Sunday, February 27, 2011

She did it!!!!

Yes folks -- her very first fitness competition and she comes home with a trophy!!! She took 5th place and it was incredible! When they called her number out of the crowd -- and I mean a crowd of participants -- I thought I was going to faint. And then I looked up and saw her calm and collected smile and so I kept on taking pictures!
She has been training for this for over 4 months and has dedication like no other. I got to meet her 2 coaches today and they agreed that they can designate the menus and plan the workouts but she is the one who had to do the work! And do the work she did! She was relentless! And during it all she got more than her fair share of not so supportive comments but she hung in there -- stayed focused on her goal -- and thus took home the prize!
My heart is bursting with joy for her! To see that smile on her face after it was all over was amazing! She was ready to take a shower and wash off the spray tan -- but first -- she planned on drinking a couple gallons of water since part of the final program was limiting her liquid intake!
Tomorrow she heads home -- a true winner! And a bit more icing on her cake -- she starts her brand new job as a full time fitness trainer at one of the city's largest gyms on Monday!!!!
God is so good!!!!!!!
Until next time . . . thank you, Lord -- thank you!!!!!! Susan and Monty

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Missions Class

There they are -- our missions training class right here at home! God selected an amazing group of folks with real hearts for missions.

Last night our class focused on "Building Strategies for Missions" and we all gained quite a bit of knowledge from it. We covered everything from how to define our mission to planning approaches to the greatest commandment and the greatest commission to defining our goals to finding out what all is involved in each area and how to be flexible in everything! Alot !! you say? You're right!

This group was laughing last night at how quickly they have bonded into family and it's such a blessing for Monty and I to be facilitating it all! Another of God's perfect timing things! He sure is good at that sort of thing!

We are almost counting the hours until our daughter's fitness competition! She continues to do well and now her diet is undergoing some last minute changes and she is thrilled -- she gets to eat hamburgers!!!! Please continue to cover her in your prayers -- and we thank you for doing so.

Speaking of prayers -- also cover Timothy -- our dear friend in Florida. He and his wife are going through some tough trials in ministry and again we thank you ahead of time for your prayers.

Until next time . . . what's your concept of missions?? Susan and Monty

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Life Changing Power

Here she is folks -- my daughter who has been training for months for her fitness competition! THIS Saturday is THE day and yesterday was the day to do some hair "fitness"!! She invited me to come along and as you can see by her expression -- we had fun!!! Please keep her in your prayers as each day she gets closer to her dream, her goal and whatever else God has in store for her! Love you Lindsay!
The title of this entry is "A Life Changing Power" and is directly from Pastor Dave's message this morning. I sent him a text message after telling him it was all I could to to stay seated and not stand up and shout a quite loud "amen" all during the morning!!
He started a series entitled "A Declaration of Independence" a few weeks ago and each week has been awesome but this morning . . . priceless! Allow me to share some of the highlights from my own perspective . . .
The subtitle of today; "Compassion: More Than a Feeling" taken from Mark 6:30 - 44.
1. Compassion involves: commitment!
When Monty and I started out on our mission to help those suffering in the wake of hurricane Katrina we "committed" to one year in the field; 365 consecutive days in the field. We looked at it as an opportunity that God gave us. It came at what some might (and did) say was an inoportune time! We both had full time jobs, health insurance and our first grandchild. We own our home, have 2 dogs, both of our families are right here, we taught the youth at Sunday School and were head over heels involved with numerous projects at church. Leave for a full year?
2. Compassion involves: assuming leadership!
Our belief was that God was showing US the need because He wanted US to do something about it! We were the "somebody" in "will somebody please do something?" The definition of compassion, according to our missions training class is "a consciousness of the needs of others coupled with the desire to act" -- well . . .
3. Compassion involves: teamwork!
There was no way the two of us were going to head south and make much of a difference on our own! It was going to take teamwork, teams and teams and more teams of volunteers who also felt that compassion and the desire to act as God tugged on their hearts.
4. Compassion involves: cooperation!
Thousands of folks needing help and thousands wanting to come and help. And of all those thousands, on both ends of the spectrum, very few actually knew what to do. But with their cooperation in working together to do whatever needed done -- guess what! It got done! Homes were rebuilt, one at a time and lives were rebuilt in the process.
5. Compassion involves: God's Intervention!!!!!
"It's impossible" was the first reaction of many, homeowners and volunteers alike! But you know what? When the impossible happens -- God intervenes Bib Time! As we are obedient to use our power -- God uses His and miracles happen -- right before our eyes!
Now -- let's apply this in a REAL way with a REAL story!!!
Some of you may remember from back in March of 2007 the story of Mr Mike and Ms Faye. For those of you that don't -- a quick refresher. We received the paperwork for Mike and Faye with the word "emergency" written at the top of it in Sept of 2006. We called and were at their house the very next day. Rain was literally pouring in their home, the bedroom ceiling had already collapsed onto their bed, the floors (carpeting still in) were soaked with so much water it came up over the tops of our shoes, holes were in the floors and walls and mold had taken over. The more we looked around the more we realized we were "up against it" for sure. Monty even told them "there's nothing I can do for you, but I know someone who can -- so let's pray!"
That initial prayer, using what little power we had was all God was waiting for as He stepped in and . . .
Shortened version --- 6 months later we put them in a brand new, stick framed home, fully furnished and landscaped! It was built with 23 obedient, not so skilled folks who just came to "do whatever needed done."
God moved mountains, God touched inspectors, God broke barriers, God touched the hearts of so many, God brought funding where there was none, God brought donations where there weren't any, God took every single thought of "my little bit won't make any difference" into miracle after miracle!
As Mike lay in his hospital bed, having his leg amputated due to diabetes -- God took what satan meant to steal, kill and destroy into blessings beyond measure, beyond explanation and beyond anything we simple humans could have done! God changed lives! Not just Mike and Faye's -- He changed the lives of complete strangers, those who just read about it in the paper or saw it on television and had to drive by and see for themselves, those who stepped onto the property and said they just "felt something special", those who dropped off food for the volunteers, those who prayed for everything and everyone, those who worked day and night and sometimes got those reversed due to lack of sleep, those who did not believe came to believe, and most of all -- we (Monty and I) were changed! Our lives have never been, and never will be, the same!
I experienced commitment, the assuming of leadership (blind leadership at times), teamwork, cooperation and God's intervention! I experienced TRUE compassion! I experienced miracles! I experienced the human race at it's best (and worst)! I experienced God like never before!
So my thanks, true, heartfelt thanks -- to Pastor Dave for this message! It ignited that spark inside me that has been a bit on the dim side for awhile! That spark of compassion that -- when lit -- can change the world!!!
Dear Lord, take our obedience and bless it and increase it so the needs are met."
Until next time . . . take control of YOUR life away from others and experience life changing power from our Lord, our Savior, our God -- our Everything! Susan and Monty

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Double" school!

What a busy week it's been and it's only Thursday!

Monty has been very busy helping his step dad in their business of relocating mobile homes. He's headed out again tomorrow morning for another one. He's also finding some "winter" muscles that aren't real happy about being found!

Tuesday night we had our missions training school class and the focus this week was on the Heart of a Missionary. It was taught by one of our IGO missionaries who has spent the past 18 years as a missionary in southern Mexico. He really nailed it! All of our students are also doing very well with their homework and finding the geography quite challenging! They also are required to write small book reports on each assigned book reading and it's really been interesting to see their personal responses! They are doing such a great job! Some are even asking for details on the upcoming research paper but it's way too soon to start on it!

Tonight is our Spanish class! I think I have some sort of mental block with learning this language! Either that or it's age?? I refuse to claim that but . . . I am really struggling! We bought the book the teacher is using, we get videos from the library (some are cartoons) and yet it just doesn't seem to click with me. Monty is doing quite well so . . . We'll keep trying! Pray for us!

Today it finally feels like spring just might be around the corner! Yesterday the temps reached above 60 and the same with today. I spent most of the day outside trying to clean up the yard and pick up limbs that came down in the ice storm a few weeks ago. I know it's not going to last but it's nice to get out in the fresh air and not freeze to death! I must not be the only one as the neighbors are out and the walking trail through the city is packed!

Until next time . . . thanks to all of you who continue to cover us in prayer and continue to support us. It's been extremely tough (financially) the past few months but we stand on God's promise of provision! Blessings, Susan and Monty

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

He Did It!!!!

This is my Daddy! He just turned 80 years old last month! And yesterday when I went over to visit my parents he wanted my mom and I to come and take some pictures. I can't EVER remember my dad "asking" for his picture to be taken??!!
Nearly 10 years ago he bought a piece of farm land that had an old house and a woods on it. Ever since then, all during the winters, he takes his chainsaw and 6 wheeler and heads to the woods. He cut each and every tree down on his own. He cut some into firewood and the large logs were sold. He has piles and piles of branches and twigs and who knows what kind of critters have been blessed by these large piles of "home."
And now -- he wanted pictures because the last tree is down! Yes, 10 years later and the last tree is down! A true Kodak moment if I've ever experienced one!
They say that age is just a number and we're only as old as we feel and there's no such thing as retirement . . . I say he's a special gift from God -- to me! Yes, I have to share him with my 3 brothers but I am the only daughter so . . .
This Daddy of mine, along with my mother who also doesn't know the meaning of the word quit -- instilled a work ethic in me, a passion for others, a passion for helping, a passion for nature and a love for God that is unsurpassable!!!
I am so blessed and so thankful and am so happy I got to share in the joy of seeing that last tree on the ground and the smile on his face and the joy in his heart!!!!
Daddy, you're the best! You set the bar high in your example to me and I intend to do the best I can but . . .
I love you and Mom so much!
Until next time . . . thank someone in your family for being your family! Susan and Monty

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Indulge me -- this message has been resounding in my head so it must be for someone else too!

The Holy Spirit leads us --- satan drives, pushes, presses and causes us to panic! He's the one who brings in the doubt and fear. Do we settle ourselves enough to know the difference? Do we turn off all the outside noises and voices to really hear Him?

Do we know whose we are? satan sure does! Why do you think he fights us when we are following God?

Has God called you to a time of resting? If so, He just may have you doing so in order to prepare you for an upcoming battle that you're not aware of. Are you truly resting? In Him? In His Word? What about the annointing of the "shut up"? Are we just wearing ourselves out?

Do we try and go in our own strength and our own reasoning? Do we really know better and more than God?

Do we use the power God gives us? Really? Do we take God's Word for "real" and let it speak to us and calm our spirits? Or are we double minded, tossed and blown around in doubts and fears and panic?

Do we know our destiny and realize that if we don't fulfill that destiny it's gone! No one else will be selected to pick up our slack. God calls us -- each and every one of us -- and He doesn't call the equipped, He equips those He calls!

Like I said, this message has been running around and around in my head and heart and try as I might, I know I fall short in every single area. But acknowledgment is the beginning and so . . .

The book of James is a great one -- go there and do some reading, rest in His Word and see if you gain some of the extra power and knowledge and wisdom needed to fulfill the calling He has placed on your life!

Until next time . . . all of that can also come from attending church tomorrow!!!!

Blessings and love to all. Susan and Monty

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Special Dedication

Lindsay -- this one's for you!

I am going to get a little personal this evening -- get ready!

After the birth of my second child I was advised against having any more children. My son had weighed in at a whopping 10 1/2 pounds and the daughter that followed a little over 9 pounds. I was only 23 and just couldn't face making that decision at such an early age.

And so . . . 5 years later another daughter was born. That pregnancy had had more than its share of difficulties and the birth was no exception. Within hours of her birth, which ended up being nearly a month early, one of her lungs collapsed and we were told that if we were "religious" people we might want to have her baptized. Our Pastor came to the intensive care unit of the hospital, cracked open a baby bottle of water and baptized her through the arm openings of the incubator. Within hours her other lung collapsed and the pediatrician told me he'd "done all he could do" and now "it was up to the man upstairs." We were given the time period of 72 hours -- waiting -- and at the end of that time she would "go one way or the other." All during those hours of waiting I had a sense of calm that was indescribable -- and for any of you that know me you know just how ridiculous that sounds -- me, calm???

Sure enough, at the end of 72 hours she was breathing on her own and improving by the hour. After another week in the hospital she was able to come home. We were to keep her away from people for atleast 6 months to allow further healing of her lungs and hopefully at the end of that time period she would have doubled her birth weight of 8 pounds.

At her 4 month check up the doctor was nearly speechless. She had more than doubled her weight and all the tests they did showed she was perfectly normal!!!

As time went on she grew and grew and was nearly attached to my hip 100% of the time.

At the age of 3 she got very, very sick. The doctors said it was mono! They also said it was so severe her liver was swollen to 4 times its normal size and more than likely she would have permanent liver damage. But God . . . no liver damage and just fine.

By the time she was 6 the stomach aches she had occasionally were becoming more and more frequent. Stomach aches in children? Very common. But these were different. These were worse than stomach aches. We went from doctor to doctor to doctor with no results. Her temperature was nearly 104 every single day. After 9 months of this we finally went back to the pediatrician who cared for her at birth and he knew it -- Crohn's Disease. My first thought? What in the world is that and how do we get rid of it?

Riley Hospital here we come --again and again and again. We made weekly trips for years. There is no cure for Crohn's Disease. It's a cruel and extremely painful disease and reeks havoc on ones body. No matter what the prescribed -- it didn't work. At one point in time I was giving her 38 pills a day -- and no improvement.

Through the years we battled this disease constantly. Each year she would miss so much school that we would receive the ever expected letter saying she was in danger of being held back. We installed a fax machine so the teachers could fax over her homework and I would take it in to school. This worked out well but each year I would have to make the trip to the school and explain that when she says she has a stomach ache she actually does have a stomach ache! By the time she reached high school I thought we might have to withdraw and do homeschooling. She did manage to graduate with flying colors -- her grades were always excellent.

She made the cheerleading squad two years in a row but had to withdraw the second year due to being so ill. Her years of playing soccer were also in the past. She was rail thin and had no color. Those years were very difficult to say the least.

After high school she enrolled here at Indiana University and did well, but she couldn't take the full load of classes like the others so it took 5 years to get through -- no big deal. But she just kept getting sicker and no medicine seemed to work.

All I could do was pray, long and agonizing prayers -- please help her! And at the age of 18 her doctor said there was a new medicine. It had it's share of possible side effects but what did we have to lose? She would go to the chemo area of the hospital where she would be hooked up to an IV and sit for nearly 5 hours while this medicine dripped into her system. It was a blessing from heaven because it worked!!! She did this for years, every 6 to 9 weeks.

Through her adult years this was her life. Get the medication and feel good for a few weeks before starting to feel sick again, get the medicine and . . .

Her health was never good. She was plagued with anemia. Numerous problems along the way but she fought and she hung in there and did the best she could.

Adult life brought jobs and trying to not miss too many days because of not feeling well. She lived in southern Florida for a few years and a summer in Boston before finding a job that brought her back home. With that new job came new insurance that didn't like the cost of that medicine and refused to cover the cost.

Back to the doctor who pulled out all the stops and prescribed yet another medicine that she has to inject herself with every 2 weeks. Thank the Lord, it works!

As she began to feel better she started getting into fitness. She did some workouts on the beaches of Florida and even thought about doing some personal training. When she came back home she got into it even further and really started concentrating on fitness and exercising. She worked up to working out every single day. We could all see the positive results and then she did something amazing --- she created a website to reach out to others who are dealing with physical problems. Her goal was to help them help themselves to a better life. She started with just a few followers and they grew and grew in numbers and they started commenting back to her with thanks and positive comments of their own.

And now . . . she has a gift --- and she is using that gift! She has been in intensive training over the past few months -- training for her first fitness competition! She has given it all she's got, her dedication and motivation unlike any other. She has a couple of trainers and has stuck to her nutrition regime better than probably any other person I have ever known. She gets up at the crack of dawn to do her workouts and prepares her meals better than a chef.

Her body has changed and improved and now she is 2 weeks away from her first competition! Tonight she called to say she reached her goal with her body fat --- 9% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, the single digit of 9%. Her trainer said he's going to ADD fat to her diet for the next 2 weeks! ADD fat??? You've got to be kidding!!! Amazing!!! Her dedication, her obedience and her example to others is unsurpassed!

When I called to get tickets for this upcoming competition the gentleman on the other end of the phone was in stitches -- I had no problem telling him I was one proud mother who wanted front row seats!!!!! He got us in the second row!!!!

And now she has accomplished yet another goal -- she passed the test and is certified to be a personal trainer! She wants to reach out and help others with their own personal goals! It's her dream -- but more than that -- it's her calling! Is that incredible or what??!!

To go through what she has gone through, to be this successful, to be this inspirational . . . I am so proud of her (yes, Daddy -- proud) and I just wanted to share her story with all of you.

We all have a calling, we all should be an example for others, we all should . . .

Lindsay IS DOING IT!!

My dearest daughter, you are truly a gift to me from God and I thank Him daily for you!

No matter what the outcome is from this upcoming competition -- you are a TRUE winner in my book --- and the book of so many others!

May God bless and keep you -- may He uplift you and fill you with all His love!!!!!!

I love you!!!! Mom

Monday, February 07, 2011

Congrats Packer Fans

Yep -- the Packers did it! We didn't really have a favorite team but we do have alot more friends in the Wisconsin area than in Pennsylvania -- sorry! We were blessed to go to Tony and Kristen's house last night for a fantastic super bowl party -- restaurants don't have as much food as they did! Wonderful!
The past few days have been days of trying to thaw out -- and not fall down! I wasn't sure we would ever get Monty's truck unfrozen! The doors seemed like they were welded shut but finally we got just enough sunshine on one side that I got it chipped open and then the other side! What a mess! Our front sidewalk, on the north side of the house, just thawed out this afternoon! It's been quite the challenge but we survived!
School is back in session and my grandkids were thrilled when I pulled in to pick them up this morning! Grandma's "sweet ride" back on the road to school!
We've been busy grading homework papers from our missions training school students and all are doing well. This week we will see about scheduling our make up class. Hopefully we can get 2 classes in 1 week so we can get back on track.
Tomorrow is my weekly Bible Study and I am anxious to see how Pastor Martie is doing after her arm and shoulder surgery. They are also planning another trip to Ecuador to survey the land on the mountain in preparation for the construction of the church. I think it might be next month before they can go but . . . I emailed a few of our volunteer teams who have worked with us over the years and told them to brush the dust off their passports and learn a few basics in Spanish as they might need to head south, far south, and build a church! And not at all to my surprise -- they all responded that they would be ready when the time came!!!! Family!!!
We will keep you updated as we are updated. God has some very exciting plans ahead so hang on -- we're going for another ride!!!!
Until next time . . . be safe and be blessed! Susan and Monty

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


If I didn't know better I would think we were in Antarctica!!
The ice came in sheets, then the rains poured and added to the ice, then the winds started blowing and gusting to nearly 50 miles per hour, the tree limbs weighted down to the point of dragging across the roof of our house all night long! I wondered if they would hold up under all that weight -- they did!
The temps did warm to freezing allowing some of the ice to melt off -- just in time for the snow to fall and our power to go out for most of the night! Monty said he could look out the window and see the transformers blowing all across this area of the city! Thank goodness for extra blankets as all we could do was wait it out. There are thousands and thousands still without power and the entire state is nearly shut down!
The county just to the east of us, among many, has issued a warning to drivers that no one can be on the roads unless it's an emergency!
So our missions class last night was cancelled along with most everything else in the state. Even Indiana University closed! I can't ever remember that happening! But it is just that dangerous out there -- with all the ice you can't even walk!
So . . . a great day to be inside, do a little Bible studying, watch the birds at the feeders outside our window and be thankful that we don't have to go anywhere!!!
Until next time . . . be safe and be blessed. Susan and Monty

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Slip Slidin' Away

A winter storm warning that lasts for 2 1/2 days!!! That's right -- it's the good ole' midwest and I believe they said 33 states are effected by this one!
This morning brought about rare beauty! Yes, it's dangerous if you try and walk -- even penguins can't manuever in this -- and of course driving should be illegal on days like this -- but God's beauty shows through! The ice glistens on everything; trees, shrubs, grass, sidewalks, and everything in sight.
But supposedly this is just the beginning! We are in the line for much more ice and possibly snow on top -- what a combination! Schools are closed and city workers are doing the best they can to attempt to make roads drivable. We are staying inside -- although Monty did head to Lowes for some propane canisters for our little heater -- just in case.
It is sad that this weather did force us to cancel our missions training school classes for tonight! Just gives everyone a bit more time to complete their homework!
So if you are in this weather -- be smart and stay inside unless you just have to go out -- and then re-evaluate and see if it's really a necessity that you go! We aren't going to starve if our pantrys are a bit barer than normal -- nothing is worth getting into an accident!
If you aren't in this weather -- pray for those that are! I heard Dallas had a temperature of 20 this morning -- that is just not right!!!
Until next time . . . be smart, be safe and be blessed. Susan and Monty