Friday, September 30, 2011

I found a way . . .

For those of you who know me quite well you know that "slowing down" or "taking it easy" just don't come natural for me.

My mind is always racing, this needs done, they need called, she needs this, he needs that, and on and on and on.  I'm not complaining, just sayin'. 

I keep paper and pen on my night stand so I can write things down when they come to me in the night. 

I can really listen to two conversations at the same time and catch them both.

I can actually carry on two conversations at one time and keep them straight!

So today . . . I found a way to have it all go away!  Clear my mind and get lost . . . comfortable and yet focused, enjoyment and release . . . all together.

How?  you ask ---- shooting my gun!  Shocked?  So was I.  Pleasantly so.

Monty and I took the afternoon and went to the range so we could practice what we learned a couple of weeks ago.  We learned the basics and without practice we would need to relearn them.

When I got behind that gun, started rehearsing all the steps we were taught, focused on my breathing, closed my eyes and reopened them to aim -- the world went away!  All of it!  It just went away and I felt relaxed and rested and all frustrations vanished.  Hours had gone by in what seemed like minutes.

I've always had trouble with the scripture, "be still and know that I am God."

I know God, quite well in fact. 

Today I found out MY way to "be still."

Until next time . . . aren't we glad we continue to learn something new every day, no matter what our age!  I sure am!                                                 Susan and Monty

Monday, September 26, 2011

Introducing . . . Solomon

Those of you who know us know we already have 2 dogs . . . and now . . . we have 3.  This was not planned nor had we given any thought to adding a new family member.  But . . . it was love at first sight and so . . . we welcomed Solomon into our household on Saturday.

I should blame it all on my son and daughter in law but . . .

Saturday was the day I got to spend with both of them.  Each year there is a small city near them that has the best festival ever.  They literally close down all the city streets and line them with craft and food booths.  It's such a great place and I was really looking forward to going.  My son and I were able to have a nice breakfast together and then met up with his wife, who was already at the festival.  She and her mother always go early to "get the good stuff."  The weather was a bit on the iffy side and the skies did open up a time or two -- much to the delight of the one woman who was selling umbrellas!

Last year there was a place selling puppies, all kinds.  This year there was a place selling only chihuahua's.  I had to go -- how could I not?  And when I rounded the corner and saw the little fellow in the pics here my heart melted!  I have seen literally thousands of chihuahuas, in Texas I think they came directly in the mail from Mexico as everyone had more than one!  But I had never seen anything like this little guy.  The owner, who was also the breeder, told me he was called a Chocolate Merle. 
And for those of you who know me - you know how I love chocolate!  But this kind?

Anyway, long story short -- she made him a blessing I could not pass by, especially since Monty made 4 phone calls "encouraging" me to bring him home!

He's 4 months old and weighs in at less than 2 pounds.  His full growth weight should top out at 4 pounds, maybe 5?  Yes, he fits in my pockets!

As for Bitty and Samson -- less than thrilled!  Just like human children!!!

So many thanks to the lady for listening to our story and having her heart moved and blessing us with a truly adorable addition to our family!

Until next time . . . good thing those festivals are only once a year!  Anyway, God tells us He blesses us with the "little" things -- thank you Lord!                  Susan and Monty

Friday, September 23, 2011

Team Vineyard

It's 7:00pm and I just got the phone call that Monty is on his way home from Michael's!  They've been there since this morning and you can see from the pics that they were all over the place, and sometimes under the place!  Whatever was needed!

Rob, Keith and Monty from our home church, Vineyard, were joined by Michael's nephews, Zac and Cody.  The more hands the better.  When I stopped back by this afternoon Zac and Monty were the ones underneath the trailer working on the plumbing.  Rob was inside and was going back and forth from framing to plumbing to giving advice on the electrical that Keith and Michael were working on.

Rob is a contractor by trade and Michael told me he wished he could just keep him for the duration!  I agreed and have made that exact comment every time Rob has come to help us a disaster!  He even went so far as to frame the box stand for the washer and dryer to sit on!  We needed to have them raised off the floor for better reaching and the ones you purchase are just too expensive.  Rob to the rescue and ta-da, they are built and ready!

The wiring was going well.  It's always takes awhile to come in after someone else has started a project.  No two people think alike and so the second one on the job has to try and figure out what the first one was thinking.  They were rolling just fine this afternoon and I am wondering how close they got to finishing it?

We also had a visitor stop by this afternoon.  Dallas -- who has also worked with us in the past.  He brought a team to Mississippi for a week and also made a day trip to Columbus, Indiana during their floods in the summer of 2008.  One thing we have always told every volunteer team over the years is, "when you get back home, we guarantee that within a mile from you is someone who needs help!"  For Dallas that is exactly right -- he lives 7/10ths of a mile from Michael and had no idea we were there until the article came out in yesterday's newspaper!  He plans on coming back, often!

Yes, the article was front page headline news yesterday!  Bob, the reporter, did an incredible job and the 2 pics were great!  And without us even knowing, he added a short story about Monty and I!  I didn't know he has a regular column and when he used that to tell a bit of our history we were humbled and flattered.  Michael was pleased with the article and we are anxious to see the results. 

It's been a great day!  Lots of work getting done and tomorrow is "work day" at Michael's.  We decided that every Saturday is work day-- a day to concentrate on cleaning up and anything else thea might need done, depending on the people who show up and their skills.

I am excited about tomorrow as I am making a trip north to spend the entire day with my son and daughter in law.  There is a small city just to the north of them that has a city wide craft show once a year and I always love going.  And getting to spend the whole day with them is the best!  I don't get to see him very often and I miss him!  He has his own heating and air business and he got the best deal for us on Michael's system so as soon as the funding comes in . . .

I pray all of you have a great weekend.  And to Jack and Louis from Jersey --- I mailed you a copy of the newspaper today!  Awesome job guys!

Until next time . . . we're blessed to be a blessing!  Help someone else sometime this weekend!  Make God smile!                                                               Susan and Monty

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The electric begins

I'm not sure where the morning went but by noon I was back at Michael's house.  We were awaiting the arrival of David and his crew of workers who wanted to volunteer their afternoon to help. Pastor Jan was already there marking walls that needed reframed and once again we ended up redesigning the kitchen -- just a bit.

This home is going to be exclusively for Michael.  That means we have to look at things from his angle and most of the time we just ask him to come over and decide the answer to our question himself. 

Case in point -- the placement of the electrical outlets.  Where we would put them and where they need to be for Michael to reach them with ease can be two different locations.  That debate is now answered and the one brave woman volunteer was nailing the boxes right where they needed to be.

The team of 6 were there by 1pm and got right to work with the wall framing and electrical.  They really got alot done by the end of the afternoon and considering their work days begin at 5:30am they had put in a really long day!  Most of the wiring is now pulled in the main part of the house.  And the only thing left to frame is the closet for the hot water heater.

We are so thankful to David and his team.  They all want to come back and help again and they know all they have to do is call.  An added blessing?  David wants a list of everything we still need, and he said he meant everything -- so you know what I'll be doing right away!  He will also be providing the exterior power pole and bringing the truck and tools needed to install it in the ground.  The blessings just keep on coming!  I love to see others come in, not knowing what to expect or what they will be doing, and then watch the transformation in them as their heart gets into it and God begins to touch them and then you just don't know where He will lead them!

The next step?  Monty, our contractor friend Rob, and another friend, Keith, will be going to Michael's first thing on Friday morning where Monty and Keith will work on the electrical and Rob will start with the plumbing.  Be sure and stay tuned as these 3 could be mistaken for the 3 stooges!  :)

Until next time . . . caution . . . miracles in progress!                 Susan and Monty

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

God appointed -- God annointed

This was quite the day!  Packed so full of our Lord and His hand -- incredible and I am so thankful to God for letting me live and participate in His world today!

This morning was our weekly Bible study where we continued in the book of Proverbs.  We are studying the 14th chapter and it never ceases to amaze me how God covered it all.  He lays it out in black and white that if we do it this way what our reward will be.  If we choose to do it the other way what the cost will be for us.  And yet we still don't get it, we still question and we still mess it up!  It's tough being a human, isn't it!

Immediately after Bible study I got a call from David.  David had his own business and has 18 employees who would like to come and help out at Michael's house.  I talked to him yesterday and he was going to meet with his crew this morning and see how many of them wanted to volunteer.  When he called me back today he said he has atleast 8 and maybe 10 and that they will arrive tomorrow around 1:00pm --- after they put in a full work day!  I am thrilled and can't wait to meet them all.  They will divide themselves in 2 groups where one will focus on the rough in plumbing and the other the rough in electric.  Pastor Jan will oversee both groups while reframing a couple of walls for us. 

Sus then told me that I needed to make a visit to a local plumbing supply company and talk with the owner/manager there.  He had a 60" wide handicapped accessible shower, industrial grade, that he would possibly donate!  How awesome is that!

So after talking with David I headed to Michael's house to take a look at the framed in walls.  We spent alot of time, just the 2 of us and a tape measure.  His master bath was just too small and we calculated, we measured and we tossed around all sorts of ideas.  And then God . . . gave me the idea that solved it all.  Why in the world were we trying to put the washer and dryer and hot water heater all in the master bedroom and hallway areas?  The old excuse --- because that's where they were before!!!  Duh!!!  We decided to move all of them into the spare bedroom where we could create a closet to close in the water heater and then have a space next to it for the washer and dryer and still have enough room on the wall for a base cabinet and small counter top where Michael can use to fold his clothes!  Presto!  Problem solved!  So now we will extend the master bath and heating and air closets to more than enough room and Michael will have a nice size clothes closet in his bedroom.  A bedroom is supposed to be a place of peace anyway and having all those things in there would lead to anything but peace!  Thank you Lord!

Pastor Jan joined us there and agreed with all our changes.  He will start the reframing of a couple of the walls tomorrow.  He is such a blessing as he is an expert in anything and everything that has to do with construction!

A dear friend of mine, Mark, showed up while we were all there.  Mark used to paint houses for a business and will hopefully be able to schedule his time to do the painting at Michael's. 

From there I headed to the plumbing supply store where I met Jim -- what a wonderful man.  He said he's had this shower for awhile and just couldn't get rid of it.  I told him that the reason was because it was to be for Michael's and that's why it was still there.  He and I had a chance to talk awhile and by the time I was leaving he agreed to give us a discount on everything we purchase there!  And I made sure he knew he was invited to the House Blessing celebration when the time comes!

I barely made it home in time to turn around again and head to our home church.  Pastor Dave started a class on healing.  We just got home and wow!  It was awesome!  It's just the first class and I can already see that this instructor isn't going to beat around the bush -- he's going head on into the "meat" of healing and I know it's going to be an eye opening and wisdom filled class!

So now it's already past bedtime and yet my heart and mind are so filled with God and His perfect works and timing . . .

What an awesome God we serve!

Until next time . . . I DO believe in miracles!               Susan and Monty

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thanks Appleseed

Don't know how many of you have heard of the Appleseed program but let me tell you -- it's incredible!

For the past 2 days Monty and I had the chance to take a bit of a break and attend the local Appleseed program that was held here in Bedford.

After over 20 hours of intense training I have now learned to handle and shoot my Ruger 1022, an M1 Garand and an AR 15!!!  I guess being a woman in construction wasn't enough -- so why not learn to shoot!

We learned to shoot from the prone (laying flat on your belly) position, standing and sitting.  And then we learned to go from one position to another while loading and shooting.  We learned more about safety that I thought was possible, we learned all about the American Revolution, we shot target after target and then shot some more, we had amazing lunches each day (they were more like dinner) and also made some new friends.

I admit that I was surprised at the number of women and children there!  In total we outnumbered the men!  Turns out women are really good shooters!  No, I'm not kidding!

Yesterday the weather was perfect, sunshine with a light breeze which caused quite a few folks to return today with sunburned faces.  Today . . . the morning brought rain but no stopping the training.  We shot all during the rains and I guess the rain just decided to let us win (we were packing some pretty hefty power) so it stopped about an hour into the training and stayed away all day.  The clouds were very welcome and just as we were finishing up this evening the skies opened up again and the rains came pouring.  This time we let the rain win!

My deepest thanks to all who run this Appleseed program.  I came away feeling like I really can not only handle a gun properly but I know about them, I know how to operate them and I really know how to shoot them! 

It was a fun weekend and a great way to clear the world from my head for awhile.  Everyone needs that every once in awhile.

I've always heard the saying "freedom isn't free" and after the past 2 days -- I have a new found respect for our forefathers and for our freedom!  They fought hard and it was more than costly and we are still free --- my deepest thanks and respect to all of them --- you!

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

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Life" . . . thanks to New Jersey

The subflooring is in.  The underneath has all new insulation.  And now the walls are reframed and we are ready for the electrical and plumbing to start!  All in 5 days!!!  All thanks to Jack and Louis from New Jersey.  And this evening we had to bid them farewell, not an easy thing to do.

Monty and I invited them over for dinner at our house so we could get a chance to visit with them.  Jack has worked with us 3 times before, twice in Mississippi and once in New Orleans and it was so good to see him and so sad to see him go.  And meeting Louis and seeing the change in him, the light in him, the love in him -- and it's just his first mission trip!  I can't wait to see what God does in him when he returns home!

God always sends us who we need right when we need them and Jack and Louis were the who and this week was the when!  I love God's plan!

So tonight we had some time to visit, take a few pictures, watch a couple of videos that they hadn't seen and then pray over them and send them on their way.  They will be leaving at 5:30am tomorrow so please join us in covering them with prayer.  Jack is a brand new Grandpa and is quite anxious to get home and see his first grandson!  Again, thanks to both Jack's and Louis's wives -- hopefully next time you can both make the trip!

I posted the picture of Michael because I want you to see the difference in him.  See the smile, see the light and see the hope!  Louis put it perfectly -- "when we got there Michael seemed pretty down but when we left today he had life in him!"  God's perfect plan and God's perfect love!  Priceless!  The group picture is great as it's Micheal's sister and his two nephews with an about -  to -  be niece in law(I think that's the proper title????) and his sister's granddaughter!  They have all worked so hard helping out and we are so thankful and know they will be right along side of him every step of the way!

It was also fun to celebrate Monty's birthday this evening.  His mother treated us to breakfast this morning and his father called him this afternoon and we spent the evening with dear friends so what a great birthday!  We hadn't heard from his dad in a very long time and had been concerned.  Seems he has had some health problems and hopefully is getting some things straightened out.  Please keep him in your prayers too.

Until next time . . . we hope you all have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to thank God for all your blessings!                        Susan and Monty

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Floors are done, walls begin

Quite the crew aren't they!  Amazing is more like it.  Before this day, their 4th day, they had all the subflooring replaced -- and all the insulation underneath!  By the end of the day the first wall was up and set. 

Jack and Louis have been wonderful and it's sad to think that tomorrow is their last day.  They did get some extra help today with Michael's nephew, Zac.  One more person really makes a difference and they were glad to know he will be back tomorrow.

Being able to remove the bathroom walls before replacing the subflooring made it so much easier and now we can rebuild the walls just where we want them.  We are opening up each bath a bit more in order to make it easier for Michael to move around in them.  It's so exciting to see them get started.  The smile on Michael's face was priceless!

Late this afternoon the local newspaper sent out a reporter, Bob, along with his photographer, Pete.  They seemed to really enjoy interviewing everyone there and watching all that was happening.  They hope to have it in their Sunday paper next Sunday.  It's always a great idea to have news like this in the paper.  They give hope to others out there that good things still do happen and God is still in the business of miracles.  Our thanks to Pastor Martie for calling them and giving them a head's up and for Bob and Pete coming to see us and putting the story together.

Speaking of miracles, Sus made a couple of steps of faith today that also produced incredible results.  We now have a big dumpster in the back yard and will most likely have it donated before we're done.  They already gave her an amazing deal and had sweetened the deal even before the end of the day!  And she also managed to get a banner/sign donated to put in the front yard.  The title will read, The House that the Lord is Building.  Bev came up with the title and it's perfect.  The sign company is going to mount it on a board that can be posted in the front yard and leave enough room that folks can stop by and write well wishes and prayers for Michael.  Both of these things happened because Sus took the step of faith to make the calls!  God had both miracles just waiting in the wings until someone decided to step in and take them!  Wonder how many more He has waiting for us all?

Tomorrow will be Jack and Louis's last day.  I have no doubt that they will have all the walls newly framed in which means that we will be ready for the plumbing and electrical and then move on to closing it up with walls and ceilings!  This was the week that put us over the hump and we are forever grateful to these 2 men of God who listened to His call and obeyed!  We hope to see them back for the House Blessing!

Jack and Louis will be coming to our house for dinner tomorrow night and will help us celebrate Monty's birthday!  It will give us a chance to visit and say goodbye and thank you and also to be sad to see them leave!  Fridays with volunteer teams are always a mixture of thanksgiving for what they've done and sad to see them leave.  I guess I should be used to it but . . . I'm not!

Until next time . . . we love New Jersey!                            Susan and Monty

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wonderfully cooler Wednesday makes New Jersey smile

It's difficult to get a picture of Jack standing upright and I am so glad he has a family member that is a chiropractor as he's going to need a few visits when he gets back home.

On the other hand, Louis is always standing upright -- but looking at the pictures makes you wonder where in the world is he?  He's literally standing on the ground underneath the trailer, between the floor joists, scraping the old subfloor off the joists where it had been glued down.  He always has a chisel in one hand and a hammer in the other.  It's tedious and tough work but he's always smiling!

I had to smile today as I watched one of the ways Michael is helping.  As the tongue - in - groove subflooring is being put in place Michael rolls his wheelchair over top of the connection area to make sure it's flat with no gaps or bumps --- what a perfect idea!  Today as he was "stopped" over top of a seam line he watched as a rather large mouse decided that these cooler temps were too much and the wide open space of no flooring was just inviting him to make the leap and jump inside and head for some insulation to keep warm!  It brought a smile to my face but not so with Michael and I think that mouse was most likely "evicted" shortly after I left!

Yes, our temps fell 30 degrees from yesterday and that's a welcome change for Jack and Louis.  Jack even laughed when he said he caught a chill this morning!

The days work went well and they only have the master bedroom flooring to do tomorrow and will most likely start reframing the bathroom walls by afternoon.

On my trip to Lowes this afternoon I was hoping they had the computer program that they had in the Texas store where you can punch in measurements and design your own deck.  They have the program but not an updated version that has the capability to design ramps.  No problem, we've done enough of them I think I could design it in my sleep.  But it was a great opportunity to talk to one man at the construction counter.  He saw my new IGO Where He sends me . . . shirt and starting asking questions. His face lit up as I explained to him what we were doing and how God had always provided in the past and we knew He would do so this time.  As I was leaving he told me that he could see my heart written all over my face and that I truly loved what I do --- and of course I had to agree 800% and smile right back at him!
This evening they are attending church services at Stonegate Faith Center and I have no doubt that they are being loved on and super blessed by everyone there!  They might be small in numbers but they are one of the largest churches I have seen when it comes to love!

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be headed back as the local newspaper called today and wants to do an article, possibly in the Sunday edition.  It's always nice to put good news in the paper and it's my hope that they will want to do follow up articles and be there on the last day when we have the party of all parties at the House Blessing Day!

Be sure and stay tuned --- and to the wives of Jack and Louis back in Jersey -- we love you both and are so thankful to you for sharing your other halves with us, and with Michael, this week!  You're the best -- and don't be afraid to remind them of that when they get home!!!!  But do cut them a break if they have a few more aches and pains than usual!!!!

Until next time . . . God's and awesome God and aren't we glad!        Susan and Monty

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blessed Tuesday

It's only Tuesday and yet things were happening so quickly and so miraculously that it just went by way too quickly!

My day started with a trip to Cassady Electric where Ms Mae had a list of all the electrical supplies we would need and was going to let me know "if" she could donate anything.  By the time I left she had donated all the wiring (have you seen the cost lately?), all the receptacles, all the switches, all the plate covers for the receptacles and switches and the GFI outlets!  What a huge blessing!  All I could do was hug her, thank her and let her know that's she just "the best".  She has been a dear friend for years now and I know God placed her in my life for a good reason.  Through the years she and I have talked about how it is being a woman in a mostly man's field and the fun we've had!  Thanks Ms Mae, you are God's servant indeed!

From there I had just enough time to get to the Post Office and mail some of our IGO Disaster Relief shirts to James and Timothy.

Then it was off to Michael's to meet with the electrical engineer to get the details on where we are to put his power pole and all the instructions that we need to go with it.  Mr Jeff was a very nice gentleman who got a kick out of what we are doing.  He gave me all the answers I needed and even spent a few minutes with Monty via speaker phone to answer a couple of final details.  Since Monty and some of our friends from our home church are doing the electrical they now know exactly what is required.

After that meeting I headed to Bible study, even if I was over an hour late.  I got there just in time for some special words of prophecy and blessing and to share all the things that have been going on with Michael's rebuild.  It's so fun to share and see the expressions on the others' faces.  This church is new into missions and seeing and hearing about all that is happening, how God is providing and out doing anything we could ask for is lighting them on fire for mission work!  When Susan made a comment about it today my response was, "welcome to our world when we are in the mission field."  And our mission field seems to be very close to home right now!

After Bible study I was heading back to Michael's.  Jack and Lewis are really working well together now and have made alot of progress on replacing the subfloor and the insulation underneath.  They were nearing the 3/4ths mark of done when I left.  And they still had alot of the afternoon left so who knows how much more they got done!

They were excited to hear that one of the church members had made them a home made dinner for tonight so they could save some money and eat in.  And Michael's sister's family had stocked their refrigerator and cabinets with even more food!  One thing we know is that volunteers never lose weight on a mission trip! 

Pastor Martie, Susan and Bev made a visit to Michael's this afternoon to pray over them and bless them.  You can see them circled for prayer in the photo above.  And, of course, Michael got his own prayer over him!

One thing I have noticed in the past couple of days --- Michael is a pretty reserved fellow, not alot of expression in his face and not very exciteable.  Now . . . he is smiling all the time and loves to tell about the work being done and hear about all the miracles happening all around him!  He has a light in his eyes and a warmth in his heart that shows!  I know it's that "joy of the Lord" for all to see!

And tomorrow is Wednesday . . . already!  Wonder what all God has in store?

Until next time . . . "this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it"
Susan and Monty

PS.  For all who want/need a "head's up"  . . . Monty's birthday is Friday!     :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Jersey at work

It was a bit later than they had thought as they got tied up in road closures and road work but Jack and Lewis arrived last night from New Jersey.  It was so great to see Jack again since we hadn't seen him since the summer of 2007 when we were working in New Orleans.  And it was awesome to meet Lewis as well. 

Schell and Sus also met us at the church and really blessed them by taking them on a short tour of the city and then treated them to dinner.  Sus also shopped today and stocked up the refrigerator and cabinets at church so they would have some extra food! 

They were up and ready to roll this morning.  I met them in the parking lot of Lowes and they had already discovered the Bob Evans directly across the street so they were really ready to go!

We got to Michael's and he was all ready for them.  The trailer was all cleaned up and ready for workers to come in and get started.  The plan was to continue replacing the subflooring along with the underneath insulation.  After a trip to Lowes for more materials they made good progress - for a Monday.  Mondays are the day where everyone works to learn how to work together to accomplish their goals.  You might know the other people on your team but you haven't worked with them before so it takes some time to "get in sync" with the others.  They are now in sync and ready to work tomorrow.

Since there are no showers at the church they are going to Pastor Jan and Pastor Martie's house and they welcomed them to come there every day they are here!  A huge help!!

I got them all settled and headed back home since I had a list of 9 yards that needed mowed.  With the light rains we had all last week some of the yards actually did grow and I managed to get 6 of them done.  The last 3 will be done on Wednesday.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with an electrical engineer to designate where Michael's power pole will be set.  There used to be another mobile home parked there and the pole was behind the trailer making the power lines go over the top of the trailer.  According to the construction manual we have from the electrical company that is illegal so they are going to meet me there so we can come up with the right location.

From there I will hopefully be able to catch the last part of Bible Study and then make a trip back to Michael's to get you some more pictures.

Please keep Michael, Jack and Lewis covered with prayers for a safe and productive week -- a week spent in the presence of Jesus as they are His hands and feet!

Until next time . . . blessed to be a blessing!  Priceless!              Susan and Monty

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Revelation 21:4

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever."  (New Living Translation)

May we never forget!

"Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."  James 3:18    This verse was included in Pastor Dave's message this morning and as God does with me sometimes -- He had me "sowing" less than 2 hours later --- when I thought I was going to our church picnic and have the opportunity to just sit and visit with friends.  Think again!

Divorce is never a peaceful event.  For all of us who have experienced it -- no matter how determined you both might be that it will be a peaceable ending --- think again.  If we were able to make it a peaceable ending we wouldn't have had it end in the first place!

Years ago friends of our got divorced.  They hadn't been married all that long but it was still "unpeaceful" (if that's a word?) and we became closer friends to the man than the woman.  It just happened, we didn't really "take sides" but we lived closer to him and it the friendship just grew.  For a few years it was the 3 of us everywhere.  Where you found Monty and I you would find him and vice versa. 

One evening that we were just "the two of us" planning on having a quiet dinner together we were "greeted" by his ex-wife.  She was more than a bit angry and let me know it, in no uncertain terms and directly in my face.  From that time on there was a distance between us and in fact I don't think we'd even seen her since then. 

Until today!  She came to the church picnic!  Yes, I was more than shocked but was in for even more.  Monty came and told me she apologized to him and wanted to do the same with me.  I had tried to be cordial as we helped get food organized on the tables but admittedly found it difficult.  I was "civil" but not much more.  And now he's telling me she wants to talk with me and apologize.

"Peacemaker" is a name that people have called me in the past and today put it to the test!  I did go to her and expected a quick apology at which point I would forgive and that would be that.

But God . . .

She wanted to "take a walk" and so off we went on the local park's trail.  I don't know how long we were gone because not only did we walk the entire thing - we sat on one of the benches for quite some time.  In fact, when we got back to the picnic it was all done, the tables and chairs were loaded in the back of my truck and everyone was gone!

What did I learn today?  First of all -- be careful what Pastor Dave preaches because he does have an inside line to God!
Second -- when he does preach -- pay very close attention as I am going to be tested later -- and not a written test!
Third -- being apologized to can feel a bit uncomfortable -- but the way to bring in comfort is to forgive!
Fourth -- and most important -- It IS a blessing to build a bridge of understanding and communication than to build walls!

I thank God for this opportunity to become closer to someone I didn't really know very well in the first place and I thank Him for giving me the words I needed to minister to her --- His Word through my heart and out of my mouth through her ears and into her heart!

She felt better.  I felt better.  And so the picnic for us had a different definition than for others but you know what . . . ours was a great picnic!

"Where two or three are gathered . . . "  He WAS in the midst of us!  Thank you Lord!

PS --- hey Pastor Dave --- how about giving a girl a head's up on your future sermons so I can be ready!!??      :)

Until next time . . . blessings to our New Jersey team as they travel today!         

Oh yes --- Monty's birthday party last night was amazing -- he said the best he's ever had!  The kids went out of their way --- 2 cakes complete with candles, cards, signs, presents, songs and enough love to nearly drowned the man!  We are so blessed to have this family as our family!!!!!!!  We love you all and can't wait until we get together again!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A very special weekend

I bet if I asked everyone I met they would remember every detail of where they were 10 years ago tomorrow! 

It doesn't see like it's been 10 years but time does go by so quickly.  On each anniversary of 9/11 I wear the bracelet with James DeBlase's name on it as a memorial to him and all the others who lost their lives.  And each year I am so thankful to his wife for responding to the letter I sent her and thankful to my friend who mounted it in a keepsake frame for me.

Let's all say a special prayer for all those families and let's NEVER forget!

This is also a very special weekend for us in quite a few ways. 

Monty's birthday is next Friday and this evening our beloved family with 10 children are coming over for dinner and bringing the party to him!  Terry and Cheryl and all the kids hold such a special place in our hearts and they were so excited when I asked them if they would like to plan a birthday party for Monty.  Goodness only knows all the work they have done and I know, without a doubt, that it will be the best birthday party in his life!!!! 

Another exciting thing is that we are actually here for our home church picnic tomorrrow afternoon.  It's always fun to get to visit with everyone and enjoy more than enough food at the same time.  We pray the rains will hold off. 

And last -- but definitely not least -- our team of volunteers will arrive from New Jersey tomorrow evening.  Jack and Lewis are coming to work at Michael's all week!  We haven't seen them since 2007 when they made a trip to New Orleans to work with us.  Prior to that they worked with us twice while we were in Mississippi and it's so exciting for us to get to see Jack again!  We will miss seeing his wife, Sue, and the rest of the team but are so thankful to their church for making it possible for these 2 men to come and be such a blessing to Michael and his entire church. 

Be sure and stay tuned for pictures and stories from this week.  They will be working on replacing the underneath insulation and subflooring all week.  But most of all -- they will be pouring out the love of Jesus all over Michael and anyone else who steps foot on the property!

Until next time . . . may we all remember how blessed we are and that freedom isn't really free!
Susan and Monty

Friday, September 09, 2011

T Shirts are here!!!!!

YES!!!!!  Our IGO Disaster Relief tshirts are here and guess what!!!  You have a choice of styles!  God works in mysterious ways and although it wasn't in our plan -- He had other ideas and we have 2 different styles.

You have the choice of having smaller "above pocket" printing or having the printing spread across the front of the shirt.  The back of each is the same and you'll love the neon orange printing!

If you would like to purchase one -- and remember that we are using these as fund raisers to build up our disaster relief account -- just let me know your size and where to send them.  The price is $25.00 each and your check MUST be made payable to "IGO Disaster Relief".  If I am mailing your shirt/s then the price of postage must be included in your check.  Make sure you give me the address to mail them to.  They will be mailed after I receive your check so make sure you send the checks to me at:
Susan Scales, 708 Cory Lane, lot 87, Bloomington, IN  47403

The shirts are a light gray and a high quality cotton blend of 90% cotton and 10% polyester.  There is little to no shrinkage.

We are really excited about this fund raiser as you get something in return for your donation. 

Remember also that the Disaster Relief fund is what we will be using when we return to the field.  That fund is super important and we thank those of you who have already donated.

****Michael's update ****  We have all the skirting donated and on sight and today I visited a dear friend of mine who owns their own electrical company and presented our needs for rewiring the trailer.  I am to check back with them on Monday and I am praying much of the material list will be donated!  Please join me in that prayer!

Jack, from New Jersey, will be leaving on Sunday to drive here and be a blessing to Michael all next week.  At this point I don't know if he's coming alone or bringing others with him.  I expect to hear from him tomorrow.  If he comes alone he will be staying here at our house and if he brings others they will stay at Stonegate's fellowship center.  Either way there will be great progress next week and we are so thankful to Pastor Mike's church for making it possible for Jack to come and help!

Are you interested in helping?  Just let me know and we'll have plenty for you to help with!

For those with questions --- and I have never posted this before --- but --- I think it's already all over the United States so here goes --- my phone number is:  812-219-5738

Love and blessings to all until next time . . .             Susan and Monty

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

Our Tuesday morning Bible study extended into the middle of the afternoon, God was moving and no need interupting Him!  It did make lunch time disappear but oh well, it was worth it!

As I was leaving the church parking lot Monty gave me a call saying we had all the skirting for Michael's trailer donated and I needed to come and pick it up.  I headed back to Bloomington, picked up the skirting and headed back to Bedford.  I almost met myself coming and going -- but discovered it was just another red Ford truck!  Boy, that was a close one!

The donation of the skirting is so great!  We have everything we need, all the rails and all the panels!  This is usually one of the last things you do on a trailer but on this one --- we are following God's schedule and it's going to prove to be amazing! 

The other great news ---- my son, who has been in the heating and air business for a very long time and owns his own business gave us a lower than low price for the entire heating and air conditioning system for Michael!  I called him last night and by this morning he had the prices for me.  He has even volunteered to drive it down here (nearly a 2 hour drive) and then we already have a heating and air man who has volunteered to do the installation!  Isn't God good!  Now all we need to do is raise the funding to pay for the unit and we are ready to roll.  God has it out there somewhere and we must be faithful to wait for His perfect timing!

During my drive time I spent most of it in conversation with IGO and the future plans for our disaster relief program.  There are super exciting things "in the wings" and I would ask that you keep us all covered in prayer.  Prayer for guidance, prayer for direction and prayer for obedience.  God has something really big in store and we must stay tuned to His voice and follow His Word.

And it's only Tuesday!!!

Until next time . . . be blessed.                                         Susan and Monty

Monday, September 05, 2011

A true "labor" day!

I think Labor Day is a holiday where people are suppposed to take a break from working!  Not the case when God has given them servant hearts!  What a great day this was!

The temperatures took a hugely delightful dive -- nearly 30 degrees cooler -- making us close our windows to stay warm -- not to stay cool!

Monty and I headed off early this morning to hitch up our tool trailer and gather supplies and then head south to Michael's house to get it strapped and blocked.  We thought we would be the only ones there and were kidding that we would pose Michael with the anchor machine and Monty standing next to the truck on his phone making it appear Michael was doing all the work!

God had a wonderful surprise for all of us!  We arrived to find Michael and his cousin, Cody already to work.  And before we could get materials unloaded Schel and Sus from Stonegate church came driving in.  With Cody and Schel helping they were able to get the strapping and blocking done is just a few hours.

But the help just kept on coming.  Michael's sister, Tammy and brother in law, Wayne and their son Zac and his fiancee Savannah came to see what they could do.  We had them cleaning things up and removing walls (only to rebuild them later) and pulling old nails from the walls to prepare for the new sheetrock to be hung later on.

And then Pastor Jan pulled up.  Now Pastor Jan owned his own construction company for many, many years and is an expert on this whole thing so seeing him walk in the door brought a huge smile to all our faces!  He enjoyed a quick tour and within minutes we were all firing questions to him.  He not only had the answers --- he got in "project mentality" and before he even knew it he had volunteered to do all the plumbing, finishing of the sheetrock and the countertops!  I thought about pricking his finger and having him sign his name to secure his offers but then realized he is a pastor and his word was more than likely good!    :)

The best part of the day?  Seeing the smile on Michael's face as each one came to offer whatever services were needed! 

And one more thing --- Ms Donna called saying she was bringing a big pot of soup for everyone so we would have something to eat!

Isn't it awesome to see God at work!

And one week from today Jack, from New Jersey, will be here! 

The day just kept getting better.

We are so thankful for all who came today and for those we know will show up just when they are needed!  One of the things Monty and I have learned over our years of disaster relief is that God send just who we need just when we need them!

What an awesome God we serve!

Until next time . . . will you hear when God calls you to do something for someone?
Susan and Monty

Sunday, September 04, 2011

New Jersey is coming here!!!!!!

What an answer to prayer!!!!

Just got an email from Jack, one of our team members from our New Jersey team and he is coming here to help with Michael's trailer rebuild!!!!!!  And he's planning on bringing someone with him!!!!  Maybe more than one!!!!

Pastor Dave told Michael's story this morning in church and we got a few people interested in helping.  Pastor Bruce did the same at his church.  We are praying for a tremendous response from both.

But . . . Jersey is coming all this way just to be a blessing to Michael!!!!!!!

And, of course, Monty and I are thrilled beyond words to be able to see Jack again!  They came and worked with us in Mississippi twice and it's been a really long time since we've seen them.  We had such fun with them and they were part of a very special house blessing at the end of their first trip with us.

God is such an awesome, on time God and we thank and praise Him for this blessing! 

Michael is about to have his socks blessed right off his feet and his church is about to be the recipient of the blessings of having volunteers come and stay with them. 

Pastor Dave's sermon title this morning was "Valley of Blessings" and this is a great big blessing!!

Thank you New Jersey -- for raising the funds for the fuel cost of making this trip and thank you for sending your best!

Until next time . . . how can you be a blessing to someone?               Susan and Monty

Friday, September 02, 2011

Watching . . . yet moving forward

As we watch the tropical depression coming in along the Gulf Coast and hurricane Katia we continue to move forward with Michael's project.
God doesn't call us to sit still and do nothing -- and those of you who know me realize that's a very difficult thing for me to do anyway! :)
Michael has the home gutted and is ready to start removing the old subflooring and installing new.
What we need the most right now??? VOLUNTEERS!!!! to help him. He cannot do the work himself so we are reaching out to YOU to see if you can take a day, take a couple of days, take a week or whatever God leads you to take ---- and come and be the hands and feet of Jesus in this annointed project of rebuilding Michael's new home.
If you can help please leave a comment here or email me or call me and let me know.
"For we are God's masterpiece, He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10
Until next time . . . blessings and love to all. Susan and Monty