“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Greetings to our families, friends, and followers:
Prayers – RV park for July in Beloit, Wisconsin; continued rest needed from all the travel and activity; safe 3-day travel to Illinois April 24-26; music ministry opportunities for May, June, and July
Praises – Safe air travel; family and friends; RV parking found for June; strength and peace only God can provide; volunteer time-off allowing us to travel!
As we traveled the end of February through the panhandle of Florida, we saw the inland devastation of hurricane Michael. Although “cleaned up” there were still trees twisted, broken, and being cleared along with I10 road signs bent and crushed along the road edges. After a great day of driving (over 400 miles) we spent our first night at a Walmart near the west edge of Florida and proceeded the next morning into Alabama, crossing Mobile Bay into the city. As we crossed John noticed an alligator heading slowly towards a bird resting on the water. Connie drove us through the tunnel (a bit scary pulling a trailer) and on through Mississippi and into Louisiana. Our second night on the road was spent at one of our favorite volunteer projects outside of Eunice, where we had electricity for the night. What a blessing along with hugs and chats with some of the staff. Following a wonderful breakfast in town we were back on the road noticing the following signs: “WARNING Speed Trap” and after crossing into Texas “Hitchhikers May Be Escaped Inmates.” Interesting to say the least!
We stopped at the Walmart in Woodville, TX before continuing the last 10 miles of our journey. The very final 3 miles started with a turn off the “hard road” onto a bumpy dirt and sand logging road. Texas had a lot of drizzly rainy days recently making the road very slow, muddy, and slippery in places. We were warned to stay in the tire grooves (sometimes 4-6” deep) and that the black areas had been filled in with rock and were solid under the mud. We continued on, the road turning into the private drive to Triple Creek RV Music Park and were certain we would “arrive” just around the next bend . . . and the next, etc. You can imagine the conversation as we slip-slided our way to our new home! We were greeted, shown to our site, mostly set up, and made it to the 5pm potluck in the shed (cozy woodstove going) followed by our first jam session. John played his mandolin while Connie, being tired out from the travel, listened and worked on a jigsaw puzzle.
Triple Creek is a great place to be with lots of potlucks, great musicians, early morning men’s coffee time, Monday night BINGO (Connie won once), and Saturday mid-morning breakfasts. A group of young musicians, ‘Snake Blood Remedy’ gave a great impromptu “old country style” concert when they spent the night before going into Houston for some shows. Washboard rhythm section, violin/fiddle, guitars, banjo, harmonies, and yodeling for about an hour before the jam session started.
Connie split her time at the camp with trips to Wisconsin for her brothers’ final days in Hospice. (He has spent the last 3 years in surgeries and treatments for brain and lung cancer.) Our son flew from Phoenix to Houston to help her travel stand-by and provide chauffeur service for the first trip (March 4 to 11). They enjoyed a string quartet at Houston Hobby Airport while waiting. Once in Beloit she stayed at her brother’s house helping relieve the main care-givers and providing some extra hands for cooking, cleaning, and care. After his death we both flew back to Wisconsin (March 18 to 21) for the funeral. A special “thank you” to all those who were there for us emotionally, the relatives we haven’t seen for many years, and all who helped with the funeral and everything that goes with it.
John did a lot of pickin’ and grinnin’ along with making several potluck dishes and driving to Houston airports several times. After leaving Connie at the airport he managed to get through downtown Houston, construction detours getting him lost in the city twice. GPS kept wanting to take him back to previous construction, so he gave up on that and just headed east until running into the main highway home.
With all the travel Connie didn’t have much time to enjoy the craft shop at camp where all sorts of yarn, sewing supplies, multiple weaving looms, spinning wheels, and a triangle loom were available for use. The camp owners have three alpacas (Johnny, Waylon, and Merle) for fleece/yarn but there was no time to try some spinning. She did manage to start a triangle shawl and crammed the last few days to get it wove and off the loom before leaving; with the addition of a border it will become a gift. All the air travel also provided great down time to get another shawl (promised five years ago) almost finished as well.
Sunday, March 24, found us packing up and heading northwest, through Nacogdoches (John can pronounce that from an old John Wayne movie) where we switched drivers and found beautiful deep red clover along the roadside. We arrived at our next volunteer project early for the Texas Roundup (SOWER Reunion) where we provided a special song that evening along with leading worship the next three mornings and some songs for the talent night. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and great teaching with horses from “Sermon on the Mount” ministries. We spent two mornings on bleachers outdoors while receiving biblical teaching as a young two-year old colt was “broke” for riding. The trainer of course knows what is best but the horse wants to continue in its own way. The trainer allowed the horse to “run wild” until he would look him in the eye which brought a smooch and the reward of rest and relationship being built. In less than 2 hours the first day the colt was saddled and rode with one lead rope rein and a few smooches. The second day reinforced lessons on trust and rewards, some body commands, and a very confident ride inside the fence. Truly amazing!
A beautiful way to end this month is with spring coming, at least in the south. More blooming flowers, redbud, and paulownia (new to us) trees here in northeast Texas, along with the pine pollen! Migrating cardinals arrived our third week along with some beautiful black and white winged woodpeckers as we were leaving. What a joy to see God’s handiwork renewed!
“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits – who forgives . . . and heals . . . who redeems . . . and satisfies your desires with good things. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him. Praise the Lord, all His works everywhere in His dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul! (Psalm 103:1-5, 11, 22 paraphrased)
Thanks for being a part of our travels!
John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry
ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site
MAIL ADDRESS: John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry
255 N Sperry St, Bushnell, IL 61422
TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS
- April 1-24 – ALERT Academy, Big Sandy, Texas; northeast
- April 25-May 18 –Lake Williamson, Carlinville, Illinois; central
- May 19 – June 1 – Tentative – Little Galilee Christian Camp, Clinton, Illinois; central
- June 1-30 – Macomb/Bushnell Illinois with family
- July – Tentative – Beloit Wisconsin area with family
- August-September – Tentative – Minnesota Projects and SOWER Reunion