Riding With Friends

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Pontotoc GatewayWe had to make the most out of today because of our “short” weekend. We were too tired last evening to do much other than a load of clothes. Today, our dear friends Barry and Donna drove over from home and we met them in Pontatoc, MS, along with Mariel and Shannon for a bikTanglefoot Traile ride on the Tanglewood Rail Trail. We really enjoy the rail trails. The ones we have ridden have generally been well maintained, in very pretty areas, and they usually have more gradual inclines because, remember, the trains had to climb those hills too. Today we started at the Pontotoc Gateway which is at MM 25 of the trail and road north to Ecru. The entire trail is 40 miles. We didn’t have a set distance for the ride today but had thought we might go about 10 miles out and then back. Ecru Whistle StopThe ride out seemed pretty easy, first through town and then out through soybean and cotton fields. A nice ride. We stopped at the Ecru whistle stop for a little water and rest break and then road on. Unfortunately, we weren’t too much further up the trail and Max had a flat tire. He ran over a very sharp object and punctured his rear inner tube. He was able to pull it out of the tire and then removed the wheel and placed a patch on the tube. He used our little portable pump to air the tire back up and then tried Barry’s and Shannon’s but could never get it fully inflated. We didn’t know how long the patch would hold so we headed back toward the truck. That was when we discovered we had had a tail wind going out and were fighting a head wind going back. We all also agreed that it seemed that maybe we had been biking slightly downhill because it seemed like we were having to pedal harder and slightly uphill on the way back. Besides it had gotten pretty hot. Maybe it was a good thing Max had a flat before we got too far away. We ended with 15.5 miles round trip. A good ride and a pretty day.

Old Master signAfter loading the bikes we headed into town for lunch. Donna had found a Chinese restaurant that sounded really good and we were all set to try one of their appetizers. However when we arrived there was a note posted that they are closed until September 11.

Happy Day CafeWe all pulled out the cell phones and settled on Happy Day Cafe. It’s also a bakery, so that’s not bad. Cute little place with friendly and attentive staff. We all had good sandwiches and then some baked goods and specialty drinks. Cupcakes and bicyclesWe had a banana/strawberry smoothie that was very good and brought home a cupcake and some cinnamon buns for tomorrow’s breakfast. It was a fun morning with good friends. So glad Donna and Barry made the trip over. We are missing them.

After getting back to Oxford we made a grocery store stop and then home to finish the laundry. We still had to do some walking because we didn’t have our steps in for the day. Glad Mariel came over to ask us to walk with her.  Otherwise, we might have gotten lazy.  Even with the 15 mile ride we still got over 10,000 steps. We are feeling better since we have returned to the habit of getting more exercise.

It was a good day! Thanks Donna and Barry and Mariel and Shannon for joining us.

A Day of Finishes

Friday, September 7, 2018

We are stuck on 70 degrees and 95% humidity. This morning we also had fog. The forecast high was 91. Don’t know what the actual high was but everyone was very hot and really had to drink fluids to avoid dehydration.

Even though it was Friday, the team worked today since we were off Monday for the Labor Day holiday. We know it was still just a four day week, not an extra day but we were all very tired by the end of the day. Part of it was surely the heat and humidity. Maybe the rest was just because we knew we were working on Friday.

James receiving the keys to his house
James receiving the keys to his house (photo by R3SM)

For our former team members who follow this blog, we want you all to know that R3SM, our Hattiesburg agency turned the keys to his house over to James this week. So happy that he is finally back in his home, a totally new house. James has been restored to a better situation than he had before the tornado. You all worked very hard and played a big part in this wonderful gift to him. Praying he has many wonderful years in his new home and thankful for all the NOMADS who worked so hard in Hattiesburg.  (Click here to read our blog entry of our last day there.)

The Board of Directors of Camp Lake Stephens will be meeting here beginning Sunday afternoon. Therefore, we spent a lot of today trying to finish up some things to make the camp look great for the guests coming for the weekend, and the Board Sunday. Today we (Max, Anne and Kitty) completed the Restful Cottage and one of the Board members will be staying there Sunday night. We repaired the lavatory drain, moved the last of the IKEA furniture from the Lodge to the cottage, washed the new dishes, pans, utensils and towels and placed then in them in the cottage. We also installed tissue holder and towel rods and generally just cleaned up the cottage. We are pleased with the outcome. Hope the Board is too.

John and Dave working on the outside of the barn

Dave and John worked at the barn to get it looking good and then joined the rest of us in the main part of camp helping wherever they were needed.

Shannon, Del and Peggy completed the “Maypole” area – officially the sail shade structure. Late this afternoon we all sat around under the shade. Nice.

The garden fence and gate were also completed by Mariel and Carol with the help of John, Shannon, Dave and Max.

Carol and Dave met with Rich our camp director and they told us that he is very pleased with all we have accomplished for the camp. He has never worked with NOMADS before and as usual is surprised by how much we get done in a week. We are all very tired tonight but it is a good tired.

Our weekend is one day short but we still have a play day planned for tomorrow. It should be fun.

Rainy Day Work

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Today was another day of intermittent rain but nothing even approached severe. We did get more rain overnight and don’t know the storm total for this area but definitely had enough rain for a while. When we walked this morning it was again 70 degrees and 95% humidity. At lunch it was 80 and still 95% humidity. We are ready for some dryer air.

Evening RainbowWhen we walked this morning we saw what we think we two foxes run across the road in front of us. They were in the shadows, so we couldn’t be positive but they looked like foxes to us. On our afternoon walk we saw a beautiful rainbow. Walking is good for the body but also good for the spirit.

Peggy had our devotion today and as God often works when He is trying to tell us something, Peggy used the same scripture from Mathew that we had in our Seedbed devotion from Mark 4:35-41. It’s where Jesus is asleep in the boat during the storm. The main point is to not panic during the storms of life, but to trust Jesus. Even if you don’t usually read Seedbed Daily Devotion, you should read today’s. It’s a good one.

After devotion, we went back to our rainy day assignments from yesterday. Kitty completed the curtains for the retreat cabin and Carol and Mariel (the curtain crew) hung them this afternoon. They look very good. Kitty joined the Ikea furniture crew (Anne and Peggy) and they completed the three drawer chest they started yesterday and then completed a large cube storage unit and then put together a bed.

Dave, Del, John, Shannon and Max continued the barn remodel. Max and Shannon worked on electrical rough-in while the others completed framing in a window and then moved on to insulation. Dave helped out wherever needed.

By the end of the day all the curtains were complete and all the furniture was complete. We will have to see what they need us to do tomorrow.

Rain Doesn’t Slow The Team Down

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Can’t say it was a beautiful day today but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it might have been. There has been no severe weather in our area and we pray that continues. We had a few light sprinkles this morning, some rain after lunch for a short time and then it started raining just as we were getting back to Fred shortly after 4:00 and it continues now at 8:30 pm. Really wouldn’t mind if it continues at bedtime tonight. Good sleeping weather. From the looks of the radar, it looks like Alabama probably had worse weather than we have had here. However, we could have some flooding in the surrounding area if it hangs around too long. Hope everyone is safe and dry.

We had devotion for the team today and since everyone had been so interested in Tropical Storm Gordon we did a devotion we call “How do you stop a hurricane?” It was well received with some good discussion following.

We all had two different assignments today. The first for this morning prior to expected rain and the second for after the rain arrived what ever time that might be. Anne, Mariel, Kitty, Peggy and Carol began in the new garden, installing the gate and beginning the fencing. Max, Shannon and Del continued their work on the sun shade area that we are calling the Maypole area. They cut off the top of the center pole to the specified height and installed all the eye bolts in it. They reinstalled a bench that had to be moved to erect the outside poles.  John and Dave returned to the barn to continue building the new maintenance shop..


We all went to our rainy day jobs shortly after break. That sent Max, Shannon and Del to the barn to join Dave and John, Anne and Peggy back to putting together more IKEA furniture for the hermitage cottage, Kitty to sewing some curtains for the cottage and Carol and Mariel installing new curtains in various cabins. Nobody missed a beat and we all had another productive day for Camp Lake Stephens. And even with all the rain, since we got a good walk in early this morning we still totaled over five miles and 14,000 steps today.


Start Of Week Two

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

It was another beautiful day in Oxford.  However, it was hot and humid. At 6:00 am when we walked it was a cool 70 degrees but with 95% humidity. The calendar changing to September certainly doesn’t mean the start of fall in the south.

Kitty brought our devotion this morning from Isaiah 6:8, where the question is “Whom shall I send?” She reminded us that spiritual renewal leads to service. Likewise faithful service leads to spiritual renewal. Thanks, Kitty, for another wonderful start to our day.

Since Hurricane Gordon is headed for the Mississippi gulf coast which will probably lead to rain in our area for the next couple of days, our work plans have changed. Today we all worked on the outside items and once the rain starts we will all be inside. Max, Shannon, Peggy and part of the day Del and Sara the Intern, worked on installing 4×4 posts, digging the holes, installing the posts and setting in concrete. This will be a sun screen area when the project is complete. The post holes were the challenge. The ground is very hard.

Anne, Kitty, Mariel and Del for the first part of the day worked in the garden. We are moving 40 tomato cages from the lower garden to the new upper garden we are making. There are also a lot of additional older cages we are reading for disposal. We are also removing the fencing and will be pulling up all the 4×4 posts at the old garden. We are moving to garden to an area closer to the kitchen so that they will have easier access to the crops.

Carol, Dave and John continued to work on the barn area that is being converted to maintenance. Today they framing in some windows and starting the electrical rough-in.

We were all pretty exhausted by the end of the day. The heat slowed us down. Even so it was another productive day and another fun day of serving our Lord in this place.

Happy Labor Day (and Birthdays)!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy Labor Day! Hope you have all enjoyed your day.

Yesterday was another beautiful day. Of course the team went to church and we again went to Oxford-University UMC. And again we went to the modern service in their nice new facility. This is the service that our camp director attends with his family. This week the senior pastor had the message, his first service in the new facility. It was a wonderful service in a very nice new facility. After service we were all going out to dinner together but the restaurant we chose had an hour wait so we just came back to Fred for lunch. We were really tired and spent the afternoon resting and napping.

Birthday Cake and Homemade Ice CreamOur team for this project is a little unusual. We had one team member with a birthday last week and two team members with birthdays today. So in addition to a labor day celebration we celebrated the three birthdays, Carol, Peggy and Dell. This afternoon we grilled out and each of us brought a side. We took mac and cheese we made in our Instant Pot. It was the first time we tried mac and cheese in the pot and were pleased with the results. Everyone else seemed to enjoy it as well. Labor Day and Birthday Get TogetherWe also made some vanilla ice cream, with peaches and other toppings to go with the red velvet cake and brownies. It was a fun dinner and celebration. Otherwise is was just a laid back restful day.

Sunrise, Sunset, And A Lot of Miles In Between

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Another beautiful sunrise during our morning walk
Another beautiful sunrise during our morning walk. (We like to post sunrise pictures for those friends and relatives that have never seen a sunrise themselves.)

We knew today was going to be a long day so we were up early for our walk. Another beautiful sunrise. Definitely worth getting up.

We went out to breakfast with Anne’s brother Jim planning to go to IHOP. IHOP was packed and we were hungry so we just went across the street to Chick-Fil-A. We are so happy we made the change because as we were leaving we ran into our wonderful NOMADS friends Sheila and Frank. What are the chances? We were in Tuscaloosa and they stopped in Tuscaloosa on their way home from Sheila’s parents in Mississippi. We had a nice but short visit and look forward to seeing and working registration with them in Memphis in less than 4 weeks.

We completed a few things in Tuscaloosa and then headed back to Blount County to see Randy and Debra and check on the Aunts. It was great to see Randy and Debra even if for just a little while. The Aunts seem to be doing well. Both actually seem to have improved a little and they were both quite happy today. Soon it was time to make the drive back to Mississippi. We had a gorgeous sunset this afternoon. We returned to Camp Lake Stephens about 9:00, tired and very happy to be home.

Driving into the sunset
Driving into the sunset