Actually, I don't much care for Disneyland, et al, but I feel like the sentiment those commercials were trying to portray. I get to go to the I-just-won-the-Super-Bowl of Habitat for Humanity events, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project (JRCWP). It's the 25th annual event for them, and it's in the Gulf Coast region near Biloxi, MS and New Orleans, LA that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, so it's in an area where there's a great need. I've been volunteering with Habitat for about 13 years now, and Jimmy Carter has long been one of my heroes in part because of the work and support he and Rosalynn have given to Habitat over the years. A lot of people mistakenly think Jimmy Carter started Habitat (it was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller), but he and Rosalynn have helped bring so much attention to Habitat's mission of eliminating substandard housing worldwide that people have come to associate it with them. I don't expect to hang with Jimmy much ;-) but it's still an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The last couple of days I've been volunteering at Habitat for Humanity East Bay's annual Earth Day build-a-thon. It's not as crazy accelerated a build as the JRCWP will be, but it's still a pretty amazing event. This year we're framing 6 houses from foundation to roof in 4 days. Because of bronchitis (post-Mexico mission) and tendinitis (pre-Mexico mission) I've been helping with support instead of framing. Yesterday especially was hard to sit back and help with registration, parking, photography, etc. instead of picking up a toolbelt and hammer and getting to work. I have grabbed the end of a board or helped hold up a wall here and there, but mostly I've been taking pictures and talking about Habitat and the Thrivent Builds program (they're supporting Habitat around the country to the tune of $125 million over 5 years, with a special focus on the Gulf Coast region). I'm feeling good enough that I'm going to try swinging a hammer tomorrow and Tuesday. If you want, you can help support Habitat by pledging money in my name here. I've been keeping a blog about Habitat for Humanity East Bay's work with Thrivent Builds (the HEBTB blog), and I'll be posting pictures of this year's build-a-thon there shortly.