements program (which is the baby brother to the Photoshop program). I use that for most of my photo editing, and I know I’m only just barely scraping the surface on all that that program can do. But recently I download a program called FotoSketcher. It’s a free program, and while it certainly isn’t a Photoshop, it sure is fun to play with!
Here are some of the fun effects that they have –
Cartoon
FotoSketcher - MoonFlower1cartoon
Emergence
FotoSketcher - MoonFlower1Emergence
Watercolor
FotoSketcher - MoonFlower1
Dots!
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There are so many choices with that FotoSketcher program – frames, and text and different degrees of all kinds of variables of all kinds of effects. Phew. I could easily while away hours playing with that!
But I also have another (free!) program called Pixlr-O-Matic that is also pretty cool.
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So many options….so little time! 🙂
So I’m not sure just what the PURPOSE is of all this photo playing is, but it’s been fun to review some of what these little gems can do.

And sometimes a girl just wants to have fun!
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Factory Tour

We did a little factory tour recently.
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Something you can ALWAYS get in this neck of the woods is fresh tortillas. Lots and lots of tortillas. Corn tortillas or flour tortillas, they are everywhere and they are delish! Here you can see the process of making corn tortilla chips – right from the start.

Once they go through several conveyor belts for drying they get dropped into this hi-tech transport to go to the fryer.
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And then, the next thing you know (we didn’t actually see the frying) – you get these –
Tortilla Finish
YUM!

And just where was this tortilla chip factory? Right in the middle of the local H-E-B supermarket.

Ya gotta love Texas!