Thanks for the prayers for safety during the storms. The weather has cleared in Baton Rouge and we will be having some cooler temperatures tomorrow. Due to the concerns about the weather Gary had the team head to our job sites after devotion but return before lunch. We arrived back to the RV just as the rain was beginning to fall. We now understand the concern here in Baton Rouge. The winds were never severe here at Francis Asbury UMC. We had some lightening. No hail. But we did have heavy rain for maybe a couple of hours. The parking lot and yard here at the church looked fine but within a block of the church when we headed out for dinner tonight, there was water everywhere. Yards were filled with water and awfully close to being in the homes. We were quite surprised. We had heard an announcement this morning that people could go to a certain location and fill sandbags for free. We were also surprised that when we returned from dinner the water was down considerably. It seems drainage system just can’t handle very much rain. Everything is low, flat, and was already wet. Guess the soil just can’t take any more water. Anyway, glad is seems to be improving but we are going to get more rain during the night. Sorry, I guess we were so surprised at the water, we didn’t think to get any pictures as we were driving tonight. It also appears that the worst of the weather is now past Blount County. We have heard of trees down but are hoping there was nothing worse.
When we arrived back out at Norwich this morning, we discovered that a section of the master bedroom wall had been removed. We had found out it was going to happen yesterday afternoon. We were not really that surprised but, it sure did hurt to see. As we suspected they were not able to get the shower installed without taking out part of the wall. Thought the people that worked so hard hanging and finishing the sheet rock should see this. Mark, sorry you weren’t here to do the demo, as we know how much you would have enjoyed. We did get the final coat of paint on the kitchen walls this morning so we will be able to begin cabinet installation Monday. Pam’s house is basically finished but we may be going back to install a wheelchair ramp. We had hoped to do two Bible presentations this afternoon but the weather was just too bad at the time they were scheduled so we will have to do that sometime next week when the weather is better. Today was NOMADS Friday, so we are planing on some relaxing and maybe some time to play tourist this weekend.
Today was another beautiful day in Baton Rouge. It’s nice to be able to sit outside for breaks and lunch. Joe and Jayne brought our devotion today based on Col 1:3-4. They ended with a funny reading titled “Methodists” by Garrison Keillor. We’ve always enjoyed Garrison Keillor and this is no exception. After devotion, we all returned to our same work assignments as yesterday.
At Norwich we got the first coat of paint on the kitchen walls. We hoped to get it completed before the cabinets arrived and we did. Tomorrow we will have to dance around the cabinets to complete the second coat. We are working on priming the walls in the remainder of the house. The people who textured the house got over-spray on the fire place but with the work of Cheri and Butch it now looks much better. Max is working to get all the windows caulked.
At Pam’s house there are just a few things left to complete. We may get to do the Bible presentation there tomorrow. A lot of good work was done again today.
We are all watching the weather closely. Again. Tomorrow we are in an enhanced risk area for possible severe storms. The people of Baton Rouge are taking it seriously. School is canceled and all the state offices will be closed. Right now we are planning to work in the morning but probably come back to the church by lunch. Part of west Alabama is also in the enhanced risk zone. Praying for everyone’s safety and we would appreciate your prayers.
We left here a month ago and when we returned we found the team working on the same two houses we were working on when we left. Actually, they have worked on other house while we were gone, but this week it is Ms. Pam’s house in Denham Springs and the Norwich Drive house. This week our team consists of Gary and Sharon (our leaders), Butch and Cheri, Jayne and Joe, Mark and Jo, Suzanne and us two.
On Monday Suzanne led our devotional with a reading from Bruce Taylor’s book, Higher Learning. Bruce and Susan are new NOMADS and worked their first ever project here last week. At the end of the week he gave each NOMADS household on the team a copy of that book. Suzanne read the chapter on remembrances about fishing. The point of the reading was that this would be a much better world if we concentrated more on our similarities and less on our differences. Afterwards, Gary sent Mark and Jo, Joe and Jayne and Suzanne to Ms. Pam’s house to work on plumbing, painting and other items. Butch, Cheri and Sharon went to a Julie’s house to install a cabinet and a table. We went back to the Norwich drive house to put primer on the ceiling. We primed about half of the ceiling by the end of the day. The rest of the team also made good progress where they were working.
Today Cheri brought the devotion reminding us that ministry is being where God needs us – where we need to be. Then Butch, Cheri and Suzanne joined us at Norwich drive. With the extra help we were able to finish priming and painting the ceilings and start the walls.
(Only a couple of pictures today because you have probably seen all the pictures of people painting that you would ever care to see.)
The rest of the team went to Ms. Pam’s and finished most of the plumbing and cabinets as well as more painting.
Tonight, Pastor David and his wife treated the team to dinner at Picadilly’s. We all had a great time visiting with them and the team away from work.
Today was a cool breezy day. Yesterday our high was 85 and today it was 70, with a strong wind this morning. As the day went on we had more sun and less wind. Max watched the weather in Alabama until late last night and then woke up and checked on things several times during the night until he was fairly sure all was okay at home.
Today was the annual joint service with the Hispanic church, about a block from Francis Asbury UMC, Preserve Life church across the street and Francis Asbury. Today the pastor from the Hispanic church brought the message. Several musicians from his church also led us in some praise songs with some of us singing in English and some in Spanish. The pastor was then brave enough to bring the message in English and had one of his church members translated the message to Spanish for his church members. It was the first time for the pastor and the translator and they were great! It was a wonderful time of worship with an excellent meal afterwards. Love seeing the churches working together.
This afternoon we had to get all our tools back into the truck to be ready for work tomorrow, then Mark and Jo invited us to go to Sweetie’s for ice cream. We went by there back in February when we were here and they were closed but Mark said they are back open for the season now. Of course we told Mark and Jo we would love to go to Sweetie’s. We had milkshakes today. So good!! In case you were not reading the blog last year, the owner of Sweeties gives 20% of his sales plus all tips and contributions towards digging water wells in third world countries. He has signs posted indicating the number of wells he and his customers have supplied since he opened in 2012. In 2018 eight new wells were dug in Africa through funds from Sweeties. We got back to the church in time for our 6:00 team meeting where we are visited with our team members and talked about what still needs to be done at the various job sites. Not sure yet what we will be doing tomorrow, but we are sure it will be fun because we are joining a great group.
Thursday was another short travel day. We left the peace of Deerlick Creek campground and returned to Anne’s mom’s house to do another two nights of driveway camping. We did our last morning walk of 4-5 miles and Max cooked us another great breakfast and then about lunch time we headed back into Tuscaloosa. Back to the traffic, sirens, and did we mention traffic. It took just a few minutes to setup since we were leaving again on Saturday. We decided to hike the greenway down to get our last milkshake for a few weeks.
Friday we had business to take care of in Oneonta so we were back on I-20 back to Birmingham and then Oneonta. After taking care of the banking business we visited with Aunt Jean and Aunt Helen. They were having a good day and both were cheerful although as usual somewhat confused. Helen was a little more talkative at first but shortly was back to seeming withdrawn. Sad. We had errands to run for the ladies and then met Donna for lunch, made one last check on the houses and headed back to Tuscaloosa to finish a little laundry other last minute items. This time the turkeys just ignored us when we came home.
This morning we were up early and on the road by 6:15 headed back to Baton Rouge. The weather is looking nasty for the weekend but it looked like we could make it to Baton Rouge before things got bad. If we waited it out in Tuscaloosa, we would probably have to drive down late Sunday. We didn’t like that idea so we were up before 5:00. It was a much easier drive than we expected. We had intermittent light rain but nothing heavy. The wind became stronger the closer we got to Baton Rouge so we were glad we got an early start. We were parked and set up before 2:00. It is so great to see friends we haven’t seen in a year and excited we will get to spend some time with them this week. By 3:30 the winds were really howling at 30mph. The storms arrived about 5:30 and it’s still raining as we write this blog at 7:30. It doesn’t appear we are going to have anything dangerous. We are very concerned about our friends and family back in Alabama because it looks much worse there. We are thankful we can still get our Birmingham stations our our satellite TV so we can follow everything. Praying for the storms to calm and safety for everyone. Also praying for the joint services here at Francis Asbury UMC. We will celebrate Palm Sunday with the primarily hispanic church down the street and the primarily black church across the street tomorrow. Looking forward to a wonderful service. Y’all stay safe!
Monday was a very rainy, stormy day. It was a stay at home, and sleep late kind of day. Good sleeping weather. There were two small tornadoes in Blount County that caused at least one injury and a good bit of damages. Max, of course, watched the storms carefully and one of the storms that became a tornado in Blount came close but just to the north of us. We were able to do our walking during breaks in the storms, but we didn’t venture out on the trails due to the mud and not getting too far from Fred.
Tuesday started with more rain which lasted longer than we expected. Finally, by the afternoon things finally started looking better and we were able to get outside again. We were able to sit out by the water and enjoy the sights and sounds; lots of birds, and squirrels. We have seen just a few deer this time. Last fall we saw were herds. We went toward town to the Publix to pick up a few BOGOs and mail a letter that needed to go out. Really nice to have a small, clean, up to date campground, where you really feel like you are way out in the woods but is really only about 15 minutes from a great grocery store.
Today we woke up to some fog on the water but it burned off quickly and then it was a beautiful almost summertime day. Our high was 88 with a light breeze. We were able to get lots of hiking/walking and it just felt so good to relax and enjoy the beauty. We found some beautiful native azaleas in full bloom right along the waterfront. In the afternoon we got the grill back out and grilled some chicken and veggies. We had some mac and cheese with it and finished it off with ice cream sundaes. We sat outside on the deck and read, watched the traffic on the river and visited with others in the campground. Anne did some NOMADS work part of the day but other than that we just relaxed. It was a real “camping” kind of day. Wonderful! We have met some really nice people here and everyday we have gotten to tell people the NOMADS story. Who knows? We might get some new members.
We started today very early. We were out of bed at 4:00 am and on the road back to Oneonta at 5:00. We met our dear friends Donna and Barry for breakfast before early church. This will be our last time to worship with our friends at Lester Memorial for about six weeks so it was definitely worth the effort to attend. We had a good time visiting with Donna and Barry and then had another great time of worship. Our praise band seems to be just getting better and better under Chase’s leadership and Pastor Harvey’s messages are always such a blessing and today was no exception. The services are streamed each week on YouTube (link) so you might want to listen in sometime. We are so glad we can listen when we are on the road.
After Sunday School, we spent some time with the Aunts and then checked on Aunt Helen’s house and then our house to be sure there was no damage from last night’s storm. Thankful we found no problems at either place, we headed back to Deerlick Creek in Tuscaloosa County. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and we took advantage of it, walking over 7.5 miles today. The dogwood trees are in full bloom in the woods, as are some other things we can’t identify. The trees are all greening up and the grass is too. Spring time in Alabama. Love it! We forgot to tell you, we keep cameras around the house. When we check them, we find we have a lot of visitors. The deer are no longer afraid to come right up to the garage including a couple of really nice bucks. Along with the coyotes, turkeys, raccoons, possums, rabbits and squirrels we have also had a bobcat, a fox, and a river otter. So cool! We know there has been a sighting of a black bear on the mountain. It sure would be nice to get a picture of a bear. That’s it for today. We are going to have another storm come through tonight or tomorrow so everyone stay safe.
When we returned to Deerlick Creek we were greeted by this little fellow near our doorstep. It is imaginatively named a “brown snake” and is common in most of the south. Most people have never seen one because it is usually less than 12″ long when fully grown and spends most of its time hiding under debris on the forest floor. This one was only about 8″ long. We shooed it off the pavement so we wouldn’t accidentally step on it.