This summer has been a whirlwind. I think we both decided we like our summers to be full of as much travel as the kids can handle…and that helps us stay put during the year. Although, we’re never ones to stay put. We just got back from Mississip Sat. at 2 am and are debating about whether or not we can make it to a wedding in Lancaster, PA next Sat. Our boys have done surprisingly well with the transition back home (well, you know, they are 3 and 4…) So, we’ll see what the rest of the week holds. As far as the last 2 wks., there are so many snippets to share. But with piles of things needing attention and checkbooks that haven’t been balanced in too long…there’s only time for a few.
I was so encouraged to see the Lord move in the hearts and stir the thoughts of our teens (and myself) this week. One of the most freeing things He showed me was how much He loves me. I don’t know why I hold on so tightly to the idea that I have to do something great to please Him, and when I try, I never quite get it right. But this week, one of the speakers shared how nothing we do is without sin. We are sinful people. And yet, look at Hebrews 11, and everyone listed there is recognized for their faith. It’s not the sin of Rahab, Samson, etc. that’s focused on, but their faith! And it’s been so refreshing to focus on the love I have for God and my desire to worship Him…rather than my imperfections at serving Him. Like if He wanted me perfect, He would have made me that way!
We had a day between the 1st week of Hurricane Relief Work and the 2nd week of Conference, so we took off for New Orleans. I was so excited to see N.O., but it wasn’t far into the drive that I lost my giddiness. We drove down to the Gulf, and then drove the road along the Gulf, and for 1 1/2 hrs., we saw constant destruction. It’s been 2 yrs. since Katrina, and I didn’t expect to see so much beach front property demolished and abandoned. It was very eerie. A Six Flags Theme Park destroyed, still standing, but shut down. A Wal-Mart shopping plaza blown out with weeds overgrowing the parking lot. Bridges, Piers, Houses, Restaurants, Malls ruined. The French Quarter section of N.O. was rebuilt and running, so we got some good ole Cajun food, but it wasn’t like I thought it would be. I just felt sad for the people who lost so much. And yet, what a small scale this was compared to the tsunami…
The 1st week that the teens were there, they totally rebuilt a lady named Doris’ house. The Hurricane took her roof off, and then it poured rain for 24 hours into her house. There were piles of moldy junk in her house that needed thrown out. They gutted the walls and hung dry wall, took out all the appliances, etc. We got to go back a few times the 2nd week and paint, lay new flooring, mud the bathroom, hang cabinets, landscape, and put in new appliances. It was so cool to work among teens who were cheerful, eager to help, without complaint about the hardwork we were doing. We really enjoyed our time with them.
And of course, on the way home we stopped at Unclaimed Baggage Center. Many of us got really good deals. I got a way cool Anne Klein watch for $10. Andy got a Kenneth Cole jacket for $8. But it was also a little sad. Thankfully, all our lost bags have been found. But there were tons of cameras, iPods, books, wedding dresses, jewelry, DVD players…that were for sale in a Goodwill-like store as if people willingly donated them. I feel like never checking in a bag ever again.
That’s really all I have time for. Andy picked up our mail that was on hold, so here’s now yet another pile of something to do. Edit: Found our camera. Here’s some pics. We didn’t take ourgood camera, so for some reason, I didn’t pay too much attention to get artistic shots. Andy did a good job in New Orleans, but most of them are me snapping out the window on the drive. I wish we’d had more time. There are so many shots still only in my mind that told quite a tragic story. We also have some pics up on our fan 16 site.
It was a beautiful sight to see trees standing amidst the barren rubble. I thought what a cool visual it was of the verse “He shall be like a tree firmly planted…” God’s creation is amazing to withstand what demolished tons of concrete and metal.
This is all beach front property. I thought it was bulldozed, but many of the sites were completely swept away from the storm.
Again, we were driving, so you can’t see this too well. But I’ll bet it was a beautiful, luxurious spot. It had a gate and a place where a pool once was. Now there’s nothing.
And here’s some of New Orleans.
The restaurant we ate lunch at. We ordered crazy appetizers to share: duck puffs, grilled alligator, crab claws, etc. The gator was actually delicious. And the duck puffs were too–they were like a creamy egg roll. I got some cajun jambalaya and gumbo. It was SOOO good. And we ate on the famous Bourbon St. (from the Bourbon St. Steak at Applebees) That was fun.