Friday, December 28, 2007

Prayer of thanks

This is where my dear sweet husband spent his time after our Christmas with our kids and family -- in our kitchen cleaning!

I had spent a couple of days in preparation and cooking and decorating. After the meal that evening he went into the kitchen and when he came out it was spotless!! There wasn't a plate that needed washed, a glass that needed rinsed or a baking dish that needed scrubbed. The entire place was clean and all food left over had been neatly stored away! What a blessing!!!

Feeling that thankfulness toward him reminded me of a prayer that I received and I want to share it with all of you, especially since we are heading into a brand New Year, all awaiting to see what God has in store for us.


I will bear Your light to change the world.

I am the light of the world, because the Light of the World dwells in me.

Your Kingdom will come; Your will WILL be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

No one will meet me and not be changed, because no one can meet You and not be changed.

I will become increasingly aware of the Light that I carry.

I will grow in You and grow in this Light.

I will become a change agent in this world.

I will believe the unbelievable; what is not yet I will become.

I will come to understand where I am in You, and I will see my future more clearly that ever before.

The gifts You have given me will begin to flourish as I understand Your ways.

Nothing will prosper that comes against me, because I will live a repentant life before You; because I live a repentant life, You will answer my prayer.

I will become what You have called me to become.

I have been placed here for such a time as this.

I live where I live because You place me here.

I am not here by accident; I am here by divine appointment.

My neighbors will prosper because of You in me.

Those I touch will prosper because of You in me.

Everyone I pray for will be touched, because You flow through me; it makes no difference if others recognize the touch or not -- You will touch them.

You will touch others more at some times than at other times; I will not judge my relationship with You based on what they feel.

I relate to You because of who You are in me, not because of others, not because of my emotions, not because I feel saved, not because I've ascended to greatness through my intellect --- but because of what You have done in me.

I am procreated, regenterated and born anew.

Your seed has entered me.

My spirit is alive and quickened.

I will become a quickened to You, fine-tuned to Your Spirit, not doing what You're not doing and doing what You are doing.

I will become a witness for You.

With Your help, when people see me, they will see You.

Soon, there will be a clear distinction between those who don't know God and me, because I know You.

People will see me and they will know that I am a follower of Jesus and a bearer of His Light.

For Your glory this will happen, taking the foolish things to confound the wise.

Thank You for finding me and choosing me to be a change agent on this earth for Your glory.

In Jesus' name. Amen

I hope this touches you like it touched me and you will pray it on a regular basis.

Blessings and love. . . Susan and Monty

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


My three "kids", everyone together for the celebration of our Savior's birth! The true gift to everyone all over the world, the best gift, the one that is always the right size, the one that never needs exchaning!

Monty and I send our Christmas wishes out to all of you.

We pray you are enjoying family, enjoying some special meals and remembering the REAL reason for the season!

God's blessings to all of you.

With our love, Susan and Monty

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Yes, this is what happens when you head north!
All yesterday we heard about the winter storm warning and sure enough, last night the rains changed to ice and ice to snow. This is what it looks like here now. I admit that waking up early and going outside when no one has walked, no car has driven or no snow plow has come through is absolutely beautiful. With everything white, all the ugly is covered; amazing. After that comes the shoveling, scraping of vehicles and trying to get their frozen doors open and watching the snow plow come and knowing he will make another pile at the end of your driveway. But our snow plow man is awesome, each year he sees me outside and he takes care of that pile at the end!
The snow just added to the feeling of Christmas. Yesterday was the church outreach that I look forward to all year, our annual gift wrap at the local mall. We have done this for around 15 years and I have taken care of the details for the last 6 or so. We set up at the mall and provide everything from the box and tissue paper to the tag to write the receiver's name on. We charge absolutely nothing and refuse any donations. It's one of the most practical ways we have to show God's love in a real way. We get all kinds of looks from those who refuse to believe the signs that say "free". You would think is said something totally different!? We hear those who get the nerve to come and make sure the sign is what it says it is. And then you get those who look, who ask, who get their gifts wrapped and still insist on trying to hand you money! Free just doesn't exist in its true meaning here in the United States I guess. Over a period of 14 hours we wrap, we talk, we laugh and we show God's love in a season where most seem to forget the real meaning. In total we wrapped 877 gifts and blessed alot more.
There are always hundreds of stories that come from that day. Each person who volunteered a couple of hours to wrap has stories of their own. There is one that stands out to me. A woman walked up who, in appearance couldn't have been 25 years old, very nicely dressed, her head hanging down and spoke not a word. The lady wrapping for her asked if she was having a nice Christmas so far. That's all it took. Someone cared enough to ask! She said no and then talked of how her husband had just left her and her 3 small children and she wasn't going to even wrap any of the gifts for the kids because that would mean spending money she didn't have. The lady wrapping said she understood just where this woman was coming from as her husband had also left her many years ago and she also had a couple of toddlers at the time. She assured her she would make it through and that God was with her. Now all of this transpired in just a few minutes but that woman left with a smile on her face, her head held a bit higher and with joy in her heart! No gift purchased with money can ever do that! And all just because a woman cared enough to ask another how she was doing --- and then actually listened to her reply!! What a thought!
Pastor Dave spoke to us this morning on just that kind of joy! We need to remember something this season ----
Don't underestimate the power of a simple word of caring! Try it and see what happens.
Until next time. . . Susan and Monty

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Double "whammy"

Just the other day I received a poem in one of my morning devotions entitled "My First Christmas In Heaven" and forwarded it on to one of our friends who lost their father/grandfather this past summer and to Ms Faye. Little did I realize I would need the poem for myself also.

This morning I received a phone call from my mother telling me that my grandmother's sister had passed away suddenly. She and my grandmother were close and talked with each other on the phone daily. My grandmother is having a very difficult time. She is nearing 95 years old. We are awaiting funeral arrangements.

Early this evening I received an email from Pastor Rick in Gautier, Mississippi informing us that the former secretary passed away yesterday afternoon, also suddenly. Ms Mia was the one who told us how much Mike and Faye needed help. She was the kind of woman who always had a smile on her face, always knew how to bring a smile to your own face and who also was known for shouting "praise Jesus" when she heard any good news!

Both of these deaths were very unexpected and very sudden. Both of these women will be remembered for so many things. Both will be missed by so many people who loved them. Both of these women had no idea they would be celebrating their very first Christmas with Jesus Christ Himself this year.

I'm sure they both already had gifts purchased, were already planning the holidays, thinking of the family and friends they would be seeing. And just at the "right" time our Lord stepped in and said they would be spending Christmas, and eternity, with Him. They are now reunited with family and friends and prophets and priests and kings and disciples and angels and will be praising God forever!

We will all miss them. We will all grieve our losses. We will shed tears. We will attend funerals. We will remember many stories. BUT --- we will rejoice in the fact that they are the truly blessed ones this Christmas!

Let us all not only count our blessings, let us remember that we "know not the day nor the hour" when our Father will call us home!

Bernadine and Ms Mia, we loved you then and love you now! Say hello to Jesus for us!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, December 10, 2007

Updates and preparations

Yes, it has been a few days since I have written. Things have been quite busy and yet we have found a bit of time to get some rest.

I spoke with Ms Faye and Mike Jr for quite some time this morning. She is still having a tough time adjusting to Mike Sr not being there but the nights are the worst! It's very difficult for her but I continue to reassure her that it will get better. She continues attending church at The Refuge and they continue to love on her and also reassure her that time will help.

Mike Jr is doing well and trying to be there for his mother. I could see him smile through the phone when I told him we would be returning by the end of January! I told him Monty said to get out his tool belt and be ready to work -- for free! He laughed but said he would be ready! We talked about the week of building their home and he remembered how much fun it was. That's a good thing because that guy worked over 14 hours each day and wouldn't leave until we finally made him leave!

The state sign going into Mississippi says "it's like coming home" and that is truly how we feel. We are ready to go and looking forward to being able to reach out and bless more people.

For some local family updates: Monty's grandmother is doing fantastic after her hip replacement. She is moving along quite well with her walker and hopes to be rid of it with a bit more physical therapy! Seeing her smile does the entire family good. His uncle Larry isn't doing as well. He is still at home but struggling with the cancer daily. We thank all of you for continuing to hold this family up in prayer. There are 4 children at home and this has been very difficult for them also.

Monty and I are in the final stages of preparation for our church outreach this Saturday. For atleast 17 or 18 years now we have set up at our mall and wrapped Christmas gifts absolutely free! No donations are accepted and for some, that is nearly impossible to comprehend! We have 8 wrapping stations going for 14 hours that one day. There are 9 people working 2 hour shifts and it is the largest outreach our church has and definitely the most fun for us. That day is pretty much our Christmas day. I stay the entire day. I tried going home for a bit of rest during the day but it doesn't work so I just stay and get to take it all in. Each person who works goes in with the idea of being a blessing to others, and that is exactly what happens. BUT . . . as good as God is, He always turns things around and those who are blessing get to be the ones who are blessed! Isn't is amazing how God works that way!

We pray all of you are coming along fine with all of your preparations for the upcoming holiday. Please remember that it's not about the gifts, the food, the decorations or even the families. They ARE a part, but it's about all of us being saved from our sins and having a reserved place in heaven . . . just because of a little baby's special birthday! Celebrate it with love and let us all count our blessings!

Until next time. . . God bless. Susan and Monty

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Putting things together

I hope all of you checked out the Rebuild Jackson County's video I referred to in the last blog entry. Like I said, it will help you understand how much need is still on the Gulf Coast.

Monty and I have been planning and planning and then planning some more. It takes quite alot to get things in place, to get things ready, to make sure things back home will be done while we are gone and just mentally preparing to once again live in a camper trailer and change our lives the way they must be changed. We are really excited and were glad to hear from the states of West Virginia and Iowa already! They are wanting to send teams and we are anxious to work with them again!

There are so many people who have waited for nearly 2 and 1/2 years to have a home again. There are those that will be spending yet another year in a FEMA trailer where they cannot entertain their families just because there isn't room. I remember how many of them put their Christmas trees outside!! because there was no room inside. Some of them hung lights and things on the outside of the trailers -- doing anything they could to make it feel like home. They deserve to be back in their homes as soon as possible!

Reaching people in such need is THE way to show God's love in a really!! practical way! The people are open, they are reaching, they are questioning, they are needing to see God through all those who come to volunteer. Lives are changed, families are extended and God is working through it all.

Speaking of lives changed, I spoke with Ms Faye yesterday and she is doing as well as can be expected. She and Mike had been together since they were in the 7th grade and knew no life without each other. She misses him terribly and is having some trouble sleeping. I made, and sent, her a photo album of the home build and she was thrilled to receive it. If you remember, she and Mike were not allowed on the property during the entire build so she had no idea of what went on during those 6 days. She said her sister, Joyce, was so excited to see the book she scooped it up and took it home to look at. Like I said, coming to volunteer, touching people's lives, it changes ours and we are all blessed.

During this season of busy here, busy there, trying to buy just the right gift, just the right card, follow all the right traditions, remember the real reason for Christmas! Then thank God for sending Jesus and realize that He is the most important thing! The gifts and "stuff" won't last. Jesus will!!

Until next time . . . Blessings from Susan and Monty to you!