Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Raise Up A Child....

I had great parents - not perfect ones - but nearly. :) I remember a lot of things they taught me but one of the most important was the value of and the joy in helping others. That's one of the things I hope I've passed on to my children and to their children. Last week one of our daughters brought her two youngest children (ages 11 and 12) down here to Sager Brown to spend a few days with us. It was one-on-one Mommy time for the kids. They had lots of plans for fun times...The Aquarium in New Orleans, the beach, sleeping in the camper. But they also wanted to see what we're doing here and they wanted to help. And help they did! They worked one and a half days in the depot packing health kits, and getting them into boxes that they put together. They were lucky that the week they were here was a "Food For Families" week. Catholic Charities works with the United Methodist Committee on Relief to hand out some basic food supplies to folks who need them. The Kids were able to be a part of that by giving out the cheese. They met all the people coming in, heard those wonderful cajun dialects, and ran errands for the other volunteers.

Sydney is watching each person sign the register and checking to see how many boxes they get.

She and her mother worked a table together and had a wonderful time!

Can you tell she's having fun? Look at that beautiful smile!

Blake is watching who's coming - trying to see who needs help.

The gentleman here is using a walker and is picking up food for several others who couldn't come. So Blake found a box, put all the cheese in it, and then put it on the seat of the walker so the man could wheel it out! The rest of the food is loaded directly into their cars by other volunteers.

I was so proud of the kids and I think they were proud of themselves.
Proverbs 22:6 says "raise up a child in the way he should go and he when he is old he will not depart from it." Here at Sager Brown we have kids from about 9 or 10 coming to help. We have people in their eighties and even their nineties coming to help. When people ask me what the world is coming to I just point to Sager Brown and other places like it. The lesson my parents taught me is alive and well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grandma's Rain Lily

Some of you will remember a year ago when my cousin Carol brought me a start of my Grandma Light's rain lily. This lily sat on her back porch when I was a little girl. She lived near Fresno, California and my whole family would load up in the stationwagon, all six of us, and drive across country every other year to visit her. In alternate years she rode the Grayhound Bus to come visit us. Because this plant is so special to me I brought it with me to Sager Brown on this mission trip. The first couple of weeks here I worried that I might have done the wrong thing - it's so hot here and I wasn't sure it would make it. But for an at-least-60-year-old plant she's looking good! Thanks again, Carol!
Legacys from grandmothers are precious things. I have a few things that belonged to both of my grandmothers and some that belonged to Jerry's grandmothers. But more precious than the things I have are the memories that live in my heart. Both of my grandmothers were special ladies though vastly different. One was tall and elegant looking and white haired (I got the white hair part!). The other was tiny, had black hair and looked like her Native American ancestors. One was independent and lived quite well on her own. The other was very dependent on her husband and did pretty much everything he told her to. One of them always told me to "help your mother," and the other made me macaroni necklaces.
But more important than all of that is that I knew they both loved me. They wanted me to be good and to mind my parents and be respectful to my elders and to look both ways when crossing the street. They wanted me to be happy and to get good grades, and to be a hard worker. But if I didn't, they still loved me.
I wonder what my grandchildren will remember about me. Will they know that I love them? Will they know that I'm happy when they come to see me? Will they know that time spent with them gives me wonderful memories that live in my heart?
What do you remember about your grandparents? Because it's what we remember that we ought to be sure we're doing for our own grandchildren, don't you think?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blessings Coming and Going

This week here at Sager Brown was special. Oh they're all special because we get to meet the most wonderful people who come here to serve others and practice the faith they believe in so fervently. But this week was doubly special. We got to fill and ship a container with school and health kits going to Haiti. There were several boxes like this one from UNICEF - School In A Box Kit For 80 Students. Don't you just love that? School In a Box! :) And all of these boxes wrapped in cellophane were health kits. Each of these big boxes was packed with smaller boxes containing approximately 28 kits in each small box.
Each of the smaller boxes was loaded one at a time by a volunteer into this container. The temperature that day was in the upper nineties and inside that container it was excruciatingly hot. But young and old all of our volunteers got to put boxes in, putting their hands on the materials they had packed for people in need.

June 15, 9:00 a.m. a 20 foot container was filled with thousands and thousands of items that had been gathered from all over the United States, churches large and small sending what they could and praying over each piece.

This guy helped load those boxes. He'll probably kill me for showing this picture. :) But he was working so hard, sweat dripping off, and loving every minute. Knowing that you are truly helping people have a little better life fills your heart with joy.

And when it was loaded we all gathered in a circle with two people in the circle laying hands on the boxes and prayed for every person who would receive one of these kits. It was an incredible moment for us all.

This wasn't the first container filled here or the first container shipped and it won't be the last. Hundreds have gone before and hundreds will follow. But every single one is special. And every single person working here and receiving there has received a blessing not to be forgotten.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Finally A Little Stitching!

I've been working on these sunflowers for a long time. I'd sew a little, then put it down and do something else. The background fabric is a deep yellow/gold and for some reason it was hard to see the lines. I first traced them with the blue wash-away pen but that just seemed to fade into the background so I washed that out and retraced the whole thing with a red pen. That was much easier on my eyes. I want to make a throw pillow but don't have any coordinating fabric yet. I'm going to take this with me Saturday and go to a quilt show I found out about that's in Slidell, Louisiana this weekend. The ad said they will over 300 quilts but it didn't mention vendors. Surely they'll have vendors. Right? All quilt shows have vendors. Right? Promise me they'll have vendors!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Happy Week

Don't you love it when you have a week, a whole week, where you smiled all the time? I had one of those weeks as my first here at the UMCOR Sager Brown Mission. Last Sunday, one week ago today, I checked in the first volunteers I would be working with and I can tell you this week's volunteers are going to have a hard time beating them! They were here to work and work they did. Five women (along with my husband and a couple of other male long term volunteers) painted one and a half houses out in this heat where the heat index was 105. A mom and her two teeenage daughters sorted, straightened, organized and hung up clothes in a clothes closet at the local women's shelter. Two men assembled office furniture. Others put together health kits - nearly 14,000 of them. They didn't just have willing hands and hearts, they had joyful spirits and heart touching stories. The Vesper service they arranged and implemented on Thursday night was a true worship service. This place is truly holy ground.

We're walking at 5:30 every morning during the week because of this menu! And let me tell you these ladies know how to cook - one day one of them made pralines at home and brought some to share. Oh my.

Jerry and I took a drive over to New Iberia, about 25 miles away. You know you're in the deep south when you see homes like this.

And trees like this!

And for those of you who are James Lee Burke fans (he's the author of the Dave Robicheaux, detective, series) this is his parent's home in New Iberia.
We're having a ball here!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day Two - Home Away From Home

Our second day of travel started out kind of rough. It rained. And rained. And rained some more. Everyone who knows me very well knows that when I get scared I sing Jesus Loves Me, usually quite loudly. Well driving through Alexandria in the pouring rain with interstates above me and interstates below me circling in all directions I'm pretty sure Jerry could hear me singing way up there in front of me! But we arrived safely and spent the afternoon settling in to our new apartment.

Is this not the cutest thing? The housekeepers who work in the residence hall clean the apartments between volunteers and they had it spotless! The cute little elephants on the beds are shaped from a bath towel and a hand towel. :) The bed coverings, pillows and window treatments were all made by a volunteer and are beautiful! She made them for all the apartments and windows in the cafeteria and other buildings. The bedroom has only the beds, end tables and a dresser but is plenty of room for us.

The bedroom is right next to the living area and my husband, who is so hot natured that he freezes me wherever we are, is a happy guy in both of these rooms because they are cold! and the temperature can't be changed because it affects several other rooms on this end of the hall. I have a fleece throw to put over me when I'm stitching or watching tv and also a long sleeved denim shirt to wear. I even put a little electric throw on my bed!

The bathroom is small but certainly has all the necessities. :) It will be interesting to see how we adjust to having one bathroom since at home we each have our own. We are so spoiled and don't even realize it - so many people in the world don't even have one bathroom. :(

The closet is more than adequate - and no that's not all the clothes I brought. :) It took a little while to bring in all the clothes I felt like I "had to have." Trust me, I filled it up. But I left Jerry a little room in there.

This is Jerry's chair. You can see my office beyond it.

And this is my chair. Before I put all my stitching stuff and my Bible study stuff, and my blanket and my Ott light and my Puffs on it. Jerry's end table still looks just like it started. Why is that men don't have all the stuff that we women do? He put his things inside the table but I want mine out where I can get to them easily!

And here's the kitchen. Where I won't have to do much cooking at all since we eat in the cafeteria all week. And diet all weekend to make up for the cafeteria all week! I'll show you a menu for the week next post - oh my goodness can you say good? We walked at 5:30 this morning - if I don't walk the 20 pounds I lost before I arrived will be back on in a very short time!
Our first missionaries arrived on Sunday afternoon - all 48 of them. They are processing health kits and birthing kits this week. A truckload of health kits and school kits will be shipped out to Haiti on Thursday - somewhere 12,000 and 15,000 of them. These groups came from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri and will go back home on Friday. They range in age from 13 to 70+. Some are processing the kits, some are painting a house, some are sorting clothing at the local women's shelter, some are sewing baby layettes and school bags. There's plenty of work and thankfully, there are eager hands and hearts. More later!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day One - The Journey Begins

I took a little walk through the yard before we left. These white lilies I planted six years ago - the year after my parents died. I had placed them in the church on Easter in their memory and in my husband's parents memory. They come up every year and are more beautiful each year. The swing that overlooks the lake is a wonderful cool place to sit on a summer day and a perfect place for conversations with God.
Usually I have lots of blooming flowers on this deck but this year I knew we wouldn't be there to take care of them so it's a little bare but still the perfect place to sit and watch the boars go by.

It's hard to leave home when you know you won't be back for four months. And it's hard to leave knowing that all your "stuff" is staying there! We women and our stuff - aren't we funny about it. :) I had the hardest time deciding what sewing stuff had to go and what had to stay - I wanted to take it all!
As we pulled out of the driveway I put a CD in and the first song I heard was by Mercy Me - "Here Am I Lord, Send Me". If I needed a confirmation that we were doing what we were supposed to, I certainly got it - don't you just love when He does that?
My husband drove the truck and pulled the camper. We aren't living in it but we want to make a few weekend trips so we're taking it along. I drove the car behind him ... I thought this would be my view all the way to the mission.

But then I realized that God had rolled out the carpet for me - not a red one but a white lace one! it covered both sides of the highway all the way through Arkansas!

I got a fortune cookie at lunch and it said this...You first have to make an exit in order to make an entrance to something better. I love that.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Break in the Packing

This little bunny with his Happy Spring is the project we made at Jo's Redwork Workshop a couple of weeks ago. I put the binding on last night - it was a welcome change from the organizing and packing!