Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wonderful Christmas Ends

Last night was our last Christmas of the season.  Our kids and grandkids came over for dinner and gifts and it was so wonderful. 

Luke was brave enough to eat his chicken burger with bacon and said he remembered my macaroni and cheese from Thanksgiving so he knew it was good.  Liv enjoyed the crackers and M&M's more than any real food.

After dinner it was time to open gifts.  We draw names at Thanksgiving and this year was so much fun.  Monty had Tyler and Tyler had Monty, I had Dedra and she had me, Stacy had Ryan and Ryan had Stacy.  We laughed as we realized how it ended up and it's always fun watching each one open that special gift that has been chosen just for them. 

When it came time for the grandkids it was even more fun watching their expressions as they opened each one.  When Live opened her "real" Cinderella dress that came direct from Disney World . . . well, you can see her joy!

The tiera was her favorite part and she realized that her Cinderella shoes at home would match perfectly!

Luke was so excited with his new computer addition and the Batman Legos. 

But in the end ---- everyone was playing with home made paper airplanes!!!!  They were flying back and forth across the room, crashing into anything and everything --- and no damage!  Just the fun of sitting back and taking it all in.  As I sat there watching I realized just how blessed I am.   For so many years of being out in the field and away from family --- and now having them come to our house, preparing a meal for them and just enjoying seeing all the smiles, laughter and joy --- it is truly priceless and I am so thankful!!!!!

Today we enjoyed church and a bit of shopping afterwards --- and then coming home to see this snow and ice "mass" hanging from the back of our house, directly over the dining room window.

Our prayer is that each and every one of you have a safe New Year's Eve and a blessed New Year!  Our celebrations are done --- but God is still God and that is reason enough to celebrate every day!!!!

Until next time . . . bring on 2013 --- we're anxiously awaiting.                           Susan and Monty

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I realize most of you may not even read this until . . . and that's the way it should be as you spend precious time with family and friends.

But I have to share Ms Gladys wonderful Christmas Eve with you --- in hopes that you will realize just how special this baby Jesus really is!

A few days ago Pastor Dave called me and asked if I thought Ms Gladys would enjoy some of the church folks coming over after the Christmas Eve church service.  I thought it was a wonderful idea and so did she when I checked with her.  After all, she would be spending that evening and all of today alone.

Rich, with his wife and guitar, Pastor Dave and his wife Lisa, son John, daughter Susie, son in law Josh and their 2 little ones came over and we all sang a few carols.  We noticed that Ms Gladys was trying to sing along and when Rich suggested we close with Silent Night she really did sing out!  Her voice brought smiles to the entire room and it broke my heart that she couldn't see them -- but I know she felt them.  They were smiles of love and true Christmas joy!!!

After the singing she wasn't the only one surprised!  Pastor Dave and family had brought her a gift.  As we placed the absolutely huge box on her little lap and watched her try and catch her breath from the excitement - we decided little Lily would be good and helping open the gift.  At 2 years old she is just learning how fun it is to unwrap gifts.  When Ms Gladys opened it up and felt the soft and fuzzy and very large blanket she was nearly speechless!  I explained to her about the colors and all she could do was hug that blanket and try as best she could to express her thanks! 

Pastor Dave also brought her a tin of his special Chex Mix -- a recipe handed down for generations in his family.  She was thrilled it wasn't candy (she has low blood sugar) and knew she would get great enjoyment from all the different things in the mix.

As everyone was getting ready to leave Pastor Dave asked if we could all pray for her.  She smiled and said "please do."  We gathered round and placed our hands on her shoulders and prayed.  She joined in, speaking in tongues as she does when the Holy Spirit comes over her, and she started quoting scriptures and was completely overjoyed with the love of Jesus surrounding her and all of us in that little family room.

After everyone had gone I stayed to help clean up a few things.  As she started down her hallway cuddling close her new blanket --- she just stopped and bent forward and sobbed!  She said she had never felt such love from anyone and that the blanket was just "too much" for her to take in!  We stood in that hallway for a few seconds as we talked about the love of Jesus and how much He loves her!  She smiled and we went on down the hallway to put the blanket in her special bedroom. 

We sat at the table for a few minutes and just talked about the evening.  She then started crying again as she talked about how special it would be to share the evening festivities with her sister (who is older than her)!!!!!! 

I know I will share in the Christmas gifts and food and fun and laughter at my parents' house this afternoon -- and will share again with my children and grandchildren this weekend -- but last night just might have been the best Christmas Eve ever for me!!!!!!!

My Christmas prayer for everyone is that God brings someone in your life that you may not know so well in the beginning --- but be watchful --- for that person is chosen especially by Him --- to enrich your life like you can't imagine!!!

My sincere thanks to Pastor Dave for this idea and for truly being the hands and feet (and voice) of our loving Jesus Christ !!!!!

May you all have a blessed and truly Merry Christmas!!                       Susan and Monty

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Here we go a caroling . . .

First of all, Monty is getting along better.  Didn't make it to church but hopes to get there for Christmas Eve service tomorrow night.  Still working on mastering the crutches a bit better.  The pain is subsiding and he actually has feeling in the toe and moved it just a tad this evening.  Doctor on Thursday and hopefully will be given the okay to get rid of the crutches.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  We will be staying home most all day in preparation for the evening worship service and then afterwards some of us from church will be going to Ms Gladys house for some caroling.

She was so excited today when she reminded me that it was tomorrow!  She spent her family holiday at a local restaurant and came home with white and red sweaters as gifts.  Although she was exhausted she was happy.

I think Pastor Dave also has some surprises in store for her and we are so excited that she is so excited.  She may not be able to see but she will feel the spirit of Jesus Himself in her home tomorrow night and she will be more than ready to join in with praises.

It is our prayer that each of you has a wonderful and blessed Christmas and will enjoy the sharing of gifts -- remembering the greatest gift of all came to us in a small manger -- our life saving gift that truly "keeps on giving."

Until next time . . .  Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                              Susan and Monty

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rough Night --- Better Day

Night 1 was a little more than rough for Monty and his newly rebuilt "bionic" toe.

He slept in the recliner deciding that trying to get in and out of the bed was just too difficult.  With his pain meds he figured things would go pretty well.   But . . . things didn't go quite as well as he expected.  He was up and down and finally did get some sleep going on early morning.

Today has been better.  He has been up on his crutches more and getting the hang of how to work them.  He's been taking the pain meds regularly and hopefully tonight will be an improvement. 

He has a goal of getting to church tomorrow morning but . . . time will tell.

Thanks again for all the prayers.  Our grandchildren were over this afternoon and each one had made a special get well card for him --- bringing such joy that tears almost joined the joy!

Until next time . . . God is the ultimate healer!                       Susan and Monty

Friday, December 21, 2012


Yep -- Monty's brand new titanium big toe joint!

Surgery was this morning and it went very well.  His "old" toe had bone rubbing against bone and had been quite painful for a long time.  He will now take the next 2 weeks to completely heal before going back to work.

He will be on crutches for the next couple of days and then will slowly start using it again.  Doc says the pain will be alot less than using the old toe.

Thanks to everyone who covered him with prayers.  God is our perfect healer and modern medicine is amazing.  The combination = success!

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Shoes

I'm sure you've all heard the song about the Christmas shoes.  No matter how many times I hear it I still get tears in my eyes.

Yesterday God showed up in my life in a VERY big way and I want to share it with you and hopefully it will re-ignite your faith as it did mine.

For the past month I have been studying to become a school bus driver.  Yes, studying is the word.  I don't know when I've ever worked so hard at something!  I needed to get my CDL class B drivers license.  In order to do that I had to first study the state book and take written tests in general knowledge, passengers, school bus and then air brakes.  After passing each of those I was issued a learner's permit.

From there (I had already been approved by our school administration) I was to go through atleast 40 hours of on job training.  Now for those of you who know me -- you know the truck I drive is already over half the size of a bus anyway -- so the actual driving came very easy -- much to the surprise of my instructor.

The hard part?  Learning the 8 single spaced, type written pages of memorization!!!!  Yes, 8 pages!  I had to learn all the parts of the steering linkage, suspension, brakes, tires, drive shaft, exhaust, all the emergency exit details, all the lighting systems, everything inside the bus along with the panels and finally perform a 4 point air brake test ---- not to mention learning to back up (straight) for 100 feet, back up at and angle and park and the real kicker ---- parallell park that thing!!!!!

Needless to say my stress level has been over the top as I may know how to drive but it's my brother in Florida who knows all the mechanical stuff!

I have studied, I have stammered, I have had total lapses in memory, I have tried and tried and cried and cried --- and finally it came time to schedule my testing in Indianapolis.  At that testing I must recite all those 8 pages, perform the 2 backing procedures and parallel park --- before ever even getting inside to do the actual street driving portion!  My nerves were shot!

I know I was the only student who had scriptures written all over my 8 pages and would recite them many times each day. 

I had jokingly told everyone I know that when yesterday morning arrived I would need all God's attention along with every single one of His angels to get through the testing.  Inside I wasn't kidding!

I had asked my Tuesday morning Bible study group to pray for me, I had gone up after service on Sunday and asked Cheryl to pray for me -- Monty had prayed for me that morning --- and he prayed for the testing person (whoever that was to be) -- which I thought a bit weird -- but that's Monty!

Results?  I PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The tester was a wonderful man who I actually thanked at the end of the test!

Even after driving home and rushing to tell Monty the news, calling my mom and everyone else I could to thank them for their prayers -- I still could not get my nerves to calm down.

So . . . I decided to stop at Goodwill and see if I could find another fleece jacket style thing for Ms Gladys as she only has one (and the red one I had found the day before) and she not only wears it all day long -- she sleeps in it!

I was strolling through the aisles and came to the conclusion that everyone else wanted the same thing -- couldn't find a single one.

As I was strolling I looked up --- for whatever reason -- and realized that they had moved their shoe display to above all the clothing racks. 

It was then that I saw them -- THOSE shoes!

For the past nearly 7 years (yes, years!!) I have wanted this certain pair of shoes.  Their "quite a few dollars more than 100 has prevented that from happening!  After all, there are people without floors and I had good shoes on my feet!  And just a few days ago Monty offered to buy them for me for Christmas ---he was willing to use his small bonus check on me!!!???   Even though that offer was so tempting that "something" (Someone) told me "no, just wait."  Even Monty wasn't sure why I wanted to wait -- and I really didn't want to!  But . . . I didn't even try them on and off we went.

Now --- I look up and there they are --- THOSE shoes!   My first thought was how they looked brand new!  Then my doubful self showed up and I found myself thinking that they would never be my size!  Wrong!!!!  They were my exact size!  And they did look brand new -- don't think they've been worn more than once!  And the price?   $4.29 !!!!!!!!!!

Then I realized just why God had told me to wait.  He had the perfect plan.  He wasn't keeping me from having the shoes all these years -- He was just telling me to wait -- for the perfect time!   He knew these were so much more than just a pair of shoes.  They were His special gift -- at just the time I needed it -- to let me know just how much He really does love me and that I really am His special child! 

7 years might seem like a long time to wait --- but every single day of every single year became worth every single second yesterday as I put those shoes in my cart and got change back from my $5 bill and texted Monty that God had just given me one of the most precious gifts ever!  Yes, they are just a pair of leather shoes -- but they are so much more!  They are life!  They are a renewal of my faith!  They are the "feet" of Jesus -- given to me -- by Him -- to continue serving Him in every way possible!  I plan to be buried in those shoes!!!!!!  

So . . . if you've been waiting --- if you've been doubting --- if you've just been wondering if there really is a God and if there is --- does He really know what's going on with you --- does He really love you like everyone else says He does --- HE DOES!!!! 

He showed me that yesterday (again) and I will never forget it.  Yes, I will most likely doubt it again and again --- but all I have to do is look at my Christmas shoes and . . . I WILL BELIEVE!!!

I pray you will know His love and provision in an even more tangible way than I just did yesterday.

Lord, Thank You!  I love you right back!!!!


Merry Christmas to ME!!!!                                                Susan and Monty

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hurting Hearts

Our prayers go out to the entire state of Connecticut -- especially the families of those who have lost so much.

Indescribable pain -- unanswered questions -- and yet we all must remember that God is still in control and when we all get to heaven we will understand. 

Until then . . . trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding!

Until next time . . . Jesus loves the little children . . .                         Susan and Monty

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"The blind will see . . ."

There's a line in one of my favorite songs about how "the blind will see . . ."

Oh how I wish God would grant a miracle to my little neighbor lady, Ms Gladys, and allow her to regain her sight! 

She turned 89 last week and although she had a wonderful day, she has been struggling ever since.  Years ago she had a fall and broke one of her shoulders and arm.  For some unknown reason this area has been hurting her lately.  This afternoon she told me how she cried aloud to God last night begging Him to relieve her pain!

When I asked her if anything helped she mentioned her heating pad but since being blind she has been unable to get it plugged in or know how to work the switch.

She knew right where it was and after locating it I got it plugged in for her (the plug was behind the bed) and taped the cord to the headboard of her bed.   This way she can have the pad on the bed and not worry about the cord falling on the floor and not being able to find it to change the temperature or turn it off when she wants. 

I took her hands and taught her how to feel the switch and show me that she could operate it easily. 

She was so excited that the tears streamed down her cheeks in appreciation. 

We just don't realize our blessings -- the ones we take for granted oh so easily!

Every afternoon when I visit with her I realize more and more her isolation.  Even though she talks by phone with both of her sisters (ages 93 and 86) every day -- it's not the same.  She can't even step her foot outside for fear of falling.  She doesn't get the fresh air at any time except when she does open the back door to let Benji out in the partially fenced yard.  She lives in her pajamas all the time and can't even take out her own trash!

I have grown to love this tiny little lady more and more.  God has gifted her to me and I am so thankful.  She's always there to listen -- in fact -- she can't wait to hear about my day -- complete with all the details.  Her love for the Lord is unsurpassed and such and encouragement to me!  When the Holy Spirit comes over her she gets up and sings and dances like she's 18 again!

But my heart aches for her -- if only she could see -- just a little bit -- just enough to know if it's day or night -- just enough to be able to once again sit on her front porch and enjoy some fresh air -- if only . . .

Won't you join me in praying for this miracle!  After all --- Christmas is the season for miracles, even though God isn't limited to Christmas --- but it sure would be a great gift!!

Until next time . . . let's all remember to NOT take our sight (no matter how poor) for granted and thank God for it daily!                                                       Susan and Monty

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Waiting . . .

It's been a busy week, but what else is new!

I've been caring for my elderly neighbor lady, Ms Gladys, every day.  Yesterday was her 89th birthday so I took her a pair of fleece pajamas.  She lives in pjs every day all day and since she hardly weighs 90 pounds soaking wet I figured she would love them.  And I was right.  Even though she couldn't see the pretty pink color she had a smile that told me she could feel the color!  She is such a joy in my life!

Today I headed to her house to mow her lawn.  Yes, in December!  The gentleman who mowed for her has had back surgery so . . . I was able to mulch all her leaves and make it look alot better.  And once again I had the feeling she could see it without seeing it.

I had a meeting with Rebecca this afternoon.  She may have resources for me to tap into to help Ms Gladys with some things.  It was an info packed meeting and on Monday I will be calling to see what's available.

Tomorrow I am heading to help my mother serve Christmas dinner to her church district "top dogs."  Ok -- I know they're not called that --- especially being church folks --- but you get the picture.  Just last year Mom had to convince her church that she could do their district dinner and make it great.  She did more than convince them -- this year the district asked to have her do it again!!!!  Go Mom!  So I will have a fun day helping her put together all the food and then getting to help serve the guests that evening.  I stand in awe at my Mom -- she will be 80 years old in March and even I have a tough time keeping up with her!   (she might not appreciate my announcement of her upcoming age but it's a BIG compliment!)

And I just received an email about the grant request I submitted for our local COAD.  I was just wondering how we fared since they originally said they would announce the grant recipients by mid November -- and now they ask each organization requesting funds to come to a meeting where we will have about 3 minutes to plead our case -- in front of the local tv people!  My first prayer is that we receive funds but my first prayer should be that I am able to keep my case pleading to 3 minutes!!!!  Yes --- you can laugh and agree in that prayer!    :)

Just one of the messages written on the framed homes in Holton.

Until next time . . . Your will be done, Lord.  Your will.                                Susan and Monty

Sunday, December 02, 2012

33 volunteers - 2 houses - 1 day

Yesterday was our trip to Holton, IN to help rebuild from the March 2nd tornado that ripped through the small town of around 450 people.

We met very early, it was still dark, at our church and this time I had everyone come inside for a short orientation.  With such a diverse team I felt this was important.

We had 8 students from Indiana University, the director for the Volunteer Network here and a friend of hers, some people from our church, a couple more from Tuesday morning Bible Study in Bedford and a mom and son who have been through Red Cross disaster training.

When we arrived in Holton we were given the task of framing in 2 complete homes.  All the lumber for these homes was donated by an organization who also pre-framed the walls so it was almost like putting together a puzzle.  The foundations were ready and we divided up into 2 teams, A and B.

Here you can see the foundation of house A with preframed walls stacked in front.

Each team jumped in with the first task -- gathering all the walls for their home.

These things were quite heavy, especially the exterior walls.  The team work had everyone laughing while they were working.  A sound that surely brings a smile to God's face!

The rest of the day had me between both houses. They were across the street from one another and each team enjoyed keeping track of the other one's progress. 

Before we even went to lunch we had a neighbor, Mike, join in.  He wanted to help out since he was going to be the owner of the 3rd new home right next door.  His house was already framed and roof trusses on and will hopefully be completely roofed by the incoming Amish this next week.  He felt like he wanted to be able to do something for someone else and ended up workin with us all day long.  He was still there when we pulled out at 5:30pm and if it hadn't been for him house A would have been in serious trouble.  Their generator ran out of propane and even though the construction coordinator had another tank within 5 minutes --- on the first pull of the starting cord --- the cord broke!  Thankfully Mike had a gas powered generator at his house (where he's renting) and so he and I hopped in my truck and within 10 minutes everyone was back up and running.

Walls started going up.

When some of the exteriors were just too heavy -- the good old red Ford came in handy!

Lunch was a great treat for all of us.  Bob and Debbie, who are starting a disaster feeding program, provided us all with homemade soups, hamburgers and some incredible desserts!  It was nice to sit down and visit with everyone but no one stayed seated for long.  In less than 45 minutes everyone was back on the job.  Time was ticking and with only one day to work . . .

The expression on his face tells it all --- total concentration!

Many of them got lessons in hammering 101 -- and the laughter could be heard across the street!  Some used 1 hand, some 2, some framing hammers (which are very heavy) and others short, almost funny looking ones.  But each hammed enough that I wonder if they could hold their forks for dinner!

Our church secretary with her power drill ---easy to see Jesus in that smile!  Although -- at the end of the day she sent me a text that said, "these hands and feet of Jesus are really tired."   Priceless.

Just back from Afghanistan, her husband was one of the team leaders on house B and throroughly enjoyed being home and having his entire family with him!

Don't know what happed with this color thing -- but Keith had the fun job of cutting out the doors and windows on the exterior walls.  He was so covered in sawdust that you literally could not see the top of that shining head!

Bet showed us all that there's more than one way to tackle hammering nails in corners!!!!

Charles may be tall and a bit on the really thin side --- but he can hold up the walls of a house when needed!!

Friends are a great blessing!  Becky went with us on our mission trip to Maui and hasn't been the same since!  This was Mark's first time to do anything like this and he's also changed forever!  I imagine they will be on every trip we do from now on -- no matter where it is!

All in all it was a wonderful day.  Both houses have all the exterior walls up and both have almost all the interior walls in place.  Lives of volunteers were changed -- 3 of the IU kids even volunteered to  help lift roof trusses on another house down the street for a team of way worn out men from Greenwood!  People learned skills they never knew they had, new friendships were formed and old ones strengthened.  Neighbors watched the progress and felt the love of Jesus coming from each worksite.  New team leaders were born, compassion was rebirthed and love made more powerful.

For me --- it was an incredible day to share with people I know, people I didn't know so well and even some strangers -- who are no longer strangers but friends!

The single most asked question at the end of the day?  "When are we coming back?"

So . . . I will be keeping in touch with Darrin, the construction coordinator, and we WILL plan another trip where hopefully we can install insulation, hang some walls and ceilings and bring these houses closer and closer to becoming homes!

My deepest and sincere thanks to each volunteer yesterday!  You took the words at orientation seriously and really were "the hands and feet of Jesus!"

Until next time . . . to God be ALL the glory!!!!!!!!!!!!!           Susan and Monty

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holton --- Here We Come

There are 23 of us leaving bright and early in the morning for Holton, IN. 

This is our 2nd trip.  This time we are building homes.

Holton took a direct hit from tornadoes on March 2nd of this year and it would be a great blessing for each of us to be able to bring a family truly "home for the holidays" -- or atleast get them closer.

This team of 23 is quite the "hodge podge" of folks.  Some are from Indiana University, some are from Bedford, some are from our own church, some are from our local COAD and some are from the local Red Cross.  I am so excited to have this many people who are willing to take a day from their busy holiday schedules to be a blessing to others.

I hope all of you will cover all of us with prayers as we go out to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Be sure and stay tuned for pictures -- which will most likely be posted sometime on Sunday.

Until next time . . . tis the season . . . to help others!                                 Susan and Monty

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holton -- Trip #2

Just a reminder that we are putting together another team of volunteers to return to the small town of Holton, IN this Saturday.

If you remember, Holton has a population of 450 folks that took a direct hit from the tornado on March 2nd of this year.

We need to do what we can - and what God calls us to do - and help the residents really be "home" for the holidays!

If you're interested in going along just leave a comment here or if you have my phone -- call me!

We are blessed to be a blessing so here we go . . .

Until next time . . . God is good --- ALL the time!                                      Susan and Monty

This was our team last time -- and as of now we have 15 people signed up.  Let's make it more!!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Stuffed" -- with joy

At first sight the picture below might not look like "joy" . . . but . . . it's still working! 

Having my 20 year old dishwasher stop working on a holiday weekend wasn't in my "plan" but thanks to Monty and Timothy and their abilities to fix nearly anything -- and a couple of hammers -- it is still working today!  We did get quite a laugh from it as we all realized satan was up to his tricks again and of course -- he lost!!!

And although I have never owned a blooming cactus -- when my neighbor passes away I was given one.  I always thought you had to go through alot of ????? in order for one to bloom!  NOT!  This one just started exploding last week and even though I think it's called a Christmas cactus -- our holiday has come early!!

On Saturday evening our kids and grandkids came here for Thanksgiving dinner and my daughter surprised me with these --- a perfect gift for a perfect evening!

The weekend was great and went by all too quickly --as usual.  But as Monty and I talked about it all we agreed that we are truly blessed beyond measure! 

Until next time . . .  yea God and boo devil!!!!!        (that's for you NJ)     Susan and Monty

Friday, November 23, 2012

A really happy thanksgiving day

My hope is that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!  If you are like us, it's not over yet!

Yesterday was wonderful.  Timothy and Jamie arrived here on Wednesday afternoon and even though Monty was stuck working on broken sewer lines at the park he did make it home in time for dinner and we just enjoyed talking and sharing and laughing -- each making us feel so very good.  Laughter truly is amazing medicine.

Yesterday I was in the kitchen most of the day working on dishes to take to my parents' house for an evening celebration.  My brother from Florida is here for a long weekend and as always -- such a great time with family!  One of the funniest things was watching some of us each a jalapeno corn dish that my niece made -- the sweat came pouring down my brother's and my dad's faces!  They each tried to leave the peppers in the dish and just take the corn but soon realized that the pepper heat was throughout and it brought the box of tissues to the center of the table!

A fun game of Scrabble, Mark and Cheryl style, took us late into the evening and even as we were leaving the game was still going on to find the final winner!

We were so glad Timothy and Jamie chose to spend their holiday with us.  I only wish they lived closer as we miss them so much!

Friends and family are priceless and we all should do a much better job in letting them each know what blessings they are to us.

So . . . to my entire family and all my friends --- thank you for being there, for loving me and thank God for placing me right where He did!

Until next time . . . tis the season!                                                Susan and Monty

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday week

The past few days have furiously flown by.  I think I saw one of them flying through the sky this morning?!  You feeling the same way?

Not a coincidence that one of my morning devotional verses for today was "Be still and know that I am God."  It's the "be still" part that is toughest for me.

I'm not sure where the weekend went but one thing I do know is that Monty managed to get the ball joints on BOTH of my truck wheels replaced!  What a bear!  And what an expense!!  Thankfully we have Tony, a dear friend who has taken care of us for years and his prices don't hurt quite as much!  Now I am once again ready to roll.  Monty was exhausted but glad it's all done.

I also have been busy trying to get our spare bedroom to look like a spare bedroom and not a tool trailer!  Timothy and his new wife (from Florida) are coming for the holiday and I so wanted the room to look nice for them.  I actually thought I was on my way to success last evening --- and then the bed broke!  I had gotten the free headboard and table from my dear mother and father in law and had primed and painted them both and was so happy the way they turned out.  But then the crash came and so . . . today required purchasing a box foundation.  Another "ouch" but thank goodness for Big Lots and their slightly lower prices!  The room now looks like a bedroom that someone might actually like staying in. 

We are soooo excited that Timothy and Jamie are coming to spend the holiday with us.  We haven't seen him in the 2 years we've been home.  If you remember, he flew to Texas just to help us make the 3 day trip home and then spent another 2 plus weeks with us just getting us settled in.  Friends like that don't come along very often!  They will be going with us to my parents' for Thanksgiving dinner and will no doubt come away stuffed like a turkey from all the great food.  Even more for us to be thankful for! 

And . . . my brother who also lives in Florida will be here for the holiday -- keep adding to the list of blessings!

And yet another ---- my daughter came through her surgery fine and is recooperating.  Thanks to all of you who lifted her up with prayers!

So, if you are human --- you know you also have quite the list of things to be thankful for this season.  It's always much easier to complain than to be thankful and I always find it weird that we only set aside one day a year to remember (or try to) our blessings.  Yes, we all have trials and troubles and sad days and bad days and things to gripe and complain about, hurts that run deep and scars that are still visible --- but the number one thing I am thankful for is a  God that not only forgives but completely forgets!!!!!!!  And that God is my eternal Father!!!!!  Amen and Amen!

Wishing all of you a very thankful Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

Until next time . . . as the song says;
"with a grateful heart
with a song of praise
with an outstretched arm
I will bless Your Name --- Thank You Lord!"

Susan and Monty

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Only one more week?

Can't believe that Thanksgiving Day is only one week from today?  For some reason I kept thinking today was Wednesday?

Last evening was one of those unforgettable times with grandchildren.  We took them to dinner, Bob Evans was their choice since it had remodeled and they were anxious to see it but I don't think they really noticed!   :)   Anyway, after both ordering pancakes and watching him inhale his (dipped in whipped cream) and her only eating one silver dollar size --- don't know where she gets her little muscles as she doesn't eat much --- Monty "taught" Luke to read "backwards."  I don't know when I've heard either of them laugh so hard.  Luke caught on right quick and for the rest of the evening they read every sign, every word they saw - backwards!  I don't think Liv really understood but even she got tickled at them laughing!  Priceless times!

Yesterday also brought about a meeting with one of our local building inspectors at Don's house.  Seems they had their records all confused and couldn't understand why we hadn't called for any inspections during the repair process -- we didn't do anything with the electric or plumbing so none were needed -- but they wanted to take a look at what we had accomplished.  Kirk marveled at the change and was thrilled to see how well the work had been done.  The only thing he wants to see are smoke detectors, hard wired type, installed in the bedroom and one in the mid portion of the house.  I know Don had them but I think they were battery operated so a quick trip to Lowes and the problem will be solved.  Thankfully we now have everything correct in his file at the building department!

Today was our monthly COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) meeting.  It was great to have quite a few new faces of those wanting to get involved.  We are still talking about opening an emergency supply warehouse and everyone is on the hunt for a location.  They are also checking their calendars to see if they would be able to make the day trip back to Holton in a couple of weeks.  We made alot of progress in many areas and it's great to see the organization coming together by everyone working together.  We will not meet next month due to Christmas but will be back at in come January.  By that time spring will be eeking around the corner and we will be putting more and more focus on preparation and being ready for the upcoming tornado season.  It's an honor to serve as director for this organization.

Until next time . . .  run turkeys, run!                                Susan and Monty

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holton, IN was blessed -- and so were we!

What an awesome team of volunteers!  Allow me to introduce them to you;  from left to right, Hannah, Becky, Jonathan (in the back), Charles and Birthday Boy Keith. 

We were up and on the road by 7am yesterday and on the job working before 9am. The weather was picture perfect and everyone was super excited.

 We were blessed to join a team from Ohio that was on their 3rd and final day of volunteering.  Our task was to construct a 10 x 12 shed using the pattern given.  An Indiana disaster organization had donated all the materials needed to build around 25 of these sheds -- which are desperately needed in this small town of 450 people.  Each one is to be exactly the same and when I saw the color it reminded me of Jesus' blood shed for us and how satan meant these tornadoes to steal, kill and destroy and yet God reigns and this sheds are visual proof!

It was Keith's birthday (55) and he started right in on the foundation of the shed. 
Jonathan (Keith's son) and Charles and Becky made quite the team.

Jonathan did double duty also working with Hannah measuring and making all the cuts on each piece of material needed.

They worked like a well oiled machine and yet couldn't help but notice the damage around them and when they heard how one of the local churches was gone -- completely demolished -- the reality hit home. 

I had been there a few months ago and was pleased to see the progress made and yet realized what still needs to be done.

I joined the ladies from Ohio in painting all the siding for the sheds.  Each shed took 10 panels of the T1-11 and by the end of the day I was nearly the same color as the sheds!  Each of us women marveled at how our husbands can paint and never get a drop on them and we . . . well, it's quite obvious what we've been doing and what color we've been doing it with! 

They worked all day long.  No one really took much time for lunch even though it was provided by a local woman and was delicious beyond explanation!  The whipped cream piled high on the pumpkin pie was just what they needed to keep going.

As you can see in this last picture, the sun was setting and they were determined to keep going.  The Ohio men jumped on board and by the end they had all 3 walls up, the roof trusses and all it needed was the set of double doors and shingles! 

And if I hadn't just insisted !!!! they would probably still be there!  No one wanted to stop, everyone wanted to keep going, and yet everyone was more tired than they realized!

After packing up and stopping for a nice dinner we arrived back home around 9pm and then did realize just how tired we were!

My sincere thanks to this amazing team of servant heart friends whom I have grown to love and I have a feeling will all be going back on our next trip on December 1st!!

Until next time . . .  each smiling face glows with the joy of the Lord!                   Susan and Monty

Friday, November 09, 2012

Holton bound

Will be leaving before daylight tomorrow morning with a team of 4, including myself.

It's actually part of our Maui team going with me, Charles, Hannah and Becky.  Bev was planning on going but is having some shoulder issues and needs to do some healing.

Holton is a very small town with a population of 450 that took a direct hit in the March 2nd tornado outbreak here in Indiana.  With winter temps just around the corner and holidays even closer we want to reach out and help in any small way we can.

I talked with Phil, the long term recovery committee chairman and he has more than one project lined up for us.  I assured him we would be willing to do whatever he has for us.

Please keep us covered in prayers as we make the 2 hour trip there, work all day and then the same trip back home.  I am just so thankful for Charles and Hannah and Becky as they all have developed such a servant heart and are so obedient to when and where God calls them.

I have been quite busy watching over and caring for my little 88 year old neighbor lady who is blind.  A couple of days ago she told me her heater wasn't working properly and a "friend" had told her the ventilation areas were totally blocked with dust and that she need to "clean it out?"  I went back and took the cover off and realized the entire thing was covered with who knows how many months worth of dust!  I got her sweeper out and worked and worked and cleaned and cleaned and by the time I was done it was in great shape.  I also got her some replacement filters and told her that at the first of each month I would change the filters and sweep everything out.  She started to cry and told me that she hadn't had anyone care for her like this!  Now -- is that sad or what?  No one cared enough to just sweep the filter system for her?  Each day I grow to love Ms Gladys more and more and look forward to the hour or so I get to spend with her each day!  Again, she might not fit the Webster's definition of "disaster" but that's what it feels like to me!  I thank God for bringing us together!

I also have a VERY personal prayer request.  Some of you may have read my blogpost from a long time ago about my youngest daughter who has Crohn's disease.  She is 30 years old now (diagnosed when she was only 7) and will be having major surgery next week to remove a damaged and diseased portion of her colon.  This will not be an easy surgery and I ask for prayers of healing, inside and out and thank you ahead of time for them.

Until next time . . . reach out and help someone else this weekend.                  Susan and Monty

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day

Yes, I voted.

I hope you voted.

We voted for President.

Whoever wins --- he will be the President.

God is still KING!!!!

What an awesome God we serve!

Susan and Monty

Monday, November 05, 2012

Hodge - Podge

The title of this blog pretty much describes the contents.

And quite frankly -- my life right about now!

Saturday we attended the surprise 50th birthday party for Terry, our dear friend and the father of the 10 children that we so enjoy spending time with!

This picture was taken over a year ago but you can see Terry in the left corner holding a sleeping Michael. 

It was a great celebration and I think tears may still be streaming from Terry's face!  We were honored to be a part of the day.  It was dampened a bit due to MacKenzie getting her finger caught in their wood splitter just before the party.  They had just come from the hospital where she had been treated for a broken and crushed finger.  Today she was to return to make sure she wouldn't need surgery!  But the rest of the kids sang and played their music -- mostly favorites of their dad! 

This week I am focusing on the upcoming mission trip to Holton.  This trip is a one day trip, this Saturday, when we will travel to the small town of Holton (population 450) which took a direct hit in the March 2nd tornadoes.  With winter weather just around the corner, not to mention holidays, they are desperately trying to get folks back into homes.  I don't know how many of us will be going but am anxious to see come Saturday morning.

I also have a very special and very personal prayer request.  As some of you know, my youngest daughter has Crohn's Disease.  This is non-curable disease that is more than difficult to live with.  It attacks the intestines in a big way and even though she was diagnosed when she was only 7 years old, it's been a rough ride ever since then.  This Wednesday she needs a medical procedure to see if she will need surgery.  I ask for your prayers of miraculous healing and thank you for them.

Yesterday - on my usual trip to check on my little 88 year old neighbor lady (who is blind) she was upset because she couldn't find the paperwork on her dog's rabies shot details.  The vet had let her know it was time for his shots but she thought he already had them when she took him in last month.  As she and I sat down and went through the purse she keeps all his papers in -- and then through her own purse -- I found rabies tags from years ago and solved the mystery -- he had not had his rabies shot last month.  Each day when I check on her I am more and more distressed about her living alone and not being able to see!  Yesterday she was telling me how she hits her head on the side of her kitchen cabinet when she tries to feel for the entrance to the hallway -- so I made some padding and covered that corner of the cabinets!  I guess it goes without saying but she also needs our prayers!

And finally, the holiday season is officially upon us --- and our dogs!

Don't they look overjoyed!!!!!! 

Atleast it brought a smile to your face!

Until next time . . . keep prayers going for the east coast!!!            Susan and Monty

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Transtional Update

To all our families and friends,

First and foremost we would like to thank you for your support over the past 7 years we have been out in the fields of disaster relief.  That support has taken us fom Mississippi to New Orleans, back to Mississippi, to Columbus, Indiana and to the great state of Texas.  There are no tallies as to the number of homes we have rebuilt, lives that have been changed or hearts brought to Jesus.  Numbers aren't important.  We were blessed to watch the hand of God move to restore, rebuild and revitalize by your generous giving.  The words "thank you" are not enough - but it's all the English language gives us.

We now find ourselves in an exciting state of "transition" which Webster defines as "changeover, development, growth, progression and/or turning point."  Each definition is fitting.  We are changing over from going out into the field to staying here at home.  We are in the progression of development here at home.  Our growth from "hands on" to "words on" is a turning point.  Our main focus changes from "doing" to "teaching, training and preparing for".

There is an old saying about giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day or teaching him to fish and feeding him for a lifetime.  God is calling us to do the latter.

We all realize disasters are happening more frequently and with seemingly more power and destruction.  Hurricane Sandy is a very current reminder!  The experiences God has taught us have been priceless but are not given to us to keep.  It is now our responsibility to transition into teaching and educating and thus "feeding" for a lifetime.

Becoming the new director for C.O.A.D. (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) here at home while also serving on the state level allows us to educate and teach from "on the ground" experience which is priceless.  We are also pursuing the dream of having a fully stocked disaster relief warehouse that would enable us to reach multitudes with life giving supplies when the need arises.  (Think what we could be doing along the east coast RIGHT NOW)  God has planted that vision and we are working to bring it to pass.

So . . . in a large nutshell, we thank you for your support and understand if you wish to end your financial donations.  We do ask that you continue to cover us with prayers for wisdom and guidance as we take these next "steps of faith".

Our email remains the same as well as our cell numbers and we always enjoy hearing from you.

May God return your generosity a hundred fold and thank you for helping rebuild lives by rebuilding homes!

All our love, thanks and blessings,

Until next time . . .                                                 Susan and Monty

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Even the wind and the waves obey Him . . ."

"Even the winds and waves obey Him."

Asking you to join us in praying that the winds and waves of hurricane Sandy obey Him!

God is the God of everything -- this may be the biggest storm since records started being recorded but . . .

Mark 11:23 tells us that when we "say to the mountain" --- meaning our current "mountain" is this hurricane and we are to speak TO it --- out loud --- speaking with our mouths!  Tell it to "go in Jesus' Name."

Please join us in these prayers because "where two or three are gathered together, there He is in the midst of us."

Until next time . . . blessings to the east coast.                                  Susan and Monty

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Holton --- here we come

Yes -- we are planning 2 different trips to the city of Holton, Indiana.

Holton is a small town that took a direct hit from the March 2nd tornadoes. 

When I attended the INVOAD meeting a couple of weeks ago I talked with the Phil, who leads their long term recovery committee.  He mentioned that they need volunteers desperately.  With the "newness" gone and the winter weather knocking on our doors they need to get folks back home.

I mentioned this to our local COAD group last week and they were on board to schedule a trip.

I also got a few questions from folks at our church asking if we had any trips coming up.

So . . . we have a church trip scheduled and a COAD trip scheduled.

Each trip will only be one day but hopefully we have alot of people sign up and we know that with God's help we can accomplish more than we can ever imagine!

Pray that those God calls to go on these trips will be obedient to His call.  "Rebuilding lives by rebuilding homes."

Also --- let's all join together in prayers for those in the path of hurricane Sandy.  Again -- our weather causes us to forget that hurricane season is not "done" until November 30 and hurricane Sandy is a very real and threatening reminder.  We have dear friends in New Jersey (hey Jack, Sue and team) and Monty and I will be praying for all of them.  Jesus calmed the storm in scripture and He's still in the business of making "the wind and the waves" obey Him!

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

All Over the Place

These past few days have literally been all over the place.

Let me back up . . .

The HeavenNevaeh team of men returned to Don's on Thursday and Friday afternoons last week and did an amazing job rebuilding the subflooring in his hallway and installing the new flooring.  They even jumped in and started cleaning his household furniture and moving it back inside the house as we had stored it in the back two rooms that are just gutted out -- so we could get all the flooring installed.  They set up his bedroom and now as soon as he has the gas turned back on he is ready to move home!  We will continue working on rebuilding the back bedrooms as time and volunteers permit.  Don has said he will be continually working on them also -- as soon as he gets moved home!

I also took the director of the team, David, down to see Billy's retaining wall.  He knew another gentleman who said he could gather a team of men and get the job done fairly quickly.  Pray that can come about as Billy has also been waiting a really long time and with winter weather just around the corner. . .

Thursday afternoon was our C.O.A.D. (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) monthly meeting.  Quite a few members came and we had alot, and I mean alot, of discussion on the topics on the agenda.  One of the main ones was the application for a community grant that had to be on the desk of the "powers that be" by the following day.  We also put together our "Wish List" for the local newspaper and area.  And in the not so distant future we will be scheduling a trip to southern Indiana to help with the rebuilding from this springs tornado.  They were all excited about the idea of doing that so . . . let's go!  I also hope to put together a team from our local church and heard from one of the COAD members this morning that their church is putting together a team and planning a trip!  Go teams!!

Friday had me up very early working on the grant application and all the items that were required.  I had it all together and on the table by noon.  I did meet with our local grant expert and was told that it looked good and when I dropped it off I actually got to talk with 2 of the men who will be making the final decisions and allotments so I felt that was a divine appointment!  Please pray that the funding we asked for does come through so we can continue to teach and prepare and be the hands and feet of Jesus when needed most.

The weekend just flew by -- not even sure where it all went.  I did "change seasons" with all my flowers and such yesterday afternoon since the temps were pushing 80 and the sun was shining bright!  I love it when it's just me and God working outside together!

Late last night I received a text that my dear friend, Bev's father in law passed away!  I know this has to be a very difficult time for the entire family!  It's never easy and sometimes satan loves to bring about chaos and confusion at the most difficult times!  Please cover the whole family in prayers for peace and comfort and love.

Until next time . . . peace and love and comfort to all of you!                      Susan and Monty

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Tuesday -- and another Bible study missed.  This time I was attending a conference about serving on the board of directors for not for profit organizations.  It lasted all morning long and was worth every minute.  Since both Monty and I are the directors for IGO Disaster Relief and me being the director for Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) for our home town the knowledge was appropriate and priceless.  Many thanks to the local Volunteer Network for hosting this class.

I have been working many hours in preparation for our next COAD meeting this Thursday.  There is so much I want and need to cover and had hoped to hold a board meeting before but schedules just didn't allow it so we will be covering alot of ground.  We are applying for a piece of a local grant coming and need to put together the proper information and paperwork by the end of Friday - this Friday.  We also will be featured in our local area under what's called a "Wish List" and those needs also need to be identified. 

The main theme of the meeting is a question and answer period discussing our disaster plan.  It's quite a few pages long and each member received a copy to read and study and bring their questions.  I don't - by any means - profess to have all the answers but . . . we need to make certain we are all on the same page when the next disaster happens.

Thursday and Friday of this week our HeavenNevaeh team of men will return to work on Don's house.  They will start on replacing the damaged subflooring in his hallway and then installing the flooring to match the rest of the house.  Don has not moved back home yet due to trying to get the natural gas turned back on.  In a disaster it is shut off and getting it reconnected can have one jumping through many hoops!  He's getting help from his local township trustee and will hopefully have it resolved and back home very soon.

We will also be making a trip back to Billy's house to take a look at his retaining wall that still needs rebuilt.  Finding any volunteers to work on that has been more difficult that finding the needle in a haystack deal.  More than a bit frustrating for both of us.  God will provide just who we need, I just wish I could set His watch to match mine!   :)

And --- I haven't mentioned this to any of you yet --- but I interviewed for the position of school bus driver and got the job.  With our donations really suffering I need to bring in some income and take some of the weight of the world from Monty's shoulders.  We've been home for 2 years now and by the looks of things we will be home throughout the upcoming winter.  So . . . Todd, a dear friend of ours mentioned the need to me and with his connections as already driving and having good friends there -- all I had to do was fill out the online application and the job was mine.  I have already taken my drug test and completed my physical today.  Now comes the studying as I must obtain a CDL - B license with riders of air brakes, passenger and school bus driving.  The book itself is intimidating but with God's help I will get through it and pass all 4 tests, get my learner's permit, take the hands on training from the school system, get my actual license and then get my bus route.  Pray for me -- big time!

I close this with some really sad news.  Our dear friend, Cheryl, had a miscarriage a few days ago and our hearts go out to her and her entire family.  In times like this there are no words, no answers -- just the arms of Jesus to hold her up! 

Until next time . . . God is good ---- all the time, even when we can't see it.     Susan and Monty

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lot 50

Monty doesn't get mentioned all that much in my blog and for those of you who wonder what he's always doing . . . take a look at these pics! 

The kitchen.

Bedroom carpeting.
There are no words!

Looking into the master bath with white mold growing on the ceiling to the right of the ceiling fan!

Seen enough?  This is yet another trailer he is rebuilding.  THIS is what he is doing all day every day.  Sometimes he's underneath working on sewer lines (no pics, you don't want to see those) and other times he's up on the roof making repairs (where I found him today). 

On this trailer he decided to take some "before" pics and will be taking some during the process and then at the end so you can see the "after".

No, none of this is Webster's definition of a disaster but these homes have been abandoned and are in a state of disaster. 

Once again God has educated him through all the experience we received over the past years following disasters and rebuilding homes.  I never cease to be amazed how incredible God's plan is and how He orchestrates our lives!  What an awesome God! 

We are on the verge of another weekend.  Take some time and stop and smell the flowers and thank God for all your blessings!  Solomon seems to be standing in amazement at the beauty!  Do we?

Until next time . . .                  Susan and Monty

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

He's packing

First thing this morning, an hour before they were scheduled, the carpet installers were at Don's and ready to go.  They were just putting down the tack strips when Don stopped by to meet and thank them.  (Don is the one on the far right of the picture)

The bedroom looked wonderful when they finished.  I love the color and Don was especially happy since he picked out the color and being a man -- had some doubts!     :)

While Don was there he joined in the "fun" of finishing the teeny areas of flooring that I had been working on.

Getting those last few pieces was literally like assembling a puzzle and took not only the both of us but the reporter that was also there.  We got it done and were thrilled at the results.

After everyone else cleared out I got busy finishing painting the bedroom (Mark had obviously worked till late last night getting the walls and ceilings ready and I am so thankful for his heart of service) and installing the rest of the base trim in the double family room.  By the time I got that base trim done the walls in the bedroom were dry enough for me to start installing the base trim in there.  I was glad I got that second coat of paint on it yesterday morning before "drowning" my phone as it really looked good today.

It took me all day but when I got done the house was ready for Don to pack up his clothes and his cat and move back home.  He said he will be arranging his furniture and packing over the next couple of days.  He has a water leak in the hot water heater and needs to fix it also before moving in.  And he needs to get his natural gas turned back on so he can have heat.  He isn't hurrying and couldn't thank everyone enough for all the work that they have done.  He is looking forward to continuing the work himself.  He is really good at construction and likes doing it and with being back home he can continue the rebuilding process and have fun in doing so.  He will let me know when he needs materials.

This is a view of the bedroom all painted and carpeted.  The only thing left is trimming around the windows (I ran out of materials to do so).  It's so beautiful and such an amazing transformation!

I had such a good time doing some hands on work over the past couple of weeks and realized just how much enjoyment I get out of it.  It's been a long time.  My muscles know just how long it's been but hey -- they will calm down and I look forward to doing more on the back two bedrooms that we haven't even touched yet!

We'll be seeing alot more of Don over the winter!  There's still quite a bit of work to be done so if you are inclined to lend a hand -- and the rest of you along with it -- just let me know.

Welcome home, Don --- welcome home! 

Praise the Lord!               Until next time . . .                       Susan and Monty

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It's Where ?????

Tuesday mornings I am usually headed south to Bible Study.  Not this morning.

I woke up during the night (nothing new) and decided to get some more work done at Don's.  The carpet installers will be there in the morning and I knew if I ran to Lowes and got the base trim for his bedroom I could get it painted (to match the walls) and it would be dry and ready for me to install after the carpeting is completed.  I also thought I could get a coat of paint on his front door and really spif up the family room.

So off I went. 

In and out of Lowes will just what I needed and at Don's early enough to get it all done before noon.

As I pulled into his driveway I noticed the dumpster was gone!?  I wasn't happy as it wasn't full and I planned on keeping it there until we are completely done with all of the house!  A few text messages later revealed a new driver had made a big mistake and he was on his way back with another one (an empty one) so score one for God trumping satan's plan.

I was painting away and got a phone call.  Answered and taken care of and back to painting.

I knew I had an appointment at 1:00 so thought I better check the time.  Checked my shirt pocket for my phone and it wasn't there?  I knew it had been there awhile ago as I took that phone call.  The pocket has a button on it -- but it wasn't buttoned!?

I searched and searched - room after room - retracing my steps with no results.

The dumpster driver arrived and I needed to make sure he didn't land the dumpster on the temporary power lines on the ground -- remembering he was a new driver!  He did great.

Just as he was pulling out I stopped him and told him I'd lost my phone and would he be so kind as to call it so I could listen for it and find it from its hiding place.  No problem, he dialed.

I ran inside and heard nothing.  Checked back with him to make sure he called the right number.  He did and tried again -- and again -- and again.  No sound!

Then it dawned on me -- could it be possible?  I had been painting with the gallon paint can ??? Oh no, surely not.  Of all the places I had been and the opening in that can can't be 6 or 7 inches across?

So I grabbed a screw driver to stick into the can and --- well --- you've probably already guessed it by now --- sure enough --- I hear my phone banging around!

Shocked I reached my entire hand and arm into the can and pulled up a rather nasty phone -- more than soaked with beige paint, running off the phone and my hand and down my arm!

When I told the driver I found it and where he just shook his head and laughed -- glad it wasn't his phone!

I closed the can, dropped everything I was doing and wrapped both the phone and my hand in paper towels and headed to the phone store.  The only thing on my mind was salvaging all my contacts in the phone.

The store was only a mile away and when I walked in they all knew exactly what had happened!  They tried not to laugh but I could see their smiles breaking through and decided I may as well join them!  What's done is done so let's move on.

It was completely destroyed -- but God -- somehow they were able to save the contacts! 

Now came the "hold onto my seat" for the upcoming cost!  I knew we didn't have the hundreds of dollars it was going to take and quite frankly was on the verge of panic!

When the clerk looked up my account he realized I am eligible for an upgrade the end of this month and said he could give me a "loaner" phone until then.  How awesome!  I didn't care what it looked like or what it did or didn't do -- as long as it could send and receive calls and texts I was good!

I made it to my 1:00 appointment and only had to apologize for not being able to get home and change clothes before arriving there.  When they heard the story they also laughed, thankful it wasn't their phone!

I guess I should've gone to Bible study but I did learn something -- God does have the ultimate plan and although satan tries with all he has to mess that plan up -- God always wins!

They WERE able to save my contacts.

I did NOT have to spend any dollars (yet).

I DO have a working phone.

Don DOES have painted trim and front door.

I AM smiling and thanking God for His perfect love!  In my before bed devotions last night the focus was on feeling joy in the midst of trials.  Joy????  Well, it wasn't easy but by the end of the day I can laugh about it and realize just how awesome God really is!  Thus --- joy!!!!

Until next time . . . this is NOT what a phone should look like!

And this was taken after I tried to clean it up!  Oh my!!                             Susan and Monty

Monday, October 08, 2012

Roller Coaster

First of all, thanks for the prayers for Monty's back injury.  He went back to the chiropractor this morning as getting out of bed was more than difficult due to the pain.  He missed work today and will hopefully be doing better tomorrow after some major icing of the areas. 

I started the morning at Don's.  I was going to finish the flooring since Monty loaned me his jigsaw but decided to get the major portion of the master bedroom painted instead.  Mark is working on the sheetrock in the newly rebuilt area and I knew I could get the old part painted and then hopefully can have the new part done before the carpet installers arrive on Wednesday morning. 

My main problem was getting all the furniture out of the bedroom for the carpet installers.  I made a quick call to Don and since he was off work today he was able to get out there and remove everything from the room!  How awesome this was for me since that furniture was big -- and way too much for me!

Maybe tomorrow I can get the flooring done or I may wait until the carpet installers are there and work on that at the same time?  Depends on when the rest of the bedroom is ready for paint.

Don is planning on moving back in as soon as the room is done so hopefully that can be Wednesday.  Pray for us all.   :)

When I finished with the painting I needed to help Monty with some things at home.  No lifting for him so here I was . . . and we got everything done.

As I went to take care of Ms Gladys and walk her little dog I was glad to see that one of her granddaughters had taken her to lunch!  She was so excited when she got home --- until she got a phone call.  (now remember that she is nearly 89 years old and blind).  Someone called her home phone and told her she owed a substantial amount of money and that if she didn't take care of it right there on the phone the police would be at her door to arrest her!  She was so very upset and told me that the Holy Spirit told her this was a scam.  Her granddaughter was still there and tried to call the number back and talk with them.  All she got was someone with a foreign accent who told her not to call there again!

Satan is such an ugly and vile thing and reaching out to try and bring fear and confusion into this little elderly lady's life just makes me so upset!  I am thankful she realized it was a scam but realizing that didn't calm her down -- the fear was already there!  As I took my walk to take her trash to the dumpster I once again (outloud) cursed satan and his plans and in the name of Jesus blessed her and her house!  (I think other neighbors may have been ready to call the men in the white coats to come and get me)!!!

And now I prepare for this evening -- 2 important meetings.  The first one is a question and answer meeting about the possiblity of getting a grant for the COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster).  This is something that would be a major blessing and so please pray that God will intervene and put His hand of provision into the works.

The second meeting (thanks to Bev scheduling for me) is the Town Council meeting where I will be able to share about COAD.  We need more organizations involved and in order for them to consider it they need to know who we are and what we do and plan to do.

Both meetings are extremely important and back to back.  I pray God will give me the words I need and take away the ones I don't.  Please join me in that prayer!

Until next time . . . as our Jersey team always said, "yea God -- boo devil"      Susan and Monty

Saturday, October 06, 2012

98% there

The men from Heaven Nevaeh working on Don's flooring on Thursday. 

Today when I finished.  I am 98% there and just need to borrow Monty's jigsaw to finish the last row.  The base trim is also nearly complete and hopefully Monday I can say it's officially done! 

It was a productive day.  Sheila returned and focused her efforts in the kitchen and after being there for hours she was still working when I left.  It's looking amazing and when I sent Don a text (he was working) he was thrilled beyond words!  He won't recognize the place!

So the carpeting is rescheduled for Wednesday morning and hopefully Mark has the mudding and texturing done by then -- and maybe I can have the painting done also.

If we can get this bedroom finished and Don moved back in it will be the first time he's been able to sleep in his own bedroom since May 24th of 2011.  That's my goal so pray we can make it happen!

I am also asking for prayers for Monty.  He really injured his back over the past few days and had to make an emergency trip to the chiropractor this morning.  Even the chiro said he hadn't seen a back that bad off before!  He's having difficulty standing up straight and getting in and out of the truck is a real challenge.  Hopefully the adjustment will hold and with each passing day he will be feeling better.

Until next time . . . let's all take tomorrow as an opportunity to join our church family and do some praising to Jesus for all He's done for us!                                                 Susan and Monty

Friday, October 05, 2012

Flooring and cleaning !!!

No pictures this evening but maybe tomorrow.

Yesterday the men from Heaven Nevaeh returned and concentrated on installing the laminate flooring.  They made great progress and had the most beautiful weather day to do so.

Today Sheila returned to continue cleaning the bathroom and I have no doubt that it is the cleanest it's been since before the tornado!  Don will be so thrilled.  She admitted she is a perfectionist and after seeing her work -- no doubt!  Just what you need in a cleaning person!  An angel for sure -- and she is coming back tomorrow!  And bringing help!

I worked yesterday with the crown molding and got it all done.  I also got more base trim and got it stained and some painted to put in the dining room.  Again, the weather was perfect and almost immediate drying time.

This morning I had a blast attending my granddaughter's preschool for Grandparent's Day!  It was so fun watching them sing songs and work on poems and absorb knowledge like dry sponges!  Priceless.

From there I headed back to Don's and did more trimming.  After I got as far as I could I decided to tackle the flooring myself.  I admit I have not physically installed it but have seen it done a thousand times and had such fun learning and getting it done.  The men got it started, which is the hard part, and all I needed to do was follow their lead.  Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow.

Near the end of the day Mark came to my rescue in the mudding of the master bedroom area!  He is an expert at this and can make it go so smoothly and so perfect and so quickly that I was happy to step out of there and give it all to him! 

We also had the students from the newspaper, The Indiana Daily Student, return this afternoon.  They did a great article in the beginning of our rebuild and spent hours with us that day.  They called yesterday to see if they could do another article and once again spent the entire afternoon with us.  They were amazed at the progress and stayed to watch the flooring being installed and the cleaning being done.  The photographer and her mother were still there visiting with Mark when I left at nearly 5pm.  And they want to come back tomorrow morning!

I made it home just in time to get our grandkids and take them to dinner with us.  Always a hoot and such a blessing to us both.  They each ordered pancakes -- as usual.  They came back here and played for a long time before their parents came to pick them up.  It gives their parents some time for themselves and we have such fun.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I will be at Don's all day.  In my own little world -- with the Christian music playing -- God and I having some fun.

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