The Salt Shaker – May 2020

Give thanks to Him and praise His name.  For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.  (Psalm 100:4b-5)

Greetings to our followers, friends, and family:

Praises – Church roof and several “wish list” items done; two screws/nails removed from tire at no charge; new granddaughter Mila Rose Nicholas 6/17/20😊

Prayers – Trailer and van brakes need work; trailer repairs to go smoothly; future travel decisions; health and safety for all

Our “routine” continued in May as we volunteered at the church.  Off mornings were our walks to the RV Resort clubhouse for coffee and hot chocolate, work mornings started with the 5 am alarm.  After 112 volunteer hours the other side of the roof was finished along with moving/replacing door kick-stops, fixing a sun shade pull, working on floor tile adhesive coming through the seams, some cabinet door repairs, adjusting/checking all door locks and strike plates, gluing/clamping doors that were damaged from attempted unlawful entry, painting an area of soffit, and fixing the Fellowship Hall entry with cement patch and new tile.  Connie helped more this month, and our roof helper also scraped/painted the facia and drip edge around the church building.  This church has two buildings, each with large meeting areas and classroom wings (like a school) so there is a lot of upkeep and maintenance.

Flowers, trees, and shrubs continued to bloom; other areas were cleared off as summer sprinkler systems were turned off.  About the second week of May the pool “heaters” were turned off as well, which made some very cold swims.  We couldn’t figure out why the water stayed so cold during triple digit daytime temperatures and in the 70’s at night; the pavement and artificial turf grass around the pool area would burn your feet several days.  Most times once you got in and swimming it was fine, but a couple of times even Connie headed for the hot tub.  There were two, one was turned off for the summer and was just the right temperature for relaxing.  Twice we had ducks join us.  (Or did we join them?)

It is certainly spring – 6 ducklings grew rapidly over the weeks, toddling after mama on a walk from their pond to behind our trailer.  Mama bird became very protective of the surrounding area, sitting on our awning support and flitting around squawking at Connie in the mornings when she was putting the tie-down straps on the awning.  By the end of the month her 3 babies had left the nest.  And we found the pond had at least one turtle, out sunning on one of our morning walks.

Sunday church services continued with online real-time messages and tuning in to Lane Christian Church services any time we wished.  Technology is wonderful but certainly doesn’t replace gathering together.  It is interesting how easily we fall into laziness, we didn’t dress for church, even eating breakfast during some sermons.  We’re sure Satan is enjoying this time of confusion and separation in the fellowship of the family of God.

Music again was at a standstill, although we did pull the instruments out a few times for practice of a new song John has been working on and another that Connie has wanted to work on.  With all the heat there was plenty of inside time for Connie to crochet, practice the harp, search online for a “new” harp with levers, and make some interesting meals from food box items.  We had fresh applesauce, homemade noodles, and strawberry and peach shortcake with lots of whipped cream after bicycling to the store!  Connie brainstormed, designed, and built 4 T-shirt covered Styrofoam panels to fit into our vents and shower skylight.  With the heat and sun our bathroom was warming up rapidly; putting in the panels definitely helped!

One morning we visited our church pianist at the nursery where he works part-time.  This business was started by his father and remains in the family.  We walked around looking at all the plants, saw a rabbit, and lots of humming birds.  He pointed out their nests, like little thimbles, most built in the circle part of eye bolts holding up the shade netting.  One was on top of a plant stake in a large potted bushy plant.  John held the camera up high, pointed down at the nest, and we were surprised to find a humming bird sitting in the nest after looking at the photos; she remained there the whole time we were talking and taking the pictures!  Connie paid attention to the names of various plants to find that many of the flowers we are seeing now are bougainvillea, and there are beautiful thevetia trees with yellow trumpet-shaped flowers in bloom.

Our recreation for the month included more Redbox DVD’s, multiple trips across town and to other communities (typically 30-45 minutes away) getting supplies for the church, and some McDonald’s drive-thru lunches.  On one of our supply trips we found “Treasure Chest” outlet store was open and finally were able to get some new swim suits/trunks!  (Connie’s old suit was getting pretty saggy and John’s trunks were ones he had when we were married.)  Our son from Phoenix drove over and spent a few hours with us one afternoon, bringing pizza from Phoenix with him, much better than California pizza!  The deal was that we would pay for the pizza and ice cream but he would cover the delivery and tip.

We did have another earthquake, this one from further away and only 4.5 on the scale, not quite as scary as the first.  We tried to continue with our evening walks with Connie judging the distance by how far up her body the pavement heat reached.  Knee to hip height was tolerable, but nearing shoulder height was miserable.  It was in the upper 90’s at 7-8 pm, but the sunsets were great.  We had a “super” moon rising in a pink/blue sunset one evening.

We attended church in person on our final Sunday, went out to lunch and sat inside a restaurant (7 total), and said our good-byes to Coachella Valley Christian Church friends.  We had our final swim and hot tub visit Tuesday and were on the road Wednesday morning for our trip north to Pacifica, California.  Southern California has cell towers disguised as palm trees.  We made the transition to pine tree cell towers after the first hour around Banning, skirted Los Angeles on the far east (familiar territory from living in the area 2007-2008), and headed north through the “pass” where we were passed by a semitruck load of boulder rocks.  Temperatures were over 100 and the van displayed “engine hot, turn off A/C” several times as we reached the top at 35 mph.  It is all downhill after that, passing Avenal, CA the pistachio capital of the world and a dead mountain lion on the side of the road.  Shuddering brakes brought us back into the valley where we stayed at a camp site with electricity.  Getting settled in we noticed the heavy plastic back bumper skirt was cracked and buckled, and it took 2 A/C units 3 hours to get the trailer cooled to 78!  While traveling we received a message that our Washington state upcoming projects had been cancelled, so our future plans are uncertain again.

Thursday morning started with bumper skirt duct tape repairs and a ¾-mile walk to Denny’s, realizing we forgot our masks about half way there, but they let us in for a wonderful sit-down breakfast.  Our route through the final mountain pass on state highway 152 with winding up and down roads, more 35 mph hilltops, down hills, and gusts of wind.  Later, our final downhill into Pacifica the brakes were shuddering again but the views of the Pacific Ocean waves were beautiful.  We arrived at 3:30 in our hot weather travel attire to a chilly 62 degrees!  Getting set up we noticed the bumper skirt tape held up well but the back wall of the trailer was separating from the bottom and out of the molding on the sides, and we had some water puddles after getting connected.  John was up at 4:30 am stepping onto cold wet carpet, turned off the water outside, back to bed to be woke again by the water heater gurgling and clanging, back outside to turn that off, and up for the day at 5:30 am.  Thankfully we found no leaks and got the carpet dried out, never knowing what caused it.  So, we have lots of repairs and decisions to make over the next weeks and need renewed faith for getting the trailer out of the mountain areas!

. . . But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again.  On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. (2 Corinthians 1:9-11 NIV)

Thanks for traveling with us!
We so appreciate your prayers and notes of encouragement!!

John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry

Contact Information:      Mail:  John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry,
3916 N. Potsdam Ave. #3962, Sioux Falls, SD  57104

Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912      Email –
Facebook – Salty Strings Music Ministry                         Web site:

ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site


  • June 8-August ?? – Pacific Bay Christian School, Pacifica, CA (west central)
  • September – unknown
  • September 21-24 – SOWER Reunion, Turner, OR

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