Just A Nobody
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
My question is: Is he standing there as a coach, waiting to give direction to the team, so they can take their team to victory? Or, is he standing and waiting patiently to be asked into the game, the only player that has not been included? Have we forgotten to ask Him for direction or have we forgotten to include Him in our everyday battles? Just some thoughts, would love to hear what you think.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Today we celebrated Christmas with our friends without homes in the park. When we arrived at the park it was still snowing. As usual we were greeted with a group that helps unload the truck and helps setup. No big turkey dinner, but instead turkey sandwiches, hot chicken soup, brownies for desert and lots of hot chocolate. Okay it’s not your traditional Christmas dinner, but they loved it. Then Santa arrived. Terrica’s husband dressed as Santa and handed out gift bags that we stuffed with hot chocolate, gloves, handwarmers, socks, homemade cookies, candy and a personal card. I was blown away by the reaction of our friends. Their eyes lit up and there were smiles from ear to ear. To see these tuff street friends become like little kids was unbelievable. They hugged on Santa and some asked to have their picture taken with him. They started singing Christmas carols; they laughed and had such a goodtime. They were digging in their little bag to see what Santa had brought them; it was like watching little kids on Christmas morning. What a joy it was.
As we stood in the freezing weather and snow, I thought to myself, what is the biggest gift you could ever give someone? I looked around and yes they were enjoying Santa, the food and the little gift bags, but they will tell you that they will do without all that to spend time with someone who cares. The biggest gift you could ever give someone is unconditional love and you. Give of yourself and your time. I saw so much love and joy in the park today and all it took was a few hours of my time and it will not cost you a thing. You will be amazed at the impact you can make in a life, by not doing much of anything except saying I give a little bit of myself to you.
I want wish each and every one of you a Very Merry Christmas. May it be a day filled with joy and I pray that the New Year brings many blessings your way. Below are some pictures of today!
Before we arrived, our friends without homes made a snowman....they wanted to put beer cans in the hands, but opted to just stick a cig. in his mouth... :)
Waiting to get hot soup!
Some of our friends without homes!
Rudy and Dianna. Thanks to the two of you!
Travis and Dianna. Today was Travis's first time down to the park. We were blessed to have him come and hope he comes again.
Terrica, Kirk and Santa (Rodney). Thank you so much Rodney for doing what you did today. You were a blessing to all those in the park and it is something they will not soon forget. Terrica thanks for being santa's helper today, we all know you are still the brownie lady so don't go let this santa gig get you side tracked.......LOL
Monday, December 8, 2008
There are some who are caught up in the storm that rages fiercely and will not pass. Its waves just beat down, bent on destroying anything in its path. The sky becomes dark and menacing and the light cannot be seen through the darkness that is surrounding you. You find yourself tossed from the safety of your boat and now face the waves head on. You fight and cry for help, but there is no one there to hear your cries. You fight to keep your head above water and soon you grow weary. You become tired, your strength is gone and you feel yourself slipping into the abyss. You sink deeper and deeper into the cold dark waters, hoping someone will notice your need for help. As you struggle to return to the surface, you can see through the water that the storm above has passed and the light is once again shinning brightly, but no matter how hard you try you can’t break the through, no matter what direction you swim in you can’t break free. No one has noticed that you are drowning and your need of help. Though you keep struggling and searching you are trapped in the unforgiving waters.
Today someone broke through and saw the light. I was standing the park today when someone came up long side of me and grabbed me, it was Robert. I met Robert a while back in the park. Today he had been drinking, as he usually does, but today he was upset and desperately needed someone to talk too. Him and his wife are both alcoholics and they have a new baby boy. She is in a facility with the baby and is getting help, but Robert has not had much luck with getting help or programs that he can stick with. He came to me today with a plea for help. He said he wanted to get help and did not know where to go. I could see that he was drowning and sinking fast. I called Sean over, he is one of the men who live on the streets, and he lives there by choice. This is where he feels God has called him to be, living among those without homes. I asked Sean as to what choices or options were available to Robert. We discussed them and let Robert know that he had to make the first step, but we were there for him and would help him in anyway.
As we continued to talk the conversation took a different turn that surprised me. He spoke of Vivian who had come to the park the previous weekend and how drawn he was to her. Then he said he came to the park last week and this week searching for something and he knew he could find it there with us. He was not sure as to what it was, but he said he felt it when he was with us and when he was with Vivian last week. Then he started talking about how he cries out to God for help and wants a touch from God. He said, “ I want to feel his presence, I want him to consume me.” I started crying for this man and started praying to myself “Please Lord, touch him today, make your presence known to him.” Robert looked at us and said that he wanted to feel God in the way we do. I took Robert by the hand and asked if Sean and I could please pray with him and for him. He grabbed our hands, hung his head and broke down in tears. We prayed, we held him and let him know he was loved. As he raises his head up, his face was different; there was color back in his face. He turned to Sean and I and said, “ I see the sun and the world looks a little brighter now.” I don’t know what God did to Robert today, but as he left I thought, he broke through and made it back to the surface. He was slipping into the deep waters of the ocean, but for today he has made it back to the surface. I will continue to check on him and keep him in prayer. I pray that God did something in him today and continues to work in him. I pray that he makes it back in the boat and sets sail again, heading out on the course laid out for him and when the storms come again, this time instead of being thrown from the boat I pray that he breaks through the other side.
We packed up the truck to head back home, dropping Sean back off at the shelter. We were talking about Robert and as we were, I wanted to cry out. I understood Robert so well and what he was going thru today, because for the past month or so the storm has raged and I find myself being consumed by the deep waters. I fight and fight to get back to the surface, but find myself being pulled down deeper. There are times when my strength is almost gone and I want to give up the fight, but if I give up to the cold deep waters, I will never finish the task before me and reach my final destination. So, not knowing who to cry out too or whose hand to reach for, I continue to struggle back to the surface. I cry out to God to bring me back, back to were I can breath again and once again feel His warmth shine down on my face. I want to feel that embrace, the reassurance that I am safely back on the boat and on course.
Even though we love on some of most broken and lost people of this city every week and try and bring some kind of comfort and hope to them, people don’t realize that we also have our storms to weather. Yes, we have God on our side, but we still struggle and can be lost at times in the vast ocean when we are knocked out of the boat and we are also crying out to be rescued as well.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Picked Darlene up early in the morning and put her to work cooking!
Love my Park Friends
Monday, November 24, 2008
I was wanting to share and blog about the park. It has been a long time since I have shared and wanted to catch people up on the things going on down there, but I wanted to share about Terrance. He has been on my heart for the last few weeks.
Two weeks ago on November 10, I happened to turn on the evening news and found that on that day they found Terrance. Terrance was 51 years old and had been on the streets for a while. I had seen is face around the park, but had never really engaged with him. I found out that night that he had climbed into a bale of waste paper at the recycling center and was crushed to death.
The news said they don’t know why he climbed in the container. I know it had been raining for days and weather had turned cold. The shelters are sometimes full and there are many just trying to survive outside in the streets. I really feel that Terrance, maybe not having a place to go and get out of the cold and rain, climbed into the recycling bin. Under the piles of paper he would have been dry and much warmer than sleeping on the streets somewhere.
I write about Terrace, because all the news referred to was that he was some homeless man, nothing more. As I think about Terrace the last few weeks, my heart hurts for the loss of this man. Yes, I really did not know him, but at one time he may have been someone’s husband, father and he was someone’s child. Most of all he was not just some homeless man; Terrance was a beloved child of our God.
Terrance could have been anyone of my friends without homes, on any given day. I wish I had the chance to throw my arms around him and let him know he was loved. When I go to the park now on I will hug a little harder and say “I love you” a little more often. You will be missed Terrance!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
November 10, 1999 at 6:45 in the morning is the day a piece of my heart was ripped out and has never been replaced. They say time heals, but there are something’s in life that no amount of time can heal. Life goes on and you learn to deal with the pain, but it is always there. I now deal with my pain in private, alone in my room is when I break down cry, grieve and cry out to God for understanding. On that day nine years ago I received a phone call that my oldest son Franklin had passed away.
He was seventeen and three months away from his eighteenth birthday. How excited he was to be turning eighteen. He was your typical teenager and we had dealt with the typical teenage stuff. Perfect he was not, but I loved him with all my heart. Franklin did have a great compassion and heart for people though. He loved to make people happy and if there was someone in need, he wanted to help. I think sometimes about the person he may have become.
I remember him sitting in church one day and just crying over some pictures they were showing of children in other countries and is longing to help them. He told me that one day he was going to go to Africa to preach and help the children there. I tell people he was going to be my preacher and I wonder sometimes if that is what he would have done and were he would have gone. I think of how he would have loved to be in the park with us on Sunday’s, just loving on the people there. I think about him a lot when we are there in the park.
I have his violin lying in the corner of my room. I can remember him practicing at night after school and gritting my teeth at the sounds that would come from that violin. In amazement though, when he would sit and play with the orchestra, I would just cry at the beautiful music that was coming from that violin. I would give anything to hear those teeth gritting sounds again.
Out of all three of my boys, he was the one who talked about having a wife and kids. He would have been 26 almost 27 now and I wonder what kind of wife he would have had and if he would have had kids, he loved kids.
There is so much I could say about him, but right now I miss him. I sit here crying as I am typing and I so long to hold him again. I want so badly to say to him “I love you.” I want to be able to put my arms around him and hug him. I miss him so much and my heart still aches. I don’t understand why a life so young has to be taken away. I don’t understand how this fits into God’s plan. I know someday I will get all the answers, but until then it doesn’t make the pain any less.
As I went out to the cemetery yesterday and as I drove down the road, I new this is the road that I will one day make my final drive down as well. Even though I go and visit his grave, I know he is not there. I know that he is with our Lord and someday I will be reunited with him. One day I will be able to hold and hug him once again and one day I will be able to tell him face to face “I love him.”
UNTIL THEN SWEET SON OF MINE “I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU SO VERY MUCH!” --Mom
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Sunday Terrica met me at the house, James (my son) got off work early, and we packed up the truck and headed down. When we arrived at the park, we unloaded right away and were instantly mobbed by people. With in about a half hours time we were out of everything. I could not believe the crowd down there this weekend. Dianna arrived shortly after. Her heart is really with the young children we get there. She sat at a table and had foam pumpkins for the kids to decorate. I rounded up some kids for her to do the project with and they had a blast. The part that just cracks me up though, is the adults that wanted to sit down and do one also. Tough street guys and they are sitting there with stickers and glitter pens decorating pumpkins. I watched in amazement, it wasn’t about getting to decorate something, what they wanted was the time she was willing to give to each one. The time to sit, laugh, listen and love on them. She had a young man there, who has been in the park for a while, he just would not leave, he so much wanted to be loved on and she gave that to him. It was like watching a mother spend time with her child. She made a deep connection with him and it is something he will remember for a long time. Terrica also was at the table and was able to have a deep conversation with one of the people there, which has a special place in her heart. This person has been hurting for a long time and she is beginning to trust Terrica and because of Terrica’s beautiful heart, this person is learning that she is loved and accepted unconditionally. She no longer sits alone in the park and when she arrives she comes right over, knowing that she is always welcome.
I tried to walk around and visit at the park, but sometimes there are those days when the unexpected happens and your focus is on that one person. There is an older gentleman that I have been trying to talk to for a year now. Ever week he is in the park and every week I try, but he is angry and really doesn’t want anything to do with me or anyone else. I was standing in the park and I realized someone had walked up long side of me. I turned to see who it was and it was this gentleman. I said Hello and asked how he was doing. I expected the usual and thought he will leave like always. This man turned to me and started talking; telling me about himself and his life and it was about an hour to an hour and a half that we talked. As I stood there, I wanted to cry. For a solid year I have been trying to talk to this man and here he was, pouring his guts out to me. Then there is the young Goth kid. I have had the same results with him, not wanting to talk, shun me as I tried to talk to him and about two weeks ago, Terrica was standing under a tree and he walked up behind her. She said hello and he just watched every move she made, examining everything she did and every word she said, but like Terrica says “ He was looking for something in her, she could feel it.” You could see part of him was waiting to be rejected and when that didn’t happen, doors were suddenly opened. They talked and laughed. He was there this Sunday and felt right at home with us. I told Terrica that Monday when I stopped by one of the shelters, he was there and came over and joked and talked. Monday at the shelter was mind blowing. I arrived to help one of the guys move some of his things to a friend’s house and as soon as I pulled up there was a swarm of people. A lot I know from the park and a few new faces, but each one wanting attention. So, when I dropped the young man off, I spent time just visiting.
The point I guess I am trying to get across in the blog is, not just what happened Sunday in the park, but how if we give of ourselves and invest our time into people’s lives, the doors that will open for you to speak into someone’s life are unlimited. We are looking for the instant miracles, the dramatic to happen and sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way. We have to be willing to be in it for the long haul and not give up on people so easily. No matter how draining or heart breaking, no matter how much you want to throw in the towel and say I quit, each life is valuable, is deserving of love and is just as precious to our God as you are. It may take a week, a year, a few years or even a life time, but my friends without homes, our families, friends and acquaintances all deserve the same love that He has shown us. We should not be so quick to give up on any of them, you never know when that day will come and an open door to their heart will suddenly open.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
The room seemed old, had a beat up wooden floor and walls. There was one window, no curtains and when the sun came thru you could see the dust in the rays of the light. Though the room seemed empty, in the corner almost hidden from the light, was a old dusty chest, a chest that she had become very familiar with. When she first received the chest, it was bran new, shiny and was perfect in everyway. Over time it had become dented and the shine has dulled, but even with its flaws it was precious to her, for inside it contained her armor, the armor she did battle with.
Her companion reminded her that it was time and she need to prepare. So, she walked to the chest and as she knelt beside it, she opened the chest and started to remove the items she had been given. When she first met her companion, he gave her the Helmet of Salvation, Shield of Faith, Shoes of Peace, Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness and the Sword of the Spirit. All of these items had become very important when she went out for battle, but there were other items in the chest that she had received from her companion over the years. Once again she reached in the chest and removed the new set of eyes he gave her, these were so she could see those in the loving way that he sees them. He had given her strong arms to love and hold those that were so precious to him. Then there it was, his heart, so she could understand and express his love and compassion to others with his heart. He told her that in time other pieces of armor will be added to the chest, but they will come in due time.
As she stood there adorned in her armor, she had a sense of excitement and was always willing to go, but she asked her companion why must she do it alone? The battles are becoming harder and more intense and she did not know if she would have the strength to continue. She knew there were others in far off places also doing battle, but why is there so few and why have others not stepped up in the battle. He did not answer and once again reminded her that it was time to go. So, even though she was weary and tired, she headed through the door and off into the world.
Her battles were fought not with hate and anger, but with love and acceptance. She battled among the most lost, lonely and hurting souls of her town. Sometimes battles were won and sometimes they were lost. But she knew the battle needed to continue and no matter how weary she may become, she would continue until her companion said it was time to go home.
As she returned to the old bare room, she knew today’s battle was over, but also knew there were more to come. Tired she began to place the armor in the trunk as her companion stood waiting. He told her that today was a good battle, lives were touched and hearts were opened. She smiled, but still wished that she had others to help, others to give of themselves to those who don’t have the strength to battle for themselves. Just then she noticed something on the other side of the room. There stood a shine new chest, one like she had first received. Was this a new chest for her; was this a new chest that was also to be filled with new items of armor? She was confused; her chest had not been filled yet, so why would she be given another so soon? She looked at her companion puzzled and before she could ask, he told her that the chest was not hers. This chest was for the one that would be joining her in the battle. He went on to explain that there would be others and soon the room would be full of chests. He was preparing them, but soon they would arrive. How she loved her companion, even when she felt as though he was not listening and felt alone, he heard her cries and in his time provided what she needed. As the two of them walked out of the room and she locked the door, she knew they would return again soon, but she had a new sense of joy and excitement as to what will come. She knows in the end her companion will emerge victorious, but with each new battle she learns the love, faithfulness and strength of the companion.
This is a dream I had about a few months ago and it keeps coming back to me, so I thought I would share it with you.
Friday, October 17, 2008
About a month and a half ago, Terrica started joining me in the park. After her first visit there she was hooked. My friends without homes just love her and she has fit right in. Dianna started joining us a few weeks ago and she really has a heart for the kids, the little kids who are there. She also has been really accepted and welcomed by those in the park. I am so grateful and blessed to have these two wonderful women join me down there. I have been praying for others to come down to the park and help. It sometimes can get overwhelming and these two women have been an answer to my prayers. They have been a blessing to my friends and a big blessing to me. Right now it is just the three of us, so if anyone out there would like to give of themselves and just want to love on some wonderful people, let us know, you’ll never be the same after your first time in the park!
We have about 100 to 200 people each week in the park. This includes single men and women, young adults and families with young children. There were a lot of children this past weekend. We still supply sandwiches, water, socks and other necessities. With cold weather coming on, we have started to try and collect gloves, beanies, coats, scarves, hand warmers and anything else that may help with the cold, especially for those who stay outside during the winter. If anyone can help with these things, we would be grateful.
When God called me to the park, almost a year now. He said I was to love on them, accept them right where they were and have a relationship with them. I thought at the time that he was crazy, how can that make a difference in someone’s life. Well, the effects, of just giving of yourself, loving on someone and how it can change a person’s life, have blown me away. By loving, accepting and having a relationship, walls are coming down, doors into people’s hearts are opening up, trust is being formed and they are learning that we love them because they deserve to be loved and we truly do love them. They are no longer our friends in the park, but our family in the park.
I see a lot of my friends come and go on the streets. Those who now have homes, I have been trying to keep in touch with and make sure they are doing all right. I have been trying to help out during the week with any appointments and anything else they may not have transportation too and stop by the park when I can to just visit with those who maybe hanging around.
Some new things going on: We have decided that starting this Sunday that we would once a month start acknowledging those who have birthday’s each month. We will make sure they have a birthday cake and make sure they are recognized. This may not sound like much, but many have not celebrated a birthday in many years. Terrica has been working her fingers to the bones knitting scarves. We took some down last week and they loved them. She has also been crowned the brownie lady! They love her brownies. Dianna has a heart for the kids, so we are going to try and have something for the kids to do while they are there. This week there is a small craft project for them, try and make them feel special. We are trying to get help from others to do something nice for them for Christmas. We would like to not just feed them but also, do something personal for them.
Before I finish this blog, there are some people I would like to say “Thanks” too, some thanks are way pass due, but I would very much like to “Thank You” now:
Sweet Rose, who had a lemonade stand and sent what she made so we could buy socks. Your generous heart blows me away.
Andrea, who sent forty pounds of much need and welcomed clothes and funds from WI. My friends were blessed and were thankful.
Thanks to Terrica and Dianna for all the water, lunchmeat, socks, and everything else you have given. Most of all thank you for giving of yourselves. You have loved and blessed my friends in so many ways.
Joan from Agape Christian Worship Center, thank you for the bread this last weekend. It was a real blessing to us in the making of the sandwiches. Thank you for thinking of those in the park.
Nicole who gave us a box of books. A lot of those in the park spend the day reading and they were excited to receive new books. They pass them along when they are finished. This was a treat for them, thank you!
I think I am going to close for now. There are many things going on in the park, but I promise I will let you in on them soon. I don’t want to turn this blog into a book. So, I send you all much love and blessings. Love you all
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Repost of some statistics I found, these were taken three years ago and the numbers surely have risen since:
While browsing the Internet, I came across a blog that contained some interesting information about homelessness in a part of the US:
In January 2005, an estimated 744,313 people experienced homelessness in the United States. In Idaho there are estimated to be 5,092 homeless people in shelters and 332 without shelter, giving Idaho one of the highest rates of homelessness per capita. The national average is 0.30% of the total population. Idaho's average is 0.38%. In comparison, Utah's average is only 0.13%.
56 percent of homeless people counted were living in shelters and transitional housing and, shockingly, 44 percent were unsheltered.
59 percent of homeless people counted were single adults and 41 percent were persons living in families.
In total, 98,452 homeless families were counted.
23 percent of homeless people were reported as chronically homeless, which, according to HUD’s definition, means that they are homeless for long periods or repeatedly and have a disability.
A number of states had high rates of homelessness, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington State. In addition, Washington, DC had a high rate of homeless people.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
The subject is dead. The history of the dying is as follows:
Twenty or thirty years ago, the subject had opportunities to broaden horizons and take actions to ensure long term flexibility and health. Like many others, the subject preferred to continue making the same lifestyle choices that were good during the early years, but that had outlived their usefulness. The subject not only refused to make needed changes, but began to speak out against those who did change and refused to work with them in the community. I believe this is the point when the subject began to die.
As the years went by, the subject became further entrenched in the old ways, even as life and vitality continued to wane. Friends and family members began to leave and find others to spend time with. The subject began to shrink and muscles began to atrophy. A form of dementia set in and the subject began to withdraw and close out the rest of the world, only opening the door to the occasional visitor. Visitors were few and far between, and those who did come quickly realized that the subject's ways of believing and acting were not for them.
The old caretaker retired, and a new one arrived with dreams of revitalizing the subject. What the new caretaker and the subject's few remaining friends didn't realize was that the subject was already too far gone. Due to a lack of action, the muscles had deteriorated to the point where some of them had actually disappeared. This caused some of the internal organs to also lose function and die.
The subject was placed on life support in an attempt to keep certain functions working. These functions were seen as essential to the caretaker and those still gathered around the subject. What they didn't realize was that the way these functions were performed, even some of the functions themselves, were actually contributing to the subject's demise.
During the last few years life continued to drain out of the subject. Even the children, whom the subject professed to love, stopped coming around. Many of the ones who worked so hard to revitalize the subject have gone elsewhere.
The subject was declared dead on Sunday, September 8, 2008 at 11:00 AM. Artificial life support will probably continue, but any real life is gone.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
“Excuse Me,” I said as I started to rise up to look at him. I was not sure if he was joking with us or insulting us.
“I have a couple of diggers to help me out,” he said. This is when I took a second look at the man and noticed something that I had not noticed in the beginning. This man had no arms, now I understood why he needed a couple of diggers.
I looked at James and he looked at the man and without hesitation asked, “so what are we looking for.” The gentleman explained that he had seen an old movie a couple of days ago and had comeback for it. So, James and I dug and dug, while this man directed us as to where we were to look and how best to dig for it. He even said, jokingly, at one time that he was going to go over by James because he dug faster. I tried to explain that I had only one hand to work with because the other was full. He laughed and reminded me that I was still one up on him. Okay, got me there, I’ll dig faster.
After about fifteen or twenty minutes, we found not one, but two movies he had been looking for. We asked if there was anything else we might be able to do for him. He replied “no” that is all I came in for. “Okay then, have a good day,” I said. He was turning to walk away, stopped and looked back at us and said, “There is one more thing I would like to tell you.” “What’s that?” I asked? His response brought goose bumps all up and down my arms. He very calmly said “ I thank you for being my arms extended in the world today!”
So I will leave you with that to think about dear friends. As a follower of Jesus, shouldn’t we all be His arms extended in the World.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
While at the park, did the usual, hand things out, give out hugs, talked, mostly hangout. I spent a lot of time talking to Tony from the Vineyard. Tony has such a loving heart and compassion for the people there and it is always a pleasure to talk to him. Tony had gone to get something to eat and I was standing there talking to a gentleman who I had not seen in the park before, but very much wanted to talk and have company. As we were talking I could hear yelling behind me. I turned and there were to guys, one lying on the ground and one standing over him, both yelling and threatening each other. I had seen people at the park yelling and screaming at each other and they usually work it out and go their separate ways. Today though it was different. I was standing there and I was just praying to myself, God please make these two stop and what can I do to help the situation? About this time one of them decided to start kicking at the other that was laying down. Now he has crossed the line and this going to get ugly I thought.
I don’t know what you want me to do God, but here we go. I handed my glasses to Terrica. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I didn’t want to break my glasses and I prayed, Lord please don’t let them break my teeth, other than that, if you want me to get into the middle of it I will. I walked over to were the two were and waited to see what was going to happen next. They were still going at it and the crowd was edging them on. I thought this has to stop now before we have a riot and everyone goes to jail. I yelled out to one of them and started to walk to him and was going to put myself between them. At that time Robert, one of the guys from the park, reached out and grabbed my shoulder and said not yet, just wait. Okay, wait for what, the sky to split open and the calvary to arrive?
Not more than a minute later, in the mist of all this commotion and yelling, this old man comes out of no were. He came barreling thru the people with a plate that had two pieces of cake on it. He shoves the plate between the two guys who are fighting and very calmly asks, “Do you want a piece of cake?” I was absolutely floored. My first thoughts were, “old man are you flipping nuts?” Then I feared for him, thinking these two were going to turn on him. Then I wanted to bust out laughing, because I thought these two want to kill each other and you offer them cake, how crazy is that? I truly believe God used this man to intervene though. At that very moment, everyone went silent and turned looking at this man in total amazement and disbelief as to what he was doing. In that brief moment the focus was on this man with cake. The two fighting had a moment to take a breather and refocus. Yes, they were still ticked off at each other, but the one picked up his things and made his way through the park. They did exchange a few words in parting, but the fighting had stopped.
I turned to look at the old man and he was gone and I just stood there for moment thinking, “what the hell just happened?” I thought back to the cd’s I had been listening to earlier that morning. God did not use great bolts of lighting, there was no booming sounds of thunder, no huge thing happened to make this stop. He used one little old man with two pieces of cake. So, some may say no big deal, the man offered them cake. I say thank you God for showing me that you can use the most unlikely people and things to accomplish your will and answer prayer. Thank you for letting me see you in the small stuff in life, sometimes those blow my mind more than the big things. So dear friends, look for Him in all the small things, sometimes that is were He does His best work. Oh, and the next time you have a disagreement with someone, maybe try offering up a piece of cake. What’s the worst that could happen, a little cake on your face?
Saturday, September 6, 2008
So, today I headed down with Terrica to Art in the Park, were we met up with her son Jaymes and we took in and enjoyed all that the Art show had to offer. A nice warm, beautiful day, and I had two of the most wonderful people to spend it with. Enjoyed every moment that I got to spend time with these beautiful and special people…..Thanks you two!
Monday, September 1, 2008
As I stood among this crowd of people, trying desperately to give each some attention, I looked up and saw Chris hanging back in the crowd. Chris I met last year, he now has his own place and has been off the streets for three or four months now. He has no close friends and the only family he is close to, is his brother in-law Mike who has cancer, so when he needs someone to talk too, he comes to the park and we talk. The look on his face told me something was wrong. I made my way over to him and asked what is wrong? He could barely get the words out before he broke down and cried. Mike the one person whom he was close to had passed away. I held him as he cried and I cried with him, I did not know Mike, but we stood there together crying and mourning his loved ones death. We sat and talked for a long time. We talked about Mike and the feelings Chris was going thru. He is a recovering alcoholic and he said he almost went drinking, but decided to come down to the park instead. I am so grateful that he did. He left shortly after we talked. I called him today and will continue to check in on him.
I found my way to a picnic table and was joking and talking to a group that is regulars down there. As I sat there, there was a line of people lined up for the feed, through the line I would catch a glance of someone sitting alone on the other side of the park. I finally recognized who it was; out of respect for her I will call her Mary. Even in a park full of hurting and rejected people of our society, there are those who are even rejected by them. Mary is one of those. Mary (who is really Mark) sits alone; she desperately seeks acceptance and friendship, but sits alone. I excused myself from the table and walked over to Mary. I sat down, gave her a hug and asked how she was doing? I asked her to please come and join us at the table we were sitting at, after a little hesitation she finally agreed, so we walked back together and joined the others. We all talked, laughed and shared with each other. When we all left, there were hugs to go around and I love you’s.
I was so grateful that even through this ocean of people, I could hear those who did not just want attention, but were saying “I really do need someone today”. I am grateful that Chris chose to come down and talk and not drink. I am grateful that I was able to see among all the others, Mary who sat alone, and hopefully made her feel loved that day. At least now, I hope she will know that she will never have to sit alone again and she has a friend. There were more stories like this that day, people who don’t cry out as loud as the others and get drowned out by the roar of the ocean. As each week passes I hope to see and love on all my friends in the park, but I hope to able to continue seeing past the waves to the one who is truly saying “I need someone to see me today”! Our words and actions have power and you may never know how a small act of kindness or a loving word may change the course of someone’s day.
Side note: Terrica you were missed by those in the park this week. You loved on them and they remembered that. I assured them you would be back and they all said to tell you “Hello”.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I have been wanting to blog about Sunday, but every time I start my mind is drawn back to my friend Terrica. I have known Terrica since about February and the more I know her the more I am blessed and honored to call her friend. Terrica has expressed a desire to come down to the park and see what I do there. I told her I go hand out things, but most of all I see my friends, accept them right were they are and most of all love on them. Until you experience it and see them the way God sees them, most people do not understand. This Sunday, Terrica called and said she was on her way to my house to ride down to the park with me. I instantly got nervous. She has such a heart and love for the broken and hurting. I knew that she would treat my friends with love and respect, but I was more worried about her reaction. If you are not use to hanging out with those without homes, it can be overwhelming and to be honest a shock.
We arrived at the park and were greeted almost immediately by about five or six people. My son James was with us and he knows what to expect. We started to unload things and in the process I was trying to introduce Terrica to whom I could. Terrica was standing along side of me watching and after talking with one guy, I turned and she was gone. I panicked for a minute, I expected to turn and see her running thru the park looking for the nearest exit home. Okay she didn’t jump ship, she’s behind me. So, off thru the park we went. I introduced her around and everyone was very excepting of her, I was grateful that all were very comfortable around her.
Terrica ended up sitting at a table with three gentlemen and spent most the time with them. I would sit down with them from time to time, just to see what was going on. I was amazed at how fast they let her in and even opened up to her. What a conversation they were having, it was awesome. When we got ready to leave, I looked at these gentlemen and their faces said it all. She has no idea how much she blessed these wonderful men today I thought. She sat with them, she engaged with them, she looked them in the eyes and said I see you and most of all she showed that she cared about them and that someone loved them. When they lay their heads down to sleep, what they remember will not be what they ate for lunch that day, but who touch their heart.
When we got back in the truck to leave, I have to admit I was a little perplexed. You see Terrica is a talker and I mean that in the best way. I love to listen to her; she is full of wisdom and knowledge. As we sat in the truck, she was just sitting there staring straight ahead and I asked, so what do you think? Wow, is all she said. I then asked if she was all right and the only response I got was, Yeah!
We got back to my place and Terrica went home and I was still trying to figure out her reaction. I have talked to her and she is still trying to understand what God has shown her. But, I do realize that God removed some blinders that day. He let her see thru His eyes. She got to see the beauty and worth in these wonderful people. She got to see thru His eyes the love he has for them. She got to see the relationship that God wants to have with each and everyone of us. She got to see thru His eyes what unconditional love is. God awoke and reveled something in her that day and I can’t wait to see where it takes her. I want to thank you for coming down Terrica, you were such a blessing to my friends and I know they will remember the kindness and love you showed them for a very long time. One look thru His eyes and your whole world is turned upside down. My turn to say “WOW”!
Checkout Terrica's blog on her myspace:
Monday, August 11, 2008
You ever wake up and you just get that feeling that something is different about this day? You feel God all around you and the winds are shifting? He’s the conductor, we are the instruments and He already knew what parts we were to play. Sunday was one of those days.
I woke up early Sunday; I was still thinking about the service I attended the night before, the awesome word that was spoken and how it spoke words of hope into my life. I ran my son to work and then rushed home to get ready for church, but God said no, this morning I want you to spend time with me alone. So, we both sat on the couch and just had some quality time talking (something I had not done in awhile and should do more often).
A few hours later Sean called. I met Sean in the park, when he was living at the shelter; he now has his own place, but still goes to the park every so often. He had asked if I could pick him up on the way to the park, sure I always like company. Then my son called for a ride home, he never gets off early on Sunday’s. As I was headed home I asked him if he wanted to go to the park (he doesn’t go down very often) “Yeah sounds good” he said. Shocked me! So, we packed up the truck, picked Sean up and headed for the park.
When we got to the park all of us were shocked. I pulled up and before any of us could get out of the truck, someone yelled the sandwich lady is here and we had a mass of people coming at us. Moose got to me first, he always asks were my son is and today was no different; he didn’t see James in the truck. I told him he was here and Moose got the biggest smile, I don’t know what it is, but he is always thrilled to see him. By this time we had this large group of people there and we were handing things out as fast as we could. The part of the whole thing that blew me away was, they were not just there to get a sandwich or something to drink, but most of them before they took anything wanted a hug and some would ask, “Do you remember me”? As everyone went back to their place in park, my son turned and asked, “What the heck just happened, they have never done that before”? I told him that they just wanted to be acknowledged, to know that someone sees them and that someone cares enough to listen. They wanted to be loved on.
Shortly after Chris showed up, I had not seen him in months and had always wondered what happened to him. He told me how he is doing and that he had some decisions to make and came down to the park to talk to me about it. I said fine, but why me, I can’t make decisions for you? “No, but you can pray with me and for me about them” he said. “Of course I will,” I told him and that’s what we did. Lord what did you do in this man’s heart, I stood there wondering. Not to long after words Pastor Dave had shown up and asked for me to introduce him to some of the people. Just as I was going to do so, Shilo came up (I have spoken about her before), I had not seen her and her mom in about a month and had been concerned about them. They had been staying along the river and that could be dangerous for women. I was so happy to see her and would catch up with her later.
I introduced Pastor Dave around to a few of the people there and he ended up sitting at a table with Sean and few others. Stacey was there; I met her the week before. Last week she asked if I would be back and I had said I would, so it was great to see her again. We talked and joked around and then I went to talk to some of the others in the park. I caught up with Shilo and her mom and had the most amazing conversation with her. I don’t know what it was about this day, but something was happening, her mom just opened up to me, hugged me and just poured her heart out. Before I left her, she told me were they were staying along the river and I promised her that I would make it down sometime this week and sit and talk to her. I went back to the table to see how Dave was doing and he was ministering to Sean. Sean has been going thru a ruff patch and I think he needed to hear something’s from someone other than me. So, I talked to Stacey while I sat there. As I was sitting there I looked over at my truck and thought were did my kid go? Yes, I know he is twenty-four years old, but I still worry about him, so deal with it. He always hangs around the truck until I leave, but here he was walking around the park talking to people and handing out water. Lord what did you do to change his heart?
As the day was winding down, I walked with Pastor Dave back to his car and we talked on the way. He had mentioned that there were a lot of hurting people down here. Yes, Dave there are and they just want someone to come down and share like you did today, they want to know that you care. He also mentioned that he only got to speak to one person that day. You may have spoken to only one today, but one thing I have learned in the park, word travels fast and there are more than one ear listening, weather you know it or not. I would find out today how true that was.
Stacey had asked my for my phone number Sunday. Well she called this afternoon. I answered the phone and she said I need someone to talk too. She broke probation and is facing going to jail tomorrow and was scared and wanted someone to talk too. So, we talked awhile and then out of the blue she said “I can I ask you something about what was going on at the table”? She asked what religion I was; I told her I was a Christian. She said your not like the rest of them, your different. I asked how am I different? Well, you, your son and that guy at the table (Pastor Dave) you guys came down and just gave of yourselves. You guys care about us and really seem to be interested in what we have to say and what we are going thru. I can say and tell you anything and you don’t judge me. I told her it wasn’t my place to judge her and we were there to just love on people. Then it got quite, I asked if she was still there and in a very meek voice she says, “I love you”. You could tell by her voice that she was almost scared to say it, that my reaction maybe a negative one. I very calmly told her “I love you too”. She then told me, “I have not had a friend in a long time and even though we only met a week ago could she consider me friend”. Of course, I told her. Then she told me that we touched her heart and I asked how so, she replied “Because you cared, you gave of yourselves and I have not had people do that in a long time” “You showed me that I matter to someone.”
So on that beautiful Sunday, with the gentle breeze blowing, I had to wonder, was that you Lord sweeping across the park. Was that you that was changing and opening up hearts? Was that you showing them that they were loved and had worth? I would have to say, “Yes”. He was the conductor and he placed each instrument in its place so the sound of his heartbeat could be heard. Love to you All!
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday was a fairly slow day in the park. It’s the first of the month and usually there are not many people in the park. I was sitting at a picnic table with a few people talking and had gotten up to get a drink of water. About this time, Marlboro (I have spoken about him in other blogs) came walking by in a rush. His face was fire red with anger and his fist were clenched. As he approach I asked what is wrong? “I’m going to go to jail, because I am going to kill him,” he said. I grabbed him by his shirt and made him stop. Probably not the wisest thing to do, reach out and grab someone who is pissed off and on a mission to hurt someone, but I needed to stop him from doing something he would regret later. I stood between him and the man he had is anger focused on. I stood there holding on to him, I kept telling him “you look at me and listen to me.” He explained why he was after this man and I told him I understood. I kept trying to reason with him as to why this was not a good idea, but he did not want to hear it. In my mind I was thinking, “please Lord help, I don’t know how to reach him.” God very clearly spoke to me and said, “tell him you love him.” Okay Lord very clearly you did not understand, I need help with words as to how to reason with this man before he goes and does something stupid. Once again, I hear “tell him you love him.” Lord are you flipping nuts, did you not hear what I said? So, I stood there, held Marlboro’s face and made him look me straight in the eyes. Tears weld up in my eyes and I thought I don’t know what good this is going to do but here is goes. I told him that I loved him, truly honestly loved him and I cared about what happens to him and I asked him not to do what he is about to do because, I did not want someone I love so much to get hurt. Marlboro stood there staring at me, the redness drained from his face, he unclenched his fists and tears welled up in his eyes. He just stood there and stared at me for a few minutes and then just said, “your right, it’s not worth it and I won’t do it because you asked me too.” Just then a couple had walked up to talk to me and Marlboro went to get something to eat. I spoke to him a few times briefly before he left, but when he did leave he had a smile on his face. What happened and what did God do in Marlboro’s heart when those words were spoken, I don’t know, I may never know, but I do know that three little words made a difference that day.
I woke this morning thinking about Marlboro and what had happened with him the following day. I had lunch with a friend, spoke with her about what happened, but in my mind I was still wondering, are words enough? I came home from lunch and was sitting at the computer and the phone rang. It was one of the guys from the park. He is now in his own place and getting on his feet. He asked if I had a minute. I told him sure and asked what is up? He had told me that he received a sum of money from a settlement and was all excited, this meant he was able to pay off all his fines and would be able to now get transportation. I told him how happy I was for him. He had been trying so hard to get on his feet and the last few months’ things just started to fall into place for him. Then he shocked me. He told me that he wanted to give back to me. Give back to me for what, I asked? He said I want to do something for you, because of what you did for me. I told him I helped and did things for him because I cared about him, not because I wanted something in return. He said you don’t understand and I need to be honest with you and tell you what I thought about you when you first started coming to the park. He proceeded to tell me that he hated people. He explained to me how people had hurt him badly, especially women. He told me that he thought I was nuts and stupid for coming to the park, talking and telling people you cared about them. He said “I use to give you so much crap, but you kept coming back” “No matter how much crap I gave you, you still told me I love you.” Then he floored me, he said that when I first started going to the park that he was at the end of his rope and was at a point were he did care anymore and wanted out of life. He said I watched you and I would listen to you and how you said you loved me and it wasn’t for what I could do for you. It took me awhile to see it, but I found that you were sincere in you acts, he said. He said by the way you treated me and loved on me and told me you loved me, you showed me that there are people out there who really care and that I can be someone and no matter how I may screw up, you still love me. So, now I am in a position to do something for you and I want to help. I told him if he really wanted to do that, then to help by giving back to the people in the park. He said he would and then asked if when he is able to come, can he come help in the park on Sunday’s. I told him I would love to have him come to the park; let people know that things and life can change for them. Once again, how did God use three little words to change a life? I don’t know, but He did.
So, why am I telling you these two stories? Well, like I said in the beginning, I was questioning God as to weather I was doing what he really called me to do. You see other churches and ministries doing and putting on these big and wonderful events and then there is me, I hand out my sandwiches, a hug and say, “I love you.” Are three little words enough? Are three little words spoken through you enough for God to change a life? I started to think not, until He revealed to me the last two days how a sandwich and an “I love you” can truly make a difference in someone’s life. So, I will continue to go down each week with my bag of sandwiches and love on my friends without homes. I may never see all that God is doing in the lives of my friends, but He has shown me that He is at work and the power of three simple words. So, if God can use a nobody like me to reveal himself to someone, whom are you revealing Him to in your life? The power of a smile, a hug or a simple “I love you” can make all the difference in a life you cross paths with today. I love you all!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I was able to get shoes to the woman who needs them. I did end up taking her and her boyfriend to the hospital after the park though. They had foot rot so bad it was infected and needed looked at. Was able to supply some needed clothing to some down there. Took care of Snakes phone bill so he would not end up back in jail(needs it to keep in contact with his PO). He is trying so hard and everything keeps coming against him. Took him to one of his mandatory meetings tonight and on the way back home he just poured out his heart. I am praying he stays clean and out of trouble. His girlfriend just had a miscarriage, so if you can lift up a prayer for her.
Each week when I go to the park, it seems like God teaches me something new or shows me something through these wonderful people. This week was no different. After my rounds through the park, I usually end up sitting and talking to a few people. This week the group I was engaged with showed me a lot. There were about seven to eight of us sitting there, a Vietnam vet, a former drug dealer, a couple of addicts, two older ladies, a transvestite and a few others. We sat and talked about life and issues they were facing, their hopes and dreams, we cracked jokes and had a good time. As I sat there, you begin to look past the outer layers and you see the person behind it all. You see the person who wants to be seen, the person who longs to be accepted and the person who longs to be loved for who they really are. As I sat there, I thought if I took this misfit group to church what would happen? Would they be greeted with the same warm smile and handshake as others? Would people be willing to engage with them and offer a seat next to them? Would they be asked to comeback again? Sad to say in most (not all) of our churches today, they would not be welcomed warmly. People we really need to get passed our ideas of what is acceptable. There is a world of people out there that are crying out and we are hiding behind our four walls. I am not saying we all need to go to the park and hang out like I do, but just open your eyes to the real person behind the exterior. My friends continue to show me each week what it mean to truly accept and love someone for who they are. Sometimes I think they show the heart of God more than some of us. Let’s look at people for what God has created them to be, not what the world has said they have become. So, that’s my little rant for the week….Love To You All!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The Concrete Jungle
I awoke this morning to the sweet smell of fresh flowers and the beautiful songs of the birds. Were these songs just for me? As the sun crept over the mountain and the rays of sunshine hit my face, is that you God, smiling upon me? As I rolled up my bedding and packed it away in my pack, I emerged from my camp thinking today will be different. Today, as everyday I will enter the jungle, fighting to survive, searching for food, searching for a place to belong. I will walk the concrete jungle looking for hope.
As I started my search, the young man in the business suit caught my eye. He looks familiar I thought. He rushed by in such a hurry, not once noticing me there. He carries warm coffee in one hand and breakfast in another. My stomach growls with hunger. I thought back to songbirds. I didn’t have one crumb to share with them this morning, yet they shared their beautiful songs with me.
The sun beats down on my face and my feet begin to become weary from walking all day. I cannot stop for to long. I will be shoed away, told we can’t have your type just hanging around. Hey, there you are again. Still in a hurry I see, this time to meet with a friend for lunch. As you sit in the outdoor café, sharing lunch and laughing with your friend, you still don’t see me. Do you know that I would go without a morsel all day, if I could only share your company for a brief moment? I to will have my lunch today as well. I will go around back and wait for what you have not eaten; the only difference is I will be having mine alone.
The day is drawing to an end. My back aches from carrying my pack and my feet ache from walking all day. You emerge from your office, rushing to get home to your wonderful wife and kids. She probably has dinner waiting for you. I will walk down to the mission tonight and eat with all the other concrete explorers. We will discuss weather or not anyone found what we were searching for, hope.
I have returned to my camp, hidden deep in the bushes along the river, were no one could find me. As I spread out my bed and curl up for the night, I think of you in your warm comfortable bed. Did you see how beautiful the Lord painted the sky tonight, or were you to busy rushing around? I have put away part of bread from dinner. I will save it for the songbirds in the morning. Tomorrow I will awake once again, God willing and I will once again become a concrete explorer. I will continue on my search for hope and maybe tomorrow you will see me as the wonderful creation God made me. As I watch you in your busy day, I now know why you look so familiar to me. I am you, you see, I once had all that you have, the job, money and family, but one unforeseen circumstance has brought me here. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would extend my hand and show them and give them the hope they so desperately search for. I would not hide it, keeping it all to myself. Good night my friend, maybe tomorrow is the day I will find what I am searching for. If I had it, I would surely share it with you.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Lately I have had a few people who have asked if I would write each week and let them know what is happening in the park on Sunday’s. So, wonderful people I will try and blog, keeping you informed as to the happenings of the park and my friends without homes.
This past Sunday, I over slept and was not able to make it to church, but it gave me an opportunity to go to the park early. I spent about five hours down there that day, mostly just sitting and talking.
I met some new faces and got a chance to catch up with some old ones. I saw Snake (Will) gave him a butt chewing…LOL. I met Will about a month ago, he is in his early twenties, and the day I met him he was released from prison two days prior. I remember that day very well; he talked my ear off and would walk away to see old friends, but always returned to talk some more. He is a beautiful sweet young man and something about him just tugs at my heart. I had not seen him in a few weeks and was beginning to wonder what happened to him. Then this Sunday he shows up, “Hi, ma how’s it going” he says and gives me a big hug (he loves to be hugged).“ What do you mean hi ma, how’s it going? Where the heck have you been? I have been worried about you,” I asked. To my excitement, Will has a job, has been to any support group he can make it too and has stayed clean. He gave me his cell number so we can keep in touch on weeks I don’t see him. I thank God for the work he is doing in this young mans life. If the Lord lays it on your heart please pray for him, he has a job but has fallen behind on his phone bill, if he doesn’t have his phone, he can’t contact his PO and that could land him back in jail. So, please pray that finances come thru for him.
I also met two older ladies that I have not seen before. We sat and talked for hours. I really felt badly for these women. One had left her things in one of the shelters, was told that they would be safe there, when she returned all she owned was gone. She asked if I had any shoes, she had none. I did not have any on that would fit her. The other lady with her asked if I had a band-aid, I didn’t, but asked why she needed one. She showed me her feet from walking all day, they were so dry and cracked that they were bleeding and she was in pain. The first lady said she was going to try and sell the bracelet she had to someone downtown, so the two of them could get some things. She says she will not panhandle. I don’t normally do it, but I told her to keep her bracelet and I gave her what I had.
While sitting and talking to these ladies, there was an older gentleman who came up and we chatted off and on and joked around. I really don’t think anyone there knew him, but he just wanted to sit and talk. I felt he just wanted a sense of belonging for even a brief moment. These are the ones that are hard to leave at the end of the day. When you sit and talk, a sparkle comes to their eyes, not because of what I do, but because they are being accepted and acknowledged and loved. When I go to drive away, I see them once again hang their heads and they walk back to the world that no longer sees them or accepts them. They become nothing again in the eyes of the world. How my heart breaks when I see this. No human being deserves to be treated like this.
Moose (Jim, another young man) was there. I met him through my son, when he went down with me one week. My son knew him back in the day. The younger kids are hard to reach sometimes and I think Moose warmed up to me faster, because he knew my son. He asked if I had any clothing and also let me know of some of the needs in the park, which is helpful. When I ask what I can help with, quite often I get the response that it is okay they can do without. It amazes me how humble people who have nothing can be.
There are many more I could tell you about, but it would take a book. I did promise to find a pair of shoes that would fit her and get them to the older lady. I promised Moose that I would see what I could do about clothes for him and some of the others. James, my son, shocks me sometimes. He heard what was needed and immediately went to his closet and handed me a pile of clothes, saying take it I don’t need it as much as they do. I will do the same and if any of you out there feel a need to do some spring-cleaning in your closet, I know some folks who could really use it.
Once again, I want to thank each and every one of you that have help with donations for the park. You have touched my heart and I know you have touched the hearts of my friends. Many said to tell you “Thank You and God Bless You!”
Thursday, July 10, 2008
A little over a week ago Pam and her family came thru Boise on their way to Denver. It was late, people were tired, but Pam and her daughter Rose sat in my kitchen that night helping make sandwiches for the park. They did it with joy in their eyes and love in their hearts. They gave of themselves for those who do not have.
Two loving women, who have become very special people in my life, asked if they could help with things for the park. These two beautiful women, Terrica and Dianna, took me to Costco and purchased, cases of bottled water, socks and chips. With what funds that were given to me, I was able to purchase lunch meat, bread and other things needed in the park. They gave not knowing what these precious gifts mean.
My friends in the park are very special to me and I want to thank each of you for your wonderful gifts. You not only blessed me with your giving, but I would like to share with you how your gifts have blessed others, the part of the blessing you can’t see.
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:35-36
I stood in Costco crying not just because of the generosity of these women, but as I looked at the cases of water, each bottle represented a person to me. A person who is sitting in the park, in the middle of summer with no place to go to get out of the heat and no funds to buy something to drink. Each bottle you gave will provide a parched mouth with a fresh drink and will let them know someone cared. . “I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.”
Each sandwich that was made will feed a person who may not have eating at all that day. For some this is the only meal they will have for the day. The bag of chips I hand out, some will stash away in their backpacks. They tell me they save it for later, not knowing if they will have a meal later that evening. Because you gave, each sandwich or bag of chips will provide for an empty belly, a day they will not have to go hungry.” I was hungry and you fed me.”
Many walk the streets all day, having nowhere to go. Some will go weeks without changing their socks, because they have no others. You try walking in the heat, all day and never change your socks. Those socks you provided not only bring comfort to weary feet, but also help prevent sores. Because you gave, you brought some comfort and relief to another person. “you gave me clothing”
Because you gave, I see smiles on a worn face and their gratitude for caring. These gifts have given me the opportunity to sit, talk, listen and let them know they are loved. These gifts let them know someone sees them and cares. So, for all the thanks, smiles, hugs and I love you’s I receive in the park, I want you to know they are because of you and your willingness to give and I extend all that love back to you. Once again Thank You and I love each and everyone of you! ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
In the email they spoke of Eddie a homeless man who had spent most of the last twelve years at this particular shelter. After a long stay in a hospital, Eddie’s prognosis is not good and will die soon. He was brought back to the shelter were he will spend his last days. The email stated:
.Eddie will spend his final hours with me and Lois as well as all his friends at the shelter. It is a beautiful process to die with your friends at your side. Last night all his long-term friends who have known him for years have spent time with him. Tears and Tears and more tears were exchanged. I was pretty shocked in the middle of the night Eddie put his arms around my neck and gave me a kiss
This made me think of the gentleman named Mountain Man that I met in the park a few weeks ago. I was about to get in my truck and leave when this man came running up to me. “Miss can I please have a pair of socks, I didn’t see you last week and mine are wore out?” he said. “Of course you can have a pair of socks and take a few extra, but it will cost you a hug.” I said. He looked at me dumbfounded as to why would I want a hug from an old man who smells like whiskey and has not had a bath in a month. He gently leaned over and gave me a hug. I introduced my self and he to me. He told me how he pans for gold and likes to spend time in the mountains, hence the name “Mountain Man.” We spent sometime talking and then there was a storm rolling in and we both needed to go. Before leaving he explained that the only shelter from the storm was a tarp he had. He would find a place to hide and roll up in his tarp to try and stay dry. Before leaving he asked for another hug, I leaned over and this man held on so tight and sunk into my arms. We held each other for the longest time. I drove away crying thinking, when was the last time this man was touched or even held by another human being. When was the last time someone truly listened to this man and when was the last time someone showed him he was loved?
After receiving the email about Eddie, the homeless man and how caring people and friends surround him, I started to think about Mountain Man. How both men homeless, yet Eddie was shown he was loved. Loved because people gave of themselves and their lives to show he was loved and worth something in this world. I think of Mountain Man and how he rolls up in his tarp all alone and hiding. When he takes his final breath will anyone be there for him? Rolled up in his tarp, will anyone even realize he has pasted? Will he have friends to be there in his final hours? When he knows that his final hours are near, will anyone be there to hold his hand and comfort him if he is scared? Who will wipe his tears and who will shed tears for a life no longer with us? Most of all, in his final hours will he ever know that he was Loved? I do love you my Mountain Man and my tears flow even now for you.
Monday, June 23, 2008
A man once told me he likes to climb the highest mountain he could find. There he would shout praises to the Lord. There was no one around, just God and his beautiful creation.
I had a friend in Florida who made clothing, Garment’s of Praise she called it. Nothing left her shop that she didn’t think would be acceptable to present to the Lord.
On a recent trip to Portland, we stopped by The Bridge Church. You couldn’t miss the church; you could hear the music two blocks away. When you walked in, you would have thought you walked into a nightclub. The music was hard and cut to your very soul. I sat there and cried, because it was worship that was true worship and there was such passion in it.
During the conference I spent time with a lady Dianna and her husband Terry. Terry leads worship for our church and does this with much love. The thing that God showed me in these two is, Dianna shows her worship in dance. She dances for the Lord and her eyes just shine and she just glows with Gods light when she does dance. Terry doesn’t just show his love and worship of the Lord in his music, but it is embedded on his arms. He has some of the most beautiful tattoos on his arms and they glorify the Lord.
Dianna’s aunt Lois made lunch for the speaker at the conference and I have never seen so much love go into a meal. Nothing was over looked and every detail was taken care of. God would have been pleased to sit and dine at a table that was prepared with such love.
Even here on the web you find worship in the form of words. There are many who put their love, passion and praise into words. My friend Pam for one and to read real worship in words, The Christian Poet does this so beautifully in his poems. These are only two but there are many others out there. Even those words not written but spoken, every Sunday we listen to a sermon, aren’t these spoken words a form of worship as well.
Worship is expressed in art. I saw this in not just Akiane’s art last week, but also in the jewelry, clothing and glass blowing. All was done to bring honor to the Lord. Even the gentleman video taping from Royal Crown Productions, put much care and time into his work, making sure it was presentable to those watching later.
I could go on and on with things that God has brought to my mind. What he has shown me though is, weather you show your love and devotion to Him in music, the arts, writing, dance, alone on a mountain or on your arm, no matter what you do if it is done with a heart of love to honor and glorify Him, then this is worship.
So to go back to the room filled with balloons and people dancing around with funny balloon hats. Was this worship? Yes, it looked like a party going on, a celebration to our Risen King. No one else was being worshiped or glorified in that room except our Lord; all attention was placed on him. The funny thing is, for a brief moment I swear I could see Him there dancing right along with everyone else, wearing one of those funny balloon hats, smiling ear to ear and then he whispered in my ear, this is worship.
So, let’s not restrict our worship to Sunday morning service. Weather it be on your job, in your homes, in how we express our self’s let it be a reflection of our love to Him. Everyday and everything we do is an opportunity to worship him, even if it’s wearing funny balloon hats.
Monday, May 26, 2008
They are defined as:
AFFAIR- a procedure or action; a romantic or passionate attachment of limited duration.
HEART- Acts as a force to pump blood and maintain circulation; the whole personality including intellectual as well as emotional functions or traits; one’s intermost character or part; vital center or driving force; essential or most vital part of something.
I looked at these definitions and thought, that’s what I want. I want a Heart Affair with Jesus. I want my personality, emotions, functions and traits to reflect Him. I want Him to be the most vital part of my life. The one who maintains and pumps life to the rest of my being. My driving force in life and my center were all life flows from. I want to have a passionate affair with my Jesus, the only difference is, I want this affair to last a lifetime.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I have been thinking of recent comments people have made to me and I want to ask what god do you serve? The Lord has laid it on my heart and has called me to serve those who have no homes. I do understand that we all have our own calling in life, something we have been called to do and are very passionate about. Just because my calling is not the same as yours, does not make these people any less in the eyes of God. Because I have a deep passion for the people I am trying to serve, I get very ticked off at some of the comments I hear from a hand full of my fellow Christians. Now, it is my turn and this is to that hand full.
When you tell me “bring them to church and then we will accept them” – I want to know why you will only accept them once they enter your doors and most of all why aren’t you out in the community accepting them right where they are? Where were you when you first encountered God?
When you tell me “ once you get them to church, we will change them” – What will you do clean them up, put a new pair of clothes on them and then send them out the door again. You can’t change them on your own. God through you can. If you show them the same love that the Lord has shown us then yes, hearts and lives will be changed. Don’t just change the outside to make them presentable to your congregation. Show your congregation how unconditional love can transform a person’s life. Show them God’s love.
When you tell me “ I don’t know how to deal with these people” – Well how do you deal with a new friend? You meet them, you talk to them, you care about them, you spend time with them and you show them they are loved.
The one comment that just gets my goat is “ I have no use for these people” – I won’t even comment on what goes through my mind when I hear that one. I wouldn’t be pretty.
I hear these comments and I am so grateful that we serve a God that did not accept us on the same basis that we accept those in our own lives. Jesus could have sat in a building waiting for people to come to him, but he chose to go to the people. Jesus could have chosen to wait until people changed to love them, but he loved them right were they were. Jesus didn’t say, “ I don’t know how to deal with these people,” he dealt with them with love. If the Lord had said, “ I have no use for these people. “ where would you and I be today? If he looked at all of our hurts and pains, flaws, mistakes and all the other baggage we came to Him with and said “I have no use for you,” we never would have experienced and continue to experience the love that changed our lives and continues to transform us. So, next time take a moment and see that person the way God sees him or her; you just may see a totally different person.