The Salt Shaker ~ August, 2021

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.  Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre.  Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.  For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.  Psalm 33:1-4 (NIV)

Praises – Fantastic generosity – from our hosts, the concert, and the churches; song recording almost done (our first in 22 years); safe travel to Wisconsin in the rain. 

Prayers – Enjoy family time while in Virginia, continued learning and recording in the trailer, travel to North Carolina the end of September.

Hello to our followers, friends, and family:

Our apologies for our “Salt Shaker” being very late again!  Our travels have hindered our abilities to put things together on time.  On August 2 we drove to Little Galilee Christian Camp outside of Clinton, Il where we had a short stay but were very busy.  We enjoyed several walks around the camp, noticing the changes since our last visit – the new dining hall “Self-Control” is up and running with a beautiful view from the deck, and the old dining hall is now the “Hangar” – set up to accommodate smaller groups with bunks and lots of indoor space for retreats.

From our “home” base for the week:  John ordered and picked up some new glasses; we got new phones set up with a different provider; John was able to find several pair of jeans (Tractor Supply and Goodwill); we enjoyed a take-out Chinese meal from our favorite buffet; we hosted our first overnight guest (our friend from Beloit) including homemade noodles, ice cream, and a movie; and John was able to attend the area men’s fellowship again, what great timing!

Our truck signage turned out beautiful with metallic silver letters on our black truck.  We were able to find our old graphics from 6 years ago, had them modified for the truck, and our Beloit friend provided the needed transportation.  While having breakfast and waiting to pick up the truck Connie found this unique sign in the restroom – where did common-sense go?  On another trip to Decatur we had a meal with another good friend and shared more piano music with the residents before leaving Illinois. 

We spent our last Sunday in Illinois at our home church in Lane, showing a few slides and sharing our travels and songs.  After a quick lunch at McDonald’s, we started packing up, putting the slides in and hooking up to the truck before the overnight rain started.

Monday, August 9, found us finishing up a few things in a light drizzle before getting on the road for the 6-hour journey to our beautiful accommodations between Elroy and Mauston, Wisconsin.  There were no people at the toll plaza so Connie tracked down the information, set up our account, added the trailer plate (after realizing our truck plate would not register on camera), and the toll fee was zapped to our credit card; amazing what technology can do!  We had some rain on our journey, but it quit as we arrived and got settled in.  The next two days were thunderstorms and a tornado warning, but we were parked in a fairly sheltered area and had no problems. 

A few days into our stay we headed to the nearest Aldi’s (Lake Delton/Wisconsin Dells) for shopping and pizza we’ve been craving for a few months.  Moose Jaw Pizza was recommended but with over an hour wait we went elsewhere and enjoyed slightly different style pizza than what we are used to but still very good.  We stopped at Walmart, JoAnn Fabric, and Lowe’s as well, getting supplies to sound-proof our music/office room.  The hardest part was finding cup hooks; several other buys and returns later we found the right ones for our needs.

Throughout the month our music ministry was very active – we were in 3 different churches on Sunday mornings for special music and messages, as well as a 2-hour concert at an event center in downtown Mauston.  What wonderful, generous people we met along the way.  We had to get up quite early some Sunday mornings but even that was a blessing driving through the hilly wooded Wisconsin countryside watching the morning mist rise from the valleys.  There were many songs we had to “retype” into larger size for our aging eyes and lots of practice time for songs we haven’t played for years!  We put together a slide-show presentation with photos of all the various places we have been since starting in 2015.  Lots of memories and testimony of God at work all over this country.

We “sold” one of the stained glass crosses at a church presentation and found that one of the ladies made stained glass and was now retired with lots of glass on hand.  We met at her home in Arena, WI and were so blessed from her donation of beautiful glass for more projects.  Other home projects that we finished were the tile around the stove (not as easy as it looked), the fuel filter replaced in the truck, and getting one set of felt curtains finished for our recording room.  The sewing machine is working great with three more ceiling panels almost complete.

Our hosts had lots of bird feeders with the humming bird feeder and grape jelly holder right outside our living room window.  Did you know that humming birds will also eat grape jelly?  John wanted to make friends with the hummingbirds, trying to get one to land on his hand for a drink from a red lid, but these guys were a bit skeptical of the whole situation.  Among the many birds that frequented the buffet of feeders were Orioles which we had not seen before.

Of course, when life is already busy enough, there are those problems that disrupt our schedules.  We had our share including our CD burner not working and our new phones not having reception or data and exceeding our roaming allowance of which we were unaware.  Whenever trials come along, we know there are blessings as well.  Our hosts let us use their phone internet hotspot, the CD burner did actually work when we got new CD’s, and we made a few visits to an excellent public library for internet service, which also means a meal out.

John took two bicycle rides, up and down the hills, and we both tried to take a walk at least once a day.  The paved road was great to walk on and look through the trees on either side, occasionally we would spot deer.  Some of the days were quite muggy but there were others with a wonderful cooler breeze and open windows at night.  One morning walk after an overnight rain, we were strolling along the wet pavement and hearing rain falling in the woods on either side of us, what an amazing experience!  We had great views of the valley and sun sets, and John enjoyed an evening of fellowship around the fire pit with our hosts and some other traveling guests.

We spent most of a day with our daughter, meeting at a campground outside of Fort McCoy, that had several hiking trails.  After hiking a bit, Connie did some kayaking on a very still small lake.  It was fun, but owning a kayak is not on our list of things to do someday. 

Our primary purpose for the month was to get a song recorded, learn about the software we have, and get ideas so we can record in the trailer.  All of the above were accomplished, in some degree of proficiency, during our stay.  There were bass and rhythm tracks (to help keep us on track!), “go-by” tracks, sample tracks for microphone placement, looping, fading, sampling, bouncing, mastering, mixing, and many more terms and tasks to get a song recorded.  We found a great Christian café/coffee house called “Beyond the Daily Grind” one day where we had breakfast out and returned another day to treat our hosts to lunch.  A small way to help say “thank you” for all the extra time teaching us as well as recording our song.

Put yourself now in a right relation with Him and be at peace: so will you do well in your undertakings.  Job 22:21 (BEB)

Thanks for traveling with us and supporting us with your thoughts and prayers!

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


  • September 10-October 1 – Marshall, VA; friends and family, recording
  • October 1-27 – Travel/Volunteer SOWER Project – Fairmont, North Carolina
  • Oct 27-Nov 27 – Travel/Volunteer SOWER Project – Hudson, Florida
  • Nov 27-Jan 2 – Time off, Leesburg, Florida, music engagements
  • Jan 2-February – Thonotosassa, Florida – Time off with friends from Indiana, music engagements