Hello to our friends, family, and followers:
Praises – Thankful for rest and respite from work projects for a couple months this winter; sunny weather to enjoy the outdoors; safe driving in and around Phoenix traffic; Christmas!
Prayers – Continued wisdom and patience for RV repairs; music opportunities; recording and health goals.
“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
December was our month for shopping! Seems like most of the month we were traveling somewhere to look at or get something. We completed our computer shopping which led to needing a table to set up the recording area. There were many miles and several days spent traveling north and west of Phoenix as well as “trailer dealer row” where we toured 20+ new and used 5th wheel trailers. From that came Connie’s detailed spreadsheet rating system; 24 was the highest score containing everything we needed (and wanted). Nothing was quite the right fit, but we see the possibilities of having more space and really feel cluttered and confined in our trailer now. Can you find the Antillean nighthawk (rock hawk) in the photo? She was pointed out to us by the salesman, very cozy and not the least afraid of people walking around her sunny resting area.
Arriving here the end of November gave Connie the luxury of putting up our little bit of Christmas decorations early – all done, on and twinkling December 4th! That is a record!! Shopping followed again to get a timer so we didn’t have to manually unplug outside in the cold. Once the sun starts setting (~5pm) the temperature drops fast. Typically, this is the time we head to the pool to swim and enjoy the hot tub; there have been a few times we skipped the swim and went straight to the tub to stay warm!
We were invited to do a concert on December 11 – what a treat to be able to share some of our favorite Christmas carols and songs. We didn’t think it went very well, but we were in a room made for 200 people with a COVID limit of 50 in-park people with masks and social distancing. Just not the same as a closer group with smiling/singing faces.
The following week the park had their Christmas parade. Those that wanted dressed up and decorated carts, bikes, trikes, scooters, etc. winding their way through the park with candy treats being tossed to those watching. That was followed by cookies, hot chocolate, and a movie.
As is the case everywhere, the closer to Christmas we get the more crowded the stores are. We didn’t plan very well this year and had to stop at Walmart on the 23rd. What a surprise to find mounted “police” security in Arizona. They do this every year for crowd control, being up in the air they can observe the parking lot easily. Four beautiful horses and their riders, complete with a Santa hat and reindeer antlers. Other “critter” viewings this month – our frequent visitor “I want to be a hummingbird” and the lizard in the passenger side of the van that never has been found again (dead or alive).
Christmas Eve was wonderful. Connie joined the church bell choir as a last-minute replacement. The nativity set was a complete version of what we had in Wisconsin/Illinois, bringing back many memories. Our son in Phoenix drove over and went to church with us, then we had tuna crackers (haven’t made these for many years), holiday banana bread, lattice apple pie (given to us by a neighbor), and eggnog to finish the night. One of our SOWER friends introduced John to Vietnamese coffee (instant) and John sipped on a cup earlier in the day – a very special day indeed.
Our church is within walking distance a bit to the north, and we love it there. We go a bit early to a Sunday School class where our teacher never makes it through his lesson. He is very knowledgeable, thought provoking, and detailed as we continue through the Christmas story in Luke. The pastor is also very good, speaking one week on the “discipline” that comes to those who are loved (Hebrews 12). Our kids grew up with a 9-hold paddle quite similar to his sermon illustration!
I think we had an “only in California” paragraph a few months ago – therefore this is an “only in Arizona” paragraph! Connie loves the big dancing wind socks that are advertisements. She remained in the van while John got more parts for breaking equipment (imagine that) and had the propane tank filled. This dancing cactus kept her entertained and brought many smiles. If only we were so flexible and happy in our expression of life!
New Year’s Eve found us in bed early after watching a movie, and hearing the fireworks around our corner of the world. Traditions, friends, family – relationships we have had and the new ones to come as another year of ministry begins.
Connie did an experiment in November, making a rock memorial. She would occasionally pick up a rock during the day and stack it on the pile, recalling the scripture from Joshua 4:1-9. Much harder than it sounds – picking and stacking. November 2020 was project #49 through the SOWER ministry along with 4 months at our home church camp in Illinois, two months on an independent church roof project, several months helping family make repairs and clean, and a couple months “off.” As we look back on our slightly over 5 years of traveling ministry (October 2015-December 2020) we are amazed and humbled at all the memorial stones we have from our journeys. (Memories of course, it’s not good to carry rocks or stones in an RV!)
“. . . take up a stone . . . to serve as a sign among you . . . in the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them . . . these stones are to be a memorial . . . forever . . . “ Joshua 4:5-7 paraphrased NIV
Please keep us in your prayers . . . and THANKS for traveling with us!
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
NOTE: Mail can come to us directly through February – Golden Sun RV Resort #E32, 999 W Broadway Avenue, Apache Junction, AZ 85120
ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site
TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS
- November 27- March 27, 2021 – Time off, Golden Sun RV Resort, Apache Junction, AZ; being mentored in music recording in our trailer and perhaps a new CD
- April – northern Texas or Arkansas
- May – heading back to the Midwest to see our friends and families