Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Glamping in Miss Daisy

Most summers have a theme that just kinda happens. For us, this is the summer of Miss Daisy. Daisy is our 1967 (we think, the previous owners thought it was a 1969) Field & Stream vintage camper that we bought and refurbished in less than 3 weeks. What that essentially means is for every waking minute, from virtually sun up to midnight, when I wasn't doing my job as a pastor, I was working on that camper (and so was Darla, and sometimes our kids). And it happened to be during the hottest week of the year so far.

Here's Daisy on Memorial Day as we were stripping her down to the bear metal. Duncan taped off all the aluminum window frames before scrubbing and painting them silver. You can't really see it, but the frame/tongue/rear bumper was rusted and needed much work.

Here's the family giving Daisy her new coat of paint. We put a thick rubberized coat of waterproof roof sealer on the top, and a high-performance marine-grade acrylic on the rest of the body. I used Rust-Oleum black paint from a rattle can on the hitch and new bumper after removing at least three previous coats of old paint, sanding and grinding it to the bare metal.
Here's the camper in fresh white paint, before we put on the yellow stripe. We also had to remove and clean all the old louvered window glass, and repair the windows.
Here's the other side. Notice the ugly rusty wheels.
Duncan did most of the work on the yellow stripe. She gave guidance in picking the right shade, too. I wanted to match the camper's color with that of my Wagoneer (maroon with a wooden stripe), that was summarily vetoed. The yellow color came from the color of the faux wood molding on my Wagoneer. I wouldn't consider that a compromise. More like a not-so-veiled attempt at placating me!

Here's Daisy's old bumper. It was mangled and rusty. I designed a new one that would also serve as a spare tire carrier. I bought the metal pieces and took them to a welder so he could cut off the old bumper and weld on the new. Afterward, I painted it with several coats of Rust-Oleum. Darla wanted it white for looks, but I campaigned for black because I'm afraid white would show rust pretty soon, no matter how hard I tried to get rid of it all. I don't regret it, at the vintage camper rally, I saw several nicely done trailers with white on the bumper/hitch, and they had rust and dirt that marred the camper's looks.

Yes, that's a receiver hitch welded in the new bumper. That's for a cargo cage or bike holder. And yes, if we courageously (stupidly?) wanted to tandem-tow a small trailer, we could (we actually met some folks at the vintage camper rally who did!) but we wouldn't be able to go in reverse.
After the painting was done, we resealed all the windows and other joints and openings so that NO WATER CAN GET IN. After several rains, some quite hard, it seems we were successful. So far, so good.
Here's the finished camper! New "steelie" wheels (that I bought, sanded, and painted yellow to match). I tell you, by the time we drove to Elkmont, getting this thing ready kicked my tail.

Here are some pictures of the inside. We put in new faux wood floors, ripped out any water-damaged surfaces, and repainted or re-surfaced everything. This includes tile backstops, plastic antique-tin-looking wall covering, re-stained original birch ceiling, and aluminum trim. We tried to keep the vintage countertops and appliances (and many of them required repairs).

Thankfully, the previous owners reupholstered the seats and made expensive new curtains. They also tried to salvage the original stuff. Daisy's whole color scheme

Here's the backsplash tile. Also notice the original stove and ice box. I just bought an old gas-powered refrigerator that I plan on fixing and installing where the ice box is. Note also the original gas lamp on the wall above the stove.
One of my favorite parts of the trailer is the birch ceiling. I'm so glad we were able to keep it. There were some rough places where previous owners had peeled chunks of it off, and some areas that had been stained by water. We did our best to either hide or re-stain the damaged parts.

Notice the antique fan on the shelf, the baskets we turned into handy shelves, and all the vintage daisy-themed stuff. It's kind of been fun to look for daisy stuff at yard sales, thrift stores, and online for cheap.

Perhaps the hardest job of all for me on the camper was cutting and attaching the new wall surface. All pieces of the white tin-looking tile had to be perfectly matched and cutting to fit the rounded-corner ceiling was really hard. It looks great, though.
Here's the sink area. Darla did a great job decorating. Duncan painted all the cabinet drawers and doors grey. Darla bought a new hand pump online for the faucet, installed it herself, and it works! It's for when we camp places where there is no hook-ups. We camp more where there are no hookups more than where there are. That's another reason we want to get a gas refrigerator. Then we will have water, light, and refrigeration for food.

After working to fix all these things, we still have some small leakage in the "hook-up" water pipe, and in the drain pipe, but not much.

Other tasks we accomplished include rewiring all the trailer harness lighting and some of the 110-volt system (thanks Drew Sparks), repairing the gas lines, removing the rusty old double-LP-gas-tank-holder and restoring the original one-tank holder.

As I write this, it's the end of August and we've camped in Miss Daisy 4 times. Here's a brief recap:

June 20-25 at Elkmont near Gatlinburg, TN.
After speaking at a marriage retreat for Coaches Outreach in Black Mountain, NC, Darla and I brought Miss Daisy for her inaugural (with us) trip to our favorite family campsite. We put up the usual huge brown tarp (which requires some engineering prowess on my part with ropes and trees). We decided we needed to retire the tarps. Too much hassle and time.

We camped next to the Hicks and the Childresses as we have for the last several years. We miss the Sanders family who moved to Washington state.

July 1-2 Elkmont
My sister had reserved more days than she could use, so instead of canceling the extras, we paid her for them and spent a couple more days (without kids) in Elkmont, moving only a few spaces upstream from our usual spot.
As you can see, we didn't have an awning yet. We had ordered one, but it was being made.

July 17th at Gee Creek Campground between Delano and Reliance, TN.
Darla and I escaped for a weekend next to one of my favorite rivers. The Hiwassee. Darla was gracious and allowed me some time to fish. Both days I caught a limit of trout! Thanks for that good time, God (and Darla).
We had a few new additions with us: a new canopy from Walmart, and an awning we'd ordered from California, and a Dutch Oven. The oven was fantastic! The awning, on the other hand, while practical, was really the wrong color of yellow. This didn't bother me, but Darla couldn't stand it. She thought it clashed. So she sold it on eBay, and bought one made by a lady in Georgia for less!

Thankfully, we haven't needed air conditioning yet. Elkmont is always cool, but we were afraid we would be hot at the Hiwassee. All turned out well. We couldn't have used it even if we had it (because there were no hook-ups). Gee creek is clean and pretty nice. But there's no easy access to the river, and there's poison ivy everywhere.

August 25-27 Near Hiwassee, GA.
We did our first vintage camper rally at the North Georgia Vintage Trailer Rally at the Riverbend Campground.

As God would have it, we got a spot between two senior couples, on one side was the lady who made our new green awning!! Everyone was nice (with a few exceptions), and we learned so much. I got most of my questions answered, like: how do I install an air conditioner without cutting a hole in the side of the camper. We don't want a roof camper, we want one that can sit inconspicuously under the bed or somewhere else.

I also got ideas on how to build a wooden screen door. I will have to fabricate some hinges, but that's going to be a fun challenge.
We went all out and brought old stuff to glam up the camper: vintage suitcases, old-fashioned lawn chairs that we got cheap (that I have re-webbed twice), and several other things. We also had a new green rug to match the awning, and a new coleman canopy over the picnic table.

Most of the day on Saturday, people from all over came to the campground for the show. Hundreds walked through our and others' campers.

Having power and water was pretty convenient. But now we know we need air conditioning! My list is growing of future improvements for Daisy! Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Guest Post by Anthony Burton: The Will of God

Anthony Burton is a member of Providence who is planning to plant a church in south Knoxville. He is a graduate of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. The following post is his. 

A few weeks ago, I preached a message about the family of God. At the end of the sermon we took questions from those gathered. There were many questions submitted that I was unable to answer at that time. Therefore, I am writing a series of blog posts to address those questions. I categorized all of the questions into general topics: the will of God; the sovereignty of God; the sinful nature of humanity; doctrine of the Trinity; and others. The first issue to be addressed will be the will of God (or how not to mistake the voice in your head for the voice of God). Here were two questions that represent that line of thinking:  
1. In following the will of God, how do I distinguish between God's will for me and my own inner voice (or will) when making decisions? 
2. Why is it so hard to follow the will of God when you are trying to live for Him and he remains silent? 
What is God’s will for my life? If I had my pick, I would probably say it is the question I have heard the most over my short 10 years in ministry. Too often, however, the will of God is treated like it is a mystical guide, hidden in the middle earth nether-regions. If a believer was only willing to endure the most valiant of quest beyond the fourth dimension, we could know what God wants us to do. That’s way out there, I know, but I exaggerate because many think that God’s will is strangely hidden from them. We are typically waiting on a voice, a sign, or something that we can attribute to a supernatural movement of God before a decision can be made.
God has made his will plain and clear. There is no guess work involved really. Furthermore, his will speaks directly to the life we live.  To know his will, we must simply turn to his word and here are a few verses to demonstrate (I would encourage you to read them for yourself in context):
1. 1 Timothy 2:4 [God] desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truthFirst and foremost, God’s will for me and you is to be saved, to know him, and to have a relationship with him. It is impossible to not have salvation and be in his will.
2. Ephesians 5:17ff Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is…be filled with the Spirit. God has placed his Spirit in each of his children. He has given us new life! And it is not that his Spirit simply dwell, but richly dwells within us. We should fill our lives with his presence—filled with his word! Meditation, study, memorization, song, prayer, and thanksgiving are but a few ways in which fullness is accomplished.
3. 1 Thessalonians 4:3ff For this is the will of God, your sanctification…For God has not called us for impurity, but in holinessGod’s will is for us to be holy as he is holy; obedient to his word; a reflection of Jesus Christ. God literally cleanses us so that he changes the way we think and feel. We begin to see the world as he does.
My grandmother would put it this way: “God’s will is for each of us to be saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost.” That’s it. But you might say, how does that help me with choosing which job to take, where to live, or what school to go to? When to speak or when to be silent? Or all the many questions we may face at any given moment in life. The reality is, when God’s Will is effective within your life, then God shows you the path, grants wisdom, and gives freedom. Romans 12:1-2 says, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Living the life he has called us to live and having our thinking in conformity with Christ, allows us to know what is God’s will in our decision making.
Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Not that God will give you the things of your wildest dreams or that you just hit the God-lottery, but he instills within you his desires for the choices that you make. In essence, when you examine your life and motives and determine you are within the will of God, do and pray for your heart’s desire. Because that desire will be in lock-step with God’s will. As an example, how did I know that God is calling me to plant Bridge Church? Because the desire within me was so strong that it could not be escaped and I know (upon examination) I’m living my life within the will of God. I hope this helps you in your endeavor to know and do the will of God for your own life.