Second Proposal

July 25 was the day we left the farm for the long journey to Danforth, Maine.  Two thousand miles lay ahead of us and our August SOWER assignment.   We were going to Living Waters Bible Camp near Danforth.  This time we were taking the car and not pulling a camper.  Living Waters has a cottage for us to stay in for the month.  Since we had just had the motor replaced in our pickup this seemed like a good idea.  

Loading the car instead of the camper was a whole new ballgame. The trunk on our car is big but would it hold all we like to take on this journey for a month in Maine.  We loaded the car on the 25th and headed down the road about 1pm that day.  The first leg of the journey was just to our daughter’s house for an overnight stay.  

On our third day we stopped in Granville, OH to visit the farmer’s sister.  He was born on her 14th birthday and she had never forgiven him for messing up her special day.  It was fun to see her new place and eat lunch with her and hear them reminisce together.  


We spent one full day in Niagara Falls and had a room close to the park.  Since this is supposed to be a place for honeymooners, I mentioned to the farmer that maybe he could propose here.  We’ve only been married for 49 years, after all.  As we were walking by Bridal Veil Falls he handed the phone to a young man and asked him to snap our picture.  He got on his knees and proposed to me.  After 49 years, I still said, “yes”.  

She still says, “yes!”

We walked 7.5 miles that day around Niagara Falls and did the Hurricane Deck walk below Cave of the Winds.  We got so wet but really enjoyed seeing the falls from the bottom.  Spectacular views of God’s glorious creation were staggering to us.  The power of those falls spoke vehemently of our Creator’s majestic power.  

God’s Rainbow Promise of the Niagara Falls

After a night in Massachusetts, we were finally in Maine.  As we drove along the interstate, we knew we were right along the coast of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean but were unable to see it.  At just the right moment, the Lord had us turn off onto highway 1 and go to Orgunton, ME.  We turned at just the right spot in town and came to a beach area.  There was a spot for 30 minute parking.  We grabbed the spot and headed to the beach where we got to step in the ocean.  The beach was beautiful and I’m sure we looked pretty funny with the farmer in his cowboy boots and hat and his bride just wanting to put her feet in the ocean.  The farmer snapped a picture of his bride just as the tide was rolling in and covered my legs up to my knees.  The farmer got water up to the top of his boots but not over them.  It was perfect and we knew it was a delightful gift from God. The beach goers cheered us on and celebrated our cowboy/farmer getting his jeans wet while they lounged in their bathing suits and beach clothes.  

Welcome to Maine, finally!

Thank you God, our giver of perfect gifts. 


Beautiful Clouds

“Born as a cousin, made as a friend.”

Byron Pulsifer

“God made us cousins because He knew our mothers could not handle us as siblings.” Unknown

Oh, what a couple of cousins could think up and plan to do. One child wouldn’t think of doing it but put several cousins together and the possibilities are inexhaustible. The imaginations are on full tilt. An old threshing machine becomes a pirate ship or a rocket ship. Pastures and barb wire fences are put there to climb through or over. Farm ponds yield the greatest fishing challenges. Ponies were made for cousins to ride. Lawnmower tractors were made to pull wagons full of cousins.

My cousins were and still are some of my best friends. The adventures we had and the imaginations we used to accomplish all kind of missions were phenomenal.

Our parents loved to gather together and they preferred kids to not be seen or heard. We cousins preferred that too. So away we went all over the entire ranch. We were cowboys and we were Indians. We were wild adventurers. We didn’t come back to reality until our tummies told us it was time for food.

Cousins and the Farmer at the Soda Fountain

Cousin Camp was formed because of this Grammies’ fond memories of times with her dear sweet cousins. My desire was to have my grandkids experience the fullness of cousin friendships.

Tie Dye shirts are a must!

We started this tradition a few years ago and attempt every summer to gather the twelve grands for a food and fun fest. Grammie plans and plans and tries to fill each day with craft projects, experiments, games and theme based fun. The Farmer is always recruited to assist with the woodworking project and any other spots that need filled. This year he had to make big dice for a yard Yahtzee game, giant feet for a Big Foot Relay, and a flyswatter golf game. He is sure handy to have around.

Yard Yahtzee

FUN! We had such fun and enjoyed being together. They love playing wall ball, corn hole, hunted, and throwing balls over the barn roof.

“Time passes and we may be apart, but cousins always stay close at heart.”

Nine Cousins with Projects

“A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”

Marion C. Garretty

SOWER Roundup and Friendships

Texas Roundup of SOWERS in Big Sandy, Texas

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.

Amy Poehler

The SOWER Texas Roundup was held at the Alert Academy in Big Sandy, TX just before we headed home from our assignment there. Sixteen other camper couples joined us for three days of fun, games , instruction and fellowship. SOWER stories of projects and experiences filled each moment. New friendships and connections were carved. Acquaintances became true friends and talented people were discovered. These retired couples join forces each month to serve the Lord God in many and varied ways. The mission is the same; make a difference in some way in the lives of those they come in contact.

Plastic Easter Eggs and a Leaf Blower
Jelly Beans and a Board

Gail Fieler had some great game ideas and everyone participated. Peeps were shot with rubber bands, jelly beans were balanced on a popsicle stick and rolled down a board. A talent show was enjoyed by all. One couple had a hole in their bucket!

Thompson’s with “A Hole in their Bucket”

The SOWER couples also collated bound booklets of the book of John and of Romans. We were able in two hours to collate 1400 booklets. These books of scripture will be sent to the Philippines. Some were collated earlier in the Thai language to go to Thailand. Fertile fields will receive these seeds from this group of SOWERS.

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Collating Scripture Booklets for Overseas Fields
A Delicious Banquet was enjoyed by all.
Beautiful Camping

Following this wonderful Roundup for SOWERS we embarked on the journey home. Our hearts were warmed by new friendships and experiences. One woman that I hadn’t met before became an instant heart sister in the Lord. We were kindred spirits. Praising the Lord for this opportunity.

Dogwood and Easter

Dogwood Trees

There’s nothing more majestic than a dogwood in spring, decked out with fabulous flowers! To some people, though, dogwoods hold a deeper meaning. The legend of the dogwood tree is an age-old story that tells the story of this magnificent tree and how it become the tree we know and love today.

Our story begins almost two thousand years ago in Israel. If you ventured into the forests of Israel at that time, you would have seen plenty of sturdy oaks, lofty cedars, walnut trees, and more—all of which are fine and noble trees, loved and used by carpenters.

However, one tree was prized above all others: the mighty dogwood. Back then, the dogwood lacked its distinct fruits and flowers, but it was still impressive, rising taller than any oak or cedar. Its wood was strong, hard, fine-grained, and easy to work with. It had no equal, and it was constantly in demand.

During this time, a simple carpenter was declared King of the Jews and was sentenced to death. The method of execution? Crucifixion. And the tree used to fashion the iconic wooden cross? A dogwood.

According to the legend, the dogwood felt great sorrow for the role it played in Jesus Christ’s death. While on the cross, Jesus sensed the tree’s anguish, and he decided to transform it so that it could never again be used in crucifixion. From that point on, the dogwood was no longer a tall, stately forest tree. Rather, it became a small and shrub-like tree with thin and twisted limbs.

Full Bloom at Easter

Jesus was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. Three days later, he rose from the dead. At the same time, the dogwoods in the forest burst into bloom, and they continue to do so right around Easter in what is believed to be a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

While the dogwood tree never again took part in an execution, it’s still said to carry the marks of Jesus’ crucifixion. Its four large petals represent the cross he died upon, and each petal displays four red-tinged notches that are said to represent four nail holes. And in the center of each flower is a green cluster that is symbolic of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Alas, the legend of the dogwood most likely originated in the United States in the 20th century. They are not native to the Middle East, nor would they have been found growing there in Jesus’ time. Nevertheless, the legend persists, and many Christians revere the beloved dogwood as it continues to remind them of Jesus’ love and sacrifice.

After all, I don’t see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood. – Author: Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The article on the dogwood tree was written by Bower and Branch. Happy Easter. Christ the Lord is Risen today.

Final Week

Fountain at Alert Academy
Important Tool for This Project

The men found channel lock pliers priceless at this assignment. The damage done by the unexpected freeze here in Texas was devastating. They worked in 9 different bath houses and fixed leaks in all these bath houses where lines had frozen. Every time they turned the water on they found more lines broken in the walls and shower heads. They changed out at least 63 shower heads and fixed many leaks in walls and ceilings. The Farmers plumbing experience was much needed. The Lord brought in just the right team for this assignment.

Beautiful Scenery “Green”

The shirts you see in the picture below are a product of the work of the SOWER women. We took shirts apart and resized them. After graduation and promotions we sewed on new stripes. Flags were sown on sleeves and a quilt top was completed. It was a wonderful team of women we are all dreading saying goodbye. Lasting friendships were made and our appreciation and gratitude for our Savior is abundant.

Prayers were answered! Healing and health challenges were overcome. Great is our God and His faithfulness is true.

Alert Academy Cadets

A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

Dinah Maria Craik

My new friend Jackie led me to the quote above. She taught me many new things and with her breath of kindness blew away the chaff. 😊Many true friends were found in this place.

God Bless America

Second week at Alert Academy has our team working on the same types of projects.  The women are still in the sewing room and the men are replacing plumbing and shower heads in the many bath houses on this campus.  The massive amount of damage the freeze had on this facility is heart rending. This is a very large campus with many shower houses. This deep freeze caught much of Texas unaware. The sewing room is busy with putting new patches on the cadets’ shirts due to graduations and promotions.

Face on a Tree?

This tree with the huge lump on it, is across from our campsite.  Many questions come to mind as to how and why this occured.  What happened along lifes’ journey for this tree that made this deformity?  All of us are dealing with deformities.  Not all of them are visible.  Some wounds have tons of scar tissue over and around them.  Some wounds are inside.  Wounds can be very troublesome if they are bumped or scabs are pulled off.  No one else can understand the pain that has made the wound and the only one who can heal it is Jesus.  Let’s give Him our deformities and our pain and let Him heal them completely.  

Interview for Class Project

The young men here are such an inspiration!  We have such hope for our nation as we watch these men treat us with such dignity and respect.  They are a delight.  They have a wonderful curriculum here and their classes are challenging.  We hear them at 5 am marching and calling a cadence.  Some of the young men interviewed the SOWER men as one of their assignments.  They were to learn about financial decisions the men have made in their lives and what they wish they had done differently.  

A newspaper was discovered in one of the rooms here from 1944.  One of the headlines read “ FDR will Pray for Nation tonight from Washington, DC.” It brought tears to my eyes as there is nothing like that coming out of Washington, DC at the present time from the Office of the President.  However, seeing the future generation that is here at Alert Academy gives us hope for our nation and for a new revival of a desire for Jesus.  

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.

Harry S. Truman
Cadet Teddy R. Bear

I brought along my old bicycle and have really been enjoying riding it on this beautiful campus.  Exercise is much needed as they feed us really well.  We have some kind of homemade bread every meal.  I think this old farm wife will get spoiled here.  It’s such a treat and the salads at every meal are delicious.  They have many mouths to feed and they feed those hungry recruits well and they feed us old SOWERS well also.

Bicycle Built for One

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in the United States where men were free.

Ronald Reagan

We are Blooming!

The Courage of Jim Elliot

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Jim Elliot
Forging Extraordinary Men at Alert Academy

The cadets here at Alert Academy presented a book report on the study of missionary Jim Elliot, who gave his life on the field in Ecuador in 1956. They were struck with his courage to take his faith in the Almighty God all the way to Ecuador. The life he could not keep he gave freely that many would be saved. Jim Elliott’s widow returned to Ecuador for two years following his death and many of the Auca people that had murdered her husband were saved.

The cadets training here are learning to be strong men of faith. Men of courage. Men able to stand for their families and hold fast to integrity, camaraderie and purpose. Alert Academy forges young men through intentional discipleship, and intense training environment, and real-world service opportunities. They have several different programs and phases young men can be trained for.

Wherever you are – be all there.

Jim Elliot

Our SOWER group is fortunate to be here for the month of March. As retired couples volunteering at this Academy, we have been encouraged and refreshed by this polite group of young men. We have all said that this group gives us hope for the future of our country. They are respectful, courteous, purposeful and love the Lord.

Sewing for this Academy and for the cadets has been the work for the four women of our group. We have sewed flags on uniforms, made new shirts for the cadets, worked on quilts with the signatures of this cadet class on them and anything else our sewing leader, Jane has for us to do. This sewing room is one very busy place on which the whole facility relies. The cadets here are expected to look sharp and professional. New cadets are given uniforms to wear and they are to keep them in good shape and laundered and starched.

Sewing Room

The farmer and the men in the SOWER group have been helping this facility recover from the very unusual freeze that occurred in February here in Texas. They have been repairing frozen and broken water lines. In a facility this size there are many and they find new ones everyday. Seventy eight p-traps in the drains had to be replaced and that is just the start of the repairs needed.

Frozen Water Lines

Tom and his wife Jane work here full time but as a side ministry they collate and staple thousands of booklets in several languages to send the gospel around the world. They took on an order of 35,000 booklets to send to Thailand. The booklets have the books of John and Romans in them. Tom and Jane have done this ministry on the side for many years. Just one bale of paper costs $450.00 but they can get 16,000 of these little booklets out of that bale. We assisted them last evening collating, stapling and cutting these booklets. It was thrilling to think that this Word of God would soon be in Thailand in the hands of someone, who could perhaps for the first time in their life, read God’s word in their own language.

Tom Sacrificing Time and Money to get the Word around the World

The smile and delight on Tom’s face declare the joy, absolute joy, he has in getting the Word of God to the remote places of the earth.

Lord, make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life may be an exhibit to the value of knowing God.

Jim Elliot

Travel Mercies

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

Gustav Flaubert
On The Road Again

Departing the ranch of my grandparents brought with it a mixture of emotions. But a new adventure and project was ahead in Big Sandy, Texas at the Alert Academy. It had rained the night before but we knew we had a rough rock road that would get us to the highway. The red mud got all over the pickup and camper but soon we were on the main highway. We stopped to eat a quick lunch in the camper and were on the road again.

Twenty miles from our destination, we were going slowly through a town on a very busy highway when a terrible noise occurred. A parking lot in front of a dentist office was available for immediate pull in. The right wheel of the pickup was about to fall off. It appeared that the axle on the pickup was damaged. The wheel had no lug nuts left on it and would have fallen off in a few more feet. We felt very blessed and protected that we were not going 65 miles per hour instead of 20 and that the wheel didn’t come off and cause someone else an accident also. The perfect parking lot was available for us to pull into immediately.

Live your life by a compass. Not a clock

Stephen Covey

We contacted our travel insurance and they dispatched a tow truck immediately. The pickup was towed to a repair shop and some wonderful SOWER friends, we hadn’t even met yet, came to tow our camper the last twenty miles to the project site.

Our pickup will be in the shop waiting for parts for a week but we are safely on site for our project and ready to go to work. There are a million things to be thankful for in this situation. Angels were watching over us. The prayers of our friends and church are even more precious to us. New friends that think nothing of going the extra mile for unknown people in trouble are priceless.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

Helen Keller

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Precious Memories

Welcome to Blackburn

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.

Marcy DeMaree

With another SOWER (Servants on Wheels Ever Ready) assignment on the horizon we departed our little house on the prairie and headed south. South seems like a good place to go in the winter. However this winter has seen freezing temperatures all the way to Mexico. We had twenty below zero at the little house on the prairie.

Loading up all of the dutch ovens and heading south until we found a place to use them outside seemed like a reasonable idea. Our dutch ovens weigh more than our little 19 foot camper. Okay that is not absolutely the truth. They are heavy but we love them and wouldn’t go anywhere without them.

Our first destination was a trip down memory lane. We pulled into the old yard in front of my grandparents ranch in Oklahoma and I really expected to see Granny running out the door to greet us, just as she did for so many years. Some day I’ll see her run from her mansion in heaven to greet me. She did make me feel that she had been watching just for me all day. I felt like the most special little girl in her life.

Baptist Church

Camping in their yard was a dream come true. Granny and my Pap-paw were very influential in my life. They gave me a little Bible when I was two and told me to read John as soon as I could read. Granny made sure I went to church and Vacation Bible School. Pap-paw told me the most important decision I would ever make would be to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. He knew firsthand the difference Jesus could make in a life. Pap-paw was a mean alcoholic all of his first 35 years of life. He fought depression and sometimes hopped a freight train back to his old home in Kentucky. Three men at the little Baptist church pictured above, kept inviting Pap-paw to services and he would say no. They didn’t give up and one day he said, “yes”. He went and was saved by the precious blood of Jesus and he never touched another drop of alcohol.

I accepted Jesus too because my Pap-paw said it was a good decision. I have never regretted following his advice. The farmer and I trekked all through the woods on that old ranch just like we cousins used to do when we were kids. I don’t think there was an inch of that place we didn’t cover as kids. An old threshing machine was our pirate ship or our hideout from the bad guys. Oh the imaginations we had.

Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another.

Richard Garnett

Jesus is the greatest gift one generation can show to the next generation. I pray for my grandchildren each day that they would know and follow Jesus as their personal Savior.

Living Before His Face, Is My Saving Grace

And now God, I’m left with one conclusion: my only hope is to hope in You alone.

Ps. 39:7 TPT
Photo by Someday Shin on

And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness. This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time-an unshakeable hope! We have this certain hope like a strong unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold.

Heb. 6:18-19 TPT

Hope is from the word qavah (cord, bind together with twisting). The root is chebel (wind tightly, to bind as a rope. In Joshua 2 , Rahab the harlot, demonstrated her hope that the spies from Israel would rescue her family upon their return by placing in her window a sign of hope. This cord of hope showed her faith in the protection of the spies. It was a scarlet cord that the spies used to escape. That cord was also to be used as a sign of protection for her family when the spies returned. This rope /hope was symbolic of the redemptive work of Jesus that saves us all if we receive Jesus’ free gift.

In 2 Kings 4:30 the Shunammite woman threw herself at Elisha’s feet and would not leave until Elisha agreed to go to her house and heal her young son that had died. Elisha is the one that gave her the promise from God that she would have a son. She did have a son and later he died but Elisha went to pray for the boy and life was restored to him. The mother’s hope was in the promise maker. She clung to this hope with all her strength.

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the book “Hope Resurrected” by Dutch Sheets, he tells the story of his brother observing a heart surgery. The patient’s heart had been stopped from beating. However, when it came time to restart it, despite repeated attempts, the medical staff was unable to get the heart to beat again. Finally, although the patient was obviously unconscious, the surgeon leaned over and said into the patient’s ear, “We need your help. We cannot get your heart going. Tell your heart to start beating.” Immediately, as incredible as it sounds, the patient’s heart began to beat again.

Hold fast to the feet of the Promise Keeper. Keep the scarlet cord of hope in the window of your heart as a sign. Remember your anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat. Tell your heart to beat again. Tell the Lord that your hope is in Him alone. Dream some more. Hope more.

Then I will say to my soul, “Don’t be discouraged; don’t be disturbed, for I fully expect my Savior-God to break through for me. Then I’ll have plenty of reasons to praise him all over again.” Yes, living before his face is my saving grace!

Ps 43:5 TPT