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At least once a year our camping group gets together and the girls and I cook in our dutch ovens.  This year we got together the first weekend of October at Chimney Rock where we have parked our travel trailer and had a great time together! Many ask what Dutch Oven Cooking  is all about so I thought a picture is worth much more than words so here are a few pictures with some explanations……..

First you get the coals started.  Often for dishes that cook for longer than an hour you will need to replace your coals every hour.

The guys were a great help with keeping the coals started for us!  Thanks guys!

Now get the girls together and start getting the dutch ovens on the table!  Best weather for dutch oven cooking is spring and fall because those coals get hot to stand over!  In this shot Noelle and I are just getting started!  To the right of us you see Ethan and Ali keeping an eye on the fire.  The picture above this one is of Connie, Noelle and I midway through the cooking process.

Important tools:  Heavy duty gloves, chimney starter, tongs, lid lifter.

Look at those hot coals cooking my meatloaf!

View of our tables with a few dutch ovens going.  No need to stack this time b/c we had two tables to use!  We have had dutch ovens stacked 3 high before!  Now to show some pictures of the food that came out of these dutch ovens…

Above:  Cheesy Potato dish complements of Connie Temple!

Broccoli Cheese Corn Bread by Stacey!  Recipe taken from Corn Bread Alley Cook off recipes.

Meatloaf by Stacey.  Recipe provided by a group of experienced dutch oven cookers we met while camping in Tennessee one year.

Pumpkin Cobbler made by Noelle.

Corn Casserole cooked by Noelle……always a requested dish!

Recently while preparing my Graduate School Application I was challenged when asked to submit an essay/letter explaining my purpose for pursuing my graduate education and was amazed to find myself tearful while writing it because it is my life story as a hospice nurse.  I wanted to share the letter with you.

To the Dean of UNCC Graduate School:

Seventeen years ago I graduated from nursing school and went directly into critical care nursing thinking I wanted to save the world and all the patients in it.  I spent five years in ICU, CCU and Bone Marrow Transplant units until I found my true calling.

My brother-in-law died and I found myself drawn to the care of the terminally ill.  There was a rare opening at Gaston Hospice; so I applied and here I am 12 years later in love with a career that is tremendously rewarding and inspiring.

I love to teach and it just comes to me as naturally as walking.  If you watched me through a window most days on the job you would see me teaching a CNA as we walk down a hallway, orienting a new hospice nurse at the bedside, or teaching a loved one about the dying process as they tearfully hold their spouse’s hand for the last few hours.  I am enthusiastic and love to share new knowledge with my co-workers and cannot count the number of times someone has said, “you need to teach”.

So, as I turned forty this year and started thinking more about my future and what I may want to do instead of hospice bedside nursing, an idea started forming that I would love to teach our future nurses.   I want to teach students not only the skills and knowledge needed to be an amazing nurse in any field they enter, but I want to teach them that the best kind of healing is not always “saving a patient”, but helping them live out their last days in comfort  I want to teach new nurses that you may not be able to give a patient the gift of a longer life, but you can give them the gift of a better quality of life.

Qualities that I bring to your program include a positive attitude, a hunger for knowledge, energy, enthusiasm and a love of nursing.  My medical director shared something very important with me one day when I was discussing returning to school to pursue my Master’s Degree as a Nurse Educator.  I would like to share his comment in closing.   Dr. Case said, “Stacey, as a nurse here at the hospice house I watch you educate and lead hundreds of people in the area of hospice and palliative care, now as a nurse educator I can watch you teach and influence hundreds and thousands of students in the years to come.”

Sincerely,

Stacey Vincent, RN, BSN, CHPN

Mark’s Birthday

My sweet Mark’s birthday is tomorrow, but I actually gave him his gift a month ago.  My husband always get my old technology as hand me downs and I thought it was about time that he got the first of something in our house!  So for his birthday I bought him the new Ipad!  Now the transition from PC to IPAD hasn’t been very smooth but I think he is doing okay with it.

Look what I got!

Now how do I use this thing?

Mark’s girls decided since Camryn and Nicky’s birthdays are so close that they would have a joint birthday party.  Camryn turned 2 and Nicky turned 1!  The party was held at Champion’s Gym in Rock Hill.

Full of expression!

A calm moment for the birthday boy who turned 1!

Mimi and the birthday girl!

Of course there is cake!

Camryn turns 2!

Mimi and a momentarily peaceful Nicky!

While on a camping trip in July at our favorite campground Mark randomly starting talking to one of the permanent site owners, Dewey.  The conversation started out with drag racing as Mark, as usual, was waiting for me to finish getting ready to leave for dinner.  By the time I arrived in there conversation they had moved onto discussing leasing a permanent site and how much Dewey enjoyed just leaving home and driving to his camper already parked in the mountains.  We asked some questions and then he mentioned that there were a couple sites open at this time which is rare.  Over dinner Mark and I both said that we would move our camper to a permanent site in a heart beat if the price was right.  Neither of us had really ever discussed doing this but I guess the thought never occurred to us since there was never a permanent site available.  The next day to make a long story short, we went and talked to the owner, Ann, picked us out a spot and started the process of moving in!

Now time to get to work!

On July 31st we drove up to Hickory Nut Falls Family Campground and got to work cleaning up the site, deck and garden in preparation for bring our travel trailer to it’s new home in just a few weeks.

July 7th at home we washed and waxed and then on July 13th we moved her into “Vincent’s Villa”-name created by Mark.  On move in day, I was so thankful when Ann said that Dewey was at his place and could help because if you look closely at the picture above where the porch edge is located, you want to get your camper as close to that as possible without hitting the porch.  Now this would be the time to mention one of the reasons for our decision to locate to a permanent spot…….I am not good at directing Mark into a regular spot let alone getting him within an inch of that deck!  So, Dewey to the rescue!

Dewey to the rescue! Got us to within an inch of the front part of the camper and the porch!

Close up shot to show how close we are to that deck!

For the rest of the day   we worked like crazy to get settled in, acting like we only had one day to do it.  We actually had an entire 3 day weekend but because we worked hard Friday, we were able to relax and visit some on Saturday and Sunday and deal with a few hiccups.  On Friday we put down the indoor/outdoor carpet, Mark put the fan up and cabinet together.  By that evening we were settled in, or so we thought.  While asleep during the night it poured down rain and when I got up at 2 am I stepped in a small pond on the inside of our front camper door.  Leak #1, due to being leveled too much to the left and water poured in our door.  Then Saturday when we returned from town, leak #2 in bathroom, from crack in fan and water sitting on roof due to being now too level.  Seeing the pattern here?  All areas caulked before we left Sunday, so hopefully when we return at the end of August there will be no more “ponds” in our little villa!  Ashley and Cody are enjoying their new home away from home as you can see in the photo below!

Fun and Games

Can you say happy?

Well, it’s official, we are all moved in!  So come and camp with us!  We are on site #12.  If interested in knowing the dates that we plan to be at “Vincent’s Villa” let me know and I will shoot them out in an email to you!

Our new Vincent's Villa!

The story behind this cross. A couple months ago as part of a message series at Forest Pointe Church, Ray challenged us to take a paint stick and write down whatever holds us back or that we think is that one thing that is just too bad for God to erase in our lives. After writing this on our stick we came up and dipped it in red paint and tossed it on a drop cloth as an act of letting Christ cover our sin with His blood. Someone came up to Ray after the service and asked what he planned to do with the 400 or 500 paint sticks and Ray said he had no plans for them. This man asked to be able to make a cross out of them and this is the result.   What sin do you have in your past that you think are too big for Jesus?  There are no sins too big for our God!

I could just eat this little one up, couldn’t you?  All dressed in her Christmas attire for her morning at Forest Pointe Church.  Couldn’t resist sharing these photos with all of my family and friends!