Meet Gabriel (the angel)

Monday, May 8, 2917

This morning was cold – 39 degrees – but beautiful. We rested well in our little room in the basement of the Lake House. We seem to be over the stress of FRED’s sale last week with all the packing, etc. and are now sleeping better.

Dawn, the Director of Program Ministries at Hinton, graciously provided our devotion today. Dawn is responsible for the summer mission programs at Hinton. In just a few weeks mission season will start and they will have approximately 750 people on campus throughout the summer doing summer mission work in the community around Hinton. There are many people in the area with low income so there are a lot of handicap ramps, floor and porch repairs etc to homes throughout the area.

The scripture for today’s devotion was John 6:1-13 – the parable of the loaves and fishes. This will be the theme scripture for summer camp 2017 as well so Dawn has spent a lot of time with this scripture over the past few months. As you probably recall Andrew told Jesus “all we have is two fish and five loaves of bread” and that won’t do anything to feed the 5,000 people here. But he gave the loaves and fish to Jesus anyway. It was all they had to offer. Dawn reminded us that when we give all we have even though it seems like not near enough, God begins to make amazing things happen. As NOMADS we have seen it so many times when we are faced with what seemed like insurmountable tasks on projects. Dawn also reminded us of the left overs that were picked up. We don’t know the extra impact of our actions. They are so much more than the mere completion of an appointed task. They keep on keeping on – the ripple effect as God multiplies our gifts. We just have to give Him what we have.

After the devotion we all went back to work on tasks left over from last week – painting, drywall finishing, electrical work, trim work, and replacing ceiling tiles that were taken down to access the plumbing and electrical. One of the tasks completed today was the installation of a walkway light to the Carter hermitage. That is one of four hermitage cottages here. They are like the tiny houses so popular now and are available for rent. So if you want to try living in a tiny house before you buy one, this is a good place to do that. It was another full day of working on the remodel. We are getting close but there are only 3 days left. The cabinet man did not install the cabinets over the weekend and even though we would love to see the kitchen with the cabinets and counter tops installed, we sort of hope he doesn’t come while we are trying to finish up.


You have probably seen in some of the pictures a little white dog in a red vest. That is Gabriel (“like the angel”). He is a diabetic alert dog that belongs to Steve. Steve’s blood sugar drops dangerously low at times without warning. Until it reaches a really low point Steve has no symptoms. Gabriel can alert Steve based on his scent, to his sugar getting low before it becomes too dangerous. Today Steve and Sandy told us how they trained Gabriel. They taught Gabriel with gauze pads soaked in Steve’s saliva from when he was low using food as a reward. So now when Steve is low Gabriel alerts him and gets a treat and Steve gets to eat too to bring his blood sugar up. Gabriel is very well behaved and goes everywhere with Steve. He is Steve’s angel.

On another note – exciting for us – Tiffin started to build our new motor home today. We had hoped to be in Red Bay for the build so we could follow it through the factory documenting the build with pictures.  However, we were already committed to this project and time is too short to be able to take delivery before the Constructors for Christ project in June to postpone the build until we get home. But we are excited anyway.

Only three work days to go.

Funny Sunday

Sunday May 7, 2017

This morning was another cool morning in the North Carolina mountains here at Hayesville. The wind continued to blow most of the day so even though the sun was out and it was a beautiful afternoon, it was still cool. Sitting inside and looking out at the lake it looked like we should be spending the afternoon outside but when you went out it was just a little too cool.

Sharp Memorial UMCThe team decided we would go to Young Harris, GA today for church at Sharp Memorial UMC. Sharp is the largest of the three we have visited during this project and has a very pretty traditional sanctuary with pipe organ. Today all the music was done with the grand piano. The people were friendly and welcoming and since they have an active member who is a NOMAD they were all familiar with what we do and teams visiting while at Hinton. Many of them thanked us for our work at Hinton. The service was traditional following the usual order of worship. As is the custom in many Methodist churches the first Sunday of the month, we also celebrated Communion today. The sermon was on Jesus as our shepherd using the passage from John 10:1-11. During the introductory portion of the sermon the pastor described sheep as filthy and dumb animals that will just walk off a cliff and die without a shepherd taking care of them. At the end of the sermon the pastor said something about us going out into the world being good sheep – not sure exactly how he said it but we both took it as mummmm – go be sheep – dumb, filthy sheep. :). Pretty sure that wasn’t what he meant but we both got a laugh out of it.

For lunch we stopped at Mary’s dinner on the way back to Hinton. For having 9 in our group today and showing up right after 12:00, we had pretty fast service and the food was quite good. We would certainly go back there. We split a blackened chicken chef salad and a cup of black bean soup. The salad was fresh and the chicken not too spicy and the soup excellent. We tried to eat sort of light because Phillip, the chef here at Hinton, said he was serving us tacos tonight with fresh guacamole. The team ate at Hinton again tonight and it was very good. Guess we will be eating Phillip’s cooking every night this week since we don’t have a kitchen without FRED. We will be glad when we get our new rig and be Rver’s again. After dinner we were standing around by the RV parking talking to some of the team members when Els, the hospitality manager, walked up and made a joke about us not being allowed in the RV area anymore. You see, we just happened to be standing on the outside of the yellow tape marking the RV parking and everyone else was on the inside. Another good laugh. Hope you all have a good week.

Uneventful Travel Day – The Best Kind To Have

Saturday May 6, 2017

Today, although pretty cold early, was a very nice day in Alabama. We got a little later start than we had planned but after not sleeping in the noisy Scottsboro Walmart parking lot on Thursday night we slept a little late today. We have determined that part of that lack of sleep may have been some anxiety over the sale of FRED. As Anne’s Dad use to say, “you haven’t sold it ‘til the money is in the bank.” You never know when there is going to be a last minute problem. So thankful all went well. We have spent so much time in the past month getting FRED ready to sale, showing him, selling him and then emptying him out while in Hayesville – no easy task – that we would have been pretty crushed had that sale not gone through.

When we did get on the road today in the pickup, we still had to go by the assisted living to take some supplies to Aunt Jean. So yesterday after selling FRED we had quick visits with Aunt Helen, Juno and then today Jean. Anne talked to her Mom but we just couldn’t squeeze in a trip to Tuscaloosa. We will soon, though. We also went to Dairy Queen last night with Barry and Donna. It was so great to just spend a little down time with our great friends. Really quick trip home but we squeezed a lot into the short time we were there.

Sunny drive on the Interstate
Sunny drive on the Interstate

The drive from Trussville to Chattanooga was a pretty drive. It was 71 and sunny in Chattanooga when we drove through. We had one traffic slow down for an unknown reason but much easier going through on a Saturday. We could see distant clouds building as we went through town. By the time we got off the interstate in Cleveland it was cloudy. The drive down through the Ocoee gorge was nice. They were releasing water in the river today and the rafters were out in full force. All the outfitters had buses on the road. By the time we got to the most popular put in point it had started very light rain. We have done the rafting trip down the Ocoee several times and that water is cold on a nice hot summer day. Many of the rafters had on wet or dry suits today. They still looked cold. Glad it was someone other than us on the river today. It was a much easier drive through the gorge today compared to the wind and rain of Thursday afternoon.

It was raining by the time we got to Murphy and intermittently from there to Hayesville we had really heavy rain. So it was 71 and sunny when we left Trussville and four hours later when we arrived in Hayesville it was 51 with a cold rain. What crazy weather we are having. We stopped and ate pizza at the local pizza place – Roma’s – before returning to camp. Good pizza and we have enough left for another meal. Arrived back at camp safe and sound, a little tired, and settling in for a quiet evening. Looking forward to taking the team to church tomorrow at Sharp UMC in Young Harris Ga – just across the state line. Remember to pray for your pastors.

Goodbye, FRED.

Friday May 5, 2017

Goodness, it has been cold and rainy all day today. One person we talked to said they thought it was colder now than it was in February. We agree. It was just a raw day. The predicted low tonight is something like 44. Looking ahead it’s suppose to be 38 Sunday night in Hayesville. Too cold for May!

Rainy drive on the Ocoee HwySo now we need to tell you what has been going on. It has really been somewhat hard to write this blog some days because we were so busy but didn’t feel we should share yet. So finally, here it is. Yesterday at 4:15pm we left Hayesville and drove to Scottboro, AL. It poured rain most of the way, but stopped long enough for us to negotiate the interstates through Chattanooga. We spent the night in the noisiest Walmart parking lot we have ever experienced. It did not quiet down until after 2:00 this morning. Our last night in Fred was not a good sleep night. This morning we met Don and Pat at the Redstone Federal Credit Union and finalized the sale on FRED. Yep, we sold FRED. We purchased the motorhome on April 23, 2011, brought him home two days later and affectionately called him FRED because he is a FRont Engine Diesel. He had 19155 miles. Today when he pulled out of the parking lot with a new owner he had 51396 miles. FRED traveled the most miles in 2014 when we went to Alaska and back (click here). We spent the most time in the rig in 2016 at 32 weeks. Even if we had kept FRED until the end of this year, 2016 would have still been the winner timewise. We loved FRED. He served us well and in some ways it was hard to see him drive off to his new home. We have worked late into the night every night for the past week, packing up all our stuff that was in the rig and deciding what needed to stay at Hinton and what should be in the first load home. We are tired! So what led up to this? We did not make this decision quickly. We have been looking at newer motor homes for about 3 years. We decided that it was time for a replacement that would hopefully serve us in our mission work and travel fun for the next 10-15 years – till it’s time for us to downsize or hang up the motorhome keys. We have purchased a Tiffin Phaeton 36GH (in case you want to google it to see what we are getting) that will be ready for pickup the first week of June. So, today we are excited to have closed the sale as that brings us one step closer to our new rig. It’s also a little sad.

Goodbye, FRED
Goodbye, FRED.

We know it will all be good but right now it is strange to be without a motorhome. We will be returning to North Carolina tomorrow in the pickup to finish the last week of out Hinton project and will be staying in the basement of the Lake House next week. Our next mission project will begin Father’s Day weekend and will be our first project in the new rig. Here is hoping we get a much better night’s sleep tonight.

End of Week Two

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Stormy weather over the lake
Stormy weather over the lake

Today was a rainy dark day, all day. This area is still short on rainfall and can use the rain but… messy and dreary. The wind has been gusting to 45mph and there have been some pretty good size limbs down across the campus. Fortunately no power outages.

Carol challenged us with her devotion using the Beatitudes from the Message Bible. If you have been reading and hearing the Beatitudes for your whole life, sometimes it’s really neat to read those old familiar verses from a different translation. Makes you consider other possibilities.

Today was another day much like the others this week. Everyone is working very hard to get this remodel completed for Hinton. Dave and Bryant first worked to block off parking in front of our RV’s with saw horses and caution tape. The Emmaus Walk will be this weekend at Hinton and with that many people on campus, parking is a real challenge and from past experience we have learned to try to prevent people from parking right next to the RV’s and to protect our parking spaces. After working on parking they also continued to work on the lighting for the tool shed and completed that task. Oneta put another and final coat of paint on the porch swing. Gene and Carol sanded the kitchen dry wall and did some additional mudding in the living room area. Anne and Max painted the lower stair well. Then Anne and Jackie finally got a coat of paint on the kitchen. YEA!! It will need another coat Monday. Cheryl and Jackie also painted the bookcase in the living room. Sandy and Steve continued to work on the upper stair well which is now about 95% complete. We also tried to clean up really well today since we won’t be back until Monday.

Most of us are pretty tired from working this week but still have a pretty busy weekend planned. Hopefully we will find time to catch some rest one of the days. Tomorrow should be a very interesting and busy day so be sure to check back in tomorrow our you will miss out.

Root Beer Floats!

Wednesday, May 03 2017

Morning at the Lake House

Today started early with a really pretty look out over the lake just as sun was rising. Located on Lake Chatuge, Hinton is really a pretty place.

Steve and Sandy brought our devotion today. It was based on an “Our Daily Bread” devotional about God is always listening. When we talk to him he always hears. We had some really good singing this morning. Bryant came down early and we had about 20 minutes of just messing around with some music before devotion and then ended our time with How Great Thou Art. Good music! We were surprised and thrilled when Jackie, the CEO of Hinton joined us for devotion. She just wanted to come spend a little time with us. We really appreciated that.

We then reviewed our work plans, marked off the items we completed yesterday and Bill added several more items to our list. The days are growing few and now there is even more to do. Hopefully we are up to the challenge. One of the things the NOMADS always do at the Hinton spring and fall projects is to change all the smoke detector batteries around campus. Cheryl and Jackie tackled that project and changed something like 98 batteries. That’s 98 trips up and down the ladder. They did an awesome job! Carol and Gene continued to work on the mudding and taping of the drywall in the kitchen and gathering area. It is looking really good. They got the second coat on all the kitchen and the first on the other. Oneta painted the retaining wall and it looks really nice. Dave and Bryant worked in the tool shed putting up some badly needed new lighting. Sandy and Steve continue work on the wall in the gathering area and the steps. It too is looking really good. The first of the paint should go on part of that tomorrow. Steve and Sandy are full-time RVers and do NOMADS projects most weeks of the year so they have a lot of experience and great skills. Max and Anne just try to keep everyone with the tools and supplies they need and fill in where we can help. Mostly we just need to stay out of the way and let this team do their thing.

And at the end of the day:

We forgot to show this yesterday. It is a comparison between the Lake House landscaping when we first arrived and this morning after all the great work the team members did yesterday.

We all went to Maria’s Hayesville Family Restaurant for lunch today. They have a nice buffet and the fried chicken was very good. Dessert come with it and Anne had the strawberry cobbler and Max the chocolate cake. It was all really good but by 2:00 we were feeling the need for a nap – which we did NOT get to take.

Root Beer Floats after workThen after work Dave and Carol prepared us all root beer floats and we all just sat outside in the beautiful spring afternoon and talked and laughed. Els, the lady in charge of hospitality and her husband came by and joined us for a time. Els’s husband spends several weeks each month in Haiti working with an orphanage. They are both from the Netherlands and always very interesting to talk with. It was another busy day. Only five more work days left and still lots to do.

Moving Right Along

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Today started as pretty as yesterday was messy. It was gorgeous all day today. The temps are dropping this evening but hey, it’s spring.

After a wonderful devotion given by Cheryl this morning, we went back to some of the tasks we were working on yesterday and started a few new ones. Anne and Carol continued mudding the kitchen walls, Sandy and Steve continued with the stairs/wall and Dave worked on a change order in the wiring for the kitchen. Gene and Bryant completed reinstalling the duct work in the basement ceiling and worked on replacing some of the ceiling tiles. Cheryl and Jackie re-textured the retaining wall that they cleaned last week. Later in the day, Gene jumped in to help on the kitchen walls while Bryant, Jackie, Cheryl and Oneta got to work outside cleaning out the shrubbery and flower beds around the Lake House.

While working on the landscaping, they came in contact with two southern hazards. Bryant stepped on a fire ant bed and then later found a hornets next in one of the bushes they were trimming. He came inside to tell Anne he had a photo op for Max and also a safety hazard for the team. Yes, Max went right outside and took the photo but we also got some spray to take care of the small nest. We also put some poison on the fire ants. So thankful that no one was stung and the fire ants didn’t get past the socks.

It was a very productive day and by the end of the day we had the first coat of mud on the kitchen walls, the kitchen floor repaired, the kitchen wiring roughed in (again), the shrubbery trimmed, the retaining wall re-textured and part of the stairwell walled in. Things are starting to look better around here.

Dinner at Chevelle's
Dinner at Chevelle’s

After work we all went to Chevelle’s for dinner since on Tuesday evenings all burgers are on sale. The burgers were good and the onion rings quite tasty too. However, someone forgot to read our “No Accidents” sign before they went and we ended up with two drinks spilled all over the table, one by the server and the other by one of our team. Oh well, the food was good and the company great and a good time was had by all.