Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dear Blog

Dear blog,
Despite indications otherwise, I have not abandoned yea!

Let me begin, by saying it has been all shades of crazy busy around here. Undoubtedly the biggest struggle has been all the work keeping the ol laptop up and running, as we battle all manner of 2010 sickness (even before 2010).

I have a new respect for the ability and limits to my trusty Blackberry and personally believe there should be a special kind of punishment for those tech devils who create and distribute viral illness's for the sole purpose of vandalizing.

Okay, with that out of my system:

When last I blogged, we had just finished up the blanket drive for the Christmas mission to McDowell County, West Virginia.

Within days of leaving for McDowell, Mary and I were honored to serve up a special luncheon for many of our core group of workers and friends who helped see more than 15 football fields worth of fleece made into 500 plus blankets for our Appalachian neighbors.

The display a homage to

Some of the most precious ladies I know

Good Company!
Good food

Great fun!

How I love these gals!

Dear Mary, thank you for inviting me to join in this blessed adventure in fleece.
So many lives touched by a simple gift and our huge God.

Two days after the luncheon, I joined 21 others as part of a mission team to bring a little Christmas to several hundred families in McDowell County, WV.

I have never been so humbled in my life. Assisting with the big Christmas bash held for more than 500 that weekend paled in comparison to the privilege of spending time in these Appalachian hills and hollers visiting many proud people and hearing remarkable stories of perseverance and courage in the face of incredibly challenging circumstances.

Deborah shared such a story
Mother of three, grandmother to several, Deborah and her family live outside of Welsh in this newly built home. When we visited, Deborah, she and her youngest son (not pictured) had just moved into this roughly 800 sq foot home 4 months earlier.
Prior to that they were living in their family home a few yards down the hill

Deborah's husband was a Vietnam veteran, had health issues related to exposure to Agent Orange and ultimately killed himself, in this home in front of his children.

Deborah's only daughter was murdered in North Carolina after moving there to become a nurse. Deborah's youngest son was born with his umbilical cord around his neck depriving him of oxygen for some time. Deborah was told he would never be fully functional. The boy was recently diagnosed with dyslexia but according to Deborah, has a photographic memory, with complete recall of anything he is read, shown or instructed. He should graduate high school this year and hopes to be accepted to technical trade school to become a licenced mechanic like his older brother.

Deborah says the children were raised that there is no such word as 'can't'.

Deborah proudly displayed how self sufficient they are with gardens she cans and freezes from, their ginormous hog, goats and a pen full of chickens.

This family is so grateful for their many blessings. Deborah says their new house (built this past summer) is like her home of dreams. For the first time in her life she has built in closets and stays very warm and dry. This grandmother shared that up until a week or so before we visited it was so snug inside they had no need to even turn on the heat; that's how well her new home is insulated.

Last winter, Deborah and her son lived in a small corner of her old family home, as the majority of the structure was unlivable and had caved in due to leaks in the roof. Deborah would not allow anyone in to visit at her old place as the floors were full of large holes she had resourcefully packed with clothing filled plastic trash bags, and this embarrassed her. Deborah and her son physically huddled around a single heater last winter to survive the elements.

You can hear such pride when Deborah talks about her Mama's amazing wood cook stove (she has preserved under tarp in the old house). To hear her tell it, her stove is better than any Viking or La Cornufe and nothing beats it for canning, especially keeping her jars just right for packing. The only missing in Deborah's house o dreams is a small shed to house her two freezers. As you can see, these appliances are currently set up and operating out in the open.

This was our view as we trekked up the winding path of Deborah's homestead bringing sack lunches, meeting Deborah and some of her family for the first time. After visiting with Deborah and hearing her testimony we sang some carols and invited the family to join us for Christmas fellowship on Saturday.

oh, and

Deborah's eldest son, daughter in law and 2 grandchildren live in this RV at the base of the hill.

The next day......

We went to Iaeger Elementary School to celebrate Christmas with hundreds of folks from the community.

In the beginning

Everyone registered

were given sack lunches, vouchers for use at the Hope Chest thrift shop

The party guest loved this:
Everyone got a free photo taken. Folks could pick up their print later in the week.
For many, this might be the only family group photo they own.

Finishing their lunches and waiting for the show to begin

Another Georgia church provided Christmas entertainment
The tables are set and ready for shoppers

Look at all the happy faces!

Socks!!! Socks!!!
Glorious Socks!!!!
more than 1200 pair....Woo Hoo!!!

and what a blast it was to let everyone and I mean every one choose a fleece tie blanket!!!
( i about got in trouble because of hold ups in the line because
there were so many beautiful choices)


Look what she picked out for Christmas

A wonderful group of new friends, great cooks, hearty carolers, adequate drivers (grin grin) and big hearted lovers of all peoples and Christ. What a blessing you are!

To be continued....


Cindy said...

Oh, Tammy! I am so ashamed of myself for grumbling and complaining about unimportant things and taking my blessings for granted.

Thank you for sharing your journey.


Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Well, girl, I'm sitting here just about in tears and ready to head up there with you the next time you go. What precious people. You are precious!!


GratefulinGA said...

We should all count the teenist of blessings that are light years away from the reality these folks live with everyday. But by the grace of God we were not born in those beautiful mountains and their lives are not ours.

we have agroup going back in May for a Women's conference, may even be pouring into the lives of the the ladies at an area abused women's shelter. Our mission teams are not restricted to those in our church, so if the Lord wre to lead, you would be more than welcome to join us.
ever grateful,