I started this blog to keep my church, friends and family updated on my year volunteering in Katrina recovery with the Presbyterian Church (USA). I've now signed on for a second year working in disaster recovery and another year living in Mississippi. It's getting good....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On Vacation!

The last few weeks have been quite hectic on the Gulf Coast. The Presbytery of Mississippi Disaster Recovery's leadership is processing through a major transition. In my GCM program, Jaymie left, Brenna's packing to leave this weekend, and Linda decided to move home early. Homeowners are stressing out because it's hurricane season again and their homes are in various stages of mess/repair. And my awesome team from home (Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church) came down and I got to spend much of the week working with them/not doing my job! It was time for some much needed R & R.

Right now I am sitting on the porch of our rented beach house in the Outer Banks, NC. I'm here for a week relaxing and playing with my sisters and their families. Today I enjoyed one of the more perfect vacation days I've had in a while, which included sleeping in until 8:30, waking up to bacon and eggs ready on a plate, kayaking with the girls all morning, drinking a daiquiri with lunch at the pier, reading a book with my niece, finding the perfect comfy dress on sale for my summer weddings while shopping with my sisters, hitting the beach for a few hours with the whole gang, playing a couple rounds of pool in the basement, swinging on the hammock with my nephew, enjoying steaks off the grill for the family dinner, and finishing the night watching our neighbors set off fireworks while we set up the board games.

And it's only Wednesday......

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Spreading the love!

Below you'll find the link to the local news station's South Mississippi Heroes page. Recently they profiled one of our site managers, Chris Barnhardt. It's a joy to work with Chris and a greater joy to share in the celebration of his service. Click here and look for the video on "Chris Barnhardt of Meridian".

Sunday, June 17, 2007


From touring the bayous of Houma with my GCM gang to touring the streets of New Orleans with the DMPC mission team, from the top of a carnival ride that made me want to puke to the bottom of the pool with a very new swimmer, from the touching goodbye sermon preached by a dear friend to the sight of my Baltimore church members worshiping in my Gulfport home, from the fun that can only come from a trailer full of girl talk to laughter that can only be heard in the middle of the zydeco train dance line, from the ninth ward devistation to the pearlington devistation to the gulfport devistation to the newly opened Bay St. Louis Bridge to the volunteer teams seen all over the coast to the evidence of progress at several houses we're working on.....I'm finding hope everywhere this weekend.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I've never been tucked into my car before....

So, I am in the middle of an insane home visit blitz before preparing for two weeks of vacation and I am FULL of funny homeowner experiences.....

Today, for the first time in my life, some one tucked me into my car.

I visited with a homeowner who'd spent all of his time repairing his kitchen and bedrooms but paid no attention to his siding, flooring or soffit. We sat and talked about his home repairs, time in the state penn, and then all the many reasons why I am still single. Then, after one of his friend's offered me a cool drink of Hennessey (to which I politely declined), he walked me to my car and tucked me in.

I unlocked the door, but he pushed me out of the way to open the door for me. Then he helped me into the car. Then he helped me put my seat belt on. Then he closed my car door for me.

The feminist in me freaked out. The Mississippi in me understood that this man needed to be helpful.

The Erin in me just wanted to get home and avoid the lightning that was striking down all around during our daily Mississippi 3pm storms.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Queen of the Fish Fry

For a while now I've been telling everyone I meet that I think Mississippi's official state motto should be, "Welcome to Mississippi. We fry it!"

Those who knew me in college, are well aware of my love for the deep fryer, as proved by many late night trips to fraternity house kitchens. And my oldest niece and nephew call me Queen Erin, for they know me as the Queen Of All Things Fried.

But now that I live in Mississippi, I fear my crown is in danger. Everyone here owns a Fry-Daddy. They fry turkey, chicken, catfish, shrimp, crawfish, and who knows what else. I swear, they should put a deep fryer on their license plates.

Now I am one of them. Last Friday, a homeowner gave us some fish he'd caught in the bayou that morning and insisted that we also borrow his Fry-Daddy to prepare it properly. So, for our family dinner Sunday night, George taught me how to be a fish fryer!

I'm on the way back to my throne now.....

Friday, June 01, 2007

Who made today such a special one?

Today is special for many reasons.....

1. Three special people in my life celebrate their birthdays today: my awesome sister- Jenny, and two great friends- Tyler and Taylor. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love you guys (even if you're all old now). Go team redhead!

2. I got to deliver gifts of love to a homeowner, and a check for $1400! That money was raised by a group of very young children in upstate NY who are learning about mission service. They worked, fund raised, created crafts, and collected books for a little girl on the Gulf Coast who lost her home to Hurricane Katrina. Today, they put a smile on her face!

3. We will complete a new home and turn over the keys tonight! As I type this message, a crew is preparing a crawfish boil at the newly rebuilt home, which was crafted through the hard work and collaboration of many different churches, agencies, hearts and hands. Tonight we all get to celebrate that accomplishment!

4. It's Friday, baby!