Jul 18

We Convince By Our Presence

We convince by our presence — Walt Whitman

We dodged lots of rain today…it was on and off thunderstorms today, but the volunteers were very patient and flexible and were able to wait the storms out an then get back out and continue working. Not the most ideal of circumstances, but one of the PVs key descriptors isn’t flexibility for nothing!

Work continued at the site in Fan Rock. The volunteers continued to weed eat around the property making the yard and hillside look fantastic. The steps and railings were installed on the front of the porch and great progress was made in the porch roof construction. Part of a day tomorrow and we will be set!

The ramp site continued to run smoothly as most of the framing is done. It is a long ramp, but the decking and railings should go up pretty quickly. Great work was done here today as well, as the framing is always the most tedious part.

We were treated to pasta fagioli for dinner tonight, along with salad and bread. Seemed to fit the rainy weather pretty well. Dessert was a yummy dump cake right from the PV Cookbook.

Reflection tonight centered on what gifts we each bring to the community. The PVs sure are a talented and generous bunch!

Jul 17

Don’t Judge Each Day…

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.                     Robert Louis Stevenson

The forecast for today was for cooler temperatures and for thunderstorms. Fortunately and unfortunately, the arrival of the storms came much later in the day. It was good since it allowed us to work longer with no rain, but it ended up hot and humid making working outside rather uncomfortable.

We started two new sites today, sites that will take us through to the end of the program. One site is over in Ravencliffe where we begun work on a ramp. The other site is in Fan Rock, over by Baileysville, where we are building a porch roof and a new set of steps as well as doing some weed eating around the house. The volunteers all put it a great day of work and came home hot, tired and hungry!

Speaking of hungry, dinner tonight was a delicious tuna noodle casserole and cucumber and onion salad with banana cookies for dessert. It was delicious and comforting after a long days work.

For reflection tonight we focused on the idea of a ripple. How we when do things it can cause a ripple like effect causing great things.

New wheels!

Porch roof and step construction

A beautiful setting to build a ramp

A family affair!

Jul 14

In a Gentle Way You Can Shake the World

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.    — Mahatma Gandhi

The crew today finished painting the Black Eagle Church, or at least all that could be reached by ladder and extension stick. The church will finish off the rest when they can obtain a bucket truck to reach the high parts. In total 23 different PVs had a hand in painting the church, alongside the two church members that asked us to help. When we finished at lunchtime, we decided to go to the 2nd Street Diner in Mullens for lunch. The couple from the church decided to join us and very generously paid for our lunch.

After lunch, volunteers took off to go make a couple of visits. They stopped to say goodbye to our friends in Rock View where the ramp was build over the last couple of weeks. After a long and pleasant visit, they stopped in to visit old friends in Cabin Creek, two sisters that we have worked with past several years. They were excited to welcome the volunteers and show them all the work they had done in and around the house since last year. By all reports everything looked fantastic!

There were enough leftovers from last night that we got to enjoy the roasted squash, quinoa and couscous again, along with sauteed broccoli and asparagus. It was just as delicious the second time around. : )

Tonight’s closing reflection centered on how doing an act of service changes us in so many ways. A reflection written by someone who had done service for a couple of years was read and then we each shared how we were changed because of choosing to come down this week. It was a nice way to end the week. Afterward we all piled in the pickup for a group selfie!

Thank you to the volunteers the week for another wonderful experience. You touched many lives by your presence.

Visiting with a friend

The painters at the end of the day

Long reach!

Many levels of painting

Smiling, happy group in the back of lil’ blue


Jul 13

The Truth Is We’re All A Little Bit Broken…

The truth is we’re all a little bit broken. We must learn to love the broken pieces of ourselves – be gentle and empathetic with ourselves, and others.                                          Karen Salmansohn

I think we are going to have to start calling the crew we have this week our Closing Crew. First it was the ramp, and then today this finished off another site that was started more than a week ago in Glen Fork. Today they finished with molding around the doors, installed a partial new floor in the kitchen and tiled the new part, changed out a bad outlet and installed guttering over the door to fix the leaking problem that started the floor problem. There was a lot of hard work done by many volunteers at this site. Not only was the work great, but the PVs built up a nice relationship with the family as well.

We had a delicious vegetarian dinner of roasted squash over couscous and quinoa and a side of cabbage. It was delicious!!!

The focus of reflection tonight was about us all being leaders, even when may not recognize it. We shared something from this week that we observed and learned from and then something that we want to do in our own life when we get back home to lead by example.

Finishing touches

Hand sanding to precision

Befriending one of the dogs

Look ma, it’s a rooster!

The acoustics are quite good in the train tunnel

Dinner prep with a smile!



Jul 12

The Fact That I Can Plant a Seed…

The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.   Leo Buscaglia

Today started with us all at St. Vincent dePaul. One group needed to pick up a few needed supplies for the site, while the other group stayed to help organize in the warehouse all the donated items that were unloaded on Monday. We returned to the home repair site outside of Glen Fork. Today the group replaced the front door and installed two accordion doors to help keep the air conditioning in the livingroom. A fan was fixed and an outlet was looked at that had been giving the family problems. Work also began on a soft spot near the door in the kitchen that will continue tomorrow.

Since we have a small group, as a group we decided to have an evening “Community Day” today and go to Fayetteville for dinner and hanging out. It was a really nice evening being together and we were even able to catch a beautiful sunset on the way home. A great day!


Always a good day at SVDP

Dinner – yum yum!

A beautiful sunset over the hills of WV

Jul 11

My Mission in Life…

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.   Maya Angelou

The group today spent the day putting the finishing touches on the ramp in Rock View. The group this week and the group last week did a fantastic job.  The two brothers were very happy with all the work. They spent a good deal of time outside talking with the volunteers at the end of the day sharing their stories and their lives.

After the group finished up at the ramp at lunchtime, they went to paint for a bit at the church that we started painting on the 4th of July. There were able to get a lot of the trim around the windows done and to put a second coat of white on the backside. It is really looking nice. Spending time with the church leaders was also a bonus of the afternoon.

We were treated tonight to a Filipino staple, chicken and mushroom adobo, rice and roasted garlic broccoli. It was delicious and got even better when we had brownies, ice cream, hot fudge and caramel sauce. : )

For reflection tonight we were led in a relaxation meditation. After we shared how the meditation was for us and if there was something from today that we mediated on. Needless to say by the end we were all relaxed.

Jul 10

Put Your Heart, Mind and Soul…

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.         Swami Sivananda

The crew spent most of the day up at the ramp site in Rock View. There are some finishing pieces that needed to be done from last week and they put a good dent into today. The volunteers were able to trim back the shelter roof that was now hanging over the newly built ramp. You would never know that it looked any different after the trim. They were also able to build an additional platform and ramp section that ended up being needed after we realized that the driveway kind of falls away and we needed some extra length to make up for it. It looks great and should be done after half a day tomorrow.

The group also spent their lunch hour down at St. Vincent dePaul to be available to help unload a large truck of donations that were coming. By the time the truck arrived from Wheeling there were a lot of helpers there to unload so the volunteers went back up to the site, but not before enjoying pizza a time catching up with Debbie.

Dinner tonight was quite a gourmet feast. We had sweet potato and/or meat tacos, with homemade black bean, corn and cilantro salsa and all the other taco fixings. It was all delicious.

Tonight’s reflection was about kindness. The kindness we show others, that others show us and the kindness we often forget to show ourselves. We shared kindnesses that we have seen here in West Virginia.

Jul 07

You Can Never Know How Many Lives You’ve Touched…

You can never know how many lives you’ve touched, so just know it’s far more than you think. Even the tiniest acts of love, kindness, and compassion can have a massive ripple effect. You have made the world a better place, even if it doesn’t seem like.                     Lori Deschene

Well, the heatwave finally broke today…. Of course for that to happen we had torrential rains and wind, but it is really nice to have some cooler temperatures. A crew went to the ramp site to finish up the majority of the ramp and the railings. We will return next week to put the finishing touches on it. The crew this week did a great job and the home owners were very happy with the results so far.

A second group spent their day at Energy Express in Mullens. Energy Express is a summer programs for kids that includes reading and crafts. It is run my local youth who have just graduated high school or are in college. The volunteers assist wherever is needed and join in on all the activities and lunch.

Since it is the end of the week, tonight was our leftover bonanza night. Some dishes were straight up leftovers, others were new concoctions made out of leftovers. It was a delicious meal AND helped clean out the refrigerator before next week.

Also since it is the last day of the week, it is the night that we have a closing reflection. It is a chance to look back on the week’s experiences and share with the community the effect that the week had on us.

Thank you to all this week’s volunteers!!! You had a lot of obstacles (extreme heat, challenging sites and did I mention extreme heat : ) ) and you persevered through it all. There are a lot of tired bodies tonight, but also a lot of great memories.

Reggie, the newest member of the PV family…Another WV cat goes home with a compassionate PV : )

Ramp, near completion

Storm clouds rolling in

Ramp in progress

Everyone has a job to do

Jul 06

To Love Means…

To love means loving the unlovable.  To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.  Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.  Gilbert K. Chesterton

It was another hot day here in Wyoming County, but like the troopers they are, the volunteers preserved and put in another long day of hard work. Work continued at the ramp site. Volunteers arrived early to help the home owner out of the house in order to go to his doctors appointment.  Before the end of the day, they were able to get the ramp to a point so that when they returned home from the doctors appointment this evening they could use most of the ramp.

The other group finished up painting the kitchen at the house in Glen Fork, as well as installing a threshold and the door on the circuit breaker box. In the afternoon the group patched a couple of holes in the drywall in the living room and repaired and painted the ceiling molding.

We were treated to breakfast for dinner tonight. The dinner was delicious and consisted of a yummy vegetable frittata, french toast, potatoes and local sausage. It was topped off with cinnamon rolls for dessert.

In the evening gathering we were asked to reflect on our road/journey and to share what we are bringing to share, from smiles, to a listening ear, to compassion.  Besides this sharing, we shared a new and good from the day.

PV and home owner working together

Girl power!

Ramp progress

A view from the top

More girl power!

Jul 05

Do your little bit…

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  Desmond Tutu

Happy 4th of July!!! We hope you all had an enjoyable 4th with family and friends. The volunteers spent the day together painting the Black Eagle Baptist Church. It was hot, but it was a fun way to spend the day together. Of course we had to finish the work day with a Dairy Queen stop which just happened to be two doors down from the church.

We capped off the day with a cookout, a whiffle ball game, a visit from foxy lady and sparklers!!!!

Enjoy some pictures:

Painting at Black Eagle Church

We were well fed

Clean up

Clean up turned into a little bit of a cool down with the hose

PVs hard at work

Sitting down on the job, but it was necessary to reach the low area

Synchronized painting… talk about community bonding

A community effort

Happy group at the end of the day… Dairy Queen here we come!!!!