Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shine Your Light

Today was our first day serving at the women's shelter here in San Franciscm. we spent the first part of the morning cleaning it out. and I mean cleaning it out. everything. we had to sort everything in piles out on the sidewalk in front of the shelter. this led to all kinds of people coming by to see what kind of "treasures" they could find. this gave some of us a few opportunities to strike up some conversations! and even give out some hugs! Once the common room was emptied out, it had to be cleaned. while some of us worked on that, a few of us went to the roof to haul down some broken chairs and other items. and since we were up there and the view was so beautiful, we decided why not do a quick "mini makeover" for the ladies while we were up there. I mean, we were already up there. so, Emily, Jo-Mama, Mrs. Karen and I got busy repotting a few plants and moving the chairs that were left and moving the potted plants around, and mini makeover complete!! A lot of the guys had mainly been focusing on getting the basement repainted and repairing the lights while the rest of us were in the common room painting furniture, getting a table refinished, and repainting the walls. the basement was very dimly lit and was where the women gather to eat. the guys did that on their own I might add :) we were starting to leave for the day, one of the workers there asked us if we would go down to the basement where the ladies were eating because they wanted to say thank you. Especially for the new lighting in the basement. Well, of course we all jumped at the opportunity to meet some of the ladies! So down to the basement we went. and we were overwhelmed with thankfulness from them!! We were hugging necks and sharing smiles when one lady threw her hands up and said "we didn't even know we was in the dark till you turned the light on!" y'all...all I could do was hug her neck tighter. she didn't even really know what she just said. Jesus said "I am the Light of the world". He calls us to be salt and light. They didn't even realize how dark it was till we turned on the light. People, turn on your lights and run to the darkness so they will know. Shine on.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

so this year was my 36th *cough cough* birthday... geez.. does the number have to look so  BIG when you write it out??!! for the love!! anyway...

since there have been so many changes in my life recently (more on that to come), i decided to celebrate this year a little differently.  i can't take credit for the idea.  pinterest.  always pinterest. amen.  36 acts of kindness.  most of them planned out.  but not all.  because i wanted to leave room for just some small, random, everyday acts.  AND, i also wanted to leave room for those God moments too.  i wanted to have fun... but i also wanted to meet some real needs too... and of course, He is always faithful.  it was truly a day that i will never forget.  the looks on peoples faces, the tears, the hugs, the laughter.  unforgettable.  here is the list of what i did.  with a few stories added in.  enjoy :)

1-6. went to visit the pediatric floor of the hospital. took gift bags for the patients and parents that included diapers, wipes, toys, candy, games, and gift cards to wal-mart (depending on age of patient)

7. paid for person in line in drive thru at BK behind us. left a card telling them to have a great day! expression on their face was priceless.

8-11. took homemade brownies to 4 different fire dept. to tell them thank you for their service.

12. as we headed to our next location, we saw an old car stopped on the side of the road.  a couple had gotten out and were walking with their gas can in the 110* weather!! we stopped and asked if we could take their gas can and fill it up for them.  when we got to the gas station, i realized that the gas can only held about one gallon of gas. so, when we got back to them, i asked if they would please follow me to the gas station and let me fill up their tank. the gentleman told me he had no idea how much it would take because he was never able to fill it all the way up. and his wife cried. well, maybe i did too. i serve a very big God.

13. i just happen to have 2 of my food bags in the jeep and saw 2 people that were in need of them.  gladly gave them.

14. went to a laundromat and handed out quarters for people to do their laundry and taped coins to empty washers/dryers.

15. gave quarters to kids to play arcade games in laundromat. they all went bananas! :)

16. held door open for man carrying baby

17. gave out goodie bags filled with candy and games and nail polish to kids in parking lot

18. went to park and handed out popsicles!! learned that when you go to the park on SUPER HOT DAY and say "does anyone want a popsicle??" kids will literally fall from the sky. not kidding.  it was awesome!

19. went to a restaurant and left a pack of diapers at a changing station with a note.

20. gave a waitress a gift card to wal-mart for no reason.

21. taped change to some drink machines

22. returned buggy for a customer in grocery store parking lot

23. took gift bag of dog food/treats, cat food, and toys to  animal shelter.

24. unloaded groceries for someone in publix parking lot

25. gave her children 2 goodie bags

26. as we were leaving publix, we saw an elderly lady walking to her old vehicle. she was using 2 crutches.  her vehicle was beaten up.  she had 2 young boys waiting on her in the car.  i had bought a gift card to winn dixie the day before and had been holding onto it all day. waiting.  and when we saw her the Lord said to give it to her.  so Hannah and i walked over to her car.  i asked her if i could help her in with her crutches and she was grateful for the help.  and then i told her that i had something that i would like for her to have and i handed her the card.  she opened it. she just kinda sat there for a moment and then she asked if she could really go to the grocery store with it.  i said yes maam. and she repeated over and over " i get to go to the grocery store, i get to go to the grocery store. boys!! we are going to the grocery store today". i may have teared up. again. Hannah asked her what her name was and if she could pray for her.  she said please do.  i will never forget Ms. Williams.

27.  gave 2 boy goodie bags to Ms Williams boys.  the joy in that vehicle was overwhelming.

28.  took Wyatt and Mallory with us to the nursing home in Lee Co.  all the kids had made cards the night before.  they were so excited to visit with the residents! they couldn't pass out those cards and hug their sweet necks fast enough!  Wyatt even walked up to a sweet man sitting alone in his wheelchair at a table and said in his gruff little voice "hey, you wanna look at this snake book with me?" and he flipped through the book and pointed out the snakes and told him what the names of them were.  mallory hugged and told everyone what she had drawn for them.  and sweet Hannah spoke to every person like they were her own grandmother or grandfather.  it was precious.  they have already asked when they can go back.

29. left 2 packs of wipes at a changing station

30. took clothes to the Liberty House 

31. left a card for our mailperson to say thank you!

32. bought Frank's dog a toy. (for those of you that know me that REALLY is an act of kindness!!)

33. took Ms. Christine supper (90 yr old widow at our church)

34-36. went to bus stop and paid for riders!

best birthday ever.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

times...they are a changin'....

so, what HAS changed? you might ask...

well, there have been quite a few changes in the past few years so let me just hit some of the highlights rather than bore you with four years of blah, blah, blah....

for starters there is this change right here.

yes.  they have all grown up.  and yes you are seeing correctly.  my oldest son is now taller than i am.  hush, frank. and yes, he IS only 11.  what exactly is your point??

moving on...

there is also this change.

i dropped 100lbs praise the Lord!!!

we also have this...

my family looks a little different now right??!! it has grown a tad!! and well, it's really a long story! and honestly, i don't really feel like the right thing to do is share all the details of it. but i do feel like it's okay to share a few things. hannah came to live with us about a year and a half ago. and it was hard. and i don't mean that in the way of adjustments here in the house.  that was the really easy part.  the hard part, surprisingly, was the reactions from others. see, instead of people asking us the what, why, how and all that,  they did what people do.  they assumed.  they heard from someone else what they assumed and made their own stories.  people that i just knew  were going to be there to support us during this time and to help Hannah through this difficult time in her life weren't.  most people were very good at hearing one side of the story and getting in their huddles with their buddies and discussing what we should be doing and what they would be doing if it were them.  but they never came to us.  never.  not once.  no one came and said "hey, i'm not really sure what's going on, but is there something i can do to help? can i pray with you guys? for you guys? would you mind telling me the story?"  any one of us would have been more than happy to do it.  people stopped talking to us.  we lost friends.  that's what i mean when i say it was hard.  and it was.

but, there is always a reason.  and God knew that i had lessons to learn.  and so did Hannah. well, we all did.  and, looking back, i am overwhelmed with thankfulness for every lesson.  i am better for each one.

one thing i learned during that time was that obedience matters most.  God is not concerned with what other people think about my obedience to Him or what it looks like to them.  and regardless of what i want, i do not need, nor do i have to wear a sign around my neck explaining what i am doing to make others feel comfortable. was not easy for me to learn.  and really, i'm still a work in progress...

as time passes, i also see how God has used this very thing in my life to prepare me for soooo many other things. and not just me really.  but my whole family.  i am very thankful that we were all willing to say yes at a very hard time.  it certainly would have been easy to just say no! i also think about how God gives us just enough of the details at the time to help us move forward. and interestingly enough...sometimes that's NONE!!

okay...enough for now... more about changes to come!!!