Side jobs…

Pulled from the TrashI know, I know…you are probably rolling your eyes just like my husband did and wondered “Why in the world would anyone want THAT?”   I seem to get a lot of those comments.  It really isn’t anything new to me.  It seems that I have always been a little odd and, according to my mom, do things that “normal people just don’t do.”  I like to call it: Thinking outside the box.  I saw this little cart and thought it would make a cute plant stand.  I mean, if it didn’t work out, I could stick it out on the curb anyway, right? So, I stripped the paint off of it, sanded off the rust, primed and repainted it.  I was quite proud of the result…..ta da!  My new plant stand!

This cart was metal and rusty.  So, I took it apart and put the screws in a jar (I am notorious for losing things).  I then laid it out on newspaper outside and took a non-plastic (plastic will melt) cheap paint brush and applied Klean Strip-Premium Stripper.  I let it sit for an hour (I think — there is a new Klean strip out, it turns a color when it is time to take the paint off.  It worked great on my door…totally blonde proof), and then scraped the paint off.  The paint came off pretty easily and exposed the bare metal.  I then sanded all of it (trays and legs, etc) with medium sandpaper and then fine sandpaper (electric hand sander).  Since it was rusty, I spray painted the the trays and legs with Rustoleum’s Rusty Metal Primer.  After that dried, I painted the legs one color (white).  I used a Rustoleum spray paint that works well on metal.  I did the same thing for the trays, I painted them another color (red).  So far, I have watered my plants and the tray has gotten wet, but the paint has not peeled, puckered or anything. Overall, I am satisfied with my $5 tray!  Hope this helps.  If I did not answer a question, let me know!

Journal Excerpt from Recent Philippines Mission Trip

Staffing School, Bacolod City

Staffing School, Bacolod City

Handumanan Welcome

Handumanan Welcome

Handumanan Village

Handumanan Village









For all of my friends who asked how the trip went, here is a small excerpt from my journal.  More information to come.

Day One – Bacolod City, Handumanan Village, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Today Teena Orrola picked us up at the airport, it was nice to finally meet her and put a face to her name.   We immediately liked her and knew that our friendship and connectivity was going to continue after we left the Philippines.  She was very detailed and handed us all a schedule so we would know where we are going and what we are doing.  On the way to Handumanan, we took a detour to the staffing school her family owns and her brother runs.  The school staffs many cruise ships and other hospitality venues abroad.  Teena’s brother was very personable and he gave us a tour of the school.  We saw many neat things.  Boys and girls juggling bottles learning how to bartend, boys training to become engineers and girls training to be hostesses, cafeteria staff and more.  Unknowingly, we interrupted many activities and many classes as we passed because students waved and smiled at us because we were different.  We took many pictures there.  It seems that every time a camera was pulled out, people came from everywhere and lined up to get into the snapshot.  There were so many people we were photographed with that even looking at the pictures now, it is impossible to name them all or remember who they were.

Teena was not happy with her brother.  What was supposed to be a quick stop turned into a full blown tour and several, several pictures.

Once we got back to the van, Teena was tapping her watch, mainly for her brother’s sake, and loaded us all back into the van.  She told us that we were going to be late for the service at the Handumanan church.  We didn’t understand her urgency until we arrived at the village and realized that many of the people and children who lined the dirt path had been standing there for about an hour waiting for us to arrive.

We traveled for about thirty minutes to reach Handumanan village and on the way we saw many ox (which they call caribou) in the field hooked up to plows, chickens shackled to their tin lean to houses, farmer’s carts on their way to the market, home made food stands selling coconut juice on every corner and children playing in the street.  (picture)  Handumanan village was created in the 1970’s.  In an effort to relocate many homeless people who lived in the city under bridges and in public areas.  The city government created a village for the squatters and granted one lot per family.  This way they would own a piece of land and have something to build upon.  The people who live in the village are very proud of their homes.

Entering Handumanan Village, we noticed that even though homes were nothing more than a mixture of concrete, sticks, thatch or tin roofs with a dirt floor, underneath poverty was a very proud and humble people who were surprisingly always clean.  I am not sure how it was accomplished, but everyone was crisp, clean, washed and not a body odor whatsoever.  I find this part of our trip amazing.  Most villages are without running or clean water.    Sewage runoff is poor.  It consists of a hole in the floor of their house connected to a small PVC pipe.  The PVC pipe sticks out the side of the house and empties into a small narrow gutter  The gutter runs along the side of the dirt road and eventually empties into the creek.  The water treatment plant our church supplied pumps this same tainted water out of the creek for consumption.  This water plant that the church owns, supplies water to many within the village.

Upon arrival at the village, we saw many people and children lining the dirt road alongside of the church waving handmade flags welcoming us.  As we walked down the road, a special gift was placed around our neck, a beautiful shell necklace, and the children handed the ladies handfuls of flowers.  Some of which I pinned in my hair.  Pastor Tom was beaming with pride as he gave us a tour of the church and the school and he showed us the water purification plant our church provided.  Pastor Tom’s house was a humble dwelling with dirt floors, an unfinished roof and two bedrooms to share between his six member family.   We were then brought into the church and I have never before shaken so many hands or seen so many smiles.  The children sang welcome songs and gave a beautiful presentation.  Pastor Terry preached about Gideon and the power you have, although small in your own eyes, is a great power with God. 

The next day, before arriving at the village, Becky wanted to stop and buy supplies for the school the church runs, Philadelphia Christian Academy.  After taking a tour of the school and from being a teacher herself, Becky was impressed to buy school supplies, so Teena arranged for us to stop at a store on the way to the village.  The Handumanan church operates a school in the village as an outreach tool and also to educate the village’s children.  Most are too poor to be able to afford an education or to be able to travel into the city to attend a school.  Last year the church allowed the students to attend free of charge.  This year, because of operational costs they had to charge a fee for the students to attend.  The cost of tuition for one child to attend is 30 pesos a month.  That is less than a dollar. 50 pesos is a dollar. 

In the store, Becky and I tried to decide what school supplies to buy.  We kept looking at the two teachers who came with us for direction.  The Filipino women were very quiet and did not want to tell us how many supplies they really needed.  Finally, after much prodding, they told us they had 20 kids.  So, to be sure, we bought crayons, glue, scissors, paste, erasers, pencil sharpeners and tablets for 23 kids.  We later found out that they had 39 kids!  They just did not want us to spend so much money on them.  The cost for all of the kids’ supplies plus two reams of copy paper was $20.  On the way out, we bought two basketballs, a net, a capo for the guitar and 3 guitar picks for Jimmy to present to the music department.  Total cost of our shopping trip $40.   The looks on their faces when they received these much needed supplies: Priceless.

Seven words describe how I felt during this trip: Touched, Humbled, Awed, Puzzled, Unworthy, Amazed, Changed.

I was touched that the Filipino people were so kind and loving and they had no idea who we really were, they just knew we were from the POA (Pentecostals of Alexandria) and their Partners in Mission.  I was humbled because these were people who had a whole lot less “stuff” than what I have and they are happy and in love with Christ.  I felt very unworthy to be there trying to teach them anything.  Their pure emotion and love for God touched my heart and made me feel that I was a terrible example and unworthy to be there.  They did not hide their love for God and their love for God was not dependent on how well their life was going or how much stuff they had.  It was just a pure love for Jesus Christ their maker.  Instead of being the teacher, I became the student and I learned more from this one trip than anything I could have ever imparted to them.

Not everyone will be able to go on a missions trip.  If you are able, please go.  It will completely change your life and the way you view things.  But for the ones who are not able to go, supporting missions from home is equally important and your presence is felt through your love and the PIMs you send every year.  Jesus said in Matthew 9:37, 38

The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.


Thanks, thanks, thanks!

I would like to thank all of the different persons in Alexandria for all of their hard work in helping clean up Gustav’s mess!  Thanks to the City, law enforcement, utility companies in and out of state, AT&T, insurance companies, local churches, neighbors, etc.  You all did a great job!  Gustav devastated the area and all of you stepped up to the plate to help your fellow human.

I woke up Thursday to the whir-whirring sound of the street sweeper!  What a glorious noise!  I hate to admit this, but that is one of my favorite noises to wake up to!  I am not sure who it is that comes up Florence Avenue and sweeps the streets and keeps the gutters clean, but sir, thank you, thank you, thank you!

In times like these you figure out what you, and your fellow neighbors are made of.  Some decide to step up and help out, and others decide to be selfish, blame others and do nothing.  I am glad to see that Alexandria is made up of wonderful people with a sense of community.  I am also proud of my Mayor and my Governor.  Everything that could have been done, was done…in my opinion.  Disasters strike and sometimes even the best laid plan goes awry, however, this was not the case here in Alexandria.  In Alexandria, we did not have to suffer through a blame game such as the New Orleanians endured in the aftermath of Katrina.

I think my title line says it all: Thanks, thanks, thanks!


Alexandria Business Highlight

Finnegan's Wake


812 3rd St
Alexandria, LA 71301
(318) 619-9622

Finnegan’s Wake pub, co-owned by Shannon Nolan and Galen Bohannon, is a perfect example of what the buildings in downtown Alexandria can look like.  This building, beautifully redone and preserved, sits directly across the street from the once illustrious Bentley Hotel.  The inside is a sight to see and, if you decide to stop by, you won’t be disapointed.   From what I hear, this is a great place to stop by at the end of a long work day.  I have not verified this yet, I don’t drink.  But, if you run into the Nolans, tell ’em I said “hi” and to keep up the good work.


Gustav Clean Up in Alexandria Louisiana

Well, we chopped up the “beast” tree that completely covered my back yard.  It is good to have family members who own chainsaws.  All ya have to do is make one call and you have three people show up with chainsaws!  Boys and their toys.  Thanks Pops, Mom-in-law and Tay tay!  Here are the pictures from yesterday.  It took us all day to chop up the “beast” and haul it out by the road.

Clearing away the tree
Clearing away the tree
Right now the sun is shining.  Probably the first time in 3-4 days.  It is a welcome change from the dark gray clouds that have been looming and dumping rain on Cenla.  We experienced some flooding earlier this morning and a lot of the underpasses around I-49 and downtown still have a lot of standing water.  We got about ten inches of rain or so from Gustav, and another 4-5 inches from the residual rain clouds that are passing through.  According to News Channel Five, there is nowhere for the rain water to go.  The ground is too wet to absorb it and some of our drains are clogged with debris.  Mayor Jacques Roy ordered that all non-essential businesses not open today.  That order is in effect until further notice.  Non-essential has been described as: department stores, banks, law offices, salons, etc.  Essential businesses are: emergency services, hardware stores, drug stores, restaurants, gas stations, pharmacies, etc.  Also, Rapides Parish schools will be closed until Monday, September 8th.
Right now, News Channel Five is showing pictures of flooding in the area, those pictures include flooding of the Garden District, Elliott Street, Lower Third Street, some downtown areas and some areas in Pineville. 
Well, gotta go, two men in my house are bored and want to work on some of our “home improvement” projects.   I gotta go “supervise”  😀  So far, we are all safe and have made it through safe.  Maybe minus a car or two, but overall, we fared well.

Gustav Aftermath

Well, you see the picture below of the dumpster.  Here is the same picture, except with a pecan on it!  Lol. I have more detailed comments on my other blog at: but here are some pictures of what our backyard looks like now.  If the dumpster were not there, my car and my brother’s truck would be pancakes.  The tree managed to hit all four of our cars. 

We had power for a long time. I was not worried about flooding because we are five feet off of the ground.  I was worried, though, about the two old pecans.  One came down and the other held firm.  The other one, that is still standing, did take out our phone system though.  Branches fell down and ripped the lines from our house and off the pole. 

Pecan on the dumpster and the car

Pecan on the dumpster and the car


Got the truck too

Got the truck too