Thunderbirds at Tinker AFB
Though we left in May and this is July, we've only put in 15 days of labor on the house. Now it's starting to sink in. But we are making good progress.
On Thursday we started digging a trench to replace our water main. The whole trench ended up being 95' long x 2' deep. We had to finish the job on Friday so that we could go to an airshow at the local AFB on Saturday.
As we were digging the trench, we were discussing the benefits of trench digging. You get free excercise, you build muscles, you get sun, you get work done and if you become a professional trench digger you can get paid for it all at the same time! Could you imagine the time you would be saving?
On Sunday we went to a church that was full of big families. There was one with 13 kids, 2 with 12 kids, several with 11, a few with 10.... It was really different! We went to the 4th of July picnic with the church Sunday afternoon. It was a lot of fun!
Volleyball is definitely the sport out here. If you ever plan to come out here you may want to brush up on your volleyball skills. (Some people around here think that it's all we do in CA!)
4th of July with the Pounds
Alyssa takes aim
Dad and Mandy (and Willie and Chris)
Justin relaxing on the Fourth
At the church, we encountered a family that had stayed with us at our house seventeen years ago! They invited us to spend the 4th at their house. They shared their shotgun cartridges and clay pigeons with us, and shot some great fireworks.
We also enjoyed their fellowship, homemade ice cream, potato gun, BBQ, and games.
Since the Fourth, we have plunged into the upstairs bathroom project, and hope to have it finished in about three more days! Stay tuned for some before and after pictures.
"Like waves in the sea..."
On Tuesday we had a catastrophe! It all started when the boys cut out the concrete in the cellar to replace the drain. We knew it had a problem because of the horrible odor that came from the cellar and infiltrated the house through the air ducts. As the boys dug away, their hole suddenly began filling with raw sewage. They quickly shut off the water and stopped the flooding, (By making the decree that nobody was to use any drains!) but not before it became a very unpleasant mess! I think I'll leave out some of the gory details. I'll just say that upon finally being able to make an inspection of the pipe they discovered that it was totally rotted out all the way through the cellar. After a LOT of hard work, which included digging a 5'+ deep hole on the outside wall of the cellar, we rejoiced to learn that we would not have to replace it beyond the cellar, that part of the pipe was still okay!
We were extremely grateful for the bus during this time! The little bathroom in it proved invaluable to us!
Dinner was LATE that night. Fortunately nobody lost their appetite because it was a good dinner!
Can you see Chris?
We were out of water for more than 5 hours, in which time the girls were upstairs priming and painting the upstairs bathroom.
It took us just over a week to remodel the whole bathroom but it sure looks nice! And we learned a lot too!
The paint crew.
One evening, while we were gathered for Wisdom Search, Dad reminded us of Peter's walk on the water.
As long as Peter kept his eyes on the Lord and trusted that God would care for him he walked just fine. But as soon as Peter looked at the waves that were surrounding him he began to sink.
Dad likened people and circumstances as waves that were trying to distract our attention from the Saviour. He encouraged us to recognize the trials and tests to be the waves that they were and to keep looking to Jesus to carry us through.
The very next morning we had a chance to practice! Alyssa went down to the cellar and reported that the trench containing the sewer pipe was filling up. As I surveyed the situation and realized the nasty things that may need to be done to fix it, I was immediately reminded of "waves". It enabled me to thank Him and not worry about what was going on. Thankfully there was no leak, it was just a clog in the system and everything has worked perfectly fine since then.
We were really blessed this week to see the Carrillo family from So Cal! They came and saw what we've been up to, and shared with us about their amazing trip around 14 states over the past 2 months, and what God has been doing in their lives. We are looking forward to another visit from them in 3 weeks!
It was fun to have a family over to dinner. That's one of the biggest things that we miss doing.
The Carrillo Family Hearty Adventurers!
On Sunday we visited a little church out in the country. They met in a "house church" type setting. The house was built with church facilities on the bottom and a house above where the pastor and his family lived.
We met some more really neat people. They are all over the place! One family invited us to their house for lunch! (Can you imagine meeting a family of 16 people and inviting them over an hour later? Now that's bravery!!!)
We really enjoyed our time at the Cole's house. Getting to know them was fun, and we were blessed!
Charity, Annie and Katherine at the piano
One nail closer to completion!
The time was 6:00 pm. The place was our gutted kitchen, the task was to remove all the nails that had once held thousands of pieces of Redwood lath to the walls and ceiling.
As each nail was pulled we were ready to quit for the evening. Our muscles ached, sweat dripped down our faces, our masks were miserable to wear, the dust had settled into our hair and skin and had become like cement from the moisture in the air. But alas, the thought of home beckoned us on. We would finish the job before dinner.
No! It's not that bad. We really are having fun! Like when we are asked to get up and sing Sunday evening. Dad whispers to us to sing the Bright Arrows song. We all pile out of our pew and assemble on the stage. Looking out at the congregation we begin to sing. As we get to the part about storming the enemy we look over and see a cloud of dust rising from Jack's pants. (Why did he wear his work jeans to the evening service!?) It put a new aspect on storming the enemy. Desert storm, right?
Or when we have a race to see who can tear all the plaster and lath off of their wall the fastest. Dad won, with a record speed of 7:22. (But not without a fat lip and several cuts on his legs.) Warning!!! Please don't try this at home, it can be very dangerous. =D
For those of you who are recieving our email updates, you should remember about our language studies. We are learning something besides the Okie language. We are learning about their neighborly kindness as well. Here are a few examples:
Thursday night we were all working together trying to remove all the concrete forms. It was still really hot and we were tired. Mrs. Cardenas, (Mother of 6 kids who lives across the street), came over with 16 popsicles. She stood and chatted with us while we enjoyed the cool refreshing treat. She helped give us the boost we needed to finish the job in good spirits!
A man from one of the churches we visited has been bringing us all kinds of groceries. He stopped by today and asked us if we needed any bread. He had a trunk full of different kinds of breads. He's also given us, milk, muffins, 50 pounds of potatoes etc...
While we were pouring the concrete footings for the porch, and the sidewalk in front of the house we attracted a lot of attention. After the major part of the work was done 2 men came walking up the street. They were city workers. They stopped and talked for quite a while. When they were ready to go they asked, "You wouldn't want a fan would you?" We actually really wanted another fan!
We came home from church on our first Sunday here and we were approached by 2 different neighbors offering us 3 fans and 2 window air conditioners. We accepted the fans with thanks! They've been a lifesaver! =D
One evening our elderly next door neighbors came over with a full meal that they had prepared. They said, "The Lord told us to make you some food."It's been one thing after another, we're like, WOW! This is neat!
We love all the frequently asked questions that large families get.Last week a man was talking to Mom. He was wondering at the size of our family and finally asked, "Mormon?"
"Oh, you're from Arkansas!?"
We laughed. Poor guy! What would he say if he knew of all the families we know with 8 or more kids in Califronia?
We worked really hard Saturday and Monday just getting all of the trash moved from the backyard into the front for big trash day. It was so rewarding to finally see a backyard! We didn't realize how big it actually is!
Here's some of the trash from the backyard
Here's the backyard for the first time for us
Working on the sidewalk
Working on the porch
On Tuesay we moved our kitchen into the library room and began work on the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room as I mentioned above. Hopefully I'll get some pictures of our temporary kitchen up so you can all enjoy Mom's creativity and organization skills.
Today we started filling in the porch with dirt and plaster from the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom we gutted this week. We also picked up our windows finally and cleaned 19 loads of laundry. Then, due to the 104 degree weather, we decided to take the rest of the day off and go to a lake for the evening. We had a great time swimming, eating hotdogs and talking to the rangers. =D