Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Catch & Release

I’m stuck in bed… hurting, bored and definitely don’t want to do homework. Then I remembered something HILARIOUS that happened last week, and decided I should share it with you.

John is a construction supervisor/facilities manager here at Mission on the Bay. He is as “Mississippi” as you can get (I can’t really think of any other way to say it). He has a heavy southern accent, loves Jesus and doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap. I’ve learned to love him, but I’m not going to lie, I’m also pretty intimidated by him. I definitely would not want to be on John’s bad side.

Well, the other day, I was minding my own business. I had just finished lunch and was talking with a few other volunteers. All of a sudden Lindsay came up to me and said John needed to take me somewhere after lunch and it was REALLY important. Everyone sitting around me was saying things like, “uhh ohh” or “wear something that can get muddy”… things like that. Even the director of Mission on the Bay said, “Well, I guess it’s your time Fran.” They all knew what was about to happen.

So I grabbed my jacket (and my camera) and met John out by his truck. I knew I couldn’t say no. As I was climbing in he told me to wait and to come to the back of the truck. I peered into the truck bed and noticed a fairly large cage… and then I noticed something inside the cage… A RACCOON!

So I guess John’s neighbor is an elderly woman who has a raccoon problem. They always come into her yard and eat the cat food on her porch. She came to John a while ago and asked if he could help her with this problem. A lot of people just shoot raccoons, but John chooses to catch and release. He sets up cages and attracts the raccoons with honey buns. According to John, a honey bun to a raccoon is like “cocaine to a crack addict.”

John showed me that poor little raccoon and said, “You wanna come with me to set him free?” Who could say no?! I was so flattered that John invited me to come along, and I’m so glad he had it in his heart to set it free.

We drove out to the woods and let him go. I had to stand back, and John opened the cage from the truck bed. He was gone before I knew it. I bet there aren’t too many people who can say they’ve been raccoon catch and releasin’!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Well, I’m proud to say I am now a member of the WHO DAT NATION! I can’t even explain how amazing it was to be in the gulf this Super Bowl season. Even though Bay Saint Louis is 45 minutes outside of New Orleans, the Saint spirit was alive! The game was awesome, and I’ve never enjoyed a Super Bowl so much. We set up a big screen and projector here at Mission on the Bay and had a little volunteer party. It was a good time!

The next day, a few of us traveled to New Orleans for the Saints Parade. Stephanie, Jake (two other Idaho interns), Rey (a long term volunteer), Matt (a construction supervisor), and I squeezed into Matt’s little Neon after work and made our way to the city. We sat for a good two hours in parade traffic, but it was worth every second. The streets were packed but we managed to get an awesome spot to watch the parade. It was so neat to be part of New Orleans that night. They deserved this win more than anyone. The players threw us beads, and luckily I was standing next to Jake (he’s really tall) so he was able to catch a ton! Drew Brees threw one to Stephanie, and I’m definitely a little jealous about that one! It was just a night full of adventure! Jake and I were even able to sneak into the Marriot to use the restroom. They were carding everyone, but we just walked in like we owned the place! Such a cool experience!

P.S. Thanks for the pictures Steph! I was too nervous to take my camera in such a big crowd!


I had the coolest opportunity last weekend! I traveled to Tupelo, Mississippi for the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi’s Diocesan Counsel. Basically that’s a complicated way of saying I attended a convention with Episcopalians from all over the state. Butch and Elizabeth (my bosses) needed to attend because Elizabeth is an Episcopal priest. They also invited Lindsay (the Volunteer Concierge) and ME! I’m an Episcopalian so they figured I would enjoy it. While Butch and Elizabeth were in meetings, Lindsay and I worked at a Mission on the Bay booth and told people about our organization. It was really cool! On Saturday night after the meetings there was a catfish fry and a dance! I never thought I could have that much fun with a group of Episcopal priests, but it was definitely a great time. The next day we visited the birthplace of Elvis and drove the 5 hours back to Bay Saint Louis. Luckily we made it home just in time for the Super Bowl. WHO DAT!

Red Onions

Even after almost cutting my finger completely off and crying more than I ever have in one week (due to the onions), I can honestly say I had an awesome week in the kitchen. I bet I washed over 1000 dishes, diced over 100 vegetables and realized more about service than I ever have.

When I came to Mississippi to volunteer, I figured the majority of my time would be spent on the worksite doing construction. However, after being here for a few days, I realized that there is so much more than just construction. Feeding the volunteers that come through Mission on the Bay was a really cool experience, and I now have a new understanding of the big picture of service. When working at a recovery center like Mission on the Bay, every role is just as important as another. Without one, the others aren’t everything they can be. It was really cool to realize this.

Ohh! And just so you know… my finger is healing quite nicely. Just watch out for red onions when I’m in the kitchen! (That’s what Charlie says.) AND I am now a cornbread master! Just something to look forward to until I come home!

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Time is the most valuable thing you can give a person."

My new friend Charlie told me this in one of our many discussions, and I truly think its one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. Charlie’s one of those guys you can’t help but love. This retired New Yorker can hardly ever be taken seriously, but he makes me laugh so I put up with him. I really admire Charlie because even though he jokes around a lot, he truly does give so much. Charlie is a long term volunteer here at Mission on the Bay, and he’s doing it just because he loves it.

I don’t think Charlie was really trying to give me advice, but he really got me thinking when he said, “Time is the most valuable thing you can give a person.” It made me think about my life and wonder how I’ve given my time. Charlie does this everyday, and it truly is inspiring. Looking back on how I do things, I really don’t think I’ve given my time like I could have. I’ve always tended to fill my life with activities so spare time was really hard to find. When it came to giving, I was great at organizing an event or throwing money at a charity, but did I ever really give me time? My heart? No. I was sincere in my actions, but sitting and truly listening to a person who needs you is different. Giving your time, even if you don’t have time to give. I don’t know… I’ve just been thinking about this so much, and it’s something I really want to work on. I want to be a better friend, and give my friends the time they need. I want to be there for my family. Rather than talking all about my life on the phone, ask them about their lives. And I especially want to be here for the people I’ve met in Mississippi. I don’t want to just go through the checklist of things a volunteer is supposed to do. I want to offer my heart… if that makes sense. I truly want to hear, feel and understand.

Just something I’ve been thinking about…