Saturday, January 26, 2013

Updating from 'Bama

Hello from Alabama! 

We're here in Montgomery, AL and getting ready to spend next week ministering in prisons in Alabama. We are so excited to be a part of this ministry *again*! It truly a privilege to be a part of this amazing team of volunteers. 

We finally seemed to have shaken the cold, for now...and we took the opportunity to clear the "New England" off the bus. 

Joanna has been traveling well!
Here she is"reading" with Daniel. :)

More later this week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

South Bound

Hello from Virginia! 

Our first two concerts are under our belts! It's good to be back in the singing saddle, but we need a few more concerts to make it feel smooth. Our new mixer is working without feedback but we'll have to work to make our transitions smoother!  Headed to North Carolina after we stay over in VA tonight.
Here are some photos of our week so far....

Joanna all set to go!

We were running back and forth a lot the day we left as you can see below.....

It's still pretty COLD.... teens and lower (or so it feels!)
*bus window graffiti*

We're keeping Joanna cozy warm....

Speaking of the munchkin...I think it's time to put her to bed. :)

We're looking forward to a week of ministry with We Care in the prisons and would appreciate prayers as we join with 450 volunteers to encourage the brothers and sisters in prison and bring light to those who have yet to see!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fire and Trip prep update!

Hi everyone! 

 We are SO thankful THANKFUL! God has blessed us so much through all your continued gifts and help. Even if it sounds redundant, THANK YOU.  We can't say this enough. It is so encouraging to see the Lord provide through all of you. We had a neat opportunity to record our meal thank you tune with new words for our local radio station for the local area people. We appreciate so much the help that has been given.  

 I wanted to post an update sooner but I wanted to have some photos to share this time as well! My camera and (and flash!) were replaced. 

First, here's our new residence!

We migrated from our temporary housing at beginning of the new year to the new house, 66 N. Main house.  Us having this house is a miracle in itself!  We bought it foreclosed for a great price *last* summer (11'.) It was intended for music, bus part storage and Seth and Carol's living area. We had no idea this was part of God's plan for housing us all! It is quite a bit smaller than 54 N. Main and we never dreamed of all living there. Seth and Carol lived in the top floor for a few months but had to leave because the heating system wasn't figured out.  Well, we have a new heating system on the way and a temporary heating solution going on now. 

Even with the temporary heating solution the first floor level took a long time to move into.  The main hold up was getting the plumbing figured out. Apparently the man who owned it stopped paying the mortgage and didn't make any more repairs from then on. 6-8 feet of plugged up drains! Seriously. 

We took down 99% of the ugly dirty drop ceilings. ( We had ripped out the gross carpet immediately after purchasing.) Eventually we'll have to replace the ceiling but we're not going to until the new heating system has been installed. 

Here we are in the kitchen eating lunch today...

We had to rip out the kitchen cabinets because they were moldy and falling apart. Thankfully we were given some older, but sturdy and solid wooden ones! 

Across the hall is the living room/laundry sorting room...

We are hoping we can remodel this into a better layout because the bathroom is in a very strange spot off the kitchen and overall it's a closed feel. You might have noticed we don't have much room in the kitchen/eating area once we all get in there. Hopefully opening the house layout up will help that. 

Randomly switching subject but here's a before and after so you can see how the house demo is moving along....


But for now, the old house demo has stopped. The cold is too much to work in and plus it's about time to start on our winter tour. We're looking to start fresh on the demo again once it warms up. We have a huge job ahead to finish but we're so far along, too. We are planning on keeping the  back of the structure if we can. 


We were given some instruments, loaned and others gave money specifically for replacements. Right now we have a lot of what we need for the trip. Still waiting on the return of the tuba and flute from the repair man. But, we are THANKFUL for what we do have ready to go!

Here's a photo of Peter in the rubble holding the mandolin he lost...

Today we worked at our church getting the kinks out of the new mixer -getting ready for the winter trip, which is starting Monday!

Dad working on the new mixer!

It's nice and thin. We're looking forward to using this new tool in concerts!

Joanna & Uncle Daniel
She's a very popular little girl around here...


So, praise report list! 
*in the new house, have food to eat and we're warm
*much of our clothing has been replaced 
*running water and WORKING drains!
*we have instruments to get us through the trip
*working sound system
*replacement camera

current prayer requests 
* health - many of us are battling colds and the rest of us don't want it!
* new songs go well - we've had VERY limited practice time
*many are encouraged and touched by the Lord through our presentations

I'd better go. My throat is tired from all our rehearsal today and I was up pretty late last night. More updates from the road coming up...


Carol for all

Monday, January 07, 2013

First Hand Account

This is my (Carol's) first hand account of the fire that destroyed our home of 18 years in November. This is long so I won't feel hurt if you don't read the whole thing! :) I'm planning on a general update on the fire recovery process tomorrow.

How the rest of our life started

I inhaled. I smelled smoke. I woke from my sleep. It was 3AM. I had gone to bed at 10PM rather late for me these days as a new mom. The baby had gone to sleep soundly early and I was enjoying making hair bows. This rare time with hands free to work on my own projects and be creative was too compelling to resign myself to slumber earlier. Seth was catching up on football on-line. We wondered if his favorite team would jump back to #2!

 I took another breath. "This is strong!" I thought to myself.  Smelling smoke wasn't too unusual. We live with wood burning neighbors so thanks to our leaky windows it's not uncommon to smell a whiff of "something" at night or during the day. I whipped off the blankets and switched on the lamp on the floor next to our mattress.  Seth and I had been staying during some of the summer months at 66 N. Main in an apartment Seth had fixed up for us. We had moved minimally moved back to 54 N. Main after the fall trip for the winter months because there was no heat at 66.

As soon as I switched the light I could see gray. Our room was turning gray.  I ran to my clothes basket to get another pair of pants and a fleece jacket and started yelling to Seth to wake up. "The house is on fire!" " We have to get out!" "Get Hannah up!"  I was hysterical and yelling. In my mind I had always thought "how can people in a fire run out of houses without their valuables??! If I'm ever in a fire I'll be sure to get my camera and laptop." I did not plan on the panic I would feel. It was a it's-not-in-my-face-so-I-can't-find-it-and-it-would-take-too-long-to-find-it feeling. Almost like a dream.  I could hardly see anything, and it wasn't because of the smoke.  I had packed a diaper bag for Joanna for the next day (we were planning to attend a friend's birthday party) and there it sat in front of me on the way out.  I never thought to grab it. I didn't think of shoes.  I saw the helpless little body of 3 month old Joanna lying on bed and my focus was all turned on making an exit.  As this was happening, my brain registered the voices of Dad and Mom who's room was across the hall. 


Their door shut. 

They were up.  

I placed Joanna on Seth's chest and wrapped her with a quilt from the bed.  We opened the door to the hallway to blackness. The front of the house had lost electricity. We didn't realize how smoky the stairway was until we started down.  It was thick and choking - much more intense then the smoke in the bedroom. I couldn't see as I grabbed the railing to guide myself down. I can't remember if my eyes were closed or not. Every time Seth went to grab the railing the blanket would slip from Joanna's head.  He walked down in the pitch darkness with both arms secure around Joanna, one step at time as fast as he dared.  The smoke was thicker up where he was. He was as I recall not being able to breath well.  The wooden railing, normally smooth and slick was dry with soot. We arrived on the street level hallway landing and in a few steps I found the front door. I unlocked it. Mom was right behind us. 

I ran in my socks to the basement apartment of 66 N. Main which Vincent, who had only moved in  2 weeks previous and yelled the house was on fire and to call 911. He told me later it took him a second to figure out it was 54 that was on fire and not HIS house.   :) Oops.

I ran back and remember screaming for Hannah to come out. Seth handed the baby back to me in case he had to go back in and rescue. Daniel had thought to go to the first floor and lead Papa out. I don't remember seeing them but vaguely coming off the side porch.  I remember seeing Matthew open his window trying to breath from the top floor. Smoke was pouring out of the small front basement window and the front door, but lots from the basement. I saw Hannah exit. Then I saw Dad exit. I heard the rattle of the parade porch door trying to be opened. Nathan and Matthew emerged from the doorway, going past a bookcase filled with albums of our baby photos we would never see again.  They moved quickly to the office roof.  It was about that time the first police car arrived.  I remember Dad wanted the boys to come down the stairs. The officer emphatically said no. A fire truck arrived with a ladder. The boys were safe. In the meantime the smoke kept pouring. Surely it would be out soon we thought as we scramble across the street taking sheltered at the neighbor's house. It was a cold November night. We could only see smoke still. We soon saw an orange "glow" in the front basement. I was very distraught as I saw no water anywhere. "Please save our house." Was my feeble cry from across the street.  The fire department had arrived but I hadn't seen a drop of water.  A fireball licked out the front door. No water.  At this point I just had to stop looking. It was too painful. I couldn't make any water appear and the people who were here to put it out hadn't.  Our house was going to burn. 

And, that was the start of the rest of our lives. Our post-fire life, that is. We had escaped with our lives by the grace and mercy of God and for that we are truly grateful.