It starts simple

Houston, we have a problem.

Even just a quick eyeballing of this sheet rock situation would give reason for concern.  This was only our second piece of sheet rock, our first day on the job, and we couldn’t get it right to save our lives.  The ceiling was bowed and nothing was meeting up evenly.  Add to that, we had sheet rock screw guns that were so finicky, we’d either drive the screws straight through the paper or couldn’t get them to sink at all.

It was a comedy of errors at every turn. 

But we did eventually get past this sheet.  We were eventually able to finish quite a bit of this house, before the “pros” arrived and promptly began to show us how it’s really done.  Together with a team of college students from near and far replacing the roof, I’d say we made huge progress toward bringing hope to this family who lost their home to the flood in Houston.  By the time it’s all said and done, in the next couple of days, they’ll have a home that’s as good as new!

It was an unusual way to spend spring break.  

It all started with a conversation around the breakfast table about what we’d like to for Spring Break.  We had a family wedding to attend in New Orleans on Saturday and thought we could leave from there to go do something fun as a family.  We threw out lots of options from coast to coast, but it felt like everyone was just so-so, or even complaining about the choices.

In that moment, we threw out the idea of taking a little mission trip instead.  

We researched “Spring Break mission trips” only to find that most pre-planned trips are geared towards high school or college students.  Then it occurred to us that there were probably plenty of service projects in New Orleans, so we googled that for a while.  We found a wonderful organization there to partner with and decided to invite the rest of the Gornto clan to check it out, to potentially all join in the effort together.  As a result, we learned that Rick is on the board of an organization called 4B Disaster Response Network.  They’d already partnered with Eight Days of Hope for an enormous rebuilding effort for the flood victims in Houston during Spring Break.

So that’s exactly what we did. 

It was such a good experience for us all.  During a week we would normally spend resting, and doing pretty much anything we darn well pleased, we were able to shift our focus onto the needs of others.  It was good for all of us.

It was good for our souls.

I was expecting to hear the sounds of complaining kids along the way, but you know what?  The only complaints we heard were that there weren’t enough jobs on the site for the kids to do.  They wanted more.  They wanted to work.

They wanted to feel like they were contributing.  

At the core, that’s what we all want, isn’t it?  We want to know our lives are making a difference.  It’s an intrinsic battle within all of us who enjoy freedom and privilege.  We want a fun, luxurious life and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But after a while, without feeling like we are making some sort of contribution, it can all begin to feel empty and hollow.

It leaves our hearts dissatisfied, longing for more. 

This isn’t a tale to brag how my family did something so noble and “good” over Spring Break.  Nope.  It’s a story about what can happen for all of us when we make a little shift in our thinking.  It’s about thinking outside of the norms.  It’s about deciding to contribute whatever you can, whenever you can.  Yes, it’s a story about us, and how we ended up hanging sheet rock during Spring Break.

But mostly it’s a story to encourage you, by showing you that it’s not about a big elaborate idea. 

It started with a willing heart and a simple google search.  You might want to make a trip to Houston.  Or you might start with a friend, a neighbor or one of your kid’s friends who could use a little extra attention this week.

Contribute something to someone close by today.

It’s good for your soul.

to more love,


P.S. I realize I went completely dark on the blog for the first half of this week.  If you missed it, I’m truly sorry.  That was not my plan at all.  It just turned out that my body and mind needed more rest than I anticipated, and my family needed my presence.  #priorities  Thank you so much for your patience and understanding!

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