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....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In local news this week (also known as why I love mississippi...)

News got out in the past week or so about FEMA's new policy on ice distribution post-disaster. FEMA will now only distribute ice for medical or life saving purposes, and not to the general public (you know, folks who have no water/electricity and are trying to survive and clean-up in the 90-100 degree heat+ humidity of the deep, deep south). Folks down here have, rightly, gone a bit mad about this. MEMA (Mississippi Emergency Mgmt Agency) has come out saying that they will figure out a way to distribute ice for their residents since FEMA won't, which I applaud, but I really, prefer the way one local congressman has chosen to deal with this serious issue:

Taylor: FEMA officials a 'bunch of buttheads'

An official reaction to FEMA's no-ice policy came from U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor who referred to FEMA officials as a "bunch of buttheads."

Last week, officials were told that FEMA had decided to only supply ice for use in medical emergencies and life-saving reasons. It's left local officials scrambling to figure out ways to make it available for the general public.

During a meeting with Hancock County Board of Supervisors this morning Taylor said he intends to write to FEMA to register his objections to the new policy. He also urged Hancock County supervisors, as well as the city councils of Waveland and Bay St. Louis, to send similar letters of objection.

"I'm going to write a letter and tell them what a bunch of buttheads they are," said Taylor.

---You can read more about this by clicking here.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

And the cheese stands alone...

My friend Kerry left the coast this week. I am thrilled for him because he has a wonderful adventure planned for the summer that will take him all the way to an orphanage in India. And I'm not freaking out too much because when I move to Chicago this fall, he will also be living there and we'll get to see each other all the time. But I am terribly sad about this because Kerry has been a great friend and support for me down here. The two of us have been through the ringer and back again and after all of that, no one down here quite gets me/tolerates me/challenges me the way he does.

Also, it's tough because this makes me the last of the GCM PDA/MS Pres gang left. When I signed a one-year contract with PDA last summer, I knew this day would come. I just didn't know how hard it would be. Brenna and Linda made up a good large chunk of year one in Mississippi and when they left last summer, I melted a bit, but I had Lauren and Becca, Mical and Kerry to hold me together. Becca left in November, but Mical, Lauren and Kerry promised me I'd be fine. Lauren left, and Dan and Kerry shaved funny moustaches and built me a deck to keep my spirits up. Dan and Mical left and Kerry let me turn him into a wonderful girlfriend for gossip and chick flicks (um, I did also manage to take him to a NBA playoff game, so it wasn't all braiding each other's hair all the time). Kerry left this week.

In this business of ministry (?), I am learning that relationships are everything. These folks are the people who hold my hand when we have a bad day and dance and sing with joy when we have a good one, and who totally understand when both those days happen within a span of 15 minutes.

They are the freaks who pray with me at Chilis and dissect a sermon while waiting in line at IHOP. They are the ones who listen to me scream when I am frustrated with the system. They are the warm souls who give me that knowing glance when one of us has put in a 15 hour day just to have some pastor rip you out because we ran out of eggs. They are the wise ones who know

not to push me when I say I just can't be around new people today. They are the sensitive ones who know how to push me when I'm putting up one of those lame excuses. They know me in and out and over again. They are as much my family as if my mom had birthed each one of them (although I think she's glad she didn't).

And they are moving on.

We all are. I am moving in two months. But right now, I am still here and they are not. New people have come to take over their jobs. New people with new skills, new talents, new gifts. Wonderful, sweet, hard-working, smart, funny, new people.
But I don't want to get to know the new people. I want my family back. I want them back now. And I don't want things to change anymore.

Tomorrow we're taking a PDA staff trip to Ship Island for some quality beach bonding time. It's going to be super fun and I will have lots of time to get to know all of our new summer staff. I'm sure I'll love it. But for tonight, I just want to whine.
I miss my peeps.....

Sunday, June 01, 2008

While you wait...check out these cuties!

Okay, I am feeling better and working on a post to update y'all on my trip home, current PDA happenings and my future (gulp) plans. While that's stewing, I was flipping through some photos.

My camera broke a couple of weeks ago, so I have been sharing and borrowing from others. Last weekend, I used my sister Rainey's camera. She's one of those people who takes tons of photos and leaves them all on the memory card forever, which worked out great for me because when I uploaded the photos I took over the weekend, I also got about 6 months worth of pictures of my neice Quinlan and nephews William and Henry. Check out how cute they are:

.... and here is one pic from my trip. Quinlan did my hair and was very proud of herself!

Catching up...

Okay....where to start?

I had an amazing weekend at home. Flew in to Baltimore and had some quality sister time with Rainey. Saturday was spent in DC with six of my nieces & nephews, two sisters, one brother-in-law and one mom. We sat on the Mall and went to a free kids concert put on my XM radio (remember when everyone listened to satellite radio for like a year and it was going to change the world- ha!) featuring, wait for it, Lisa Loeb and Meredith Brooks. Okay, what? Kids concert with those chicks? Lisa Loeb was the funky 90s indie-girl all my alternative-dork friends loved who then totally sold out and put out a pop album and VH1 reality show a couple of years ago. Kids album is a new layer of her sell-out-ness, and really she's such a bore on stage that it doesn't matter what style music she's playing, it just wasn't entertaining to watch. So the other one, though, Meredith Brooks, she had one pretty big hit, also in the 90s, called, "I'm a _itch." Except she didn't edit the title, or the song. But she was a great kid entertainer, so our group of munchkins was pretty happy. The whole fam bummed around the monuments and I got to sit with my 7 year old niece and together we read the two great Lincoln speeches inside Abe's big white house, which was one of the cooler things I've ever gotten to do with her.

That night, I met up with a handful of my best friends from college for some good food, a lively political debate, and a few too many margaritas. Being in the city really made me excited for my next adventure and some serious city time. (Have I mentioned the plan to move to the city at the end of the summer?) Oh, and I just love DC so much. The metro, the activity, the diversity, the monuments, all of it. Love it.

The next morning, I went back up to Bawlmer for church. It was so great to be back at DMPC for worship. I just always feel so comfortable there, even when my nephew is puking all over the pews and I'm cleaning that with tissues. I guess that's the thing about church family- even at your grossest, you are comfortable there. AND, my pal/pastor Liz lent me a dress to wear to my friend's wedding that night!

After church I headed downtown to check into the hotel and rejoin my college pals in prepping for the wedding. We did a little wandering around the Inner Harbor and ate outside at the Hard Rock on the water. I have no idea how I manage to go months/years at a time without seeing these folks, because ugh, when I am with them I realize how much I need to be with them more.

The wedding of my friends Carrie and Jay was just beautiful, casual and lovely. Fun times were had by all, especially by those who participated in the throwing of the artichokes. Wow.

On Memorial Day I went to an Orioles/Yankees game and enjoyed some perfect baseball weather. My sister Rainey got sick that night and I thought it was odd. Little did I know that the sick would shortly be coming my way....

I flew home on Tuesday night to New Orleans. I stayed at our Olive Tree Village and the next day spent some time with my friend Kerry and his dad, who was in town visiting. That night, I caught the Stafford Uck. It was the sickest I've ever been and I would not wish that one ANYONE! Especially if that anyone is staying in a motor home with no water or A/C in the deep, deep south in the summer. Sick like that is no fun in a porta-potty. And with that, I think I've said enough.

I finally managed to make it back to Gulfport on Friday, which was just in time for the PDA weekend outing to the roller rink. A crew of us slapped on some skates and did our best hokey pokey!

I realized that I only have about two months left down here.....my how it flies.....