We almost hate to say it, but it was absolutely gorgeous in the Florida Keys today. We cooked breakfast for Barry and Donna and our selves and then we decided to walk over to the Dolphin Research Center which is about a block from Jolly Roger. We had reservations for the dolphin encounter on Tuesday but the weather is not going to be as nice so we were able to change the encounter to today at 12:00. This was amazing. We were in the water with the dolphins and able to give them commands to ask them to jump and spin or splash water. We could have them shake hands with us, and give us a kiss. We were able to rub their backs as they swam past and the big bucket list item, we swam with them and held on to their dorsal fin while they pulled us across the water. So cool!! Such beautiful animals and so very smart!
The tricks the dolphins are taught are not only to entertain the visitors, they also keep the dolphins in good physical condition.
The trainers trained us to interact with the dolphins with hand signals.
Of course, the highlight of the day was each of us being pulled through the water by a dolphin.
After our time in the water, we could go to the various other pools and educational areas to learn even more about the dolphins. Anne was able to talk to some of the trainers who worked with the dolphins medical issues. Today they were working with some of the dolphins on learning to us a nebulizer. Yes, like the giving yourself or your child a breathing treatment, nebulizer. The big difference with dolphins is that since they breath through their blow hole they have the big doughnut looking device that sits over the blow hole while they breath in the medication. Today they were just teaching them to do this while they are well with no medicine in the nebulizer so that if they were to ever need at treatment for a fungus or some other illness they would have the skill to use the nebulizer. Pretty amazing. We all four had a wonderful day at the Dolphin Research Center!
Of course a day of fun with Barry and Donna is never complete without ice cream. Late this afternoon we drove into Marathon to Sweet Savannah’s ice cream and cupcake shop. Key lime ice cream for Anne and Donna and salty caramel for Barry and Max. So good. We may have to go back Tuesday when the special is Boston Cream cup cakes. It was a very good day.
Today was our first day of Sabbath. We know we need to take breaks and after leading the last several weeks, it is time for a break. We purposely had nothing scheduled today. We did have things to do but no schedule. We did some laundry and cleaning and then headed back to Marathon for groceries. On the way we saw sign for Coco Plum Beach and decided to check it out. We found a nice public beach in an out of the way place and will take Barry and Donna back there. Should be a nice place to walk on the beach and maybe okay for sunsets. We also passed a sign for Curry Hammock State Park. Researched it and we will probably go there later in the week to rent some kayaks and tour the mangroves. After surviving a very crowded Publix we headed back to Jolly Roger to await the arrival of Barry and Donna. They arrived about 3:30 and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening catching up. So good to spend time with our dear friends. We walked the park, went to the beach and just enjoyed ourselves. It was a very good day.
Wanda left last night and today was moving day for Karen and Greg and us. None of us had far to go so we didn’t leave until lunchtime. Karen and Greg were going only about one island away and we are now about 30 miles north of Big Pine on Grassy Key. Hard driving day. We are now settled in at Jolly Roger RV Resort for the next eight days. Our cousins, Donna and Barry should arrive tomorrow afternoon. Can’t wait to see them and we have fun planned for the next week. This afternoon we explored the park, watched people fishing – saw someone catch a shark about four feet long. We talked to various other people staying here. Everyone seems very friendly. So far we are pleased with our choice for our “off” week.
Today was our last day as team leaders on the disaster rebuild project in the Florida Keys. It has been a relatively easy project to lead because every week we had wonderfully mission minded NOMADS working with us. They have accomplished a lot for the people here.
We all returned to George’s house after devotion and continued to make progress towards getting the house ready to turn back over to the homeowner. At the end of the day the shower was installed and freezer board was installed on the bathroom walls, the painting was finished and the outside trim was installed around the windows and air conditioners. Jim, the construction coordinator, is planning to have other volunteers working on the house over the weekend and NOMADS will return next week to put the finishing touches on. The agency plans to have a home dedication on Wednesday morning. We hope to attend it and present a Bible signed by all the NOMADS who worked on the house.
After work we went by to introduce Dan and Virgie to Dennis and show them what still needs to be done there.
Karen and Greg brought our devotion today based on 1 Corinthians12: 4-11, which speaks about the gifts of the spirit. Karen used the example of a jigsaw puzzle. As with a puzzle we are all different/unique with various gifts, but in the Body of Christ we are all interlocked and when we are put together as God plans, we can make a beautiful picture – community/world. Sometimes we need to remember that our uniqueness does not isolate us but adds to the strength of the whole. Thanks, Karen and Greg and thanks to Wanda for playing her guitar for our music.
After devotion it was back to Marathon to George’s house. We continued with the painting and completed the living room and kitchen and began working on George’s bedroom. All the paneling was installed in the bedroom. Work continued in the bathroom and the new wall between the shower and linen closet is completed and the shower pan plumbed and installed. There was lots of rotten wood in the bath and the rafters had to be repaired before the ceiling panels could be installed. Air conditioners were trimmed around and some of the windows in the living room were also trimmed and caulked. It was another very busy day. We are still hoping for a home dedication next week. Fortunately there will be some other volunteers working on the house this weekend. It takes us all working together to make this pretty puzzle.
We all returned to George’s house on Marathon to keep pushing towards completion of our work there. The team worked hard all day and got the shower drain plumbed and the pan installed, all three air conditioners installed and operating (yea!), and started painting the walls. Around lunch time the volunteer coordinator came by and borrowed a couple of team members to help him move some furniture for one of the agency’s clients.
This evening Wanda, our unofficial social director, arranged another game night. Fun and fellowship even for us tired old folks.
Sara brought us a wonderful devotion this morning based from 1 Peter 2 based on “Stones”. She collects stones and polishes them into “prayer stones.” Today she brought several with her and allowed us to pick one to keep. She told us she keeps one in her pocket and whenever she reaches into her pocket for something she feels the stone and it reminds her to pray. Sara finished by reading the poem “Prayer Rock.”
The whole team worked at George’s house in Marathon. That is about 20 miles from where we are staying. Jim, the construction coordinator, wants us to put a full push on getting that house ready to turn back over to the homeowner next week. It will be a challenge.
After Greg and Max worked there last Wednesday, the mission group from Marshall University worked there on Thursday and Friday. They did a remarkable job moving the house toward completion. They put up the rest of the ceiling panels and then installed laths over all the seams and nails and installed some of the insulation and paneling. One of the students was in a wheelchair. She told Jim she knew how to install the flooring. With some help getting around she installed all but a few pieces.
Today we installed the last few pieces of flooring in the living room/kitchen, paneled more walls, started rebuilding the bathroom, framed openings for air conditioners and caulked the lath strips on the ceilings. The home owner came by for a few minutes and was very pleased with the progress. We enjoyed meeting him.