Monday, March 31, 2008


My mind is racing with all of the things that we experienced in Mississippi. I tend to need a few days to process all that was seen, heard and experienced, so as the days go by I'll share a little bit more. For now, here are some tidbits to tide you over!
  • We used over 500 pounds of cement to set 15 or so posts and repair a 3 foot by 3 foot section of sidewalk. I mixed a bunch of that myself in a wheelbarrow with a shovel. That is a good arm workout.
  • Of those 15 posts, 5 of them were posts that were previously set incorrectly and needed to be redone.
  • We put in two sets of stairs and two ramps. One ramp was 48 feet long the other about 15 feet.
  • We raked out a load of rock on a driveway...another good arm workout and a great way to get blisters, even with gloves on.
  • David told the guys that he "wouldn't mess with these women" meaning Yo Momma, Debbie and me. We took it as the compliment it was meant to be.
  • Since the storm Pearlington has lost 23 of it's older residents. That's a little under 1 person a month. For a town that has shrunk to less than half it's size before the storm, that's too high of a number.
  • Too much money is going missing in some of the groups that have been helping with the recovery efforts. One gentleman we worked for in December is waiting on half of his kitchen cabinets to come in, but the money promised for them has disappeared. So this 82 year old man is still living in his trailer while his house is at a standstill. And that's just one story, there are many more just like it.

Pictures coming soon.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Working hard

Hey y'all! We're working hard, wishing this wasn't our last day and really, really tired of no-see-ums. But all in all things are good.

We're putting boards down for Miss Shirley's ramp today. She can walk halfway down so far. After lunch we'll get the deck down and the rest of the ramp done. We are all eager to get as much done as possible today, so it might be a long one!

The pictures I had ready for yesterday's post were taking a long time to load ad we needed to go back to work, so when I get home, look for pictures to come up!

Our boarding passes have printed, got to go to lunch and back to work!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Live from last!

Sorry for the delay in updating. We don’t have wireless where we are staying and just found a hot spot today!

It’s been a busy few days, though slow going at times. We’ve spent the majority of the time at Mr. William’s house building a ramp and stairs for the front and stairs for the back. We worked for Mr. William’s brother, Eugene, on our second trip. He was the one who rode out the storm hanging onto the rafters of his house. Sadly, Mr. Eugene passed away 6 months ago. But Mr. William is alive and kicking!

We’ve started another ramp at Ms. Shirley’s house. Hopefully by tomorrow night she will have a ramp to come in and out of her house. It's a long one though! Ms. Shirley is one who has been instrumental in getting the older people in Pearlington help. This morning we got homemade pralines...yum!

Yesterday we got over to Ms. Sandra’s house and spread a load of rock over her driveway…just in time for the FEMA trailer to be pulled out! Literally the lady who was hauling out the trailers pulled up just as we finished spreading out the rock. Ms. Sandra now has a Katrina Cottage, which is such a huge step up for her at this point. Unfortunately her house looks just the same as when we left in January. Mr. Peanut, you’re help is needed!

The house we are staying in is in Bay St. Louis, which means we have a little bit of a drive every day. The other night we went down to the Waveland Beach and we were reminded that the damage from Hurricane Katrina isn’t just damage to Pearlington. The streets getting down to the beach are just covered with sand, homes are just as damaged as here and life seems really, really still.

While it feels good to be getting things done, it’s still slow going. Measure twice, cut once, cut again and over and over again. There are still too many times where some of us are just sitting around but I’m learning that’s just the nature of the work at times. We would love to all be busy all the time but sometimes there just ain’t enough work to do or enough tools to get the job done!

We are learning some great Cajun phrases. Ben and David** (our newest boss) are having a great time listening to us California folk try and talk Southern! I’ve noticed they have started using more and more phrases that don’t roll off the California tongue just to get a rise out of the group. The laughter just keeps rolling and rolling.

Volunteer groups are all over the place, which is a good sign, but there is still so much to be done. It seems the more we come to Pearlington, the more we learn and the harder it is to leave. I know this is not the last trip for our group or our church…in fact I don’t think I will be able to stay away from Pearlington until the last house has been completed. There is just too much left to do.

We've got a day and half left and wish it was longer. Please pray for clear heads and quick work. It certainly would be nice to have this ramp done by we leave tomorrow. God is good, all the time and we are grateful for your encouragement and support!

**For those who have been to Pearlington before, we have worked on David's house twice…once in April of 2006 and then again this last December. This is his first foray into helping volunteers and I think we’ve got him hooked!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

And we're off

It is 1:30am Louisiana time. Thanks to the nice folks at the La Q hotel, we have free internet, which means I can tell you about our trip so far.

Our journey through the SF airport was pretty easy, though security takes forever. We've picked up some sourdough bread for Ben, thought that would be a nice gift. Southwest made boarding a breeze and the flight attendants quickly became our friends, thanks to Debbie and Gail handing them chocolate everytime they passed by.

The flight attendant on our 2nd leg was just as nice, handing us extra snacks and a deck of playing cards. Very cool. Though Gail and Debbie took so much time getting off the plane the pilots were yelling at us to move faster! They wanted to get to their hotel too!

Rental car was a breeze...though I could really empathize with the adults from a UMC church who were not having an easy time renting their vehicles. Their students were milling about the lobby, adding to the chaos. I was happy to rent my vehicle and leave. There were so many mini-vans to choose from that we car hopped three times! Hopefully we picked out a good one.

And here we are at the hotel ready to put our heads on our pillows and get some rest. We've got an hour drive into Pearlington tomorrow. I've been told that once we get there our first job will be putting in 2 handicap ramps, which could mean pouring concrete....we've done that before!

Thanks to all who are praying, keep it up!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Packing and procrastinating

It's 1pm on Saturday. In 24 hours I will be on my way to the airport heading for a week in Pearlington. My laundry is in process (as I type this my procrastination enabler just brought said laundry in), packing is in process, there are still details to be put together for tomorrows Easter Service, I've got a bunch of things that need to be done at church before I leave and at 4:30pm I need to be at a local radio station for an interview. I should not be spending time reading books, perusing my favorite blogs or checking my email constantly! There is much to be done, but in typical fashion I am procrastinating.

So, I'm going to pack up this laptop in my newly acquired messenger bag, finish packing for the trip, go take a shower and get on with things. But before that happens, I ask of you, my blog reading friends, please pray for our group (pictures below) over the next week as we work. I will do my best to find internet access and keep you all informed of what we are up to!

Gail and Brittany
Debbie and Jonathan


Friday, March 21, 2008

Adventure Boy

Today was my Friday Date with Adventure Boy. The last few Fridays Adventure Boy has been a little crabby and fussy. I chalk it up to teething but it hasn't made for the most wonderful Friday's ever. Today, though, today Adventure Boy was feeling good.

I needed to make a trip to the local office supply store, so we headed to SC. Adventure Boy was great as we walked into the store. He was content to wander up and down the aisle as I carefully considered laptop carrying cases (and really wished that there were some in cool colors like pink!). He was helpful and brought me calendar refills for the daytimer I don't have but then decided he needed to get a little more adventurous. I quickly chose my bag and followed him around the displays. That turned into a game, as anything does with a 17 month old. I finally chased him down, scooped him up and purchased my items.

That's when we moved to the store next door. This time he got to ride in a cart. I pushed him around the store as he looked at item after item, reached out his hand, opening and closing his fist and said "er go ma ma**" aka "I really want that item and think you should give it to me to put in the cart." It's so stinkin' cute! He didn't get his way though!

On the way home I decided that I was going to defy the antibiotic "stay out of the sun" warning and put the top down on the convertible. We were driving up a hill when I caught sight of these little arms sticking up in the air in the back seat. Adventure Boy had his arms up, like you would do on a roller coaster, and was enjoying the wind rushing through is fingers. I wish I had a camera on me to capture that moment and show you the joy on his face as he lived in the moment. I am so blessed to have such a cool Friday Date.

**Everyone can be "ma ma" with Adventure Boy. This phrase "er go ma ma" is a typical one for him (here you go ma ma) as is "welcome". My favorite phrase though has been "ook!" as in "look!". Like I said, stinkin' cute!

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's a beautiful day...

What I would love to be doing is taking a long drive with the top down on the convertible and enjoying the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. However, life interferes.

With gas prices in this area hitting $3.59+ I really don't relish the idea of the 40+ dollars it would take me to fill up my car. Not to mention the medication that I'm on (I didn't have to go back to the doctor BTW, they just called in a different prescription) one of the things they say is to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.

So I think I'll just settle for a short drive to get lunch and then home, with the convertible top down because though I follow instructions well (sometimes too well!), it's just too nice of a day!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


  • I've been on antibiotics for an infection since Wednesday. They make me feel like my head is on vacation but my body is still here. If I felt like they were doing there job, I wouldn't mind the temporary weirdness. The antibiotics aren't working. Back to the doctor for me!
  • If that weren't enough, today was coffee day and I missed it because of the antibiotics. Not okay. I really missed my caramel mocha this morning.
  • Saturday we held a Golf Tournament to help with the upcoming trip to Mississippi. Early in the week the weather people were forecasting rain, which is always the chance we take in March in CA. It did rain on Saturday but it stopped just before the golfers took the course. YES! We managed to raise enough money to pay our lodging for the week. Hallelujah!
  • The group was also commissioned in church today. During the 1st service I made a joke about paying off this trip for the rest of our lives, very tongue in cheek...though I will be making payments for a few months. After the service I checked my mailbox at church and there was a check in there for $1000.00.! That takes care of the rental car and food. I'm constantly amazed at how God knows what we need and moves on people's hearts to get things done.
  • I filed my taxes on Monday and spent the money on Friday. Well, I spent the money that has yet to arrive. Wish I could say it was for something more exciting than new tires, alignment, serpentine belt and an oil change. Really, really wish it could have been on something more exciting.
  • In Bible Study we've been talking about how we add things to the Bible that aren't really there. As in, Eve tempting Adam with the apple. First off, we don't know if it was an apple and secondly there is nothing in there that says Eve tempted anyone. There's a lot more but my point is I picked up a book on Friday that I've been wanting to read for awhile and within the first chapter the author was talking about this very subject. I love it when God draws all these things together to make me think, grow and shift my view of who God is. Awesome!
  • I'm not a pet person, never have been really. Today, though, I almost brought home a puppy. It was so calm, cute and cuddly. I scooped it up, held it and felt myself thinking "Oh, I like you." I came to my senses but it took awhile! Yep, that was a close one.
  • One week from today at this time I will be on a plane heading for New Orleans and Pearlington, MS. One week people!

Friday, March 14, 2008


I like to read. I like to read a lot. I usually read to escape from life, which means a bunch of fluff books. I can go through fluff books really, really fast. It's not good when I've read all the books that interest me at the library and have to head to the bookstore. Not good at all.

Reading for information is always harder for me to do. It feels too much like school, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just tougher. Because I've trained myself to read fast, I miss information and have to re-read things over and over again. Which is why, if you were to look at the bookshelf next to my bed, you would find over a dozen non-fiction books sitting on the shelf. I have started reading them all and then stalled. The fiction books though, they rarely sit on the shelf for long.

There are times, though, when my brain just says no. No more information, no more reading, no more! That's when I spend a lot of time watching TV or Netflx or on the computer. Sometimes these periods of reading droughts will last a few weeks, sometimes only a few days. I've been on one of those droughts lately. Just haven't felt like I've had the brain space to put more information in, even if it is fluff.

And then my friend Trin invited me to join this sight called I started putting together lists of books that I have read or am reading or are sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I realized that I miss reading. I miss laughing at the silly adventures of Miss Julia or getting excited about something that Anne L. wrote. I miss reading.

So I'm making a renewed effort and maybe getting a bigger purse. I'm going to start taking time each day to read...and not just blogs but real books! This means that I'm going to have to start taking books with me places (hence the bigger purse) or start leaving books in my car. Maybe I'll finally read all the books on my shelf!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Headlines I don't want to hear...

Two weeks before I fly with them to New Orleans.

"Southwest Airlines grounds dozens of planes
Move comes after carrier admits falling behind required inspection schedule"

Get with it Southwest!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Two weeks and counting

At this time, two weeks from today I'll be heading to the airport with Yo Momma, Jon-Boy, Debbie, Doug and Blaise. Our final destination? Pearlington, Mississippi. Two weeks! I'm excited, a little nervous and wondering where the money is going to come from but overall, just so glad to be going back to Mississippi.

I'm looking forward to hearing a little southern drawl roll off my lips (it just happens, I can't stop it!). I'm looking forward to laughing with Ben and seeing homeowners we've worked for before. I'm looking forward to driving down the road looking for "aardvarks" (inside joke). I'm looking forward to the aches and pains that come with hard physical work. I'm looking forward to "catfish friday" and rice n beans. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, putting a little more sweat equity into Pearlington and being a small part of helping someone move into their home. I'm looking forward to doing whatever God asks me to do and being the hands and feet of Jesus. I'm looking forward to Pearlington.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Okay, we're still talking about Eve in Bible Study and I just have to say this, Adam is coming across as a big ol' wimp and I don't like that version either. I don't want a wimpy Adam and I don't want a superior Adam...I want an equal, a helper, a companion, someone who completes me.

I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A visitor

She arrived sometime between 6:45am and 8:30am. She came in so subtlety that I wasn't completely aware of her arrival until it was too late. I had hints of her arrival. Sarcastic comments, snippy attitude, frustration. She brought the mood of the morning down, laughing was harder, smiles less frequent. By the time church started there was no going back, she had completely taken over. I could tell by the lack of enthusiasm that loomed over the morning. The worship service seemed to take forever. All I could think about was getting out of the building, getting away, hiding. But I knew it wouldn't help. She would follow me out of the building. She would follow me home. I did what I could to avoid her but still she loomed there, just at the edge of my view. The only way that I was going to get away from her was to confront her head on.

And so I took a big breath, faced the mirror, looked myself in the eye and said "Miss Cranky Pants go away!"