The four weeks in Hobbs, NM, building for Habitat for Humanity, went all too quickly. Even though I was laid up for more than half the time with a nasty virus, the rest of the team did a marvelous job, enthusiastically working through less than ideal conditions: strong winds, bitter cold, and lack of inspections from the city. When you are a charitable organization, your requests are often not given much priority……such as building inspections, pouring cement foundations, and the like. As a result, builds get delayed, and in the long run, families are delayed in being able to see their dreams realized. Yet, due to diligence from the affiliate staff and the RV Camperforce, the work eventually gets done. And it gets done with tons of love and dedication. What a trip!

One very special highlight of this build was to be invited out to the local prison to tour the large warehouse where the Hobbs Habitat house frames are now built. In a joint effort, Habitat and the local prison, have come to a wonderful arrangement where a few selected prisoners are able to learn a trade, hopefully one they can use when and if released. This opportunity is affording these men a new lease on life, a purpose to work toward, a sense of community and giving back. These prisoners were so proud to show us their work. None of them is being released very soon, and some have been incarcerated for many years, but building these Habitat homes has ignited a sense of “others’ needs” before self. The few men selected for this detail are walking tall and smiling broadly. They truly glow with pride! (Sorry, cameras not allowed.)

Immediately following the build, but unfortunately after a few teammates had left for their next destinations, those of us remaining were blessed to be able to assist with the distribution of Christmas gifts to the Habitat families currently in line for the next homes. Thanks to the incredible generosity of local organizations, Habitat was chosen this year in Hobbs to be on the receiving end of new bicycles for all the children (seven families) and gifts galore. What a night! Squeals of delight, tears, smiles, whoops of joy, it was all there.

We were able to work side by side with some members of each of these families as they earn their sweat equity hours contributing to others’ homes even before their own are started. It is a fabulous way to build community and relationships. Habitat is building thriving neighborhoods, not just individual houses. It is building lifelong friendships and neighbors that watch out for each other. I can’t speak highly enough for this organization that I have chosen to build with. God bless Habitat for Humanity!

On Wednesday, December 21, I was finally feeling well enough to tackle the trip to Mesa, AZ. The wind let up, and although I encountered some wind crossing through the Guadalupe Mountains, it only delayed me for an hour or so as I waited it out. I spent one night in Las Cruces, NM, then on Thursday, completed the trip into Mesa, arriving soon after dark. I got into my spot and settled the next morning. The Good Life Resort, one of the several resorts managed by Ca-Am is amazing. You can hardly call this camping. Ha! More like glamping! I will have to dedicate a post just to listing all the activities and amenities this place has to offer, in addition to the very warm welcome and hospitality.

Christmas has come and gone. I hope you found yourselves surrounded by loved ones, soaking up the best of times. I pray your New Year is filled with good health, safety, warmth, and loving relationships. Have a blessed 2017!

Today I am grateful for the generosity of loving communities, hoping to make life a little more joyful for those who are hurting in any way. I am grateful for fellow Care-a-Vanners who care enough to share their lives and resources with those in need, even sacrificing time with their own families during the holidays, to try to make a difference. Thanks you, friends. I am proud to be a fellow Habitater!