Thursday, June 29, 2006

A month. I've been here for a month now and I can't believe how fast it has flown by. I've spent this week recovering from a brutal sun burn. When we left New Orleans, we took the kids to Galveston for a free day. I think the last time I went swimming was the summer after my Junior year in high school, so needless to say my skin is feeling the painful affects of spending a day at the beach after seven years of hibernation. I'm never going outside again.

Here's some more New Orleans pictures.

This is looking through a front door.

I think that is a wedding dress hanging on the mail box.

Cleaning out a pantry. Gross.

Looting is still a huge problem. People can't begin remodeling their houses because all of the tools, supplies, and furnishings will be stolen.

Two of our work groups at a finished house.

9th ward

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New Orleans Pictures:

This is Private Cunningham. We found him in our first house and he helped us out a lot.

This was the living room in our first house before we started working.

The same living room after we were finished.

This is my fellow intern Chris Lair.

This is one of our dads named Jerry. He's a beast. I think his group finished a house every day.

This was in the 9th ward.

Books about the end times, hmmm.

We found tons of Mardi Gras beads.

A house in the 9th ward.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

destruction and redemption

We returned from New Orleans a couple of hours ago and I have so many thoughts. I know my words can't really do justice to the experience I just had, but I'll try.

First of all, I have to brag on my kids. They were awesome, bigger than awesome. Our job was to go into these houses that hadn't been touched in 10 months and clear out all of the belongings- couches, dressers, refrigerators, clothes, books, food, EVERYTHING, then we had to strip the house down to just the studs. The church we were staying at and working through expected our group to get three houses done, my incredible kids got ten houses done. That's more than any of the groups that have come through that church. I didn't hear the kids complain about the work a single time. We had to force them to take water breaks. They wanted to stay and work as late as possible each day. I am so proud of them.

When we got to New Orleans we went down to the French Quarter which didn't seem to have much damage from the hurricane. This area is very old, it looks like old cities in Europe (at least what I think those cities look like). New Orleans definitely rivals Las Vegas for the title of sin city. The closer you walked to Bourbon Street the stronger the smell of alcohol got. I'm sure my teenage boys got an eye full more than once. There was an overwhelming feeling of loss and hopelessness in the city. The people are weary and tired.

When we left the French Quarter we took the kids down to the 9th Ward, a poor neighborhood that was pretty much wiped out by the storm. The destruction was worse than I had imagined. We saw houses that were literally turned over on their side. The few brick houses in this neighborhood held together pretty well, but all of the other houses were completely lifted off their foundation. The flood water was higher than the roofs and didn't start going down for at least two weeks. Nothing and no one survived this storm. Each house had a spray painted number on it of the number of bodies found in it. This place was a ghost town. There was not sign of life anywhere. We drove down one street and saw a man working on his house. We got out and talked to him and prayed with him. He told us about an decorative angel that was on his roof that made it through the storm and still sits on the roof. There are signs of God everywhere.

The neighborhood we worked in was an average middle class area. It reminded me of the neighborhood I grew up in. Just imagine your house submerged in water for two weeks then left for 10 months. Everything was still wet, covered in mold, and completely filthy. I've never seen anything this nasty. We had to wear masks to protect our lungs and prevent nose bleeds. I just pray that our kids didn't breathe in anything that will affect them later. Our homeowners didn't know what they were going to do. It hasn't been decided whether these neighborhoods will be rebuilt or just completely demolished and returned to marsh land. I kept asking myself, who would build a city on a swamp?

I still have lots of questions and unresolved feelings about New Orleans. I'll probably write more about it. The one thing I know is this city must be redeemed. Not just physically, but spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. That is my prayer for New Orleans.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Remember Susan from The Bachelor in Paris? She lives in Overland Park, right here where I am. Maybe I'll run into her today.

I'm leaving for our high school mission trip in the morning at 6:00am. We are off to New Orleans to work on houses. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do, but I will be the best cheerleader out there! There will be lots of yelling from me, you can count on that!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I usually try to have a positive attitude, but I need to whine for a minute. I am so mad/upset/frustrated about my feet. All my kids do is play Capture the flag and volleyball and soccer and run marathons and on and on... I feel like I can't do anything. I really feel like a bad intern. And to top it off the doctor who took my cast off said my break has gotten worse. So, there you go. I'm whiny tonight.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Well, I know you've all been dying for a KC update so here you go. First of all, I am tired. I forgot what the hours were like for an intern. Really, I'm too old for this. The other night I was out until 1:30, I haven't done that since my freshman year of college.

Next, I'm supposed to get my cast off on Friday! Yay!! I am so ready to take a real shower and shave my leg. I don't think I've ever actually looked forward to shaving my legs.

What else... I LOVE my kids. They are so funny. I still haven't even met half of them, though, because a lot of them have been out of town. Teenagers are so easy to love. All they want is to be loved and cared for. Tonight we played kick ball. What a classic game. I of course sat on the side line and screamed. I'm sure the kids appreciated that.

The house I'm staying in is so nice, but has one big flaw. No cable. Now all of you blog readers know how much I love my TV, so I'm sure you understand. Even Fox and WB don't have good reruns up here- no Friends, no Will and Grace. I guess the good Lord is trying to tell me something about my TV habit.

I'm really excited about this weekend. My dear friends Lynsey, Allison, and Anne-Marie are coming for a visit. We have such a great time together. I am so blessed.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

It's so funny getting adjusted to a new place. There's so many questions like, where is the light switch in my office??? I still haven't figured that out, so I just leave the lights on. Sleeping in a new place is hard too. I spend my whole night wondering what that noise was. And driving in a new place is the worst. I know people get so mad at me when I realize I'm in the wrong lane and I have to suddenly get over. I know they see my Texas license plate and think 'Stupid Texas Driver.' Sorry Texas. It's funny meeting people at church. They always say, "Oh, you must be Sue. I saw your cast." I guess they wrote about my broken foot in the church bulletin or something. My kids are awesome though. It's funny how all youth groups are pretty much the same. They love to play games all night and TP the youth minister's house. On Wednesday night me and the other intern went with the kids to wrap Paul's (the youth minister) house. We sat in the car and watched and it was so funny. Paul has a bucket of water balloons at every door so as soon as the kids got to the lawn he started pelting them. A neighbor called the police who drove up right as Paul set off a bottle rocket in the back yard. I was about to die. My first night as an intern here and I get to watch the kids talking to the cops. Nice, I know. Pray for me, seriously.

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