The Salt Shaker ~ February 2021

Praises – God’s blessings abound even with our struggles; all those who helped us clean and move

Prayers – Getting everything in its place and travel ready; building up our muscles for volunteer work at a project in April; expanding our music ministry-what does God want that to look like; travel protection with new truck/trailer the end of March

Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm  . . . And the God of all grace . . .  will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.   1 Peter 5:8-10 paraphrased NIV

Hello to our friends, followers, and family:

Our opening Scripture last month, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,” seemed to be the appropriate quote for February.  Thankfully it was a short month and it really flew by!  The first day found us on the road with a fifth wheel trailer owner friend to pick up our “new” trailer.  We are the third owners, and it needed a good cleaning so friends were standing by to clean cabinets, windows, walls, etc.  Move in day was Tuesday the 2nd with 6 others joining us to pack and move lots of heavy boxes.  Connie is an excellent space user apparently – our little trailer filled the big trailer as we ran out of places to put things.

Day 3 saw another “crew,” some from the day before, sorting through and organizing the van items to new locations in the trailer and truck.  Again, we vastly underestimated how many things we have!  The goal for this day was to get the old trailer cleaned; washing walls, light fixtures, floor, and putting Old English on all the wood.  What a transformation.  The 2013 Windjammer was “deluxe” in its day and the quality of cabinets and trim was better than our 2019 new home (also considered a top-of-the-line).  Day 4 we were left alone, overwhelmed, to finish up the move.  Once we started thinking outside our old box, things started falling into place.  By the end of the day, our goals were met except for cleaning the van.  We really enjoyed our new shower, and we didn’t run out of hot water. 

Friday, day 5 of moving, we were hooked up and driving to deliver the van and old trailer to their new owner, meeting in Florence, Arizona at McDonald’s for the transfer in a gravel parking area for semi/large trucks.  Titles signed, final photos taken, lunch (first meal in Black Beauty our new truck), and a relaxing drive home stopping by some thrift stores and Home Depot for tool boxes, totes, hooks, etc. to get serious with stuff organization.  God really answered the prayers for our old trailer have a good home – it will be parked on site at Gospel Rescue Mission in Tucson, AZ for their security guard (Mike) and drug dog (Buster) to live in!

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing,” and the fun begins!  We lost the computer power cord amongst all the boxes, and had another flat tire on Connie’s bicycle.  Lots of the cabinets and drawers needed to be reinforced before putting things away.  John worked at his new workbench and Connie redesigned spaces to fit our belongings.  The computer cord was finally found but the mouse wouldn’t work (operator error, just a bit stressed perhaps?) and the banking/bills were taken care of.  Tools found new homes, the truck bed was “boarded up” so totes wouldn’t move around, our patio disaster was looking better with many things moved under the trailer, the January newsletter was started, lots of things put away, a “to do” list created for the carpenter, and February was half over already.

It was John’s turn to be under the weather, developing a sinus cold that lingered for several days, along with off and on back problems.  Our swimming and hot tub visits were infrequent between not feeling well and some cooler temperatures.  Connie kept attending the plastic mat class and has another foot or so to crochet before her mat is done.  She also did another sun catcher project, a cross, that was much harder this time.  There is another stained-glass project in the works, much larger and more complicated, still in the research and drawing board stage.

The RV park has a volunteer group that goes fruit picking every week and we have had lots of fresh squeezed orange, tangelo, grapefruit, and lemon juice.  (If you mix them all together it stays reasonably sweet.)  Lots of walks around the park, and a few bike rides to Walmart gave us some fresh air and cleared our heads as we enjoyed our surroundings.  Although the instruments have remained in their cases, we are attending Bible Study classes at church and here in the park.  We are learning as well as providing some “salt and light” in the discussions. 

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”  A simple repair of a slow leak in a truck tire turned out to be a nail along with two cracks in an aluminum rim.  Quoted price for a new matching rim was $400, but our son and his mechanic in Phoenix found a used one the next day for $75!  Our toilet started spraying water on the wall and floor, so back to the RV supplier for another toilet purchase.  (Our new toilet is now the improved version of what we had in the old trailer).  We woke one morning (Sunday, of course) to water leaking from the under belly of the trailer.  After removing everything from one side of the storage compartment we found the hot water heater was leaking, a quick fix if we had the part and were sure we wouldn’t do more damage removing the fitting.  We were able to get a service man here the next day and since their minimum labor charge is for 1 hour, he fixed the fitting, replaced the anode rod, and installed the new toilet with time to spare.  Connie found an adjustable office chair ($15) and getting it home, the power tonneau truck cover started jumping around and not working.  After several adjustments and tightening bolts and rails it closes now with some “manual assistance.”  Connie’s blender broke after starting to make some mayonnaise, leading to thrift store shopping and eventually a new Walmart purchase to finish the mayo.  Watching TV one afternoon the picture and sound started shorting out eventually displaying a “no signal” sign.  Still haven’t found a fix for that since the trailers are prewired with coaxial cable and the connections appear to be good.  We keep praying that nothing else will go wrong!

February has Valentine’s Day, Sunday this year, and John stayed home from church, not feeling well.  Shortly after was his birthday, and we attended our musician friends’ concert at a neighboring RV park.  The following day we hosted 6 others in our living room, all with fairly comfortable seating, for some fellowship before going to Organ Stop Pizza.  Connie joined the group but John stayed home, having re-strained his back once more. 

By the end of the month, we are much better organized and still finding “blessings” to our new surroundings.  They have a “free” table in the laundry room here where we have deposited some of the things we no longer need, we have sold a few items that came with the trailer (a Ford hitch and water softener), and we have several other things to sell or give away before we leave here.  Our paperwork for new South Dakota titles and getting our plate registration changed over was finally sent in with a call back that we missed a couple of things causing several days delay in the process.  Once the music room gets a little more organized (this is the area we are still stashing things that don’t have homes yet), we can get serious about recording again.  We have managed to start working through the recording software tutorial and samples – we listen and practice until our brains go numb, then call it quits for the day!  Our goal is to do this every day and then start recording some of our songs.

Even with all the moving, cleaning, organizing, repairs, and delays we find there are many blessings and so many people and things we are thankful for.  So, we thank God for leading us to these vehicle upgrades, giving us reassurance to continue with the SOWER work ministry, and the ability to expand our music ministry as time goes on.

“As God’s loving servants, you should live in complete freedom, but never use your freedom as a cover-up for evil.  Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer.”  1 Peter 2:16-17 The Passion Translation

Until next month – 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

Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912      Email –
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    • March 27-April 1 – Travel to Texas, north east of Dallas
    • April-May 27 –Lake Lavon Christian Camp & Conference Center, Princeton, TX
    • May-June-July – heading back to the Midwest to see our friends and families