Jul 21

If We Could Look Into Each Other’s Hearts…

If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care. 

— Marvin J. Ashton

We had a busy morning in PVland…Besides, the usual packing, moving and cleaning that happens at the end of the program, some volunteers went to help with Distribution Day at the Itmann Food Bank while others went to help with Energy Express.  The Food Bank was busy and the volunteers were put to good use as they were at Energy Express.

Since it is the end of the program and all of our dishes are packed away, the community decided to go out to dinner. To make sure we had a leasurily dinner, we had our closing reflection before we left. The final closing reflection is always a little bittersweet. It has been a great summer, we got a lot of work done, had a lot of laughs and enjoyed our time as a community.

Thank you to Made New Church/The Way Youth Center for allowing us to stay with you this past month and to St. Vincent dePaul and all the agencies we work closely with. We wouldn’t be celebrating our 21st year in the county and 45th year as a program without you all!!!

And finally, thank you to all the PVs would took time out of their busy lives to be of service to others. Because of you, lives have changed.  (Stayed tuned for a summary of the summer and for more pictures!)

PVs and a coal train in front of our home

“Hi” from Pies and Pints celebratory dinner

Storms rolling in

Jul 20

The Best and Most Beautiful Things…

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.  –Helen Keller

Today was the final home repair day for the 2018 West Virginia Summer Program and it was a great day. The weather was beautiful, sunny and not humid, a great day to be outside. By the end of the day, the whole crew was at the site in Ravencliff and a beautiful ramp and porch roof were constructed. The home owner was happy with all the work the volunteers did and with the end product.

In the morning a group of PVs went to Energy Express in Mullens to help with the summer program. They had a great time working with the local youth and the young adults that are running the program.

We had a potpourri of leftovers for dinner tonight. A little bit of everything from this week and even items that were in the freezer from earlier dinners that weren’t enough for a full dinner. It was like traveling down PV dinner memory lane.

Reflection tonight focused on the idea of someone or something watching over us. We shared our thoughts on this on how the people we have met have people watching over them.

Jul 19

There Is A Loftier Ambition…

There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher.  —  Henry Van Dyke

Today we finally had cooler and drier weather for the work day. The volunteers were able to finish up the site in Fan Rock. The porch roof, steps and yard look great and the home owner could not be happier with all that was done. The group finished up right around lunch, so they headed to the site in Ravencliffe.

The ramp is coming along great. All the decking and handrails are complete until the bottom portion of the ramp where we ran out of boards. Nothing a trip to the lumber store won’t cure : )  The crew from the Fan Rock site started working on the porch roof and made great progress. We should be done with the site tomorrow.

Tonight we had a wonderful dinner that included meatloaf, rice, beans, watermelon and salad. It was tasty and delicious.

Reflection tonight focused on our calling to come to volunteer. Volunteers shared how they came to start volunteering with the PVs.

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.