My Charlie Brown Tree

The blog below, I wrote back in 2009. When I first bought the tree, I just bought it because I thought it was cute. It became much more than that to me. It became a reminder of what could be, if nurtured in the right way. I gifted a friend with the same tree and it no longer gets put up after Christmas, it has become a permanent fixture in my home. Every time I look at it reminds me of the hope and love I have for our friends in the park and wonderful friends I have in my life.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2009

I AM MORE THAN A CHARLIE BROWN TREE!

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When you first glanced at me, did you see that I am a Charlie Brown Tree? But, if you look closer there is more to me to see.

At one time I had roots and a foundation. I lived among the forest of beautiful trees, tall and proud. Unforeseen circumstances and an unstable foundation brought me crumbling down. Now my foundation is a bit wobbly and it’s held together with nails and scraps of what was once me. 

I am not much to look at; just a small branch is all that is left. Even though I once lived among the large forest, along the way I became broken, discarded and now just a piece of my former self. 

Now they hide me in the back lot, to ashamed for me to be seen. The ones who stand tall and beautiful are the ones people want to see. So, here I sit alone, unseen, unwanted and unloved. Wishing someone could see me for what I could be. 

Look closer at me; do you see it? I struggle to hold onto one single bulb, it still glimmers and shines from time to time. It holds my hopes and dreams. It is my gem for the world to see, if they would only look. 

If you wrap a blanket around my foundation, I will stand a little taller. If I were tended to patiently, fed, watered and given love, I would begin to grow strong again. It wouldn’t take much.

In time I may begin to look much like my former self, but I would be different in many ways. This time because tended to with love, my foundation will be stronger and my roots will grow deeper. I would stand taller and prouder than all the other trees, because you saw the hidden beauty in me. 

Our friends in the park are much like this tree. Broken, discarded, no longer have a firm foundation to stand on and are just a shell of their former selves. You have looked past the forest of people and saw the discarded, broken and hidden. Thank you for wrapping your arms around them and helping them stand a little stronger. Thank you for caring for them, so they have a chance to grow new roots. Thank you for seeing that they have hopes and dreams and most of all Thank you for Loving them. I see it in their smiles and in their eyes, they come because they know that to you, they are someone special, they are truly loved and you see their hidden beauty! You see more than just a Charlie Brown Tree! Love you very much!

Sunday in the cold rain

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Today was one of those days that the weather was cold and rainy. Many people ask why we still serve in such weather. I remind them that Hunger and those in need, are still in need even though the weather is miserable. We are still there for anyone who shows up. If we serve one or we serve a hundred we will still be there for them. To everyone who came down today……..Thank You!

Two sets of Rules

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An old blog showed up in my feed this morning and I thought I would share it again. I still remember that day and sad to say, nothing has changed….there is still two sets of rules.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2011

Two Sets of Rules

Over the years of serving those without homes, I have learned that there are unspoken rules for those who have and for those who have not. After I picked my son up from roller derby practice Monday night, I saw another example of that. It was late and we had not had dinner and decided to stop and grab a burger on the way home.

I stopped at one of local burger chains and as we went inside, there were two gentlemen who had came in as well. Both older, clean and well dressed, the only difference you could see between the two was the fact that one was carrying a backpack. The one with the backpack sat in a back corner, in a spot were no one could see him except those entering or leaving from side door. The other sat in the middle of the place in full view of anyone coming or going. The one in the back corner began playing a game of solitary and the other asked for a glass of water and sat to read the paper.

As we waited for our order, I had noticed that I knew the man in the back corner from the park and I waved and got ready to go over and talk to him. As I started over the manager of the place came out from behind the counter and started to speak to him, so I decided I would wait until she was done talking to him. My son stood with me talking to me about practice, but I kept my ear tuned to the conversation in the corner. As the conversation in the corner started to heat up, I found myself slowly inching closer to hear, my son sat down and just shook his head. I asked him “What?” He just laughed and said “We are going to be here for awhile.” Okay so by now my son knows me well enough that I can’t walk away in a situation like that.

As the manager left I walked over to ask what the problem was and what was going on. Our park guy said he came in to wait for his wife to get off work. Let me give you a little back ground on our park guy. He has lost his job and has not been able to find work. His wonderful wife has been able to find work, part time at a radio station just down the street from the burger joint. Because of only part time work, the only place they have to stay is in the camper they have. Neither is on drugs or drinks. Very wonderful people who only are trying to make it in this world. Back to the manager, she had stated to him that he would have to leave, they there was a policy that stated that you could only stay in the place for thirty minutes, unless you were a paying customer. He explained that he was only waiting for his wife to get off work and would not be there long. She didn’t care and wanted him out. If he didn’t leave she was going to call the police.

Now besides my son, myself, the other older gentleman reading the paper, the only other person in the place was our park friend. I asked the manager “If this gentlman has to leave, then why is the other not asked to leave as well?” “That’s different, he comes often and is not bothering any of the costumers.” She stated. I asked her “what costumers are being bothered by our friend sitting in the corner, there is no one in here.” “It’s just different for him” she stated.

“So let me get this right. Our friend can’t stay because he is not a paying costumer and the other can stay because he asked for a glass of water that he didn’t pay for?”

“Yes, it’s different” she said.

“So were is your policy posted that you can only stay thirty minutes unless you are a paying customer?”

Once again she didn’t have a straight answer and could not show anywhere that it was posted. I asked how someone was to know that policy just walking in off the street, still no answer. She then stated that he needed to get out and promptly walked off. So I promptly walked over to our friend reached in my purse and pulled a five-dollar bill. Are you hungry or thirsty I asked him? No, I just wanted to wait for my wife; she will be off work soon. I said go buy something to drink, even if you don’t drink it and sit back down, you will then be a paying customer and they won’t have any reason to ask you to leave. He smiled, took the bill and walked to the counter. The same lady looked at him and refused to take his order, so my son and I stood with him until someone waited on him. Finally someone took his drink order and we all sat and chatted for a while.

My son and I had to leave, but as we were leaving our park friend handed me back the change from the drink. I told him to please hold onto it and if she came back to make him leave again, go over and buy something else and you just keep doing that until your wife gets off work. We laughed, hugged and left, telling our friend that we would see him soon.

Now before anyone gets upset, I do know that restaurants can’t just let people come in and hangout. They are there to make money. My point to all this is we have two different people doing the same thing. Coming in to a place that is pretty much empty, neither buying anything and both minding their own business in different parts of the restaurant. One who did not buy anything, but has been in from time to time is allowed to stay. The other because he is homeless was asked to leave. She stated he was bothering customers (the only customers were us and he was not bothering us) and who was she to determine who was worthy enough to sit and stay inside?

Once again the unspoken rules for those who have and those who have not, for those who are accepted by society and those who have been rejected. When will we be begin to look at others and see the worth and beauty they have inside of them and not determine a persons value based on their appearance or what processions they may have?

Thanksgiving Meal in the Park

Well today was our Thanksgiving Dinner in the Park. There were so many who came to help out, as well as to make food for our friends in the park. Everyone had a great time and so many expressed their thanks for all you did. To see their eyes light up and the smile come across their face, makes it all worth it. So this is a week that we will sit at our tables with family and friends, giving thanks for all that is before you and what you have in your life. As you sit at that table, know that YOU are the one’s whom I am grateful for. I give thanks for your loving hearts and your generosity to give to others. Never asking for anything in return, only loving on people because they deserve to be loved. You do this not only in the park, but in every aspect of your lives. Because of you, this community is a better place. So, to you I say “Thank You.” I am blessed to have you in my life. May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy and love.
To Jeff and Linda, you were missed today. Our prayers were with you.
Enjoy the pictures of our day.
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Thanksgiving Dinner and how you can help.

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Just a reminder that we will be having our Thanksgiving Dinner, for our friends without homes, in Ann Morrison Park on Sunday the 20th at 4:00 p.m. We will do a traditional thanksgiving dinner. We try to make our holiday meals a little extra special for our folks. Many have no family or friends to spend the holidays with. If you would like to help serve or help with a food item, please let me know. Below is a idea of what will be served. If you have any suggestions or ideas, let me know. Hey if you have any good, easy dessert recipes….you can send them my way!  Thank you in advance, you are appreciated.
Thanksgiving Dinner
Turkey–all ready have
Ham–all ready have
Potatoes–all ready have
Stuffing–all ready have
Gravy– will make from Ham
Veggies—-have the makings for a green bean casserole, but could use another veggie
Rolls
Desserts–have a few pies, but will need other desserts
Suggestions for anything else or sides……let me know