Her Paperback World

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I parked the car and started walking down the alley. There was a group of the guys there and stopped to talk to them. We laughed, joked and shared their company for a while. Through the group I could see her sitting there trying desperately to hide from the world. 

She is beautiful, young and I had seen her around before. She sits alone with her books, never looking or engaging with anyone. I watch her as the others talk to me and I wonder what lies beneath. What has life done to her and what hurts and pains is she trying to escape from. Her books that are so dear to her, are they her world that she runs too? A place she can sit alone and escape to, do they hold a world that she wishes she had? Does she read of a love she longs for? I have never seen anyone who has tried to close themselves off from the world as much as she does.

I try to speak to her and all I can get out of her is that she is okay. I so want to put my arms around her and hold her and tell her how much she is loved. I know she is not ready for that now. She has built walls so high that it will take time to break them down. I will continue to check on her, keep her in prayer and hopefully in time those walls will weaken and crumble.

School is starting

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It’s back to school time. Kids are running around the store looking for that perfect item to add to their list of school supplies. It interesting to watch them as they look for certain things or labels that they think will define who they are or what they think will make them look cool to the others. Then there are the others who don’t get to participate in the excitement of school shopping. They are just happy if they have anything at all to use during the school day. Some will use items from the previous year or they will use borrowed items. It breaks my heart that some will sit in class and listen to the excitment of others and sit in shame, thinking they are less than, because they do not have what others have. I pray that they realize that they are much more than these material items, these things do not define who they are.

Because of everyone’s generous giving, we have been able to do much more than the meal we provide in the park. Besides other things this year we will be sponsoring some kids and helping them with their school supplies. The kids we will be helping would have started school this Wednesday with little to nothing. Backpacks filled with school supplies will be delivered tomorrow. So I thank all of you for making the first day of school extra special for these children. How excited they are going to be and I just wish you could be there to see it all. Your love and generosity has touch so many in this community and each heart that is touched, is so very grateful. Thank You!

Little Girls…but Big Hearts

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What a great day in the park today. Thanks to everyone who came out to help. Rob and Jessica came down today with their girls Hannah and Bella. They had never been down to the park to help before and what a blessing it was to have them there. I could hear their sweet voices from the other end of the table and each time they spoke to our friends in the park, it brought a smile to my face.
“Would you like a bottle of water?”
“Would like a fork?”
“Can I get something for you?”
“Have a great day!”
Each word spoken with such caring and love towards our friends. Two little girls who could have been doing other things today, but instead gave a little of their time to love on those in need. There is a transformation that happens within our friends when kids are there. You see these hard men and women drop their hardened exteriors for a moment and this tender side comes out. I sometimes wonder if they are thinking of their own children or grandchildren they no longer get to see or haven’t seen in ages. So Hannah and Bella, thank you for the helping hands, the beautiful smiles you shared with our friends and most of all thank you for showing you care and loving on these wonderful people. Rob and Jessica, thanks for bringing the girl and all your help. Jerry and Jeremiah, I am always grateful for all you two do….thank you never seems to express it enough!

Ministry of Presence

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“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”
 
– Henri Nouwen

 

Beyond the Collar

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I like to watch people, people interacting with other people. I think you can learn a lot about a person by the way they treat people and how people respond to them. Jake from Holy Trinity Church has been coming down to the park  when he has the time. He is one of those whom you easily connect too and find yourself drawn too, as well as feel at ease with. There is something else I have noticed about him, and it happens when he interacts with others. At first, I thought it was because he was wearing a collar, but when you really watch others react to him, you see that it goes beyond the collar. I first noticed many weeks ago, I was standing next to Jake as we were serving up plates in the park. One of our street friends came thru the line a little drunk and being loud and mouthy. He had his head down and when he raised his head, you could see that he was staring at Jake’s collar. The man calmed down, stood up straight and then looked up. When his eyes connected with Jake, the biggest smile came over his face. They spoke briefly and the man went on his way…slightly different from the way he arrived. Today we had a couple of men having a argument, it didn’t turn into a fight, but it could have very easily. Before this could happen, I see Jake come long side of the men. The two men continued to argue for a minute and just like before they notice his collar, but then they look in his face and as he spoke calmly and softly, these men calmed and went their separate ways. There is a respect that people give to someone wearing a collar, but in Jake’s case, I believe it goes beyond the collar. The collar draws their attention, but when they look in his eyes they see the compaction he has for them and they hear love in his voice. When they look in his eyes they get to see a glimpse of Jesus looking back at them……for the love of Christ flows out of him.

Your imprint is on their hearts

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With the temperatures reaching 100 plus this past week, it is hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago we had a cold temps and pouring rain. Wether it is the heat or the wet cold, it always makes for a interesting day in the park. As I left the park and headed home that cold wet day, I began to think of those who help. Those who give of themselves for those in need. So I want to give thanks to everyone who has been a part of this ministry and those who are still involved. When I see you come week after week, stand in the heat or pouring rain, my heart is overwhelmed by the love you have for others. When we receive those donations in the mail, the donations of food, clothing and everything else, we are so blessed and grateful. Each and everyone of you make it possible for us to do what we do. You make it possible to hand someone a plate, look them in the eyes and let them know someone cares, someone sees them and loves them. You make it possible to give a box of food to families who need a little help. When some of our friends find homes, you make it possible to help them with things to make their new place a Home and when I have a man stand before me with tears running down his face on a cold rainy day, his eyes pleading and he asks for a blanket because everything he has is wet and cold, you make it possible to hand him a sleeping bag. Then watching his face light up and a smile come to his face, he says “I will have something warm to wrap myself in tonight.” When he lays himself down that night, he will remember those who gave of themselves for someone else.  We may not know everyone’s name we serve and they may not know yours, some we may not see again and others we have known for years. Each one has been touched by your generosity and love, that will always be imprinted on their hearts. So know that no matter how you are involved in what we are doing, you are impacting the community around you. You give hope to the hopeless, you make the invisible visible and you show love to the unloved. You are a Blessing and we are so very Blessed to have you be a part of what we are doing. So I “Thank You” and pray that you will be blessed as much as you have blessed others.

He has a sense of humor

Received a cash donation for the park, from someone at work yesterday. Put it in my pants pocket and had stopped by the store on the way home from work. Today, I had to make a trip back to the store and thought I will deposit the money in the bank while I am out. I went to grab the cash and couldn’t find it. I searched all my pockets, looked high and low of places it could be. Checked everything on my table and even looked in the trash. Thought I must of lost it at the store last night. After a half hour of looking, getting stressed out and upset that I lost this money, I decided I needed to get to the store and pick up last minute things for tomorrow. I got in the truck and headed down the street, kept telling myself “how stupid can you be?” Then comes a little voice that says “Let it Go.” Okay Lord, I am not happy about losing the money, but all I ask is that who ever found it is someone who really needs it, may they be blessed by it.
So I put my thoughts on other things, got my stuff done and headed home. I unloaded my truck, put things away and walked over to put my purse on the table (the same table I search a dozens times) and low and behold laying in plain sight……..Yes, that donation I could not find and stressed over. Lord….thanks for having my back, but we really need to sit down and talk about your sense of humor…..I am already old and crazy…..I really don’t need your help making it worse…..just saying.