Monday, December 31, 2007


Today was a great day for everyone. We worked at 6 different homes today and got a lot of work done. There are many highlights today, so here style!

  • Mark and Pedro rocked out on shelving at Mr. M's house...Mr. M was very appreciative of their hard work! In the afternoon they headed over to another house with Jonathan to install Pergo. Pedro was very excited about their day. I don't have pictures because they haven't given me any!

  • The group at Mr. P's house continued on with the floor prep. I've heard that Joey is very good at cutting out holes in plywood. Word on the street is that he's so exact that when the crew did a test fit, they almost couldn't get the board up! Sarah, Sandy, Jodi, Yo Momma, Violett and Jodi are a great team!
  • Work has been finished for the time being at The W's house. Debbie, Bill and Lisa put the finishing touches on their jobs today. Bill only put holes where they were supposed to be the and Debbie perfected her texturing technique.

  • Team Peanut out at Ms. S's house had an excellent day. They have gotten the house level and plumb! Even with the distraction of little ones, this team worked well. Thank you for your prayers for Ms. S. She seems to be finding hope in the work that is being done. Keep on praying!
  • Alex, Norm and Jonathan spent the morning roofing...Jonathan was taken away to another site in the afternoon, but Norm and Alex continued to make a great team! They even made it to meals on time! They were aided by some local residents as well. Hopefully they can finish the job tomorrow!

  • We started a new site today, which took the rest of the crew. On each trip we have driven by a yellow house that has sat vacant and pretty much untouched. Today our crew headed over to muck out. For some this was their first experience for others their 3rd or 4th, for all it was an experience not soon forgotten. It was amazing how fast the crew worked. Equally amazing was the immediate ties we all felt to this house. Douglas and Joe S. had a fabulous time figuring out how to get big pieces out of small places...Joe really likes crowbars. Maaike, Michelle, Lynn, Molly, Sue, Rita, Justine and I all took turns sweeping and shoveling. Lisa cleaned out the refrigerator and kitchen...and received the first but minor injury of the week. She was a trooper though! Justine and Joe found coin collections and Lynn and I argued about what was "junk" and what was "treasure". We made allowances for each other and moved on with the day.

The high point of the day came after lunch. I had taken a break from sweeping off the front steps and laid my tools and gloves on the steps. I came back from my break and went down the steps to put my gloves on when out of the corner of my eye I saw a snake coming out of the bushes. I'm a girl. I don't like snakes. I screamed and ran back up the steps. Michelle and Joe were there and were rapidly asked two questions "Is it real or fake? Who put it there?" Douglas was summarily fired from his job as site leader and taken to task for scaring three years off my life. I would post a picture of the fake snake but I don't need to see that again!

Thank you for your comments. We read them each night at our team meetings and have enjoyed hearing from people from home...even Holland!

We just rang in 2008 and the town of Slidell is going up in fireworks. Our hope and prayer is that in 2008 the town of Pearlington will finally see all their residents out of Fema trailers and into homes! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Day Off

I'm always amazed at how God works on these trips. Today was our day off and we got to sleep in a little, eat breakfast out if we were willing to get up, go to church together, play on the beach, have a nice lunch/dinner together and of course our almost daily Wally-World Adventures! Shopping! :)

We are never really sure where we are going to wind up on Sunday Mornings for Church. Over the last three trips we've worshipped with Baptists, Methodists and Lutherans. Today God lead us to a Presbyterian Church here in Slidell. We were a 1/2 hour early and one of the church elders came to talk with us. Turns out this Presbyterian Church has converted an unused 2nd floor of their Christian Education Building into a Dormitory to house groups coming to the Gulf Coast to help with the relief efforts...and they house them for free! It's a beautiful facility with room for 52 people. Is God sending us a message?

During the sermon, the Pastor talked about the Hurricane and how the residents of the Gulf Coast were driven from their homes, fleeing for their lives. Upon returning to their homes, many found that they had no home, that the place that they called their own had been ripped from them. He then shared about the Israelites, being taken out of their homes and wandering in the desert for forty years. When they finally returned home they found that they had no home. Yet through it all God never left them, God still cared and in fact was reaching down to hold them close and scoop them into waiting and comforting arms. It is good to remember that the whole Gulf Coast is in God's care.
Tomorrow is a work day. There is a potentially big mucking and gutting job out there, along with drywall and painting and flooring and shoring and...yeah the list is big. Thanks for the comments and the prayers! We love to hear from home!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mr. Peanut

It's hard to believe that three days have passed since we arrived in Mississippi. Our day off is tomorrow and though we will enjoy it, the day seems to have arrived so very quickly. I've been so impressed with this group. Everyone is getting along well, willing to work hard and having fun! It doesn't hurt that Mr. Tom and Mr. Ben have been around making us laugh at their comedy routine. We will miss Tom who is headed home to Colorado in the morning. His last words to me were "Come back again!"...why do I think that this isn't the last time I'm going to hear this??!

The crew at Mr. P's house rocked again today! The all woman crew was joined by Norm's crew and they began the process of preparing the subfloor for new flooring. By the end of the day this team was running like a well oiled machine. The site was humming. Joey joined Sue's ditch digging efforts and was very successful in getting the water to drain away from the driveway. Sue, Joey and others worked hard at getting the trash picked up from around the house as well. It's nice to see things moving along.
Bill's crew at the W's had a blast, from what I'm told. Texture, primer, electrical work and painting took place at this site today. Maaike especially liked the day, learning to put texture on the walls.

The group at Ms. L's house learned this morning that Ms. L was in the hospital. She's having heart problems and was having breathing issues last night. Please pray for her! The team kept working and finished the projects at her house today. Justine took on a special task and helped to spruce up the house for Ms. L's return.
Mark & Pedro got a new assignment today and started to put in new shelves at Mr. M's house. That was after our expedition to Lowe' 2nd of the day!

And then there is the crew at Ms. S's house. Today Ms. S's grandkids were over and they quickly dubbed Pete "Mr. Peanut". As you can see they all had a great time! The house is beginning to look like a house again, which is so wonderful to see. Molly and Joe were triumphant over a stubborn tree stump and weren't afraid to tell us...or take a picture.

As we head into a day off, there are a couple of things you can be praying for.
1--We've had a couple of people get sick over the last couple of days. With such a big team, it hasn't had a detrimental effect on the work being done, but it is a bit of a low point for the team and the individuals. Please pray for our health!

2--One of the biggest things happening has little to do with the homes but with the emotional health of the homeowners. We're seeing huge changes in some people and their outlooks on life. We would especially appreciate your continued prayer for Ms. S and Ms. L.

Before I go I need to make good on a promise to the Train Guy that I would post of Picture of Grandma Gail (Yo Momma), myself, Sandy and his Dad so here it is! We miss you Train Guy, Little Boy and K!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Day Two-Women Rock! Okay, so do the guys!

Our day started with Thunderstorms and downpours and ended with a beautiful sunset. We've had a lot going on so I'll get to it!

After a slow 1st day things started rockin' and rollin'! Pete's team is at Miss. S's house. A team from Trip #2 spent the week there last December. I'm sad to say that not much has progressed for Miss S. But Pete and his team came in with visions of Sugar Plums dancing in their heads and they are starting to get her gutted house level. If that happens then the house could possibly be raised to the required 4 foot level. After two years thats really, really good news.

Norm & Alex's Team spent the day at Ms. P's property. They worked on fascia board, gutters and are hoping to get a shower door in soon. Norm's team on Trip #3 worked for Ms. P. in June, so they all spent time catching up on life. Tomorrow they will be spending time on the roof...pray!

Mr. Bill's team headed over to The W's house. A team from trip #1 worked at the W's house back in April of 2006. It's so tough to go into a home that has been in construction for almost two years, see how close they are and then see how much still has to be done. Bill's team has been doing a lot of repair work from other groups. Lisa rocks at putting small pieces of sheetrock into gaps and Debbie loves her spray guns!

Yo Momma's team headed over to Mr. P's house. They spent the day scrapping a sub floor for new flooring. Violett & Sue worked hard outside getting a very muddy driveway ready for a trailer to back into with flooring tomorrow. Violett wins the prize in the dirt contest! This is an all woman team and they rocked! They showed the southern gentlemen down here that women can carry wood through mud and have fun at the same time! Go team!

Doug and Mark had a team (and they are very proud of that fact) and spent the day at Ms. L's house framing in doors. It was a frustrating day for them in some ways, but with a little help from Norm they conquered their challenges. They are eager to finish their job there tomorrow. Ms. L lived in the Bay Area of CA for 22 years which shocked us Californians. She knows where we live!

Things aren't going as smoothly as they could but through it all this team is staying positive and energetic. I'm having a blast driving from site to site, retrieving tools, people and laughing with Ben and Tom, our Foremen. There is joy and laughter in the air that is contagious, even when things aren't going like we want them too. God is clearly present on this trip and we are so grateful for your prayers and comments of support!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

On the ground in Pearlington Day 1--Trip 4

Oh the adventures of rental cars! Seriously this is getting ridiculous. Not only did we have to wait for vehicles because they only had one mini-van, they were trying to give us 3 vehicles when we had reserved 5. I stood my ground though, and we have 5 vans, 4 of them brand new.

It was a longer travel day yesterday but we made it safe and sound. Today was our first foray into the work ahead of us. It was so great to see Ben again and Tom, who flew in from Colorado, that was a great surprise. Both of these gentlemen have been organizing projects for us and are just fun guys to be around. They have a great respect for us and a great respect for the people of Pearlington. We are blessed by them!

We didn't get as much accomplished today as hoped. In fact it was a pretty slow day. Not that the work isn't there, it's just getting it all organized. But we found today that we've made connections. We saw a group from West Virginia that we had camped with last December, we worked for homeowners that we've worked for on trips 1 & 2. We are seeing familiar faces...and Pastor Ed's spy ate lunch with us. (His name is Derek, they worked together at Westminister Woods and now lives in Florida. He's here with a group from New York. I'm convinced he's a spy!!)

Our emotions have been in turmoil. Some highs, some lows. We have seen people who are still stuck in the same situation that they were in last year, which brings us down. We have seen homes that we've worked on completed and being lived in. We have had work and not had work. We're only on day 1 and already the anxiety of leaving is beginning to race through our heads. We are on an amazing journey. We need your prayers and your comments!

The following video and song is amazing. It says exactly why we are here. Enjoy and keep praying!

Monday, December 24, 2007

And so this is Christmas...

The day is flying by!! Between family, presents and packing the hours just seem to be zooming. It's been a good day, great favorite so far is the Wacky Clucky just might end up in Mississippi with us. Seriously funny.

We probably won't update from Mississippi until Thursday, so until then, Merry Christmas!

Edited to add: We would love to hear from you while we are in Mississippi. Click on "leave comment" and type away. If you don't have a blog, just sign in as anonymous but please leave your name in the body of the comment...that way we can say Thank you later on!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mississippi Update and prayer request

The team leaves in 4 days. Christmas happens in 3. I'm not stressing out...just beginning to think of all those little details that I've forgotten about until bowls. We need the plastic bowls from the church for our breakfasts. And the apple slicer, oh and spoons...I won't bore you with the rest of the list. I'm just sayin' that I've been waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the things that I need to bring with me. I'm not stressing out, really I'm not!

I do have one quick prayer request for our team member Sue. She's been having some issues with her shoulder and arm and thought maybe it was tennis elbow. But it's a little more serious than that and Sue is not sure if she is going to be able to make the trip. Which would be very, very sad for all of us! Please pray for Sue, that her body would be on the fast track for healing so that she can join us in Mississippi.

I'm off to bake Christmas cookies! Woo-hoo! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

one week, One Week, ONE WEEK!

The Mississippi Team leaves in one week. That's 7 days people! In fact, one day is gone already so...6 days!

R-Girl, Baseball Gal and I had fun coming up with room names tonight. Last trip I wanted a way to know which rooms were ours at the Motel so we came up with code names. Every room was a rock band. This time we're going with the Christmas theme. We've got all 9 reindeer, Snowmen and more. There was much excitement when someone thought of a name. In fact, jumping up and down was involved. Good times.

Most everything else has come along well. One bag is almost packed with youth group stuff. Hopefully it isn't over the 50lb weight limit!

Sleep needs to happen soon, so I'm out. 6 days people! :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

10 Days and counting

The Mississippi Team was commissioned today. It hit me as I was sitting in the worship service that with Christmas and my Come Away Day in the next 10 days I only have 3 in-office working days this week and one of those days is half taken by the Middle School Ice Skating event. Yikes!

The Mississippi Trip is coming together. We still need about $6000 to come in but I've decided not to worry about that. The money will come in. We our team t-shirts look great! Yo Momma and I decided to get different color shirts for the team, so we have blue, green and red. It's fun. Really, there aren't a whole lot of details that I'm concerned about for the trip, it's the stuff that needs to happen at church while I'm gone. Oh, and the fact that Christmas is somewhere in there too. Yeah, it's the last 10 days before the trip and I'm beginning to realize it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Song Friend strikes again

There is no way to fully explain this other than to post it. If I could record it from my answering machine I would let y'all hear it for yourself...instead you will just have to make due with the words. My Song Friend presents Oh I Like Pie as sung to the tune of Oh Holy Night.

Oh I like pie
I like every kind of pie
I like fruit,
Meringue and cream
It is so good
so tasty delicious
I could eat pie every day
The flaky crust
the delicious filling
I could eat pie
morning noon and night
Oh I like pie
I like every kind of pie
Oh I like pie
oh I, I like pie
Oh I (here it comes) like PIE!
Oh I, I like pie
Thanks for the laugh, Song Friend!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


A friend and I were talking last night about happiness and Jesus. My friend had just watched a televised worship service in which a young lady was giving her testimony. As a result of all that had gone in her life, the way that she had found to ease her pain was to self-inflict pain by cutting. Her testimony was that God had found her and she had found God and freedom from cutting. My friend said that the Pastor asked this young girl "What have you gotten from out of all this?" and the young lady's reply was "Scars." My friend said it was clear that was not the answer the Pastor wanted...he was looking for something a little more happy.

I thought about that story a lot last night when I was supposed to be sleeping. Scars tell a story. I've got a scar on my right shin, right arm and thighs from chicken pox. There is a scar on my finger from slicing it on the trunk of my newly purchased car. I have a scar on another finger from a bad encounter with a rock and a pole. Then there's the random scar on my thumb that I can't remember how it got there.

But those are just the visible scars. You can't see the ones on the inside. The one that came about because of things I heard as a child from other children. The scar that is there from the death of two grandparents within two months. The scar from a friendship torn apart. The scar that is still tender from the loss of my foster brother.

Scars tell a story. They tell us that we have lived life. They are part of what shapes us and makes us who we are. Sometimes the scars seem shameful but other times they are a badge that says "I have survived." The implication of the Pastor's reaction to the young lady's story is that scars aren't something to be proud of or something that we should show. We should hide them.

I wonder if God uses our scars as reminders of where we have been and what we have been through. It seems to me that God used the scars on Jesus' body to tell a story to the men on the road to Emmaus and as a tool for Thomas to really believe. Even today we sing about those scars,"The nails in your hands, the nail in your feet, they tell me how much you love me." God clearly could have healed the wounds on Jesus' body...but God didn't. Today those scars are still a reminder of how powerful God's love is as well as a testament to the amazing gift Jesus gave us all.

My scars remind me of where I've been and the things that have happened along the way. Some of those things happened before I really knew God but many have happened as I've journeyed through life with God. Every time I look at them I remember life isn't easy but God loves me and we are on this journey together.

Friday, December 7, 2007

My current residence

I've started and deleted two different posts this week. They were happy, positive posts. I'm not in a happy, positive place. I'm tired of so many, many things. I'm fed up with so many, many things. Today I realized that one of the things that I'm really tired of hearing over and over again is "if you know Jesus, you're life will be happy". The underlying assumption being that if you're not happy, then you don't know Jesus. Give me a break.

When I'm in this frustrated, fed up place I tend to spend more time talking with God, reading my Bible, listening for God then when I'm in the happy, positive place. When I'm tired of all that life is throwing at me that's when I cling to the promise of Jesus and God. I'm pretty sure when I signed up for this ride with God and Jesus there wasn't any guarantee that life was going to be happy and positive until the end of time. I don't know why we keep teaching people that the Christian life is trouble free, it's a lie that needs to die.

I'm not in a happy, positive place. God is very aware of it and loves me anyway.