Thursday, January 29, 2009


Tulsa got hit by the ice storm moving across the country this week. After last winter's crazy power outage (we had no power for an entire week) this seems like nothing! Only a few lost power, which I attribute to the fact that there were no trees left to fall on power lines. It was insane how many trees fell last winter! The piles of debris looked liked small mountains. Anyway, the roads have been icky, and the kids are out of school for the third day in a row. Yesterday a couple teen girls who live pretty close by walked over to the house. They were so bored that they were ready to brave the cold to have something to do. As I watched one of the teens chow down on the popcorn I fixed for a snack, I wondered how all the moms were feeding their kids. So many families rely on school meals to feed their kids breakfast and lunch, how are they making it during this ice storm? Here it is the end of the month, money is probably tight, and they have to feed their kids 6 extra unexpected meals. The girls stayed for dinner, and I felt good about making sure they had at least one square meal that day. But what about all the other kids I know? In these uncertain economic times, everyone is starting to feel the budget crunch, but hard times always hit the poor first and hardest. When you don't have disposable income, what can you cut from your budget? Hard choices are made - electric bill or food? Medicine or rent?

The ice is supposed to melt today, but the hard financial times will continue. What can we do to help our struggling neighbors?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Late Christmas post

Well, I'm only a month late, but here are a few Christmas pictures - from both Contact and our family.

At Contact, our annual Christmas store was a few weeks before Christmas. Toys are donated by area churches and individuals and then sold to needy families at a drastically reduced rate (generally 75% discount). This allows families to have the dignity of shopping and buying their own children's toys. This year was a great success, with lots of families and children served. The day before the store, Miriam and I had the fun of shopping for toys with $400 of donated money. I don't think I've ever spent so much money at Walmart! Our cart was loaded with stereos, jewelry, dart guns, and more. During the store on Saturday, our teen girls helped by providing childcare for our members who were working at the store. We also took care of a few children whose parents were shopping. We decorated cookies, painted, made bead jewelry, played with play-dough, watched movies, and managed to keep the kids occupied for several hours. (See picture below.)

Our family went to AR for Christmas to be with my parents, siblings, and grandparents. It's usually a once a year event to get my sister, brother and I all home, thus making it a special time, even if all too brief. Miriam had lots of playmates (and being the only grandchild) received lots of attention! See a few pictures below.

Miriam and I with Aunt Rita and Uncle Jason

She loved the piano, and entertained us greatly with all the different songs she made up to the tune of "Jesus loves me"!

Pataw "rescued" her from the "fire restaurant" (Asian grill restaurant where they cook at your table.) Miriam was terrified, until Pataw found the ice cream!

Grammy, of course, read lots of books.

Auntie Rachel is so funny! :)

We hope your holidays were special, and that your new year has begun in a blessed and beautiful way!
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Sunday, January 25, 2009


Today the girls' choir went to a local nursing home and sang for the residents. The girls sounded lovely, and the elderly people responded with applause and smiles. It is always beautiful to see older and younger people connecting, and I was encouraged by what I saw today. One of the residents is a grandmother of several of the girls in the group. A stroke has taken away much of her ability to communicate, but you could see in her eyes how happy she was to see her grandaughters and how proud she was to hear them sing.

This was only the second time our choir has performed. The girls sang at Christmas time at Contact. Their first performance was received with lots of encouragement by our Contact family. (See picture above.) Our goal, now that we have a few songs under our belt, is to sing the last Sunday of each month at nursing homes, hospitals, or possibly other locations too. While the girls are still learning the fine art of staying on key and singing together, I think the most important part of choir is the process. Learning to listen, to be a team, to help the younger girls, to hear the very words they are singing as words from God....these are lessons that I hope will begin to seep into their hearts. Please pray for these 3rd -high school age girls! (And pray for the adults who help them...we're planning a choir lock-in soon!!)