Connecting with Community

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

See me today and in May

I had the pleasure of getting together with a couple of friends this evening. We sit and speak of the need that surrounds us.  We speak with a deep desire to help those we know and with the same desire we speak of  helping those we do not know. We speak of loss, we speak of life, we speak of answered prayers and we speak of unanswered prayers. In the center of this humble place we humbly bow our heads and seek to be heard by our Maker. Peace surrounds us and in this place we pray. Yes, we pray for you.

We ask with certainty because we are certain that He hears our cry.  We pray that God allow you safety, we pray that God allow you health, we pray that God allow you provision and we pray that comfort would be upon you in this season of  Christmas. We continue and pray for those that have no home, we pray for those that have no warmth, we pray for those struggling in violent homes and we pray for those that cannot seem to find peace and yes we also pray for you.

Today my day is filled with people trickling in and out and everyone of them in need.  I don't know what it is about the holiday season but it puts me in a place where my only desire is to give. The need to want to qualify someone as worthy before I give does not seem to be present. I do not guess I am alone in this because there are more phone calls, more emails, more donations and yes more visits from people willing to help during this joyous time of year. It makes me wish it was Christmas all year round. I pray that God allow us a sweet simple reminder of the need that exist even past this Christmas season. The need is the same in December as it is in May, it is just easier to ignore the need when the Christmas spirit is not among us.  So again I pray and yes again I pray for you.

Before my head rests on my comfy pillow and I begin to bury my self within the blanket layers on a bed that sits nestled in my nice warm house. Again my head bows and tears consume me as I pray  that my heart be open not just during the Christmas season and friend please know that I love you so yes again I pray the same for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-Cp9ggX3f4

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What I've learned

Its cold outside and I can't seem to find my coat. My black boots are the ones I wish I would lose but I guess that's discussion for another day. I had a birthday yesterday and well it allowed me time to pause and reflect on what I have learned this past year. I learned that I need to love more, give more and do more. Life is short and I don't want it to pass me by. I don't ever want life to have its way with me. Sometimes we are arrogant enough to believe that "it" can't happen to us and then "it" does. Not one of us is exempted from anything. All we have is this moment we are not even guaranteed the rest of the day. So there is not time for anger and hate because well that is just wasted time. It does not add anything to you or anyone else for that matter.

It has been a tough year as well a year filled with beautiful lessons. The hardest part of my year was seeing friends and family struggle with illness, death and an array of other things. I still seem to struggle with the loss of my sweet PRO intern, Lacie. It  has been months and her office is still set up. I haven't had the heart to clear her stuff off the desk and I haven't let anyone use it either. Sounds crazy but its just the way I choose to process this loss. I am reminded of all the good that can be done every time I pass by her desk. I am also reminded that we are all working through something so lets do our best to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us.

Don't let life have its way with you...live and live with intent. Do what you do on purpose and add value to everyone you come in contact with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-Cp9ggX3f4

Friday, September 30, 2016

Man behind me at the Panda Express


To the young man behind me at Panda Express. I want to share with you a little bit about me and my family. During the day I serve families that need assistance in meeting their basic needs. I work across the country in hopes of causing awareness about people living in poverty and sharing ways to better connect with people living in poverty. I do my best every day to live my purpose in life. Isaiah 61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. When I’m not at work I am a wife, mother to four beautiful children and I am Nama to a beautiful little boy named Tristan. My husband Jacob serves with in the school district. My daughter Keila serves in a different corner of the city. She serves cancer patients 8-5 Monday through Friday. My younger daughter Christian is 12 hours away at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota and every day she serves 22 young ladies that live on her floor. My youngest son Josh recently injured his ankle and is now recovering from surgery and he too serves at whatever capacity he is able to. Now my oldest son JD, well he is a Marine and he too recently had surgery. He was injured during training and it has taken almost two years to finally get him the surgery he has needed since his accident. It was difficult at home when my son was away at boot camp but we honored the way he chose to serve. So as his family we supported him 100%. It was hard to see our grandson struggle because his uncle was away. This little guy didn’t understand why someone he loves so much wouldn’t come home. As a family we found it difficult to sleep, at night, not knowing what our son was going through. We spent many nights on our knees in prayer.

Young man behind me at Panda Express our family has had a trying few months with injury, surgeries, loss and goodbyes.  To be completely honest it has been overwhelming. You caught me at a vulnerable moment. I was sitting in line asking God for my son.

Young man behind me at Panda Express I want you to know I am not a political person and I have recently began working on guarding my heart. Which for me simply means I am careful of what I read in the paper, social media and careful what I watch. I find it hurtful to read things like men and women choosing to kneel or sit when they should be standing in honor of the flag. A while back my son made the decision to enlist and by doing so he understood that he would serve those that honored him and his family as well as those that didn’t.  He was willing to sacrifice himself in order that others may have the freedoms we have today as well as the freedoms we are working towards.  We have come a long way in our country but we still have a long way to go.

So to those that choose to sit or kneel your lack of respect will not deter our military. Every day they will wake way before any one of us and every day they will stand watch and make sure our freedoms are intact.  So let me take this opportunity to encourage you to make your point in a different manner. Instead of sitting please stand, together we can work towards more freedoms. If you want to kneel, kneel in prayer and pray for our military and their families. Kneel to help someone out of an unwanted situation. Kneel as you lay flowers on a grave for some that has given their life for our freedom.  

 So young man behind me at the Panda Express, today I extend a heart filled thank you. Tears run down my face as I pray and ask God on your behalf. Thank you for honoring the momma of a Marine. Thank you for honoring my family. Thank you for honoring all military and their families. When you honor one of us you honor all of us but most of all thank you for honoring my Marine.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Are you a Life Changer?


Finally Friday!

I wake early dreading the events of the day before me. I gather myself just long enough to make it to my friend’s front porch. We sit sipping tea talking of the events this week has brought. This week started last Friday late in the evening. My son Josh was sliding into base and broke his ankle in two different places. When we arrived to take him to the emergency room his foot was facing the wrong direction. My baby was a trooper but his momma was not because I about passed out twice while in the ER. Little did I know at the time that last Friday would be the beginning of a very long week?

Must we have Mondays?

As you know my little sissy is fighting cancer and she is scheduled to have here port put in first thing Monday morning. I am silent in prayer asking that all goes well. Anxious because I cannot be there. I shift thoughts and I give thanks to God that on this day I celebrate because at 10:47AM, 14 years ago my Josh was born. His birthday celebration begins at the surgeon’s office as we attempt to schedule surgery for the following day. This day is almost out but not before we begin to deal with an allergic reaction to the codeine he was given to subdue the pain.

Thankfully Tuesday?

Josh is scheduled for surgery at 12:30PM I arrive at 11:00AM only to be sent home to try again at 2:00PM. Thankfully at 4:00PM we are ready and willing and at this point he is ready to eat cardboard because he hasn’t eaten since the night before. He is finally wheeled back and suddenly the clock on the wall doesn’t seem to be working as the hands move ever so slightly. Then when I cannot hold on any longer we are out and finally settled at home.

Wonderful Wednesday?

Early Wednesday morning my little sissy is scheduled for her first round of chemo and again I cannot be there to make sure she is well. So I pray and I ask for peace. Not even an hour in to her chemo my daughter receives word that her best friend’s husband has passed away unexpectedly while on his way to work. My heart hurts for this precious woman. I can’t and don’t want to imagine her brokenness. All day my heart is heavy for all of her coworkers, her family and friends. Silently I thank God for life.

Finally headed home but not before I stop to get my Josh a bite to eat.  I’m sitting in line at a fast food place and my phone rings. It is Mrs. Cook, kindly she begins to speak, informing me that our PRO intern and her momma were in a car accident earlier today. Tragically they have both passed away.

Teary Thursday!

I arrive at work and finally in my office I sit at my desk. One moment of peace before my phone again rings. It is the father of my precious intern. He speaks through broken words to let me know that his baby girl is gone. Unable to hold the tears I cry with him and ask if there is anything I can do. I am broken and at this point in the week it is too much for me to handle. So I cry out to my Father and ask that He rescue me.  Psalm 4:1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.



Friday ….

I have agreed to meet with the family and the pastor at the church. The goal is to share of the beauty this intern has left behind. Gathered in a room at the church, through brokenness we love without words and we are one for having the opportunity to have loved, even if it was only for a short while. Today I begin to prepare my heart, for the funeral that awaits us tomorrow. Sorrow will not consume me I will live in blessing and my heart will be full. Thankful that God saw fit to place this intern in my life.  I am blessed with the honor of speaking at her memorial on the day she is laid to rest. Not sure what I will say but I do know I will speak love. I know she would want me too

This week did not break me it allowed me a moment to pause, what an amazing time to be alive. Yes I know everywhere we turn there is chaos and yet beauty still surfaces. Uncertainty at every corner and still there is peace. Gently I remind you that we serve a God that is bigger than this chaos and this hurt.  There is not one of us that has time to be waiting for a certain person to be elected into office or for a new policy to be put into place.  We are not promised tomorrow. No not a one of us. All of our todays are numbered and we don’t have a single one to waste so it’s up to each of us to do something on this today.  We are each empowered to choose, daily how we will love. Will we be a Life Changer and establish peace on this earth or will we do our part to create chaos and hurt? Loving is simple, be kind to those that aren’t kind and show patience to those that aren’t patient.

Lacie White was my PRO intern and she was a Life Changer. She gave so much more than she took. She counted all people as worthy.  She loved the unlovable and she included the excluded.  She was kind to those in need of kindness. She was patient to those in need of patience. Lacie died on August 10th 2016 and even though she has left this earth her impact on this earth and humanity will remain.

Love and live life intentionally…………

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sister


Sister

A girl or woman who shares a common ancestry, allegiance, character, or purpose with another or others, specifically:

a. A kinswoman.

b. A woman fellow member, as of a sorority.

c. A fellow woman.

d. A close woman friend or companion.


My sisters are all of these things and often I forget that not everyone has the privilege of having a sister. Well, I am blessed and I not only have one but God has allowed me to have two. I don’t reach out and talk to them daily. I don’t text them all day long. I don’t even see them weekly. The lack of communication is me taking them for granted. In my small way of thinking I assume they will always be here and really we all know that is not the case.

Let me tell you a little about my sister Dee, just in case you haven’t had the honor of meeting her. People often say my sister and I look alike. We have similar features but our characteristics are different. I am shy and meek and she is confident and proud. She is tall, with striking beauty as well as elegant and graceful. There is nothing she cannot do. There is nothing she fears.

On April 15, 2016 my sister Artie called and in our conversation, through tears and broken words, she speaks and says my sister Dee has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I sit here still in disbelief because, well you know stuff like this just doesn’t happen to people like us. I sit in my car a little while longer just trying to grasp what I have just heard. I am stunned and unwilling to process. With intent I do not reach out to my little sister, well because you know, if I don’t see here it just won’t be true. It would take me 21 days before I would see her face to face. As I type tears still rampantly consume me. My core has been shaken but I shall not be moved.

My phone buzzes and its Dee, “Are you home? I want to stop by.” It isn’t long before I see her  car in the drive. I walk to the door and rush out to meet her. I can still feel the warmth of her hand as she reaches for me. I bring her close and she whispers, “I am afraid”. Inside, my heart breaks and feels such unexplainable pain.  I cannot fix this. I have nothing to offer. I squeeze her tighter and bring her closer, without words I assure her that this is a battle we will win. This is a battle where we will all go in swinging. I assure her that we are all in this together. I hold her as if she were but a child and my body shakes as I attempt to form words. I allow the God I know to consume me because I can no longer tolerate this pain. My God is faithful and I know the God I serve loves her more than I do. My God is not shaken by this circumstance. 

I am weary and I need God to step in. I cannot find the words to pray. I am in desperate need of my Savior. He is the mightiest Warrior I know. Regardless of what we face, He is faithful. I will let go now and let Him, not because it’s easy but because I know He is willing and able. At any moment of the day tears still freely consume me. Unashamed of this deep love I have for my sisters I trust God, Do you?

My sister has made a bold choice in this battle and we await surgery. We ask that you keep her, her children and her husband in your prayers as she fights this fight and we ask that you pray for all those that fight a similar battle with this thing called Cancer.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Hustle and Bustle of Christmas


All the hustle and bustle the holiday brings is enough to put each one of us into a panic. So let me be the one to give you permission, yes permission. Permission to slow down, to pause and to share in the stillness the season offers. Sit, even if it is just for a minute and watch the peace that surrounds you. Color like when you were little. Sing along with the radio, no one can hear you anyway. Take a walk and if no one is watching, dance a little too. No twerking because someone may be watching. Take the long way home and enjoy the glimmering lights. Eat another cookie, they only appear once a year anyway. Warning too many cookies could be hazardous to your health and your hips.
While in line for expensive coffee enjoy the music. People watch as you sit waiting for the light to turn green. At every other light roll down your window and take in a breath of fresh air. Don't worry about getting the closest parking spot at the mall. The walk will help work off those cookies. Love because there is not enough love out there. Be kind because someone out there needs it. Be patient, yes even in traffic.
Stop the hurriedness! That one gift you can’t find or can’t afford doesn’t really matter. Don’t worry about the size of gifts under the tree, no one will remember what you got them next year anyway. Give joy and give lots of it. It costs us nothing because the price for it was paid many years ago.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." - Luke 2:10

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sometimes I'm not so thankful

The wind billows outside my bedroom window. It is fierce and it brings a chill to my core. This atmosphere perfectly suites my attitude. Because today I am lacking thankfulness and I feel a bit under the weather as well. If you know me you know not feeling well doesn't stop me, it just irritates me. I probably should warn my volunteer of my attitude. This attitude might make for a long day. We have much to do, donations to pick up and things to get in order before Thanksgiving arrives.  

While out and about I watch as people hurriedly prepare for this day of giving thanks. I notice a few with similar attitudes maybe they aren't feeling well either. As the day takes charge my heart weakens. I pause often and I think of my Girl and my Marine. They are both so far away, each one of them on opposite sides of the country.  I am not so thankful today. 

Today I avoid Facebook, because even with all its wonder some days it also holds plenty of pettiness. Somedays there is so much senseless conversation. Conversation about red cups, copy and paste if you love your son, like and share if you love Jesus and well you get it, silliness at its best. There is also many times people spill their hatred and spout reasons why some humans are worthy and why some are not. The other day someone shared that we should take care of our homeless veterans before we take care of any refugee, but yet sometimes, those that speak those words have never and will never lift a finger to personally help a veteran. Oh yes and please allow me to share my favorite topic, there are many who think we should send our military over seas. They say "we" need to eradicate terrorists. That one really gets under my skin because in my opinion you need not speak of when and why we should put our military’s lives on the line. Especially if you are not serving, have never served or do not have family that has served or that is currently serving.

A little bitter because I don't get to have my Marine around my dinner table for thanksgiving. A little upset because my grand baby doesn't understand why his uncle isn't home. At age 5 he doesn't know why his uncle is sacrificing time away from him. He doesn't know what freedom is and sometimes when we speak, we speak out of turn and sometimes we forget the freedom we speak with was paid by someone else. So please don't offer our men and women up so freely. Be mindful that they are someone's sons and daughters.

Obviously, in this moment I desperately search for goodness. I want to see goodness in this world so full of hurt and suffering. I sit in my car debating with God. At this point no one else can handle my pettiness. I think I may be wearing him too, as I set my boundaries and explain to Him, "God if the next stop doesn't go as planned, I’m not doing it. God, I am not speaking in places that are uncomfortable. I am not stretching myself beyond new borders. I struggle with change God. I am only speaking where I am most comfortable. God are you really asking me to do this?"

Not happy, I make my way out of my car and the unpleasant look on my face is enough to make anyone head in the other direction. Hastily I make my way into the building and of course things don’t go in my favor. So again I say to Him. “I am not doing it.” My body trembles and tears form. I will not give in. Sweetly, I feel a gentle tug from a small corner of my heart. I am reminded of John 3:16. I hesitate to listen because somewhere inside I know He is right. He is always right. Through clenched teeth as I make my way back to my car I speak out loud, as if He walks beside me I say “really God,  John 3:16”. What does that have to do with this matter?" Then out of my mouth I begin to speak  John 3:16….."For God so loved the world". Instantly I acknowledge that He indeed walks beside me and I am loved and I am humbled. I bow my head and tears flow. "Yes Lord, It is not about me, it is about all those around me. Those near and those on the other side of the world." I shrink in my shallowness and quickly say, "I am sorry".

It is about more than a darn red cup, it is about more than copy, paste and share or like if you love Jesus. Yes folks it is about more than just me and how I feel and maybe it is about more than just you.      
                           
It's about love. It's about loving even when you don't want to. It's about loving even when you don't think others deserve it. It's about looking for the good within all the bad. Its about being thankful even when you think there is nothing to be thankful for. It isn't easy but do it anyway, reach deep and find something to be thankful about. I assure you there is much to be thankful for and I promise it will allow joy. I will no longer sit and wallow because my children are not near. I will be thankful that they are safe and I will be thankful that they still are hear on this earth. I will put action behind these words I speak. I will live by them. I will love because I know full well that Love creates an atmosphere of Hope.

 Hope maybe the doorway to Peace.