Jul 16

Friday, July 15, 2016

“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”    Buddha

Another busy day in PVland…Finally we had a day without rain, and not only that, it was cooler and had less humidity. A perfect way to end a great week. We had five options for the volunteers today.

First, it was distribution day at the Itmann Food Bank, so a group of volunteers headed over early to get set up before the clients came in. The Itmann Food Bank has distribution once a month and serves, on average, 500 families a month. The volunteers kept busy filling boxes, carrying the boxes out to cars, giving out clothes and housewares. One of the fun things about being there on distribution day is seeing people we have helped in the past and seeing how they are doing.

A couple of volunteers returned to the site in Glen Rogers to paint the newly installed ceiling. The pictures of the new ceiling look fantastic! We have a couple of little items left to finish up there, but for the most part the site is finished.

Volunteers returned to the site in Cabin Creek to continue work on the ramp. Amazing progress was made today as the whole ramp was framed out and is ready for deck boards and railings next week. We were also able to have one of our volunteers, who has some knowledge of electrical issues, look at the homeowner’s heat pump. It seems that it won’t take much to get it working and them to have heat in the winter. Again, a simple thing that can make a huge difference.

We started a new site today in Oceana for a family of three, soon to be four living in a trailer. Their trailer had been broken into, rendering their door damaged and unable to lock. Today we were able to give them a new door and a sense of security. Next week we will return to build a front porch so they will be all ready when the new baby comes who is due in just over a week.

The final site of the day was Glen Rogers Manor and a little Banana BINGO for all! Both volunteers and residents alike enjoyed their time together.

Tonight for dinner we had all the fixings of a cook out, without actually cooking out. BBQ chicken and veggie burgers with potato salad, coleslaw, salad and bean salad. A fantastic way to end the week!

As with each Friday, we wind down the week reflecting on the week that passed. There are so many amazing experiences that we all have, it is the last time for us to share them among our community before we go our separate ways. It is pretty amazing that we are rounding the corner and getting ready to start the last week of the West Virginia summer program. Where did the time go?

Jul 15

Thursday, July 14, 2016

“Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.”           

Parker Palmer

Today was a busy day with the crew spread out over five sites. We were able to finish the site in Mullens with the stairs and foundation and it looks great! I took a trip up and down the stairs and they are as strong and stable as can be.

We returned to work in Glen Rogers and made huge progress. The home owner now has a working sink (she already did dishes and said she even enjoyed it!), a new shelving unit in her kitchen, two new light fixtures in the bathroom and a new ceiling in the living room. All that is left is fresh paint for the ceiling!

Work also continued at the site in Cabin Creek with the completion of the steps and framing for the new ramp. You are really able to see the ramp taking shape.

Work was almost completed at the site in Fanrock, all that is left is the finishing touches of framing around the door and window which will be completed tomorrow.

The final site of the day was the Council on Aging, St. Vincent DePaul combo. Volunteers spent the morning visiting with the older residents next door, even rekindling conversations from last year! In the afternoon they helped to distribute furniture at St. Vincent DePaul.

The shared evening meal was treat! We had chili cornbread casserole, corn and salad. You can’t say we don’t eat here! After reflection we were treated with a yummy dessert of dump cake. As an aside, all of the evening’s eats can be found in the PV Cookbook….

Reflection for the evening was about burdens and how important it is to both share our burdens and help others with theirs. We spend the evening reflecting and sharing about a burden we helped lighten or one we carried.

Jul 14

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.     Frederick Buechne

The work of many hands do great work…PVs were spread out over three home repair sites doing a lot of great work today. We returned to the site in Cabin Creek and were able, between downpours, to finish up the steps and replace the back door. Next up, the front ramp.

We also returned to the site out in Glen Rogers and continued to make great progress there. The sink and cabinets are only the drain by connected shy of being fully function. They look beautiful! The vanity has been fixed and now has an extra shelf in it. While that was being done a water leak was found and fixed. The living room ceiling continues to progress and with all the angles done, should be able to be finished up and painted tomorrow.

The third site was a new site in Mullens, replacing the front steps for a gentleman whose steps were warped, weathered and falling down. The volunteers also worked on patching a couple of holes in his foundation front. The steps that were being replaced were the only entry and exit from the house, so once they were removed the crew had to stay until the job was done, an unusual timeline for us. There are a couple of finishing touches left, but for the most part it is complete.

There were a lot of tired bodies at the end of the day, all ready and eager for dinner. Dinner tonight was a baked potato bar with all the fixings you could ask for, cinnamon applesauce and salad. And cake, lots of cake.

This evening we reflected on what gives us energy, what feeds our soul. It was a nice sharing that included many experiences as PVs.

Jul 13

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

“Our legacy is not found in all the “stuff” we’ve accumulated on our life’s journey. It’s written in the memories of those whose lives we’ve touched along the way.”  Justin Young

The rain came back…for some. In a typical West Virginia summer day fashion, one site had all sunshine, one site had sunshine expect for a passing shower, and the third home repair site had two downpours. Despite the weather a lot of great work was done and more importantly wonderful fellowship was had!

We returned to the same three home repair sites from yesterday. The site up in Glen Rogers made tremendous progress today in installing the new sink and cabinet, as well as replacing the living room ceiling. The site in Fanrock also made a lot of progress installing a window next to the door and sealing off the wall. The final home repair site was the one in Cabin Creek, and they were the ones who had to dodge raindrops all day. The volunteers continued to work on the steps and also helped the home owner pick up around her yard (and play with the dog and kittens, of course.)

The final site of the day was the non-home repair site which included spending the morning at the Council on Aging visiting with local residents, and then driving down to Pineville to work at the St. Vincent DePaul warehouse.

For dinner tonight we had quite the variety of food to choose from. A veggie frittata, rice with a vegetable goulash, potato chip encrusted chicken and a salad. No one can ever say we don’t eat well when we are down here!

This evening’s reflection was about our ability to adapt to situations and changes. We were asked to reflect and share a time while we’ve been in West Virginia that we had to adapt, or something we have had to adapt to once we return back home.


Jul 12

Monday, July 11, 2016

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.”  Pema Chodron

Today we were in a unique position of starting three new home repair sites, with no sites continuing from last week. While this is great to start fresh, it also means slower starts as things are getting set up. Also complicating matters today, we were spread out over three corners of the county.

We began work on a site over in Fanrock replacing a door and replacing a few areas in the ceiling where water had previously leaked through. The original doors were two glass doors, but we replaced it with a regular door and covered the area next to the opening where we will be putting in a window.

Work was also started up in Glen Rogers for an 87 year lady whom we worked with when we first came into the county back in 1998. We will be working on several things at the house, but today we started with beginning to replace the kitchen cabinets and sink and checking out the work the needed to be done throughout the house. We will be working here the rest of the week.

The third site of the day was up in Cabin Creek where we are building a wheelchair ramp for the disable lady that lives in the house. We are also building a small landing and steps out of their only other exit, which right now is only a door that opens to a five foot drop. Great progress was made today to start the process.

The dinner menu tonight consisted of yummy black beans and rice, chicken, homemade salsa, nachos and pretty much any topping you could want. After reflection dessert was brought out. A decadent brownies and ice cream combo.

For reflection tonight we were asked to reflect on when people try to impress us and how that makes us feel. People shared their thoughts on this as well as “new and goods” for the day.

Jul 09

Friday, July 8, 2016

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”  Dr. Angela Davis

As the old Creedence Clearwater Revivial song goes “Long as I remember the rain been comin’ down, clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground. Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun. And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.” This has been one of the wettest weeks I can remember during the PV summer program. We are used to the soaking passing thunderstorms, but we have had settled in rains, or threats of impeding downpours pretty much the entire week. Thankfully we had sites that were conducive to this weather pattern and very patient volunteers willing to wait out the passing storms.

Despite the weather challenges, today we were able to complete two sites. The site that we have been working on in Alpoca Bottom is complete with a brand-new front door. The home owner and her children are now very close to moving in and starting their new life. She has been painting and decorating as we we have been there and move in day for her and her three kids should be very close.

Volunteers also went back to the site that was started yesterday in Bud. The crew today was able to dodge the raindrops for the most part and install four new windows. The home owner and his three boys will now hopefully stay a little warmer, safer and drier.

The third crew stayed back at The Way for open gym and did many projects to help keep the program running smoothly and get ready for the new group of volunteers coming in tomorrow. This group also spend time at Glen Rogers Manor for a little Banana Bingo and nail painting. Fun times were had by all!

With the rainy, cooler weather it was wonderful to sit down to a homey comfort food meal of shepherds pie (both meat and veggie options available), served with broccoli and salad. To top off the meal….the famous Camas homemade ice cream cake. You all know what I am talking about.

As each Friday we try and wrap up the week by reflecting back on our experiences from the week and sharing how we can take this experience back home. It is important that all that we saw and learned doesn’t stay in a little box marked “West Virginia” and stow it away. We need to take the examples of love and compassion and bring them into our daily lives.

Jul 08

Thursday, July 7, 2016

“I’m not interested in whether you’ve stood with the great. I am interested in whether you’ve sat with the broken.”  The Age of Enlightenment

You know that nursery rhyme we all learned as kids, “rain, rain go away come back again some other day” I think I heard it be chanted by volunteers and residents alike today throughout the area. We had to endure yet another wet and soggy day. The creeks are getting more full each day, but luckily, in Wyoming County at least, the banks have been able to contain all the water.

The volunteers split into three work crews again today. One group went to St. Vincent de Paul to help sort clothes and assist any client that was to come in and pick up furniture donations. Unfortunately because of the weather, people weren’t coming in to get furniture, but the the volunteers did a wonderful job of sorting all the donated clothes that were in plastic bags in the warehouse.

The two home repair groups made a quick stop on the way to the sites at the Methodist Church in Mullens to help move some furniture around. Not only were we happy to help, we also received a tour of their facilities and of their church, a beautiful space.

After finishing up with the furniture moving the two groups drove to the Bud/Alpoca Bottom area for their two sites. The Alpoca Bottom site is a continuation of the project we started last week. We are nearing the finish of the project, but we have had a lot of waiting for mud and paint to dry before moving onto the next. Tomorrow it looks like will be the day that we are all wrapped up there.

The other site, in Bud, was a new site. The volunteers worked for a man who has three teen-aged sons living with him in his trailer. Today the volunteers replaced his front door since his old one no longer stays on its hinges when you open it, he told us due to numerous break-ins. The volunteers also began to replace several windows that were leaking water. Unfortunately, the windows required the volunteers to be outside for most of the installation, so the rain hampered their efforts. We will be returning tomorrow to work on the windows.

Tonight we had delicious fajitas for dinner. Both the chicken and the veggie fajitas were delicious, as were the asparagus spears they were served with. Yum, yum, yummy!

As the evening drew to a close we gathered to reflect on how we can as individuals share our struggles and challenges with others to hopefully help them in their own struggles. It was a good reminder that we can all be examples and that everyone as something to share and something to learn.

Jul 07

Wednesday, July 6th

“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.”  Sai Baba

Today started much like the last few days, with rain. Luckily the rain showers stopped pretty early on in the day so we were able to accomplish quite a bit. We returned to the site in Alpoca Bottom and finished patching the drywall and laying luan in preparation of laying tile tomorrow. This site has seen many PVs investing their time and talent, but it is matched by the homeowner who continues to work after we have gone, painting and cleaning.

We were also able to return to the site in Cabin Creek to finish up the guttering work started last week. All the guttering has been reattached and now we are ready to continue the work outside next week.

The third group of PVS had quite the vast and varied project list. While they were mostly at The Way so kids could come to the open gym, they managed to fix up a few minor things around the center as well as get a great jump on cleaning. If all this wasn’t enough, the group also spent a couple of hours over at the Itmann Food Bank helping to put away a food donation delivery that they received and will give out next week for distribution day. Just hearing all they did during the day makes me tired!

Per usual, we had a wonderful dinner again tonight. On the menu tonight was macaroni and cheese (some with bacon, some without), green beans and salad. If that wasn’t enough, for dessert there was banana bread with chocolate chips and homemade apple pie (thanks Donna!) Needless to say we were quite satisfied when the meal was over.

As we gathered for reflection we were asked to reflect on our sense memories and how powerful those memories can be. We were asked to share something that triggers one of our senses and what that memory was. The memories ranged from childhood to present day.