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