Connecting with Community

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I am thankful 2013

I am thankful that I wake in a nice warm bed. I hear Jacob getting ready for work and then I hear him quietly closes the bedroom door in honor of my rest. I snuggle deep in my blankets and begin to give thanks for my life. Finally out of bed and I make it to my laundry room, I throw my bedding in the washer. The thought of fresh bedding and suddenly I am thankful for my washer. Back in bed I sit typing on my laptop taking advantage of the internet. I pause a moment and decide both of these are both luxuries. I wander into my living areas and pick up where I left off yesterday with my cleaning. It doesn’t take long before I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my home. It may not be as large as I would like it or as perfect as I think it should be but it’s my home. Moments like this always take me back to my homelessness experience and I shudder as I remember that horrible feeling of not belonging. It is not a feeling people should ever have to understand. The silly thing is we all have the power to allow each other a sense of belonging but seldom do we exercise it. We are so busy with trying to belong that we forget to allow others the opportunity to belong. It is as simple as a smile or a greeting that allows others to feel like they belong in this space.

I walk to turn on the tube just so that I can have background noise. Gently I am reminded of what I paid just yesterday to have service for this tube. I watch a little while and grow my faith as I sit here. I am thankful for the breath in my body that will allow me another day to serve. I am thankful for my legs, my arms, my eyes and everything that allows me to do what I do. Walking into my kitchen I hit the switch and yes that bill was also paid yesterday. This luxury allows electricity to run through my walls and light takes over the darkness in this space. I am thankful for life and how I choose daily to live it. I am not wasting anytime given to me by merely existing. I am thankful that God has inspired me to live and to live with intent.
I open my cabinet filled with food and my heart begins to ache. I am thankful for the food I often take for granted. I had a call yesterday from my office. Our lovely front office Lifechanger calls to let me know that I have two guests in need of food. Until this moment I had forgotten that children will be without food since school is closed for thanksgiving. I forget only because I take for granted that all my basic needs are met. I am thankful as I peek in my fridge and check on my turkey and ham. Today I will be thankful that I am blessed to have food in my home.

I am thankful when I open the front door. I take a half step out my door onto my porch only to be kissed by a ray of sunshine and quickly I am wrapped by the morning’s cool breeze. Gazing upward I step out a little further allowing cold air to rush inside my nice warm home. How many sit out in this cold morning because there is no home for them. This is the time of year when “us well-meaning givers” go out and serve at a soup kitchen or hand blankets and coats to homeless people. I am almost certain that this is not the only time of the year when they experience hunger and when the cold bites as they sit out in the element.

I am thankful that I am blessed with peace offered to me by soldiers that will do without their family this holiday season. I am thankful for the freedom I am given, to serve and worship my Savior. I am gifted the privilege of freedom to celebrate any way I see fit. I don’t recall any part of the military sending out a questioner with questions like where I work, if I work, my religion, my education or what color I am. They don’t defend this country because of who I am. They defend our country because of who they are. Stay with me as there is power in this and my spirit is so happy to share. What you do for others should always be done because of who you are and not because of who the people you are serving are. Can you say “freedom in giving?” Wow Wow Wow Wow there is no way to “qualify” people. Because people are people some having more choices than others but people nonetheless. After all it’s not about you it’s about others and when you get this you are able to leave judgment behind.

And just in case there are Believers that are struggling with getting over judgment. This is what the word of God says about people.

Psalm 139:14 (NIV) 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Isaiah 44:24 (KJV) 24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What if we gave without the desire to qualify a person’s worth. Allow yourself to walk in Love.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Time Off

It’s cold outside so grab a blanket, some hot tea and sit with me for a while. I pray you have the opportunity to take some time off during the holiday season; I’ve taken the whole week off. Yes I know it’s been sometime since I took this amount of time off but I have a plan. I want to rest, I want to clean, I want to cook, I want to spend time with my children and I want to write. Wow just realized how ambitious that all sounds.

I only share in hopes that we all learn something along the way. Regardless of how old or young you are we all experience similar feelings and hurt is one of them. We are all familiar with hurt in some shape or form. This morning I have a divine appointment with an older man. I can hardly contain myself as I know I have much to learn from this visit. He arrives and quickly we begin our conversation. It isn’t long before I realize his hurt is different than mine but hurt none the less.
This gentleman belongs to an extraordinary generation of people. This generation of people is under the impression that all females are ladies and should be treated as such. They hold a high standard for morals and values. They respect each other and kindness is something that is freely given. It is a generation of people that still look after their neighbors and help when help is needed.

From what I gather this generation is keen on education and hard work. They believe in people and meaning is not in text or emails it is in words and people. I sit here absorbing all that I can knowing that someday they will be no more. Time is certain to consume them. There will come a day where I can no longer sit face to face with this generation and gain wisdom. How can I mimic this behavior? How can I learn to love my neighbor like this group of people loves?

As we validate each other and as we conclude our conversation he grabs a book lying on the table. He opens it and says “I brought you a gift”. I smile and tears quickly begin to fill my eyes. I am honored and I feel special. I look around and in this place many of this generation sit sipping coffee. They speak to each other as they are family. As a woman departs the gentlemen stand in honor of her presences. As one gentleman blesses his food he removes his hat in honor of his Maker.

I respond with “thank you”. He opens his book and begins to autograph the inside cover. He hands it to me and I read the most beautiful words ever printed on paper. Here are the words he has written “she helps people”. This has just encouraged me to do more, to love more, and to live more. When I leave this earth I want to have nothing left. I want everything I have to be shared or given in some way shape or form. I want those three words to be true of me and so starts my “time off”.

I will drop off my kids at school with no rush to get to any particular place. I drag my daughter along for a surprise breakfast; yes you guessed it, at my local Chick-fil-A. Before we head for breakfast we stop and gather turkey and ham for a family in need. I’ve decided there is really no “time off”. At every moment in time we should be pouring into others or allow the opportunity to have others pour into us. Wow what a simple concept.

If we took time seriously, we would treat it as one of our most valuable possessions. There would be no time off. Every moment would be spent blessing others or being blessed. Time will never take time off. It is constant and it moves even when we are still.On my “time off” I will treat time as though there is not enough because truly there isn’t. I will give thanks as I humbly serve or rather as I help people.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Grab a cup of coffee and sit with me for a while. I sit in a room full of family and my heart is not present. My heart is still with what I have experienced today.Let me take you back to the beginning. Four years ago I started this blog on the urging of one of my dearest friends. The premise for this blog was to share all my great shopping tips. It wouldn’t take long before this blog would turn into my self-care. This is a great way to share what I am feeling. Once I write what I have experienced during my day it no longer belongs to me. I gladly give it over to you.

Today my schedule has been jam packed, come to think of it yesterday was no different. On my to do list I have three families that are in need of food. A young lady that is eager to serve is willing to help me gather food for these families. In search of food we head to the church with the red door. We enter the building and there is this sweet overwhelming presence that awaits us each time we visit this place. It doesn’t take long before we begin filling boxes. The young lady carefully choses items for each box according to the quantity of children in each family. She silently teaches that everyone matters. Without words she gives value.

My car full I head back to the office. All day I have battled this wind and I am weary. I am struggling with kindness as I am eager for time off. In front of my office I park and look behind me only to see my first family parking behind me. I get out of the car and place an insincere smile on my face. I walk towards this family and quickly notice a little one skipping behind her momma. My heart is full and my smile is now sincere. They are so thankful for the food they have received. This baby gratefully picks up the applesauce so carefully chosen by our eager servant.

I have a few minutes before my next family arrives so I decide to drive around the building in hopes of gathering more items to share. As I I drive back around to the front my next family is waiting for me. I say hello with the assumption that they are waiting for me and the young girl replies “I knew it was you!” She looks at her mom and says “I told you it was her.” I introduce myself because we have only chatted on the phone. This is our first face to face meeting. The young girl follows me to the car to help me unload. She is so happy that they will go home with a car full of groceries. We stand by their car and chat about school. The oldest sister speaks of completing her education. She has dreams of buying her little sister a car by the time she graduates high school. Mom speaks of her girls with such pride. She is overcome with tears at the goodness she sees in this food that is shared. Mom is grateful to have what they have. I say my goodbyes and as I head up the stairs to my front door the young teenager yells “ma’am thank you, thank you so much”. I am overcome with this beautiful gratefulness.

The third family calls to inform me they do not have a way to come get the food. Reluctantly I agree to deliver. It is dark out and I am not familiar with their neighborhood. I head their way anyway and quickly find their home. The momma meets me at my car to help me unload the goods. As we reach the door I notice a set of eyes peeking through the screen door. This wind that has been disrupting my day all day has suddenly just stopped. I hear my heart and I am thankful for being present at this moment. I see a small glimmer in those little eyes. I look closely and now I am certain there is hope in those eyes. A little boy appears behind this little girl and he gently asks me if I am bringing food. I nod yes because no words form in my broken being. He reaches for the door and lets me in. I step inside this little home and in his little sweet innocent voice he asks “can I help you”? I softly speak “well of course”. I have him grab one end of the box while I hold on to the other end. Oh how my heart hurts. He directs me to the tidy kitchen and I thank him for helping me. I can no longer make eye contact with the mother as the brokenness I feel now shows through my eyes. I head towards the door and assure her I will return anytime she needs me. The little boy reaches for my hand “ma’am, thank you”. The whole time this little one makes eye contact. He has my heart. I turn around and head towards the door unsure that I will be able to respond. All of the sudden something with in me allows me to speak two simple words. Your welcome!
Recently I heard that Tyler Perry wrote a letter to younger self. I thought it was powerful. Well today my thought is why not write a letter to your present self. What would you say to how you are currently living? Are you choosing to do? Are you giving in a way that allows Hope to others? What is your purpose and what will people say about you when you are gone? Think about it and allow self-reflection. If you don’t like what you see change it.

Today through the eyes of little ones I learned I must work on my life’s purpose at every moment. The only break life will give me is the moment I leave this earth.

Here you go just so we are not tempted to tip toe around this one. 1 John 3:17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I want to tell you what I saw today

Today I see a homeless man walk by me. I stop him and ask him if he would like some snacks. He replies with “boy would I”. I ask him to wait where he is standing and I will run inside and grab a bag of snacks. I return with a small bag of goodies. He gently smiles and at the corner of each eye a small tear makes its way down his face. He is not invisible I see him.
Later in the day I go to a small shelter, for men working on parting with their habits. As I walk in I see clean and well-kept quarters. I ask the gentleman that has invited me in a few questions. Because I hear him I discover food is scarce and snacks are not possible. My heart hurts at what I see. I have food to share. He is not invisible to me I see him.
My last stop before I reach home is at the small church with the red door. I walk in and see remnants of a craft show and I smile at all the pretties as I go by. I reach the closet where food is stored and fill box after box for families in need. Today this will aid a family of 4 with empty cupboards. Father has been ill for weeks and that has caused great need. The children get home from school with no snacks awaiting them and dinner is out of the question. They are not invisible this church sees them.
I see a mother, I see a friend all in the same woman. She is lost in a world of drugs and she feels is invisible to most. I show her love and speak to her in the same way I would speak to my girlfriends. She speaks with a burdened heart, “Why do you talk to me like that?” I reply because you that’s how I talk to people. She reaches to hug me then turns around and walks away. My heart hurts that she feels discarded. Regardless of her behavior she is still somebody’s daughter, she is still somebody’s mother, she is still somebody’s sister and she is still somebody’s friend. She is somebody.
We are so busy that we miss so many things that we should see. I want to challenge you to take a moment and see things that you normally pass by. Luke 10:25-37 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
I know its heavy but it’s also truth, I’m not in the habit of speaking things that tickles ones ears. My Hope requires me to speak truth that causes action. Take a moment to live with intention. Don’t be content with just being alive take it a step further and live intentionally. Choose to smile at someone and perhaps greet someone one as you approach them. Maybe you can make eye contact instead of being distracted by your phone. For at least 90 seconds actively listen in a way that will allow you to connect and when you connect make sure you validate that person’s existence.

Our babies have much to teach us. Please take a few minutes to read what my son Joshua, wrote as a speech when running for student council at his school.

I want to tell you how we can make our school the best ever. I want to tell you that each one of you is important. I want to tell you that you being here is awesome. I want to tell you that what you say and what you do really does matter. I want to tell you that when you smile at someone it makes them feel like they belong. I want to tell you that if you ever feel alone you are not. I want to tell you when you are struggling there is someone here to help you. I want to tell you that what you wear doesn’t matter. I want to tell you that where you live doesn’t matter. I want to tell you that I’ll be your friend no matter what. I want to tell you that together we can make a difference.
But most of all I want to tell you that by looking for what does matter we won’t have time for things that don’t matter. Things like bulling, like making fun of others, like cheating, like lying, like hurting others, help me help you find things that matter.
Joshua Moreno 10 years old Canyon Intermediate School