Margaret (Curtis) McDaniel + Curtis McDaniel = Curtis.Squared

April 20, 2012

Relief in Trenton

Last week, I had the privilege to be a part of a disaster relief mission team that traveled to northern Georgia (Trenton).  It was a difficult trip for me because I had started feeling sick about 4 days before we left and battled my sickness the whole time!  I went to the doctor afterwards to find out that I have Acute Bronchitis.  Even so, the trip was well worth it.  I definitely recommend going on a mission trip to anyone who has the opportunity - even if it isn't out of your own state.  
We had a really fun group of people!  Pictured above is our entire team plus Jim (on the left).  Jim Boyd is the founder of Rebuilding Hope, a non-profit ministry.  To learn more about this ministry, you can visit this link.  We worked with him last October when took a group to Dalton.
 The next few pictures show some of the devastation that took place when the tornadoes hit.
It's hard to believe it was almost a year ago - April 27, 2011.

One of the local churches, Trenton United Methodist, graciously offered to host our team while we were working there.  We could see that they had a real heart for tornado victims.  Look at this sign that was in their kitchen - they served meals to 13,763 people within 2 weeks of the tornadoes last year!
On the first day, Zack, Becca & I split up from the rest of the group to work on installing hardwood laminate flooring in a woman's Master Bedroom.
 Zack was very skilled in this area and he did most of the work.  Becca and I just tried to assist him in whatever way we could!
Becca and I got to know Charlene, the homeowner, while we were working.  She told us that she had lost several shady trees plus five rooms of her house.  She was underinsured so she was unable to afford fixing her house until she heard about Rebuilding Hope.  We were so glad we had the opportunity to help her!  She shared with us how it was nice to see young people serving the Lord. 
 When our task was complete, we traveled over to the job site where the rest of our team was working.  I helped clean up tornado debris in someone's backyard.  I even held a little frog in my hand!
Not only were frogs found, but also a snake!  Chris was fearless enough to pick it up!
A local news crew came by and interviewed two of our team members.
 The rest of the team worked on finishing the deck.  Here's a before shot! 
Here's the after!  Wow!  What a great job they did!
The next day, we spent our time leveling out the crawl space of a house that hadn't been built yet.  There were lots of rocks and debris and it took a long time to finish this task!  
Then, we had 3 small teams that nailed pieces of wood together.  One of the teams was Lisa (right) and Jean (middle).  Pictured above is one of the patterns that I worked on with Joan (on the left) and Robbin (not pictured).  We helped make 28 of these C-shaped pieces!
Every day, we would take showers after working 9-10 hour days.  This particular evening, April 13, was Becca's birthday!  We made sure to celebrate with her throughout the day.  Here we are having a drink at Pizza Hut!
Last day of work - Bobby (left) and Chris (right) continued making specific shapes with the wood for the door frames.  You can see the progress of the house behind them.  The floor joints were being completed.  
Here's a better picture.  We are creating the floor of the new house!
I was making marks so the boys knew where to align the next floor joints.
Lisa got to use the power tools as ply wood was laid on top of the floor joints. 
 Joan and I tried to make the ground more leveled so that there wouldn't be any accidents as people carried wood towards the house.  Joan really knows how to use a Pick Ax!
All of our wooden shapes are now coming together to make the outside wall of the house.  
 It was a team effort to lift it up! 
 Nice poses!  If you were wondering where I was though... 
I was actually below them in the crawl space with Robbin.

Here's a picture of me, but it's kinda blurry.  I thought I was slightly claustrophobic, but I guess it wasn't that bad considering how far away I was from the opening of the crawl space!
This is how far we got before we left.  Those long pieces of wood are the ceiling! 
We finished the evening with observing the beauty of God's nature.  We went to Cloudland Canyon - it is the western rim of Lookout Mountain.  It was gorgeous!
I wish we could have spent more time here!
Later in the evening, we went to downtown Chattanooga for a nice dinner at a restaurant called Public House.  It was really good!  Before we traveled back to Savannah, we worshiped at the United Methodist Church.  I really enjoyed their service!
We traveled back in 2 cars.  The car that I didn't travel in stopped in Dalton to see Mr. Arthur's finished house.  Mr. Arthur was the man that we helped on our last mission trip - you can read more about it in this previous post that I wrote.
I just love that Mr. Arthur put this sign on his house.  He gave all the glory to God!  What a great feeling it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus and serve those that are in need!

April 18, 2012

We Will Miss You, Regis!

Regis was a great cat.  When I went to the shelter in 2001, Regis stuck his paw out at me.  It seemed like he was saying "Pick Me! Pick Me!"  In high school, I would always say that I didn't need a date because I already had someone who was always wearing a tux for me!  When I got married, my parents consistently came up with excuses as to why I couldn't take him with me to St. Louis or Savannah.  Regis is the one who inspired me to have my next cat look like him (Lion-O).

He ran out the door on April 1st and my parents haven't seen him yet.  We are pretty sure he has probably passed away because he wasn't in the best of health before he left.

So, here's a few pictures that I took with him back in 2006:

Kissing Regis

He loved nudging my head!  This is something that I wish Lion-O would do!

Lastly, here is a video that my parents have found that has helped them cope with their loss - the cat in this video looks so much like Regis.  It's hilarious!

We will miss you, Regis!

April 7, 2012

Final Update on My (Margaret's) Health

I believe this post will be the final update, so I guess you could say this was a trilogy.  If you missed the previous posts, you can find it at the following links: Part 1Part 2.

The doctors originally said that I would have to wait 6 months before Curtis and I would be able to try to conceive again after the partial molar miscarriage.  Thankfully, the doctor changed it to only 5 months!  I have had 2 final blood drawings since my post in February and I have continued to be "negative" (under 5): 
Date - Count
02/22/12 - less than 0.1
03/19/12 - less than 0.1

Because my pregnancy hormone (HCG) levels remained under the count of 5 for 5 months, the doctor has now  given me the green light to begin trying to conceive.  Praise the Lord!  It seemed like this wait would never end back when we first found out in September.  We appreciate all the prayers as we have had loyal friends and family praying for us during this time period.  Although I am still fearful of having my blood taken, I have definitely found the strength through the Lord.  I clung to Psalm 56 each month - "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust.  I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?" (v. 3-4)

Curtis and I now request your prayers that God would provide us with a healthy baby very soon.  Even though one wait is now over, another wait begins.  We know that God has placed this desire within us to have children.  If you would have asked me even a year ago if I wanted to have children, I would have been cynical about the idea, mainly because of my fears.  Although God does not promise us children anywhere in His word, we have hope that He will give us the desire of our hearts.  "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) 

April 3, 2012

Update on Student Ministry

Curtis and I really have a passion for the next generation.  It seems like our heart for them has continued to increase as we have continued to love these kids and their families.  I'm sure another part of it is because God has been working on our hearts and making us more and more like himself.  Here's a picture into our world with the students that God has placed in our care at Grace Church of the Islands:
HS & MS students at Lock-In
In the Fall 2011, Curtis taught a High School Sunday School class on Ephesians and entitled it "What is God up to?"  We thoroughly examined Ephesians and learned a lot about all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ and how we should submit to different authorities (especially parents, teachers and bosses).  At High Life (Wednesday night large group), Curtis taught the students from the book of Psalms.  He entitled that semester "The Cries of our Hearts to a God who Listens."  We also began a new small group ministry called Discipleship Groups, or D-Groups.  D-Groups are designed to apply the teachings we learn at High Life to the students' personal life situations.  In the Fall, I co-led the female D-group with Sam, another volunteer on the youth ministry team.  As we moved into the Spring semester, the youth ministry team decided to separate the Middle School and High School girls.  I now currently lead the Middle School girls D-Group and Sam leads the High School girls D-Group.

This semester (Spring 2012), Curtis began by teaching the High School students about the kings of Judah in I Kings during the Sunday School hour.  Joe & Cindy, youth volunteers, have now been leading the class as they learn about the kings of Israel in I Kings.  In March, Curtis began teaching an Adult Sunday School class entitled "Tell the Next Generation: The Gospel for Parents with Students."  We are currently exploring how the Gospel brings hope and purpose, particularly for those parents who have students.  In High Life, Curtis has been teaching about relationships as he uses the book "Relationships: A Mess Worth Making" by Paul Tripp & Timothy Lane.  

We have also had lots of fun events!  We have served the community by giving an opportunity for parents to have cheap babysitting - and the money that was raised will go towards the cost of their summer camps.  Other events include Game Night, Paintball, our annual Progressive Dinner, a Lock-in, our annual Turkey bowl (old men vs. young men), a Young Ladies Retreat plus we have a Canoe Trip this coming Monday!

On to some of the pictures of our times together this year so far... 
Curtis usually has a game planned at the beginning of High Life.  This particular game involved having the students chew bubble gum and create a sculpture out of the chewed-up bubble gum.  Doesn't that sound tasty?
A lot of chewing going on!

Here one team is deciding on what they will sculpt.
The sculpting is beginning.

On this particular night, I was the judge of the sculptures.  Here are all the sculptures.  Can you tell what they are?  Which one would you have chosen to the best one?
A chicken leg
A teddy bear
A brain
I chose the chicken leg as the best one of the night!

We had a Superbowl party at our house with the High School students to share with them the mission statement, vision statement and core values of our student ministry during half-time.  Here they are:

Mission Statement:
GCI’s Student Ministries exists to be a worshipping community of students who make, mature & mobilize disciples to reach the Islands to the glory of God.

Vision Statement: 
We seek to create a Gospel-centered community that welcomes all, fosters life-long growth in grace and equips our students to serve Christ and His Church.

Core Values:
The Importance of Prayer
Incarnational Relationships
Intergenerational Ministry
Changed Lives in the Long-term
(Note: There is more detail behind each of the core values, but I didn't want to make this blog post too long!)

After we shared this important information with them, we played some "Just Dance 3" on the Wii:
The group
I'm dancing too!
During the game...
We had a lot of fun!
Bonding with the boys

Another one of our events was a Young Ladies Retreat, which included all those in high school, college, and in their twenties.  Nicole (pictured left below)'s dad graciously let us go to Newington, GA to spend some time together and learn more about prayer.
Nicole and Sam were the two that really put this event together.  Thank you both for all your hard work!
Here's the rest of us in the back of the van!
We made sure to write thank-you cards to all of the volunteers that made us yummy food!
Here are the adult helpers that came along the trip.
After Sam taught us about prayer, we spent time writing down our prayer requests on post-it notes and then we prayed together in small groups.
We then placed all our post-its on the refrigerator so that we could know how to pray for each other.

The refrigerator was full of prayers!
We even had a craft!  We created prayer journals.  What a great way to encourage our students (as well as ourselves) to pray more!
Of course, "Just Dance 3" was played!  It is so much fun!
I think all of the young women would agree that it was nice to get out of Savannah for a day and spend more time together.  We had a lovely time together!  A special thank you to Nicole's father for graciously providing his cabin for us again!

Next up, the lock-in...
Some of the boys bonding in the youth room
Hal (Elder & youth volunteer) and one of the boys together
Joe, Cindy & Jerome taught the girls how to play "Nuts"
(Although, I've always called it "Peanuts," "Pig-Nitty," or "Nertz")
These two just took it all in.
Playing pool
Lots of boys
And more!
The girls
From 11pm - 1am, we took the students to Frames 'N Games to bowl and play arcade games.
We were having a great time!  We liked dancing to the music!
Seth decided to model for me
Dave (another volunteer) spent some quality time with his twin sons
They are just filled with energy!
The lock-in really wouldn't have been made possible if it weren't for all the adult volunteers who were willing to help out for various time slots throughout the night.  I was there from 8pm - 2am and then 7am - 9am.  Curtis was quite a trooper!  He stayed up the entire night and crashed once he came home.

We have been very blessed with lots of volunteers in our youth group.  This is so crucial to the next generation because it shows these students that adults want to invest in their life.  They don't have to go through life feeling abandoned and alone, there are adults they can share their lives with.  We praise the Lord for placing us here in Savannah where we get to minister to (and be ministered to through) these youth volunteers, students and their parents.