Tag Archives: Friends

South Dakota in October

Tomorrow morning we head to Galveston with our grandson Weston for his Great Galveston Adventure! Guess I better get this South Dakota goodness written down before I once again sink into Blogging Never-Never Land!) So –
Here, in no particular order, are 10 South Dakota October Things we love!
1. Harvest Time. Oh, my! The combines!!
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We learned a lot about how the combines work, how both corn and soybeans are harvested, and how hard the farmers work out here (and everywhere! Farming is HARD, folks!). Not only did we get to watch combines in fields as we traveled around, we even got to watch them in the backyard field! (They were working at 9 o’clock at night and I didn’t get any pictures of those headlights. But here they are getting ready for the dew to dry so they could start again!)
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2.Long Walks. Long Straight Walks. Long straight soul enriching walks.
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‘nuf said

3. The Community Dinner. Howard is a small town – well under 1000 folks at the last count. And like most small communities, they take good care of their neighbors. The first Wednesday of each month there is a Community Dinner at the local Methodist Church, hosted by a variety of local organizations. October’s ‘organization’ was a neighborhood group that Don and Jenny are a part of. SO – we got to join them in preparing Chili with all the fixings for about 50 folks who came out to enjoy the evening.
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What fun to get to know their neighbors and to see a bit of ‘love your neighbors’ in action!

4. The Corn Palace down the road a piece in Mitchell-
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The palace itself was closed when we were there, but we still got to enjoy the amazing murals all made from (wait for it….)CORN!
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It was especially fun to see one that was still in progress –
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Can we call that “Corn by Number?”

5. Games – We can’t get together with SOWER friends without some game playing!
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Don & Jenny introduced us to “Fast Track” – which is like, but not the same as, Pegs and Jokers, which is like, but not the same as SORRY. Confused yet? Think how we feel! Glad our aging brains could be taught some new tricks, though!

6. Bawling calves. While this might not fit into the “Things we love about SD” category, it does fall into the “South Dakota in the Fall” column. About this time every year the area ranchers divide out the calves from their mommas. The mommas are moved to their winter pastures, while the young’uns learn to live life without mom nearby. Needless to say, when that happens to about 250 pairs of cattle on the next farm over, there is a bit of an ongoing ruckus as the ‘babies’ are moaning about being deserted. Rumor has it that the mommas are over in their new pasture feeling like (some) moms feel when school starts in the fall!
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(Full disclosure – these are not the bawling calves. But they are representative of the cattle in the neighborhood!)

7. Dignity. We took a little road trip to see this well-known statue located in a rest stop in Chamberlain, SD. So stunning!
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8. Also in Chamberlain is the St. Joseph’s Indian School and the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center.
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Very interesting and well worth the stop.

9. Sunsets
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Does my heart good every single time!

10. Dear Friends! How kind our God is to enrich our lives with beautiful friends around the country!!
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For us, the best part of South Dakota are these good friends, who share devotions with us, laugh with us, support us in prayer, and love on us regardless of where we are in the country! So glad we could spend this week with them!

If you’d like to see some additional photos of our time in South Dakota, here is a little slide show or you can check out the album HERE!

Thanks for coming along for my Ten Things! These just really scratch the surface of South Dakota in the Fall – you should check it out sometime!

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you after our Great Galveston Adventure!
Steph

On Our way home from Vermont

We stopped to spend some time with our SOWER friends, Kim and Joe, who live in Upstate New York.  We love our visits with them – totally laid back at all times.
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Two of their grandsons (ages 14 & 12) were there one day since Kim’s been helping out with their virtual school days. They wrapped up their school requirements by noon and spent the rest of the day on the tractor or 4 wheeler or Gator. Pretty much this is a young boy’s paradise!
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Along with all those fun-for-boys (young and old) vehicles, they have also helped build this incredible treehouse!
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I mean really. Does this resemble any treehouse you’ve ever built?
When we visited them last summer it was ‘mostly’ done. The “Phase Two” structure (bedroom) was complete (and mostly decorated!)
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and the kitchen/living section was just waiting for cabinet doors and countertops.
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But even then it was most impressive. Did I mention that Joe has milled all the wood he used at his home sawmill? Almost anything that isn’t wood is something that has been repurposed (windows, roofing, doors, etc.).
Here’s the living area this year –

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Love this sink and counter!!! The running water comes from a 250 gallon tank, and the fridge, lighting and stove are propane. This baby is totally off grid!

We thoroughly enjoyed getting a tour of this year’s improvements and finished out our treehouse time with a hotdog roast around the campfire.
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Does it really get any better than this???
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It was a wonderful way to end our little early summer get-away to Vermont!

Just for the record – we call them “SOWER friends” only to identify how we met them. We are such good friends at this point that I can’t quite remember when I did not know them and I thank God continually for merging our lives together. How gracious He has been to us!

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

P.S. If you’d like more information about Joe and Kim’s Treehouse, he’s entered a contest through the Wood-Mizer manufacturer (the sawmill company). Here’s a link that should take you right to his spot. Feel free to vote for him too – or check out some of the other entries. It’s pretty impressive what you can do with a ‘backyard’ sawmill and lots of ingenuity!

 

 

A Visit with Lynne

Lynne and I met when our oldest sons were in preschool together. They are both 42 now, so you know we’ve been friends for a long while. They’ve moved a couple of times over the years, but we somehow managed to stay in touch, however loosely that may have been.  When Roger retired (or mostly retired) they settled in Ludlow, VT, which just happens to be on the way to The Cabin!  Since we’ve been on the road our friendship has blossomed again, as they have often come to The Cabin for an overnight or two and we have stopped to spend time with them in our comings and goings to our cabin. It’s been a lovely thing!
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Late in March of this year dear Roger slipped quietly and unexpectedly into Heaven.  Oh, how our hearts ached for Lynne. As we were preparing to head to the cabin in late May I asked Lynne if she was ready for company.  She was hesitant at first, I think – so much seems so overwhelming right now, but she finally said yes. Come. So Gary dropped me off on our way north and I was able to spend three lovely, quiet, tearful, and maybe even a bit productive days with this dear friend and sister in Christ.

I joined her on one of her daily walks
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and we found a five-legged newt!
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We helped him get safely to the side of the road. (Though it’s not a very busy road and he probably would’ve made it without our assistance!)
We lingered over breakfast on the porch,
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filled the house with the delicious smells of homemade soup,
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attacked some crazy weeds in the garden,
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did little dusting and did a little puzzle puzzling.
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And finally, when the chores were done, we spent some time in her studio – the first time she’d been there since she lost Roger.
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It was hard, but it was good.
We sat quietly and remembered Roger with both laughter and tears. We prayed. We talked about the days to come and the days that are gone. Her grief is great, but her hope in the LORD is greater! I was blessed and honored to spend those precious days with her.

We all miss you, Roger – but we know you are in such a better place! See you when we get there!

Love,
Steph

What’s Next?

We had a busy last week in Ohio – besides wrapping up work at Heartland Retreat Center there was also The Graduation of our oldest granddaughter (whoohoo), and then we had the entire gang (less one) up at the campground for a fun final day picnic. But before I get into all those pictures (oh, and there are plenty of them!) I thought I’d just let you know What’s Next for us –
Montrose to The CabinThis summer our main focus is our family reunion at the Cabin, scheduled for the middle of July. We’ve parked the coach at our favorite PA project – Montrose Bible Conference, where they are kindly allowing us to leave her while we traipse back and forth to Vermont. Gary has a number of pre-reunion projects in mind, so we leave tomorrow (May 26) and will be staying until June 7th or so. Then it’s back to Montrose where we’ll work for a bit to earn our keep, and then back up to the Cabin by July 1st. While it’s technically R&R (from SOWER work), I’m pretty sure it will be more Rebuilding and Reconnecting than actual Rest and Relaxation. Though I dare say there will be a nap or two happening as well! And oh-so-many family hugs!
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The gang from our last reunion at The Cabin – 2012!

We’re looking forward to a great summer! The Cabin (my happy place), Family (my happy people), friends (ah, beautiful friends), and a bit of work for the LORD to round things out!

Spreadsheets to Bed sheets

And just like that, our May project is over! During the first of our three weeks at a project we’re finding our way, scoping out the new surroundings and getting to know our co-servants. During the second week we’re in our stride.  Our ‘new’ neighbors have become good friends, and we have a pretty good understanding of what we’ve been doing and what we’ll be doing in the days ahead. Then the third week hits. It’s like – WAIT. It’s almost over? But, but….didn’t we just get here? This month was no different! Thursday was our final official work day and already one of our neighbors has returned home.  So I before get too maudlin over these ‘leaving’ days, here’s a bit of a recap of our time here at Heartland Conference Center!

As mentioned before, I started out in the Health Office, helping to organize registrations and health forms that came in daily for summer camp. (YEA for summer camp this year!!!)
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This last week I moved from spreadsheets to bed sheets as I joined the other ladies in housekeeping – transforming this
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into this!
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It was fun to work as a team as we got the rooms ready for the next batch of visitors!
Since I had my sewing machine set up, I also mended about 10 of the spreads that were showing some wear and tear.
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But lest you be too impressed – I was really only stitching a small void in the binding – trying to prevent further ‘unsewing’.
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I truly did enjoy working with these sweet ladies!
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The guys worked on a variety of painting and plumbing projects, but I think the most memorable “guy job” on this project was the mowing on those fun zero-turn mowers!

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They were on those mowers at some point most days that the weather allowed it, ’cause folks, there is a LOT of grass here!
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(and this is only the view from our coach!).

Although it was work, I think it was just a bit like playing on go-carts for them as they’d drive them to break and home for lunch!
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The Mowing Team – spruced up for pictures!
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In the three short weeks we have been here, the trees have filled out,

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and so has our circle of SOWER family (also known as friends!)! We welcomed a brand new SOWER couple (whose last name is Sowers – how crazy is that!), and got to know a couple who reminded me of Gary & I ten years ago (high school sweethearts, three kids, full-timing, etc…)! Today we’re wrapping up loose ends, tonight we watch our beautiful Ellie graduate from high school, tomorrow everyone is coming here for a post-graduation/last day with Grams and Pops picnic, and Monday we pull up stakes (or levelers as it were) and hit the road!

What a stellar month it has been – filled with family and friends and a good bit of Kingdom work!  Thank-you, LORD, for this adventure you have led us on!