Though all love originates in God and is for that reason God's own love, yet we are permitted to catch and reflect back that love in such manner that it becomes our love indeed, in much the same way that sunlight reflected from the moon becomes moonlight. - A.W. Tozer

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Load 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out

This is our very last week in Crisfield, and at the risk of sounding cliche, it is a bittersweet time. We are looking forward to being on our own soon, and enjoying some quality family time, but we will certainly miss our new friends here at MDS and in the community.

For example, a few weeks ago we had a group of 21 young ladies from Indiana and Ontario. They were a lot of fun, and the kids had a blast playing games with them in the evenings. They played musical chairs, slap, spoons, human pyramid, and more.

When the girls left, they gave Aaron (who was the crew leader for 8 of them) a bonnet. Since it wasn't really his style, he handed it over to Mim. She thinks it's great, and I love the incongruity of the bonnet and the x-box controller or the sweat pants.

Mim became the second-string sous-chef, and has been helping Ms. Frey and Ms. Bender in the kitchen. The kids helped shape and deliver soft-pretzels to the crews once a week, and I've been reliably informed that we have to make those pretzels when we're on our own, too.

The weather has been pretty rough for our last two
 weeks here, as if the Bay is trying to make sure that we don't miss it too much. We've had now, cold winds, very low temperatures, and the bay frozen solid all the way out to the islands. It's pretty, but not my cup of tea. Speaking of which, I've been drinking a lot of tea, and thinking with the occasional guilty pang about the men and women out on the job sites.

Everyone has been working hard, but I'm especially impressed with the crew that has been framing, undaunted by the cold temps and the snow. They were excited to stop for pretzels when the ladies arrived, and the neighbor's dog was pretty thrilled with the proceedings as well.

 Here's something I won't miss. When it gets cold enough our pipes freeze inside the trailer, so we have to bring water out to the bunk house for flushing, washing dishes, brushing teeth, etc. I will be glad to hit warmer climates soon so I can have access to running water as if I still lived in a first-world country.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dashing Quickly Through a Winter Wonderland

We finally got snow here in Crisfield. I know that makes it sound like I really wanted it to come, and that's not the case. My children, however, were ecstatic. They've been watching the forecast like hawks, hoping for snow, and been disappointed countless times over the last few weeks. It's here now, though, and there's no denying it. When we stepped out of our RV this morning, it was to a good (?) nine inches of snow, but a very nice volunteer had already shoveled our walk, so getting into the bunkhouse for breakfast was a piece of cake- white, frosty cake.

Mim put bowls outside yesterday for the purpose of snow ice cream collection. We made a big batch this morning, and it's in the MDS freezer now, waiting for all the brave people who are willing to try it. (The kids have already had two bowls each.) For all you ice cream purists out there, no, I didn't use raw eggs. *shudder*

The kidlets finished all their school work this morning, (No, you don't get snow days in our school.) and then they went out to build forts and generally make each other cold and wet. It's still 23 degrees outside, after all.  Usually it goes something like this:  Zaya gets cold and wants to come inside, and Mim is annoyed because she's not done playing but absolutely hates playing all by herself...or doing anything all by herself, actually. That child is a people person! Today, though, Zaya outlasted her, thanks to some imaginary adventure that kept him occupied. Mim said she was getting hot. Whatever.

Luckily we had just enough clean clothes for them to change into something warmish when they were done. I really need to do laundry again. It's amazing how often you have to wash clothes when you pare your wardrobe down to the essentials, but live around people so you have to limit your re-use ratios.

The crews are all out working. In fact, Aaron's been working the last two days in a house with no heat at all because they don't even have all the drywall installed yet. Yesterday they put up siding in the frigid temps, but I'm hoping they're at least working inside today. Every time I start to feel whiny because of how cold I am, I think of him and all those girls (We have tons of girls this week, oddly enough.). They're so much tougher than I am. I just run back and forth to the RV for laundry or school supplies or to take a quick picture of the kids. Then I'm done.

Hope all my loved ones are staying warm and enjoying their own winter wonderlands. I have to say I'm looking forward to points south, where we hope to be by mid-March. I'm just a zone 9 flower in a zone 6 world.

Update: These are the girls that helped Mim and I get the pick-up unstuck after we got the mail today. Yes, I got the truck stuck in the snow making a simple turn. Luckily Mr. Ken and his lovely crew of ladies were working right down the street and could help us out. They've been mudding drywall today, in case you couldn't tell.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Building on the Rock

Life is a whirlwind of activity here in Crisfield. We have a full house of volunteers every week, so work on the jobsites is progressing at a very rapid pace. We're currently working on six different houses, which are at varying levels of completion. They range from stud walls only, to lacking nothing more than a wipe of a cleaning cloth and the handing over of keys.

Of course, I say "we", but it's Aaron who does all the work on the houses. The kids and I try to stay busy back at the bunk house, cleaning in the dining room, keeping the RV picked up enough that you could walk from one end to the other without tripping if need be, and doing schoolwork at the big white tables.

This weekend, though, we toured around town with Aaron. We had a chance to see the progress on the various houses, and the kids got to help Aaron put a few things in a big crawl space. (Crawl spaces in Crisfield should actually  be called "stoop spaces" because after the flood waters caused by Sandy, the houses all have to be pretty high off the ground.)

We said good-bye to our January cooks this weekend, and welcomed a new cook. This is always hard because we become very attached to the cooks since we're here around the bunkhouse with them most of each day. Sam, Pat and Rachel will be sorely missed, but our new cook seems like a lot of fun, so we look forward to getting better acquainted.

Departures in general are, by far, the most difficult part of volunteering. You meet so many great people each week/month, then you have to say goodbye. If it weren't for the knowledge that I will get to see them all again someday (in eternity, that is, if not here on earth), I don't think I'd be able handle it all. As it is, we get lots of hugs and write letters and email and thank the Lord daily for Mark Zuckerburg and his little invention called "Facebook." (I know, there's some debate about that, but if you're a Winklevoss fan, write your own blog.)