2021 is a pretty big year in our world, with lots of milestones. Here are just a few –
This little cutie turned 45 in January! (Our first born!)
This young fella turned 40 last month. (Our baby!)
This young lady will be graduating from high school in May. (Oldest of the Grands)
This young couple will be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary this summer.
This wonderful crazy family will be gathering once again at The Cabin this year. Though I do believe the crowd will be a fair bit larger! =) (Last count, with all the generations accounted for, we’re up to 70!)
This young man (who is now 10) will be experiencing his Grams and Pops Adventure this summer.
These kids will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in September,
and this itty-bitty will be turning 70 in November.
What a year! Of course there are many, many other birthdays and anniversaries that are just as important, so these are just some highlights. Sounds like it’s going to be a Party Year around here!
No, not what we’re supposed to do FREQUENTLY with our computers and other devices.
No, it’s not the backing up you do when you need to get out of a parking spot.
It’s the kind of backing up where I need to fill in some of the blanks from my sad lack of blogging over the last several months. So, I’m going to give it a shot to get this little corner of the internet back up to speed (whatever speed that is!).
First up – our zipping out, zipping back, six night, four motels, trip to Texas last week. (Was it really just last week?)
Our time in Texas was pretty much all SOWER all the time! And while the Trustee meeting was of upmost importance (at least for Gary), the Texas Round-up that happened early in the week was certainly the highpoint for us!
It was a bit smaller this year thanks to our constant life-interrupter COVID-19, but it was special in so many ways! Among our group were at least two couples who hadn’t done any projects yet (and one of those was a ‘second generation’ SOWER – Mom and Dad had served years ago! We had even worked with them back in 2008!). Others had just completed their first project, and some only had two or three under their belt. It was so exciting and encouraging to see that we ‘seasoned’ SOWERS were outnumbered by the new kids on the block. I loved meeting these new folks that the LORD has brought into our ministry!
Along with wonderful fellowship we also were blessed to be part of constructing 10,000 (yes, that’s ten thousand) booklets of John and Romans to be sent overseas.
Part of the collating team
The staple team
Thousands ready for the next step –
They’ll get trimmed and then packaged to go. It was inspiring to think about this portion of God’s Word getting into so many hands – and hearts, we pray!
Working on that Scripture project was very meaningful and I’m so glad it was incorporated into the Rally. But there were also many, many light-hearted moments as well!
Like jelly bean balancing
Or jelly bean rolling
or (my personal favorite) Peep Target shooting
(Photo creds to new SOWER (and friend) Michelle Malek!)
Our Game Masters (Gail and Wayne) kept us thoroughly entertained. (or perhaps we were the ones entertaining them!)
While laughter was an ever present guest at this gathering, there were some serious moments too. We had some Group Leader training (with lots of good questions) and a Q&A for the trustees that were present. With so many new-ish SOWERS it was a wonderfully informative time.
We finished off the Round-up with a ‘formal’ banquet hosted by the ALERT Academy staff.
Complete with a harpist.
What a lovely evening!
All of the laughter, inspiration, encouragement, and fun made for another excellent gathering of our SOWER Family!
If you’d like to see additional photos (along with pictures of individual couples in attendance) you can check them out here!
I’m not gonna lie – it was an exhausting week. But oh the joy that came with it!
When Gary was a youngun’ he was unofficially adopted by his Aunt Sis and Uncle Rich into their (already robust) family of seven. Those good Jesus-loving folks included him in vacations, had him over for weekends, and generally loved on him during a time when his family was pretty much falling apart. As I was introduced and well-welcomed into that family I could see how God used those dear people to model for Gary not only what an intact family looked like, but also what living for Jesus looked like in real life. Oh, there was lots and lots of teasing, but never without the underlying lots and lots of loving. Even when the family moved from the Philadelphia area up to Massachusetts, the connection stayed strong. When we set out on this journey, their house was the first place we visited. While I failed to get a photo of them at the time – here they are a couple of years later –
Man, we love these folks! They have both been promoted to Heaven, but we still are in contact with those wild and crazy cousins. When we got an invitation to join their family reunion in MA, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to join in the fun. While we had little to no idea who went with who in the younger generations, it was still a marvelous day of seeing the Lake tribe in all of its glory and goodness. They might’ve been short a family or two, but it was still a perfectly wonderful day. Since we were so enjoying catching up with the gang, I didn’t take too many photos, but I couldn’t resist when all the littles were gathered together for a group shot.
Even though they were definitely looking at a different camera, you can get a feel for the energy of the day! And for the moms that were busy trying to capture the moment.
I did manage one sibling/cousin/spouse photo –
We might not get to connect with these folks very often – but the love is always there!!
After our quick trip to Mass, we returned to work for a couple of days and then headed south to do some doctoring and other family visiting! Blood work, mammogram and annual check-ups all went well (thank you, Lord!), but the real highlight of our “Doctoring” time is our chance to visit with the Chambersburg Fitz’s and any other nearby family – Joie and Fitz came for the day to add more delight to our visit. Such a wonderful time of catching up with this sweet family! I totally failed in the picture taking department, but managed to get a shot of three of the four kiddos working on one of the three jigsaw puzzles that were in process during our visit!
The time spent with that family more than made up for the two shots I got at the Doctors. And a quick stop at Trickling Springs Creamery also helped!
All in all, it was an excellent week. A little work, a little road trip, a little business (those doctoring things!), a little ice cream and a LOT OF FAMILY!!! What could be better!!
Thanks for stopping by!
PS – If you’d like to see just a few more pictures of the trip, you can check them out here!
Let’s finish up March, shall we? (Oh, you say, but it’s already April 6th! I understand your confusion. But let’s just say – for today only, that it’s the end of March. Please?)
Following our March SOWER project at Panfork Camp, we hit the road for Big Sandy, TX where the 2019 Texas Roundup was being held. We pulled in a couple days early
but before long the campground was full of rigs (and SOWERS ready for a great Roundup!).
A SOWER Rally (or Round-up as we like to call’em here in Texas) is simply a gathering of any SOWERS who can make it – whether you’re just starting out on your SOWER journey or have been serving for decades – for a time of fellowship, fun, and ministry refreshment. For us personally it’s a wonderful time of reconnecting with folks we’ve worked with in the past and also an opportunity to meet some of the new faces that we hope to serve with in the future. Between the speakers and the activities, it’s always a great reminder of just why we do what we do. This year’s Round-up was no exception! Here are just a couple of the highlights –
- We were blessed two mornings with messages from Lew Sterrett and his team from Sermon on the Mount.
So many Biblical lessons were shared – if you ever have the opportunity to hear him (or someone from his ministry) I urge you to take advantage of it! He was excellent!
- We shared lunches and dinners together – always a great time of fellowship! Whether it was catered by ALERT or a good old fashioned (and always delicious) SOWER potluck
(Oh yeah, baby. Desserts!)
Or the beautiful banquet ALERT put on for us –
(Don’t ask me what I’m doing in this picture – I haven’t a clue!)
the fellowship around the table is always sweet!
- Our days always started with a time of worship, and we were led by the incredibly talented Salty Strings.
John and Connie not only share Christ through their music ministry, they are SOWERS too!! We loved getting to meet them and get to know them!
- Another tradition at SOWER rallies is the auction. While it’s true that we are basically just trying to sell stuff we don’t want to other folks that don’t really need any more stuff, we certainly do try to have a good time while we do it!
Money was raised – and laughter did happen!
- But of course, the main attraction and true blessing of any SOWER gathering are the people!
Oh, my! When we all joined hands and sang our SOWER theme song, the room resounded with “Hear Ye the Master’s Call!”
(If this picture is just showing several blurry white balls, and you would like to actually see the picture, just click on the picture. 🙂 )
We can’t thank enough all the people that worked to put this most excellent Roundup together and ALERT Academy who once again so graciously hosted the event! What a wonderful way to finish up our busy winter season!
We pulled out on Wednesday, delighting in the spring green, and ready to tackle our next project!