The Salt Shaker – May 2022

“I [the Lord] will strengthen you . . . so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other” and “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised”  Isaiah 45:5b-6 and Psalm 113:3 NIV

Praises – Arm healing going well; getting back to recording studio; protection during travel.

Prayers – Continued healing of Connie’s arm, sore skin from bandages and patience for another month; John’s back almost normal; peaceful times to continue recording, knowledge to get old and new songs to web page; safe travel and places to park overnight.

Hello to our family, followers, and friends:

We were ready to hook up and hit the road on Friday morning April 29, feeling good and ready to see some Wisconsin praise band friends for our overnight at their under-construction home near Memphis, TN.  As typical in our travels, we always learn something:  this time was deciphering the Natchez Trace intersections with the highways!  We headed south to catch the highway to the interstate however after a few missed opportunities (because Connie, the navigator, thought they were going on small roads through town) we ended up a long way south with minor roads (hilly, narrow, and low tree branches in several places) to get to the interstate – over an hour for our “quick, easy” interstate access.  The drive went well after that, passing by muddy shallows, geese, ducks, and a small alligator, arriving to good food and conversation and sleeping.  Day 2 of travel started with a wonderful bacon and egg breakfast, skirting around north Memphis, no traffic problems, and lots of bumpy bridges before arriving outside Chapel Hill, Tennessee on Saturday.  We had a beautiful place to park with a view out our main window of the woods, reminiscent of our early new home years in Wisconsin.

The weather was a bit hotter and more humid than we expected with two weeks of above normal temperatures.  When our host asked what kind of work the ladies liked, Connie spoke up with demolition.  Another SOWER lady agreed, and the gals started with taking down the landing and steps from a second-floor exit – pulling nails, hauling material, and cutting with the saws-all!  With a bit of help the task was completed, ending the second day raking wood chips into a tractor bucket for relocation.  After that Connie realized she was being a bit too physical for her arm condition and went to painting – double chapel steel door frames and inside, then covering the new construction deck remodel.  There were a few days of weeding (not fun), blowing up newer and moving old mattresses, and some sign touch-up painting.

There were several walks, about 0.25 miles to the maintenance building from our trailer, a shortcut from the camp area to maintenance, about a mile around the camp, and almost 0.5-mile round trip to the dumpsters with our trash – all of this with lots of critters to see.  There were huge turkeys (two walked past the windows during devotions one morning) in very large groups; the pasture with donkeys, cattle, horses, and sheep; deer, sometimes in front of the truck in the road; and some peacocks fenced in on our drive into town.  John found some armadillo friends at the lady’s shower facility, and Connie had a beautiful iridescent blue tailed with green and yellow body stripes lizard outside the chapel.

John was the primary lead (along with the host) for the lady’s shower doors that needed to be completed in 2 weeks for campers to use.  He had lots of tools for cutting, sanding, glue and clamping, installation, metal roof pieces, special hinge building, and the finished doors (10) looked wonderful!  The final week was little things, tuning up mowers, sharpening blades, raking wood chips, putting away the mattresses the ladies blew up, leaf blowing, and organizing a storage area.  Lots of sweat, dirt, and sawdust included in our 117 volunteer hours this month.  There were a few back problems on arrival, but he worked through them and felt much better with some extra rest after our volunteer work was done. 

Our church experiences were unusual, attending three very different churches during our stay.  We visited the United Methodist Church and Grove Hill Fellowship in Chapel Hill along with Fellowship Community Church outside of Laws Hill.  We went once on a Wednesday night to see the Case for Christ’s Resurrection, very scientific-based proof that verifies Biblical writings.  We were invited to Glenn’s Chapel UMC for a Friday night jam session where there were some great solo singers, a praise team, and we shared a few songs as well.  It was a very warm evening and the air conditioning in this small church had quit, but it was an evening of good pizza, fellowship, and spontaneous prayer as needs arose.

Connie spent a lot of time finishing up some craft projects and using some of the yarn acquired last month.  She made a crocheted back for a reversible hot pad with a very old sample knit pattern for the other side, cut netting to make a dish scrubby-cloth, finished another baby blanket trying to match what was started using up the yarn and adding a ruffled edge, and a baby blanket for a new addition to our niece’s family.  Something to keep her hands busy in the evenings as well as reducing material we’ve been carrying around for years.  This was also a time to let her surgery area be uncovered, hopefully speeding up the healing.  She can now sleep comfortably on her right side (wonderful) and it is very slowly getting smaller, but bandages are still needed.

We are getting used to limited “world” access with another month of poor TV reception, little to no phone reception (unless you find the right spot above the window) and limited use of hotspot that depends on phone signal.  Internet was available at the camp, and worked well when doing laundry, but the phone signal just didn’t exist, even in the nearby town.  We researched getting a signal booster eventually finding that was not an option with our phones – frustrating and discouraging, but a reminder of how easy it is to get into the “we deserve it” instead of remembering our true needs are always provided.  We made arrangements with the camp to stay an extra week, getting a bit more rest, a chance to go through more tutorial videos for recording, complete one song (after discussion and agreement of tracks), work on recording some more, and taking more leisurely walks including finally getting to the Duck River bank where we could see why this is a well-known canoeing area.  The water looked great but there was evidence of very high water in the tree limbs above us (this camp didn’t offer much canoeing last year because the water was so high).

We are looking forward to more traveling next month as well as getting back to our “home” areas of this fabulous land we live in.  Spring always brings the new crops, waving grasses, and even rain and thunderstorms:  but all these are more familiar once we reach Illinois.  Along with visiting family and friends we will be helping enlarge a sound booth at our home church and doing some volunteer work at the camp where we will be staying. 

Make a glad sound to the Lord, all the earth.  Give worship to the Lord with joy; come before Him with a song.  Be certain that the Lord is God; it is He who has made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep to whom He gives food.  Psalm 100:1-3 (Basic English Bible)

Thanks for traveling with us and being part of our family too!

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 3-10 – Kiljordan Meadows, Macomb, Illinois near family
June 10-July 21 – Little Galilee Christian Camp, Clinton, IL volunteer and church help
July 21-28 – Pearl Lake, South Beloit, IL with family and friends
July 28-August 26 – SOWER Project, Carlinville, IL
August 26 – September 28 – Month off, undetermined RV park at this time
September 28-December – SOWER Project, French Camp, Mississippi