Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our last day

It's always bittersweet, our last day, that is. We can relish in our accomplishments of the week but we then have to say goodbye to our gracious hosts that have become friends over the week. What it dosen't mean is a lazy day! Typically Friday is a half day of work so that we may head back north over two days instead of the epic one day journey on the way down.

It has become tradition to write a scripture passage on side of the house and this year we chose this one from 1 Corinthians.

This Friday was no different. The roofing crew were quick to get back up there and get going, wanting to finish the backside of the roof and start the front portion. Another group were given the task of beginning to run the wiring inside the house, some youth continued on the shed, some started to wrap the house with a Tyvec type product and others spent part of the morning sorting nails!

Work stopped just after noon and we had a wonderful lunch prepared by Stephanie & Lance before we said our goodbyes for another year. Herb (site foreman) promises to come and visit sometime this summer and we look forward to the opportunity to show him where we live.

After a group photo at the front of the house, we loaded up and headed north. We made a stop in Tyson's Corner to get out of the Washington rush hour traffic....and a little shopping, and then continued to Harrisburg, PA where we would spend the night.

Thanks for the letters from Robert & the Macauley Family.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Roofers Unite!

The day started off with folks heading straight for the roof on both the house and the shed. Our progress is surprising everyone including ourselves. We can't believe that we will be heading for home tomorrow. The week has passed by so quickly and we have been welcomed and hosted by the incredible folks here in Kilmarnock. The various church families who have hosted us for Sunday service, prepared lunches, and served us dinner. They have all been integral in the building of this house. God has supported us throughout the week and the prayers and kind words from our KUC family have been a part of each of our evening. The youth have been busy building the shed and should have it shingled by the time we leave after lunch tomorrow.

This is the verse we placed on the side of the house. We all signed our names and will be part of the house forever.

Here are a few (of many) pictures that show some of the progress of today and the teamwork that this build has been all about.

Tonight we were hosted by Nan & Ernie for a BBQ at their home on a creek that feeds into Chesapeake Bay. Donna & her son Shaq joined us for a few mintues before heading out to Shaq's concert in the school band where he plays the trombone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hooray for Roof Trusses

Wednesday is usually our day to be a tourist but since it was such a beautiful day, we decided to work on the build site. Today was all about trying something new! We arrived on site with blue sky and a little bit of fog. It was a very serene site as we drove up in the morning. But there was no time to waste! There were roof trusses to be hoisted and a shed to be built.

Under the guidance of Gil and themselves, the youth got started with building the shed at the rear of the house, while the other half of the group started hoisting the roof trusses up to the top.

It didn't take long! By lunchtime, all the trusses were in place and the frame of the shed was done.

After lunch, we had the opportunity to see the fruits of last years labour with a visit to Pearl's house next door. Pearl was so gracious and hugged everyone that entered. Eileen presented her with a prayer shawl that the knitters at Kanata United had prepared. The rest of the afternoon was filled with more of the same activity - lots of ladders, cutting, hammering, nails and fellowship.

Since we were supposed to be touring, we made our own dinner plans. The youth went into town and had dinner at Lee's restaurant and the adults returned to Rose's for a wonderful seafood meal. We all ate so much that we shared one dessert amongst most of us, passing the creme caramel around the table and each taking a spoonful - if that isn't sharing a meal, not sure what is.

We are truly blessed! Halleluia, Amen!
Thank you for your letters Angela and Kathi.

Off to bed - the fresh outside air today has tuckered us out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top O'the Mornin' to ya!

St. Patrick's Day! It was a green day on the build today. John arrived with a smashing green tam, folks were decked out in green shirts (under their layers) and wonderful head pieces and even had St. Paddy's inspired cupcakes for lunch.

The day started with the building of the last two walls and cutting out the door & window openings. It was another dreary day to start (very Irish indeed with a light mist in the air) and quite cool which required a coffee and hot chocolate run to warm folks up mid morning.

After the break, folks began to build the interior walls and after lunch those installations began. By the end of the day, the all interior walls had been installed and the house is ready for the roof trusses! It is supposed to be very nice tomorrow - finally some sun! Ruth has just come back inside from the van saying all the stars are out and not a cloud in the sky - hopefully that means a wonderful day is in store. It would certainly dry up some of the worksite which is starting to look like a barnyard with all the straw we have put around to help soak up some of the water. Donna should have some good "compost" for gardening once they get to that stage.

The young people left the site a little early to go and hang out with some local high school students. Talk to them about Canada (the map came out and some postcards used to show off our fair city), and life as a teenager. Our youth brought t-shirts and other items from each of their schools to share with folks which were a great hit.

For dinner, we were treated to a wonderful Irish meal starting with a wonderful potatoe soup with cabbage on top, followed by Cornbeef & carrots. We had an impromtu St. Paddy's inspired variety show with Robert singing with 2 backup dancers, Megan, Claire & Ella showing off their Irish dancing skills, then Megan and Kate sung a song together, and John & Ruth shared some Irish jokes. All in all a wonderful evening.

Thanks for your wonderful letter Jan & Bob.

Here are some wonderful signs we have experienced today!

Some comments from our youth:

  • "My knees hurt!"
  • "Hammering nails is a lot harder than it looks. But I am getting better (sort of)"
  • "Well we got 2 walls up so now we have half a house. The time passed really quickly. I can actually hammer a nail now. That's what I accomplished today."
  • Challenge: Staring using "y'all" in everyday communication.
  • Quote of the day: "I will be behind you to catch you if you fall".
  • Adult Quote of the day: "Your order is ready at the wood pick up window"

Two walls are up...

I couldn't get the photos to work with the last post and I figured that they warranted their own post. We had great success today....lets celebrate with a little hand praise!

Monday, March 16, 2009

If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning....

The sounds of hammers echoed through the air today on Pond Park Road as we started our work on Donna's house. When we arrived, this is what we saw. A house foundation with floor joists in place and half of the joists covered. We would have a busy day of building ahead of us - just hoping that the grey clouds overhead would not turn into the rain that had been forcasted. Luckily it didn't and we had a great day of building. The raindrops waited until the very end of the day to appear.

We started the day with a safety talk from Herb. Suited everyone up with their hard hats, tool belts and safety glasses and off we went to work. The worksite is very wet and covered in clay / mud so we were able to bales of straw that were spread around the areas that most of the traffic would travel - it certainly made a huge difference. Once that was done, some folks finished covering the joists with the plywood floor, some insulated the crawlspace walls, some put together the headers, some built ladders for the roof overhangs and others made sure that tools and nails were readily available. Everyone had a place in the process.

Today's work even included some wildlife rescue. Since the ground is so wet and there are plenty of still pools of water, the Spring Peepers were out and plenty of them in the foundation area of the house. These are the tiny frogs with the very big voices so we thought it might be better to get them out of the foundation, so we did.

We were treated to some wonderful fried chicken for lunch thanks to the folks at Chesapeake Bank. Donna came out with Paula to deliver the feast. After lunch we continued with building the walls - our goal - to raise them by the end of the day! And Voila!

The evening was another wonderful meal of BBQ = pulled pork sandwiches, homemade baked beans, coleslaw and applesauce. There were plenty of sweets to complete the meal. All prepared by the loving hands of congregants from Grace Episcopal Church. The youth had the opportunity to "hang" with some of the youth from the church. It is Elise's birthday today so we gave her a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday followed by a tossing of marshmallows - it was more like a pelting of marshmallows but Elise thought it was a great surprise (this was something that Amy, a friend of Elise's instigated).

Some of the words used to describe today were: Spring Peepers, "The Power of the Saw", Cat's Paw, Precision or Persuasion, "Getter' Done", There are no stupid questions.., inspiring, accomplishment.

Thanks for your letter Bob.

Give me that Old Time Religion

We got to sleep in this morning! 8:00am or so. Church didn't start until 11:00am, so all in all a pretty lazy morning - especially with the drizzle outside.

John showed up at the hotel and after hugs and handshakes to renew friendships we were off to Mount Olive Baptist Church, a good old southern gospel church. Plenty of gospel music, powerful, physical preaching, and wonderful, southern hospitality. This church is also in a time of transition. Rev. Jenkins was a guest preacher who the congregation will be voting on whether to bring him on as an Interim Minister. Some folks in our group had already spoken with Rev. Jenkins not knowing that we were going to the same church for services. His sermon was titled "Can God Trust You?"

After the 2 hour service (yes, the service was 2 hours, but we aren't going to suggest this as a recommendation to Eileen & Angela) we returned to the hotel for some R&R time. Some napped, some shopped.

We donned our group shirts and headed to Wicomico Parish Church - Episcopal, for a wonderful dinner and fellowship. We were able to meet Donna and her youngest son Shaq, her daughter and two grand-daughters. We presented her with the quilt and she was extremely thankful for it - I did emphasize the point that it was to be used and not hung on a wall.

Back to the hotel for a movie and our nightly community meeting. Thank you for your letter Harold & Carolyn.

Off to bed as tomorrow morning will come early. Praying that the rain will go away and the sun will shine through.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Some thoughts from the Burgundy Van...

This year, we thought we would give you a taste of the trip from different perspectives along the way. These are some of the notes taken from the Burgundy Van from yesterday. At least the first part of the journey.

And I quote from the "journal"......

Day 1 - March 14th.

Made it through Friday the 13th unscathed except for Kate's problem with her van's tire and Sue being "required" to take an upgrade of a Yukon.

Hwy 401 - a little excitement outside of Brockville - a big scene with first a cloud of blue smoke from a big white van before a fireball exploded from underneath - just as we passed "kaboom" - Yikes! Robert reported from the rear of our caravan that he saw the driver get out okay - "whew"

Spent some time "cooling out heels" before crossing the first toll bridge to the USA - due to "traffic volume", people escaping the Great White North.

10:00am and waiting to cross the border - Sue was in the "right" lane, cleared hours ago. Shelley is looking for the "ladies room". She knew she should have brought that "porta-pee-er for women" - free Timmies was too hard to resist.

So just as we are next in line to clear customs, everything stops - big red cone and officer leaves.

- as written by the passengers of the Burgundy Van.

Something else we have started to do to keep us occupied is looking for funny signs - you have to fill 15 hours somehow. Here are some of our favourites to date:

Restaurant: Spiedie's Rib Pit
Garden Centre: Turkeyfoot Nursery
At the Wawa Service Station: "Bug Prep Area"
Street Sign: Box of Gourds Road

My favourite: Slow Church in Session

We Made It!

It is just after midnight and we are finally settled in our rooms and anxious to crawl into a nice warm bed...at least I am!

Left the church just after 7:00am with Alex and a few parents waving us on our way. We had our regular Timmies stop in Mallorytown and had one roll up the rim to win winner - a donut I think.

It was a long trip with a few hiccups...it took us almost an hour and half to get across the bridge and through Customs (it has never taken us more than about 15 mintues...), we watched the under part of a truck cab burst into movie style flames, we now know that a large drink in the US = many pits stops and one of the vans has a leaky tire which needed filling regularly....we are on top of getting it fixed.

Stopped at Wendy's for lunch, Cracker Barrel for dinner and a variety of gas stations along the way. It was wonderful to see the snow all gone and the green grass growing and I think the trees out front of the hotel are actually in bloom. I can confirm this in the morning when I see them in the daylight.

God has many things in store for us...now we just have to wait and see.

The quote on Shelley's desk calendar for today is:
"When you engage in fulfilling the needs of others, your own needs are fulfilled as a by-product"

How very appropriate for the beginning of this journey.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

They are waiting....

Hard to believe that we are not just a couple of days from leaving. All the paperwork is signed and everything is in order, or at least I think it is. And the weather....well we can't do anything about that so hopefully God will take care of that.

The folks in Kilmarnock are anxiously waiting our arrival and have plenty for us to do and keep us busy and well fed. This picture was sent earlier in the week to give us an idea of where we would be starting from. God willing, it looks like we may be raising walls on the first day! What an amazing feeling that will be!

We hope that you will enjoy our journey vicariously through this blog and will look forward to sharing the experience with all of you upon our return.

God Speed.