Connecting with Community

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I want your pop tarts

 Wednesday, right before Thanksgiving and I am thankful that we are closing at noon. I am expecting an easy day. I have plans with my honey and that is all I can think of. That is until my first family arrives.
 As I enter the lobby,  I am surprised to see little ones present. No noise usually means no children. I smile as I see four little visitors. It doesn't take long to decide that my office is too small  for so many young guests. Together we venture out and begin to hunt down a larger office. We march down the hall with a purpose. We are on a mission, we seek more room. Finally we conquer new territory and the children seem delighted. We are situated and I begin to ask the parents some questions. They are homeless and desperate to get out of this situation they are in. They speak of their troubles and it doesn’t take long before the children catch my undivided attention. Eventually I stop listening to the parents, as I notice  no words have come from these children. I pay close attention as one of the little girls approaches me. She gives me a hug and I tenderly hug her back. I have a document in front of me and I hand her a highlighter so she can draw. She gently looks up at me and all I see is her innocence. My heart instantly hears her without her saying a word.  I ask her if she is hungry. She replies, “Yes”. Oh such pain as my heart listens to this uncomfortable truth. She acts like this is normal to her. Hunger seems to be normal to this six year old baby. 
This is not normal to me, this will never be normal to me. It should never be normal for any child to be hungry. I cry inside and I want to just take them home with me. I want to take them to Chick-fil-A and feed them everything off of the menu. I want to let them play and be children. I want to remove them from this uncomfortable truth they live in. I want  more for them. I want more than this normal they currently live in. This should not be normal for anyone.
 The little boy wanders towards me and he reaches for my leg.  I sit again paralyzed with pain for these babies. I have four children too and I can’t imagine them hungry. If you know me you know I eat five times a day. Where I am, food is there also. As I now have the attention of all four children, I begin to hand out pop tarts. They are so hungry. I watch and I am witness to those babies taking only two bites to finish their food. What can we do to change this?
 I say give me pop tarts, so I can share them. After all it is my Birthday and all I want is pop tarts. Give pop tarts to Snack Pak 4 Kids, Dyron shares them with many hungry children. The office is now a wreck, crumbs of pop tarts everywhere. They depart with a full belly, at least for now. We begin the clean up and it doesn’t take long before it’s all cleaned up. The only evidence that they were even there is the pain I still feel in my heart.
Ten till closing and we are counting down for the Thanksgiving break. A mother walks in and speaks of her daughter’s abuse, softly she tells her daughters story.  The daughter still to shaken to speak. They have just left the police station where she explained to the police, how she was beaten by her husband. She tells her story; she explains exactly how she was holding her 10 month old baby during this abuse.
She is also hungry. Lucky for us a wonderful Chick-fil-A angel brought us a fully cooked Thanksgiving dinner. I was given strict instruction, to give this meal to a family in need. I believe I followed through on those instructions.
Today all I want is POP TARTS so give me your POP TARTS!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Be a Dreamer

I wake up at 4:00 this morning and as much as I try, I have no luck falling back to sleep. Finally I start to doze off and wouldn’t you know it, it’s time to start the day. I am tired and the last thing I want to do is get out of bed. Not that it matters but I’ll tell you anyway, I feel lousy. Times like this I wish Poverty would catch the flu but it doesn’t it catches people instead.

I sit down at my first meeting, open my lap top and commence to perusal my emails. I sit in this room full of leaders. The topic of the day is Transfer of Wealth; we participate in an exercise where we are asked to dream a little. We are told “assume your community was given 1 million dollars per year forever to use to make your community great”.

For someone to ask me to dream is probably unwise. I am a dreamer and I live in a fantasy, I dream all that my heart affords. One by one they speak up and announce their dreams. Dreams of a revitalized town square, creating places for entertainment and other things that would increase the desire to live in their community.

I say nothing but all I can do is think of my families. I think of my single pregnant student, I dream of food for her empty cupboard. For my mother of one with one on the way, I dream for a roof to shelter her and a place for her to lay her head.  My mother of three, all of them boys, I dream of a safe place for them far from their abuser.  My momma of one, I dream that someday she may see what I see. My heart sees a person of value, integrity and a person that has so much to give. She has so much to offer this world that has been so bad to her. Helping families will make any community great.

I receive this email and my dream begins to disappear.
I’m frustrated! I’ve been trying to find dental assistance for Ann.  She has another major infection.  She went to the ER on Saturday and they gave her an antibiotic.  It is still really swollen and painful.  I encouraged her to go back to the ER because she says it is worse than what it was on Saturday.  She can go to AC and get x-rays and cleaning for only $30, but they don’t have any openings soon.  The very nice receptionist encouraged us to call each day and see if they have any cancellations.  I tried calling another Health Network, but it will cost $127.50 just for the screening, which she can do at AC for just $10 (then $20 for a cleaning later). 

I quickly begin my beggin and here is my response.

Dr. D
All is right in my world, once more and hey maybe Poverty did catch the flu today. Poverty is losing his confidence. I think maybe some fear has been established.

 Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I want to share some lyrics from a song that truly inspires me. Today as I work on getting caught up on hundreds of emails, I am quickly overwhelmed. I probably should of paced my self because I was soon buried with an abundance of need. For a moment I am of the impression that I can do no more. It doesn't take long before I am sweetly reminded that I am not alone. When things seem overwhelming and things seem impossible, again I am reminded that it is not me but we. Something always happens and the need is always met.

The song goes like this "Surely children weren't made for the streets and fathers were not made to leave". This line makes me want to retreat to the world I live in, where children are wanted and cared for, where fathers are the ones caring and wanting their children. It shouts what I feel "surely this isn't how it should be" and my heart hurts as he sings "Surely nations were not made for war or the broken meant to be ignored". What if we showed value to our broken and our ignored? How much time does that take anyway?  When you have time read my "90 Second Rule" and you will learn how long it takes to impact someone.

I was the lunch speaker to a group of student leaders at AC on friday. As I speak of the families I serve, tears gently flow. It is clear that this message is hitting close to home. It is apparent that some of these students were or are currently living in similar situations. Because they are so young , it completely breaks me as I see their faces and I can not contain my pain. I am not use to speaking to such a young crowd. I will never forget them and although it causes me pain, I am also encouraged. I am encouraged because even though they live in lack, they are here for a lesson on how to "Be the Change". I assure you those brilliant students taught me more than they learned. "And I will live, to carry your compassion to love a world that's broken to be your hands and feet". I am certain that together  they will mend our broken world. I am certain that they will "Make Poverty History".

After I speak , it is routine for the audience to come by and shake my hand. They come with a full heart and they say thank you. I say thank you to them, I say thank you because this is what they do " I will give, with the life that I've been given to go beyond RELIGION to see the world be changed". They remind me that Hope is for everyone and not a select few. Excitement takes over and I begin to think of ways to do more. This is my favorite line, I love the truth in it. I believe it, I believe we are being the change this community needs. I have discovered that regardless of age, money or title, we are all working together.  I am convinced that all people want to do something but sometimes we just can't figure out what needs done.
"Surely life wasn't made to regret and the lost were not made to forget surely faith without action is dead"

Friday, November 2, 2012

halloween, a skunk and Victory

I rush to my car, to avoid being late to my 10:00 meeting. On my drive there I grasp for notes and  sing at the top of my lungs.  I arrive at the local coffee place and park to take one last look at my appearance.  I take a second look and pull the mirror close, close enough that my nose touches it.
This summer my daughter Christian had practice early in the morning. While she ran I put in my own four miles because of that I was sporting a bit of a tan. It is now November 1st and my tan has subsided. As I take a close look in the mirror I am thinking I should change my makeup color.  Because I was in a rush, I forgot to spread my makeup out evenly. Above my eyebrows a shade of pale skin shows right through and a shadow of darkness covers the lower part of my face. I don’t know that my great grandma would be proud of my tribal paint, as she was full blooded Indian. I probably could have pulled it off yesterday but not today.  Well at least I only went half the morning looking like a half painted clown.
I am driving down the road minding my own business and a skunk heads straight for me. The skunk jumps right in front of my tires. I hit it and he goes splat all across the road. I drive a little further and I am shocked that I cannot smell it. Then all of the sudden, here it comes that awful stench. It begins to creep in little by little and eventually consumes the whole inside of the car.
Much like words when they are spoken, it may take some time but eventually they consume our very being.
My honey and I signed up to help at our church’s fall festival. We signed up for half an hour. Two hours went by and we were still serving. We were lost in the smiles as we handed children candy. We were overwhelmed with the dignity shown to every person. We were taken by the love that was given to the group as a whole. I was humbled with the kind words spoken. I don’t believe I have ever taken part of a community effort quite like this. These people were so dedicated in making sure everyone there felt as if they belonged.  Thousands of people and even if just for 2 hours, we were all family. This is the kind of fairytale I live in, where everyone works together towards one main goal. It was fellowship at its best. Every type of person and every color of person was represented. You couldn't tell who had money and who didn't. Everyone was a volunteer and everyone was a guest. Everyone belonged.

Matthew 25:35-36  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me;