Jul 17

Generosity

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.  – Simone Weil

We had another great day working in the beautiful mountains of wild, wonderful West Virginia. Great progress was made at the porch site in Stephensen. The decking is done, the steps are installed and the rafters are put up for the roof. The group was blessed with an overcast day for most of the day keep the heat a little in check.

Work also continued at the bathroom site in Alpoca Bottom. The volunteers were able to install shower walls to an area that previous was covered only by a curtain, a new shower head and begin to cut the underlayment for the floor. We should be able to wrap up this site tomorrow.

A couple of PVs spent their morning at Energy Express in Mullens. Today there was a guest speaker, Ranger Matt and his dog friend, from the Army Corp of Engineers to talk about water safety with the kids. All the kids were also given a bag of goodies. After the talk they went into their groups and made slime and volcanoes. The volunteers had a great time.

We had another great dinner tonight. Pasta with vegetables and breaded eggplant for the vegetarian and a beef and veggie stir-fry for the meat eaters. These dishes were served with a salad and pound cake and berries for dessert. Yummy yummy!

We had a relaxing reflection tonight. Soft music was played and we were led through a series of stretches to ease our sore muscles and then we each shared a new and good from the day.

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Jul 16

Seeing, Listening, Feeling

Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.  – Alfred Adler

New week, new volunteers. We sadly sad goodbye to last week’s crew on Saturday morning, only to say “hello” to a whole new group on Sunday. Everyone arrived safely and just in time for a welcoming spaghetti dinner, reorientation and commissioning. With travel and so much packed in to a short period of time it was an early night for everyone.

After a good night’s sleep everyone was up early and raring to go this morning. We started the building process at the site in Stephensen where last week the volunteers did some demolition and prepared the area. Because of all their hard work the volunteers were able to jump right in and start building the porch right away. They made great progress today with the frame the posts and the majority of the deck boards.

The other site we had today was in Alpoca Bottom, an area where we have worked previously, but not on this house. We were asked to fix a bathroom floor that was falling in. As with any flooring we weren’t quite sure what we would need until the existing floor was removed. Once that all happened and supplies were able to be delivered, the group made great progress. Besides getting the floor repaired, we were able to fix her toilet. It had been leaking for some time, to the point where she turned the water off to it and had been flushing with a bucket of water to save on her water bill. That small thing will make a huge difference.

For dinner tonight we had a good old fashioned cook-out with brat burgers (thanks Leo!), veggie burgers, beans, pasta salad and green salad. It was all delicious!!

When we gathered for the evening reflection, we were asked to share what sparked our interest in initially getting involved with volunteering and what continues to feed that spark. It is always so interesting to hear what started everyone’s journey as a PV.

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Jul 13

I Can Do My Bit

I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.   -Charles de Lint

I can’t believe another week is winding down and we are getting ready to say goodbye to another great group of PVs volunteers. Before we say goodbye though, we had a full day of activities!  A couple of PVs went out to Kopperston to finish up with that site. We only had a small place to sand and a ceiling to paint and that site was done. The home owners were very happy with their new kitchen floor and cabinet as well as their repaired and painting bedroom. Being able to meet the home owners and spend time with them made the drive out there worth it.

Another group went back to Energy Express for another fun day of working with the kids. We were so happy to be able to send a large group pretty much each day this week. The stories the volunteers have shared about their time with the kids and the teachers show what an impact that program is having.

A third group went to help with furniture distribution at St. Vincent dePaul. People came in during the morning to pick up donated items that they had signed up for as well as items to build a chicken coop, a special project that SVDP is offering. While the volunteers were waiting between customers, they tackled organizing and going through more of the areas where we store our items in the off- season. Because of the work they did today, when moving day rolls around it will be a much simpler task. When the group finished they made a stop to visit with the home owners they built the ramp for earlier in the week. They were able to see the finished product as well as say goodbye to the couple.

In the afternoon visiting continued as a group went to visit old friends up in Cabin Creek. It is one of the things that makes the PVs unique, the continuing relationships that we build with the home owners we work for. We try to make time for and encourage visiting each year. I never know who is happier to see each other the PVs of the people they are visiting.

Also in the afternoon, PVs went to Glen Rogers Manor to play Banana BINGO with the residents. The turnout was great and they could wait to win so they could win a banana!

For dinner tonight we had a pasta bar with several different types of pasta a sauces, salad and garlic bread. It was simple, but simply delicious! For dessert we had Chocolate Chip ice cream sandwiches made with homemade cookies. Yum, yum.

We wrapped up the evening with our closing reflection, looking back on the week and all of the experiences we shared. It was a good week. A lot of great work was done, but more importantly a lot of love and kindness was shared, both here in the PV community and the community as a whole.

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Jul 12

Make Things Better

When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishments that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.  -Pauline R Kezer

We had our first significant rain today, but luckily it held off until after we got done what we needed to get done at our outdoor site. The site in Stephensen is cleared out and ready to start building the porch and roof next week. Big thanks to all who worked here this week. It was a hot and dirty site, but now next week’s volunteers will be off and running Monday.

The other home repair site from the day was a two-fer. The group put more mud on the newly fixed bedroom ceiling in Kopperston and then when it was drying went to put the finishing touches on the ramp in Pineville. After a quick lunch they went back to Kopperston. Unfortunately the mud was not dried yet so they decided to paint the walls instead and go back tomorrow for a quick sand and ceiling painting job.

We had a large group go to Energy Express this morning to work with the kids. As always, they had a great time both with the kids and the staff.

On the menu tonight was an enchilada bake and Mexican potatoes. It was all very tasty. For those that have never been a part of the PV community, each night different volunteers sign up to make dinner for the rest of the group. They get to choose what is made, go shopping for the meal and make it. We always end up with a nice assortment of meals and get to try new things so it is a win win for all!

Tonight’s reflection was on prayer. Different ideas of prayer and how we pray, especially with our actions while we are working as PV Volunteers.

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Jul 11

To Give Real Service

To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money. – Douglas Adams

Today was a busy and productive day for the community of PVs in Wyoming County. A group of volunteers went to help out at Energy Express again this morning. This kids at the program were treated to a basketball team coming in and working with the kids. As a result there was a lot of time spent in the gym running around and in turn tiring out the volunteers : )

We returned to the site in Kopperston to put the finishing touches on the kitchen before moving on to the bedroom. A few years ago a tree fell on the house and damaged the roof and ceiling. The roof was fixed earlier this summer, so we are trying to help patch the ceiling and making the room look like new. The volunteers have been doing a great job at this site all week.

We also returned to the ramp site in Pineville to finish installing the railings and to figure out how to transition the ramp to the driveway the smoothest. After some collective thought and discussion there is a plan!

Today also marked the beginning of a new site in Stephensen, just on the eastern edge of the county. We were asked if we could build a porch and porch roof to replace the existing one that was damaged extensively in a hail storm a few years back.  Before we can do the build however, we had to remove the existing porch.  Since we did have some over head work, we required the volunteers to where hard hats today and am happy to say there were no injuries or mishaps, just some really hot weather. They took down the roof today, while an important first step, it also took any sort of available shade to them. We will continue with the deconstruction tomorrow.

For dinner tonight we had a delicious Chicken and Broccoli dish served over rice and for the vegetarians tuna noodle casserole (thanks Peggy!)  For dessert… brownies : )

Continuing on the theme of reflecting on a word for reflection, tonight we reflected on truth. What is our truth, what is a truth that may have either be enforced or changed by our experiences as a PV.

Another great day in the books!

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Jul 10

Light a Lamp

If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten your path.  – Buddha

It was another hot and humid day in southern West Virginia again today. It seems to be more humid than in previous summers. We have been lucky in the rain department though, we have managed to make it through most days without much precipitation.

Enough about the weather…. the PVs were busy today! We had a crew up in Kopperston continuing with the kitchen. Today they were able to finish tiling and to install a new cabinet and sink. The kitchen looks brand new, like from one of the makeover shows : )

Anther home repair crew was right down the road in Pineville continuing on their work on the ramp. The family recently moved to this house and need the ramp to be able to get the dad of the house out to the car. He suffered a stroke 12 years ago in the mines and as a result is paralyzed on one side. It is nice knowing how much this project will help not only him, but his wife who is the one has to move him around.

We always like to have a couple of non-home repair options for volunteers and today we had two. We sent volunteers back to Energy Express to help with the kids there. The volunteers that went today had a blast and have plans of returning. The other group went to St. Vincent dePaul to help to distribute the furniture, beds and other donated items that the group organized yesterday. When they had down time between people coming in the spent time helping to organize the PV tool closet there.  Both these groups after their sites were done stopped in at the ramp site to help but in floor boards.

We had a delicious “breakfast for dinner” dinner tonight. Tonight’s menu included pancakes, pancakes with blueberries, french toast, cheesy eggs, eggs with veggies and home fries. Everything was delicious!

Reflection tonight centered around peace and how we find peace. We were also led through some breathing and relaxation exercises.  It was a very peaceful reflection.

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Jul 09

Small Acts

Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.  – Howard Zinn

A new week means a new group of volunteers eager to get working and do their part to make our world a little kinder and a little gentler. Volunteers arrived yesterday afternoon eager to begin their work. We shared dinner together, got reoriented to what the week would entail, had our commissioning service and signed up for sites. Which leads us to today…

We had a busy day today with volunteers heading to four different places in the morning. We had a crew go to Energy Express and help out with the kids in the literacy and feeding program that is being held this summer. The volunteers that went had gone a couple of years ago and enjoyed being back again.

Another group of PVs went to St. Vincent dePaul to help organize the warehouse so it will be ready to distribute the items to those that signed up. They spent the day organizing, inventorying, and cleaning up so it is all ready.

We also started two new home repair sites today. We started building a ramp for a family in Pineville and started working with a family in Kopperston helping to patch some holes in their kitchen floor. Both these sites will continue tomorrow.

For dinner tonight we had hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers on the grill, baked beans and tater tots. It was a classic summer and classic PV meal to start off the week.

Reflection tonight was about finding joy in the little things. We were asked to share where we found joy during the day.

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Jul 06

We Discover Our Own Lives and Our Own Happiness

As we lose ourselves in the service of others we discover our own lives and our own happiness.  -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Since we finished up our site yesterday, today we had a new site. We worked in Rockview putting aluminum roof coating onto a gentleman’s trailer. While the job was pretty simple and straightforward, we had a wonderful time meeting and getting to know the home owner. He had many stories to share and kept us entertained the whole day as did his dog Snoopy, who accidentally got some roof coating on him too. Guess he wanted to be a part of the action : )

Since it is Friday and the group will be leaving tomorrow, for dinner we had leftovers and got to relieve all the wonderful meals from the week. And let me tell you, it was just as good the second time around.

After dinner we had our closing reflection, looking back at the week and our experiences. A big shout out to the volunteers this week. Although it was a small group, we were able to accomplish quite a bit and were able to share wonderful community times together. Thank you for choosing to be a part of it and continuing your journey with the PVs!

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Jul 05

Happy 4th of July

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.

-Pope John Paul II

We started the day finishing up at the site in Bud. We were only there an hour, but by the time we left the new floor was down and cleaned, and the bedroom ceiling was painted. We had a wonderful time working there, it was a great way to kick off the program.

After a quick stop back at The Way we headed out for an adventure in Fayetteville, “The coolest small town in the country” as the sign says. We first stopped at the New River Gorge Bridge overlook and visitors center and took in the views. After that we went into Fayetteville proper and had lunch at the Cathedral Cafe, a cute locally own breakfast and lunch place that uses locally grown food. Once our bellies were full we headed out for our planned hike that started nearby. We took the Kaymoor Miners Trail that dropped down around 500 feet in a half mile to where the Kaymoor mine shaft was. The mine last operated in the 60’s but many of the structures and the tipple is still in place.  We explored around that area before it was time for our grueling hike back up to the top. You might think at that point that the day was done, but no there is still more. After arriving back at The Way we took showers and rested for a bit before heading into Mullens for their 1st annual 4th of July parade. There were lots of firetrucks and ambulances and a few bike riders and people in convertibles. It was a nice parade and was well attended.

After coming back from the parade we started dinner, which was a typical 4th of July feast. Burgers (again donated by our butcher), baked beans, watermelon, chips…

Since it is a holiday and there wasn’t a ton to reflect on, we didn’t have reflection, but instead watched the movie The Way about one man’s pilgrimage to Spain’s Santiago de Compostela on the Camino trail. It is beautiful movie and since one of the volunteers here just did this pilgrimage in the fall, it added an extra special element hearing about his experience.

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Jul 04

If You Can Learn a Simple Trick

If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.  -Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Today the group spent time working on the inside of the house up in Bud. They were able to straighten back door and to install a lock on it and install a new door knob on one of the bedroom doors. The crew also put down the underlayment down in the bathroom that week’s group cut. It was kind of a big life sized puzzle (with a key to help : ) ) After that was down it was time for the tile’s. The new light colored tiles really brighten the room up. With the new floor the door needed to be shaved down so it can swing freely now and close all the way. The bedroom was prepped and is ready for the ceiling to be painted tomorrow.  It should be a quick day painting the ceiling and visiting with the family.

Our gourmet meals continued tonight with a pot roast, rolls and a side of pineapple. The beef for the pot roast was donated by our favorite PV butcher and brought down from Minnesota. Thanks Leo!

Reflection tonight was about volunteering and what the spark was that led us each into volunteering. It was interesting to hear the stories and the motivation. Quotes from St. Vincent dePaul were also shared as inspiration.

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