Sunday, November 28, 2010

Finally -- A Dream Comes True

Yes, they were born and died in 1935 and 1949 --- and until today have never had a marker at their graves!

My mother had an infant brother and infant sister and today everyone not only knows their names, they know where they are buried! It's something my grandmother (my mother's mother) always wanted and just couldn't afford.

Thanks to Monty's brother, Tony, who God has given the amazing gift of stone carving -- there are two markers on their graves. He did an amazing job, carved them from solid limestone! He has made us a bird bath and his step mother a bench -- both are wonderful with detail. Tony has a talent that he doesn't recognize as a gift. These monuments were a first for him and we are all so grateful to him for what he did. It definitely brought tears to my mother's eyes and I had a tough time myself. Tony -- your gift was such a blessing to my family and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! And many thanks to my brother (in the photo) who is here from Florida as he was the one who lifted and carried the stones to their sites! His brute strength is also a gift!

Placing these stones topped off our Thanksgiving weekend. Thursday was spent with my family and of course we all had way too much to eat. The highlight was 5 of us girls rescued a stranded puppy and brought it home for my mom! After the flea bath and hair trim and bandaging of some wounds she now has one of the worlds best lap dogs! Friday I spent getting ready for all my kids and their families who came to our house yesterday. My parents a two brothers and nieces also came along so we had quite the house full. Once again, food left over.

And then today -- the perfect ending. We hope all of you had a blessed time with family -- or extended family. We had the special blessing of the Happy Thanksgiving voice mail from Cherie in San Leon, Texas -- you made my day girl!! Last year we spent the day with them since we were so far from home and I thought of she and Hank and Blake throughout the day this year. Love you guys!

To all of you -- be blessed this week and remember that the Advent season gets underway. It's the time where we prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus. Shopping aside -- remember the real reason for this season of giving and thanksgiving.

Until next time . . . love to all. Susan and Monty

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Yep -- that's the view from our front door -- very wet!!

In this area of Indiana we have spent the entire summer and most of the fall in a severe drought -- so much so that we had a burn ban the entire time!

And now -- today -- the skies opened as the temperatures fell and we have so much water we actually have puddles! The old saying about "when it rains it pours" is quite appropriate today and supposed to be through tomorrow also!

It is our hope and prayer that each and every one of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. For some the holidays are dreaded. For others, they live for them. Either way we need to remind ourselves of all the blessings we DO have. It doesn't take much to see someone else less fortunate than ourselves, no matter what our situations.

So let's all take tomorrow, whether we are spending it with family or by ourselves, whether we are eating a feast or a sandwich, and really THINK about our blessings! Let's thank God for all He has given us, for all He hasn't given us that we truly deserve and for Him saving a place in heaven for us!

Until next time . . . I am reminded of the old hymn we used to sing, "Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices . . ." Susan and Monty

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful Season

Saturday was work day at our church. Monty isn't in any of the photos as he was the one behind the camera. It was quite the day and we are glad Pastor Dave could smile behind that blower as he was "in the line of fire" when the guys took down a couple of trees! They shattered as they fell and he was behind his video phone and had no idea just how close the shards came to him and his phone!!!! He told me later his guardian angel was gone -- hit by flying debris!! :)
They got alot of work done while I stayed here trying to get rid of this bronchitis mess -- still fighting!
Sunday I felt well enough to get outside and tackle some of our own yard. The leaves were piling up and I enjoyed being out in the mid 60 degree weather! Of course, by Monday morning it looked like I hadn't done a thing but I still enjoyed the day.
Yesterday was spent taking my grandson to preschool and working on our ministry newsletter. I have been struggling with it for weeks and even though I thought I had it --- after this mornings Bible Study I trashed the entire thing and am in the process of starting over! It just didn't "feel" right and I know that feeling is God speaking. I just couldn't "get it" until this morning. Hopefully I can get "it" out on paper and mailed before too long.
Yes, this is the season of thankfulness -- a season I think should last much longer than one day a year! We ALL have so very much to be thankful for -- no matter what our circumstances!
Blessings and love to all. We are thankful for YOU!!! Susan and Monty

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homeowner updates

A beautiful view of Lake Michigan!

Wanted to give you a couple of updates on Texas families!

First -- Mariano and Maria and kids called me over the weekend and made my day, my week and maybe my month! If you remember Mariano lost his means of income when the oyster boat he worked on was destroyed. For a while he was traveling to Louisianna for weeks at a time just to get work in fishing. And then the gulf oil spill . . .

He is now back to oyster fishing in Texas and able to be home each evening. And because there is no oyster fishing allowed in Louisianna the prices for the oysters has risen dramatically thus he and the family have a decent income and things are going well! Something about that "what satan meant for destruction God means for good . . ."

I also heard from Ms Joyce -- she sent us a beautiful placque. She is still unloading boxes inside her home and taking her time in doing so. She and Ms Frances are fine along with the grandsons. She sent her thanks and her love and if she only knew how much we miss all of them!

Next -- heard from Thresa today. She has a brother along with his fiancee living in Ohio. Her brother has been diagnosed with bone cancer and not doing well. His fiancee has just been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer! Neither one is able to work and times are getting really tough for them. Thresa has been on the phone for days trying to get them help with lot rent payments and utilities. She wondered if I had any contacts and I gave her a couple of ideas. Please keep them all in your prayers as this is a really tough time and somehow the upcoming holidays can make those times hurt even more!

And I just heard from the engineer who was overseeing the rebuilding of Rosaland's house and today he signed off on his part of the rebuilding! Praise the Lord! Texas City wasn't the easiest place to work and he was such a wonderful man who went out of his way to help us in anything we needed. It was good to hear from him and know that all is well.

This morning we had another Pastoral visit to present our upcoming missions training school. We drove to Columbus to see my parents' Pastor Gary. Their church has been so supportive to us over the years and we love visiting there. They are already so mission minded and we hope there will be those who want to learn even more about how they can reach others with the love of Jesus.

And last --- but not least --- I want to wish a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother (Mark)!!!! We are going back to Columbus tomorrow night for his birthday dinner. Love you Mark and look forward to seeing you tomorrow! We're not getting older --- just better by the year!!! :)

Until next time . . . blessings! Susan and Monty

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A true Monday

Isn't the inside of this church great? Take special note of the cloth covering the altar -- the person in the wheelchair! It and the banners speak volumes!
Monday -- a mixture of many things going on. The temperatures have taken a dive and the rains are beginning to fall making it feel cold to the bone. But in the midst of all that we have been watching the birds at our bird bath -- splashing around so much with so many birds that we have filled it twice just this morning! They are filled with joy -- no matter the weather -- I think they believe that deal about God taking care of "even" the birds!
This afternoon we will be making another local Pastoral visit to talk about our upcoming missions training school opening in January. This is a Baptist church that has been heavily involved in local missions as well as overseas. Some of you remember the flood that struck the midwest in the summer of 2008. The city just to the west of us still has not completely recovered. Their government buy-outs of a particular area are in the final stages and this church wants to be instrumental in the rebuilding of new homes for those in this area. We are excited about this venture and hope to learn more about it, and how we can help, this afternoon.
Monty has been working the past 2 days on getting the cover over our camper. We have never had to cover it before because we were always living in it. It's been an adventure all its own! Yesterday he and two other men worked and worked to get it over the camper. It weighs a ton and is less than user friendly but they did manage to get it over and under. Monty went back this morning to tighten some straps and do some touchups. Let's hope it works!
I have been a bit under the weather since leaving for our trip last week and at my doctor's appointment yesterday she informed me I have bronchitis! Yuck!! No wonder I have been coughing and feel as though 300 pounds of weights have been sitting across my chest! Two prescriptions later and today I can already feel a difference. Welcome back to the cold!!! :) It did cause me to miss my Tuesday morning Bible Study this morning and I don't like that!
We hope all of you are doing well and buttoning up for the winter.
Until next time . . . blessings and love! Susan and Monty

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not so "distant" now

Correction -- I referred to our Michigan trip as going to see "distant" relatives -- sorry Daddy! They are "cousins removed" ??? We spent days trying to figure it all out and I still don't have it straight -- but -- they are definitely NOT so distant now!
The 4 of us women had a blast! I met family that I have only heard about over the past 50 years and now I have the faces to go with the names! We laughed so much we had stomach aches and it was so amazing to hear their stories of when they were kids growing up and remembering this and remembering that. It brought to reality (once again) how God is all about relationships and how we should all cherish our families -- even if we don't know them all that well.
Carol and John were perfect hosts! We had dinner at their home the night we arrived and it was incredible! She had taught school all day and put together a wonderful feast for all of us! By the time we left we no longer used their front door -- family gets to come in through the garage and that feels good!
Friday was spent with other relatives making the spur of the moment trip to spend time together. Even if we had planned this for months it wouldn't have been any better. We spent the entire afternoon and evening telling stories and catching up on way too many years apart! We all shared dinner that evening and bid farewell to those who had come for the day. For my part I sure hope I don't have to wait so long to see them again!
Saturday we found the local Thrift Store -- after all -- we are women and we do know how to shop! We also learned how to use the photo machines at Walmart -- thanks to the Mexican gentleman also printing his photos! We knew all too well that each of us would return home and download all our photos onto our computers and not have any "hard copies" to share with Carol and John as a thank you gift! That "episode" also brought plenty of laughter!
Saturday afternoon Carol took us on a tour of one of the most beautiful downtowns I know I have ever seen! So quaint with so many shops that aren't your usual run of the mill shops! I want to thank my mom for purchasing the chocolate covered pretzels for the both of us! !!!!!!!
We also were able to tour John and Carol's church, Christ our Savior Lutheran Church. I will have some photos of the inside on future blogs. It was beautiful and really touched the core of my heart with their desire to touch all people with the love of Jesus!
Another wonderful dinner hosted by Carol and John on Saturday evening and more story sharing. After all those years apart there were soooooooooooo many stories and I know we didn't really scratch the surface!
It was tough saying goodbye -- the time went so quickly and we had such a good time. I have to say that I really did feel like it was my family!!! There's just that feeling down deep inside that we have when it's "our" family! It's a good feeling!
And then it was over. Our trip home yesterday was uneventful -- something you want when you travel. I will have more photos over the next few blogs and hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.
To everyone in this family -- my family -- I want to say thank you for sharing, for welcoming and for most of all loving me -- someone you also had only heard of and maybe seen photos! We MUST do this again soon --- REALLY soon!
Until next time . . . distant isn't as far as I thought! Susan and Monty

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Headed North????

Yep -- it's November and tomorrow I am headed north -- to Michigan!!

Am I insane? Maybe -- but -- I have the opportunity to go along with my mother, my aunt and a distant cousin that is so distant I don't even know her. Why? To visit another distant cousin I also don't know!

My aunt put this trip together and asked my mother to go along (the guys just don't like to travel) so she agreed and when I heard about it I sort of invited myself. I am really looking forward to this -- 4 women on the road and in a hotel room for 3 nights! Oh the stories that will come from this trip --- but we might need to make the pact that "what happens in Michigan stays in Michigan"?

Anyway -- please keep us in your prayers as we travel the nearly 7 hour trip. This is something I never do -- and have missed oh so much!

Also-- please keep Monty covered !! in prayer while I am away. Like most men -- he doesn't do all that well alone! :) He does have food in the house and both dogs to care for along with keeping our bird feeders full -- which can be a full time job! I (and he) appreciate your prayers.

Until next time . . . we'll return Sunday . . . spend some special time with your family! Remember that God is all about relationships!!!! Susan and Monty

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Understanding another . . .

Sometimes you just need someone to understand - to "get it."

Being a woman in a field where we do alot of construction doesn't make that very easy for me.

Being a woman missionary makes it even less easy!

As I was driving home from Texas this June I distinctly knew God was telling me to return to the Tuesday morning Bible Study I had attended years before. It wasn't a request -- it was a definite statement. No need arguing with God that it's a 40 minute drive and with the price of gas . . .

Today was one of those "oh yeah -- NOW I know why you wanted me to be there!" Pastor Martie and her best friend, Susan just returned from a trip to Equador a couple of weeks ago. They spent a month there -- away from home, away from family, helping others, bringing others to the Lord through their actions more than words!

As I sat in Bible Study this morning listening to them recount the many blessings from God while they were there, the miracles, the life changing moments it dawned on me -- they understand -- they get it! They have "been there" and have experienced the Almighty power of God! They have seen His hand, felt His touch in the darkest hours, heard His direction for them, they know!

Finding someone -- just one -- with whom I can relate has been nearly impossible. But God . . . He tells us that with Him nothing is impossible and this morning I once again realized He never lies!

As I was driving there in this way warmer than normal crystal clear day I saw something I have NEVER seen in my life --- and now I know it was a sign from God about just how awesome this morning was going to be -- an eagle flew directly in front of me -- crossed so close to the front of the vehicle I could've counted his tail feathers if I hadn't been so shocked! I was so overwhelmed with excitement and yet --- that excitement dimmed in comparison to knowing there are not one -- but two -- women with whom I can relate, with whom I can share, with whom I can confide in --- oh how I love God!!!!!

I pray YOU have that person -- or those people -- who get it, who understand, who have experienced it --- whatever your "it" might be. I hope you will let them know what a blessing they are to you!

Until next time . . . thank you Lord, thank you Pastor Martie, thank you Susan!

Susan and Monty

Thursday, November 04, 2010

First Pastoral Visit

Today we had our first "official" Pastoral visit to promote our upcoming school. I have spent days making calls and arranging appointments to take in the packets of information we have compiled. All our paperwork is now put together with everything one would need to have a full understanding of our school and the organization behind it.

It was great to also visit with this Pastor and his wife since they were very instrumental to our going out into the field of disaster ministry in the first place. I remember the day this gentleman took us to his personal bank and took out cash as his donation to our cause!!! Those kind of things are always remembered and set a wonderful example for us about missions.

We have quite a few people interested in classes and since we have the paperwork ready it's now time to get down to business! Time is ticking and before we know it the holidays will be past and that third week of January will be upon us!

And as usual, life itself continues to move -- kids and grandkids -- back and forth to home and preschool and babysitting! My daughter and son in law and grandkids stopped by last night to show us the new truck they got! Now the kids are really excited as Grandma isn't the only one who drives a truck! And my daughter also told us she has been named the Young Outstanding Lawyer of the Year for the entire state of Indiana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Praise God!! She as worked so hard to maintain her career along with being a wife and mother and has done a wonderful job! We are so happy for her and I am thrilled to be her mom!

Also --- a belated happy birthday to our youngest daughter's significant other --- Zac -- you are already a part of our family and we love you!!!

Blessings to all and until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, November 01, 2010


This is how pitiful things (we) get when our kids are all grown and it's Halloween!!!! The pug belongs to my youngest daughter and her boyfriend!!
First of all -- I don't need comments about the "evil" of Halloween. I have always taken the attitude that it doesn't hurt kids (or adults) to dress up one night a year and go around collecting candy from the neighbors. If a neighbor decides to not give out candy -- they just shut off their exterior lights and it's no big deal. Of all the trick or treaters we had come to our door no one was "improperly" dressed, no one in satanic costumes, just a bunch of kids filled with smiles and thanks for their candy. We all need a bit of fun in our lives every now and then! Life is way too serious and I, for one, loved all those smiles and laughter.
We were even able to enjoy dinner in the middle of tricks and treats -- thanks to our neighbor, Shelley, who made a super fantastic chili and brought us a big pot! I don't know what all she put in there but it was amazing and I am hoping she will share her recipe. Seeing as how we are going to be here throughout the winter I think chili will be a necessity!
We are working away on the details of our upcoming satelite school here at home. Many are interested and as soon as we get the final paperwork from Alabama we are ready to start our visits to local Pastors. Even though everything can be seen from their website we are still printing most information out on hard copy so they have it right at their finger tips. Please keep us, the Pastors and the entire school thing in your prayers. We know it's Gods calling and get more excited each day!
I would also ask for a special prayer request for our other neighbor, Tony. He had a lobe of his liver removed a couple of weeks ago, tumors! Although he is in no pain, the incision is causing a multitude of problems. One area became very infected and had to be opened, and left open, to heal properly. This will take weeks! And now today it seems he has managed to pop open more stitches causing even more problems. He and Evie have already had a tough summer with numerous health problems and now this! Pray for not only God's healing but also His comfort and loving hands to uphold them both!
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty