Category Archives: SOWER Projects 2015

Our SOWER Ministries where we have worked in 2015

Still a bit blurry

No, no – it’s not that I need new glasses (though a change in prescription might be on the horizon), it’s just that the days lately are all beginning to run together. Lots has happened since my last ‘real time’ post, but here’s just a quick rundown of the busyness of the last week and a half.

First there was the 2015 Texas SOWER Round-up. When you get 30 SOWER couples together for three days of campfires, fun, fellowship, and food, you know there won’t be a lot of quiet moments to collect your thoughts.

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Old friends, new friends – so many of these folks are like family to me!

As the festivities wrapped up on Wednesday (man, was that a week and a half ago?), we got packed up to begin our trek north. There were grandbabies to hug in the near future for me and the road loomed large ahead of us.


We were making a quick stop in Chattanooga to visit our sweet niece and finish up a window installation that we had started last spring.


We got the window in, enjoyed a great visit with Chris, and was even able to indulge in some fabulous Chattanooga cuisine.

Oh yeah, baby! Now that’s a burger!

But still the road called.
Redbud along the way! Always a good thing. #ontheroadagain #spring
Because these guys were waiting for us at the end of the road –

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Oh. My. Heart.

We had a beautiful Easter Sunday with all the kids and grands and then disaster struck. In the form of a stomach bug. Yuck.


Yes, it slowed us all down, but we still managed some good rounds of Dutch Blitz and a journey or two through Candyland! So although the time in Ohio was lived by a different script than we had anticipated, we still got to love on our kids and grands, and that’s always a good thing.

Today we pulled up the levelers, got ourselves in order and hit the road once again! We’ve made it into PA, but didn’t want to overdo the driver (who was hit especially hard with that nasty bug). So we’re snuggled in at a rest area in with the trucks whizzing by out the front window and the neighbor’s generator humming away two parking spots over.  Ah, the sounds of life on the road.

Tomorrow we continue on for the last 300 miles of this particular journey.  It’s been a great 10 days filled with family and friends (and a fair bit too much food), but I confess to being quite ready to get settled, push out the slides and once again have access to my drawers! Montrose – here we come!

Thanks for stopping by – and helping me clear my head!

PS – if you’d like to see more of our Spring 2015 Road Trip and those cute grandkids  (and even some cute ones of some of the grown-ups) you can check them out HERE.

And if you want to see more of the SOWER Texas Roundup – well, you can check out a whole batch of them HERE!


A blur

This last week has been a total and absolute blur. It’s been a spectacularly wonderful blur, but it’s been a blur nonetheless!
We wrapped up a great month of service at Trinity Pines a week ago, where much was accomplished, much laughter was shared, and many friendships built.
The ladies painted and painted and painted and then painted some more. There were doors to paint, walls to paint, refrigerators to paint, buildings to paint and trim to paint. (After such concentrated efforts my co-workers told me I needed to up my painting “skill level” from a 2 (out of 5, 5 being professional and 0 being unable to do a task) to a 3. Seems to me I might be able to go up to 2.5, but I’m not so sure (without such sterling help) that I’d really be a 3.)
These two pictures show 6 out of the 7 (Karen was working on the refrigerator refurbishing) of us working on the first building
By the last day of the project we were in a frenzied push to get a second building done (front and dormer only) and even called in two of the guys to help (mostly because we lost two of our ladies to some interior painting).  Mission accomplished!
I feel I need to share just one more painting picture –
ladies on roof
Yes, friends and family, that is me, on a roof. I knew you would need proof if I ever tried to tell you I actually did it, so there you go!
The guys were just as busy and did a great job almost completing that family cabin they were working on. Remember that picture from when we first got here?
Here is how it looked by the end of the month –
Windows, door, decking, and siding all complete. And of course, what you can’t see is the electrical, ductwork, insulation, plumbing, etc. that was accomplished on the inside. (I’m sure if we’d had another week we would have gotten that building painted green too!)

Along with the cabin construction they also had a bonus job when the ceiling fell in at one of the lodges we where were painting.
They pulled it all down, put in some venting and then insulated it (along with adding a ridge vent and soffet venting so it won’t happen again). Nothing like a little unexpected ceiling collapse to re-number the job list!
So yes, it was a great month where much was accomplished. But more than that it was a great month of building relationships. Games were played, treats were shared, stories told, and lives were enriched. We haven’t worked with a large group since last March, and it was a total delight to “do life” with these friends.
So while the month of March was a blur (mostly a green blur), the days following the end of the project were even more so.
But that will have to wait for another day! For right now I’ll just share a link to some additional photos from our Trinity Pines project (HERE) if you’d like to see more of ladies painting and men doing manly things!
Thanks for stopping by – there will be more blur updates in the days to come, I promise!

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Is it Friday already????? Man, these days are just flying by. Along with finishing up the monthly SOWER newsletter, getting started on an online survey that being developed for our SOWER projects, working on the details of the SOWER Reunion Gary & I are heading up at the end of the month(with lots of great help!), preparing for a SOWER Board meeting tomorrow and taking care of the little bit of work that I actually get paid for (yes, after all these years I still do a bit of marketing for the company I used to work for), I was also able to join my fellow SOWERs on some pretty productive work projects.
The ladies were divided into two teams. Half of us worked on painting lodge doors –
32 doors: Cleaned, scraped, sanded, deglossed, painted and painted again.

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From This To This

The other team was working on cleaning and painting several refrigerators which had seen some better days.

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From this To This

I’m pretty sure there was some significant scraping, sanding and painting going on over there too!

Meanwhile, the guys were working on a family cabin that had been framed in and “wrapped”, but still had a long way to go!
By the end of the week the windows and doors were in, the electrical and plumbing were well on their way, and the siding was just about complete.
Pretty impressive for 4 days of work for 6 old guys, I think!
So it was a good week, even though Gary was down with a bad cold on Monday and I am currently fighting off that same demon. Grrrr. We finished our work week last night with a little social that was mostly centered around two magnificent homemade lemon meringue pies.
Perfect end to our first week of work. Lemon meringue goodness. Don't you wish you were a SOWER? 😍
And that pretty much made up for those hard mornings of heading out to devotions in the dawns early light.
Seems like that “Springing ahead” thing gets harder each year!

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Wrapping it up!

We pull out of our parking spot in the woods tomorrow morning,
heading for a little camping break at Lake Livingston State Park before our next project. But before we leave,  I thought I’d do a little wrap up of our work here at Camp Cho-Yeh.
The guys have been busy, as you can see!

They finished up that little lean-to in the back
which will be home to a washer and dryer. 🙂 (Thank you, Camp Cho-Yeh! Your RV volunteers will really appreciate that nice addition to the camping area!)
Once the little “annex” was finished up, they moved to the inside. They got the center wall enclosed and then it was time to move on to framing and enclosing the stalls.
Oh, and installing the lights.  Always a good thing in a windowless room. (The hole in the wall is for the A/C.  Remember, this is  for summer camp in Texas!) Then it was on to the shower side.
Due to a scheduling conflict, Gary was pretty much working on his own this last week. So I was glad that I was close by working on sewing projects while he was busy hammering and sawing. And occasionally he even called me over to be a second set of hands. Jim, our fellow SOWER, will be working next week, and while Gary got lots done this week, there’s still plenty to do!
Fortunately,  another group of volunteers is coming next month, so work on this bathhouse will continue.  Summer’s a comin’!

Oh – before I forget. Remember those decoys floating on Lake Evelyn?
Well, they weren’t for encouraging wildlife, as I had guessed. They are marking the places and anchors of all their lake “toys” –
Man, it would be fun to see this camp in full action!

We’ve really had a good month. We’ve worked with great folks (both SOWERS and staff) and really got a sense of the heart of the camp. Their mission is to be “a place where Jesus Christ transforms lives through meaningful relationships and outdoor adventures.” And from what we could see, they do it with great enthusiasm and joy!

Thanks for stopping by! We’ll have a busy morning tomorrow as we batten down the hatches and move over to Lake Livingston for a bit of R&R.
Lake Livingston

Half done

Not to be confused with “Half Baked”. 🙂
We’re halfway through our February project and it still continues to amaze me how quickly these months go by. It seems like we just got here, and now we’re only 8 days from moving on. Crazy.
Needless to say, we’re having a great month at this beautiful camp.
We’ve enjoyed a bit of a roller coaster with the weather, but for every day that’s been in the 40’s we’ve had two in the 60’s and 70’s.  And NO SNOW.  I’ll share more about the camp later, but I thought this might be a good time to catch you up on our workin’ days.
The guys have been totally rehabbing a bathhouse that is located right next to where we are parked.
How’s that for a sweet commute?
This is a pretty blurry “before” picture of one side of the building
but you can see that the demolition had begun. Nevertheless, there was still plenty of tearing down to do!
And yes, that wall needs to come down too.
By mid-week, the inside was nice and clear.
From there it was on to the ceiling and the new wiring.
The ceiling was like a putting together a giant puzzle.
From there it was working on  skim coating the walls,
(Go, Jim!)
and a  little more time on the wiring and plumbing
Then they rebuilt the center wall!
See what I mean about the puzzle ceiling?
The guys made really good progress on the inside and then moved to a little outdoor project –
What do you think that’s going to be?

Meanwhile, Eula and I were working over on the conference side of the camp doing our own bit of refurbishing. Nothing quite as dramatic, mind you, but still. They needed us to paint a recently re-purposed room. What had been a supply room was now a break/lunch room. And it needed a bit of TLC.
We sharpened our skills at wall patching
and soon we were ready to paint.
By Monday morning, we were finishing up the shelves. It is a bit on the white side, but at least it’s no longer striped!
Phew, got that done!
Eula and I were oh, so, happy to turn in our paint brushes and rollers and take out our sewing machines instead! Next up – curtains! Not only is that in my skill set, it’s in my “happy dance” skill set!

Thanks for stopping by!