Monday, April 30, 2012

Shingles --- the good kind!!!!

What a Monday!  Not only was Pastor Randy back and he brought his daughter, Mark and his wife Teresa also came to work!  They are the directors for disaster relief at church and their bright yellow shirts really looked good!

The Hartsville 3 were back and rockin and rollin first thing in the morning!

They got started with the final rafter replacements.  39 in total -- and just on one side!  Every single rafter!!!!!  And they said it couldn't be done???!!!!  

John joined the team again and helped Tom get all the drip edge installed.

John also helped Mark finish the cleanup in the family room from the ceiling removal on Saturday.  They had to shovel the debris into the trash can and then dump it in the dumpster.  A really dirty and dusty job but it looks great when complete.  See for yourself in the below picture.
Teresa and Pastor Randy's daughter were amazing and showed everyone that women DO have a place in disaster relief!  Go girls!!!!

And just to reassure Ron's wife -- he does not spend alot of time on a ladder!!!    :)    I know today was probably his last day and we are so thankful for his heart of service, his patience and his always smiling face!!!!!!
The rains held off --- just long enough!!!  At 5pm the skies opened up but not before the team could put up the first row of shingles.  Look closely at the bottom of the roofline and you will see them.  Be sure and stay tuned for tomorrow as you will be able to see alot more of them!!!
Also this afternoon I had a meeting where I officially became the director of the Monroe County Communities Active in Disaster!  I am really excited about this new opportunity to bring our home community together to learn about disasters, what to do, when to do it and how to help the people when they need it most.  Please keep me in your prayers that God's will be done in this new venture.

And I just had to show you this picture from the trailer park where Monty was building a set of steps for Susie --- and notice the half eaten Snickers bar in the back of the trap.  They catch the groundhogs and then take them out into the wild and set them free.  This rather large on appears to be ready to take his trip.
Until next time . . . good job team!!!!  You are rebuilding a life by rebuilding a home!!
Susan and Monty

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gutting 101

Mark stopped by Don's yesterday late afternoon.  He had helped work on Billy's house and had just been through disaster relief training and is the disaster coordinator for his church.  I gave him a quick tour and he asked a few questions about bringing a team in to do some inside work.  I explained that there is still quite a bit of gutting to do and all he had to do was let me know.

Later last night he called me and asked if he and another gentleman could come over today and get started!  You bet!

He and Chris met me around lunch time and the first thing they did was to use plastic to cover the entrances to Don's dining area and the second part of his family room to prepare to pull down the ceiling in the damaged family room area. 

We knew this project was going to be quite the mess as the insulation in the ceiling was waaaay old and looked like vermiculite!  Also we discovered that there was a layer of sheetrock with firring strips underneath and underneath those was plaster -- plaster in very bad shape.  So gutting the ceiling was a major project and as you can see -- the mess on the floor is a mess!  By the time they finished the floor had debris nearly knee deep in some places and the air was so thick you could not see inside from the front door.  See the picture below -- taken from the front porch looking directly inside the door!
And you thought I was exaggerating!!

Both of these men are caucasian -- really they are!  You can see the need for specialized face masks!  These were also white.  We use N95 rated ones just for this reason.  They WILL come clean and I know just how good their showers felt when they got home!

Great job Mark and Chris.  We hope you will both come back soon!  You did amazing work and every little bit makes a big difference!

Anyone else want to get in on some gutting?  We still have more to go!

In the meantime -- how about going to church tomorrow and thanking God for all your blessings!!

Until next time . . . God is the God of human impossibilities!  Aren't we glad!     Susan and Monty

Friday, April 27, 2012

The "open" house is closed

The start of day 5 had the Hartsville team in the center of Don's roof.  The left end is complete and the right end is complete.   Working their way toward the middle at an amazing rate.

The precision of each cut -- perfection.  They stretch, they bend, they reach and the climb -- whatever it takes to do it right. 

"Brute strength" joined the team after lunch.  John, from our own Vineyard Church came out to help.  He has worked with us at Michael's and even though he has finals next week he came out to do whatever the men needed him to do.  They were enjoying his strength, his determination and his "can do" spirit.  As they cut the old damaged sections John  just pulled them up and tossed them down from the roof as if they were sheets of paper.  They are actually extremely heavy but oh the power of youth and service to others!  John plans to join in as much as his schedule will allow.

Like I said, the accuracy of each cut is measured and remeasured to make certain each roof rafter is perfect.

Toward the end of the day they were covering the entire roof with plastic since there is rain in the weekend forecast.  Dry for the first time in 11 months!!!!!!  No water pouring through the family room ceiling when it rains! 

There she is -- buttoned up for the weekend.  Only 2 more broken rafters to replace and final sheathing to put on and they will be ready to start on the other side of the house.  There are no damaged rafters, just shingles to remove and then we will be ready for the felt paper and shingles!!!!!

And it's only been 5 days worth of work!!!!!

God is still in the business of performing miracles!  I am blessed to get to see them with my own eyes on a daily basis.  This has been a week of miracles --- all around --- with more to come!

Have you seen a miracle lately?  Have you looked for one?

Until next time  . . . get some rest Hartsville team!  We love you!              Susan and Monty

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We're having an "open" house

First photo of the day.  Hartsville starts on the front end of the roof.  This is where a huge, and I mean huge, tree came down.  It was our estimate that every single rafter was broken.  The only way to find out, and to repair it, was to open it up and start the rebuilding.

It was alot more difficult than expected.  "Breaking through" was tough.  Under the shingles is felt paper, under that is roof sheathing and surprise -- under that was a continual line of 1 x 6's.   The only way to get through was to saw through all the layers at one time!  One saw gave out but Don had a backup so the work continued.

I've seen people work "on" a roof before -- but -- "in" one?

Ta-da!!!!  They made it through!  And you bet -- every rafter but 2 was snapped like a small twig.
Can you believes these are 2 x 6's???? 

And the new rafters are going in!  To perfection!  What a blessing these gentlemen are!  Just who God had lined up for the job! 

Tomorrow they will return and continue the rebuilding.  Today was fun to watch those driving by.  Don lives on a major highway and people were looking, staring and some even stopping to see what was going on.  After 11 months -- no wonder!

Please continue to hold these men and this entire project up in prayers.

Until next time . . . Lord, thank you for the sunshine!                               Susan and Monty

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Amazing Progress

That was then -- the remains of the back of Don's house.  There are 2 bedrooms underneath there.  You can also see the shreds of the blue tarp that once existed.  This picture was taken in November 2011.

This is today!  What a difference already!!!

Hartsville was back again and this time they were joined by another gentleman who came from the local Baptist church. 

These men are what most would call "retired" or "older" but . . . they figure out a way to get anything and everything done!  And the laughter that comes from the worksite is contagious.
No matter what your age -- would you be able to balance yourself up on the roof and still work?  I will be honest and say a resounding "no"!!!

The shingles are now scheduled for delivery Friday morning.  The IU frat boys volunteering that day will be thrilled to know one of their tasks will be to carry them up and place them on the roof!  We will take full advantage of their young backs and idea of being invincible!

As I write this the thunder is rolling and the rains are falling.  We pray it will not last long so the men can get back to work tomorrow.  Either way -- there is plenty of work for them to do on the inside as well so . . . tomorrow is a new day!

Please remember to keep these volunteers covered in prayers as they are traveling 90 minutes each way in travel both morning and night!

Until next time . . . what an awesome Father we have!!!                       Susan and Monty

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hartsville has arrived

Don's prayers are finally answered!

God's timing is here!

The team from Hartsville, IN who finished Billy's house for us arrived yesterday and are committed to the completion of Don's rebuilding!!!!!

They started by removing more of the damaged roof.  Nearly every rafter on the east side of the house is broken -- along with the sheathing.  Major work!  Perfect team!
If you look closely at this picture, towards the front -- you will see the "dip" in the roofline.  That is over his family room - which is open to the sky and pours rain inside.

Remember that Don has been living like this and dealing with pouring water from his catch containers for 11 months now!  The 11 month anniversary is tomorrow!

We are so thankful for this team and their hearts of service -- not to mention taking the time and making the committment to see this job to completion.

Please keep these men and this entire project in your prayers.  We need clear weather and safety is key. 

Be sure and stay tuned as there will surely be miracles and God's hand moving in ways we can't possibly imagine!!!!!  You won't want to miss a one of them!

Until next time . . . Thanks Hartsville!!!!!                        Susan and Monty

Sunday, April 22, 2012


See how far away those targets are?  See how small they look?  The bottom targets are in inch square! This is shooting in prone position.

We shot standing -- the most difficult for me, for sure.  Steadying the gun is tough.  We shot 10 rounds in 2 minutes!
We shot sitting.  10 rounds, 2 targets, 5 shots in each target, 50 seconds to do so!

Appleseed is an amazing organization that focuses on teaching - both youth and those of us who left their youth a long time ago!  This is only the 2nd one Monty and I have attended.  Before the first one I hadn't even held a gun, let alone shot one.  I didn't know one thing about it. 

This was our second Appleseed.  Yesterday and today we learned and learned some more and practiced and practiced even more before going into today where our shots were actually scored.  After an amazing "lunch" of bbq ribs complete with the works, I figured I wouldn't even be able to get into positions let alone shoot anything.  I thought wrong!  I was able to find the "zone" by mid afternoon and had the time of my life!  I NEVER went into it with the goal of achieving Rifleman.  I went into it with the idea of learning, the plan of doing the best I can and the goal of having a great time doing both.

When they called me up at the end of the day to give me my badge and let me sign the bomb I was shocked to the point of tears!  I couldn't believe it!  What an honor as this organization believes that if we all just do "something" we can make a true difference in our world and even change our world for the better!  A sermon right from my own heart!

It is with great honor I receive this badge.  And with even greater thanks to this organization so intent on helping all of us achieve things that we never thought possible and in doing so -- make a positive difference in our world today!

Monty got a real "bang" out of shooting this firearm that takes these huge Nato rounds!  The sound is incredible with a kick to match!
By the time we got home we were ready to drop!  Yesterday the weather was cloudy with drizzle and windy and we like to froze to death -- all day long.  Today the sun was out most of the day but the winds remained.  We were dressed for it but after 2 full days outside and working harder than you would imagine -- exhaustion sets in along with the excitement!

And just when I thought my day couldn't get any better --- I receive a phone call saying our expert volunteers from Hartsville -- the same team who did the amazing work at Billy's house -- are coming over tomorrow morning to start on Don's house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Can you believe it!!!!!!  After all these months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Praise the Lord and pass the lumber and shingles!!!!!!!!!!!!  They will meet me first thing in the morning when we will put together a materials list and head to Lowes and get started!!!!!

So be sure and stay tuned.  It's going to be a week of blessings, miracles and only God Himself knows what else!!!!!

God is just so amazing and loves us so much!  I, for one, am really happy today!!!!

Until next time . . . is there such thing as a "Rifle - woman"????   Susan and Monty

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ramping Up

Michael's new ramp!!!!!  In the making.  By now it's completely finished and amazing!

This morning my mom and aunt came over to spend the day with me and follow me around in all I had to do.  I needed to get the donated funds for Michael's cabinets, get that money to the bank so I could go to Lowes and spend it.   All of that was accomplished in good time.  The guys at Lowes are always so helpful and they get a kick out of hearing about what we are currently working on.

With the bed of my truck loaded down we stopped for a quick lunch and then headed south to Michael's.  The ramp looked like the above picture when we pulled up.  By the time we left it was nearly complete.

While we were waiting for the deck builders to return Mom and Aunt Miriam took some time to visit with Michael.  They hadn't seen him, or the trailer, since the fundraising festival we had back in the early fall.  What you see is the platform of his old deck -- which made a great work table for the builders.

The deck builders were a double blessing as they jumped in and were able to off load the cabinets from my truck into Michael's home.  In this picture they are carrying in the pantry.

Their attention to every detail is wonderful and really shows in the quality of their work.
As they neared the end of the ramp they were working on getting it matched up at the drive way.

Our deepest and sincere thanks to the Southern Indiana Center for Independent Living for their labor of love!  The materials and the labor are amazing in themselves -- but -- the ministry that was taking place was (and always is) priceless!

I am so happy that my mom and my aunt got to share in today and see for themselves the blessings that come when people take time from their own lives to help others and in doing so become the hands and feet of Jesus Himself!

Until next time . . . God is the perfect boss!                              Susan and Monty

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day of blessings for Michael

Bible study this morning = awesome!

After Bible study = more awesome!  Pastor Martie called me to tell me she "found money" on her car when she came outside!  Money designated for Michael's kitchen!!!!!   Praise the Lord!  We had just prayed for ALL his needs to be met and hadn't hardly said the amen when . . . ta-da . . . His hand of provision once again!!!!

I was already planning on heading directly to his house because today was the scheduled day for the Center for Independent Living to come and bring all the materials and start building the front deck and ramp.  Just as I walked in he was finding out the wonderful news on the donation and within minutes the truck pulled up and Jordan had it loaded with materials!

Not too far behind Jordan was the crew.  They said this was only half of them, they were working on 2 projects today!  What a blessing this organization is and the folks who take time from their own lives to help others! 

Their goal today?  Remove the old temporary deck and get the posts set in concrete for the new one.

Tomorrow they will return to continue their work!  While talking with Jordan she told me how she has all sorts of volunteers to give of their time.  From Boy Scouts to the elderly, she is never without volunteers!  Made my heart glad! 

So today has been a good one.  A day where one can literally see the hand of God moving and feel just how much He cares!

I like days like today!

Until next time . . . we praise and thank you, Lord, for caring about us so much!

Susan and Monty

Monday, April 16, 2012

What a Monday

One of those days that just makes me stand back and say "wow!"

Headed out very early for a meeting in New Albany.  I had received a call asking me to come and "interview" for the case management supervisor position in the Henryville, IN area.  It was a 2 hour drive -- one way -- but a great meeting and a double blessing to actually know some of those I was talking with.

And back just in time for another meeting -- the local Monroe County COAD --- Community Organizations Active in Disaster. A few months ago I was honored to be asked to attend the meetings and offer guidance in disaster relief and recovery.

Today --- I was offered the position of Executive Director of the COAD!!!!!!

So . . . one of those days that I have seen the hand of God and feel His direction! 

Be sure and stay tuned . . .

Until next time . . . my heart feels real joy today!!                      Susan and Monty

Saturday, April 14, 2012

IU comes "pouring" in . . .

It's been a busy week.  That's the norm around here!   :)

On Wednesday I made a trip into the city of Holton, IN.  They were hit with the same tornado that struck Henryville and also have major damage.  I was invited to come over and talk about case management and long term recovery.  They have asked me to "mentor" their long term recovery team and to also come and help teach them more about disaster recovery on a long term basis.  They are asking for a couple of 4 hour sessions on a couple of Saturdays and of course I agreed.  Don't know how much help I can be but am always available to share the "on job training" God has given us!

Monday morning I will be traveling back to the New Albany/Henryville areas to do just the same thing I did in Holton.  Don't know where that will lead but God does so . . . "IGO where He sends me".

Still working on trying to find someone -- anyone -- willing to take on Don's rebuild!  I admit that in the 7 years we've been doing this I have NEVER been quite as frustrated as with this project!  I have even talked with the roofers who just put our own roof on a few weeks ago to see if they would be willing to donate either materials or labor and have us pay them for the other! 

But . . . I find I am not alone in trying to find Don some help!  Billy's daughter, Jan has jumped on board and is also pounding the phones and trying to tap her resources!  It's an amazing feeling to have another woman on board who understands and shares the same passion for helping!  Jan --- you are an angel sent from God!!!!

Today was a scheduled work day at Michael's.  We haven't had one in awhile with folks being gone for spring breaks and Easter.  I had a team of IU fraternity guys who had called me a few weeks ago wanting to help out on another project.  Many of them had worked at Don's with gutting and debris cleanup and so . . . when they asked me if I had another project for them . . . I assured them I am never at a loss for projects.

They were more than willing to travel south to Michael's and you can see the pile of dirt in the picture below!  Just waiting for frat boys to tackle!!!!
Seems the city was happy to drop off this huge pile and all it needed was the frat team and some shovels and wheelbarrows. 

They met me late this morning and we were on the road and they were tackling the pile of dirt along with cleaning up the rocks and debris from Michael's yard when the skies literally opened up, the thunder rolled and the lightning struck!  I had to call them out of the yard and underneath the porch on Michael's old house just to get them to stop!  We looked at the radar and waited it out a bit before deciding it was going to be a total washout! 

But . . . they asked if they can come back in a couple of weeks -- and if we work on Fridays!!!!  So we have them rescheduled and this time they know what they are in for and are more than ready to go!  Let's pray for a bit more cooperation from the weather the next time!

Rob did get Michael's new water heater installed and now our next -- and nearly final -- project is the kitchen.  And we must wait on the funding to come through!!!!!!  We need funds for the cabinets, counter tops, sink and faucet and appliances.  This is already custom designed for Michael's needs and all we need is the funding and we'll be ready get this whole project wrapped up and Michael moved in!  He is so anxious ---- and so patient ---- an example for all of us!
Many thanks to the guys for coming out and many thanks for their hearts of service!  We look forward to seeing them again in a couple of weeks!

Until next time . . . "Father, thank you for trusting me with Your work!"             Susan and Monty

Monday, April 09, 2012

Opportunities on the rise

Busy Monday!

Mowed 2 lawns, removed 5 shrubs from our neighbors yard and scheduled 2 interviews for the southern Indiana tornado relief.

Heard from Henryville and Holton.  Each is looking for case management so . . .

Also heard from our local fraternity boys who will be volunteering this Saturday.  Sounds like they will have 25 plus guys who are looking forward to going to Michael's and do whatever we have for them to do! 

Still waiting for some door to open for Don's rebuild.

Still looking for warehouse space.

Many directions, lots to think and pray about . . . please join us in both.

Until next time . . . lead me Lord, lead me.                                        Susan and Monty

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter

The beautiful flowers covering our Bradford pear tree in our front yard!

Wishing each of you the wonderful blessings of Easter!  "He is risen" . . . 3 of the most powerful words ever!!!

It's been busy around here.  Still trying to find a team to rebuild Don's house.  I will admit that these long delays are more than frustrating for me and I can't imagine how Don handles it as well as he does.

We will have a team of fraternity boys working at Michael's this Saturday afternoon.  My goal is to have them working on some landscaping and if the weather permits -- possibly getting his roof seal coated and maybe some exterior painting?  Time and temperature will tell.

Our warehouse is at a stand still -- for the moment -- due to not being able to find a location!  This too is a bit frustrating but I know God has it all set up and I am doing my best to try and stand on that promise!

I have also received a couple of offers to help out in the southern IN tornado relief this past week.  I had to put together a resume --- which almost made me laugh --- how do I get these past 7 years of experience on a sheet of paper and still have it make any sense?   :)    But I did the best I could and will let you know how that is coming along.  The drive from here is about 90 plus minutes so we will see how it all works out.

To all of you who have donated to our IGO Disaster Relief division --- our deepest and sincere thanks for your generosity!  Each donation makes it possible for us to do a little more to help others!  If you have not donated and would like to ---- bless you for the thought!  It's so simple to do.  Just make your check payable to "IGO Disaster Relief" and send it to the following address:
IGO Disaster Relief
PO Box 1008
Semmes, AL  36575
Each donation will receive a tax deduction receipt.

If you want an even easier way --- go to our website and at the bottom of the page you'll see the link to be able to donate online!!!!!

Again, we wish all of you the best Easter ever and thank you for continuing to hold us up in prayer!

Until next time . . . He is risen, He is risen indeed!                        Susan and Monty

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Yucky yet blessed

Sorry I haven't been here in a few days, been fighting some sort of intestinal crud and having to fight even harder today.

But . . . we were able to give away the donated vehicle this afternoon and it was awesome!  The town marshal from the city of Pekin and another church member drove up and drove away in a vehicle that is going to bring sincere tears of joy to a family in their area who lost everything!

We are so grateful to the elderly gentleman who made this donation.  He insisted on remaining anonymous but the new owners are going to send him a thank you card and enclose a picture.  Something I know he will treasure!

Speaking of blessings --- this morning our small group Bible study threw an Easter party for one of our local nursing homes --- complete with John dressing up in the Easter bunny full costume!  The nursing home is a small one and operates with such an amazingly warm and caring staff.  They are so under funded that they don't even have paper plates or napkins!  The 27 residents all were thrilled and awestruck when they saw the bunny.  We made sure each one had their picture taken with the bunny and will get a copy to them.  We had cookies and specially made Easter baskets for each one.  It was a fun thing to do and we plan on "adopting" them and doing more projects in the future.

A day filled with blessings all around --- even with the yucky! 

Hope you all are preparing your hearts for this weekend of Good Friday and Easter!!!!! 

Until next time . . . blessings to you and yours!                              Susan and Monty