January 30, 2006

Hello to all my dear friends ...

I just wanted to take a minute and thank you all for your continued support for the site.

I have been so busy helping so many people through Christmas and trying to get as many families adopted out - I haven't had a whole lot of time for a redesign and refreshing of the website until this past week. I am still adding and changing things to help those in need. The Angel Tree had over 500 families listed ... and over 2/3 of them were adopted. Be sure and stay tuned for inspirational stories ... coming soon!

I wanted to let you know that I plan on continuing the Angel Tree to help families. You can read all about it on the site.

I have added photos from many of you.

I have added a "katrina.com in the news" section. I still can not believe that the site has received over 12 Million hits in 5 months. And the site is continuing to stay a very active place for those interested in keeping up with the hurricane rebuilding and recovery.

I would like to ask you to ponder and pray for a burden that I have regarding the site. It is getting very busy - and some days it's hard to answer the over 500 emails that I am still getting. But the most important goal is to keep the site clean, warm and helpful to all who go to it. My burden is ... I have been approached over the past few months by many organizations that want to use the site as a way to help their "non-profit group" help others. And it's hard when you are miles away from the devastation and the groups who are helping to know who's for real and who's not.

Thankfully the good Lord above helped me to stay focused in the very beginning of the Hurricane and hold on to it and to use it to be a help to so many. I was approached as you know by many who wanted to buy the domain name and who knows what could have been done with it.

I have to figure out how to continue to support the site in the future ... Curtis and I have been footing the bill for all the work and upkeep through the past few months. I have tried to keep up with my customers and keep my work caught up - but spent a ton of money to keep the site up.

We have been planning to build a new house for 15 years.  We finally thought that things were finally looking up in August.  We sold our house ... made about a little profit on the house.  Things were great ... we moved into a little ranch house with 3 bedrooms to rent for a few months ... getting ready to build our log home ... our dream.  Then the Hurricane hit.  My regular customers had to play second fiddle ... and unfortunately I lost several customers who couldn't wait any longer while I worked on Hurricane things.  I constantly flipped back and forth with who needed me the most.  And hopefully all the customers that I lost and the ones who were so patient, understood that I felt that people who were stranded in attics and those who lost everything were my first priority.  Well ... time moved on ... the days and weeks went by and we used just about 2/3 of our profit from the house to make ends meet.  Hopefully my business will pick back up now that things have settled some ... and we can build that house one day soon.  Our household of 3 has quickly turned into a household of 7 ... which I'll explain in a minute.

Curtis shakes his head and says ... I can't believe that we are in the same boat again ... but then we look at each other and agree that there's no way we could have said no to helping so many.

Our house will come one day ... if it's God's Will.  He has a divine purpose for all things ... and I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God knew 37 years ago when my mother and father named me Katrina ... that was in His plan also!  Whew ... if Daddy were only here ... He'd sure have the right answers.  But he is Heaven watching over ... and God will I am sure ... speak and use this site to help someone who really needs it.

I need to figure out the future of the site ... NOT whether it will stay up or not - but at who I can allow to use it to help others ... and who to trust ... and where the funds will come from in the future. Many times, I have thought about the multitudes of charities who have pocketed so much in their "effort to help" and wonder how they can sleep at night. Earthlink has been very gracious to write off the extended bandwidth each month and will for 6 months. Well ... we are in month #5 - and that gives me one more month to decide what to do for the future of the site - that I don't believe will slow down anytime soon.

The site will remain a tool of help and hope as long as needed and as long as the good Lord leaves me here.

So ... when you think about it ... pray that God will give me the right guidance.

Most importantly I want it to be a blessing to others. I have no interest in selling it.

I truly appreciate the thousands of emails that I have gotten from you all - and wish we could all have a big reunion one day!

Keep on praying for all those who lost loved ones and their homes - and keep on helping one another and be a blessing to someone each day.

Thought I'd fill you in on the latest ... any ideas ... feel free to send them on ... I am open to suggestions and comments about the site continually!

On another note ... thought you'd like to know ... through all this ... God has expanded our family! We have 1 son, who is 7 ... and has wanted brothers and sisters for so long. We lost 4 little ones over the past 15 years of marriage. And knew that God would give us the grace we needed. Some friends of ours told us about a group of children that were abandoned by their parents for near starvation and asked us if we were interested in adopting them. So about 2 months ago ... Brady got his wish ... we adopted 4 children! They are 5, 3, 2 & 8 months! I am a busy mommy ... but loving every minute of it. God has given us the most special blessings throughout our whole life ... but the past 5 months have been too many to count. My husband and I do everything together - from diaper changing - to wiping runny noses - to reading - to cooking - and playing ball - and building train sets. My design work starts about 9 pm and most nights way into the night or all night - but that's when I am the most creative.

I thought working with so many folks with the Hurricane and the website was such a blessing ... there were days that I was so full of joy - I was about to burst. But then when the children came ... my oh my! Needless to say - Brady is thrilled to no end. Just to watch them play together - laugh and giggle together - pick each other up when they fall - and to see them all sitting together in church filling up an entire pew now! And listening to their Daddy preach ... God has blessed us so very much. We definitely should have invested in Kleenex years ago!

So ... thanks for your support ... your love ... your friendship ... and your prayers! It's because of you all ... that my heart is so full! No ... not just my heart ... but Curtis' also ... you have sure been a blessing to us and your love has been so great!

God bless each one of you this day!

Many hugs ... katrina blankenship ~