Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sad, Tired, and Angry: A Prayer in the face of gun violence

Today is the day students nationwide have protested the school shootings in Florida with a school walkout.  Out of respect for them, one of our Nomads provided this message in their morning devotion; a prayer created by James Martin, a Jesuit priest.  It was so well written, we want to share it:

Almighty God,

I come before you, once again, after another shooting.

I am sad, God.

So I ask you:

            To receive into your loving care the souls of those who were killed,

            To care for those who were wounded or hurt in any way,

            To console the family members and friends of those who died or were wounded,

            To strengthen the hands of the rescue workers, medical professionals and caregivers.

 I pray, too, for the shooter, as I must as a Christian.

All this makes me inexpressibly sad, God

But I know the sadness I feel is your sadness. 
It is the same sadness your son expressed when he wept over the death of his friend Lazarus.  I know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.

I am tired, God.

I am tired of the unwillingness to see this as an important issue.

I am tired of those in power who work to prevent any real change.

I am tired of those who say that gun violence can’t be reduced.

All this makes me tired.

But I know that the tiredness I feel is your tiredness.

It’s the same tiredness that Jesus felt after his own struggles against injustice that led him to fall asleep on the boat with his disciples.

I am angry, God.

I’m angry at the seeming powerlessness of our community to prevent this.

I’m angry at the selfish financial interests who block change.

I’m angry that these shootings happen at all.

But I know that this anger is your anger.

It’s the same anger Jesus felt when he overturned the tables in the Temple, angry that anyone would be taken advantage of in any way.

Help me see in these feelings as the way that you move me to act.

Help me see in these emotions your own desire for change.

Help me see in these feelings your moving me to act.

Help me see in these reactions your pushing me to do something.

Because I know this is the way you move people to action.

And I know that you desire action.

For Jesus did not stand by while people were being hurt.

He plunged into their lives.

So, help me to answer these questions:

            How can I help?

            How can I fight against gun violence?

            How can I urge my political leaders to enact change?

            How can I help people understand that this is an issue about life?

I am sad over the loss of life,

tired of excuses for the loss of life,

and angry that we are paralyzed by the loss of life.


Turn my sadness into compassion.

Turn my tiredness into advocacy.

Turn my paralysis into the freedom to act.

Help me to be compassionate, to advocate, and to act, as your son did.

Almighty God

We will close with a big Thank You to those students, who are showing their elders what a miserable job we, their parents and grandparents, have done on their behalf.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

California Dreaming

Nearly another month has passed already since our last posting.  Time flies, so we must be having fun.  We have heard from a couple of readers this month, so we will keep the postings coming, on an irregular schedule like always.

We are in the Los Angeles suburbs, where we were 2 years ago.  On days with good traffic (seldom) we learned that we are about an hour’s drive from downtown.  On our first weekend here, we went sightseeing and found that estimate was right: about an hour to Griffith Park, but it took 3 hours to get back.

We have just finished a 3-week project at the LaVerne United Methodist Church (which was a location used near the end of the film “The Graduate”, starring Dustin Hoffman).  This is our 3rd time working at this church.  We always enjoy our time here, which is made better by the fact that they make wonderful lunches for us every work day.  There is a large Filipino presence here and these people cook GREAT meals!  Our Nomads group was made up of 3 couples that had worked together previously and one new couple.  It didn’t take long for everyone to meld together to work hard and laugh much.

Since we’ve been here we have had 2 trips to the emergency room.  Bob has been suffering with some health issues.  What we’ve learned is that health is very tenuous, family is so important for support, and Nomads are a wonderful support for us also.  Our Nomads group stepped up to the plate and helped to move our RV for us, take up some of the responsibilities we had as leaders, and make sure that we had our priorities set on Bob’s issues as well as prayers for us. 

Here are a couple of photos of our work group: first the official group photo when we were cleaned up


A big part of our labor was to rebuild an outdoor pergola which has the same shape as the sanctuary roof and the sign above

Last Thursday was International Womens’ Day, so the guys had an audience for our final assembly.  The ladies had a chance to touch up our final paint job right after this photo was taken

 We finished in time for a wedding this weekend, with outdoor photos taken under the pergola.

Our four RVs have been parked nearby at the back lot of David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, also in LaVerne.  Two of the rigs left this weekend, allowing room for two more to join us.  Four couples will be working at the sanctuary and the parsonage of Sam Dimas United Methodist Church in nearby San Dimas, about 1-1/2 miles away.  We don’t often work back-to-back projects, but these two are so close to each other, and have nice people to work for. 

After we finish at San Dimas, we have permission to stay here at David and Margaret’s for another week when Brett’s girls will be coming for Spring Break.  We should have a lot of fun showing them around the touristy places of Los Angeles.  Our niece, Tomie, has arranged a tour of Fox Studios for them.  We are anxious to see them and show them around LA!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Back on the Road

After almost 10 weeks in Arizona, we left today to cross into California.  We had originally planned to get on the road earlier but a couple of issues delayed things.  First, we crunched a basement door on the motorhome just before getting into Phoenix.  The RV shop near Paula and Tom’s place can handle the replacement but the lead time for parts meant we would have to stay after our service project in January.  Then we learned that they had ordered the wrong replacement door and won’t have the right one available until March, when we have to be in California.  We have re-scheduled that repair for early April after we tour Los Angeles with our grand-daughters (their Christmas present from us).

We chose to stay in Arizona longer in order to attend an informal Nomads gathering back on the 3rd.  There, we met a few fellow Nomads we have worked with before and also many new friends.  “Plan B” was to stay in the Phoenix area to watch the Super Bowl on TV during the 4th and the leave for California the next day.  But it didn’t work out that way.  Medical issues Saturday night meant Bob had to spend Sunday morning at an Emergency Room getting a catheter installed.  “Plan C” had us staying to meet with a Urologist on Wednesday to plan a course of action and to return on the 12th to have the catheter removed.  Our planned 2 weeks of sightseeing around southern California has been reduced to 2 days.  We now plan to arrive near our next project on Thursday and meet with our local contact on Friday to review the work they would like us to do over the next 3 weeks.  The rest of our team should arrive on Saturday.

This area is known for its production of vegetables; today we saw a lot of cabbages being harvested by hand and also saw large fields of onions.

Our planned sightseeing will be to look around the border area of Calexico tomorrow, as well as checking out the Blue Angels’ winter practice area in the desert north of us.  On Thursday we will head north up the Imperial Valley, along the Salton Sea and into the Los Angeles area.

We would like to ask any readers out there to contact us, either by phone or email to let us know you are still out there.  Should we continue to update this blog?

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Nomads’ work periods are scheduled in 3 week blocks.  Our first period of 2018 runs from January 8 to 25, so we are about 2/3rds through it.  Our main commitment has been to do whatever is needed at Youngtown Methodist Church, while being parked at Calvary United Methodist Church’s back lot.  These locations are about 12 to 13 miles apart, both on the west side of Phoenix.  We have completed all items that Youngtown had planned for us (mainly painting and some light carpentry) so we plan to use our remaining week helping out at Calvary.  Later this morning our contact here will take us around to show us a couple of things he would like help with.

We have planned for getting together tomorrow with some other Nomads at a coffee shop across town.  Some of them are old friends so it will be fun to see them again and get caught up with their activities.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Still Recuperating...Back to Work Soon

Somehow, a whole month has slipped by.  We changed our plans and skipped going to Silver City.  Instead, we dropped down through Alamogordo, past White Sands (without stopping, this time) and back to an Interstate highway at Las Cruces.  We spent a night each at Escapees parks in Deming NM and Casa Grande so that our last day on the road was a short one through metro Phoenix and on to Paula and Tom’s place on the north side.

We have just been sitting here with no major sightseeing or work going on.  Bob has taken the time for a couple of motorcycle rides, but there is not much in the way of scenery in the metro area.  A rider has got to get way out of town to find much good riding and the traffic is terrible; not bad, just inconsiderate and at least 10 mph over the posted limits.

Pam and Ron have moved down to their winter home, about ½ hour away so we’ve seen them a couple of times.  Ron has loaned quite a few paperbacks, so we have done a lot of reading.

Our loafing is about to come to an end.  Friday morning we will meet with the pastor of a church in suburban Youngtown AZ for the first time.  We will learn what repairs they would like to have us do over the next 3 weeks.  Later that day we will move the rig to a different church who are allowing us to park in their back yard.  The project started out with 4 RVs registered to work here, but 2 had to drop out leaving just us and one other couple.  We may have some last minute additions, but that’s not too likely.  We will get as much done as we can with the people we have.  Usually it is more than our hosts really expected from us.  We will see if we can surprise them.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Day Off

We spent 2 long days of driving (Friday and Saturday) to get to the mountains of New Mexico.  We are recuperating by taking Sunday off at a park in Ruidoso Downs and wandering around Ruidoso (another nearby town).  They are between seasons here: lots of tourists in the summer for cool mountain air, and lots of skiers and snowboarders in the winter.  There is no snow yet, but it is coming!

Tomorrow we will get back on the road again, dropping down near White Sands and sightseeing around Silver City.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Departure to the South and West

Our time in Oklahoma has come to an end.  There is still a lot of need remaining and some Nomads will be here for another couple of weeks, before a Holiday break.  The OK Disaster program has also been extended into 2018 with many groups, including Nomads, coming back to continue the repairs to homes flooded about 18 months ago.  We had made a 4-week commitment which ended yesterday.  With only a couple of cool mornings, our weather has been great for both indoor and outdoor work. Even so, it seems like we are leaving just in time: a great weekend is forecast, but next week will have highs in the 40’s and overnight lows below freezing.

We are on our way to Paula and Tom’s place in Arizona.  Our first day on the road in awhile was a long one; zigzagging diagonally through SW Oklahoma and on to Lubbock TX.  We saw a lot of cotton fields being harvested, but not much else in the way of sightseeing.