Thursday, April 30, 2009

Parenting 101

I've come across some GREAT music recently. It's peppy, upbeat, fun... I just can't help but move and want to dance to it. =) And so I do... to the ghastly horror of my kids. At first they thought it was fun. We would crank the music as we drove to school and I'd bust out with some disco moves and use the steering wheel as a microphone. At first they thought I was cool. But THEN I suggested that we SHARE all this fun by rolling down the windows of the car as soon as we pull into school, then everyone could hear us sing at the top of lungs and SEE our incredibly talented car dancing skills. Ohhhhh... you know when you've ARRIVED as a parent, when you are SOOOO PROUD to embarrass your kids. Ahhhh and now I feel triumphant. Heh.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I still have a lot to blog about Mississippi, but it's just not making itself into a bloggable format in my head right now. So those stories must wait.

Instead I've been playing catch up trying to make up for lost time. I'm moving faster, thinking faster (but not totally more effectively,) talking faster, typing faster, multi-tasking, consolidating... and last but never least in my book: playing dodge-the-unknown and hide from the fear like my life depends on it. Hi, I'm Meg and I can sit here and drum up a good blog, I can manage 2 hospital's billing departments, charity and admitting offices, I can read a book in one night, I can show you hours worth of pictures of my kids, I can show you how to do peritoneal dialysis, I can change your tire or build you a fire, french braid hair, take an entire shower shampooing and conditioning with a baby on my hip. I cannot however, give you directions because I simply have no sense of it at all, and I cannot sit face to face with you and let you in my world.

I am a good listener, and I can listen to your stories. I will listen from my heart and not begin to think of a reply...I will just listen. I will hear you when you speak and tuck away your sorrows right into my own heart so you don't have to feel them alone.

Quiet is good. Invisible is better. Because then when the fear looms, nobody else has to know.

I've learned something new recently. I haven't been able to benefit from it yet in the moment, just in hind sight. We all fall into our routines, or comfort zones, and nestle in. Take whatever your first response is, take it in, mull it over, acknowledge it and hear it. Validate it. Now set it aside. You are now free to have a next response. What is it now? My first response is always fear- run, hide, get out of the way, duck and cover, don't draw attention... If I don't repress it, then my analytical self moves past and wants to solve it (Like work through it! Dealing with it, not completely avoiding it.) Here now are two completely self-justified reactions... and now there is a choice to be had.

I haven't been able to get beyond the idea that there IS a choice. But I'm there... I'm right there. I get that there's a choice and I'm not shooting that down in its totality yet. I'm observing it, respecting it, letting those ideas run restless in my head.

Monday, April 20, 2009

High Dive

What a trip... an amazing experience to open my eyes and my heart. It's so much more than just physically helping people rebuild from Katrina. It's about strengthening the bond with those I came with. It's about being a witness. It's about learning more of who I am. It's about the people whose paths we cross along this journey. It's about hope for all involved and any one watching or hearing from afar. It's about so many things, I'm sure I can't list them all here.

I am so blessed to be a part of this team and to be a part of these moments.

I am human. My intent is intact, my ability to take what I've learned and implement it immediately into my own life does not exist. I come home exhausted yet excited about all that's just happened, and I forget that all I've left behind at home, will still be here to deal with when I return. I am let down. All the things I'd been so relieved to escape while I was gone, are absolutely, resolutely right here as I walk through the door.

I know Jesus. I have an undying love and faith and dedication which has invaded my soul. For some maybe finding Him is the hard part. For me, I have found Him, but teach me how to live WITH Him. Now that I know Him, give me the tools and the direction to maintain this love. I'm eager to continue on this path, but what is the next step? It can't just be about finding Him.

Now that I've climbed all the way up to this high dive, I want to dive right in. Now that I'm up here all I can find are a thousand manuals telling me how to climb to the diving board. I'm here! I'm shouting from the top... yet all I hear are the echoes of what I've already done. Help me move forward and begin this walk. I know it will be hard, but give me the hope, or at least a way to look for hope, so I'm not constantly living in a state of feeling let down.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Signing Off Saturday

Yes we are in the south. Just in case you are wondering, the number of bullet holes definitely equates to how far south you are. =)
Hi Lee! I don't think he was very pleased with me taking his picture right then, but the angle was I went for it!

Do you think the boys are looking up at her... in distress that she may fall out? Nah... Debbie would never pull a stunt like that! Hehehehe

Here's the crew from Captain John's house:Doug, Lee, Jonathan, Debbie, Stephen, and Brittany:

The entire Pearlington Crew for trip #7
Meggie, Brittany, Lee, Gail, Stephen, Douglas, Debbie, and Jonathan

This trip's team t-shirt

This is the "Mini-barn" in the back yard of the yellow house, which is on 2 acres and butts up against Ben (The Boss Man)'s property. He has very creative dreams of making a path from this house to his house by way of a golf course and a tiki bar built into the side of the mini barn.
What!? What!? Your eyes are NOT deceiving you (Feel completely at ease jumping for joy here and a little howl-- just like I did) ... that is me and B and jonathan at the TOP of the burn pile!!!!! This was the perfect way to end a hard week's work. =) thanks B.

Doug, Stephen, Brittany, Jonathan, and Me!

Doug sporting quite the GQ pose. You'd think he's a keeper, then you let him eat, and his digestive track starts to do its thing... and it's all down hill from there.

Jonathan and his net for bug catching; he was rarely seen without it. What a dedicated student. BTW, those tupperware containers in the freezer-- beware!!

Lee found this lattice under mud and wood. I'm starting to think that power washing will make anything better... kind of like duct tape, hey hey!!
Deb working on the back of the yellow house at the end of work day #6

This is how the yellow house looked on day #1. Not too bad from far away... but up close was another we went to work

Though it doesn't look pretty like this, scraping all this paint away will make the next coat of paint actually stick around for a while.

And just to end on a nice warm-fuzzy note: Gail and Lee celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary today.

There will be many more stories to share... but I must sleep now... more to come in the next few days!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Remembers

When I was 6 I was sick. I don't remember what the heck was the matter with me. Not deathly ill but I wasn't getting any better. Maybe Scarlett Fever? Anyways... my parents put me on a plane to Hawaii to stay with my grandparents on Maui. Mom said I needed sun and rest. (Side note right here: B is randomly playing "Oh what a beautiful morning" on her computer and that was my favorite song that Granddad used to sing to me.... I was going to get to that...that girl has perfect timing...) My grandparents built their house on Maui on Ahinahina Place about half the way up Haleakala. Granddad was retired from the Army and here in Maui he had a Protea plantation where he grew and cultivated flowers for the farmer's markets:
Their place was magical for me. Granddad had a rock wall made of lava rocks found on their property. When he was building it he built in a seat into the wall for me so I could sit out there with him. Grandmere had a little box of tiny toy animals and I would play with them out on the carefully. At the end of his day Granddad would lift me up into the hammock and we would sway back and forth and he would sing to me, mostly show tunes. I would just soak up the sun and think to myself: I never want to go home. I want to stay right here forever.... as I'm scraping this dang paint of this very old house in Pearlington-- it feels like Hawaii felt to me. The air, the warmth, the birds. I very much like having nothing more to worry about than scraping paint in the sun, laughing on the deck and having the wind blow on by. I don't think I ever want to go home.
So with that, I don't really have anything else to blog about. Just some pictures to share:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Turtelly Thursday

Quickie re-cap of today: Waffle house, the bugs are eating me, I am making progress on the paint scraping and getting B to the top of the burn pile, and my camera works again!!! (Cheers to Gary, buddy ol pal!)

Douglas fancies Waffle House so we went there this morning. Guess what I had...a WAFFLE! Think Denny's but not as clean, tons more grease, and a southern accent. I love the south. Have I mentioned that I LOVE the south. B was having a soda at 730 in the morning and the waitress asks her if she wants a refill...B's look was priceless almost a combination of Please give me my caffeine fix and Thanks be to God that you just read my mind. The waitress smiles and replies (to just the look mind you...those words never left B's mouth) and says "I hear you sister."

The no-see-ums continue to feast on me. Today I practiced using the putty knife to fillet those little suckers. My left hand which originally I left the dead bug on still is resisting all attempts at being eaten... the right hand has sooooo lost this battle.

The scraping of yellow paint continues (along with the many layers of blue, ugly yellow, some gray, and an occasional white coat depending on where I'm scraping.) I think tomorrow we'll get to the final side of the house, then we can do another power wash, then maybe scrape more, then it will be ready to be primed. Look here too: found a nifty way to hang my scraping tool at the end of the day. =)

Here are some pics from Captain John's house: Jonathan and Douglas. I would have gotten a picture of Debbie (because I am an equal opportunity blogger) but she fell through the sheet rock from the ceiling I refrained from taking a picture (of her with her scraped up nose, OR the hole in the ceiling.)

This is a REAL houseboat:
Can you see what I see?

I asked B today if we were going to climb to the top of the burn pile. She did not say NO! She also didn't say yes. But I think this is a move in the right direction in any case... so I just left it at that. Look at that bun pile! How can you not look at it and think... I need to to climb to that top of that!
In closing tonight I'd like to share this picture with you. This is the sign that goes with the restaurant we went to yesterday: Turtle Landing. Now read closely: it is TURTELLY COOL!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is Today Wednesday?

Oh my goodness I am tired. Today's work for me wasn't any different than the last couple of days, but I think it's starting to all catch up with me. Also- I couldn't get the camera to work today. I pushed all the little dang buttons and all it did was beep at me... Gary: Are you reading this? I'm going to call you tomorrow and ask you what "Memory card is locked. Slide lock to write position" means. =) Too tired to type a good update, but here goes:

*Have not needed to use my i-pod while I sleep. =)

*I continue to be amusingly polka-dotted but not on the left hand.

*Have one bug bite right on the thumb knuckle. This is exactly where I sliced my finger open n a broken glass a year and a half ago. So...think: chubby knuckle, ugly scar, BIG red bug that order... Almost like a 3 scoop ice cream cone but not nearly as fun. =(

*Have a new appreciate for belts, and for people who wear them.

*Continue to scheme to see if I can get B to climb to the top of the GIGANTIC burn pile with me (before it burns) so we can take a picture. No go so far. I will not lose hope.

*Ate lunch at Turtle Island or Turtle Landing... can't remember now... for food at the best dive bar (aka only restaurant perhaps?) in Pearlington area. We watched for alligators while we were there. Didn't see any, but did see a "Blue" Heron, tho it was white actually (so maybe not a blue heron), and it was dancing, but only as a Non blue heron can... it's head and body seemed to stay still but its long neck seemed to swivel back and forth like a hula-hoop. Awesome. Nothing like a bird that's got rhythm.

*Woke up in the middle of the night and didn't know where I had put Bitty to sleep. I knew I was in Mississippi but couldn't find her. Um ya. She's at home with daddy in her own crib, right where she should be.

*I continued to scrape paint at the yellow house. The boys and Debbie are putting up loads of sheet rock and insulation at Captain Johns. Good progress!!!

*Am going to bed now

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday With Pictures

I made friends today! Spiders and creepy crawlies and little biting bugs friends. Not really amused. I would like you to know that on my right hand there are 11 bites. On the left hand there are not nearly as many...because.... I am a scientist experimenter at heart and love a little challenge. The next bug that landed on my left hand--- I squished and left right there as a reminder to his fellow biting bug friends. Seems to have worked! I again am quite amused with myself.

But now to the real news: I almost bit the side of my tongue off yesterday. Gross. It did not fall off today, for which I am terribly proud. But I kind of feel like a disfigured monster. Shhhh I didn't tell my Pearlington friends about this...

Ok ok... the really REAL news: Excellent progress at Captain John's land/swamp/emerging house... Last trip in December 08 the team was cutting trenches, building rebar enforced cement boxes to put pylons into to hopefully get something solid to build a foundation AND perhaps a house upon. See below two pics of the work in progress, and then below that that same area as it appears TODAY:

TODAY!!! -->

Similarly see below a pic of the yellow house in much sadder times:

And here the house yesterday. It looks amazing, especially considering what it's been through: One of the guys with us here was at the yellow house yesterday and wanted to take a peak inside; he went to walk through the front door, and then thought better of it because his boots were very muddy. I gently reminded him that this house as seen FAR worse than those muddy boots, like perhaps a hurricane and flooding thanks to Katrina. "Oh ya..." he says, "I forgot about that." Inside the house still needs a lot of work, and love and labor, but the layer upon layer of mud has been shoveled out by past crews, the walls completely stripped down, and the kitchen cabinets cleaned I think 4 times with bleach. They are trying to salvage what the can of this precious house built in 1922.
The view from the edge of the life is different and often much clearer than the way most of us see things. Values that have been passed down in a family for generations may be recognized as inadequate; lifelong beliefs about personal capacities or what is important may prove to be mistaken. When life is stripped down to its very essentials, it is surprising how simple things become. Fewer and fewer things matter and those that matter, matter a great deal more.
-Rachel Remen

Monday, April 13, 2009

Work Day #1: Pretty Yellow House

First day of work today. Let me say this: I am polka dotted. The bugs really dig me.

This is the view from our house this morning. It poured rain last night. The wind howled. There was thunder AND lightning AND heat lightning (is that anything like a hot flash?) Anyways the feel of the air outside this morning was amazing. Like it was ALIVE.
I worked at the "Pretty Yellow House" today. I'm a paint scraping machine... hold me back, I think I've found something I'm good at. I can maneuver that putty knife like it's no body's business. Ah HA! Here's a pic of that house this morning. In another post I'll post pictures of the house in its many stages since Katrina (because I will be stealing them from B and then posting them here like they're mine. ) =) Today I've also admitted/revealed that I think entirely too highly of myself when I manage to get a really BIG strip of paint off the house... like I've mastered it or something, pulled a fast one, no no, more like: DEFEATED the ENEMY!!!!!
Last trip I participated in a fantastic burn pile that really smelled a lot like smoke that assaulted my clothes and hair, but made me feel very useful. I have officially now handed over that honor to THIS soon-to-be burn pile. LOOK at it! It's Beau.Ti. Ful!!!!

Here's a picture of Lee supervising Debbie with the power washer. She was wild with that thing!
Watch out seriously if you fear for your life, or if you'd like a few layers of paint removed. She means business.

There's still sooo much work to do here. Here's picture of one of the many vacant lots:

Sure I like the idea of traveling, it's a very romantic notion, blah blah blah. But really when it comes down to it, I just want to be home in my own bed in the comfort of my house on my own pillow... When I come HERE it feels like home though. I don't know if it's that the engines of most trucks driving past either sounds just like dad's old 59 Ford, or like hubby's I'm so macho diesel, maybe the constant hum of a lawn mower or power washer or saw, some one's always working on a project, maybe it's the small town feel. Maybe it just feels right because this is right where I'm supposed to be right now.