Tag Archives: faith

Rich (Stories from behind the cardboard signs)

Solitary

He was leaning on his bedroll, a small piece of cardboard folded up next to him.

I watched him from a distance.

I imagined him as a gentle person at peace with himself.

His face held a slight grin as he watched the sea.

The sea bird sitting next to him stayed for as long as I watched.

Homeless? Probably.

Poor? Not by the look on his face.

Stories from Behind the Cardboard Signs

A Man and his dog

_MG_2290He slowly walked past, briefly met my eyes with a nod. His shoes held together with duct tape, holes in the knees of his pants, and a ratty backpack. He whistled a familiar tune.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!”
“Great is Thy faithfulness!”

Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Stories from behind the cardboard signs – Part One

I am beginning a series of short stories, I have been curious for some time about what brings someone to living on the streets. I have been curious about their stories. Here is my first “interview”

_MG_8311 His name is Eddie.

When I ask him where he sleeps, he says the manager at Wilco lets him sleep in the alcove as long as he is gone when they open and leaves the area clean. But he only goes there if he really needs shelter, he does not want to wear out his welcome. He has several places he goes. He use to sleep in the bushes next to a small lake nearby, but they cleared out all the brush. He says “We lost a lot when that happened, but it is beautiful there now.” He loves walking that area and seeing the improvements and how nice it is now.

I ask if I can take his picture, he looks down and shakes his head no. I tell him  it’s okay, I tell him I am working on a project but I can tell his story without a picture of him. He tells me that he does not want people to make fun of him. He said people think bad about him and don’t even know him.

He tells me about people who drive by and scream at him to get a job, he tells me he wants to work. He would do anything, pull a few weeds, wash windows, then he shows me his hand. Half healed wounds, still weeping, cover his first two fingers, I could tell stitches that were needed never happened, the wounds looked like they had been very deep, I imagine from a knife. He told me they had been infected, he found some place to soak them in salt water, he cried like a baby. He told me it is still painful but he just works at odd jobs anyway. “You just have to grit your teeth and do it.” He tells me he is just a man looking to do small jobs for a little money.

As we are talking he is waving and smiling at the cars going by. One stops with a bag of cans, I tell him goodbye..

As he walks away he looks back over his shoulder “God bless you”.

What struck me was his lack of bitterness, his peaceful demeanor. He seems anxious to talk about himself but not too sure about sharing. At one point during our conversation he looked at me and said, “You know I could still fall in love, probably not today, but maybe tomorrow”. The one thing Eddie has not lost is his hope.

(P.S.  I returned later with some Neosporin, disinfecting wipes, and bandages. He was surprised, his eyes misted a little.)

Gratitude Production 101

gratitude production 101

Here are all the links to all 7 blogs in case you missed one. Trust me you do not want to miss one. All on the same subject, all so different yet so similar.

Before November gives way to December and all that seems to go with this time of year, make sure to read these. After this week of reading these I feel better prepared to enter this busy season. I will be more intentional with my thanksgiving, more satisfied with what I have, more compassionate to those who don’t have, more focused on the real reason for the season. I will be more thankful.

Take a few minutes, ready them one right after the other, like chapters in a book. it won’t take long. Choose just one or two of the suggestions to try see if it doesn’t change the way you look at celebrating the birth of our Jesus.

Day One by Traci Castaneda : Thanksgiving Blog Venture Day 1

Day Two by Terry Porter : Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Day Three by Bev Landgren : 365 Days of Grateful

Day Four by Joe Castaneda : Be Thankful. Be Thankful. Be Thankful.

Day Five by Tom Tanner : Rooted, Built, Established and Abounding in Thanksgiving

Day Six by Danny Ray : 3 Ways to Make this Thanksgiving the Best One Ever

Day Seven by Becca Forrest : Intentional Thanksgiving

I am working on a special project for this weekend. Stay tuned!

Have a blessed tomorrow.

Best Ever!

The Day before Thanksgiving – Are you ready? Turkey thawing in the frig? Pies ready? No? Me either!!

But please take a minute in this busy evening of preparation and check out the blog by Danny Ray. Day 6 of 7 of the Thankfulness blog hop.

Today’s post comes from Danny Ray. Day 6 of 7.  Stop by his blog and look around. A very talented magician proclaiming Jesus. This is close to my heart as many of you know my dad used magic to point kids to Jesus.

3 Ways to Make this Thanksgiving the Best One Ever

Rainbow after the stormCan you picture Noah’s face when he saw the first rainbow? He just spent the last year on a boat with his family. 365+ days with his family! A year with his daughter-in-laws and his soon to be cursed son, Ham! How much Bingo, Monopoly and Scrabble can one family play? Imagine spending Thanksgiving with your entire family for a year with no place to go. Some of you know your family would not survive that year. Someone would be thrown overboard, someone would be strangled to death, and someone would get locked up with the lions.

Noah survived. He weathered the greatest storm the world has ever known.

Beautiful clouds.

Brilliant sunrises.

Breathless moments of awe.

The Creator’s paintbrush touching the sky with stunning beauty, but no rainbow.

Click here to read the rest

 Don’t miss out on the others – Find them here:

The Overboard Life – Joe Castaneda

The Musing of a Life – Bev Everett Landgren

The Real Life – Terry Porter

Danny Ray – Danny Ray

Be Extraordinary – Traci Castaneda

Making Life Beautiful – Becca Forrest

Relentless Growth – Tom Tanner

365 days of grateful

gratitude production 101

Today is my day (day 3) in this project, I am honored and excited to be part of this Gratitude Project 101. I hope as the week progresses you will stop in and check out the 6 amazing bloggers I have been teamed with.

 

365 days of grateful

grateful

This is the time of year we stop to reflect on what we are thankful for, we post out thankfulness for the 31 days of November. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great practice, but last year my heart was softly challenged, why only once a year?  Why do I  take only 31 days out of 365 to actively practice gratitude? These thoughts continued to nag at me for several weeks. Why would I not express my thankfulness every day, all year long? I have a blessed, beautiful life.

Instead of making resolutions for the New Year I chose this one word to focus on and put into practice for 365 days– Grateful. (See this project for more details.)

For days I prayed, planned and wondered, how would that look? How exactly would I place this word in my life in practical, tangible ways. I decided on at least 3 things I would practice every day.

Continue reading 365 days of grateful

Soap

soap

Her face has been floating in and out of my consciousness all week. I noticed her as I left the parking lot last week. She was sitting behind a cardboard sign, five or six white garbage bags all around her. She had on several layers of clothing, her face was dirty, and wore the wrinkles of a hard life. I started to drive by but decided to pull over. I got out of the car and dug out one of my beach blankets from the back. She had gotten to the car by that time. I grabbed a couple bags of hotel toiletries, I told her that I did not have money to give her but I had this blanket and these toiletries. Her eyes lit up, her whole face broke out in a toothless grin and she exclaimed “Soap!” She thanked me like I had handed her keys to a warm house and walked back to her spot on the sidewalk.

I am humbled. Soap, she was thrilled to get soap.

While I have been focusing on gratitude all year, I realized in that moment I still had a lot to learn.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.   Colossians 3:17

 

 

 

Skippidy doo da

wedding day 1

My birthday month has come to a close I have been thinking about the amazing gifts my husband has given to me, not just this last month but from the beginning of us.

I am loved with no expectations, and I have been from the very beginning. When we started dating I really did love my single life, I told him so. I told him that I did not want a serious relationship, I did not ever plan to marry again. He loved me anyway, gently and consistently. No pushing, no expectations, just there accepting me.

Freedom to be exactly me, my husband has loved me for who I am and has never tried to change me. That is such a gift. The next two gifts come in the same wrapping. Knowledge that I am enough. Finally coming to myself. I am 56 years old, I am finally comfortable in my own skin, and I have finally realized that I am who God created me to be. This man has shown me more about how God loves me that any other.

Because of the three gifts above I feel safe. Safe to try new things, to be exactly me, to feel what I feel, to say what I need to say. This is an incredible gift, I have rarely felt this in my life. I have always felt I needed to measure myself, whether real or imagined I did not feel safe enough to really be me.

I can totally invest myself (and $) into a thing that I want to try. Over these last 5 years I have tried so many new things, knitting, soap making, building with pallets, photography and running just to name a few. I have not heard once that I am investing too much. That I am spending too much time or money, nor have I heard one word when I have decided that this particular thing is not for me. He is my cheerleader through all of it.

I have learned to truly relax and to let things go, I don’t have to always be in motion. I don’t have to complete a project the same day I start it. I have learned patience and to pace myself. Gently he taught me these things. It is amazingly freeing and calming. He has taught me the value of total quiet, the peace and comfort of being able to sit next to a person in total silence in peace and not feel like the quiet needs to be filled.

Waking to snuggles every morning and falling to sleep with snuggles every night. This everyday occurrence helps me to let go of the day and readies me to start a new one. I cannot even begin to tell you what a wonderful gift this is.

Really the point of this post is to publicly thank my husband for being the amazing man he is. To thank him for all the amazing gifts he gives me not just for my birthday, but each and every day. They are far more valuable than any material thing.

Skippidy doo da thank you
Lord for makin’ him for me
And thank you for letting life turn out the way
That I always thought it could be

There once was a time, that I could not imagine
How it would feel to say I’m the happiest girl in the whole U.S.A.

Tim, I never thought it possible to grow more in love with time, I did not know that this existed, when you said five years ago that we would be amazing I had no idea. Life with you is amazing. Thank you for all you do for me, especially this time of year. Thank you for loving me as I am. Just when I think I could not possibly love you more, a new day dawns. I love you more than I can say.

Stretcher Friends

_MG_5831

When they couldn’t find a way to get him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down on his stretcher through the tiles into the middle of the room, right in front of Jesus. Luke 5:19

From the time the fireworks tents start appearing through August is what I call the season of Jason. (You can read the whole story here.) This season the story of the man being lifted up on his stretcher and brought to Jesus by his friends has been running through my head.

Many times through these three years when I have been at my lowest I have heard from you that you are praying. Your prayers have carried me time and time again to Jesus. You did for me what I often could not do for myself. When the grief was crippling you picked up my stretcher and carried me. You spoke the words to Jesus when I had no words.

I write this today to say thank you to all of you, I have felt your prayers, I have felt you lifting me to the presence of Jesus. I have felt his healing grace over and over. Thank you for being there still, three years later. Thank you for allowing me to grieve, for not telling me it was time to get up and walk on my own, for giving me the luxury of being carried. Thank you for walking beside me when I can walk, and then carrying me again when I need to be carried. I don’t have enough words to thank you properly, but I want you to know, that I know you are there, I know you are lifting me up to Jesus. Thank you.

I thank my God every time I remember you. Phil. 1:3

the day before The Day

Jason's garden

Today is the day before The Day three years ago. My first born, my boy, woke up dancing on streets of gold. I find myself with such mixed emotions, I miss Jason. Plain and simple I miss him. I have a peace that I will see him again, that we left nothing unsaid, that the last time I saw him I hugged him, told him I loved him. I am so happy for him, living with his new body, free from earthly cares, in the presence of our amazing God.

There is a family today, that is holding a memorial service for a son that had been disowned. Not a word had been spoken to him in several years. There were chances to offer forgiveness during an illness, no fences were mended and now it is too late. I can not imagine surviving this kind of regret and grief. I pray for them today and the days ahead, for the momma’s heart that must be shattered.

Today in the midst of the grief of not being able to physically hug my son, I am so grateful that I have no regrets, that Jason left this world knowing he was completely loved for who he was.

So through the tears this morning, I can smile as I remember the wonder of being his mom for the years I was allowed.

Kobe