Mission Trip: Week 2- Work Day 1

Woo Hoo. It is the start of another work week.  This week I am on Team Susan and we are on a roof! Yeah! I like the roof jobs! We did not get as much done as we wanted to, but we plan on leaving early tomorrow to get an early start.  We had to leave after lunch because of pouring rain and predicted storms.  As a matter of fact, Susan and I had to run up the roof in the rain and felt paper the OSB boards we put up.  Let me tell you something people..It is a big ole pain dragging those things up on a roof.  My shoulders are feeling it.  Susan and I both said driving up the mountain in the rain, that we were tired and feeling it. However, I love working with Susan because you learn a lot and she lets us work.  Her and I were up there driving in screws with our impact drivers most of the day. Tomorrow we want to mark the OSB as some of the screws were not hitting anything.  The problem is that the rafters are old 2x4s.  The roof is soft in spots, but we did fine.  We also wore our harnesses like Paul requested.  We are not sure if we will tomorrow or not.  They tended to slow us down because we had to keep moving the ropes out from under the OSB or be careful that we did not trip over the ropes. We shall see. When you stand on the OSB boards you have better traction.  Susan and I plan on leaving earlier tomorrow to mark the boards. Then, Pam will take the other two girls with her a bit later. Their task is to make a template of where to drill the holes in the tin.  Once they have the template, it should make things go faster.  We are thinking that once we get the OSB up and all of it felted, the tin will be easier and faster.  We shall see.

Out host family is wonderful.  She is a sweet lady in her 80s. The first words out of her mouth, “why you all women!”.  We Said yup, and we will be fine.  She even had her neighbors come over to see us.  We are in Trammel, and it is an old coal town.  It reminds me of Dante. A that it is farther than Dante.  The people we met today were very friendly.

Yesterday was a great last day of the weekend.  After going to church we went and got groceries for the week. Then after unpacking, we delivered materials to another site. I was able to get a good signal if I hiked the rail to the outside chapel so I made a few phone calls. It was nice to talk to people back home. Then, after a nap I went up and helped Anita. Around here people have huge gardens. She was using up the beans and making Dilly Beans. I told her I had never canned before but she asked if I would help earlier. So I did and we did 15 pints.  I also love the infused honey here, so we made lemon infused honey. Yum! Anita said I get to take some of my “domesticated” products home so people will know I can be a southerner. Haha😀!

Once the campers arrived for the week we all sat on the porch and got caught up while waiting for dinner. I knew all of the people coming, so it was nice.  This was the week that I started last year. It was nice to see everyone again and get caught up on what has been happening, etc.

We, that is it! Time to take a nap. The rain stopped and it is sunny up here now. However, they say it is raining still down off the mountain.  I hope it does not rain tomorrow, as we have not to do this week. Susan and I said on the drive up that this one might be tough to finish.  We are going to give it all we got.  This is only week 2, so if we have to finish next week, we will.

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Mission Trip : Weekend 1

Ahhh!  What a beautiful day.  I am lying in my bunk after waking up from an hour nap. It is actually really nice.  The humidity is low and temperature in the 80s.  After getting up early in the morning and saying goodbye to everyone, I crawled back into bed for more sleep.  I knew another camper was leaving later and promised she would say goodbye before she left. I have to admit it was weird waking up to no one in the bunk house and just plain empty bucks around, with the exception of mine and Susan’s down at the other end, but it was also wonderful to wake up to nature and quiet, not people stirring about.  I showered and got ready for the day.  Threw my sleeping bag outside on the line to air out, threw pillowcase and towels and some other stuff in laundry bag, and threw stuff under my bunk on the top bunk to make it easier on the cleaning lady as was not sure when she was coming.  Then I walked over to Grace House to get some breakfast.  The other girl was just finishing her breakfast so we chatted for a bit. Paul was there and said he would appreciate help going to St. Paul Builders to get supplies and deliver them to a site. I of course said yes.

So after we said goodbye to this weeks last camper, Paul, Susan, and I got to work.  We went and got our OSB board, tin, and a few other things.  Then, we went to the site.  On the way, I was told that it was the site I will be working on this coming week.  It is out further than anyone else as we are way out past Dante, but it certainly looks just like Dante.  I will also be on Team Susan…Yeah!! We are doing a roof again!  The only bad thing is because of the pitch and the fact that we will have 2 youth girls working with us, Paul wants us to wear harnesses. Susan and I reluctantly agreed haha. Yes, we need to model safety. I think I am going to end up wearing shorts instead of jeans, too. Usually I wear jeans to prevent scratches and cuts from the old shingles and the new tin. But guess what people?? They are calling for mid 90s and hot humid weather.  It was hot enough out there taking measurements.  I will also wear my sneakers rather than workboots, as Susan said they would grip better on this roof.  However, I am super excited to be back on Team Susan and back on a roof. At least this week I know I will be working hard and using power tools. Woo hoo!

After that it was time to go  back to Grace House, grab our laundry bags and head off the mountain to the laundromat. Paul, Susan, and I had great co conversation while grubby, sweaty clothes were being washed and dried. Then, we went and got some lunch. Technically, Grace House is closed on the weekends. Of course Anita and Jerry said we could go in. We usually only grab breakfast on Saturday morning though, to be fair and not use their food. After some lunch and more great conversation we headed up the mountain. My home sweet home is ready for this week so it was naptime. 

I know I did not blog yesterday and I must tell you about it.  It was a super de duper, wonderful, fantastic day!!! We finally finished everything on our to do list at our host family’s site. That always makes you happy when you finish the task you are given. We finished early and a team member wanted to go to Dante, as people were talking about it. So, we went. I said that we had to go by the house that I worked at last year and if they were out I wanted to see them.  Guess what?  We drove by Ray and Nancy’s house and they were out on their porch. I was so excited I made the driver stop. I got out and Ray and Nancy smiled. We said hello and we hugged. They invited me in to check out what they had done to the place since I was there. Oh my goodness people, it was AWESOME!  Their living room looked like a living room. It was much cleaner. The drywall we did had been mudded and painted. They had curtains up. The bathroom did not have a hole in the ceiling and roof anymore.  I was so, so happy. I took pictures and they made me promise that I would share them with other members who were there. I promised I would and actually did send them last night. I got a response and they were happy too. I would have stayed longer talking to Ray and Nancy, but knew the people waiting in our van wanted to go. The sad news, is they told me that Ray had lost two brothers since last year and Nancy was still having her dizzy spells.  I invited them up to the picnic tonight, but they said no. I knew they would not come as they never did, but I tried. I promised them that if I was working nearby in the next two weeks I would stop by again and visit. They said ” you better sweetie honey.”  That is what they called me last year haha. Unfortunately, this week I am not. Maybe the last week I will, but I am not sure. It was just so great to see them, see how they are doing, and visit with them for a bit. As soon as we got back to Grace House I ran in and told Anita, Jerry, and Paul what happened. I showed them the pictures. I was so happy.  The third week we have someone coming back who worked there last year so Paul said I had to show them. I will.

Anyways, Friday night’s with EAM at Grace House are special. We invite our host families up for a BBQ.  We can also invite other families that we have worked for.  Some come up, and others do not. Either way, it is great fun as we eat, chat, and then Anita and her family sing for us. This is the first time my host family has come. So, I was excited and went out to great them after I had showered and cleaned up. Also, one of the girls had brought up a dish she made using the vegetables from her garden. This family is so proud of their garden.  I made sure I ate some, and it was really good. I told them that. After we cleaned up from dinner, it was time for more fun.  Anita and her family were going to sing.  I was not sure if Anita’s brother, Robert, was going to come or not. I worked at his house last year, too. That is also when I was on Team Susan and we put on a new roof. He had a mushroom fall off his tree and I had told him I paint on them. He gave it to me. I promised him that I would paint it and bring it back. He told me to keep it but I said no, it was his. Well, he came to sing for us!!! After they were done singing we had a wonderful chat. He said that his house is dry and the roof no longer leaks. Yeah I said. I told him to wait as I had something for him. He said did you bring that mushroom back?  I said wait and see. I ran to the bunkhouse and got it. When I gave it to him, he was speechless. He hugged me and said he would cherish it. Susan made sure she got our picture together. Robert wanted to give me a donation to help with my fundraising to come here, but I said NO! Then he told me he cut that tree down. WhAt??? I said. He just laughed. He said he has more mushrooms that he will bring to me before I leave that I can paint and try to sell to help raise money for next year.  We shall see if he comes through. He said that he will be coming up all of the Friday nights to sing. So, I will be seeing more of him.

As you can see, yesterday was totally awesome.  I was so excited. I also stayed up to late visiting and had no time to blog, so I apologize. Today though, I had some time to unwind and relax. As a matter of fact, I think I will go for a hike up to the outside chapel.  I get great phone service there. I am allowed to go alone now😀. I have graduated from being a newbie.  I have about 5 voicemails. I should also call Dad to see how he is doing and how my cat is doing.

So, I will sign off and go get that done before we leave for dinner in about an hour.  We go to this amazing, yummy Mexican restaurant. I can’t wait to dig into their taco salad. It is amazing. I hope you are all having a great day!

Mission Trip: Week 1 Work Day 4

Ahh, work day 4.  It is hard to believe that work week 1 is almost over.  Tomorrow is our last day at this site.  I do believe that another crew will be going out there to put the T1-11 up. We took the measurements today to give to Paul at tonight’s meeting. I think we will finish the outside tomorrow. We only have half of the front side to do. Of course it is the tricky side but we rigged up some redneck scaffolding today. Of course, I won’t be up on it as Bill will be Mr. Macho. However, Jerry and I came up with the idea. We did much better today on measuring and cutting. Only messed up our first board. But, we figured it out quickly and it was not wasted as we needed this strips anyways. Today though, we had a much better system. One would screw in the boards, one would measure what was needed, and I measured it on the board and used our famous Mr T to make straight lines to cut on. Then we cut and bang, started again. Bang, it is great when a system works and works well. You have to love communication.  However using the clamps today..all I could think of was my dad’s famous words..”you can never have to many clamps”. My thumbs may develop calluses after winding and uunwinding them all day.

I need to go back to something that did bother me today.  People, what ever happened to respect and dignity?  Around here, kids in college can do service projects for grants and scholarships.  Anita had said that we would have one. That was fine. He came on Monday with his buddy. They seemed nice. They were supposed to come Wednesday but didn’t. Anita told us at the meeting that they called and said something came up they would be out today. They did come.   But, I really did not think that Bill treated them with respect. Sorry, but I was a bit annoyed. Yes, where we were working had some poison ivy. I pointed it out to the team.  The interns were inside finishing up some molding. Well Bill called them out. He said I hate working with this poison.  He was like hey. They came out. He said pull up this poison ivy stuff.  no please, no thank you. Yet when they were walking over he said “says the boss” under his breath. I about decked him. This was after this morning we were getting lumber from our lumber pile and my team leader and I had a full sheet of plywood and Bill had a scrap piece we needed. He looked and said to me, “here is a girl sized piece for you. I will get that one.” Oh yeah. He did. I just said “really?? Them are fighting words. I hate when people say that!” I didn’t get an apology and did I really expect one..No. but rude people. So, today I thought hmm. If he dropped a screw and I was busy getting the next board ready to be cut, I didn’t get it. He was on his own.  I even took the skill saw out and ripped our own scrap studs we needed….becaue he had to pick up his nails he dropped. 😜

Now, we asked and were told that interns bring their own lunches. We did have extra sandwiches. Today, we brought leftover pizza for our family as well. Actually a lot of us packed it for our lunches too.  We had lots left over. It seems we have tons of leftovers and we do not want to waste them. As I was inside using the bathroom and washing up, I said to the family, “we are going to eat now. Come on out. We brought you pizza if you want it.”  The interns faces lit up. I thought crap. I walked outside and said to the team leader, “Houston, we may have a problem.”  He was like oh well they are supposed to bring their own.  We had extra sandwiches so we decided to just hand them to them. The other day they did have lunch so who knows. Bill was like to me, don’t feed them. We don’t have to.  I wanted to deck him. What makes him think that he is the boss. He is not. At this point Jerry was there. I handed the interns the sandwiches.Jerry gave them water he had. You see, Bill is a newbie and he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand what our role is. The construction comes last, it is establishing relationships with the community and showing love and understanding. He doesn’t get it and keeps asking why our family lives like this, why don’t they get a job , etc. We try to explain, but he doesn’t get it. I actually gave up explaining. Now when he asks I just do not answer.  Now Jerry was helping the interns and showing them how to install the electric baseboard heater in the house. When they were done, they came out. They just stood there. Believe me, I got It. They didn’t feel useful. Finally they said that they were going to go for the day. I said okay and thanks for coming. They left.Bill said wow they left fast. I see how it works. I just said nonchalantly (of course I did 😀) well they were just standing. They had better things to do. I said ya know, the comments get to people. That was it. Then I went about my business. But whatever happened to respect?  Those interns live in this community. If Bill was watching, he would have noticed Anita and Jerry going over to them the other day with snacks, etc. These interns are trying to get money to better themselves and go to college. To break the cycle of poverty they are surrounded by. Ya know what? When we got back and unpacked our cooler, we had plenty of pizza to give them, plenty of bottled water, and plenty of snacks. Also, if you treated them with respect and worked with them and asked if they wanted to help nail, measurements, etc. I bet they would have stayed. They would have felt needed and as though they were there for a purpose. But that is just my two cents. I hate being negative, so am ending it.  I will let it go.

That being said, I have time for a twenty minute nap before dinner and our meeting. Yeah!

Mission Trip: Week 1 Work Day 3

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Ahhh!  I feel refreshed and awake!  Today was our leave work early day.  Paul makes it a rule that one day a week we leave our work site early and come back to Grace House to relax.  I have to say that I was looking forward to it.  I was tired last night.  You know you are tired when you fall asleep before anyone turns out the light in the bunk house and you wake up in a drool spot. I know…gross, but that means it was deep sleep.  Judge me, but I am just being honest.

Today we were outside working on the soffit.  I honestly felt annoyed today and I had some sarcastic moments.  I just feel that this one member of my team thinks that because I am a girl I can’t use a power tool. I have used an impact driver folks. As Susan said tonight at the meeting, “this girl was on a roof using the impact driver for days!”.  I do know that if I work with Susan when I am down here I will be using power tools. Oh well, I can let it go.  However, I felt useless because it seems as though I was holding a ladder, handing up screws, passing up a tape measure, and recording measurements. Then I was just standing around.  I was glad when one of the girls came out and said they set up the bedroom furniture they got from someone last night who was getting new stuff. I just went in the house and looked at it with her. Which,by the way, looks wonderful in the girls bedroom. They now have two beds and a dresser.  All they had before was a bunk bed.  It really looked good. Also, the mama was showing me some curtains she found. They were stained in spots. She had washed them but she said they left stains from the mold. However, she wants to hang them up. Also, today they got someone’s old kitchen table donated to them. The mom and her daughters were setting it up. They sat down at it, and they were smiling and happy.  I loved seeing this.  In my opinion it was more important for me to interact with the family than just watch people work.  The family, well I have fallen in love with. They are friendly and very appreciative. Everyday that we have been there they have worked on cleaning it up. Setting up the furniture they are getting, and having a great house.  Tomorrow, I am curious to see what they have done to the place. Hey, maybe tomorrow I will do a little more construction work.  Put it this way…..I think the guy got the hint as when he dropped the box of screws he had on the ladder and looked at me, I just looked at him and said, “yes let me pick them up for you. That is why you have a girl here.”  Yes, I was feeling a bit passive aggressive but come on people.  However, I am quite sure my team leader did, because I was then measuring and using the square and helping to cut the boards.  So, maybe it worked. The same thing happened the other day, so I took it upon myself to grab my hammer and some nails, and then start nailing down the subfloor.  I also used the skillsaw and cut my own pieces. The guy watched, and I did it right thank you! That is also why when Jerry and Anita come to check on us, I help Jerry. He lets me do stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I like my team.  My team leader is great.  He is funny and we bust chops. He lets me do things and use tools.  However, I am not going to let this one guy ruin it for me and I have learned to just show people what I can do rather than argue. Maybe it is because we have a small team, just three of us. Oh well.   Take matters into my own hands!😁😁

Anyway, we left early and came back to Grace House. Paul, myself, and another girl went to Jefferson National Forest to hike to the waterfall. It was great and refreshing.  First of all, it is a beautiful spot. Second, the water is refreshing and it is like you get two showers in one day 😁.  It was nice. I will post pictures when I return. After hanging out there, Paul took us to Frosty Bossy. Yum! Peanut butter milkshake. Not Daniel Plan approved but delicious. After that we went and got the pizzas for dinner. Best, the three of us had great discussions.  I didn’t really know this girl well until today while swimming at the falls and driving around to the spots we went to this afternoon.  Paul I knew from last year. But we all got to know each other. Also, I knew that Paul was seriously thinking about becoming a deacon. He made a comment last night at our meeting how he left his church and his position as their youth group leader. Today I asked him why. That just turned into a whole interesting conversation that the three of us had.  I found it very interesting and learned a lot.

So, we got back with the pizzas. Since we get to leave our work sites early today, the cooks get a night off. That is why we had pizza.  I guess today was not a healthy eating day. But, it was a great day!

Now, I am just laying low.  Relaxing. Paul and Susan went to get supplies. They are going to stop at a store for me and see if they can get a camera battery so we can maybe fix my camera. Jerry and Anita had to leave. I don’t feel like playing cards with the people I came down with. So, I am relaxing on the porch reflecting on today.

Hope you all have had a great day!

Mission Trip: Week 1 Work Day 2

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What a day!  After heavy rain all night and on and off in the morning, the skies opened and it was another hot, humid day in the Appalachians. However, we did drive off the mountain in some heavy fog.

It was a good work day. We fiinished the floor with the exception of the two areas that we need metal thresholds for. We will put them on our materials list for Paul to get.  I had never put in laminate tongue and groove floor before, so it was a new  experience for me.  That is what I love about here. You learn so many new things. I have a great team leader!  Very patient and great at communication so we get along well 😁.  Plus, we joke around a lot.  We do have one team member who I can’t get a feel for. But, it is his first time and he is the only newbie here for the week. Therefore, I understand where he is coming from. I was in his shoes last year.

Anyways, I am not sure if I am a fan of tongue and groove flooring. Getting it to line up and then tapping it in so you could not see the seams…We had a few issues in spots.  However, the homeowner’s son really likes to help.  So, he was a big help to us.  I really love, love, LOVE, LOVE how this family interacts with us. Again today, they came outside and we shared our lunches.  We have some great conversation. Anita and Jerry were at our site looking at electric boxes and taking measurements for some electric heaters we need to install for this family. They ate with us too. What is nice is that Anita knows the family well, especially the kids. This is because she worked at the school.  I say worked, because she just submitted her resignation. She told me they are so busy at Grace House, that she feels she needs to do this. Plus, she said she was not kept busy at the school.  Anyway, one girl in this family is going to be a senior. Anita really wants her to go on to college. Anita told them that I am a teacher too. We are trying to talk this girl into going on.  She has great goals and I am sure she can do it. Anita is going to look up some local college information for her and help her with getting scholarships and grants.  I will be curious to see what happens.

After lunch Jerry and I, with a little help from Anita, put up a ceiling fan .  The electrical work at this house is crazy.  We saw sparks but had the switches turned off.  We kept on going.  I am proud to say that we are still alive and the ceiling fan works. However, we could not turn it off.  In other words, the power was on the entire time we were installing it..which is why we saw the sparks😮. So, we had to use the pull chains we put on it to turn it off. We turned every switch in that room. I love Jerry and Anita.  Jerry and I have the same initials. So, we keep saying we are the JB and JB team. We had lots of fun . We always joke around.

One of the big highlights of my day was this: while we were working this morning a delivery came.  A family down the street donated their furniture to this family as they got new furniture. The family was happy.  As a matter of fact, when we got to the house this morning the family had cleaned up the kitchen.  I always notice this and it makes me happy. When we go in and start working, we motivate the families. We give them hope. So this family is starting to clean. They are very appreciative and grateful. You could tell that they were happy.  As a matter of fact, just before we left they were starting to move stuff. The boy asked us to help him move the couch. So it ended up that we helped them set up their family room.  It is not totally set up as we have tools and table saws and construction material around. However, they have what looks more like a family room.  That made me happy.

I want to go back and talk a little bit about last night.  First, our nightly meeting was awesome. We went around and told who we were and how we got involved with EAM. Then Paul went on about his experiences. We all said how we fell in love.  I asked Paul if he has difficulty going back home.  He and I had this great conversation.  He also has trouble leaving. So, I do not feel bad. He said that he tries to leave on Saturdays when everyone else leaves.  He said if he doesn’t then it is even worse being alone and leaving alone.  Therefore, our goal is to make sure all jobs are finished so we can leave with everyone else.  We shall see as he said numbers are low this year. Second, I loved doing compline. Here, we do the New Zealand compline. I love it. So, I was even happier to end our great meeting with compline.

Now, I am sitting on a swing after a much needed shower. I have read and am thinking of taking a nap before dinner.  I am tired today. I was up late last night. As a matter of fact I didn’t get back to the bunkhouse until almost 11.  Jerry and Anita and I were trying to fix my camera. It won’t charge.  I will look for a battery this weekend when we go into colbourn to do our laundry.  Paul said he thinks he knows where I can get one. Anyway, Anita was showing me pictures of the house where I am working this week.  This house was in sad sad shape. Plastic on the roof, the walls caving in,  bad floors, etc. As a matter of fact the kids were taken out of the home.  Obviously they are back now. It just made me sad.

Well no nap. The dinner bell just rand. Time to eat!

Mission Trip: Week 1 Day 1 of Work

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Well, first let me say that I will have to add photos when I get back. I have tried and the Kindle won.  Sorry, but you have to wait.

Day 1 of working was wonderful wonderful WONDERFUL!!! It could have been cooler, as it was hot and humid, but it was good.  Our host family is wonderful!!!! They were very welcoming and at lunch, they came out and ate the lunches we made for them right alongside us outside.  We had great conversations. I love this family.  They have a big garden and they have animals. They are still looking for homes for 2 kitties.  They are adorable.  I played with them for a bit.  The sweetest little kitties.  I would love to take one home with me, but I know that my cat would probably hate me. First, for leaving him. Second, for coming back with a kitten hahaha. They gave us some hot peppers to bring up to where we are staying. I love hot peppers so am happy. I was also introduced to lemon cucumbers. They do not taste like lemons, but look exactly like them. This family is very proud of their garden and they should be.

We have our work cut out for us. Anita said that Grace House has been sending groups to this house since March.  When done, it will be like they have a brand new mobile home.  Today we ripped up a bad, rotting floor in a hallway. Then, we started getting the floor ready.  We put some new wood down and hopefully tomorrow we can put the flooring down along with the molding.

Jerry and Anita were helping in the bathroom. They had some difficulty there.  A few trips to the hardware store and it was looking better. The bathroom has a new light and new plumbing under the sink.

We also have work to do outside.  I forgot, but know that Paul gave us our list.  I know that we have little things to do all around.  Those little projects can turn into if projects.  We know the rules, things are never level and square, and measure twice and cut once.

Jerry let me use his dremmel, which I probably have misspelled. I used it to cut out the old flooring down the hall and to cut the moldings around the door. I love that little tool!  He made me promise to return it, which I did when we got back.  Jerry and Anita are great teachers.

It was great to come back and take a shower.  You appreciate those 5 minute showers. We definitely came back hot, sweaty, and grimey.  Now, I am sitting on the porch and relaxing.  After this I am going to read the book Anita is letting me borrow.  I like it!

I am looking forward to day 2 and the adventure that awaits!

Ahhh..A day to Relax!

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Today, was a relaxing day.  It was a WONDERFUL day.  After sleeping I woke up feeling refreshed.  I was tired after traveling yesterday.  The bunk house was hot and stuffy though.  However, that did not stop me from sleeping!  I did just lay in my bunk and listen to the birds and nature this morning before crawling out and getting ready to go into town to the church.

The shower was wonderful!!! I did not care that it was on the cold side.  I needed it to get the grime off of me ha!  Then after I was ready and Susan was ready, her and I left earlier than the others and went into town.  Her allergies have kicked in awful and she wanted to get medicine, tissues, etc.  Plus, it gave us a chance to get caught up since I had not seen her to talk since last year.  We then went to the church.  We were a bit disappointed as the priest was not there, so it was just morning prayer.  However, it was nice to see people we recognized and got to know last year.  As always, they fed us breakfast after.  Also, kids were there so I had to join in with what they were doing while we were waiting for the congregation to finish cooking and getting things ready.  I got to play with them and we also painted.  We painted winter scenes because it was so hot.  I had lots of fun with them!

It was then time to eat.  The people there are wonderful and just move about and sit with us.  We chat and have a great time!  I love it!  It was nice.  We found out that the priest will not be here again next week.  His son is going to graduate so they are doing college visits.  I hope we get to see the priest and his family at least once. We shall see.

After we left we went to the store.  I spent the best ten dollars ever.  I could not find a clip on fan for my bunk.  However, they had a personal desk fan.  So I got that and with bungee cords it is now attached to my bed, and I have a nice breeze blowing on me tonight as I type this.

After that it was time to finish unpacking and get my new  bedroom home for the next couple of weeks ready.  It looks good.  I think I am organized for the week. Then Anita came and wanted to know if I wanted to go for a walk with her.  Of course I did.  We had a nice time and great conversation.  It was hot though. We came back and joined everyone on the porch.  We got talking about books.  Anita has the Nicolas Sparks book I have been wanting to read.  It is called The Longest Ride.  She said her daughter Stephanie, who is living with them now, has the movie.  So, we talked about how the book is always better.  She let me borrow the book.  I came in the bunk house and started reading it.  I like it so far. I took a break and also took a nice nap this afternoon. The goal is that after I finish the book, the three of us are going to watch the movie together

The church that came up tonight to feed us was really nice.  Actually, one of their parishioners paid a caterer who made all of the food. It was delicious. Homemade rolls, chicken, delicious salad, vegetables, and watermelon. Again, they sit, visit, and eat with us as well.  Then Deacon Preston, the deacon of the church, led us in compline.  I love compline! Tonight Anita and Stephanie sang and played the mandolin and guitar too. It was wonderful.  We ended with everyone singing Amazing Grace. It was great!

After the church group left, it was time for our nightly meeting. Since we only have 7 people total, we only have 2 groups.  What I love, love, LOVE about Episcopal Appalachian Ministries ( EAM) is that the home repair work comes second. What is most important, is developing a relationship with your host family. We interact with them, make a lunch for them before we leave Grace House in the morning, etc. My team and I are going to be working at a home with a family of 5.  This house has been worked on extensively this year and years past according to Anita and Jerry.  We will be doing some bathroom plumbing, some electrical work, putting up some gutters, and replacing a rotten floor.  So, we have our work cut out for us.  Paul is confident we will be busy and we will get lots accomplished as we interact with our family.  I will admit I am a bit overwhelmed as I don’t know about plumbing and stuff. But, I also had told Paul that I wanted to learn lots.  He listened to my request and I am glad.  We shall see. Plus, this is just week 1.

So, it was a great day. I got to relax, interact with people, have great fellowship with others, visit old and new friends, and it was wonderful! This is what I love about this mission trip. Plus, now that I know “the routine” I feel so much more at ease.  I feel comfortable here and happy.

On that note, I need to get some sleep.  The heat index is supposed to be hi 90-100. Plus, rain showers. But whatever happens, I know it will be wonderful!

I Made It!!

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I made it!!!  It has been a long day.  Set my alarm, but never actually turned it on.  I woke up with five minutes to spare.  Sent a text to say ten minutes please.  Definitely did a “roll and go” this morning.  It was a good thing the cat walked across me or I might not have even gotten up.  So, I felt rushed but made it.  Wish I had more time to spend with the cat, but just fed him and gave him fresh water.  Picked him up, said I love you, and that was it.

After that it was about 14 hours in a car.  It was an experience as I really didn’t know these people, but it worked.  Susan text me and she was already there and saved my bunk.  I am glad it was waiting for me when we pulled in.  It was wonderful to see Susan, Paul, Anita, and Jerry sitting outside waiting for us.  We hugged and smiled.  It was so great to see them all again.  We chatted for a bit.  I then carried my stuff to the bunk house and rolled out the sleeping bag, the jammies are on, and I washed my face. I brushed my teeth and here I am.  I am beat.

On that note, I am going to bed. Typing on a Kindle is hard for me, just warning you now.  Plus it is stifling in the bunk house.  I need sleep.  I need to get up, shower, and be ready to go off the mountain to church with Susan tomorrow by 8:15.  I am excited to see them as well.

Goodnight!

Ready or Not, Here I Come!

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Here it is –  The night before I leave.  I should be in bed, but I am doing the last minute things!  You know….. the little stuff.  But, I am ready now. If I forgot anything oh well.  I had to repack because I was notified that the weather is looking rainy and grim.  So, I did pack that rain gear.  Also added a book and downloaded more. If it is flood watches or tornado threats they won’t let us leave to work, so I will be hunkered down in a bunkhouse.  I also just cut up fruit and veggies for my snacks tomorrow. The little things are done and the cat is all set.  Actually, the cat is mad, but will get over it.  He has been laying on my bag all day.  Believe me, if I could I would take him!

So, I can’t sleep.  I know I have to be up in like 6 hours YIKES!  Yet, I can’t sleep because I am excited.  The people who I rode down with last year called me tonight.  It was a nice surprise to wish me the best.  Love them and will miss them this year.  I hope that I get a chance to call them while I am down there.  I will have to when in town on laundry day.

What I am looking forward to is seeing people I met, as well as meeting new people.  I do want to work at one of the houses I worked at last year, if possible.  However, they may not need anymore help.  I also want to meet new families down there.  I can’t explain it, but you meet people who are wonderful.  Many people have asked me why I am going again? What is the point? The point – you are helping people. BUT, and this is HUGE PEOPLE – those people that you are helping – I truly think that they help you too!  You are supposed to love God, love people.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  So very important. Treat others they way you want to be treated.  These people, we work on their homes and they are so thankful.  You see their spirits being lifted up.  They thank you over and over.  They talk to you and you talk to them.  They also lift up your spirits.

So, I will be up squirrelly early.  I will survive a bit of an unusual ride I am told.  The iPod is charged and the headphones are ready.  But I will survive, because in the end, I will be with EAM again.  It is so worth it! I would do anything to get back down there.  This is how it worked out this year.  It worked out – that is the most important part.  And, it can’t be totally bad weather the whole time I am gone.  Be positive.  There is always something that needs to be done at Grace House.  Anita and I want to look at designing new t-shirts.  I want to visit with people who I met last year who are coming again.  I want to show love and just be happy.  It is going to happen!

If you don’t hear from me, do not worry.  All will be well!  I will try to keep up, but like I said the other day- absolutely no guarantees.  I am going to try though.

Okay, going to try to make myself fall asleep.  I am going to bed in the dark and will be up in the dark.  But it is all good! Tomorrow this time I will be hunkered down in my sleeping bag, with a smile on my face! Happy to be at my “second home”.

My Cat is Smart!

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I am telling you, this cat is smart! He has been VERY clingy lately.  I know, he is a people cat.  I have not been around that much.  When I got back from my conference in Georgia I was tripping over him.  Since I have packed for my mission trip he has been shedding.  I really thought it was the weather.  Someone mentioned it could be nerves because he knows…….I am going to leave him again.  Don’t get me wrong.  he will be taken care off properly. So, at night or during the day he is right by my side.  If I am doing schoolwork and have papers spread out he sprawls out over them.  He loves to pull my bookmarks out of my books and find new homes for them.  He will hide pencils and pens! If I am on the computer in a chair he will hop up an lay across the laptop. I  LOVE him!  However, I need to give him his Frontline treatment.  Need I say more?

I was invited to dinner tonight.  It was a “Farewell Dinner”.  Well, that is what I am calling it to humor myself haha.  Too long of a post!  So I got home late.  I think he knew what was going to happen. He did not greet me at the door like he always does.  I went to get the box of Frontline out of the cupboard.  I fed him.  He came. Dinner time always works!  He saw the little tube.  That was all it took!  He is hiding out under the table refusing to come out.

What do I do? I have decided to blog hoping he will think I am doing what I do and he will come up and lay on the computer.  So far, no luck!  I want to do this now and NOT the last night before I leave.  I already know that when I do give him his treatment (and I WILL!) he will not sleep at the foot of the bed or curled up by my head.  NOPE, he never does.  He will be fine the next day when he gets over his hissy fit. So I can’t do this to him on our last night together before my trip.  He has proven that he is smarter than the big fluff of fur people call him.  He has also proven that he does not need to be cuddly.

Wish me luck!