Reflections from my time at Raystown Lake

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

When we first boarded our houseboat on Monday May 24, 2021 I was really excited. It did not take long for me to become agitated with the houseboat itself.

I must confess in certain ways I can be Princess Mandy. I have a standard of clean which I expect of myself and others. This boat did not meet that standard or any level of tolerance. I chose to rent this boat because of its top deck; however, I do not think they have ever cleaned my much wanted deck!

Nathan and I have been married for 3.5 years and this was our first vacation. I was either in Seminary or we were moving so this is the first time we have done something like this. Nathan in his love and kindness for me knew that I was unhappy and he started cleaning while I was sulking.

Pride is a vicious beast! I wanted a beautiful boat to see God’s Beautiful Creation and I am SO thankful that God humbled me to see His Beauty, to see Nathan’s love and to get over myself so that I could see God and to see Nathan as God wants me to see Nathan.

Nathan, PQ and I experienced many adventures on this trip. From docking/anchoring the boat to trees, to fog, to a severe thunderstorm with 70 mph winds.

We knew there would be storms on Wednesday May 26, 2021 we just didn’t know how severe. When we saw the clouds forming we tied the boat down on an island that we thought was safe. Well, the first big gust of wind ripped the metal cleat right off the boat. Nathan had to quick jump off and untie the other side and we were just spinning and spinning. I remembered seeing that the upstairs deck furniture was unstacked and untied down. I quick went up to stack it and Nathan started screaming at me to get down. I had never seen Nathan so shaken and upset, he said I could have really been hurt and if the stuff blows over oh well, your life is worth more than some deck furniture. Nathan also said he was concerned the wind was going to turn the boat on its side.

I had been joking earlier in the day maybe we have our own Jesus calms the sea/storm/winds/waves moment; however, I never anticipated it would look like that!

What we didn’t know until returning the boat yesterday May 28, 2021 was that when Nathan went to the marina to buy live bait on Wednesday (May 26) before the storm. The marina requires houseboats to be docked by their employees. Well, the employee who worked for the marina when docking the boat, hitting the side of the boat against the dock, putting a hole in the side of the boat that Nathan and I never saw. After it was pointed out to Nathan yesterday he said had he known he wouldn’t have taken the boat back out again. Thank God the marina has their employees dock the boat so this wasn’t on Nathan and I and even greater thank God for this hole not being an issue in the storm!!!!!

We fished for many, many hours each day. In 4 days we caught zero fish. From what we could tell no one else was really catching fish either. Tuesday May 25, 2021 was a full moon and that may have had an effect on the fish. Fishing is a great analogy for the Christian life. Jesus tells Peter, Andrew, James and John that He will teach them how to fish for people. The call is to discipleship, but fishing is also an appropriate analogy of evangelism as well. Both take time and diligence. As Nathan says, “if you don’t have a line [or net] in the water you’re guaranteed to not catch any fish.” I have a greater appreciation for seeking out where the fish are!

I know that every blogger, podcaster, vlogger says they have “the best followers.” Precious readers, I am SO thankful for your love and support and prayers on this journey. I do NOT view any of y’all as followers but friends who I am doing and sharing life with.

I know that most of my blogs lately have been more biblical theology based than personal life application. This adventure has restored to me a sense of being personal and vulnerable with y’all as well as to share what I am learning from the Lord and His Word. Again, I cannot thank y’all enough for your love, support and encouragement.

The Lord has restored my love for taking pictures of His creation and I want to share more of what I see when I am out and about with y’all.

Maybe dear reader you have wanted to go on your own adventure but don’t know where to go or can’t at this moment. I would love to encourage you to read or listen to an audio Bible version of your choosing on Acts. The Book of Acts is an epic adventure. There’s the ascension of Jesus, the start of the church, conversions, missionary journeys, snakes, shipwrecks, imprisonments, stoning etc.

Life in Christ is an adventure. There are NO days off in the Christian life. While this post 2020 covid world may seem more like a nightmare than an adventure; life in Christ is life to the fullest if we are willing to follow Him. This life is not easy. But it wasn’t easy for any of the real life people in Acts either.

I am thankful that God continues to remove me from my comfort zone. It is not pleasant at first but it always leads me to growing closer to Him and to others in the process. I am not the same person today, May 29, 2021 that I was on Monday May 24. Praise God for His Work in our lives and meeting us right where we are. May you dear reader, grow closer to our Savior today!

Lord God, thank You for the gifts of adventure, wonder, awe, humility and transparency. Lord God, help us to not fear what is next but to cling to You, holding to You, journeying with You and with others. Lord God, thank You for the heart that You have given these readers for me and I pray they know that my heart is with them. Lord God, I do not know what favor and blessing looks like for this reader but I ask that You will bless them for the love and support they have shown me. Lord God, thank You that when we actively seek You that You will transform us more in Your Image. May Your people seek to glorify You! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Here are more pictures if you’re interested (all photos taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn).

Published by

Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

76 thoughts on “Reflections from my time at Raystown Lake”

  1. Mandy!! I have been on a boat during 70+ miles per hour winds!! This happened during a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico in September 1977. It was before the days of satellite weather reports, so the hurricane that was forming as our ship left Galveston wasn’t even reported. Mandy, I KNOW what a storm with 70 mph winds is like, in a boat like that one, out on the water. WOW!! It truly is a miracle you three survived unscathed!!!

    It was the day before my trip to Amarillo for medical tests, that I suddenly had you very strong on my mind. That was May 26. I don’t remember what time it hit me that I needed to pray for your safety, but it hit me very strong. So I prayed right on the spot for you and your hubby and your fur baby to be safe. I believe that I was probably praying during your experience in the storm!

    God is so GOOD!!!!!!! ❤❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for praying, Linda!!! God is so GOOD!!! That was the wildest experience ever! We were spinning and spinning and Nathan is just trying to keep us from hitting the bank. I am SO SO SO thankful for your prayers!! We asked the guys at the marina yesterday what to do if we are ever out there again when that happens and they said there nothing you can do. They’ve seen all kinds of boats flip and have terrible time with things. I am so glad that you survived your experience! I am so thankful God has brought us together! Jesus loves you Linda and so do I!!! 😘😘🤗🤗

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      1. Happy tears!!! Man. I can’t get over how strong the feeling was, that I needed to pray for you right then. I wish I would have sent you a text or email then, so that I would have a record of exactly when that was. But I prayed! Afterwards, I got really busy with my life, taking care of this wild new rescue dog, helping my hubby as he gets ready for his daily cancer treatments, and then the dogs to the groomer and our long journey to Amarillo the next day for my painful medical examination. By the time we got home that day, which was Thursday, all I could think about was getting the dogs to settle down, and going to bed.

        It wasn’t until much later the next day, Friday, after my pain eased up again, and the dogs finally got settled down, that I realized… I haven’t seen any new posts or gotten any texts from Mandy, since before I prayed for her on Wednesday. Oh… I hope they are all right!

        That’s why I sent a text, asking if you were okay. Whew! Praise God you are okay!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I understood as soon as I read this post why you text me and I was like wow, God, thank you for Linda! You are such a gift to me!! There have been times when I have been overcome with needing to pray for you! I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit has made us sensitive to each other! I am thankful for you and I just am so so blessed by your presence in my life! Praying for you, hubby and fur babies! I am so thankful they have you and vice versa!! 🧡🧡🧡💚💚💚💜💜💜

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  2. Isn’t that something else about Linda needing to pray for you folks! Here I was thinking you three were out sunning on the upper deck! I’m glad to hear you are all back on solid ground. Sounds to me like Nathan is a keeper! (Actually all 3 of you are keepers!) Blessings!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Bruce!! I am SO thankful for Linda’s prayers! We fished and fished and fished so more and there was nothing! Nathan had a decent sized fish the first night but the fish got away. PQ is SO happy to be back in his fiefdom. We are headed back to Raystown in October; however, we will bring our own boat and stay at a hotel. Thank you so much for all your love and kindness toward us!! Love and blessings to you and Peggy!!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Way to go, Mandy! Abundant Christian Living through Adventures.

    L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine upon you and Nathan–may you both continue to be guided, taught, watched over, and filled by His Spirit and His Shalom Peace. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Wil! I appreciate you so much brother! So true about “Abundant Christian Living through Adventures.” I forgot how much I love adventures with God. May the Lord fill you with the Peace of His Presence and envelop you in His Shalom!

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  4. Wow!! An adventure indeed! So glad you got to go and that God was there every moment, keeping you safe and providing the encouragement only He can! Sometimes, we don’t know what our nets will catch or when. But we keep putting them out there! Thank you for sharing, my friend! I had just been pondering where to go in my reading next as I am finishing up 1st and 2nd Peter. Acts sounds like a good place! Thanks for sharing your adventure! Awesomepics! Love, hugs, and blessings! 🖤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, what a whirlwind week! In the Navy we used to say “it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.” 😁 Rule #1, Secure for Sea. I remember during one high seas storm a very large xerox machine rolling toward me in radio central that someone checked off their list but didn’t secure properly 😜 Even after 10 years at sea I never understood why others could not be as clean and neat as I preferred. In the end I guess it’s all part of the experience. I ventured God’s beautiful world, met new friends and learned a little patience. Love the photos, especially the 3 of you together and the one with Nathan and his “first mate” in the background scouting the woods. Glad you finally had a family vacation and made it home safely.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Denise!!! You would have been a balm to my weary soul after that! I didn’t know who to call or what to do. Thank God for y’all military folk!!! That xerox machine is craziness I am SO glad you were ok!! I love you! Can’t wait to see you and Tiva 💚💚💜💜😘😘🤗🤗

      Like

  6. Now that was quite an adventure for you both! Thank you for being humble and sharing your struggles, we can all learn from such things. You will need a break to recover from this. May Father God bless you and lead you, showing you His blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Alan! It was an adventure. I’m not sure if you ever read some of these like Junk https://bluecollartheologian.blog/2018/09/25/junk/ or Planty and the Fishing Pole https://bluecollartheologian.blog/2019/03/07/planty-and-the-fishing-pole/ but I used to write a lot more personal application posts than I have been. Since leaving the PhD program I have really enjoyed sharing what I am learning here; however, I have to be mindful to be personal on here as well. I don’t ever want to be disqualified or have anyone think I have it all together! I am thankful for your love and support, brother! Will you make it to the church building tomorrow?! Love and blessings to you and Susan!!

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      1. We all have different gifts and talents Mandy; I appreciate yours greatly. Your prayers and Biblical studies have been a real blessing to me in my short time on WordPress. I thank our Father often for you, and many others in the Fellowship here on WordPress.
        I am pleased to say I will be able to attend church tomorrow, I am looking forward to it – praise His Mighty Name!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea God! I am so glad you will be able to attend tomorrow! I am glad that I have been able to bless you! Your heart for Jesus and authenticity blesses me as well! Thank you for praying for me when the Lord brings me to mind and I am praying for you and Susan as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! What and amazing, eventful story! For you to wait 3 and a half years for a vacation, experience what you went through and yet praise God – this is inspiring! You and Nathan demonstrate what faith is all about, trusting God no matter what we go through -I cannot forget PQ too 😊 so glad God rescued you from any expenses because of the storm! God bless

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  8. What a wonderful adventure with so many great experiences. Nothing like getting out on the water to learn how to trust God.

    Thanks for the remarkable stories with the lessons from Jesus.

    Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, brother! We will return in October; however, we will stay in a hotel and bring our own boat. To that point, you have stirred me to want to check out the Thousand Islands sooner rather than later! Have a blessed Lord’s Day tomorrow?! What is your church preaching?! We are going through the Jesus Manifesto (which I need to blog on again) and as you know so much practical theology for us today! Love and blessings, brother!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have been working through Ezra. We will be on chapters 7 – 10 tomorrow.

        I love the Jesus Manifesto. Will start your guest articles soon

        I highly recommend the Thousand Islands. You can do “day tours” of the islands and stay on the mainland. Best is to have your own boat, perhaps rent a cabin and boat around on your own. Our family used to go up for 2 weeks in the summer. Fun and great way to disconnect.

        Blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved every bit of your adventure! Especially that awesome rainbow that represents God’s promise for us!! 🙌
    ((((( ❤️ )))))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen! I’m ALL about reclaiming the rainbow! Praise God for His promise! I have one that says, “Jesus truly calms the storm” but the rainbow didn’t look as nice. Thank you for checking out the video and letting me know it worked! Praise the Lord! I have always used my laptop but the phone offers options I haven’t found in laptop/desktop version! I am thankful for you, Beth!

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  10. Wow, Mandy! This trips sounds like it was FULL of adventure–some of it you may not have wanted! 😬 I’m glad you got through the true safely and love the analogy you made about fishing and the lessons God was teaching you through it. Blessings to you, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! glad you are all well and safe after that storm. Spinning around like that must have been so scary.

    “if you don’t have a line [or net] in the water you’re guaranteed to not catch any fish.” – that really stood out to me.
    Thank you for that wonderful prayer and the pictures are beautiful.
    Blessings to you 💙🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sorry to hear the boat wasn’t as clean! That’s unfortunate. Wow this is the first trip for the two of you! Awesome!!
    I felt your blog has been practical! Been appreciating seeing more posts from you this year.
    Love that you blogged about your trip even the craziness of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s practical but not as personal for some of the newer followers. I am really glad O blogged through the trip too. Makes me want to go more places and blog! God has been really gracious and is growing the blog. Sometimes I think of asking for prayer on Tuesday’s for God to use and grow blog not for me but for His glory, but feel like that is selfish. How did it go with the youth today?! I’m sure Mrs B did a GREAT job! Praying for sermon prep!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think today went well! The kids weren’t as talkative about the topic of opportunity to serve God but I think it went really well the last five minutes. So glad Mrs. B shared to the kids today!

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  13. Before reading this, Mandy, I thought it was almost all fun with only two hiccups. Great is GOD’s faithfulness, grateful to JESUS and His comforting love of securing your safety, and a good lesson from Nathan, were my comments in the blog and email back then but in this full story, I can say, GOD is GOD, good, and has plans for both of you. With that windspeed, as strong as our typhoon, and a hole, GOD was there with you in the boat. So many lessons and life changing indeed! The Books of Acts is something to explore again. You are right about the analogy fishing fish and potential believers in JESUS CHRIST; the HOLY SPIRIT’s leading is needed. A blessed Sunday Princess, Nathan, and your respective families!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Kent! You are such a gift to Nathan and I! I know my cleanness issue is a first world problem and one that I wanted to address in a reflection blog! I knew you would understand the storm and I have a FAR greater appreciation for what y’all go through when a typhoon hits 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 I am eager to hear your thoughts on Acts when you have time. There could be some fascinating visuals for your blog if you choose to go through portions of Acts!!!! I will make a video at some point brother, I promise! This WordPress story feature for the mobile device is an amazing thing! I am assuming this is what Instagram or other platforms are like?!?! Love and blessings to you and your family this Lord’s Day!!!! Thank you for being such a positive and encouraging friend to me! So glad that God gives us community so that darkness isn’t our only companion like the psalmist in Psalm 88. May Jesus be a Light and Guide to you and to the Philippines. Praying for the rollout!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same sentiment, Mandy, as the so recent email shows! I really appreciated notifying me on that in many occassions already. Thank you very much! I’m still shooting the messenger with darts of gratefulness! Yup, cleanliness is a person thing regardless of which world. I know. The main content of Acts might come eventually but the earlier chapters of the book will be coming soon. I’ll explore on it, Mandy, especially for the previous series. Likewise, thank you also and your email is the proof. You don’t how I scrambled to update it. Indeed, may CHRIST be the light! A blessed Sunday to you, Nathan and your families! [I think I’ve said it above; make it double then.] Oh, the rollout, we have “hArd” immunity here, far more effective than the diplomatic immunity, hehehe. 😉😉

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Well Mandy, I had some flashbacks reading about the high winds, accelerated levels of communication and, in some ways, in a week you experienced an abbreviated version of life. Our world is like your boat spinning and spinning and we are aboard (that analogy could keep on going…). You now have stories, pictures, new perspectives and a new appreciation for the wonderful relationships you have. Glad you guys are safe and wanting to return.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right about all the “new”s I have!!! I am so thankful for how God teaches us! I am thankful to have friends to share these stories with and I am thankful for friends like you who have been through it and understand!!! I am praying for your upcoming adventure!!!! Have a wonderful Lord’s Day! Taste and see that the Lord is good! (ps 34:8).

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for sharing both the fun and challenges of the houseboat! Glad you and Nathan had a (mostly) enjoyable time.

    Hope you’re having a great Lord’s day! Love and blessings to you and Nathan!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: Work

        Thanks! Another unusually slow day on this slow weekend. I’m sure the holiday was a factor in the lower schedule. Thanks for your prayers! Much appreciated! Our sons get lots of Gospel messages, especially from Corinne. It’s hard to kick against the goads as I recall.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow what a fantastic adventure Mandy storm and all. So glad it all turned out well. The strong winds you mentioned took me back to one of our holidays to North Queensland (years back) where we were caught in a tropical cyclone and it was so scary and so exciting all at the same time. 🤣
    Blessings my dear friend 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Crissy!!! I love taking pictures of God’s creation and sharing them with others! I am hoping to do that more often. Since withdrawing from my phd program in biblical studies, this year I have written more on biblical theology than personal life application. I always apply the lesson to life it just may not be as personal or vulnerable. I will be more mindful to incorporate the life app with biblical theology. Anyway, sorry for sharing all this! I value you!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Mandy, thank you for sharing. I like to know about you and we live in different countries so there is much to share. 🥰
        I love taking pictures too.
        Blessings to you

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for sharing your adventure! Beautiful scenery! And so cool to have PQ along!
    Love this as analogy for ministry: ‘As Nathan says, “if you don’t have a line [or net] in the water you’re guaranteed to not catch any fish.” I have a greater appreciation for seeking out where the fish are!’

    Can’t wait to read your upcoming posts as you get vulnerable, those are always my fave because I love to see how God has or is working.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a TON of older posts that are all about life application. Junk and Planty and the Fishing Pole are two of my favorites! Affirmation is a vulnerable post as well. It’s only been this year that I went more toward biblical theology. My mom has been requesting/begging for me to return to my roots on this blog of life application and start a new blog for biblical theology! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate this!! Father God, thank You and praise You for Alicia! Lord, bless her for her helping me! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen! Thank you and love, hugs and blessings!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love this!!! That’s cute and a good idea of your mom! Theology is absolutely great and important but sometimes it hurts my brain😂😂😂I’ve been enjoying reading your posts either way and your prayers are powerful!!❤️

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      2. Thank you, Alicia! I have been talking this over with Nathan and while starting a second blog sounds like a great idea, it may become confusing!!! I need to be more mindful to share life application and personal stories just as much as biblical theology. Thank you so much for your encouragement! Thank you for joining me in prayer, it is such a gift to me!!! You are loved!!!!

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      3. Ya totally understandable..I think it would be hard to balance two blogs and give equal attention to both especially when it comes to responding/communicating in the comments..God will guide you in the right way and I know you’ll be obedient to his direction!😊

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  18. It sounds like you definitely went on an adventure!! And I can totally relate to Princess Mandy 😄 Clean is definitely a MUST.

    So scary to hear about the storm, but I’m glad you all made it okay. Those are some beautiful photos, and I hope you both were able to make some lasting memories 😊

    It’s funny you should mention Acts, as we just began that book here at home with our One-Year Bible!

    I’m very thankful for you and thank you for sharing this very personal blog! It’s good to see your smiling face 🙂 I hope June brings you more joy and adventures! God bless, sister 💖💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait to hear about your journeys in Acts! Never hesitate to text if you have questions! I love hearing your heart and passion for Jesus! Thank you for your comments on this blog! Thank you for texting with me and all the ways you share joy with me and others! Jesus loves you Yari and so do I!!

      Liked by 1 person

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