Well, has your life returned to anything close to normal yet? The church we’ve been attending with Cheryl’s dad has started meeting again, though they don’t hand hymnals out because of concerns over Covid-19. We’ve eaten in some restaurants in Centralia and Columbia in the last few weeks, though they can only seat at 50% capacity and there has not been anywhere near that amount of customers when we’ve been there. Cheryl has been taking her dad to his VA hospital appointments, Sam’s, Walmart and grocery stores, so life seems a little more normal than it did for awhile. I’m sure that how much things are opening up for you depends on where you live.
You might think since we haven’t been singing much that we haven’t been busy, but you would be wrong! Ten years or so of being on the road in full-time ministry means our house had become a little neglected. Our home projects started last fall when we replaced all of the soffit and fascia on our house. I told Cheryl when we moved in the house in September 20 years ago that I’d put gutters up in the spring. She just didn’t know that “in the spring” would turn into 20 springs later!
I got the gutters up on the east side of our house, but then came an unexpected interruption. We had an old stacking washer and dryer (all one unit) that the washer died on. Since the dryer was older and we’d already had to repair it a couple of times, we decided to go ahead and get a new free standing washer and dryer and replace the whole unit. (Thank you stimulus check!) The laundry room, especially the wall the stack-able was hiding, needed some work; plus I hadn’t put trim around the laundry room ceiling before we moved in. It also had the light fixture just hanging from the ceiling with the wiring exposed. After a new wall, trim, paint on walls and ceiling, floor covering and light fixture the laundry room doesn’t look like the same place! Cheryl then wanted to extend the new paint to the living area, dining room and kitchen, so she has been busy painting her little heart out. Actually, she is now finished with the painting and has moved on to some other projects.
We also have a 16′ x 24′ shed that was in need of repair. It is constructed of what is now 120 year old lumber (from an old house we tore down years ago.) I installed soffit and fascia and am now putting metal siding on it before I finish the guttering on the west side of the house; plus trying to cut and split firewood in case we stay home this winter to be available to help Cheryl’s dad. To say the least we have not been just sitting around watching the time go by!
There really is not much to report as far as singing goes. We have now sung three times since December 18 of last year. Our last time to sing was Father’s Day weekend up in Sioux Center, IA for the two day benefit concert for Hope Haven ministries. It took place out in the park, and what a blessing it was. The weather was perfect, we got to see many friends we hadn’t seen since sometime last year, and money was raised for a great ministry. It reminded us that even though time at home this year has been refreshing we still miss being on the road. Not only do we miss the singing and ministry we get to do but also the interaction with friends we’ve made over the years. Because of all the cancellations, it could be up to two years between times we get to see many of our friends in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Alaska and Wisconsin.
We currently have three singing dates between now and the end of September. At 5:00 pm on Sunday, July 12 we sing in the gazebo on the square in Panora, IA for the First Christian Church’s monthly Gospel Sunday Night series. At 7:00 pm on Thursday, July 30 we sing at the Bar None Cowboy Church in Newton, IA, and then on August 28 and 29 we sing at the Kalona Gospel Sing held at Windmill Ridge Campground in Kalona, IA. If you are able to attend any of these events we’d love to see you and (maybe) have some time to visit. I hate to say it, but I guess that will depend on the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time.
Spending this time off the road has reminded us how much we enjoy our homestead on the 17 acres God has blessed us with. We’ve had plenty of rain this spring and summer, so everything has been green and beautiful. Cheryl has been able to have flowers at home for the first time in years. We are way out in the boonies with no close neighbors to speak of, and we have no dusk to dawn light, so at night with a clear sky we see so many more stars than we are able to see when we’re on the road. This year we’ve been blessed with so many beautiful birds – we love to see all the different colors and listening to their songs. We are blessed with owls in the evening that we hear every night and actually get to see at various times. We were home on Memorial Day weekend for the first time in years and got to visit and decorate graves of loved ones. All of these things are blessings we miss out on when we’re on the road. We have no desire to stop being on the road and continuing this ministry, and we’re anxious to be traveling again because we still believe that’s what the Lord has for us, but at the same time it has been nice to have a year where we could kind of sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy all He has blessed us with here at home.
As we close this letter, we hope you and your family and friends are safe, healthy and well. It’s our prayer that the Lord has been a comfort and companion during this time, especially for those of you who have had to endure periods of isolation for various reasons. Take time to enjoy all the blessings that the Lord has given us, especially the “little blessings” we so easily take for granted (see previous paragraph). It’s our prayer the Lord will continue to sustain you until the time we can meet again and spend time together, whether here on earth or one day in Heaven. Let’s remember that we can face all our trials here on this earth…..
Because of Christ,
Dennis and Cheryl/Ambassadors of Grace