Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flight out, our accomodations

Our group started arriving at Logan on Sunday, April 18, the beginning of school vacation.

Packing had been interesting as we had to be sure our suitcases were under 50 pounds. I am not known for packing lightly so we opted for an extra suitcase to carry the blow up mattress I had purchased upon the recommendation of one who had been on the trip before. We had to bring our own bedding, towels and all items as we were not staying in a hotel where one would have the basic amenities there upon arrival.

There were 47 of us going on the trip. I think there were 15 teens, many with family members, some without. We all gathered at the gate and the time went by fast with so many to visit with. I knew one other person who was going before the sign up process. As there had been several gatherings we had gotten to know several others before our departure.

We have done a good amount of traveling, but never before in a group. What fun to hang out at the gate with such a wonderful group, so many to get to know. Once on the plane we shifted out seating around and formed small groups throughout the cabin. It was a wonderful sunny day for flying, and were in DC before we knew it. We went off, most of us on our own to get lunch, for if you do not know, planes very rarely serve any food any more.

Back at the gate, those of us who knew others reconnected as we nervously prepared for what was ahead. Several of the group had gone to NOLA before, but the majority were on our maiden voyage to NOLA.

I had not mentioned that we had team shirts, which most of us were wearing. It made it easier to start to get to know others within our group. I remember sitting opposite a pretty young teen and her Dad, who had on a Patriots top. We spoke a little, me not knowing that they were also a part of our group!

The flight to NOLA was uneventful for Mia and me, as we have flown alot before. I did not find out until later on that several of our group had not flown before and were very unsettled by hitting a small amount of minor turbulence on the way down. For me, I knew I was in God's hands on this new venture, and that was enough for me to be completely calm at least at this juncture of the trip.

Arriving in NOLA, our first impression was made by the heat and humidity. We had left the cold Boston Morning to arrive in the warm sunny Southern humidity. It was a welcome relief to be in such warm weather in the middle of April!

We loaded up 7 vans with luggage and people and headed out in a caravan to our destination.
We arrived in a business area and pulled into a strip mall. Our accommodations were in a warehouse type building, not unlike our church.

As we pulled closer we all got to see the part of the mall we were heading for, which was surrounded by a high chain link fence. This fence had a gate for our entry which we later found out was to be padlocked each night at 10:30 pm! I found out later that there is a lot of crime in NOLA, so we were cautioned not to be out at night alone, or even in small groups.

We had our orientation, with lots of rules to be followed and chores to be done. Our group became responsible for breakfast and dinner cleanup.

We got our luggage and walked down to the dorms, not a short walk, I might add. Our women had two adjoining dorm rooms, one with 10 bunks and the other with about 7 bunks. Most of the teens, including Mia opted for the smaller room. I arrived with the first group so got a lower bunk right near the door, for easier access for my nightly bathroom runs.

The bathroom was a jaunt of about 100 feet from the bunks! Not anything like the short walk I have at home right across my room! I had brought a blow up mattress with me, which I was real happy about as the bunk mattresses were rather thin. Didn't realize I would need batteries to blow it up, but, yes, God does provide. One of the other girls also had a similar mattress and did have the necessary batteries, so helped me out with mine. I actually got to watch as one of the younger women did the whole thing for me. Such a blessing, Leisa!

So picture our room - 10 bunks and nothing else - So out of my comfort zone!!!! But, after all, we were there on a mission trip, not a vacation.

Monday, May 3, 2010


In July my daughter, Mia and I started looking for a new church. Long story short, we ended up trying out one we had heard about from a few different people. It was New England Chapel, and from the day we went to take a look at it we were hooked.

It is a warm, welcoming church, filled with wonderful Christians willing to share their love of Christ.

Early on, it was obvious that this is what had been missing in our lives. Mia and I shared the experience of exploring all this new church had to offer. Mia got involved in the Youth Group and I started attending small group meetings.

One Sunday we were introduced to the mission trips sponsored by New England Chapel (From here on to be called NEC). Mia had been interested in Mission Trips for a while, but was unsure about going all on her own. The other church she had attended had summer Mission Trips to the South, but without parents, so she had been reluctant to try it. NEC has several Mission Trips throughout the year to various locations, and the one that caught her eye was one to New Orleans, taking place over April vacation. This specific trip was going to combine building work with ministry work and was open to teens and adults.

AHA!! So we had come across a Mission Trip that I could also participate in. As I am unable to do any building type work, I could only go on a trip if I could do ministry work, and here was one that had both, and it was in the spring, before the stifling Southern summer weather, so both of us could together! How great was that?? Mia could get to experience a Mission Trip, without having to go alone, and I could also go and do ministry work at the same time!

So we proceeded to work on raising the $1500 that we would need to embark on this journey.
We raised some of the money from family and friends, some from a Mission Market that the church sponsored. Mia made jewelry, I made scarves and we put up plants in my gardens for sale, which gave us the bulk of what we needed. Very interestingly, the balance we needed was provided from a stock split which occurred right at the time we needed it. Thank You, God!!

The same time as all of this was going on my mom took a fall which precipitated a 5 week stint in rehab. I became one of her caregivers last summer, and over the winter I turned into the primary caregiver. With the fall, it stepped up to daily care, which was not so bad as we were able to get her into a rehab in Wrentham, where I live.

I tell you this as it has a great bearing on our Mission Trip.

Once out of rehab, my mom required 24 hour care, which I was fortunate enough to have been given the recommendations of a marvelous group of Irish ladies who provide the most amazing care to seniors. We call them our "Irish Angels". They saved my life by being available to cover most of the shifts at my mother's apartment in Milton. Two of my sisters got my mom transitioned home for the first two weeks, with me covering as well. Then we settled in to our routine, me working 3 days a week plus covering, as needed, doing shopping, errands, Dr. appts, calls, etc, --- you get the picture.; me being very busy away from home, dealing with a transitioning senior with mild dementia, who was not happy with the situation.

It can be very taxing, but also something you know is worthwhile as it is for your mother's well being. The down side is that it can be all consuming getting something like this in place and then dealing with all the health, mental, daily living and social issues that need to be addressed.

Well, it all got done, thanks to the support of my family and siblings, and mostly thanks to the grace of God in my life. He provided the energy to get me through all the long hours and more importantly the patience needed to deal with all that came up. What was supposed to be one month turned quickly into two and now three, but I got it all covered so that I was able to still go on the Mission Trip.

So the week before the trip we all went to church in our teal green team shirts to have the church bless our endeavor and send us off. Imagine my surprise when I became the receiving end of a great Joke from God ----- my ministry work was to be working in a Senior Day Care Center!!!

Well, at least I would know my way around there!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Been on a Mission..........trip

Hi Y'all. Recently learned that y'all is a one syllable word, and that from someone who knows, firsthand, Miss Mary Agnes. (who I will write about later)

Spent 6 amazing days in New Orleans during school vacation with my 16 year old daughter on a Mission Trip with our Church, New England Chapel.

Have lots of stories to share as well as amazing photos. Stories about lives transformed by a storm named Katrina and photos of lives transformed by those we met in New Orleans.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Be on the lookout

Keep an eye out for butterfly eggs on Fennel, Queen Anne's Lace and Spicebush. Also if you notice any black and red flat bugs about 1/2" or less, these are ladybug larvae. When they are finished eating, on their favorite, Tansy, you can literally watch them change into ladybugs, right on the leaf!!! You can just pick a leaf with a larva on it and bring it inside to watch the process. Have fun!!!

To find out more about these fascinating bugs, check out this site:


Sunday, June 14, 2009

DONE !!!!!!!

I posted this on Babs' blog in thanks for all she gave me for this project. And for whatever reason when I pasted it into my blog it got underlined. ENJOY!!

I took a little liberty here, posting on your blog, as I want you to be the first to see this wonderful sight.

There are no words to convey my deep appreciation for what you have given me - Without your pavers, soil and compost, well, I might have had a few spare moments to myself this spring!!! LOL!!!

Well I can now breathe again - and maybe have a few moments, which I did yesterday, sitting out there during the last of my work. I had John bring a table up front, and took many rest breaks to finally enjoy the new creations!!

This is the path I had put in last summer, with scrap pieces.

And this is the new, improved path!!!!!

These are the veggie beds, with everything growing, OH, so marvelously!!!

This is the front view of the expanse of lawn, which we all enjoyed walking on, from various angles - I don't have one to match the final views!!

This view is from the hedge, to show the comparison with the almost end result, not including the patio!!

And this is the new, expanded view!

And this, TA DA, is what I can now see from the house and upstairs window (with completed patio)!!!

Can't wait for all to see it in person!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Finished planting!!

I have officially finished planting the veggie beds, and other edible areas. So much work had to be done. As my daughter hurt her back last month, I ended up doing most of it myself, which left little time for anything else.

I have already been thinning and transplanting seedlings that were planted in April! It has kept me so busy I just have not had time to have many gardeners in to get plants. Hopefully that will be easier to do once I finish the paving, which is well on the way to being done.

And our lettuce crop is just amazing!! The new veggie beds are working so well, I am thrilled to have that area becoming so productive!

I just need to get outside with the camera to share the progress, which hopefully will be done today,a s sun is predicted - FINALLY!!! I have gone through way to many changes of clothing while working out in the rain these past few days!! We figured out a way to set up a travelling umbrella for me to use out front to allow me to work out there in that OH, so hot sun. Previously I was unable to be out there much past 10 as it just gets too hot, but with the umbrella, I can work out there close to 12.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mini raised beds

Grandpa built mini raised beds for the three kids. Ryan and Katelyn, now called Katimay by me, decided to paint theirs. It was a great outdoor project. These photos are from April 25th.

Ryan did quite well and even got his name on it.

got more paint on her than on the box,

but then switched over to paper and had a ball.

They both helped to get their layers going. We started with cardboard, then straw, soil, peat and compost.

They each planted a pea plant and some lettuce.

Wait until to see what they are looking like now!!! Need to get some current photos!