Sunday, August 29, 2010

Five years

(This blog cross posted at our Felton to Pearlington blog)

It's hard to believe that 5 years have gone by since Hurricane Katrina demolished the Gulf Coast. I've been watching all the news stories, reading a lot of articles and reminiscing over the last 5 years. The focus has largely been on New Orleans, but here or there I've seen little things on the towns all along the Gulf Coast that are still struggling to recover as well. Of course, my thoughts have been on Pearlington...rightly so!

Tom D. and Ms. Denise were featured on CNN briefly, talking a little about the recovery efforts. I'm linking the video, so you can see. They are in the first minute of the 3 minute story.

As Tom and Soledad O'brien were walking in front of the Community Center (the red building) I got a little reminiscent of the first time we saw Pearlington. That lot was filled with blue plastic buildings and was the site of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Camp. Right next door was the parking lot for the Post Office...that wasn't there anymore. Members of our team painted Ms. Denise's house, helped install doors and things inside as well. Her husband, Ricky, is the one who worked with one of our crews out at Captain John's house, digging holes for the pilings and beginning the building process. I've driven past Ms. Denise's house way too many times to count seeing as she lives next door to Ben! Watching that short minute of video, it was like heading home again.

I can honestly say, that when God planted the seed of helping with Hurricane Katrina Recovery, I never, EVER thought that we would be going more than once, let alone 9 times with a potential 10th trip on the horizon. Nor would I have imagined meeting people who became friends within moments of meeting. Hurricane Katrina left a lot of damage in her wake, but she also compelled, at least this soul, to do something worthwhile and important. To tell a better story with her life. I'm proud of the story that God is telling through the team at FPC.

Tonight, as I went to write this blog, there was a comment on my personal blog. It was from Chelsea, the young woman I had the honor of meeting in DC at the Jefferson Awards who lived in Pearlington when the hurricane hit. Her parents are starting to rebuild. Her school wants to do a service day. They need our help. The story is not done...5 years later.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This, that and another thing

Today I learned that Pearlington, Mississippi will be featured on Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN tomorrow, Thursday the 26th (7pm CA time). Tom D. with Mountains to Mississippi spent time last week giving a tour of Pearlington to Soledad O'Brien. I'm setting my VCR (yes, so old school) and anxious to see what they say and what places they highlight! Tune in yourselves to get a look at the town that has made such an impact in my life. Wonder if the yellow house will be highlighted. Hmmmm...

In other Pearlington related news, I've been talking with Tom and Ben about going back in December. Nothing has been decided officially. The work has slowed down tremendously, but there's still the matter of a ramp that needs to be finished. *Sigh*

On to something completely different. Train Guy started school this week. Wednesdays he will be taking the bus to the church, hanging out with me for a couple of hours and then going to Snack Time, our kids program. Today we met with a couple of Young Adults at the local Taqueria at lunch. Train Guy has a tendency to be a little shy at times, so it took a while to warm up to the Young Adults. At one point, though, Z leaned over and whispered to Train Guy. I heard what they were saying, but pretended like I didn't and said "Hey, what are you guys whispering about." Train Guy looked at me, smiled and said "Secrets." Yep, he's old enough for school.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Train Guy

Today was Workday at the Church. Time to pull out the cleaning supplies, weed whackers and paint brushes and make the church look a little better. I've been bugged by the floor in our social hall, so I decided to tackle that body is telling me I tackled that monstrosity well.

Yo Momma and I arrived to see Train Guy with a huge broom in his hands, sweeping up the leaves and branches that Kanda was cutting. They seemed to be working well as a team and that proved to be true all morning long. They were a pair. They trimmed a hedge, Train Guy on the low part, Kanda on the higher parts. They came in for a break together, they took pictures of people working, they took pictures of each other. They had conversations about the Good Samaritan and helping others and more and more and more. Wherever Kanda went, Train Guy was sure to follow.

At one point Train Guy (who needs a new nickname, BTW) came over to talk with me. I asked how he was doing and this is what he said, "The work is kind of boring and my back is hurting." Sounds like he's much older than 5, doesn't he? That didn't mean that he wasn't having fun though.

Kanda remarked at one point that she couldn't have gotten as much done without his help. She really meant it too. Which makes me grateful for a church family who encourages, supports and cheers on the youngest in our midst.

Just for the record, Train Guy also made Miss Shirley's day. He gave her a hug without any prompting. He's a keeper!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One year

It's hard to believe it but Little Miss P is One today. Upon our first meeting, I decided that we were going to take our picture together, one of those hold the camera as far out as possible and get your faces close together things. It's just a fun reminder of how she's growing and a fun way to be Auntie B!

She's been pretty good about looking at the camera...until this weekend. And then we got this...
And this...
And this...Oh well, it's still a picture together!

I think Little Miss P is pretty do a lot of others including G.G. and Cousin Anthony.Happy 1st Birthday Little Miss P! You are loved!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The sun will come out...

All week at VBS we've had foggy mornings. It's been a blessing, really. For the last 10 years or so, we've had VBS in the afternoons when the temperature INSIDE the church hits 80. I can't tell you how many times I've collapsed in a heap of sweat at the end of the afternoon saying "never again". HA!

This summer has been the coldest on record for us in 30 years. After my week in the heat and humidity of Washington DC, I've enjoyed this cold summer. But today at VBS was fire truck day. The local fire department is kind enough to come out and hose down the kids for about 10 minutes at the end of our time together and all week the sun has stayed hidden behind the fog until 1pm or so.

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that it would be nice if there was sun for the fire truck, but pretty unlikely. And this morning in VBS we prayed "God, please let the sun come out for the fire truck." About an hour before the truck was to come, the fog started to disperse and at 11:30am, when we opened the doors and the kids go play, it was sunny and warm. Yes!

The best part of this story is this. We've been working on a Bible Memory Verse all week that goes something like this "Keep on asking and you will receive. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. To everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 7:7-8)

Yep, God is even teaching the leaders some lessons this week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just Be

I was up early this morning. After two nights of not sleeping well, I was extra tired this morning. It was definitely a coffee morning.

I was the first to arrive at church. That's becoming more and more common lately. This morning, though, as I was turning on lights and getting things ready for the VBS kids, I became aware of the silence. It was a peaceful silence that urged me, begged me, to sit and listen. To pray, to breathe, to be still. So I was still. I listened to the silence and said a quick prayer. It was the only moment all day long that I truly felt at peace.

Mornings are not my thing. Even knowing that I need to be up early, it's hard to get to bed and settle down before 10 or 11 most nights...sometimes even later. The nights are when I can hide away from the world and let myself re-energize. To have a moment in the morning where I felt energized and ready to go was different. I can see why people get up extra early to spend time with God in the morning. It was good.

Doesn't mean I'm going to change my patterns. It does mean that I'm going to be more careful to listen to that voice, the one that urges me to stop what I'm doing and breathe, pray, listen and be still. That voice that says just "be". Good things happen when I stop and listen to God.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Today was the first day of VBS. We switched things up this year and moved our time from the afternoon to the morning. Part of the reasoning was that it gets really hot in the afternoon. God was either really listening and wanting to help or is laughing at us this week. It's probably the coolest (weather wise) August we've had ever. Not being a morning person, I can guarantee that Star$ is going to be getting a lot more business from me this week. It's not like helping at the street down the church where all I do is step in and do the music, this time I have to be "on" for 3 the morning...oh yes, coffee is needed even if it is all psychological.

I got to talk with Opinionated Friend today. She moved to Rome at the beginning of July and it's the first time we've had to really catch up. It's interesting to hear the experiences she's having and the things she's noticing about life in Europe vs. life in the U.S. A lot more happening in the world than we hear about over here.

Tuesday night Train Guy and Adventure Boy were over, along with Emi-Pie and Nat. It's so fun to have these kids in my life. At one point I came downstairs to find all four of them piled on my bed watching a movie...they had started off in different rooms because one wanted to watch one movie and all the others another. It was nice to listen to them giggle and laugh and have fun together...all the while enjoying the view from the deck with Meg and K. Grateful for friends and their kids.

Speaking of kids...Miss Payten, Train Guy and Adventure Boy got to meet for the first time at G.G.'s birthday. Adventure Boy stood by Miss Payten's playpen for a longtime, at one point he was singing softly to her. Heart melting moment. Love these kiddo's.At that same party, Shirley flirted a little with Papa Bear. I caught her in action. It's hard not to smile when Shirley is around.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dear Neighbors,

When you have your next gathering, please be kind and have the squealing girls and the guys dropping the f*bombs in the loudest voices possible go inside at midnight. In the quiet of the dead of night your voices really do carry very, very far. The rest of us in the neighborhood really don't care to hear your conversations...or squeals...or swearing. Really.

Thank you,
A tired, irritated neighbor trying to be nice, who next time will get out of bed and figure out where you are and call you and not be so nice.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's all my fault

It's all my fault.

Last September when we started talking about VBS (Vacation Bible School) for this year, I made the crazy suggestion that we do our OWN thing. Not go through a box, but actually come up with everything ourselves. So off we went. Next week when kids come through the door they will be going "On the Road with Jesus". Nice catchy title isn't it? On the Road...hmmm, makes me think of a song...

When I was little we would start to drive somewhere on a trip and Yo Momma would start singing "On the Road again". Fast forward a few years and Yo Momma started driving on youth trips...and would sing into the walkie talkies "On the Road again..." my youth group picked that one up quickly. We go on a trip and somewhere along the way they will start singing, "On the Road again..."

So when I started thinking about songs for VBS, I thought of that song. I adjusted the lyrics for our audience and gave a copy to Train Guy and Adventure Boy for their approval.

K said to me yesterday "Adventure Boy got up this morning and started singing 'On the road again'. I couldn't figure out when he'd been listening to Willie Nelson and then remembered the CD." Turns out Adventure Boy has been listening to the CD every night as he falls asleep or in the morning or whenever he wants to. He's gonna have the lyrics to the songs down pat...

And it's all my fault.