Thereâ€™s a lot to share about the SOWER Rally which took place the first weekend in April ( and was the main reason it was so quiet here) but before I delve into that I thought Iâ€™d do a little real-time update while I have a couple of quiet moments. Â Weâ€™re finishing our first week at Life Change Â Camp outside Clinton, MO. Â (Check out the Where are we now page for a map if youâ€™d like more info on just where that is!)
We have a total of 5 couples working here this month, and weâ€™re the first SOWER group to be here. Â Itâ€™s always fun to be part of the group that introduces a new project to SOWERs, and as an added bonus, one of our couples are brand new SOWERs, on their very first project. Weâ€™re also working with some â€œoldâ€ SOWERs like us, some â€œmiddle-agedâ€ SOWERs, and then these new guys! Weâ€™re already becoming good friends!
Life Change Camp itself is a relatively new camp – built from scratch in the last 20 years.
(As I was reading over what I had written about this being a “Real Time Update” I had to chuckle because That “Real-time” was over a week ago. Apparently, that quiet moment evaporated. Again!)
So, although much has happened since I started this 8 days ago, I’ll try once again to do a real Real-time update!
We just finished our second week here at Life Change, and with five couples working, a lot has been accomplished. We ladies divided into 2.5 teams.
Two of the ladies, Reenie and Lana,Â settled in at the kitchen, whipping up all sorts of cookies to put into the freezer for summer camp.
(This also meant that most every day we had warm cookies for break. We’re all happy to take one for the team!)
Rosie and Vicki got busy painting.
The paneling and trim they are painting are part of the finishing steps of a giant pavilion that is being enclosed for more year-round use.
Those girls have lots of job security!
Since I was the odd man out, I was working mostly with our host Carol, doing some yard work
a little kitchen work
(Not sure why they put me on the ground beef instead of the chocolate chip cookies. Did they know something?)
and finally, I pulled out the paintbrush and paint clothes and tackled some cabinets!
The guys have been quite the worker bees finishing up the interior of that building. They’ve been building doors, and putting up paneling and drywall, and doing all the ‘things’ that are needed!
I don’t know if they will get everything done on their to-do list, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be pretty darn close!
The weeks have flown by – with lots of lovely fellowship, beautiful spring weather, and much work accomplished. Oh, and maybe just a couple of warm Snickerdoodles consumed!
One other thing has happened in the last two weeks.
became this –
Thanks for stopping by – and thank you for your patience with me and this little blog. Busy days plus sketchy internet make for long gaps between posts. But we are well – and appreciate each one of you who stop by to see what we’ve been up to!
Have a great weekend!
…I’ve done since the last time we met.
1. Did my taxes. It wasnâ€™t nearly as painful as I thought it would be (it never actually is!), but I usually put it off as long as I can. I had a few quiet moments last week and took the plunge. Thank you Turbo Tax. Iâ€™ll be watching for that refund!
2. Finally finished my Year 18 Picture Book.
Yes, the year that ended July 30, 2022. I must confess this was a hard year to process (both mentally and pictorially) so there was a lot of stopping and starting.
Only five months until I get to start working on Year 19! Yikes!
3. Worked steadily on the Storyworth project our kids gave us for Christmas 2021. So whatâ€™s this Storyworth thing? Well, every Monday morning Gary and I would each get a question for us to answer, and then at the end of the year, they make it into a book. (â€œOh,â€ said Gary when we got our subscriptions. â€œA Christmas gift with homework!â€ )The questions have ranged from â€œwhatâ€™s your favorite joke?â€ to â€œhow has the world changed since you were young?â€ Wait. What? So not only were some of the questions challenging, but they also came Every.Single.Monday. Needless to say, it was very easy to get behind. So our year is up, the questions have stopped and we have until April 15th to finish up any questions, edit it as we might choose, and then they will publish our books. April 15th is the deadline. And I still have four questions to go! Maybe more on that another day.
4. We moved!
Okay, it was less than a mile (from campground A to campground B), but still, itâ€™s a new neighborhood. And even though it was a short move, the slides had to come in, the coffee pot had to be bunged, and any movables needed to be secured. You can always tell itâ€™s going to be a short ride when the big fat electric cord is just wrapped around the tow hitch instead of stowed neatly in its bin!
5. We welcomed our new team members (11 new couples!)â€“ and weâ€™re all geared up for a great month of service here at ALERT, culminating with our big 40th Anniversary Rally beginning on March 30th.
Weâ€™re close to 250 people in attendance for the Rally, so right now Iâ€™m feeling like my life is pretty much just one big checklist! We have a great committee, so Iâ€™m working on my delegating skills. Everyone is so willing!
6. In another move, Iâ€™m on the painting team instead of the sewing team this month.
I miss my little Bernina that I grew quite fond of, but Iâ€™m really enjoying the ladies Iâ€™m painting with. So itâ€™s all good.
7. Iâ€™ve been collecting quilt squares for our SOWER Anniversary Quilt.
Fellow Sewing SOWERs from around the country have been putting together these squares and mailing them to me. During the Rally, everyone will have a chance to sign and personalize a square and then weâ€™ll put it all together to hang in our SOWER office. Iâ€™ve been getting squares almost every day â€“ and itâ€™s been lovely to see everyoneâ€™s contributions!
8. Although we scoped out our storm shelter, we were spared from any major storm activity during last weekâ€™s wild weather.
No hail, some wind, steady rain â€“ but no need to evacuate. Thank you, Lord!
9. I spent Sunday in bed with a tummy bug. It happens. Just keeping it real, friends.
10. And I remembered anew how blessed I am to be loved by God! See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. I John 3:1
Over the years, I’ve loved the chance to be a Sewing SOWER! I’ve made curtains, gym shorts,Â and chair covers.Â And more curtains. This is the first time (at least that I can remember) that there was an actual Sewing Room and a wide variety of sewing activities to do.
It started with sewing on ALERT patches and rank stripes on shirts.
Then I moved to those grill bags –
Those were fun to work on!
Then I moved back to the shirts. This time I was “flagging” them!
And there were a lot to ‘flag’!
After the shirts were done (and ready for the next batch of students), there was a steady stream of mending jobs that kept us busy. Then came the quilts!
We were either mending the rod pockets (for hanging) or adding new rod pockets so it wasn’t actually quilting. But I was still handling quilts. and it was great to see the different quilts from their Family Camp over the years.
Our final project was to make a stage skirt for this platform in Recruit Hall.
Each section was 17 feet long. That’s two 17 ft. hems, side hems, and 17 ft. of Velcro sewn on (times 2).
Our final, final job was sewing a new “D” ring on the most ginormous American flag I have ever seen up close and personal!
And then we had to fold it!
Now that was a Big job! I didn’t measure it, but I was told it was 12 ft. tall. Ginormous!
So “Shenanigans” might be a little strong for my time in the sewing room, but I liked the way the words sounded together! And I think it sounded better than Sewing Room Potpourri!
I’m not sure I’ll be in the Sewing Room next month, but I certainly have enjoyed all my time stitching away these past two months!
Another delightful “No Alarm”Â month. Since Margaret (my SOWER co-worker) and I are working in the afternoons, we’ve adapted to a different schedule around here. Well, at least the ladies have!Â The general SOWER schedule is to start the day with group devotions, usually at 7:30. Our work day then starts at 8. Then everyone works in the morning (with a half-hour break around 10) until noon or so. We ladies usually quit a little earlier than the men so we can go home and get lunch ready. (When Gary reads this he’ll be smiling because he pretty much makes his own lunch!). But that’s the general morning schedule. The guys go back to work from 1:30 – 3:30, and the ladies have the afternoons off.Â I would say that 90% of the projects we have worked have followed that schedule more or less. But since we ladies were working in the sewing room (much to my delight), and the sewing room doesn’t open until 1 PM, we had to rearrange things.Â The guys started close to 8 by meeting up with the rest of the maintenance crew and having a brief prayer time before they got busy with the day’s job list.Â I was usually up in time to kiss Gary goodbye as he walked out the door, and then I would settle in for a nice quiet morning.Â Coffee, Bible reading, meditation – ah, they were lovely mornings indeed! Eventually (usually after the second or third cuppa Joe) I’d get dressed for the day and crank up the computer.Â I’m pretty busy these days with SOWER business (Gary & I are co-chairman for our BIG 200+ person SOWER 40th Anniversary Rally at the end of March), not to mention all the regular stuff that lands on my desk.Â A bit before noon I walk up to the dining hall to meet up with Margaret and Dwayne and Gary for our devotions time (we’re reading through 100 Bible Verses that Made America: Defining Moments that Shaped our Enduring Foundations of Faith – highly recommend!), after which we join the students and staff for lunch. The guys then head back to their work and we ladies (Margaret and I) head to the Sewing Room.
We finish up our sewing projects (more on that another day)with just enough time to get home, put my feet up for a smidge, and then head back to the dining hall where they graciously serve us dinner each working day.
Yes, I have been loving this month’s schedule (and work, and people, etc.!). I do so love having the morning light wake me up instead of an alarm!
Ironically, tomorrow, our day off and generally a ‘no-alarm’ day, Gary has an 8 AM dentist appointment, so we’ll both be heading out the door by 7:15.
I’d better go and set that alarm now before I forget!
(But at least it’s Gary’s dentist appointment and not mine!)
Till tomorrow, friends!
Let’s face it – January has been a pretty unusual month for us. We started it at the beach, took a 2400 mile road trip mid-month to meet family members that we didn’t know existed until a few months ago, and still had a good three weeks of work here at ALERT Academy!
And when I say aÂ Good Three Weeks I meanÂ a Good Three Weeks in the Sewing Room!
I’ve done some sewing off and on over my years as a SOWER, but this was the first time I got to work in a designated Sewing Room! And while I wasn’t piecing quilts or making bags, I was sitting in front of a Bernina sewing machine with my foot on the pedal and my eye on the needle! What a delight!
I started off sewing on stripes and patches for the young men who had moved from Basic Training to 1st Responders.
(Fancy nails courtesy of our mani-pedi day in Destin with the girls!)
Once we had all the shirts caught up, I was moved to Grill Bags.
Grill Bags? It’s actually pretty straight forward – the guys need these grill bags to carry their grills when they do their overnight hikes and the ones they had were in pretty bad shape.
I finished up the grill bags today, and tomorrow it’s back to sewing on patches! This time it’s flags on a batch of new shirts!
And the good news is – when the February project starts next week, I’ll still be right there in the Sewing Room. Ahhh…..
Meanwhile – Gary has been busy too! He’s been working over in a set of dorms (used primarily for Basic Training) repairing some tile work. Our schedule is different enough that I haven’t actually seen him at work, but there is this one picture of him that verifies that he is indeed working.
I never doubted it – did you?
So January has been a very full – and very different month! Since we took our week off in the middle of the month (with our Find the Family Road Trip), we start right back up next Monday. But before we head back to work, we’re looking forward to a sweet Waco Weekend, visiting with our kids and their cowboys! I understand there will be chicks hatching on Saturday AND they have a couple dozen eggs they’ll be sending back with us! Now that’s a win-win!
Thanks for stopping byÂ and Happy February!