Just A Nobody

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This blog was started to share the journey of what God has called me to do, serve our friends whithout homes. A long the way it has also become part of my journey as well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two Sets of Rules

Over the years of serving those without homes, I have learned that there are unspoken rules for those who have and for those who have not. After I picked my son up from roller derby practice Monday night, I saw another example of that. It was late and we had not had dinner and decided to stop and grab a burger on the way home.

I stopped at one of local burger chains and as we went inside, there were two gentlemen who had came in as well. Both older, clean and well dressed, the only difference you could see between the two was the fact that one was carrying a backpack. The one with the backpack sat in a back corner, in a spot were no one could see him except those entering or leaving from side door. The other sat in the middle of the place in full view of anyone coming or going. The one in the back corner began playing a game of solitary and the other asked for a glass of water and sat to read the paper.

As we waited for our order, I had noticed that I knew the man in the back corner from the park and I waved and got ready to go over and talk to him. As I started over the manager of the place came out from behind the counter and started to speak to him, so I decided I would wait until she was done talking to him. My son stood with me talking to me about practice, but I kept my ear tuned to the conversation in the corner. As the conversation in the corner started to heat up, I found myself slowly inching closer to hear, my son sat down and just shook his head. I asked him “What?” He just laughed and said “We are going to be here for awhile.” Okay so by now my son knows me well enough that I can’t walk away in a situation like that.

As the manager left I walked over to ask what the problem was and what was going on. Our park guy said he came in to wait for his wife to get off work. Let me give you a little back ground on our park guy. He has lost his job and has not been able to find work. His wonderful wife has been able to find work, part time at a radio station just down the street from the burger joint. Because of only part time work, the only place they have to stay is in the camper they have. Neither is on drugs or drinks. Very wonderful people who only are trying to make it in this world. Back to the manager, she had stated to him that he would have to leave, they there was a policy that stated that you could only stay in the place for thirty minutes, unless you were a paying customer. He explained that he was only waiting for his wife to get off work and would not be there long. She didn’t care and wanted him out. If he didn’t leave she was going to call the police.

Now besides my son, myself, the other older gentleman reading the paper, the only other person in the place was our park friend. I asked the manager “If this gentlman has to leave, then why is the other not asked to leave as well?” “That’s different, he comes often and is not bothering any of the costumers.” She stated. I asked her “what costumers are being bothered by our friend sitting in the corner, there is no one in here.” “It’s just different for him” she stated.

“So let me get this right. Our friend can’t stay because he is not a paying costumer and the other can stay because he asked for a glass of water that he didn’t pay for?”

“Yes, it’s different” she said.

“So were is your policy posted that you can only stay thirty minutes unless you are a paying customer?”

Once again she didn’t have a strait answer and could not show anywhere that it was posted. I asked how someone was to know that policy just walking in off the street, still no answer. She then stated that he needed to get out and promptly walked off. So I promptly walked over to our friend reached in my purse and pulled a five-dollar bill. Are you hungry or thirsty I asked him? No, I just wanted to wait for my wife; she will be off work soon. I said go buy something to drink, even if you don’t drink it and sit back down, you will then be a paying customer and they won’t have any reason to ask you to leave. He smiled, took the bill and walked to the counter. The same lady looked at him and refused to take his order, so my son and I stood with him until someone waited on him. Finally someone took his drink order and we all sat and chatted for a while.

My son and I had to leave, but as we were leaving our park friend handed me back the change from the drink. I told him to please hold onto it and if she came back to make him leave again, go over and buy something else and you just keep doing that until your wife gets off work. We laughed, hugged and left, telling our friend that we would see him soon.

Now before anyone gets upset, I do know that restaurants can’t just let people come in and hangout. They are there to make money. My point to all this is we have two different people doing the same thing. Coming in to a place that is pretty much empty, neither buying anything and both minding their own business in different parts of the restaurant. One who did not buy anything, but has been in from time to time is allowed to stay. The other because he is homeless was asked to leave. She stated he was bothering customers (the only customers were us and he was not bothering us) and who was she to determine who was worthy enough to sit and stay inside?

Once again the unspoken rules for those who have and those who have not, for those who are accepted by society and those who have been rejected. When will we be begin to look at others and see the worth and beauty they have inside of them and not determine a persons value based on their appearance or what processions they may have?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Lesson in Giving

Today was a great day in the park. There were only three of us to serve, Kathryn and James were there to help, and others had things to do today. I was a head of schedule before going down and I should have known things never go that well. Every time I think I am a head of getting things done, something throws me off course. I got to the park and sure enough, I grabbed the wrong totes, and so no plates, ladle or anything else I needed to serve. Hey at least I remembered the tables (yes, I forgot them once and had to serve out of the back of the truck). We did have the bowls for the soup and we made makeshift plates, used a cup to scoop soup and so forth. The guys laughed and said it was like camping.

Right before we served one of the guys came up and out of a hat dumped some change on the table; this is for you he said. We all decided to take up what we had to give back for what you all do here, it is the end of the month and this is all we had, but wanted you to have it. We love you guys and we just want to show you how much we appreciate you all he said.

What really was a shock was the person whom it came from. This man we met last year. A loner, would come and eat, not look you in the eyes and barely say anything. Would always take his plate and take off away from us. Each week we would just keep loving on him when he came thru the line and over time he would start to warm up to us. If you saw him then and now you would not have believed he was the same person. He is one of the first there to greet us now, always ready to engage in conversation and today for the first time I heard him very softly say “I love you.”

So there on the table laid a little over four dollars, but in my mind it was a million. They dug deep in their pockets and gave all that they had to show how much we mean to them. They gave with love from their hearts, not asking for anything in return…they gave out of love for another. An example we can learn from. I walk away from the park today thinking of my friends there and think about what a honor it is to be called friend by them and what a blessing it is to spend time with them each week.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend our fourth anniversary of serving in the park and as we close on our fourth year and begin our fifth, I pray that we will be able to continue loving on those who others have forgotten.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


What a beautiful day in the park. The sun shinned brightly on the park today. Secretly wishing we could have days like this every Sunday, but was reminded by many of our friends of the cold that was going to be upon us soon.

Wonderful people to share the day with, not just our friends in the park, but all that showed up to help serve and those who brought food. Thanks to all of you that help. Was good to see an old friend return, her kind and loving heart was missed and also missed those who could not be with us this weekend. All of you bring so much more to the park than words can say.

My son and I had stayed for a little while today, just wanted to sit and hang out with everyone in the park. One of the guys came up to me, he has been coming down for a long time and he said he had something for me. He pulled out of his pocket a metal angel on a chain. He said that he had traded something for it and as he was sitting at the picnic table with the others, they all decided that I should have it. He said that he heard I like crosses and angels and that I like to hang them on my wall at home. I told him that was correct. Would you please take this one and hang it on your wall he asked. I would love to hang it on the wall, I told him and every time I see it I will be reminded of you.

As the two of us stood talking, I started to think of his gift to me. He traded something for it. Our friends’ possessions are few and what they do have, they hang onto dearly. He could have traded it for something he could use or needed, but instead he gave it with a generous loving heart, knowing it would bring joy. He gave out of love and that is what makes this gift so precious.

I then asked him if I could hang it on my rearview mirror instead of the wall of my house. I told him that at home I would see from time to time on the wall, but in my truck I would be reminded of him and the others everyday as I traveled about doing things. He thought that was a great idea. James, my son, carefully put the angel on the mirror; we talked with the gentleman a little longer and headed home.

On my rearview mirror I have had a cross that was made by a biker many years ago and as we started down the road the angel would clang against that cross. I wasn’t a loud clang, but a soft gentle sound. Not distracting, but a reminder of “I am here”. I started to think of the angel, our friends in the park and those who come to serve. Are some angels in disguise? I don’t know. I do know that when I step back on days like today, watch and listen to all around me, I see the beauty of my Creator, the giving heart of my heavenly Father and love that was so poured out to us thru his Son. Each week I look into faces of all who show up, no matter which side of the table they are on and I am humbled and honored to be there with them.

So my little clanging angel will stay on my rearview mirror. A reminder of all those angels I encounter each Sunday. A reminder of all the love that is poured out from both sides of the table.

Monday, August 22, 2011

From the pages of Rick Dorey

Pastor Rick and his wife April have been coming to the park now for awhile. He has written many things on the park and I would like to share them with you. Below is a link to his latest blog...take a moment to read it. Be blessed and remember your loved.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Peace has not been apart of my week this week. I will save you the details, but it seems like one thing after another has come at me and after arriving at the park today, I was drained. While serving our friends I was questioning, “What are we doing here and do we make a difference?” We got most of the people through the line and then I needed to step back.
I stood by myself for a few and looked around at the large crowd of people gathered. I saw people I had never seen before, kids playing, and groups of people laughing and enjoying the warm sunny day. Inside I was begging God, “please speak to me…show and tell me what you what me to see.” “Look at them all” he says to me. “These are my beloved children, who I love very much and I have entrusted them to all of you.” But are we making a difference in their lives? “You all bring peace to their weary souls and show love to broken hearts and the greatest gift you can give someone is love.” But are we really I stood wondering.
Then a man I had never met before approached me and introduced himself as Robert. He said he never comes down to the park, because of all the fighting that goes on, but wanted to get something to eat. He said that right before we pulled up, he was just getting on his bike to head out because he couldn’t take the arguing and fighting that was going on. He then tells me that as soon as we pulled up, no one said anything but something happened. He said a calm came over everyone and a sense of peace came over the park. Look at them all now, he says, they are all laughing, joking and getting along. It wasn’t like that before you all showed up. Then he goes on to tell me that a friend gave him a gift. He reaches in his pack and pulls out a peace sign and tells me his friend told him he would find peace today. He asked if I painted and I replied that I did. Giving me his peace sign he asked if I wouldn’t paint it for him, it would be my honor I told him. Then looking me straight in the eyes, he says “The peace of God is a powerful thing and you all carry his peace with you.” I stood there floored as he continued to talk, but all I could hear was this man’s words and God’s from earlier ringing in my ears.
Who was this man? Ever hear the phrase “entertaining angels?” Funny how God can use an old scruffy man who has had a few drinks that day to speak volumes to you and remind you that his peace is ever present and he is in control.

Monday, June 20, 2011

No Preaching Allowed by Pam Hogeweide http://burnsidewriters.com/2011/06/14/no-preaching-allowed/

In the mid-section of her ordinary life, my friend Denie, whom I’ve known since before we were old enough to vote, felt what she described as a call of God to minister to the homeless. She wasn’t sure what that meant for her life, but she was full of faith and unction that she had received a bonafide assignment from the Holy Spirit. She began volunteering at the city shelter. but within six months she realized that it wasn’t working out. “I don’t mean to sound like what they’re doing isn’t good, because it is, but it doesn’t feel personal to me. These poor people come in day in and day out and they just push them along like cattle. I can’t do that.” And so, she was back to square one. If the Almighty had given her marching orders to demonstrate His love and compassion towards the homeless— and she wholeheartedly believed he had—then she felt certain that there must be a better way.

On an ordinary Saturday, full of the same faith and unction that got her up and out the door to volunteer at the shelter, Denie and her trusty blue truck, headed to another place she knew she’d find the city’s homeless: The Park. With a bag of bologna and cheese sandwiches and bottles of water, she slowly made her way around the shady grassed areas where men and women lounged from the summer heat. “You hungry?” she’d ask with an almost nonchalant detached tone in her voice. This was her way of going in low, gentle attempts at connecting to the most invisible citizens of Boise, Idaho.

Week after week she kept this up. About this time my good friend Ken Loyd was headed to Boise for an event. Ken launched a church for homeless people in Portland, Oregon, a mere seven-hour drive from Boise and where my family and I make our home. I told Denie about Ken, how he was the same as her. “He’s been going downtown for years,” I said, “handing out socks, food and lots of conversation. He’s the guy you wanna talk to.” Then, I told Ken about Denie. “You gotta meet her Ken. You guys are the same.”

The two did meet and though they both are on the quiet side, Denie tells me they managed to have a meaningful conversation, one that helped her find her way as a rookie on the frontlines of street ministry from Ken, the older, wiser veteran. After Ken got back from Boise I asked him about his impression of Denie and what she was doing in the park. “In all the years of people I have talked to, not many get what I’m about. But Denie gets it. She’s like me and I think she’ll be fine.”

What they share in common in ethos and practice is a determination to meet people right where they are in the gritty sub-culture of American homelessness. One starting point was the word homeless …neither Ken nor Denie liked to use it.

“Homeless means loser in our society. It means you’ve failed. But I don’t see failures. I see friends. These are my friends who live outside and I love them and they love me,” says Ken who at sixty-plus in years with his snow-white spiky hair and tattoos scattered on both arms looks more like a pirate than a minister. “I do nothing special by just paying attention and listening.” My friend Denie said the same kind of things. She was already forming this ministry approach when I connected her to Ken who affirmed her. “He told me to go slow, to start off by just sitting and watching and hanging out in the park since I’m the one coming into their home,” she said.

So Denie kept it up, mostly by herself. She’d bring a few sandwiches each Saturday and just hang out in the park. Every week. Every Saturday. While other women grocery shopped and gardened, Denie hung out with street sleepers. Weeks turned into months and before long The Park Guys, as she liked to call them, were rushing up to help her unload her truck. The guys had names and histories and Denie knew all their stories.

Her consistency in coming to the park each week meant that word had spread through Boise’s homeless network. More people were showing up each week. Within a year a hundred people or more were being served by Denie’s homespun cooking who had graduated from sandwiches to hot meals like soup and pasta. With this kind of success, if you can call it that, she also attracted attention from cowboy types who were gunning to get their preach on. “That’s not how we do it down here,” she’d tell each newbie who was itching to have an audience. “Talk to people one on one. Get to know them. Ask them questions. Listen. But no preaching.” Denie had learned, like Ken, that most people who live outside can smell a bait and switch game a mile away. When Christians show up willing to give away food or other goods, but have an agenda to convert the hell-bound sinner, those who live outside pick up this scent of disingenuous conversation as you and I do when the telemarketer’s voice purrs over the line, “I just need a moment of your time.”

One young graduate of seminary somehow caught wind of Denie and began showing up at the park. She was open to his help, but nervous about how gung-ho he acted. He was lacking humility, she decided, but she figured he’d catch on soon enough and be alright. Unfortunately he soon thought of the park as his ministry and Denie as a womanly helper who had opened the door for him. She set the record straight quick. He never came back.

A couple of summers ago I was in Boise with my good friend Vivian and together we helped Denie and the small team of people who had made spaghetti and meatballs for the park people. Denie walked around, checking in on everybody, saying hey to regulars and introducing herself to newcomers. The Idaho sky blazed blue from above as people feasted on food and laughter. It felt like a family picnic.
A couple of weeks ago my church helped out with a meal for HOMEpdx. We met outside under the Hawthorne Bridge where the church meets each week to share friendship, food and humanity with those who live outside. I met one older man who’s a Viet Nam vet, a kind but at times scattered soul who loves to create origami art for friends. One moment he was talking about getting more paper for art, the next he was suddenly telling me about the guys who died in his unit in the Viet Nam war. I let him ramble. Then I preached the love of Jesus to him the way Denie and Ken showed me how to: I just listened as he told his story.
I got an email from Ken today. I told him I was writing an article about him and Denie that emphasized his guiding wisdom being a beacon for my friend when she first started to venture to the park in her early days. Ken quickly dismantled this idea. “Denie has shown me about sticking to the task of love in the face of trial and sorrow. She has demonstrated a quiet authority while bowing low. I’m trying to copy that. I think I’ve learned more from her than from anyone else in the “biz”.” These two undoubtedly share a mutual admiration for one another as there are not many urban missionaries who have blazed the kind of trail which they have.

A few years ago I would not have accepted what Ken and Denie do as legitimate gospel-centered ministry. I would have wanted to know why they don’t preach a clear cut appeal for people to get saved; it would have bothered me that there is too much camaraderie and not nearly enough discipleship. I would have asked, ‘Where’s the fruit?” In doing so, I would have missed the point that if God hangs out with the broken hearted and the poor like the Holy Scriptures say, then Ken and Denie are following in their Father’s footsteps.
Denie still gets challenged from time to time by those who feel that she’s not doing enough (imagine!). She hangs on, though, to the heart of her mission which has always been to find and love the forgotten castaways. She comforts herself that even if others don’t recognize the worth of what she’s doing, there’s a pirate in Portland who does. “Ken is the person who came along side and understood that by just loving and accepting our friends’ right where they were was the greatest example of God’s love we could show anyone.”
That’s a helluva sermon for a non-preaching preacher-woman like Denie to spread each week in the park…To which I say, Amen and amen.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A blessing from the other side of the table

Today as we were serving up our meal, a young family come thru the line. They were down visiting some of our friends who live outside and came to share a meal with them. As the husband came through the line he asked "who do I pay?" I almost wanting to laugh I told him we don't charge for the meal, all are welcome to the table and all are welcome to eat. He then said you don't understand....how do you pay for this? Well we take donations to provide the meal, I responded. He then without hesitation leans across the table and hands me a few rolled up dollars. I told him I can't take your money, but he insisted I take it.

I almost broke down and cried right then. If you looked at this family, they didn't look like they had much as it is. I didn't know if I was taking this man's last dollars or what and I sure as heck didn't want to take it from his family. Then you hear that small gentle voice speak to you and over the years I have learned to yield to that voice and instead of arguing to simple say "Yes Lord as you wish."

"He is trying to bless you all with a gift of all he has and in doing so he in turn will be blessed".....the gentle voice said. I took his gift, smiled and said thanks. I don't know what kind or how big of a blessing is coming this man's way, but I feel the Lord has his back and he will be taking care of him and his family. I know he blessed us today with his beautiful gift and what made it even more special was that it was give straight from the heart, no hesitation or second thought just a willingness to give and help.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homeless in Boise

I post my thoughts and perspective as to what goes on in the park. A dear couple recently came down to the park and I wanted to share what they wrote on their experience in the park.

Homeless In Boise - There is still much to be done.by New Choices Fellowship on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 2:11pm

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon as we pulled up around 4:30 to help a good friend in ministry to feed the homeless here in Boise. There was no fan fare. There was no recognition on the News as a local hero. There was just a willingness to help an unnoticed ministry feed and minister to some of the many homeless found here in Boise.

There are many places to volunteer in Boise and other parts of the country. April and I choose to look for those unsung hero's to help and lift up their spirits. You know the ones, they don't do it for the money or recognition. They do it out of love. Mosaic ministries is one of those types of ministries. Denie has been in the streets for many years. She goes where all the other folks won't go. She loves and holds dear the ones that many are even scared to talk to. A finer example of God's love I have only seen on rare occasions.

We went down to help because she was saying she was feeding so many that she had little time to minister to the ones in need of some one to talk with or to receive a warm look to remind them how they are loved and worthy. We knew they need her ministry and it was little to ask to give up the time and be in service to someone that gives so much of her time and resources.

I saw on the news that evening a tribute to one of the valley's largest churches. They feed on average the report said 200 or so people every Sunday. They have 150 volunteers to support the feed the homeless program. Mosaic ministries does 100-200 with 4 people that prepare the food and serve while they minister with a personal touch to many of them that go through the line. Their resources come from outside donation and personal sacrifice. Little is made much when God's hand is in it and he has such willing hearts to work with.

That time spent with each one didn't get ignored with the weather or the state each one coming through the line was in. Each where treated as family and with respect to welcome and listen to them. The stories were heart breaking and awakening at the same time. I admit in one afternoon I learned more about the human condition and strength than I could have in years of schooling and theory. I watched God work through a woman that taught me more about loving others than I thought I still had yet to learn.

It was an honor to help and be in service to her and to the beautiful souls she is there to care for. It made me so much more aware of the work left to be done by those of us that can do it. Lives are given hope when they know that someone really cares. Many workers are needed but few will make the sacrifice to serve and give up so much to take care of those in need.

I found out another secret though. Life in service to others has it own rewards and challenges. Denie is one of those special Holy Spirit/Mother Teresa kind of people that we rarely get to know in our lives. April and I will be back to help her again and again. I don't believe we have to leave the country to touch the hearts and souls of those in need. If we look a little closer they are right here in our back yard. If you are called to serve, be called to support and pray for those that are. Remember God calls us all to our own action to help. For some it will be by donations of time and effort and others by the ability to supply resources.

There is more than any one person can do, listen to your own song and see what God calls you to do. For when each of us sings in tune the world is changed one life at a time. I know for certain that a life was saved by love in that crowd yesterday and many where given another day of hope even under the dark grey skies and the pouring rain that was soon to come.

Be blessed and be a blessing to some one.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Share the road with a fellow traveler

It was suppose to be a cold wet rainy Easter Sunday, but God smiled on us today and gave us a beautiful day in the park. Many of our regular street friends and many new faces showed up to share a meal with us. As much as I love hanging out with all that show up, there are the times when the crowd leaves and a handful remain and you get the chance to sit one on one with someone and really get to know that person. The end of our day was one of those times.

If you passed him on the streets or saw him in the park, many would at first glance say “Oh, just another homeless drunk guy.” Yes, he had been drinking but when he began to tell me a little of his story, his mind was clear and passion flowed from his heart. He spoke of a beautiful woman he fell in love with as a young man. Head over heals for her and how nervous he was to ask her to marry him. After they married he said she wanted to spend their honey moon in the Holy Land, so he made sure that is were they went and he talked of the amazing time they had there. They started a family and life was going good for them. He worked as an EMT as well as going to seminary school. He dreamed of becoming a preacher and his wife started a street outreach in Portland. She was helping women who were prostituting themselves get off the streets. Life couldn’t have been better he said.

Then one morning as he was on his way to school with his family in the car a truck hit them. The only person who was injured was his wife and as she lay dying, he frantically tried to save her. She never made it and his world came crashing down. The love of his life was gone and his heart forever broken. His life spiraled downward, his hopes and dreams were shattered and he turned his back on the God he once loved. Years of torment over not being able to save his wife and hatred toward God brought him to the life he now lives, wandering the streets and drinking to kill the pain of a love lost. You see the pain in his eyes when he speaks of her and you see it in each tear that flows down his face. Then he begins to smile and he tells me, but I no longer hate God for taking her. He then pulls his shirt to the side and shows me a tattoo. He tells me, you see Jesus is first in my life now; I have him tattooed over my heart because he comes first in my heart. He says he asks God to forgive him for drinking, but he has come to a point were he can’t seem to stop without help. His drinking has brought on liver failer, but he tells me this with no regrets or fear in his voice, yet instead with a smile in on his face. I ask if I can pray for him and he say sure, but tells me he is okay with it because he can’t wait to see Jesus and his love again. There is much more to this man than what you see from the outside, if you only will take a moment to see past what the world sees.

Each of us a road we must walk, a journey that is each our own. Each step on that journey makes up whom we are. Some have someone to hold their hands or help them when they stubble and others may not. No matter what, our journey has brought us to where we are today. The questions is can we take the time out of our own journey and stray of the road in front of us to maybe help up and hold the hand of a fellow traveler who has stumbled and fallen. Taking the time to understand their journey and maybe showing them a new road to take or better yet, maybe even sharing the journey and traveling the road together, helping each other along the way.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Where is the compassion?

So I am on my way home from work last week and as I come to an intersection by one of our local parks, I see a fire truck and two police cars parked along side the park. Lights flashing and since it is five o’clock traffic I assume it is a car accident. Because of the traffic I had to sit thru a couple of red lights before making it thru the intersection, but as I sat in traffic I was looking to see what was going on with the fire truck and police. There was no car accident, but instead I had noticed a man lying in the park with three firemen and two police officers standing around him. It only took a minute to recognize the man lying in the grass, he was one from the park and I know him well. This particular man has a special place in my heart. I first panicked because he was not moving and thought the worst. He has an addiction to alcohol and I prayed that we had not lost another to this addiction. Then sitting in my car three lanes over from the park and no way of getting to my friend, I saw what just stunned me. No one bent over to see if he was okay, no one offered a helping hand, but instead they kicked this man to see if he would move and yes he did move after that, I think anyone would have. He got to his feet and they placed him in the police car. The light turned green for me to go and I drove home with tears running down my face for my friend and furious over the lack of compassion that was given to him. If a man was standing the park kicking his dog, he would be hauled off for animal cruelty, why is it then okay to kick another human being for just laying down and sleeping it off in the park. Where has our compassion for people gone?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What brought me here?

As you pass by you see the tattered clothes, the dirty face and the hollow eyes of what once was. As soon as our eyes meet, you quickly look away. Do you realize I long for you to see me for who I am and not what you have judged me to be?
Molested at the age of nine, but the molester said but “I love you.” Brought up by a parent who was an alcoholic, abusive not just physically but also mentally, but said, “I love you.” A spouse who beat me, but said “I love you.” The world said if you become this or do that and be the best we will “love you,” but they never did.

I found myself on the streets at seventeen looking for that love that was so promised to me. I thought I could find it in random people on the streets, but did not. I thought I could find it in alcohol that I consumed, but did not. Nor did I find it in the hands full of drugs I had taken, but it did take away my pain. In return it has began to take my life from me. The world promised me love and rejected me. Now you pass by and judge me for what I have become when it is some of you who have made me what I am.

So the next time you pass me by, don’t be so quick to judge as to why you see me wandering the streets. Maybe next time you will not look away and maybe just maybe even give me a kind smile that says “I see you for who you were created to be and I can love you right where your at.”…. Anonymous.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

She was a Princess for the day

Rachel came down today with a pretty little girly kids table for some of the kids to use when they come down for our Saturday dinner. We also got a donation of kids’ clothes and inside the box was a little ballerina outfit. One of our regular families who come to eat was there with their little girl Emma. Rachel setup the kid’s table and little Emma just glowed with delight. Little later I pulled out the ballerina outfit and she put it on and smiled from ear to ear.

There sat two and a half year old Emma for hours in the middle of almost a hundred of our street friends, playing with her new doll, eating at a spot that was set aside just for her and dressed in clothes that made her feel like she was the most special person in the world. The streets can be a harsh place for any adult, but I can’t imagine what it is like for the kids and for a few hours today that life slipped away for her.

I can’t put into words the joy this little girl felt today, but I can say “Thank You” so very much to those who help by donating to us and helping us with our efforts to serve our friends. Everything you do brings joy and a smile to those who have much less than we do and today you made a little girl feel like she was a Princess and the Bell of the ball.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Gift of Love

As Christmas day drew closer, my son and I had about decided to just throw in the towel as far as the holiday’s go. No matter where we went people were in a hurry, rude, angry and all you would hear is “I want”, “I want.” At one point as we sat down one evening he turned and asked, “Do you think anyone really remembers the reason we celebrate Christmas?” I to began to wonder if the true meaning of Christmas was lost and forgotten. But as Christmas day was upon us, I found that there are many who still hold the true meaning of the day in their hearts and reflect it in their lives.

Christmas fell on a Saturday this year, which is the day we serve our friends from the park. Instead of canceling the day we opened up the church for the better part of the day and decided to spend Christmas with our friends. They only asked for one thing for Christmas and that was to have a place to go and have someone to share it with. So with the help of so many wonderful people, we had a huge Christmas dinner, played bingo and Al showed movies with popcorn upstairs on the big screen.

Our regular crew of people who help could not make it down that day, but we were so blessed by those who did. As we were headed to church Rick and April were already calling and asking what they could do, shortly after arriving some of our friends from the park, as well as Al and Pamela showed up to help, a wonderful family the Sigler’s came down, some of my son’s friends showed up and Jeannie who I met for the first time that day, came down to show her daughter what Christmas was all about.

I stand back sometimes and just take things in. I wonder if people see what I see. There were so many people jumping in to make dinner, it was like having family all pile in the kitchen, laughing joking. One of our park friends got a lesson on how to make deviled eggs (was funny). Laughed as my son and one of park guys made pudding and of course had to taste test which resulted with them having more on their face than in the bowl. At that moment there was no division, no them or us… just friends and family enjoying the day and each others company.

As the day went on many people came and went, but as I watched many sat playing cards, reading the paper, playing bingo or were watching a movie. We even had one of the guys feel comfortable enough that after he ate, he was snoozing in the lobby chair…reminded me of a grandpa after eating a big meal. My son and I didn’t have our family to spend the day with, but as I looked around I realized these wonderful people are our friends and part of our family. I felt as though we were sitting in a big home and had invited friends and family over to celebrate. Then I was reminded that it was God’s house and these are his beloved children and what a way to share His gift of love, but to extend it to others.

Extending the gift of Love to others is the one thing I will always remember about that day. Each and every person that came down gave up their Christmas day to spend it with our friends. Many spent most of the day with us and did so because they wanted to. They came not expecting anything and only came to give. They showed kindness and love in their smiles, they spoke words of love, showed love with a warm embrace and most of all gave of themselves for the sake of others. As I watched each and everyone of them, I saw the true meaning of Christmas lived out, I saw the gift of Love poured out to so many who may have been forgotten that day.
Today some of our park friends were talking about what a wonderful Christmas day they had and what a wonderful group of people that came down to share it with them. In time they may not remember your names, but they will always remember the kindness and love you showed them. You gave of yourself and loved unconditionally…this is the biggest gift you could ever give. God gave his son out of love for us and in return you have extended that love to lives that were blessed that day.

I want to thank everyone for all you did to make the day happen. I so wish that those who couldn’t be there could have shared the day with us. It is hard to put into words the wonderful things I saw and felt. Whether you were there or not everything you did blessed so many people and I pray that those blessings are returned to you many times over. Once again thank you for loving and sharing yourself with so many…you made so many happy that day and you reflected the true meaning of Christmas, that is the biggest gift you could have given anyone.