We were up at 5:00am today and on the road back to Tuscaloosa at 6:00. Almost immediately we began noticing what was going to be a gorgeous sunrise. We got to watch it for about 30 minutes as the sun rose higher and higher. Late yesterday afternoon Dave and Carol called us outside to see a beautiful double rainbow and this morning a wonderful sunrise. What great reminders of God’s love for us.
We had an easy and uneventful drive to Tuscaloosa. We had a real estate closing at 10:00 and were concerned that traffic might be heavy since this is a holiday weekend but traffic was actually very light. We were able to finalize the sale of some of Mama Ruby’s real estate and then take care of some bank business while all three kids were in town for the closing. Very tiring and somewhat stressful day but we accomplished a lot. Since we are this close, we will probably try to go a little further northeast to Oneonta, to check on the Aunts and then head back to Mississippi. A lot of driving but we are anxious to get back to Camp and our NOMADS friends. Every one please be very careful this holiday weekend.
While Anne and her brother’s were meeting with the accountants, Max was outside looking at bugs. Max won.
Today we completed the retreat cabin (Cabin ½). We and more importantly, Rich, the camp director, are very pleased with the outcome. Max and Kitty worked to complete it, while Anne and Peggy worked on putting together the IKEA furniture for the cabin. There is still more furniture to build next week but it’s looking good. We are trying to provide a wonderful retreat cabin for pastors where they can come to retreat, reflect, envision, and return to their churches revitalized. Camp Lake Stephens is committed to being a place where children, youth, and adults can encounter God and respond in faith to God’s call to transform the world. They have a dedicated staff that we are blessed to be getting to know and hope our work here somehow contributes to the success of their mission. It is a small camp by Sumatanga standards, more intimate and very pretty. We feel very welcomed, appreciated and comfortable here.
Back to our work. The barn crew today consisted of Carol, John and Shannon with some short term help from Max and others. They survived another sweltering day and continued to put up walls. They are making good progress in spite of the heat. They needed lots of hydration today. Max and Anne felt almost guilty for working in our air conditioned environment but not guilty enough that we wanted to be in the heat. A fencing crew (Dave, Mariel and Del) worked to complete the new garden fence started by some AmeriCorp volunteers. With a family retreat this weekend that area needed the fence completed to make things safer for the kids that will be here. It was another successful day for the team and we will all sleep well tonight.
Another hot one in Oxford. The high temperature was 90 but with high humidity the heat index was approaching 100. Summer is not over in Mississippi. Another few weeks will make a big difference, hopefully. Another team will be here after annual meeting and hopefully they will enjoy some cooler weather. Lots of thunderstorms in the area but we still have had no rain. Rich was cutting grass today and goodness at the dust. Thankfully he was wearing a mask.
Max and Anne brought devotion today based on Philippians 2:14-16 NIV. Take a look at that passage again sometime soon. So many things we could have discussed, such as the “without grumbling or arguing” but we focused today on “then you will shine like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Next time you find yourself enjoying a night sky full of stars, remind yourself that you are to shine like those stars on a clear night, not like a cloudy night.
The team continued to work hard today. The barn crew, Shannon, Dave and John cut the expansion joints in yesterdays concrete, installed the Tyvek and then started framing the interior walls.
Carol and Mariel installed curtains in cabins that will be used this weekend for a family retreat. The curtains were made by some church ladies for the camp and really pep up the interior of the cabins.
Peggy and Dale started putting together the Ikea furniture for the cabin where Max and Anne and Kitty have been working. The cabin flooring is almost complete, just a little left in the bathroom. There is still some plumbing to do and some major cleaning to be done. Max installed a gutter on the cabin today to prevent the water problems we have been working to repair. This cabin is being changed to a hermitage retreat type cabin for pastors. For summer camp the furniture will be removed and bunk beds reinstalled for the summer guests.
Flooring almost finished in cabin (should have taken the picture before we moved all the tools back in.)
Lots more progress was made and we are all again, really tired. Lots more to be done tomorrow since it’s our last day of work until next Tuesday. We will work next Friday to make up for taking off Labor Day.
Okay, while typing it has started raining. Maybe we will get enough to take care of all the dust. Hopefully it will last until bedtime. Love to sleep to rain on Fred’s roof. Hope your week is going well.
We again got up early enough to walk a couple of miles before devotion. We walked on the same county road in from of the camp and have yet to see a vehicle on it while we were walking. It can have some pretty speedy cars later in the day but early morning it’s very quiet.
Kitty brought our devotion today. She referenced Sunday’s sermon and talked about how we should work to preserve our environment and county for future generations.
Since none of us finished our tasks yesterday, most of us returned to our same job sites to start off.
Shannon, Mariel and Carol finished the infirmary step by lunch and then moved to other tasks. Mariel and Shannon started working to replace the blinds in some of the cabins with curtains that someone made for the camp. Carol and Peggy worked on some landscaping.
Kitty, Anne and Max continued on the repairs and flooring in “Cabin ½”. There is also a “Cabin ¾”. These two cabins were built after all the others and come geographically before Cabin 1. Hence the numbers. Anyway, by the end of the day about half of the cabin flooring was down and some plumbing done.
Meanwhile at the barn, John, Dave and Del finished preparing for the concrete pour. After lunch the concrete truck arrived and they helped Rich, the camp director, and some of the staff and interns finish the concrete.
Today was our first day back to work so we were up early to walk a couple of miles. The temperature was 73 so it was a nice walk. It’s been a while since we worked a three week project so we felt a little out of practice getting ourselves organized this morning.
Morning devotion was at 8:00 by Dave. He had us thinking/talking about our life journey and how God brought us all to this place today for His purpose. After devotion and our prayer time, we all were assigned our jobs for the day. We both worked with Kitty on the one of the cabins. We are going to be installing laminate flooring and making other needed repairs at the cabin. We first removed the base trim and assess and repaired the damaged areas (water leaks) of the flooring. We got all that done and will be ready to start installing the laminate in the morning. As we were cleaning up at the end of the day Kitty went to the cabin next door to get a broom and found a lot water in the floor. It seems the toilet was over flowing. Max got the water turned off and we spent the next hour sweeping out the water and then vacuuming up the water. An unusual end of our day.
Other projects for our team include building a new set of steps for the infirmary. Shannon, Mariel and Carol are working on those and made good progress on that project today. The rest of the team, Dave, Dale, Peggy and John are working at the barn. They will be building a maintenance/tool room in one part of the barn. They worked on installing forms and placing the pea gravel today and tomorrow will be pouring the concrete. Concrete is to be delivered at 1:00 tomorrow. Lots accomplished today but much more to do. It’s going to be a good three weeks.
Today was another bright sunny day in Oxford. We haven’t found a good place to do our fast walking at the camp yet. Maybe after tomorrow when we tour the camp. This morning we walked down the county road past our RV park. We never saw a car. Don’t like walking on the road but early on Sunday morning it was okay. We will continue to try to find a better location.
The team went to the modern (contemporary) service at Oxford-University UMC this morning. The church is located next to the campus of University of Mississippi. It was a very good service – good music and message. Would definitely return to this church.
On the way home we stopped to pick up a few groceries. We had a light lunch and then washed all the bugs and butterflies off the front of FRED. We seemed to have killed a lot yesterday. We don’t feel like we are really set up until we get the front clean.
Our first official team meeting was at 5:00 tonight and began with a nice supper provided by Carol and Dave our team leaders. It was very good. Thanks so much Dave and Carol. Rich the Executive Director of Camp Lake Stephens met with us tonight to review our work plan. It will definitely be a busy three weeks with lots of work to be done. We will start tomorrow converting a portion of the barn into a tool storage area and working on one of the cabins. This is going to be another good project. Please pray for the team’s safety as we begin work tomorrow. Hope you all had a great weekend.
Friday we were up early for a wonderful walk in 68 degree weather. Wow, much more enjoyable walk than some we have done lately. We then headed to Oneonta. We had estate business at the court house and while there visited with some EMA friends. We then visited with the aunts at the rehab/nursing home. They both seem content. Such a blessing for us. They are doing as well as we could hope at 92 and 95. We had a nice visit. After lunch we headed to Pine Mountain to check on the houses and pick up the mail. It was then an uneventful trip back to Tuscaloosa in time to show the house. However, the person we thought was coming to see the house didn’t show.
This morning we were up early for another nice walk and then raised the jacks and headed to Mississippi, finally, back to RVing with a purpose. We will be working the next three weeks at Camp Lake Stephens, a United Methodist Church camp just four miles from Oxford, Mississippi. Most of our team arrived today and we have already started getting to know each other. When we first arrived we had to level up one of the RV sites that looked like an RV might have gotten stuck in and left a trench while it was driving out.
We went downtown this afternoon for dinner at Boure, local restaurant recommended by the staff here. It was a very good meal with great service from a sweet young lady who attended camp at Camp Lake Stephens “when I was young.” Still just a kid by our geezer standards. After dinner we, of course, found an ice cream shop. Already really enjoying our time with our team. Great to be back with NOMADS. Really looking forward to these next three weeks.
After we returned from town we walked down to the lake and around the camp to familiarize ourselves with where we will be working.