Monday, July 1, 2013

Is this heaven or Santa Fe?

We just returned from a week in lovely Santa Fe, New Mexico, and it was wonderful!  We traveled to the Southwest with 12 of our best pals from church on a mission work team. The climate was blissfully humidity-free and the cool evenings were a real treat. We smiled as we checked our cell phones and commiserated about our friends and family, left behind in Kansas with hideous 100+ degree temps and extreme humidity. Ah....Santa Fe!

I didn't take a lot of pictures, and am counting on our "official" trip photographer to share his files with me for my digital scrapbook, but I snapped a few I wanted to share. Above is the luxurious church van and our trailer as we navigated a tight corner at a stop in Las Vegas...New Mexico, that is!

We spent a week at lovely Zia United Methodist Church...literally! We slept in their main building, and worked there and the adjacent parsonage. Conveniently, our trip coincided with the departure of one pastor and the arrival of another. We didn't know this when the trip was planned months ago, but...God works in mysterious ways. So, we did an "extreme makeover" on the parsonage during the 4 days while it was empty.

We stripped out all the carpet, tack strips and floor trim in preparation for the tile layers, and painted every wall in the place.

We painted and painted some more, we washed windows and mini blinds (Suzanne dedicated an entire day to meticulously washing blinds out on the porch!). We shampooed the sofas and cleaned all the appliances.

That's me above (seated on the toilet!) with my pal, Shelley. I'm trying to figure out how to shove paint (neatly) BEHIND the toilet.

We pulled out a faulty toilet to reveal...ugh...rotten flooring and who knows what else below! That job turned out a little bigger than we expected. I carefully avoided this area. I'm pretty sure my paintbrush couldn't fix this problem. Did I mention that I LOVE to paint?

While part of the crew worked on the extreme makeover (move that bus!), others worked in the main church buildling. 

We worked outside...

and inside.

We worked high (that's my crazy husband up there on the ladder)...

and we worked low? (We were putting new weather stripping stuff under the doors).

Some of our favorite projects (and most visible!) were on the front entrance to Zia UMC. The guys above are re-staining the frame around the stained glass window with the Zia symbol.

Below the window, we snaded and restained the beautiful front doors. The previous stain had been eaten away by the hot Santa Fe sun...what a dramatic difference!

Then they asked us to paint some of the details on the carved doors with red and yellow paint. Yes, I was called in to do this trim work!

Another tricky exterior project was repainting their front letters. After some discussion on how to attempt this job, we meticulously taped off behind the letters (which took hours!)...

then sprayed in the brilliant red paint they had requested (which took mere minutes!).

And when we weren't working, we chatted and got to know our friends a bit better. Check out our luxury accommodations (air mattresses and cots)  in foreground above. And (also above at bottom) our dining facilities located conveniently close!

We cooked most of our own meals, including LARGE breakfasts. Everyone took turns preparing and cleaning up in the nice Zia church kitchen...girls and guys!

We even celebrated 3 birthdays while we were there...June is a popular month! Birthday girls and boys got to be first in the food line, of course.

And who could visit Santa Fe without eating some of their yummy New Mexican food? !Que delicioso!

Zia celebrated our last night with a traditional church pot luck dinner. We left them a list of improvements we had made during the week....

and a surprise thank you on their chalkboard door when we left early the next morning.

So...Santa Fe isn't really "heaven", but we all experienced a bit of heaven as we spent the week together in beautiful New Mexico. We worked hard, ate big, slept (not so well), did daily devotions and laughed....A LOT!!! As everyone crawled into bed you could hear murmuring across the room...

"Good night, Bob"
"Good night, Connie"
"Good night, Robert"
and on and true Walton style!

*Note: if you don't know who or what the Waltons are probably too young to be reading this blog. It was a family television show from the 70s, and every episode ended with the family "good nights".


  1. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a fun week! I'll bet y'all felt more rewarded than the recipients of all your hard work. It is a time none of you will forget. Treasured memories in service to others.

  3. Very nice!

    Here is a tip for painting behind the toilet.....wrap the tank with saran plastic wrap and then use a small roller to paint the wall behind the tank!

  4. You guys rock! I'm glad you enjoyed the SW a bit!